WoodWeek – 4 March 2015

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team.

For all of February, and again this week here in Rotorua, it’s been bursting at the seams with visitors. Part of that comes from the record number of delegates who have turned out for the biggest single FIEA conference ever – the Forest Industry Safety Summit. 325 delegates have packed the conference room and the speakers have been keeping them informed like never before. Tuesday’s programme included Ivan Pupulidy, who directs the office of learning for the US Forest Service nationally; Steven Falk, who leads an international team of game-changers for tree fallers, from British Columbia; and of course our very own Wiremu Edmonds who has just wrapped up a year of international travel speaking to over 9,500 people in workplaces about ‘Standing in the Gap’.

Today, safety summit delegates are in for more insightful safety presentations with the keynote speaker this morning being Reynold Hert, the inspirational leader of the British Columbia Forest Safety Council. Reynold will bring delegates up to speed with the latest initiatives that will be useful for further safety improvement and injury prevention work for New Zealand and Australian forest contractors and managers. But wait there’s more – much more in today’s programme.

It’s been an action-packed few weeks in the forest industry on the safety front and this week is no exception. Building on last week’s announcement of the establishment of a Forest Industry Safety Council is today's official launch of the biggest injury prevention tool set in over 3 years. A combined industry initiative funded from industry and ACC will be launched to the industry today at the Forest Industry Safety Summit here in Rotorua. Entitled ”SAFETREE – YOU are the Key”, this new resource will be website-based with a brilliant look on smartphones, tablets and computers alike. Leading today's industry launch of SafeTree will be Warwick Foran of Crown Forestry.

Meanwhile, in market news, China continued to dominate global log trade and was setting a new record high in the consumption of imported softwood logs in 2014. The seemingly endless increase in demand for wood raw materials from the manufacturers of wood products in China has resulted in year- over-year import increases in eight of the past ten years. The total value of the imported logs has surged from 2.2 billion dollars in 2009 to 5.4 billion dollars in 2014, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly.

On the supplier side, John Deere predicts that sales of construction and forestry equipment will increase by 5% in 2015, and this is due to economic growth and higher housing starts in the US, although it is slightly offset by weakening conditions in the energy sector and energy producing regions.

WoodWeek strives to bring you valuable updates for tailgate meetings for your crews. In this week’s safety alerts recent incidents involving logs placed or stacked PARALLEL to load out areas have caused harm or could have caused harm in four unrelated events. The common thread in all four incidents was poor log placement. In all cases the intention was temporary storage, however the risk and potential hazards created were not adequately controlled.

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Record values for China's wood imports

Whle softwood log imports to China slowed in the 4Q/14, 2014 was still a record year with the import value surpassing 5.4 billion dollars, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. China is the largest importer of logs in the world and although the log shipments to the country slowed in the 4Q of last year, import volumes hit a record high in 2014. The import cost of softwood logs in the 4Q/14 was seven percent below the prices seen in the 4Q/13, with the costs for logs from New Zealand and the US having fallen the most.

China continued to dominate global log trade and was setting a new record high in the consumption of imported softwood logs in 2014. The seemingly endless increase in demand for wood raw-materials from the manufacturers of wood products in China has resulted in year- over-year import increases in eight of the past ten years. The total value of the imported logs has surged from 2.2 billion dollars in 2009 to 5.4 billion dollars in 2014, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly.

Over the past five years there has been close to a doubling of the log volume being unloaded at Chinese ports with a majority originating from three countries; New Zealand, Russia and the US. The biggest change in the past five years has been that the group of supplying countries has expanded. In 2009, the logs from the “big three” accounted for 93% of all softwood logs imported to China. In 2014, this share was down to 76% with log sellers in Canada, Australia and Ukraine having increased their presence in the world’s largest log import market. Australia alone shipped almost 2.2 million m3 in 2014 as compared to 1.1 million m3 in 2011.

Because of high log inventory and lower demand for wood in China, the country reduced its log imports towards the end of 2014, with import volumes in the 4Q/14 reaching their lowest levels in almost two years, report the WRQ. The biggest year-over-year declines were seen in the importation of logs from New Zealand and the US, while import volumes from Russia have been fairly stable the past three years.

Not only have the log volumes arriving to China declined in recent times, so have the costs of the imported logs, which were seven percent lower in the 4Q/14 as compared to the same quarter in 2013. Prices for radiata pine from New Zealand and hemlock from the US fell more than ten percent year-over-year, while Russian log prices remained practically unchanged. Russia, New Zealand and Australia continue to be the low-cost softwood log suppliers to China.

Global timber, sawlog and pulpwood market reporting is included in the 52-page quarterly publication Wood Resource Quarterly (WRQ). The report, which was established in 1988 and has subscribers in over 30 countries, tracks sawlog, pulpwood, lumber and pellet prices, trade and market developments in most key regions around the world. To subscribe to the WRQ, please go to www.woodprices.com

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John Deere predicts strong forestry sales

John Deere announced financial results in the past week. The latest results show construction and logging machine sales to be strong.

John Deere indicates that the good sales results from 2014 for construction and forestry machines is expected to be maintained in 2015. They are reaping the benefits of a well-rounded business line-up, as the farm sector is currently subdued due to reduced demand for agricultural equipment, specifically for larger models. Sales for construction and forestry equipment increased 13% for the first quarter. Operating profit for these machines for the quarter increased from US $ 94 million to US $ 146 million. The improvement was due to higher shipment volumes.

John Deere predicts that sales of construction and forestry equipment will increase by 5% in 2015, and this is due to economic growth and higher housing starts in the US, although it is slightly offset by weakening conditions in the energy sector and energy producing regions.

Global sales are expected to be similar to 2014, as the gains in the US and Europe are offset by declines elsewhere.

Source: www.deere.com

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HarvestTECH to feature steep slope machine technology

Check out the attached video. Lars Rosewarne is a renowned steep hill harvester in Northland, New Zealand. He’s being visited on a weekly basis from overseas visitors interested in his machines and operations on steeper slopes. Currently they’re cutting 600,000 tonnes per year. The remote tethering operation in the video can work in slopes up to 50 degrees and is being promoted for its safety, production and environmental benefits.

This operation, along with a number of others will be profiled by harvesting planners, harvest contractors and leading equipment suppliers from New Zealand, North America and Europe as part of this year’s HarvestTECH 2015 event being run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 24-35 June. Full details on the programme can now be viewed on the event website, www.harvesttech.events

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SAFETREE launched at Safety Summit


An industry-wide, co-operative and comprehensive push to reduce the number of deaths and injuries in New Zealand’s forests is underway.

Safetree has today been showcased to forestry leaders from across the country at the Forestry Industry Safety Summit in Rotorua. “Safetree will become the one-stop-shop for New Zealand’s forestry industry to find the safety information they need to do their jobs without injury, whatever job they do,” said James Treadwell, Safetree’s project manager. “Safetree brings all the safety information that’s out there into one point, so if someone wants to know how to do something safely, they will go to www.safetree.nz. We will also develop a smart phone app to push safety information immediately to those who sign up.”

As a starting point, Safetree focuses on logging, targeting information directly at forest owners and managers, contractors, foremen, head breaker outs, breaker outs, tree fallers, and hauler and machine operators. “The Safetree slogan is ‘You are the Key’, which means everyone is responsible for keeping everyone else safe, whether you are the forest owner sitting off-site, the foreman directing the crew, or the breaker outs down the slope,” said Mr Treadwell. “Safetree’s message is that safety doesn’t stop with someone else further up the chain; keeping safe is everyone’s responsibility, including you.”

Wiremu Edmonds is the face and voice behind the Safetree launch video. He’s familiar to many in the industry from his years working as a workplace safety advocate. Sadly, Mr Edmonds and his family lost their son Robert Epapara in 2013 when he was killed by a workmate who felled a tree within two tree lengths of his position. “Crews know Wiremu and respect him. His words have real impact given his terrible experience.”

Safetree’s thanks also goes to a crew from Whanganui’s Mangoihe Logging, led by Mark McCarthy. “With more than 40 years in forestry, Mark is an expert practitioner and his crews are shining examples of safe practice. One of his crews features in the launch video and they will be the faces of the respective roles as Safetree returns to them to make our ‘how-to’ videos,” said Mr Treadwell.

Safetree brings together ACC, the Council of Trade Unions, the Forestry Industry Contractors Association, the NZ Forestry Owners Association and WorkSafe. It is part of the Government’s commitment to reducing serious harm and fatalities in New Zealand’s workplaces by 25% by 2020. Safetree’s focus and content is aligned with the Independent Forestry Safety Review’s recommendations, which were released in October 2014.

“Safetree’s focus is critically needed and I am excited about building a life-saving resource to support an industry I’m proud to have worked in for more than 20 years,” Mr Treadwell said.

For more information contact: James Treadwell, Safetree Project Manager, 022 043 4511, james@ifsgrowth.co.nz.
Visit Safetree: www.safetree.nz

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NZ Logger: Can It Work for NZ?

Around 70 logging contractors and forest managers converged on Gisborne last month to see a demonstration of the first European-made yarder in this country, using a typical European harvesting setting, put on by Future Forests Research to show its capabilities. Could it have a future in our forests? NZ Logger magazine tackles this question and more in a special feature in the March issue.

There’s also a feature on the Stillwater saw mill on the West Coast, which was destroyed by fire and given a new lease of life, along with an update on progress in the recovery of native logs salvaged from last year’s storm damage on the Coast, which is providing much needed work for local saw millers.

And the magazine details how two forest managers in Otago got together to combine harvesting jobs and make life easier for woodlot owners by utulising the skills of a seasoned harvesting crew.

Plus much more, in the March 2015 issue of NZ Logger, now on sale at selected service stations, or to subscribe for either the printed version and/or the new digital version, visit www.nzlogger.co.nz.

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Eastland Wood Awards - Nominations close soon

Dear Industry
Nominations CLOSE in just 4 weeks for the Eastland Wood Council Awards 2015 Check out the latest nomination criteria booklet as attached (hard copies will be distributed this week)
Complete the form on pgs 8 & 9 and return to us by 27 March 2015
Or online at www.eastlandwood.co.nz/efa-awards/

Key Dates:
Nomination forms available: 2 February 2015
Nominations close: 27 March 2015
Judging: April 2015
Awards Dinner: 15 May 2015

If you know someone worthy of nominating, then don’t delay step them up to get the recognition they deserve, there are plenty of categories to consider which cover the full industry chain.
Support the sixth Awards Campaign, to ensure its success once again!

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'Road-test' the Rate-My-Qualification tool

Research New Zealand has asked us to help contact our members regarding the pilot stage of a project recently announced by the government (Ministry of Education). The project relates to the development of a feedback tool for the "Rate my Qualification" initiative, which you may have seen some media coverage for recently.

"Rate my Qualification" will be an online tool that prospective tertiary students can use to see, at a glance, how qualifications from different tertiary institutions are rated by employers and recent graduates, and will be used alongside other study and careers information to help new students make decisions about what and where to study. It will also help ensure tertiary education is delivering relevant skills for employers and industry.

A pilot survey has been developed based on consultations with employers, graduate students and a review of research literature. We would now like your help to 'road-test' this survey.

If you are an employer or manager with an employee in your team who has achieved a tertiary qualification in the last 2 years, please click on the button below to complete the pilot survey - it takes around 15 minutes and can be done in more than one sitting. Please complete the survey by midnight on Sunday 8 March.

Click Here to go to the Pilot Survey

Note: By tertiary qualification we mean Level 4 or above; from a University, Institute of Technology or Polytechnic (ITP), Industry Training Organisation (ITO) or Private Training Establishment (PTE); it may or may not have been obtained while working on the job.

All those who complete this pilot will be emailed a summary report of the findings when they become available. Your feedback will be confidential, and the report will not reveal who has taken part.

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Group opposed to GE trees

A group of activists held a vigil against release of GE trees on Tuesday in downtown Wellington.

There is worldwide concern that Brazil's CTNBio is about to allow GE trees to be planted by FuturaGene/Suzano, with long term problems for natural ecosystems, honey production and an increase in chemical-reliant monocultures.

Brazil is the world’s 10th largest producer of honey, and 50% of all of the honey produced is exported. An approval of GE trees would be a betrayal of local communities and go against the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to which Brazil is a signatory.

The precautionary principle is enshrined in the CBD, as well as decision UNEP/CDB/COP/9/IX/5, which requires governments conduct comprehensive research before any use of GMO trees.

However industry are ignoring this and want to rush GE trees into the environment without rigorous risk analyses, or protocols for segregation to prevent genetic contamination. US authorities were recently revealed to have secretly approved GE trees to be planted across America.

New Zealand exporters are benefiting from having Forest Stewardship Council certification that excludes any wood from GMO trees. This value-add certification for exporters could also be put at risk.

Horizon 2 now Rubicon exported over 24000 genetically engineered eucalyptus plantlets from 52 different transgenic lines between 2007 – 2009 to Brazil and the US.

ArborGen and Rubicon, have a collaborative GE tree development contract with Crown Research Institute Scion, formerly known as Forest Research Institute. Rubicon has stated that it wants commercialisation of GE forests in New Zealand to have less 'regulatory impediments'.

“New Zealand company Rubicon is known for engineering Eucalyptus trees and exporting them wholesale to the Americas," said Claire Bleakley, president of GE-free NZ.

“These are the very trees that independent scientists warn could destabalise the environment by impacting soil bacteria, fungi, birds and insects that are part of complex ecosystems."

Until long term scientific studies in containment identify the effects of GE trees the scientific warnings must be taken seriously, and the spread of GE trees prevented.

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Safety Alert: Parallel Stacks

PARALLEL STACKS - Potential for Serious Harm

Recent incidents involving logs placed or stacked PARALLEL to load out areas have caused harm or could have caused harm in FOUR separate but unrelated events.

The common thread in all four incidents was poor log placement. In all cases the intention was temporary storage, however the risk and potential hazards created were not adequately controlled.

JAN 2015 - Hazard Advice
Logs stacked parallel to load out area. This was the last part of the salvage area and the processing and storage area was constrained for space.

DEC 2014 - Lost Time Injury
An oversize log rolled down from an embankment (where it has been sitting for approx 2 weeks) and struck a driver who was in the process of setting up his trailer prior to loading. The log knocked him forward against the trailer causing concussion, broken ribs and a head wound.

Sept 2014 – NEAR HIT
A log rolled off a stack and hit the front wheel of the log truck while being loaded from the opposite side. Stock was high, the skid tight and the logs were stacked high and parallel to load out. The driver was standing in the safe zone and there was no risk of injury to him. However, in different circumstances a parallel stack arrangement has potential for injury. This could include the situation where a driver is getting in/out of the cab, checking scales or throwing chains.

Lost Time Injury
A log surge pile had been created parallel to the stub road. The logs had been in this roadside position for approximately 30 minutes before the accident. While the driver was checking the scales 2 of the 5 logs rolled down the bank, pinning him by his left leg/foot. The contact resulted in a fracture of his left ankle and 42 days off work.

PREVENTION - What can we learn from these events?
- Machine Operators - Stack or place logs perpendicular (at right angles) to load out.
- Logs stacked or placed parallel to load out / ground worker areas must be avoided, even for short periods. If this cannot be achieved, THE HAZARD CREATED MUST BE CONTROLLED. (ie: stabilised with pegs or behind a soil bund).
- Truck Drivers - when selecting a safe position to stand to observe loading (outside the loading zone), always assess this position for other hazards.

To download a PDF version of this alert, click here

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CHH new owners plan investment

The new Japanese owners of the pulp and paper manufacturer arm of Carter Holt Harvey are to invest $30 million into an upgrade of the company's Penrose, Auckland, bag-making facility, which services the dairy, food, agriculture, minerals, chemical and building sectors, among others.

Oji, a global pulp, paper and packaging company based in Japan and the Innovation Network Corp of Japan bought CHH unit last April, promising to inject new capital into the operations.

The project will extend an existing hygiene hall and upgrade critical hygiene elements of the manufacturing process, as well as new bag-making machines and on-site warehousing.

Of particular importance is CHH's supply of food grade packaging for the dairy industry, with production exceeding 100 million bags annually, CHHPP chief executive Jon Ryder said in a statement.

"When we have finished the project in 2016 we will have a leading dairy bag manufacturing facility in the Southern Hemisphere, meeting current international food safety contracts," he said.

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Forest Industry Safety Council

The forest industry has established a safety council to make forests safer places to work. This was a key recommendation of the Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel that reviewed forest workplace safety in 2014.

The Forest Industry Safety Council will formally get underway in early April. But in the meantime a working group representing forest owners, contractors, workers, unions and the government is putting the building blocks in place. An independent chair and national safety director are being recruited.

There were 10 workplace deaths and 169 serious harm injuries in forestry in 2013. This led to the industry establishing the review panel which reported in late October 2014.

“Since 2013, there has been a dramatic turn-round in safety performance. Last year there was one fatality – one too many, but a huge improvement on 10 – and a 25 per cent reduction in serious harm injuries,” says Forest Owners Association president Paul Nicholls.

“There are several reasons for this, including increased mechanisation of harvesting and the successful roll-out of a new Approved Code of Practice. But one of the biggest factors will have been the increased awareness of the need for safe work practice as a result of publicity about the terrible toll in 2013.

“As that year fades from memory, it is essential to maintain and reinforce our safety culture, so that our vision of zero serious harm injuries remains at the top of everyone’s mind. For this reason we have deliberately called the new body a ‘council’, to reinforce the status it will have in the industry.”

Nicholls says the industry is totally committed to improved safety and to the review panel’s mantra that “if a job can’t be done safely, it shouldn’t be done at all.” It is also reflected in record registrations for the Forest Industry Safety Summit being held in Rotorua in early March.

The safety council, jointly funded by industry and the government, will have triple the resources that were previously deployed by ACC through their injury prevention programme, says Ian Jackson, president of the NZ Farm Forestry Association.

“Its first priority will be to agree on a work plan for its first 12 months. But its focus will be on practical tools and systems for improving safety in forest workplaces, including farm woodlots,” he says.

“Many farmers and farm staff are handy with a chainsaw. But harvesting forestry blocks, especially on steep hillsides, is specialised work that must be carried out by people with appropriate skills and safety credentials.”

Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) director John Stulen says both corporate and farm forest owners have worked closely with contractors to improve safety for all workers on the forest floor.

“Several years ago forest managers recognised that manual tree felling was becoming too risky in steep country. So the steepland harvesting research programme was set up with industry and Primary Growth Partnership funding, with the vision of having ‘no worker on the slope, no hand on the chainsaw’,” Stulen says.

“This work, supported by innovative engineering firms and contractors in Nelson and Rotorua, has borne fruit, with the development of a new generation of harvesting technologies.

“More than $50 million has been invested in the last 18 months in new feller-bunchers that replace men with chainsaws on steep slopes – the biggest area of risk. These machines are also supported by other innovations, such as on-board GPS-based navigation and camera-assisted grapples for log extraction.”

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Kiwifruit contractor punished over agreements

A Bay of Plenty Kiwifruit contractor has been penalised by the Employment Relations Authority for failing to provide two employees with written individual employment agreements and presenting fraudulent documents.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Labour Inspectorate brought the case before the Authority against Bay Enterprises Ltd after identifying repeated breaches of Section 65 of the Employment Relations Act 2000 which requires employers to provide all employees with a written individual employment agreement.

Labour Inspectorate Regional Manager Natalie Gardiner says employers are required by law to provide written individual employment agreements to all employees.

“This is a basic legal obligation and enables employers to show they are providing their workers with their minimum employment entitlements,” says Mrs Gardiner.

“The Labour Inspectorate will not hesitate to take enforcement action against employers that breach minimum employment standards like this or attempt to mislead the Inspectorate by producing false records.”

During an audit in May 2014, the Labour Inspectorate issued Bay Enterprises Ltd with an improvement notice for failing to provide agreements to employees. A further audit in July 2014 identified subsequent failure to provide employment agreements. In addition, the employer presented fraudulent agreements as evidence when the case went before the Authority.

The Authority has determined $5000 is to be paid as a penalty for breaching the Employment Relations Act and stated that the fraudulent behaviour had been “taken into consideration when setting the level of the penalty.”

The ERA determination is available here: http://www.dol. govt.nz/workplace/determinations/PDF/2015/2015_NZERA_Auckland_26.pdf

The Ministry encourages anyone in this situation, or those who know of anyone in this situation, to call its contact centre on 0800 20 90 20 where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.

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NZ trade balance unexpectedly turns to surplus

New Zealand's NZ trade balance was an unexpectedly surplus in January. Slower import growth made the difference.

Feb. 26 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's trade balance unexpectedly turned to a surplus in January as the impact of weaker crude oil prices on imports outpaced a decline in exports led by dairy products.

The trade surplus was $56 million in January, compared to a deficit of $195 million in December and a surplus of $285 million in January 2014, according to Statistics New Zealand. Exports fell to $3.7 billion in January from $4.42 billion in December and were down from $4.1 billion in January last year. Imports fell to $3.64 billion from $4.58 billion in December and were down from $3.78 billion a year earlier.

Economists had expected a trade deficit for January of $183 million, according to a Reuters survey . The annual balance was a deficit of $1.4 billion, compared to expectations of a $1.6 billion deficit.

ASB economist Jane Turner said weakness in imports extended beyond the impact of lower crude oil prices, even though the $388 million of petroleum imports was the lowest since 2010. Plant and machinery import values were the lowest since last February.

"Given the general strength in the economy and demand, we are inclined to shrug off this result and look to a rebound in import values (ex-petroleum) next month," Turner said. The decline in the value of exports, including a 4.5 percent drop for dairy exports, was in line with ASB's forecast, she said.

Dairy product exports fell 30 percent to $1.18 billion in January from the same month last year and were down 0.1 percent in the 12 month period to $14 billion. Meat exports rose 20 percent in the month to $596 million and gained 13 percent in the year to $6.03 billion. Logs fell 24 percent in the month to $199 million and were down 8.2 percent to $3.6 billion in the year.

Total exports rose 1.9 percent to $49.7 billion in the 12 months through January.

Imports of petroleum and products fell 38 percent to $388 million in January from the same month of 2014 and fell 8.9 percent to $7.45 billion in the 12 month period. Imports of vehicles and parts rose 2 percent to $470 million in the month and rose 14 percent to $6.77 billion in the year. Mechanical machinery imports fell 6.7 percent to $496 million in the month and rose 4.2 percent to $6.35 billion in the year, while electrical machinery gained 2.2 percent to $274 million in the month and rose 0.9 percent to $$3.84 billion in the year.

Total imports rose 5.4 percent to $51.1 billion in the year.

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... Collision of the cliches

If you've ever had the misfortune of watching Kath and Kim, the Australian TV comedy show, where the two 'foxy' ladies always mess up their cliches - then you'll enjoy this messy collection below:

"He swept the rug under the carpet."

"She's burning the midnight oil at both ends."

"It was so cold last night I had to throw another blanket on the fire."

"It's time to step up to the plate and cut the mustard."

"She's robbing Peter to pay the piper."

"He's up a tree without a paddle."

"Beware my friend...you are skating on hot water."

"Keep your ear to the grindstone."

"Sometimes you've gotta stick your neck out on a limb."

"Some people sail through life on a bed of roses like a knife slicing through butter."

Have a safe and prosperous week.

John Stulen

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