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Community remembers the life of Louis Tudor, longtime Roanoke business owner, coach

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ROANOKE, Va. – One of the Star City’s brightest is still shining even after his death.

The Roanoke community is honoring the life of longtime business owner, swimming coach and father Louis Tudor.

His family said he took his own life this week after struggling with mental health issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“He was a mentor, a coach; he was an all-around family man, incredible hard worker, so devoted to anything he did,” said Louis Tudor’s daughter, Hannah Tudor.

Whether it was coaching swim lessons or running the longtime downtown staple “Tudors Biscuit World,” which closed its doors in 2012, Tudor left a long-lasting impression on so many.

“He had a certain virility and passion that was so causal in his life, like running his restaurant and everything he did, he made it seem so simple and you almost don’t realize how amazing it was until it’s not there anymore,” said Louis Tudor’s son, Shane Tudor.

Louis Tudor’s family said he started having mental health issues around the beginning of the pandemic. As more outlets for him were taken away, he started to struggle more.

“He never struggled with this; he never had these underlying feelings…just the last couple of months took a toll on him and just from someone who never had those problems or that disease, just having it all of the sudden, it is such a disease and we just wanted to bring to light that there should never be a stigma about it,” Hannah Tudor said.

Friends like James Farmer and Wilton Kennedy said Tudor always felt right at home when coaching swim lessons and teams, and he struggled with not having an outlet to rely on.

“I think being away from that for two and a half months was really a difficult thing for him and I really do think that had a big impact on his mental health and the state that he was in,” Tudor’s friend James Farmer said.

“He had a gift for teaching people to swim who could not swim and a passion for helping people who could swim,” Tudor’s friend Wilton Kennedy said.

Hannah Tudor and her siblings Erin, Nick, and Shane, said their family wants to shed a light on the mental health impacts the COVID-19 pandemic is causing.

“I just want everyone to know that people are struggling, and we hear you and we feel for you and the Tudors are here for anybody that may be feeling this way,” Hannah Tudor said.

At the end of the day, Louis Tudor’s family wants the community to remember him for who he was: A loving father, friend and coach.

“If he were here, he would be here for anyone that needed him, and that’s just who Louis Tudor was,” Hannah Tudor said.

A sunrise service will be held for Louis Tudor on Sunday at the Hunting Hills Country Club pool. It’s open to anyone who wishes to honor Tudor’s legacy.

Tudor’s struggle with mental health is something many people are facing right now because of the pandemic. That’s why Family Health Services of Roanoke is offering up to four short-term therapy sessions to anyone experiencing anxiety, depression or fear caused by coronavirus.

You can talk with someone tele-health or the phone from now to September.

“A lot of our tried and true networks for support may have gone away because everybody’s been at home, so I don’t think people necessarily have their networks in place anymore, so I think its really important to have people who will listen,” Director of Mental Health Services at Family Service of Roanoke Karen Pillis said.

Sessions will be by video or phone call. To make an appointment, you can call Family Service of Roanoke Valley at 540-563-5316 ext 4653.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.

Copyright 2020 by WSLS 10 – All rights reserved.

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Spice is right as Indonesian startups eye value in vanilla | Reuters | Business

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By Fransiska Nangoy and Bernadette Christina

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian Sofa Arbiyanto had a manufacturing job in South Korea two years ago when he learned about the high price of vanilla on the global market, and decided to try his luck at growing it.

Now he has 2,000 vanilla vines on a 1,200-sq-metre (0.3-acre) farm in Blora, Central Java, started after he did some internet research and joined online groups of vanilla farmers.

“My initial view that farmers live in hardship and poverty has changed,” said the 30-year-old. “With a touch of innovation and technology, it is a promising opportunity.”

Arbiyanto is one of a growing number of millennial start-up vanilla farmers in the southeast Asian nation, which is eager to revive spice shipments to diversify its farm exports, now dominated by palm oil.

The interest in cultivating one of the world’s most valuable spices has sparked a small movement back to the land at a time when farmers have been leaving for jobs in congested cities.

The Indonesian Vanilla Farmers’ Association (PPVI) says 43% of the nearly 600 farmers it has trained are aged between 25 and 35, a demographic that is typically tech-savvy.

Many have learned farming methods from YouTube, and get tips and guidance from experienced farmers through group chats on messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, said Mahdalena Lubis, the association’s spokeswoman.

PPVI’s YouTube channel has more than 13,000 subscribers and combined views of its videos exceed a million, she added.

The demand is no surprise, as vanilla beans from top exporter Madagascar were more expensive than silver last year, although prices have since fallen from highs of about $600 a kg.

After typhoons in 2017 and 2018 in the Indian Ocean island sent prices skyrocketing, buyers are looking for more sources of the spice, used in anything from cakes and cookies to sauces and perfume.

Start-up Indonesian farmers are betting on the labour-intensive beans, aware that high-quality crops can fetch them better prices, owing to the painstaking process of pollination by hand.

STRONG POTENTIAL

Indonesia is a distant second to top producer Madagascar, which provides 80% of world supply. McCormick & Co, the world’s largest spice company, is partnering with farmers in the islands of Papua and Sulawesi to secure its supply of Indonesian vanilla.

“Although Madagascar remains the gold standard as far as vanilla quality is concerned, Indonesia has strong potential to become an alternative origin, in terms of quantity and quality,” McCormick said in an emailed statement.

The coronavirus pandemic has boosted consumer demand for vanilla, as well as that from packaged food companies, it added.

Aust & Hachmann, the world’s oldest vanilla trader, estimated that Indonesia would produce about 200 tonnes of beans this year, double last year’s estimate.

In a bi-annual report, the trader said stay-at-home orders around the world had benefitted vanilla, with jumps in grocery shopping and home cooking.

Despite strong demand, shipments faced delays because of virus-related disruptions in trade, causing an annual drop of 18% for the January to May period, Indonesian trade data showed.

But that trend is unlikely to last.

“When the new normal begins and trade activities are gradually increased…vanilla exports will become one of the mainstays of trade that will be expanded,” said Kasan, a director-general in Indonesia’s trade ministry.

But vanilla prices can be volatile, making farming a risky enterprise, Kasan, who uses one name, cautioned.

Lubis, of the vanilla farmers’ group, said ensuring quality was vital to avoid mistakes of the kind that had led big buyers in the past to reject prematurely picked beans, forcing many farmers to switch crops.

“In the global market, we have to be able to compete in maintaining quality to be able to significantly increase our exports,” Lubis added.

But Mohamad Akbar Budiman, 30, is undeterred as he combines work as a civil servant in the province of Banten with an effort to revive once-abandoned cultivation of beans in his backyard.

“Growing vanilla doesn’t take much space, and it’s not difficult.”

(Editing by Martin Petty and Clarence Fernandez)



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China extends anti-dumping tariff on Indian fibre optic product | Reuters | Business

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) – China is extending an anti-dumping tariff on a fibre optic product made in India, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.

The punitive tariff on single-mode optical fibre takes effect from Aug. 14 and lasts for five years, with tariffs ranging between 7.4% and 30.6% depending on the specific Indian manufacturers, the ministry said.

China previously slapped an anti-dumping tariff on the same Indian product for five years until mid-August of 2019 and then had a review of the case.

(Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Editing by Tom Hogue)



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County of Grande Prairie surveying business satisfaction

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The County of Grande Prairie is looking to once again meet with local businesses to evaluate some of the struggles and opportunities for improvement within the region. The interviews are a continuation of the Business Retention and Expansion Study which was initially conducted at the end of 2019.

Christopher King, County of Grande Prairie Economic Development Manager, says the idea, though it has had to adapt to the times, is to review the state of businesses and gauge what their plans are going forward.

“Obviously with COVID-19 we’ve handled things a little bit differently but the idea is to identify those businesses that maybe are looking at expansion opportunities, or growth opportunities, or maybe even those that are struggling a little bit and are considering downsizing or closing,” he explains.

In 2019, the survey found that roughly 98 per cent of businesses in the County were satisfied with their location as a place to do business. Factors that received the highest rates of satisfaction were the availability of appropriate work-related training, zoning, availability of property for purchase or lease, and availability of adequate housing and development/building permit process.

King says the survey didn’t come back all sunshine and roses, as many businesses shared prominent concerns regarding what they believed was sorely lacking within the County.

“Skilled labour, issues related to internet [and] cell phone reception, came out as some of the least satisfying factors of doing business in the county and Council has taken note of that,” he says.

“Communications work on fibre-optics and cell phones have been jumped up as strategic priorities for Council.”

Any findings from the 2020 study will be published by the County later in the year. Details from the survey conducted last year is also available online.



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