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Once again, the Blue Ribbon planning committee has tapped an important speaker whose presentation will be incredibly timely.
Timely, excellent presenters like Dr. Jones is just one of reasons why Hartford Insurance has increased its support of the conference this year to be the single Grand Sponsor of this special 25th anniversay conference.
"We are proud to be able to support the conference and it is a special year given the 25th anniversary celebration," said Kevin E. Harnetiaux, Senior Vice President of Hartford Insurance. "We appreciate the opportunity to be a Grand Sponsor in supporting this important conference."
Dr. Lucy Jones, seismologist. Jones is the first face most Americans see after an earthquake strikes southern California, as she is known for answering questions from the press following any significant earthquake.
Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions of Jones who has been closely following the 9.0 quake which struck Japan last week.
"This is overwhelmingly the best-recorded great earthquake ever," Jones told reporters at a news conference last Saturday at Caltech in Pasadena.
Jones has been with the US Geological Survey and a Visiting Research Associate at the Seismological Laboratory of Caltech since 1983. She is currently serving as the Chief Scientist of the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project for Southern California, developing a new program to integrate hazards science in urban areas with economic analysis and emergency response to increase community resiliency to natural disasters.
She is also a Commissioner of the California Seismic Safety Commission, which advises the governor and legislature on seismic safety, by appointment of Governor Gray Davis in 2002 and reappointment by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005 and serves on the California Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council.
The tsunami which followed the massive earthquake last week has not affected the Mauna Lani Resort, site of the Blue Conference. The hotel suffered minor damage with just a little shifting of sand on the beach.
"We were lucky," said Jill Turner, IBA West meeting planner. "The Four Seasons Resort, on the other hand, will be closed through the end of April."
Lost homes, sunken boats and damaged piers caused tsunami damage estimates to jump into the tens of millions of dollars in Hawaii and California, reported AP.
"It's in the millions in terms of property, but it's very small in terms of personal injury and deaths. Of course, we're very, very fortunate," said Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who planned to visit areas damaged by the tsunami on Tuesday.
Additional losses may pile up because thousands of Japanese tourists have already canceled vacations to Hawaii since the tsunami, dealing a crushing blow to the state's tourism-dependent economy.
"The economic consequences will be severe for us," Abercrombie said. "It's going to be terrible. It's going to be rough. It's something we have to come to grips with."
Fortunately, the 25th Anniversary Blue Ribbon will not be affected and it will be a welcome addition to the local economy. In fact, conference attendees may even benefit from reduced airfares as the airlines woo tourists back to the island. This week Hawaiian Airlines is offering $189 fares each way to Honolulu from the Bay Area.
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