Solís administration backs down from bill to reinstate shrimp trawling

first_imgFacing opposition from lawmakers and pressure from environmental groups, government fishing authorities pulled a controversialshrimp trawling bill from the legislative agenda last week. If passed, the bill would have reinstated shrimp trawling in Costa Rican waters.This marks the second attempted return of shrimp trawling in the Legislative Assembly since a Constitutional Court (Sala IV) ruled in 2013 that the damage caused by the fishing practice violated Costa Ricans’ right to a clean environment. The court order banned the government from renewing trawling licenses unless new technology could limit the incidental capture of non-shrimp species — known as bycatch — and make the practice more sustainable. The last active licenses are set to expire in 2019, without legislative action.The Bill for the Development and Sustainable Exploitation of Shrimp in Costa Rica was drafted and submitted by the executive branch, which declared the bill a priority for consideration before the close of the extraordinary sessions at the end of April.In an effort to comply with the Sala IV ruling, the government put 32 sustainability criteria into the bill, and proposed new studies to assess the shrimp population. Trawlers that meet the criteria would be allowed to renew their licenses, and the number of available licenses would be determined by the studies.Government officials who support the bill say it is a crucial step in fighting widespread unemployment on the coasts.“A big step for this government in the fight against coastal poverty, ecological damage and democratic access was going to be to develop regulations for shrimp fishing,” said Gustavo Meneses, the president of the Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (INCOPESCA).According to fishing industry leaders, before the ban, shrimp trawlers employed as many as 360 people.Despite the executive’s enthusiasm for the bill, lawmakers from both the National Liberation Party (PLN) and the Broadfront Party (FA) refused to consider it, citing environmental concerns. According to Meneses, the Solís administration pulled the bill in order to renegotiate with lawmakers before resubmitting it. The administration still hopes to push the bill through before the close of the legislative session.In addition to lawmakers, environmental groups and several traditional, small-scale fishing organizations have also come out against the bill in recent weeks.“In our opinion, pulling the bill was necessary,” said Viviana Gutiérrez, political manager for the Costa Rican branch of the marine conservation organization, MarViva. “It shows that the bill did not have any viability, technically or politically.”Marine conservation NGOs that oppose the bill point out that most of the sustainability measures listed in the bill were already required for shrimp trawlers before the Sala IV ruling. The other requirements — like the use of fish excluder devices and depth restrictions — have not yet been studied for effectiveness.Studies to evaluate their effectiveness do not yet have funding, according to the bill.Opponents have also taken issue with the year-long roundtable under which the bill was created. While the roundtable initially included environmental groups and small fishing organizations, they had all dropped out by the end of the dialogue.Following their exit, two fishing groups filed an ethics complaint against the involvement of Vivienne Solís, the president’s sister, in the talks. According to Meneses, her place at the talks was due to a previous contract between INCOPESCA and her environmental development NGO, CoopeSoliDar. The contract preceded the election of Solís’ brother Luis Guillermo Solís to the presidency in 2014.In the eyes of the government, the roundtable was a success. Not only did the discussions produce a bill, Meneses said, they also gave the government a venue to discuss other projects like ocean zoning and converting shrimp trawlers for some other kind of fishing.“In this process, we involved so many different people,” Meneses said. “It is an injustice that the lawmakers did not have the decency to consider a bill that actually involved the people affected by it.” Facebook Comments Related posts:In Search of Sustainable Seafood in Playa Grande Small-scale fishermen team up to better protect coastal, marine resources New bill could bring shrimp trawling back to Costa Rica – depending on whom you ask Fishackathon invites conservation-minded techies to help solve overfishinglast_img read more

Kozhikode to develop disabledfriendly tourist spots

first_imgTourism destinations in the district of Kozhikode are planning to introduce new facilities like smoother transport and sightseeing in an effort to welcome people with special needs. The District Tourism Promotion Council of Kozhikode is set to convert the Kozhikode Beach, South Beach, Sarovaram and Kappad into disabled-friendly zones. Ramps for the movement of wheelchair-bound people are being constructed at Kozhikode and South Beach as part of the ongoing beautification work.“Toilet facility for disabled people will also come up at these destinations. Slippery-free tiles and handrails will be installed at all tourist spots,” said Benoy Venugopal, Secretary of District Tourism Promotion Council, Kozhikode.The tourism department is set for a makeover as part of ensuring accessible tourism infrastructure, product and services. The department will also introduce booklets in braille and produce audio instructions for tourists in the next phase. Personnel at the information counters and tourist guidance cells will also be imparted training in sign language.last_img read more

Production Profits Volumes Drop at Independent Mortgage Lenders

first_img Share Production profits for independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries in 2017 were almost half of what they were a year earlier, according to the latest MBA Performance Report. The report also revealed that production volumes were down over the year. On average, mortgage loans reaped $711 per loan in profits for independent mortgage bankers in 2017, compared to $1,346 in 2016, according to the report. Measured in basis points, the average loan’s production income was 31 basis points in 2017, down from 58 in 2016. Not only was net production income down over the year but it was also substantially lower than the yearly average is 53 basis points or $1,085 per loan for the MBA’s annual report since its initiation in 2008. “Production revenues per loan were up slightly for the year, as higher loan balances mitigated the effects of competitive pressures,” said Marina Walsh, VP of Industry Analysis at MBA. “However, production expenses grew in all categories—sales, fulfillment, production support and corporate allocations—reaching a study-high $8,082 per loan for the Annual Performance Report.” This compares to production expenses of $7,209 per loan in 2016. Production revenues—including fee income, net secondary marking income, and warehouse spread—totaled $8,793 per loan in 2017, up from $8,555 the previous year. Overall production volume also diminished in 2017. For the industry as a whole, MBA estimated a decline from $2.05 trillion in 2016 to $1.71 trillion in 2017. On average, independent mortgage banks produced 8,882 loans totaling $2.13 billion in volume in 2017, down from 11,106 loans totaling $2.68 billion in 2016. Alongside declining production, productivity slipped over the year, with an average of 1.9 loan originations per production employee per month, down from 2.4 originations per month in the previous year. Among independent mortgage banks, refinance share by dollar volume fell from 38 percent in 2016 to 25 percent in 2017. MBA estimates refi dollar volume for the industry as a whole fell from 49 percent to 35 percent. The good news for mortgage banks is balances on first mortgage loans rose, driving mortgage servicing fees up along with them. In fact, following eight consecutive years of gains, first mortgage loan balances reached a record high for MBA’s study, climbing to $245,500 in 2017, up from $244,945 in 2016. Net servicing financial income increased significantly over the year in 2017, up from $34 to $64. Net servicing financial income encompasses net servicing operational income and mortgage servicing amortization gains and losses. Despite these bright spots for independent banks, declining volume and profits may have taken their toll on overall profits for independent mortgage institutions. The share of firms reporting overall pre-tax net financial profits for the year was down in 2017, falling from 94 percent to 80 percent, according to the report. in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination April 17, 2018 704 Views center_img Production Profits, Volumes Drop at Independent Mortgage Lenders Banks First Mortgage Loans Lenders loans MBA mortgage Origination Production Profits Volume 2018-04-17 Radhika Ojhalast_img read more

Hot on the heels of the opening of British Airways

first_imgHot on the heels of the opening of British Airways’ exclusive First Wing at London Heathrow Terminal 5, a new private check-in area for British Airways’ First, Gold Executive Club and oneworld Emerald customers, the airline has unveiled the refurbishment of its Concorde Room lounge at London Heathrow Terminal 5. The makeover includes the re-upholstering of iconic pieces of furniture, and adding new feature pieces to the room, all of which are illuminated by hand-blown glass lighting with bone linen shades and ochre silk linings. The popular terrace has been treated to new luxurious sofas and new elegant loungers, and guests will still be able to dine before they fly, in private booths with full waiter service. If they wish to unwind ahead of their flight, private cabanas with a day bed and ensuite are also available to book.Next in British Airways’ revamp schedule is the lounge at New York’s JFK Terminal 7. BABritish AirwaysHeathrowloungelast_img read more

Rep Cole reports on hydraulic fracturing in Michigan

first_img13Aug Rep. Cole reports on hydraulic fracturing in Michigan Tags: Cole, Fracking, NCSL Categories: Cole News,Featured news,Newscenter_img Michigan lawmaker provides environmental update from NCSL conferenceState Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, was recently selected by Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter, to serve on the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) for the 2015-2016 biennium.Last week at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) annual meeting, a panel consisting of environmentalists and skeptics of the oil industry took place regarding the highly-regulated practice of Hydraulic Fracturing and called for more burdensome regulations to avoid what they describe as a “race to the bottom.”Hydraulic Fracturing, a process that has been safely in use for over 60 years in Michigan without major incident, involves an operator that pumps a mixture of water, sand and a small amount of chemicals into an oil or gas formation deep underground and applies pressure. The pressure fractures rock layers, releasing oil or gas reserves. The sand holds the fractures open to continue allowing the oil or gas to flow into the well. Innovative advancements in technology have led to the consolidation of gas wells onto one small pad site thereby drastically reducing the surface footprint, number of access roads, and pipelines needed to harness the valuable energy resource.Hydraulic fracturing is also referred to as hydrofracking, hydrofracturing, or simply “fracking”.Fracking allows residents to enjoy some of the most cost-effective energy supplies in the country while also decreasing our reliance on coal-burning power plants, many of which will soon be taken offline thanks to the same federal regulations this panel of so-called experts wants to modify.The Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has a sterling record of environmental protection against oil and gas operations, and most of the country consider Michigan’s rules and regulations to be some of the most stringent in the entire nation. “Stronger federal legislation” is simply not needed in Michigan’s case.While Michigan is blessed with vast water resources, we have a responsibility to use them wisely. Michigan’s oil and natural gas producers make conservation a priority. Almost every industry uses water and, like every other industry, our local oil and gas businesses ensure water use is proportionate to the amount readily available, so as to protect the environment and other water needs.An oil or natural gas operator intending to use a large volume of water (defined as 100,000 gallons or more per day over a 30 day period) is required to use the state’s Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool to assure the water withdrawal will be safe. If the tool indicates a potential adverse impact, Michigan regulatory officials conduct a site-specific investigation and can require the operator to obtain water from other sources or to move the proposed water well. Approvals are not given if a proposed withdrawal is determined to negatively affect resources.In fact, the Environmental protection Agency (EPA) of the U.S. federal government—the same federal government these folks would like to see further regulate the industry—recently came to the conclusion that after a four-year study hydraulic fracturing is being carried out safely by industry and regulated by states and isn’t having “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water.”Finally, there have not ever been reported cases of illness or other such effects of hydraulic fracturing in Michigan. Independent operators and the DEQ maintain the strictest personal and environmental safety on all operations and there has yet to be a report of serious illness on an individual as a result of such activities.Not only does Michigan’s oil and gas industry keep the lights and heat on in our homes and businesses and employ our residents, but in 2016 it also funded more than 50 percent of the Michigan State Parks budget.  Michigan’s oil and gas industry, through both the Natural Resources Trust Fund, which has given away over $1 billion to local communities through grants aimed exclusively at parks and recreation, as well as the Michigan State Parks Endowment Fund truly takes care of the amazing parks and recreation areas around our beautiful state and will continue to do so for many years.#####last_img read more

Rep Lucido announces annual summer reading contest

first_img17May Rep. Lucido announces annual summer reading contest PHOTO NOTE: 2016 Contest Winner Amber Watta of Shelby Township, and Rep. Peter J. LucidoPHOTO NOTE: 2016 Contest Winner Amber Watta of Shelby Township, her family, and Rep. Peter J. Lucido Categories: Lucido Newscenter_img State Rep. Peter Lucido is kicking off his annual summer reading contest for local elementary school students. The winner will join Rep. Lucido at the Capitol to serve as an honorary state representative for the day.Rep. Lucido hopes the contest will encourage students to keep their minds active and improve reading skills during the summer months.“Taking some time over the summer to read is vital for our bright and talented students,” said Lucido of Shelby Township. “The contest is about more than preparing them for the coming school year; it is about instilling a habit which will benefit them for the rest of their academic career and beyond.”Students in grades one through five who are residents of the 36th house district are eligible to participate. The 36th house district encompasses the Townships of Shelby, Washington, Bruce and the Village of Romeo. Participants track their reading on special bookmarks which have been distributed to schools and local libraries. Students can drop off completed bookmarks in boxes provided at local libraries before September 1, 2017. There is no limit to the amount of bookmarks that can be submitted, as long as each bookmark is completed.Rep. Lucido will draw from the boxes to determine the winner, who will be invited to the Capitol with their family to act as state representative for a day.“This is one of my favorite parts of being your state legislator,” Lucido said. “During my first term we had great participation and I enjoyed spending the day with last year’s winner, Amber Watta of Shelby Township. Amber was sworn in as a junior representative, participated in a mock committee hearing, and we toured the Capitol with her family.”Contest bookmarks are available to download and print on www.RepPeterLucido.com and are available throughout the summer at the following participating libraries;Shelby Township Library, 51680 Van Dyke in Shelby Township,Graubner Library, 65821 Van Dyke in Washington,Kezar Branch Library, 107 Church St. in Romeo.For questions regarding the contest, please contact Rep. Lucido at (888) MICH-REP, or by email at PeterLucido@house.mi.gov.last_img read more

Rep Lillys bill requiring fiscal notes on all bills clears House committee

first_img Categories: Lilly News,News 13Dec Rep. Lilly’s bill requiring fiscal notes on all bills clears House committee Legislator: Price tag should be known in advancecenter_img The House Government Operations Committee today approved legislation introduced by state Rep. Jim Lilly requiring all bills scheduled for a hearing before legislative committees to have fiscal notes advising what financial impact each measure will have on the state.Lilly, of Park Township, introduced the bill after measure after measure came before him in committee with no indication on what implications the bills have on the state budget. He said the House and Senate fiscal agencies should analyze each bill before it begins the committee process so legislators know the monetary impact.“This is common-sense governing, and the people of Michigan expect the policy makers in Lansing to dot all the i’s and cross every t before they advance a bill,” Lilly said. “How can we make an informed decision on bills that have not been fully vetted?”Lilly said requiring the Legislature to review fiscal notes will make legislators more aware of any negative revenue impacts the bills might create, and how the state plans to pay for services affected by the legislation.“Michigan’s legislative process moves at a very fast pace, and currently the fiscal analyses of bills are often not finished by the time the bills are before a committee,” Lilly said. “We are expected to examine the merits of legislation without knowing the price that will have to be paid in association with the measure. That’s not acceptable.”In his committee testimony in June, Lilly pointed out the irony that the bill did not contain a fiscal note. One has since been prepared by the House Fiscal Agency.The bill now goes before the full House for consideration.#####The legislation is House Bill 4679last_img read more

Michigan House legislators unveil tax relief plan for families seniors

first_img Categories: News Michigan House legislators today introduced legislation to provide substantial income tax relief for families and seniors.The bills continue and increase personal exemptions for Michigan taxpayers and their dependents on their income taxes, while providing additional relief for senior citizens.The main bills were introduced by Reps. Jim Tedder of Clarkston and Roger Hauck of Union Township, with another key bill sponsored by Rep. Jeff Noble of Plymouth.“The recent federal tax reforms are a good start, but hard-working Michiganders deserve broader and more significant income tax relief,” Hauck said. “Allowing people to keep more of their own money will help Michigan’s economy and improves our quality of life – and we can afford this tax break without compromising essential public services. Tax spenders have had their time in Lansing. Today is a day for the taxpayers.”Hauck’s bill ensures Michigan taxpayers can continue claiming personal exemptions on income taxes after federal tax reforms signed into law last month. In addition, Hauck’s bill increases the state personal exemption from the current $4,000 to $4,300 for the 2018 tax year, with gradual increases reaching $4,800 for 2020.Noble’s bill ensures taxpayers in Michigan cities with an income tax will continue to be able to claim exemptions if the city adopts a uniform ordinance.Tedder – chair of the House Tax Policy Committee – sponsors legislation to specifically help senior citizens in addition to the personal exemption increase. His bill would provide a $100 refundable income tax credit for a single filer age 62 or older – or $200 for joint filers.“As Michigan continues to experience budget surpluses, it’s an exciting time to talk about tax relief,” Tedder said. “With health and good fortune, we one day will all become senior citizens. Why not provide tax relief at a time in life when people need it most, when many are on fixed incomes? It’s time we provided real tax relief to the people who have shouldered Michigan’s financial burden for decades.”Noble agreed it is time to provide a tax break for Michigan families.“Lowering taxes will make Michigan a better place to live and raise a family, and that’s what our work as legislators is supposed to be all about,” Noble said. “The money collected through taxes belongs to the people – not politicians. It’s time families and seniors got to keep more of it for themselves.”House Bills 5420-22 were referred to the Tax Policy Committee for consideration.### 16Jan Michigan House legislators unveil tax relief plan for families, seniorslast_img read more

Rep Allor votes to support funding for park improvements in Alcona County

first_img State Rep. Sue Allor today helped advance plans to fund improvements to an Alcona County park.Allor, of Wolverine, voted in favor of the Natural Resources Trust Fund plan approved by the Michigan House.The plan includes $108,700 to aid in the development of a canoe/kayak launch, fishing platform, paved handicap accessible parking and signs at Alcona Township Park, located at the mouth of the Black River. Approximately $46,700 in local matching funds will also be provided.“The improvements will give local families a new opportunity to get outside and enjoy the scenic beauty and abundant natural resources our area has to offer,” Allor said. “It’s always nice to see our hard-earned tax dollars coming back home.”Overall, the DNR Trust Fund plan includes nearly $50 million for 131 recreational development and land acquisition projects across Michigan. The funding is comprised of revenue from the lease of state land and is designated on an annual basis in partnership with local governments for the projects.Senate Bill 883 advances to the governor for consideration.### 16May Rep. Allor votes to support funding for park improvements in Alcona County Categories: Allor Newslast_img read more

Rep Maturens real estate transfer tax fairness measure signed into law

first_img State Rep. David Maturen’s plan providing equity related to a tax charged when people sell real estate is now part of Michigan law.A seller whose home has lost value generally does not have to pay Michigan’s real estate transfer tax. Maturen’s new law – signed by Gov. Rick Snyder this week – will extend the same exemption to someone who bought vacant land, builds a house, and then sells the house.“This change addresses a circumstance that is rare, but was not adequately addressed in previous law,” said Maturen, of Vicksburg. “This is an equitable and fair solution that treats all sellers who have lost value in a home the same – whether they bought land with a home already on it, or bought vacant land and then built a home.”The legislation allows a property’s original state equalized value to be determined at the time a certificate of occupancy is issued for the residence. The home must qualify for a principal residence exemption.House Bill 4643 is now Public Act 172.### Categories: Maturen News,News 12Jun Rep. Maturen’s real estate transfer tax fairness measure signed into lawlast_img read more

Why Was Simon Greer Fired from Nathan Cummings Foundation

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares June 9, 2014; Jewish Daily ForwardTo put it mildly, it is exceptionally uncommon for a foundation to fire its president and CEO. There are some rare examples of foundations that seemed to push their CEOs slowly out the door, such as David Callahan’s contention that the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “sacked” president and CEO Robert Gallucci—that is, chose not to reappoint him after the conclusion of his five-year appointment this year, or Jeremy Nowak’s surprise departure from the William Penn Foundation after two years of controversial leadership of Philadelphia’s leading private foundation. But almost none are like Simon Greer at the Nathan Cummings Foundation where the headlines are that the CEO was “fired,” as the Jewish Daily Forward put it.The news about the Cummings decision is still preliminary, with no specific public statement about Greer’s departure other than a foundation representative’s confirmation of it—by refusing to deny it. Greer’s being fired suggests that the departure dynamic was at a minimum unpleasant. In the philanthropic world, the typical practice of getting department staff to sign nondisclosure agreements, as Nowak did upon leaving William Penn, makes a similar nondisclosure agreement a possibility regarding Greer, and in any case, it would be uncharacteristic for a foundation leader to disparage his or her former employer, at least publicly, if the person expects to stay in the clubby foundation world. So the story about Greer may come out in dribs and drabs over time.Philanthropy New York revealed two hints of the unhappy dynamic. Board chair Adam N. Cummings distributed an email complimenting Greer:“Simon was hired to build on the great work the Foundation has been doing and to help lead in some new directions. Most significantly, Simon oversaw a strategic planning process through which the Board chose to shift our grantmaking priorities to focus on combatting [sic] climate change and inequality, two seemingly intractable challenges that threaten our collective future. He also helped to conceive and launch the Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellowship, which provides visionary leaders with an opportunity to bring to fruition their game changing innovations.”Philanthropy New York then referenced an email from Greer with a different tone:“In recent months, it became clear that my vision and the Board’s vision for the Foundation had diverged. Despite our agreement around much of the substance of the Foundation’s new direction, we were increasingly unaligned around the hard choices that are inevitably part of implementation. I was ready to continue my work on these and other Foundation priorities, but the Board has decided it wants new leadership.”There are some parallels worth considering here between Greer and Nowak. In Philadelphia, Nowak was a charismatic, visionary type, not known for his patience with slow-moving social change in philanthropy. A product of social justice funder Bend the Arc, better known under Greer’s leadership as the Jewish Fund for Justice, Greer is a long time advocate of philanthropic funding for progressive social causes. Upon joining Cummings, the single biggest foundation funder of liberal Jewish causes in the nation, Greer led the foundation to wind down its $6 million annually to Jewish causes and to switch its focus to income inequality and climate change. As the Forward noted, “At the time, Greer emphasized that Jewish groups that tackled such causes would continue to receive Cummings funding.”  Our sources tell us that Greer made this strategic grantmaking change with the support of the Cummings board of directors—not unilaterally, not clandestinely, as though the board suddenly discovered what their CEO was doing. The Foundation’s strategic planning led to several published documents about the phases of the process until the final document, issued in November 2013, which explained the foundation’s new mission as follows:“The Nathan Cummings Foundation supports innovative organizations that share our Vision of a society that measures its success by how it treats those who have the least, And that works to close the gap between America’s promise and its imperfect practice. Specifically, we seek to make progress on two pressing and interconnected problems that must be resolved if our vision is to be realized: inequality and climate change.”One can imagine that some of the Cummings historic constituency might have been a little uncomfortable with a strategic shift from its longstanding emphasis on Jewish causes, especially with the November 2013 document’s listing of the kinds of things that would no longer be funded by the foundation, including local synagogue projects and programs, Holocaust-related projects, and general support for Jewish education.The plan described 2014 as a “transitional year” for the foundation, but it seems that the transition amounted to Greer’s dismissal. Foundations are not immune from being pressured by their longstanding grant recipient constituencies. More explanation is needed from the Nathan Cummings Foundation board as to how it could go through a multi-year planning process, launch Greer toward the strategic plans’ goals, and then dismiss him when the plan just started to get underway.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

Shoprite Cosponsors Gun Buybacks in Baltimore

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares August 12, 2014;CBS NewsIn East Baltimore, the nonprofit McElderry Park Community Association sponsored an unusual gun buyback event. Rather than money, people who turn in guns get refurbished computers from a nonprofit called Digit All Systems. According to Lance Lucas from Digit All, the nonprofit will also provide computer training for the computer recipients.Do gun buybacks matter? Critics might suggest that criminals don’t typically turn in their weapons, particularly for used computers. But no one is suggesting that guy buybacks are panaceas to gun violence in our cities. A McElderry Park neighborhood resident expressed one important reason: “When he passed, I just took it home and it’s been sitting there,” said Jefferson Livingston, a neighborhood resident talking about his late father and his .38 revolver. “Anybody can steal your stuff, shoot somebody with it and trace it back to you. I said it’s not really worth it.”Last month, the City of Baltimore ran an extensive buyback effort called “Goods for Guns,” trading guns for $100 Shoprite gift cards. Neighborhood residents explained their rationales for participating: “I’m concerned that if my house is burglarized, someone is going to get this and it’s going to end up on the street. I just don’t use it anymore,” said one. “Most young folk don’t understand the harm they cause other people because they don’t have a clue. It’s too many killings going on in the city,” another said as she turned in two shotguns that had been left with her by a family friend.A similar gun buyback event in Baltimore last year took 500 guns off the street. This year’s event was held at the new Shoprite store opening in Baltimore’s Howard Park neighborhood. The involvement of Shoprite and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in a partnership on a gun buyback served as a spark for criticism for one “citizen journalist.” Jeff Quinton laid out a number of charges aimed at the weaknesses in gun buyback programs plus political connections between Rawlings-Blake and Shoprite:Quinton said most of the guns turned in were “old and rusty…turned in by law abiding citizens—so guns weren’t really taken off the street.” He might have acknowledged that those guns are no longer available to people who might steal them from those law-abiding citizens and use them on the streets of Baltimore—or, if they were as rusty and old as some were reported to have been, no longer sitting around for in-home gun accidents.Quinton said that Rawlings-Blake is anti-gun (a generic term that he doesn’t explain) and says that Marshall Klein, from the family that owns Shoprite, is a known political donor to “anti-gun Democrats.” A little research on Rawlings-Blake’s public statements regarding gun control suggest the following: In 2010, she favored creating a mandatory criminal sentence for people arrested with illegal firearms because they were frequently only hit with misdemeanors, and in 2012, she supported legislation proposed by state senator Brian Frosh—another “anti-gun Democrat,” in Quinton’s lexicon—that would give the Maryland State Police increased authority over gun dealers’ record-keeping. She may be anti-gun in Quinton’s view, but Rawlings-Blake doesn’t sound like she’s going house-to-house rifling people’s closets for handguns.Quinton criticized the new Shoprite because it received $14 million in tax credits out of what he said was a $20 million construction cost. The generic tax credits that Quinton mentions is the New Market Tax Credits program that spurs new business development in lower income neighborhoods. In this case, the Howard Park Shoprite, the first new supermarket in this neighborhood in 15 years, resulted from the efforts of The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) which applied for a Healthy Food Financing Initiative predevelopment loan from the Department of Health and Human Services in 2011 and eventually helped put together the partnership that led to the $14.65 million NMTC investment. This is exactly the kind of investment the NMTC program is meant to support, and it took a creative community development financial institution (CDFI) like TRF to make it happen. It isn’t clear how Quinton’s opposition to gun buybacks leads to criticism of the use of New Market Tax Credits for a new inner city supermarket, but the TRF effort to bring a supermarket to the Howard Park neighborhood is really to be applauded—with or without the gun buyback program.Quinton disclosed that the nonprofit working with Shoprite on the gun buyback efforts was UpLift Solutions. He insinuated somehow that the nonprofit’s identity and management weren’t being revealed to the public through the initial Baltimore Sun coverage of the buyback, though we found UpLift clearly identified in several sources. Quinton’s more significant concern was his contention that UpLift Solutions is really an arm of Shoprite itself, or at a minimum connected to the grocery industry (with a headquarters that apparently shares an address with Brown’s Super Stores, which owns a Shoprite, in suburban Philadelphia). The website of UpLift Solutions makes the group’s connections to the supermarket industry clear, describing itself as believing “that full service supermarkets in underprivileged communities can become the anchor to fulfill community needs and ensure consistent access to fresh, affordable food.” The board and staff of UpLift does have people from the supermarket industry, logical given that the organization is meant to address supermarket-related solutions, and among its advisors is Jeremy Nowak, the former director of The Reinvestment Fund and more recently the former president and CEO of the William Penn Foundation. Among UpLift’s projects in progress are the Philabundance Fair & Square nonprofit market in Chester, Pennsylvania, the Renaissance Community Co-op in East Greensboro, North Carolina, and more traditional supermarkets (including Shoprite stores). Quinton adds the insinuation that the $156,000 salary paid to UpLift’s director of community development, Mike Basher, is excessive. Our quick review of UpLift Solutions? It’s an important and credible resource for localities like Baltimore trying to address the problem of food deserts in inner-city neighborhoods.The trajectory of Quinton’s thinking is a path from the gun buyback program, which he thinks is wrong, to a concern that hustlers trying to buy the guys from participants for more money than the $100 Shoprite gift cards should be allowed to do so, to a condemnation of Rawlings-Blake and Shoprite for being anti-gun, because they believe in stronger gun regulations, to a condemnation of the New Markets Tax Credit program. It’s quite a tortured thought process, but it is nothing compared to Quinton’s two asides referring to Muslims. For no discernable reason, he wrote that the new Howard Park Shoprite will “cater to Muslims in the area with halal-certified meat,” and he added that “the owner of Brown’s ShopRite…is celebrating the end of Ramadan right now.” Think the fellow has a problem with Muslims?While we shouldn’t make too much out of the blogging of one right-wing observer, there is something to be said about the Baltimore gun buyback and others like it. Gun buybacks don’t solve the problem of criminals with firearms on their own, but they are positive efforts aimed at reducing gun violence. The fact that supermarkets located in inner-city neighborhoods are participants and sponsors of gun buybacks is to be applauded. And opponents of efforts to reduce the over-availability of guns seems to have crafted a mythology that allows them to attack not only efforts to strengthen gun controls, but also programs such as the NMTC that support the development of inner city supermarkets, and then, in Quinton’s case, to somehow slide into concerns about Muslims in the neighborhood. Isn’t it time for nonprofits to stand up for violence reduction efforts such as McElderry Park’s, UpLift Solution’s, Shoprite’s, and Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s?—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

Scandinavian online movie service Voddler is launc

first_imgScandinavian online movie service Voddler is launching a service that lets customers buy movies and store them in the cloud.Under the new service customers can store purchased movies on Voddler’s network, which can then be accessed on various devices including PCs, smartphones and tablets by logging into their Voddler account. Users will also be able to download the movies.At launch, Voddler is offering 200 titles to purchase for between SEK69 (€8) and SEK139. Voddler’s rental service currently costs between SEK19 and SEK37 per film.“Film buyers would like to not have the hassle of remembering where they put their bought movies, regardless of [whether] it’s a physical disc or a downloaded file. A cloud-purchased movie is accessible everywhere where you have an internet-connected screen. You buy it once and access it everywhere. At the same time, we recognise that some consumers still prefer to keep the file themselves, so we also offer traditional downloading,” said Anders Sjöman, Voddler’s head of communication.Voddler launched its service in 2010 and has deals in place with 35 studios. It faces stiff competition from other operators including Netflix, Lovefilm and MTG’s Viaplay service.last_img read more

Maltese telco GO has retained its exclusive Premie

first_imgMaltese telco GO has retained its exclusive Premier League football coverage, securing rights for 380 matches per year for the seasons running from 2013/14 until 2015/16. The deal allows GO to make live, delayed and repeat transmissions of Barclays Premier League matches available in English and Maltese via the GO sports channels over both digital terrestrial and IPTV platforms.GO has also taken the rights to air selected Premier League games through its forthcoming mobile service, which will let viewers tune in on the move via laptop, tablet or smartphone.“GO’s TV venture, which took off in 2007, is a truly outstanding success story especially when considering that today we serve almost 70,000 homes with quality television entertainment. Securing premium content such as the Barclays Premier League is only a small part of the Company’s strategic capital investment which is simply aimed at giving more to our customers,” claimed GO’s CEO, Yiannos Michaelides,The firm already holds exclusive rights sports including UEFA Champions League, Italian Serie A, and French Ligue 1 football, as well as Formula 1, Rugby and Tennis.last_img read more

Red Bee media will provide additional broadcast se

first_imgRed Bee media will provide additional broadcast services, including access services, rich metadata and sports analysis software Piero, as part of an expanded deal with BT Sport.The firm first announced in April that it had been chosen by BT to provide playout, channel and media management services for BT’s new live sports offering, which went live this month.Red Bee, which was acquired by Ericsson earlier this year, will now also  provide live and pre-recorded subtitling and audio description services, rich metadata services and its 3D sports analysis software, Piero.last_img read more

AE Networks Latin America has teamed up with Sony

first_imgA+E Networks Latin America has teamed up with Sony Pictures Television to launch the female-focused Lifetime channel in Latin America.A+E Networks Latin America, a joint venture between A+E Networks and Ole Communications, and Sony Pictures Television said they will launch Lifetime in Latin America and Brazil in July.The channel will feature scripted drama series, non-fiction series and movies.Scripted drama shows will include the premier of Witches of East End starring Julia Ormond and Mädchen Amick, the new season of Eva Longoria-produced Devious Maids and Drop Dead Diva with Brooke Elliott.Non-fiction shows will include Dance Moms, Bring It! and Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, while movies on the channel will include Steel Magnolias, Liz & Dick, Drew Peterson: Untouchable and Talhotblond.“We are thrilled to partner with Sony Pictures Television for the launch of Lifetime in Latin America and Brazil,” said Sean Cohan, executive vice-president, international, A+E Networks.“Lifetime and its content have an extremely loyal fan-base around the globe, and we are confident that it will develop an equally loyal audience in the Latin American region.”last_img read more

Scripps Networks Internationals Fine Living Chann

first_imgScripps Networks International’s Fine Living Channel has secured carriage with Telekom Austria-owned Croatian pay TV provider Vipnet.The channel, which features lifestyle gurus, innovative designers, fashion experts and chefs from around the world, will be available via the Vip TV platform and the B.net cable platform.“As Scripps Networks International builds its distribution, we are pleased to add a third lifestyle channel onto the Vipnet platforms with Fine Living. Following the successful launches in Croatia of Food Network and Travel Channel on the platforms last year, we understand what audiences want and know that Scripps’ great range of programming will continue to resonate in the region,” said Jon Sichel, managing director, Scripps Networks, UK & EMEA.“Vipnet offers advanced television services through two brands – Vip TV and B.net. We are delivering a large range of programs and interactive services to customer’s homes every day through four different technologies – cable, IPTV, OTT and satellite. We are very pleased to enlarge our portfolio with this new exclusive, design entertainment TV channel which will surely attract a very large number of viewers in Croatia,” said Adrian Ježina, member of Vipnet’s management board.last_img read more

Scripps Networks International TV channel Food Net

first_imgScripps Networks International TV channel Food Network UK has launched a streaming app for iOS and Android devices. Food Network UK developed the app in partnership with multiplatform live streaming provider Simplestream.The Food Network app lets viewers access programmes such as Barefoot Contessa, Restaurant Stakeout and Mystery Diners live and on-demand across a range of devices.“We have developed a sophisticated yet simple app that allows our passionate viewers to enjoy the very best of live and on-demand viewing whether they are in the kitchen, on the sofa or on their daily commute,” said Kate Bradshaw, vice-president of digital, Scripps Networks UK & EMEA.Dan Finch, commercial director of Simplestream said: “With the proliferation of tablets and increases in mobile viewing, broadcasters are increasingly looking for new platforms and custom media management solutions for their channels. We are confident that the new app will be a recipe for success for Food Network.”last_img read more

Polish cable operator Multimedia Polska grew its r

first_imgPolish cable operator Multimedia Polska grew its revenue-generating unit base by 4.1% last year, ending 2014 with 1.6 million RGUs.The growth in RGUs was associated with the acquisition of Poznań-based operator Teletronika in December 2013.The operator had 820,100 unique customers at the end of the year, of which 306,900 took two services and 130,200 took three services.Average number of services per customer stood at 1.95 at the end of December, up from 1.86, with the increase largely attributed to success in selling mobile telephony services, as well as the sale of new services to former Telektronika customers. ARPU stood at PLN68.61 (€16.46), up 1.1%.Multimedia Polska posted full-year revenues of PLN705.8 million, up very slightly – 0.9% – on the 2013 figure. Adjusted EBITDA was PLN355.6 million, flat year-on-year.TV generated revenues of PLN348.5 million, up 0.5%. The company had 779,000 TV RGUs at the end of the year, including 382,000 digital customers and 98,000 premium customers.Multimedia Polska had 527,000 broadband RGUs, up 5.5% year-on-year, generating revenues of PLN220.5 million, up 3.6%.last_img read more

Switzerlandbased ADB will showcase a range of ove

first_imgSwitzerland-based ADB will showcase a range of over-the-top (OTT) solutions with regional solutions partner Vector at ANGA COM. ADB and Vector are working together to enable European service providers and operators to “maximise the cloud and deliver superior OTT video services across platforms and devices.”The pair are working together to help local operators launch personal TV services. ADB’s systems solutions deliver content to multi-platform environments and include features like start-over, catch-up TV and cloud DVR.“2015 is sure to be an explosive year for OTT. Consumer viewing habits are changing and more and more consumers are shifting from traditional TV viewing and turning to the smaller screen to watch their favourite content,” said ADB’s CEO, Peter Balchin.“OTT is a significant part of ADB´s software and solutions proposal. We have the right technology, expertise and delivery capability to help operators win and retain customers, and ultimately increase their return on investment.”ADB will demo its full OTT product suite at ANGA COM, including its GraphyneOTT application – a multi-DRM solution that lets OTT service providers upgrade to a live, linear broadcast service.ADB provides and integrates software, system and service solutions to cable, satellite, IPTV and broadband operators – including Swisscom, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telenet, and Vodafone. ADB and Vector will be exhibiting at ANGA COM at the Vector stand, hall 10.2, booth K15.last_img read more