5 treatments for adult scoliosis Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Prosecutors in Ukraine says a pair of government soldiers has been detained on suspicion of killing two women that allegedly sympathized with armed separatists in the east.The Donetsk region prosecutor’s office said in a statement Wednesday that the two soldiers broke into the women’s home in the village of Luhanske earlier this week and fatally shot them. The women were a mother and daughter, aged 77 and 45. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Luhanske is in government hands but lies close to the front line with rebel forces.Inhabitants of government-held areas in the conflict-stricken east frequently complain of mistreatment from Ukrainian soldiers. Ukrainian authorities say they investigate claims of abuse.The United Nations estimates that the war in Ukraine has claimed at least 6,454 lives since it broke out last April.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments Share How men can have a healthy 2019
It’s that time of year again.The AFCA Convention returns to Nashville from Sunday through Wednesday, and once again FootballScoop is back with our official guide to lead you through the 4-day extravaganza.Saturday night: If you’re in town, take advantage of the opportunity the schedule has afforded you and head out with your friends in the profession. Use this opportunity to explore downtown — you’ll get your fill of the Gaylord Opryland over the next four days.Catholic mass @ AFCA Saturday at 5:30pm & Sunday at 8:30am in Bayou C room in Opryland Resort. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Sponsored By Connatix Sunday: When you arrive at the convention center, familiarize yourself with the official convention schedule. Head over early to get your credentials and spend some time with some of the vendors in the exhibit hall. Every attendee needs their badge in order to access the talks so get your badge well before any talk you plan to attend. There are always some unique and impressive new products and services to see (hey, let us know @FootballScoop if you see anything we need to hear about). This is truly the best time to hit the exhibit hall, and we recommend you stop by and see 2015 Product of the Year Sky Coach, 2016 Product of the Year Go Rout, and as always, you must stop by & see our friends at TeamWorks, lead by the always dapper Zach Maurides.The high school coaches’ academy runs from 2-6 p.m., ending with a recruiting forum headed by AFCA executive director Todd Berry and a 1-hour session with Nebraska head coach Mike Riley. The first timers’ meeting, run by Morgan State’s Fred T. Farrier, begins at 4 in Bayou E.Sunday evening: Buzz sessions get underway at 6 with Mike Thiessen (Air Force), Charles Kelly (Florida State), 2016 FootballScoop Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach of the Year finalist Kirk Ciarrocca (Western Michigan), Kris Cinkovich (Idaho), Alan Hensell (Buffalo), Kasey Dunn (Oklahoma State), De’Rail Sims (James Madison), Everett Todd (Grambling), Brandon Shelby (Indiana), Kevin Cosgrove (New Mexico), Travis Niekamp (Montana), Brent Grablachoff (Kicking World), Adam Conway (Dordt College) and a chalk war between California high school coaches Jason Bornn (offense) versus Jim Benkert (defense).At 7, 2016 FootballScoop Wide Receivers Coach of the Year Todd Fitch (Louisiana Tech) and 2015 FootballScoop Defensive Coordinator of the Year winner Don Brown (Michigan) will give coordinator talks, while position-specific buzz sessions will be held by Kyle McKenna (Brooklyn Tech High School), Saga Tuitele (New Mexico), Luke Schleusner (South Dakota State), Keith Nichol (Washington State), Bryan Applewhite (Colorado State), Tom Sims (Pittsburgh), Troy Reffett (North Texas), Ben Barton (San Diego), Maurice Linguist (Mississippi State), Drew Watson (Newberry College), Cedric Oglesby (Cedric Ogelsby Kicking Academy) and Mark Asanovich (Minnetonka High School).Sunday night: Weather.com has provided an exclusive forecast to FootballScoop that projects lows in the 20’s by Sunday night so dress accordingly. Monday is a stellar day at the AFCA, don’t run too late Sunday night.Monday morning: High school, junior college and international sessions begin at the crack of dawn AFCA time — 8 a.m. — while the always informative graduate assistant/career forum begins at 9. Do yourself a favor and plan on arriving by 8:30. This year’s panel will be staffed by Clay Helton (USC), FootballScoop Division III Coordinator of the Year finalist Brandon Staley (John Carroll and now Chattanooga), Nick Fulton (Colorado Mines), Brian Johnson (Houston) and Bobby Wilder (Old Dominion). It’ll be moderated by the always entertaining and informative Van Malone (SMU).Monday afternoon: General sessions begin at 1:30 — plan to get there early — with an address from Berry and a message titled “What is your legacy?” by anti-sexual assault speaker Brenda Tracy. That will lead into a session titled “In Transition” led by Berry, Gus Malzahn (Auburn) and David Cutcliffe (Duke). Justin Fuente (Virginia Tech) follows at 3 and Craig Bohl (Wyoming) closes down the general session at 4.Monday evening: As you exit Bohl’s talk, the annual FootballScoop party roars from 5-7 p.m. at Fuse Sports Bar in the Gaylord (Opryland).The beverages will be frosty (and on us & our good friends and sponsors), some good food and plenty of camaraderie. Come join us as we celebrate this year’s Coaches of the Year sponsored by ProGrass.Many thanks to our friends at Sky Coach, JumpForward, ProGrass Turf, STATS LLC and Go Rout for sponsoring this year’s party with us.Alabama & Clemson kickoff at 7:30 local time. Fuse will be a good spot for the game but the AFCA is also hosting a “Tailgate” party beginning at 7 boasting free food & two beers per attendee plus the ability to watch the games on 4 big screens. Several groups of coaches are getting together in various locations to watch the game together. Find a group and have some fun while watching the big game.Tuesday morning: Breakout sessions get rolling at 8 with John Stiegelmeier (South Dakota State) and Drew Cronic (Furman), and Gabe Infante (St. Joseph’s Prep) and Andy Ryland of USA Football leading a session on shoulder tackling. The NCAA’s Dr. Brian Hainline will lead a discussion titled “The Value of Medical Care and Medical Autonomy” with panelists Derek Mason and Tom Bossung of Vanderbilt. At 9, Ronnie Huckeba (Harding) and Tom Arth (Chattanooga) will lead breakout sessions, while Jay Paterno will hold a talk titled “Crisis Management: You Better Have a Game Plan.” Should be interesting. At 10, Tony DeMatteo (Somers High School) will lead a session titled “Power of Influence,” while two panel discussions will take place: “On Discipline and Accountability” will be led by Farrier with panelists Mark Dantonio (Michigan State), Leslie Satchell (Satchell & Associates), Linguist and Glenn Caruso (St. Thomas), and “Football Operations Without an FBS-Sized Budget” featuring Jed Stugart (Lindenwood), freshly-minted NAIA national champion Doug Coate (Saint Francis), Rob Smith (Humboldt State) and Tony Kunczewski (Berry College) with moderation from Jeff McMartin (Central College).Tuesday afternoon: Day two of general sessions begin at 1:50 — again, get there early — with an introduction from Berry followed by 50-minute talks from Mike MacIntyre (Colorado), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State) and P.J. Fleck (Western Michigan).Tuesday evening: The AFCA has changed things up this year, going with a new event in the slot previously reserved for the Coach of the Year dinner. This year will be the first live broadcast of the AFCA Awards Show. This free event is open to all attendees. Doors open at or before 7pm and close around 7:30… with TV broadcast at 8pm on CBS Sports Network. Our understanding is nearly 100 FBS head coaches are scheduled to attend.Wednesday morning: The final set of buzz sessions run from 8-10 a.m., with FootballScoop Offensive Line Coach of the Year finalist Ashley Ingram (Navy), Vic Koenning (Troy) and Mark Tommerdahl (California) talking offense, defense and special teams, respectively, and Bob DeBesse (New Mexico), the entire Ohio defensive staff and Neil Herman (Buffalo State College) following in the next hour. After that, it’s time to to say goodbye to the colleagues you won’t see again until next year (or over the next couple weeks on the recruiting trail) and hit the road.Restaurant recommendations to come…See you in Nashville.
Over 1000 passengers and crew from the cruise ship Maasdam of Holland America Line visited a mainly sunny Rarotonga.Having sailed from Bora Bora in French Polynesia the passengers were able to disembark at Avatiu by tender to experience what a little paradise has to offer.At 220m long the Statendam class Maasdam accommodates up to 1627 passengers with 557 crew. Most passengers disembarked and enjoyed an array of tours and sightseeing, including visiting Muri Beach and the Punanga Nui market.The Maasdam is scheduled to return to Rarotonga again in the coming month, with on the ground operators Cruise Cook Islands and Destination Management Cook Islands.[Source: Cook Islands Tourism News]The post Cruise ship visitors on island last week appeared first on Discover the South Pacific.Source: Blog
The Pro Bowl receiver inked an eight-year, $120 million contract in August, which is the third-most ever in value for an NFL player.Fitzgerald was the third-highest football player on the list, with Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning taking the No. 10 spot and Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata coming in at 12.Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. topped Forbes’ list with an income of $85 million, making him the world’s highest-paid athlete this past year. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation 0 Comments Share Heralded wideout Larry Fitzgerald has not only accrued on the field accolades being the franchise face of the Arizona Cardinals, but thanks to his salary and endorsements, also an enviable fortune.According to Forbes magazine, Fitzgerald placed No. 13 on the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes list. He nets $36.8 million in total earnings; $35.3 million of his fortune is from his salary and winnings, while $1.5 million comes from endorsement revenue from sponsors including Nike, AT&T, University of Phoenix and EAS. D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Top Stories What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away
25Mar Michigan Association of Counties recognizes Rep. Schmidt as county advocate The Michigan Association of Counties today presented Rep. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, with the MAC County Advocate Award at its 2014 legislative conference in Lansing. Schmidt was the only House member to win the annual award, which honors legislators who have shown strong support for county interests.Rep. Schmidt was elected to the House of Representatives in 2008, and is now in his third term representing the 104th District. His five-term tenure as a Grand Traverse County commissioner and subsequent service warrants this recognition for his efforts to resolve infrastructure funding issues as chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and for his consistency in working to help local communities.“I am truly honored to be recognized with this award for the work I’ve done on behalf of northern Michigan,” Schmidt said. “Solving major issues our counties face is crucial to our regional economy and to Michigan as a whole. As a state legislator, I am proud to work with MAC and our local leaders to solve these issues.”Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners Chairman Herb Lemcool thanked Rep. Schmidt for his continued support.“Wayne Schmidt has always been a consistent advocate not only for Grand Traverse County, but for the entire region as well,” Lemcool said. “By working with MAC and our counties directly, he has made policy decisions that benefit all the residents of northern Michigan.”### Categories: News
Reduced the sales tax for consumers who purchase automobiles and watercraft with a trade-in. Categories: News Improved services and government responsiveness for foster parents. Required competitive bidding to make sure Michigan’s road funding dollars go as far as possible. Eliminated outdated licensing requirements, obsolete boards and other unnecessary bureaucracies that cost taxpayers money and kept Michiganders from getting back on the job. Increased funding for early childhood education and provided discounts for prenatal care. Simplified the adoption process for both new mothers and adoptive parents. Invested in state parks, while also developing better infrastructure and access to the beautiful natural resources found all across our state. Paid down hundreds of millions of dollars in long-term debt hanging over Michigan taxpayers with responsible budgeting. Made Michigan’s state spending more transparent and accessible to the public. Stronger funding for public safety, K-12 education and critical services provided by local governments. 12Jan House Republicans deliver results Passed the 3rd and 4th straight budgets that were balanced and signed into law months ahead of schedule, allowing schools and local governments the time they need to plan ahead. Removed roadblocks to veterans navigating the job field and looking for opportunities to work. The House Republican Caucus once again met its goals and accomplished the tasks presented to the people of Michigan in the Action Plan they released in January 2013, Speaker of the House Kevin Cotter announced today.House Republicans first unveiled a public blueprint for reform and responsible leadership, called the Guiding Principles, shortly after being elected into the majority four years ago. At the end of their first two-year term, they had accomplished 80% of the goals laid out in the document and released an updated Action Plan that created new goals for the now just-completed legislative term. The caucus commitment included government reform, spending restraint, tax cuts, and much-needed regulatory changes.Renewing its commitment to public accountability, House Republicans are now releasing a final update on the Action Plan, showing that – once again – 80% of the listed items were successfully approved by the House in the 2013-2014 legislative session.“The people of Michigan deserve an accountable government that creates long-term answers to our state’s most pressing questions, and the best way to true accountability is through transparency,” said Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant. “The Action Plan helps us provide those answers by acting as a guide and keeping us mindful of the values we hold, despite the inevitable political challenges and personal distractions. We made a public checklist because we are committed to delivering clear, tangible solutions to Michigan’s hard-working taxpayers, no matter what.”House Republicans have been making significant reforms to state government since being elected into the majority in 2011. After an historic first two years, the 2013-2014 legislative session saw new challenges and new opportunities for positive change, including the following highlights:Expanded vocational education opportunities to help Michigan’s workforce better prepare for the modern economy. Protected law-abiding gun owners from being harassed by political activists with their own private information. Prioritized hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding for improved roads and bridges. Expanded women’s health services in underserved areas and mental health services statewide. Eliminated red tape that prevented veterans from receiving the benefits they’ve earned. Reformed Blue Cross Blue Shield to provide better health-care services at a lower cost to Michigan families.“Michigan has made incredible strides in the last few years, including new jobs, higher wages, safer cities, and a state government and landmark city working their way out of debt for the first time in decades,” Cotter said. “We are proud of our accomplishments and excited to see the positive effects they have on the lives of Michigan residents. But the successes of the past will only serve to raise the bar for the future.“Going forward, there will be new challenges to address and new reforms that must be undertaken. House Republicans will again answer the call, continuing to fulfill our commitment to deliver real, tangible results for the people of Michigan.”The House Republican Action Plan can be found online and downloaded at GOPHouse.com.######
Categories: Hughes News,News 09Dec Rep. Hughes speaks in support of veteran service dog legislation LANSING – Rep. Holly Hughes, R-Montague, was joined by two officials from the Muskegon County Department of Veterans Affairs today during testimony before the House Committee on Local Government involving legislation that creates a service dog grant program for military veterans.House Bills 4912 and 4913 were recently introduced by Rep. Hughes. HB 4912 would create a Veterans Service Dog Act, while establishing a grant program called the Veterans Service Dog Fund (VSDF) that would administer the program. HB 4913 would amend the state’s dog law to allow voluntary contributions to the VSDF when citizens purchase a dog license.“We have approximately 22 suicides a day from our military veterans across the nation,” said Rep. Hughes. “So I’ve thought about how do we help our veterans with the issues of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)? My legislation is one way we can help. It would allow that whenever anyone purchases a dog license, they can voluntarily contribute to this fund and help a veteran. There will be no costs to the taxpayers and it’s completely voluntary.”Dave Eling, director of the Muskegon County Department of Veterans Affairs, strongly supported the bills while detailing instances involving Muskegon County veterans who received services dogs.“Mental health issues are very real, it’s as debilitating as losing an arm or a leg, but it cannot be treated in the same way,” he said. “These dogs are highly trained to work with veterans suffering from PTSD and have made an immediate impact.”
State Rep Martin Howrylak, R-Troy, was joined by Paul Zapatka, the president for Advanced Home Care, for this evening’s State of the State address. Gov. Rick Snyder’s annual address to the joint session of the House and Senate in the Capitol begins the new legislative session by outlining goals for the upcoming year, while also acknowledging successes achieved in the past year. Advanced Home Care, a Troy-based business, is a full service home care agency that helps patients and their families with a broad range of skilled nursing and rehabilitative services. 17Jan Troy business leader joins Rep. Howrylak for the State of the State Address Categories: Howrylak News,Howrylak Photos,News,Photos
House Appropriations Chairwoman Laura Cox today applauded her colleagues in approving the state budget for the coming fiscal year, producing a fiscally conservative, balanced budget that spends fewer state taxpayer dollars than the current year spending plan.Cox, of Livonia, said the state fiscal blueprint was approved once again months ahead of the constitutional deadline, enabling local governments and school boards to accurately plan their budgets.The FY 2017-2018 budget includes record funding for K-12 education and reduces the size of state government, enabling the Legislature to allocate more money to the state’s roads, bridges and water delivery system than ever before.“This budget maintains the programs that are vital to people in Michigan, with an emphasis on protecting our most vulnerable residents,” Cox said. “We also invest in our state’s future by increasing the amount of money for each student in K-12 schools, including an extra $25 for high-school students.“It is my hope to be able to leave a lasting legacy for our children and grandchildren in the state of Michigan,” Cox said, “by reducing their debt burden, providing for their education and ensuring their safety, I think we will be leaving a better state to future generations of Michigan citizens.”The budget bills now go to the Senate for consideration.##### Categories: Cox News,News Spends fewer state taxpayer dollars than the current budget 20Jun Chairwoman Cox: Responsible, balanced budget approved, focus on schools, services
07Sep Rep. Webber joined by first responder for Sept. 11 ceremony Categories: News,Webber News PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Michael Webber, of Rochester Hills, hosted Rochester Police Lt. Paul Matynka for the Michigan House’s annual Sept. 11 Memorial Service at the Capitol. The service remembers first responders and members of the military from Michigan who died in the line of duty in the past year.
Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation that includes funding for a pilot program in Kalamazoo County that will help identify people with a high risk of opioid abuse and addiction.Rep. Brandt Iden, who fought for the $700,000 included in the budget supplemental bill signed by the governor, said results of the program could have widespread impact across the state on efforts to control the opioid epidemic that is gripping Michigan and the rest of the nation.“I am very pleased the governor recognized the importance of this program and signed off on its funding,” said Iden, of Oshtemo. “This groundbreaking research will help identify addictive genome markers in people within the Kalamazoo County Medicaid program, giving doctors alternative means to control pain that will not lead to abuse.”Although the pilot study focuses only on Kalamazoo County Medicaid recipients, Iden said the results could help in the statewide fight against opioid abuse and addiction.“Opioid abuse is one of our state’s biggest health concerns and reaches every community in Michigan,” Iden said. “This program administered by Kalamazoo Community Mental Health will be an important tool for combating the statewide opioid epidemic.”##### Legislator applauds approval of $700,000 investment 09Nov Snyder signs Rep. Iden bill to fund pilot program helping identify, fight opioid addiction Categories: Iden News,News
24Aug Rep. Hughes: Local schools start year with record investment, increased career prep Categories: Hughes News Tags: back to school, career technical education, education, education funding, local school funding, MPSERS, OK2SAY, per-pupil funding increases, school safety Muskegon County school districts receive $240 per-student increaseStudents across Muskegon County head back to school supported by record state funding and a renewed emphasis on preparing for the workforce, Rep. Holly Hughes said today.“We owe it to our kids to give them the keys to a successful future,” said Hughes, of Montague. “Under this year’s funding plan, our hometown schools will have significantly more resources available to ensure our future leaders are prepared for college or a career.”Over the past two years, Hughes has helped deliver an estimated $13 million in additional funding for the public schools in the 91st House District. With this increase, every school district in Michigan will receive at least $7,871 per student in the state’s basic foundation allowance this academic year. The annual per-student foundation allowance increase is the largest in 15 years.Michigan’s commitment to education goes well beyond the basic foundation allowance and the funding for at-risk programs. The state increased funding for the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) and allocated $100 million for the Marshall Plan for Talent, designed to expand and improve skilled trade career opportunities for students, part of ongoing increased investments in career tech. More money will also go to early literacy and special education programs, following up last year’s significant increase in funding for students who are considered at risk either financially or academically. School safety remains a high priority, with $25 million set aside statewide for grants to improve building security, plus additional resources to expand the OK2SAY school safety tip reporting system. “It’s time we got better about preparing our students for their careers and giving them the tools they need to be successful in the workforce,” Hughes said. “Our new plan does that and I’m looking forward to see dramatic results in our community.” ###
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesFebruary 28, 2013; Washington Post, “Capital Business” Thousands of credit union representatives came to Washington last week to push Congress to preserve their long-standing tax exemption, and have been successful so far, reports Capital Business. House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp’s (R-MI) new corporate tax reform plan, which would raise taxes for the largest banks, exempts credit unions from paying federal taxes as long as they are nonprofits, which most are.The bill would preserve the credit union tax exemptions in place since 1917, but the nation’s commercial and consumer banks are not happy, especially because at the same time, a new tax is being proposed for banks.“[T]oday’s proposal ignores a $1 trillion credit union industry that pays no taxes at all, costing the U.S. Treasury $2 billion annually,” the American Bankers Association told the paper in a statement, “It’s time for this indefensible tax-exempt status to come to an end.”The banks are unlikely to prevail, as there is broad bipartisan support for maintaining the tax-exempt status of credit unions, a rarity in the current polarized atmosphere in Washington. Congress members of both parties expressed their support to some 4,400 credit union representatives at the annual Governmental Affairs Conference organized by the credit union association.—Larry KaplanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share74Tweet2ShareEmail76 Shares Rawpixel / Shutterstock.comOctober 21, 2014; Washington PostDespite the growing need for increased education and advanced degrees to secure jobs, only 59 percent of students who begin college as freshman at a four-year college receive their diploma within six years. Students who come from low-income backgrounds are even less likely to graduate—if they even begin at all.“Low-income students face barriers to college success at every stage of the education pipeline, from elementary school through post-secondary education, sometimes in spite of their academic achievements,” a White House report stated.In a University of Michigan study of people born in the early 1980s, 80 percent of the richest 25 percent of students enrolled in college by age 19 and 68 percent of those graduated by age 25. Among the poorest 25 percent of students, only 29 percent enrolled in college by age 19; only 32 percent of those students graduated by age 25. Some 54 percent of students from wealthy families obtained bachelor’s degrees, said Martha Bailey, an assistant economics professor at the University of Michigan, but only nine percent of low-income students got college diplomas.At the forefront of reasons for college dropout is the cost—and not just the cost of tuition, but the costs of books, materials, transportation, and housing. Tiffany Mfume, who oversees Morgan State University’s student retention efforts, discovered that many students who had stopped a college degree program were incredibly close to meeting their financial obligations. She determined that 10 percent of students who were “stopped out”—putting their academic careers on hold until they were able to pay—owed the college less than $1,000.Tuition and fees at public and private colleges continued on an upward trend and increased in 2013 even though the growth was smaller than in past years. The issue bigger than tuition is the net price of college. That is, what students actually pay after grants, scholarships, and taxes are subtracted. This is due to the fact that the growth in financial aid has not stayed parallel to the increase in college tuition.“Some parents are able to provide their children with the financial resources necessary to pay tuition and fees … without serious difficulty,” says the College Board report on trends in student aid. “For many others, postsecondary education would be out of the question without generous subsidies from the government, their colleges and universities, or other sources.”Some schools, such as Harvard University, have created programs to boost applications and attendance from highly qualified low- and middle-income students. Harvard is using social media with in-person outreach and financial aid to increase the likelihood that low-income students will begin and graduate with a degree. Other colleges have started fundraising campaigns to close the gap. At Morgan State, a $5 million campaign was launched, with the college’s president pledging $100,000 of his own money toward the effort.But in the end, if this country does not address the ever-widening gap in income and asset inequality, no amount of special programming will close the graduation gap. Studies like this go a long way towards explaining the marked lack of economic mobility in the United States.—Erin LambShare74Tweet2ShareEmail76 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesFebruary 6, 2015; DNAinfo New YorkPublic-private partnerships come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the huge comprehensive bailout of the City of Detroit by some of America’s largest foundations to the community bake sale in support of a grade-school field trip.DNAinfo New York, a hyper-local news site, reports about a local nonprofit that wants to spruce up one of Brooklyn’s oldest parks and start a private philanthropic conservancy to spearhead the efforts.Brooklyn-based service organization 500 Men Making a Difference plans to improve Herbert Von King Park in Bedford-Stuyvesant after cuts in afterschool services at the park’s cultural center. The website reports that the group is responding to local residents’ calls for improved facilities and restored programs. The new conservancy would upgrade the nearly eight-acre park and cultural arts center with additional maintenance workers, afterschool activities, and renovations.500MMD will work with the nationally known Central Park Conservancy and New York’s Partnership for Parks on the overhaul. The group will submit grant applications to private foundations and meet with local public officials before presenting its plans—with a budget close to $2 million over two years—to the community in coming months.The New York City Parks Department is supportive of the effort. “We’re happy to partner with any group that would like to form an alliance with any of our parks,” said a spokesman.The New York Central Park Conservancy is one of the best-known efforts of private philanthropic support of a public park in the US, and considered a model for this and other efforts in other cities. The challenge for the Von King park partnership will be the fact that it is not focused on a high-profile iconic property like Central Park, but a smaller neighborhood park in one of the city’s boroughs.—Larry KaplanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Bulgarian cable operator Blizoo says that orders for its triple-play products have increased by 70% over the first week of its launch of its new Fiber Power brand and a new triple-play service.The company said it intends to launch a new DVR service with EPG search and instant recording to the 25% of its subscribers with compatible receivers via an over-the-air download.Blizoo has extended the Fiber Power service to its subsidiary in Macedonia, Cabletel, which has now been rebranded as Blizoo. In Macedonia, Blizoo is offering internet speeds of 10, 20 and 50Mbps and a TV package including seven HD services.Blizoo’s new triple-play offering in Bulgaria includes 150 digital channels including 16 HD services, 150Mbps broadband and 5,000 minutes of landline telephony for BGN59.90 (€31).
Swisscom is mourning the loss of its CEO Carsten Schloter, who was found dead at his home yesterday from a suspected suicide.Schloter joined Swisscom in 2000 as head of Swisscom Mobile and took the CEO role in 2006. He will be replaced on an interim basis by deputy CEO Urs Schäppi.“The board of directors, group executive board and the entire workforce are deeply saddened and pass on their condolences to the family and relatives,” said Swisscom’s chairman of the board Hansueli Loosli.An investigation into the exact circumstances of Schloter’s death is underway, though the police are treating it as a suicide. Further details were not disclosed out of consideration for his family, Swisscom said in a statement.
NBCUniversal-backed cable net Weather Channel may sell parts or all of its assets, according to a report from business wire Bloomberg.Comcast-owned NBCU co-owns WeatherChannel Cos. with private equity groups Blackstone Group LP and Bain Capital LLC, having acquired the company in 2008 for US$3.5 billion.However, the private equity groups have now spoken with JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs Group about strategic options, according to Bloomberg sources that asked to remain unidentified.Though a formal sales process has not yet begun, the idea of selling all or part of the company is being explored, though all parties may eventually choose to hold their stakes, the sources said.Weather Channel is distributed to more than 100 million US homes. Bloomberg reported cable companies could seek to buy the channel assets, with a separate firm coming in for the weather data resources.None of the firms involved commented on the Bloomberg article.Weather Channel went dark on cable operator DirecTV earlier this year during a bitter US retransmission row.
GS Group’s GS A230 set-top boxRussia’s GS Group has unveiled what it claims is the country’s first TV set-top box to support 4K, Ultra High Definition TV.The General Satellite-branded GS A230 box comes with two integrated DVB-S/DVB-S2 tuners, a WiFi modem, an internal 1TB hard disk and supports 4K video playback on Ultra HD TV sets.It also has the new standard HDMI 2.0 multimedia interface needed to watch Ultra HD TV using a wired connection to a UHD TV-set, and comes with two USB connectors for media playback from external sources.“The launch of such a complex and advanced product as the GS A230 UHD set-top box, completely developed and produced in Russia, demonstrates how competitive Russian producers are in the global market,” said Andrew Bezrukov, director for strategic marketing, GS Group.The GS A230 set-top box will be available to buy at the end of the first quarter of 2016 through retailers that sell General Satellite consumer electronics, and was first displayed to the public at the CSTB Telecom and Media international exhibition and forum in Moscow last week.Russia’s leading satellite TV provider Tricolor TV – which GS group typically supplies equipment for – already offers Ultra HD channels to its subscribers.
There is a “clear correlation” between the launch of Netflix and a decline in spending on DVDs and Blu-rays, according to IHS.The research firm’s ‘Did Netflix Kill the Physical Video Market?’ report said that before Netflix launched its streaming service in the US in 2007, spending on buying and renting movies and TV series on disc was falling by an average of 1.2%.Since 2010, the year in which Netflix access became “ubiquitous across the US consumer electronics sector”, spending has fallen by an average of 10.3% a year, according to the research.Similarly, IHS said that in the UK, sales of movies on disc have more than halved since the first SVOD services launched in 2008, with the steepest annual decline, a 14.5% drop, coming in 2012, the year Netflix launched.Sales and rentals of TV series in the UK have been hit particularly hard, with TV show rentals down by almost 75% and sales of TV shows on disc down by 14% a year since 2012.“The data shows that Netflix’s entry into a market has a noticeable effect on consumer behaviour, even in countries where they already had access to other streaming video services,” said IHS Technology senior researcher, Helen Davis Jayalath.“Movies and TV shows are not only the biggest draw for Netflix subscribers, they are also the backbone of the home entertainment industry, generating 80% to 90% of the business in most countries.”Davis Jayalath said that the year before Netflix launched its streaming service in the US, consumers spent a record US$20.9 billion buying and renting movies and TV content. However, by last year, total spend, including via transactional and subscription VoD services, was down 17% to US$17.3 billion.Last year more than 26% of the £1.8 billion that British consumers spent buying and renting movies and TV content was generated by SVoD services, said Davis Jayalath. However, total spending is still £82 million a year less than it was before Netflix launched and down £474 million since Amazon’s 2008 investment in LoveFilm “effectively kick-started SVOD in the UK,” said IHS.