Mill Creek restoration effort picks up steam

first_imgJeff Wittler crouched over Mill Creek, dipping his hand into the water.He rubbed the rocks of the creek bed, kicking up loose sediment that had settled on top of them. A brown cloud formed around his hand. Wittler looked up.“In a healthy system, you don’t see a lot of that,” said Wittler, environmental resources manager for Clark Public Utilities.And this part of Mill Creek, just above its confluence with Salmon Creek?“It’s pretty unhealthy.”To Wittler’s right was one of the culprits: a vertical bank several feet high, undercut by years of erosion. That’s a trend the utility and Washington State University’s Vancouver staff hope to change with a renewed focus on habitat restoration on Mill Creek, which flows through campus. The two partners are in the midst of prep work on the site — with the help of an army of volunteers and community events — before restoration and bank stabilization is set to begin in earnest this fall.Compared to what university staff first envisioned, “what we ended up doing was a much larger thing,” said James Martin, facilities operations director at WSU-Vancouver.Mill Creek has long been a focus of university crews, but their efforts ramped up when Clark Public Utilities joined this year. Behind the strength of a $250,000 state grant, the utility’s StreamTeam program will help the campus control invasive species, replant native vegetation and stabilize stream banks to prevent erosion.All of that follows the campus’ earning “Salmon-Safe” certification last year for its environmental work.“It’s just gained so much momentum in the past few years,” Martin said.The team’s main focus this year is a section of Mill Creek just north of Northeast Salmon Creek Avenue, where it flows near a university-owned storage barn on what used to be farmland. Crews started this spring by removing invasive Himalayan blackberry plants along the creek, then planting native trees such as maple, Oregon ash and cedar. Workers will have to keep those blackberry plants at bay to prevent them from choking the young trees.last_img read more

Winterhawks beat Edmonton 51 even series

first_imgThe Portland Winterhawks didn’t have their top scorer for Game 2 of the Western Hockey League finals. One of the smallest players on the ice made sure they didn’t miss Ty Rattie on Friday.Brendan Leipsic — the 5-9, 175-pound bundle of energy — scored two goals and the Winterhawks evened the best-of-7 series at 1-1 with a 5-1 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings at Rexall Place.Game 3 is 6 p.m. on Sunday in the Rose Garden.Sven Bartschi also scored twice and Mac Carruth played a strong game in goal for the Winterhawks.Leipsic scored the first two goals, including one in a three-goal second period that keyed the Portland win in Edmonton. Taylor Peters also scored for Portland, which led 4-0 after two periods.Rattie, the leading scorer in the WHL playoffs, sat out Game 2. He crashed to the boards in the third period of Game 1 and did not return to that contest.“Guys had to step up,” Leipsic said. “It was nice to get a couple of goals. But the nice thing is we got a win.”last_img read more

Driver dead after Amtrak train slams into car in Oakland Park

first_imgOAKLAND PARK, FLA. (WSVN) – A portion of Oakland Park Boulevard was temporarily closed near Interstate 95 after an Amtrak train hit a car, killing the driver, according to Oakland Park Fire Rescue.According to fire rescue officials, the northbound Amtrak train was en-route to New York City when it crashed with the car at the railroad crossing at Oakland Park Blvd., west of I-95, at around 1:10 p.m.Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies from the Oakland Park district, along with Oakland Park Fire Rescue, then responded to the scene.The male driver, the lone occupant of the car, was pronounced dead at the scene by Oakland Park Fire Rescue.According to BSO, the vehicle was traveling east on West Oakland Park Boulevard when it was hit on the passenger-side rear fender, and that collision forced the vehicle to hit a metal pole.“I heard an explosion about the train, and I heard the screaming,” said Haida Irizarry, who heard the crash, “so I came out running, and that’s when I saw the car all mashed and everything, and I got nervous, I got panicked. I’m still panicked.”“I heard like an explosion,” said Jeffrey Beaubrun, who also heard the collision. The crash resulted in the closure of West Oakland Park Boulevard in both directions, between Powerline Road and Northwest 21st Avenue. However, just before 6 p.m., officials reopened lanes in both directions.According to Tri-Rail, commuters should expect some residual delays during early rush hour. Currently, they are turning trains between the Cypress Creek and Fort Lauderdale Stations and running a bus bridge between the two stations.Officials said there were 126 passengers on board the train at the time of the crash, none of whom were injured.The train has since stopped north of the scene for the investigation.BSO’s traffic homicide unit is investigating the fatal crash.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Amazon has todayonly deals on some great strategy games

first_img Now playing: Watch this: See at Amazon Save $20 3:53 The best tabletop board games for video gamersBest gifts for gamers going back to school Amazon has quietly put a big selection of high-end tabletop and board games on sale. This lineup is largely different from the (also excellent) Prime Day tabletop lineup, so if you didn’t find exactly what you were looking for then, you might see it be below.  Post a comment 0 See at Amazon Save $22 I was waiting for this Lovecraft-themed game to get a deeper discount during Prime Day, but it never got more than a $10 cut. Now it’s a real bargain and takes the haunted-town vibe of the Arkham Horror game series to a global scale. The full list is available here, and below are my suggestions for some top picks. Note that these are potentially short-lived deals, so prices may change with little notice, and are probably good for today only, July 29. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.  Computers Computers Gaming Toys and Tabletop Games A great NYC update to the classic King of Tokyo game, this is a family-friendly kaiju romp, with enough depth to keep more serious gamers interested. Also, the comic-style art is awesome.  Tags Iello See at Amazon See at Amazon Space Cadets: Away Missions, $39 Pandasaurus Games Amazon What’s that? Even with Arkham Horror (both board and card games), Eldritch Horror, Mansions of Madness and others, you still need more Lovecraft games? This one is based on one of Lovecraft’s best-known tales, sending you up an Antarctic mountain, where madness awaits.  See at Amazon Fantasy Flight Games Eldritch Horror, $36 Iello Does the Nintendo Switch Lite make the 3DS irrelevant?… King of New York, $28 Ignore the $99 list price (it’s usually around $60), but know that $39 for this retro space adventure is still a great price . There’s a solid Star Trek: TOS vibe, with a shot of Mars Attacks, as you send crew members into the unknown. Literally unknown, as the maps of alien spaceships and planets are revealed one hex tile at a time.  Stronghold Games Save $15 Share your voice Save $21 Wasteland Express Delivery Service, $37 I haven’t played this one personally, but I’ve heard good things about it. A mix of Fallout and Mad Max, the stars here are cool-looking minis of various wasteland vehicles, all delivering food, weapons and other survival gear, while watching out for raiders. Note that Amazon claims this is discounted from an MSRP of $90. It’s usually available for around $60, which still makes this a good deal.  Save $23 Mountains of Madness, $25last_img read more

Like Sitka parts of Juneau are susceptible to landslides

first_imgThis past weekend, a Juneau Preparedness Expo gave the public a variety of information on how to cope in an emergency. One lecture more relevant than ever was on mudslides and landslides–just weeks after Sitka’s deadly disaster.Download AudioThe 1936 Juneau landslide killed 15 people. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska State Library, Historical Collections)Joel Curtis from the National Weather Service told a small but captive audience about the mechanics of a slide.He’s witnessed the damage firsthand. A couple of weeks ago he was on an ordinary business trip in Sitka, where he had been helping out with a diesel spill.“And I get another message. Could you please come to the firehall immediately. One of the things we had talked about in the forecast the day before was some heavy rain combined with some wind,” he said.Curtis rushed to the fire station and that’s when they told him.Joel Curtis called the Sitka landslide an emotional site. (Photo by Elizabeth Jenkins/KTOO)“‘Joel, we need you to be the incident meteorologist on this. We just had a mudslide and three people are missing.’ It was terribly emotional, at least to me.”The mudslide claimed the lives of three people. An intensive search uncovered the bodies of brothers Elmer and Ulises Diaz, who had been painting a house in the area. It took longer to find the third person: building inspector, William Stortz.For Curtis, that really hit home.“Knowing that this much beloved individual was missing was really, really tough,” he said. “But at the same time you just have to set that aside and go to work and do the things that you do to contribute to the recovery operation.”Curtis helped by monitoring the weather, and Stortz’s body was located before more rain fell.He says there are some differences between the conditions in Sitka and Juneau. For instance, Sitka gets the brunt of oceanic weather. Juneau has taller mountains to the East. But could the same thing happen here?Tom Mattice, the city’s emergency coordinator, said it already has. One of Juneau’s most destructive slides occurred in 1936, covering South Franklin Street and killing 15.Although there’s little anyone can do to prevent it, Mattice said there are steps people can take to protect themselves–like have an evacuation route. Five years ago, Centennial Hall was used as a safe space when a slide hit Gastineau Avenue.“If you live in an area that’s a mass wasting zone, an avalanche zone, a mudslide zone. On days with high wind, on days on high precip, it’s a good idea to go somewhere else,” Mattice said.Joel Curtis agrees. He said since Southeast is a temperate rainforest, landslides are inevitable.“They’re hazards and they’re big and they’re natural and there’s a lot of force in them. I think being prepared is the answer.”Curtis says for him, that’s having an emergency bag packed and being able to evacuate with his dog and cat.last_img read more

Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma uses interesting analogy to deny merger rumours

first_imgA Muslim bride wears ornaments during a mass wedding ceremony in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad November 14, 2007 (image strictly representational).Reuters fileAxis Bank, India’s third-largest private sector bank, continues to be in the limelight since the buzz about its merger with Kotak Mahindra Bank started a few weeks ago. The bank was quick to dismiss the rumours. To make things more clear, CEO Shikha Sharma said suitors would be disappointed as the “bride” (Axis Bank) was not interested.Read: Sensex, Nifty likely to cheer BJP’s bull run in BMC elections”It’s good to feel like a beautiful bride that everybody is aspiring for, but the point is that if the beautiful bride is not putting up her hand for marriage, then you can have a lot of suitors but there won’t be a marriage,” Shikha Sharma of Axis Bank told the Economic Times.The earlier denial by the lender was more formal and muted.”In this connection please note that in light of repeated reports appearing in some sections of the media, we reiterate that the said news is baseless and unsubstantiated,” the bank had informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) last Monday.The third quarter results of both the banks were in sharp contrast to each other, as reported a few days ago.Downbeat Q3 results of Axis Bank Axis Bank’s net profit had plunged 73 percent to Rs 579.60 crore in the December 2016 quarter (Q3) as against Rs 2,175.3 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal. Net interest income (NII) rose 4.1 percent to Rs 4,333.7 crore from Rs 4,162.1 crore.Net non-performing assets (NPAs) as a percentage of total advances rose sharply to 2.18 percent in Q3 as against 0.75 percent in the corresponding quarter in fiscal 2016. Total advances stood at Rs 347,175 crore; retail lending accounted for 43 percent of total advances at Rs 149,538 crore.As of December 31, 2016, the bank had a network of 3,211 domestic branches and extension counters situated in 1,946 centres, and 13,726 ATMs. The government of India holds 12 percent in Axis Bank through SUUTI and an additional 18 percent via state-run life insurer LIC and other non-life, public sector insurance companies. Axis Bank was in the news post demonetisation for all the wrong reasons.Kotak Mahindra Bank Q3 results were upbeat On  the other hand, Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMB) had reported a 39 percent rise in its Q3 net profit to Rs 880 crore in comparison to Rs 635 crore in the corresponding period last fiscal. NII increased 16 percent to Rs 2,050 crore in Q3 from Rs 1,766.21 crore in the year-ago period.Net and gross NPAs of KMB stood at 2.42 percent and 1.07 percent, respectively.The bank had 1,348 branches as of December 31, 2016. Total advances stood at Rs 129,261 crore, of which retail lending was Rs 51,582 crore.India’s biggest lender by advances is public sector State Bank of India (SBI) while the top private sector lender is ICICI Bank. HDFC Bank is the second-largest among private banks.On Thursday, Axis Bank shares closed at 528 apiece, ICICI Bank ended at Rs 284 and HDFC Bank lost marginally at Rs 1,394. The stock markets were closed on Friday on account of Maha Shivaratri.Meanwhile, State Bank of India informed stock exchanges on Thursday that its merger with five associates – State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Travancore and State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur– will come into effect from April 1, 2017.  The Connaught Place branch of Axis Bank in New Delhi, December 15, 2016.IANSlast_img read more

The Feds Arent Watching Local Election Officials In Texas Anymore So NonProfits

first_imgKUT NEWSEver since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a major part of the Voting Rights Act a couple of years ago, states like Texas haven’t had federal oversight in elections.Houston Public Media’s Coverage of Election 2016As a result, civil rights groups have had to flag and sometimes sue state officials over violations of federal voting laws ahead of this year’s election.The latest example has to do with whether counties are providing bilingual voting information on their websites.Part of the Voting Rights Act says officials have to provide bilingual election information if more than five percent of the population they serve isn’t proficient in English. It turns out dozens of Texas counties fall into that category, but they weren’t following that rule.So, a few weeks ago Nina Perales with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (or MALDEF) sent a letter telling county election officials they needed to provide bilingual voting info on their websites.“So we have had a good response,” she says. “We have had a number of counties contact us right away and tell us that they are working on getting a button on their websites to direct to the Secretary of State’s Spanish language materials.”Perales is happy she hasn’t gotten pushback on this, but this whole situation points to a bigger problem, she says. And the problem is that if MALDEF hadn’t flagged this issue for county officials, dozens of county websites around the state would have been in violation of important voting rights laws. Part of the reason this is happening is because the federal government is not required to watch over Texas anymore – and state government hasn’t picked up that work, either.“It should be something that the Secretary of State is looking at,” Perales says. “Their staff should be looking at county websites.”State officials don’t see it that way, though.“The Secretary of State’s office is not an investigative or an enforcement agency,” explains Alicia Pierce, with the Texas Secretary of State’s office.Pierce says the state can advise county administrators, but they can’t control what they do with their websites. She says that’s just not their job.“Texas has a very decentralized election system,” she says. “Most of the power of actually conducting the election is with the county elections office.”Perales, with MALDEF,  says the state should make that their job – especially since the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act. She says the work of ensuring voting rights are protected is still important in Texas.“We still have the remnants of the past discrimination and having lost federal oversight over election changes means that private organizations like MALDEF are stretched thinner because we have to be covering more issues related to voting rights than ever before,” she says.Bills aimed at amending the Voting Rights Act have been held up in Congress for the past couple of years.Copyright 2016 KUT-FM. To see more, visit KUT-FM. Sharelast_img read more

From Mobile to Social Media to Disruptive Tech A Preview of This

first_img Register Now » March 7, 2013 Whether attending in person or keeping a watchful eye for reports online, technology entrepreneurs and enthusiasts alike are gearing up for this year’s SXSW Interactive (SXSWi) festival. It is arguably the go-to event for digital creatives and innovators from all over the world to meet and share their ideas. And, in recent years, it’s where tech startups like Twitter and Foursquare have been announced.This year’s five-day mega tech gathering kicks off Friday in Austin, Texas. It includes an onslaught of keynotes, panel sessions, workshops and meetups — covering all things web design, social media, mobile, usability, new tech business models and more. There’s also a Startup Village showcasing the various startups at SXSWi, the SXSW Interactive Accelerator during which some 50 startups will be competing for prizes, and the Gaming Expo for video game startups.Attendees can expect keynote presentations from a list of entrepreneurs and industry personalities. Among them will be Bre Pettis, co-founder of the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based 3-D printing startup MakerBot. As will be Elon Musk, who co-founded PayPal, electric car designer and manufacturer Tesla Motors and space transportation company SpaceX.Related: The Top 10 Startup Events to Watch in 2013The casual attendee might be overwhelmed by the number of events and topics being discussed over the next few days. We offer here a list of sessions we find particularly interesting:”Tales of US Entrepreneurship Beyond Silicon Valley” (Friday, March 8). Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian shares stories from Internet 2012 Campaign Tour, a bus he co-crowd funded to spread awareness about internet policy and to “collect, document and share stories throughout the American heartland.””Insights About Innovation: David Sacks Fireside Chat” (Saturday, March 9) David Sacks, CEO of Yammer Inc., and Mahalo founder and CEO Jason Calacanis discuss what it takes to create a disruptive startup, their lessons learned and the current and future state of innovation in Silicon Valley.”Airbnb’s Brian Chesky Talks with Fortune” (Sunday, March 10) Airbnb’s co-founder on designing and building a platform for sharing homes, the company’s push into the travel guide area and the challenges of scaling a disruptive business model.”Nate Silver: The Signal & the Noise” (Sunday, March 10) Silver, one of the most influential political forecasters and bloggers in the U.S., will examine the world of prediction, investigating how others can “distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data.””When Bad Names Happen to Good Startups” (Monday, March 11) Speakers from brand agency archer>malmo will discuss the aspects of a successful brand name ­­ one that “fully captures your story, highlights your point of difference, and inspires a spark of desire in your target.””The Rise of the Impact Entrepreneur” (Tuesday, March 12) A panel of presenters discusses the technologies and companies that are “poised to tackle our 21st century problems, and witness the growing movement of ‘tech for good.'”And some topics will stray a bit from technology and startup culture. For instance, former Vice President Al Gore offers his “forecast into the future,” acclaimed writer Neil Gaiman and Warner Bros. TV executive producer Chuck Lorre will talk about challenges of the creative process, and The 4-Hour Workweek (Harmony, 2007) author Tim Ferriss will share cooking and lifestyle advice from The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life (New Harvest, 2012). There’s a lot going on at SXSWi and we’ll be your eyes and ears on the ground. Stay tuned to Entrepreneur.com over the next several days for news and updates from the big event.Related: 15 Billion-Dollar Tech Startups Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Globalcenter_img 4 min read Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box.last_img read more

Books open on NCLs summer 2020 voyages

first_img Thursday, September 20, 2018 Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Books open on NCL’s summer 2020 voyagescenter_img Posted by Tags: New Itineraries, Norwegian Cruise Line MIAMI — Norwegian Cruise Line has opened the books on its summer 2020 itineraries for 11 of its 17 ships, including upcoming voyages for the upcoming Norwegian Encore, coming in 2019.The summer 2020 schedule will include three ships to Alaska, four ships in Europe and two to Bermuda from New York City and Boston, including Norwegian Encore, which will begin sailing from New York on April 22, 2020.“We’re proud of the itineraries we’ve carefully curated for our guests, which allow them to experience some of the most sought-after destinations around the globe,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Summer 2020 is especially exciting as our Breakaway-Plus class will be making waves all over the world, from Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Bliss in Alaska, to Norwegian Encore in Bermuda and Norwegian Escape’s debut in Europe as our newest ship in the region.”Here are some highlights for summer 2020:ALASKANorwegian Bliss, Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Jewel will sail to Alaska as the youngest fleet in the region. Sister ships Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Bliss will return to the state with seven-day cruises from Seattle, Washington beginning May 9 and May 10, respectively. In Alaska, Norwegian Joy will call to Holkham Bay, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Ketchikan and then to Victoria, B.C. Norwegian Bliss will call to Glacier Bay, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, as well as Victoria.More news:  Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesRounding out the Alaskan fleet, beginning May 11, Norwegian Jewel will return to Vancouver and Seward, Alaska to sail its popular seven-day Glacier Bay Northbound and Inside Passage itineraries.EUROPENorwegian Escape will make its European debut on May 29 offering nine-day cruises to the Baltic region from Copenhagen, Denmark with calls to Warnemünde, Germany; Tallinn, Estonia, Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm (Nynashamn), Sweden and an overnight in Saint Petersburg, Russia.For the first time, beginning May 15, Norwegian Dawn will cruise from Europe offering seven- to 11-day sailings to the Greek Isles from Venice, Italy. From May 8, Norwegian Getaway will offer 10- and 11- -day cruises to the Greek Isles and Italy from Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy. Both Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Getaway will visit Kotor, Montenegro; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Corfu, Santorini and Mykonos, Greece, among other Mediterranean cities. Norwegian Epic’s European summer 2020 itineraries will open for sale on Oct.16, 2018.BERMUDAFollowing its inaugural season in the Caribbean, Norwegian Encore will reposition from Miami, Florida to New York City offering seven-day cruises to Bermuda beginning April 22, while Norwegian Gem will offer seven-day voyages from Boston to Bermuda beginning May 1. Both ships’ seven-day itineraries overnight in port offering guests three days in Bermuda.CARIBBEANBeginning April 23, Norwegian Breakaway will return to Miami with a selection of five- and seven-day cruises to the Western Caribbean visiting Roatan and Bay Islands, Honduras; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; and the resort-style island destination of Harvest Caye in Southern Belize. It will also sail a variety of three- and four-day cruises to the Bahamas calling to Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island.More news:  A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerBAHAMAS & FLORIDA / CANADA & NEW ENGLANDAs of May 23, for the first time, Norwegian Pearl will homeport in New York City offering select seven-, 10- and eleven-day cruises to Canada and New England with calls to Halifax, Nova Scotia; Saint John, New Brunswick; Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine; and Newport, Rhode Island. IT will also offer seven-day voyages to Bahamas and Florida with visits to Port Canaveral, Florida; Nassau and Norwegian’s private island paradise, Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas.HAWAIIPride of America will continue cruising its seven-day inter-island itinerary that offers nearly 100 hours of port time in Hawaii’s main islands, including calls in Hilo, Kona, and overnight stays in Kahului, Maui and Nãwiliwili, Kauai with an afternoon cruising past the Nãpali Coast. Norwegian’s Pride of America will depart from Honolulu every Saturday beginning May 1, 2021 through April 2022.Norwegian Cruise Line has also opened summer 2021 through spring 2022 sailings on its Pride of America ship. For more information go to ncl.com.last_img read more

Big Banks See Big Gains in Mortgage Payment Performance

first_imgBig Banks See Big Gains in Mortgage Payment Performance Banks Chief Accounting Officer Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Residential Mortgages 2015-12-14 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, News, Servicing Sharecenter_img December 14, 2015 497 Views Improving overall performance of first-lien mortgages means fewer delinquencies, and fewer delinquencies have in turn means a declining need for loss mitigation, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)’s Mortgage Metrics Report for the Third Quarter of 2015.According to the OCC, 93.9 percent of outstanding residential mortgages serviced by eight national banks (Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, HSBC, OneWest Bank, PNC, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo) were current and performing as of the end of Q3 2015—an improvement of nearly a full percentage point from the previous quarter a year ago, when 93.0 percent of mortgages for the eight banks were reported to be current and performing. The 93.9 percent of performing mortgages computes to approximately 20.5 million of the 21.8 million mortgages covered in the portfolio.A larger share of current and performing first-lien mortgages has corresponded with a smaller share of the “negative” mortgage metrics such as serious delinquencies, foreclosure starts, and foreclosure inventory, according to the OCC. Serious delinquencies, which are defined as 60 or more days overdue or held bankrupt by borrowers whose payments are 30 or more days overdue, comprised about 2.6 percent of the portfolio (about 172,000 mortgages) as of the end of Q3, which is a 16 percent drop from the end of Q3 2014.The number of new foreclosures initiated declined year-over-year in the third quarter of 2015, from 83,000 to about 64,000, while the number of homes in the process of foreclosure declined by nearly one-quarter (23.8 percent) down to about 270,000 homes. This number represented about 1.2 percent of mortgages in the portfolio; according to the OCC, “Improved economic conditions and foreclosure prevention assistance contributed to the decline in foreclosure activity.”The need for loss mitigation services has declined as mortgage performances have improved, according to the OCC’s report. In the third quarter of 2015, servicers implemented 147,543 home retention actions, which was about 28 percent fewer than a year earlier. Those actions included modifications, trial-period plans, and shorter-term payment plans, and nearly 88 percent of the home retention actions implemented during the quarter reduced the borrower’s monthly principal and interest payments. According to the OCC, borrowers reduced their monthly payment by an average of $243 with home retention actions implemented during Q3; more than half of those actions (53 percent) resulted in a payment reduction of more than 20 percent.Out of the 3.8 million modifications servicers implemented from January 1, 2008, to June 30, 2015 covered in the portfolio, about half (51 percent, or 1.92 million) were active as of the end of Q3 2015, according to the OCC. The remaining 49 percent exited the portfolio through a variety of means—payment in full, involuntary liquidation, or transferring to a non-reporting servicer. Out of those 1.92 million modifications as of the end of Q3 2015, 71.2 percent were current and performing; 23.6 percent were delinquent; and 5.2 percent were in the process of foreclosure.The OCC’s report covers about the performances of 21.8 million outstanding mortgages nationwide, which computes to about 42 percent of all residential mortgages through September 30, 2015. The mortgages in the portfolio cover about $3.7 trillion in principal balances. To view the complete report, click here.last_img read more

Cirque du Soleilfamil event photosFlight CentreL

first_imgCirque du Soleilfamil & event photosFlight CentreLas Vegas L-R: Bart Druitt, LVCVA; Scott Newey, Flight Centre Miranda; Sophie Heath, Flight Centre Cammeray; Jamie Swan, Delta Air Lines; Amanda Cantore, Flight Centre Merrylands; Jess Cameron, Flight Centre Narellan; Kylee Robertson, Flight Centre Narellan; Prince Ofori, Flight Centre Merrylands. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and Delta Air Lines hosted top selling Flight Centre agents at Cirque du Soleil’s TORUK The First Flight in Sydney last week to thank them for their continued support.There are currently eight Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas, the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’, and this spectacular new Cirque du Soleil ‘Avatar’– inspired touring show transports its audience to the world of Pandora – and certainly wowed these agents in Sydney!last_img read more

Rep Marino welcomes residents and colleagues to Lake St Clair town hall

first_img17Aug Rep. Marino welcomes residents and colleagues to Lake St. Clair town hall State Rep. Steve Marino welcomes fellow legislators and invites residents to a town hall meeting concerning Lake St. Clair water quality. The event is being held on Oct. 2 at MacRay Harbor in Harrison Township.Officials from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will be on hand to answer questions from concerned residents and discuss an action plan to mitigate pollution in Lake St. Clair. Marino said he’s thankful for the recent efforts by Macomb legislators and looks forward to this long-overdue discussion.“I’d like to thank the DEQ for agreeing to come to our district and address the numerous questions people here have about Lake St. Clair,” said Marino, of Harrison Township. “Residents have genuine concerns beyond beach closures year after year and this is a perfect opportunity for our community to get answers.”The town hall will take place Monday, Oct. 2, at MacRay Banquet and Events Center, 30675 N. River Road in Harrison Township. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for an informal meet and greet with DEQ officials. A DEQ presentation and a question and answer session will follow from 7 to 9 p.m.Marino encouraged residents with questions to contact his office at (517) 373-0113 or SteveMarino@house.mi.gov.### Categories: Marino Newslast_img read more

Rep Allor resolution outlines priorities for addressing PFAS pollution

first_img31Jan Rep. Allor resolution outlines priorities for addressing PFAS pollution Categories: Allor News State Rep. Sue Allor testified today before the House Natural Resources Committee in support of her resolution that helps build a scientific based framework for addressing the emerging threat posed by a type of chemical contaminant recently discovered in groundwater in various locations throughout Michigan.In December, the Legislature agreed to allocate $23.2 million to provide testing, monitoring and technical assistance at more than a dozen sites across Michigan where per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been found in groundwater at 28 sites, including communities in northern Michigan. The funding will help support the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, formed by Gov. Rick Snyder through executive directive to lead the state’s response to the contaminant.“As an elected representative, I swore an oath to uphold the Michigan Constitution, which gives me an obligation to look after the health, safety and welfare of all Michigan residents,” said Allor, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources. “As a taxpayer, I believe that it is critical to make sure the state funding we’ve provided is used in an impactful and carefully thought out way. And as a former nurse, I hope this resolution will help guide the PFAS Action Response Team and ensure that relevant decisions are made based on science.”Her resolution, House Resolution 228, calls on the PFAS Action Response Team to:Create a PFAS Scientific Advisory Committee made up of scientific experts with various backgrounds.Review the information available on PFAS and conduct a non-biased, scientific risk assessment.Use the risk assessment to recommend a logical action plan to guide agencies’ efforts going forward.The House Natural Resources Committee unanimously approved the resolution today, advancing it to the House floor for consideration.###last_img read more

Rep Cole English as the official language will save taxpayer money

first_img22Feb Rep. Cole: English as the official language will save taxpayer money Categories: Cole News,News State Rep. Triston Cole today voted on legislation to designate English as Michigan’s official language, a move he said will save taxpayer money and help non-English speakers learn the language.Cole, of Mancelona, who cosponsored the bill, said the measure does not prohibit people from using their own languages. This bill restricts state and local governments to printing documents and booklets only in English, which will save the cost of printing more copies in a variety of languages.“Local governments that wish to continue offering items in a variety of languages are free to do so, as are state departments where a need exists,” Cole said.Cole said the bill allows the printing of all state documents just in English when it is necessary. Another exception would be if printing the documents only in English would have a negative effect on the safety, welfare and health of Michigan residents.The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.#####The legislation is House Bill 4053.last_img read more

Rep Runestad wraps up March is Reading Month tour

first_img02Apr Rep. Runestad wraps up March is Reading Month tour State Rep. Jim Runestad celebrated March is Reading Month by reading to over 900 students at four elementary schools in White Lake and Milford.March is Reading Month is an annual event designed to recognize the importance of reading in children’s future success. To celebrate, Rep. Runestad visited classrooms at Lakewood, Kurtz, Oxbow and Johnson elementary schools to read to students and answer their many questions.“A love for reading will benefit children throughout their lives,” Rep. Runestad said. “Encouraging students to read sparks creativity, enriches imagination and sets them on the path to success.”Each year, Runestad visits local schools to further promote the importance of reading.“Reading is such an important building block for children. I was honored to visit our local classrooms and share my favorite books with them,” Runestad said. Categories: Runestad Newslast_img read more

Rep Hoitenga Rural broadband expansion car insurance reforms needed for Michigan

first_img12Feb Rep. Hoitenga: Rural broadband expansion, car insurance reforms needed for Michigan Legislator reiterates top priorities following Tuesday’s State of the StateState Rep. Michele Hoitenga, of Manton, underscored issues she continues to fight for in the Michigan Legislature after attending Tuesday night’s State of the State address.Michigan’s controversial no-fault system forces more than seven million drivers throughout the state to pay the highest car insurance rates in the country. A special committee has been formed by Republican leadership in the Michigan House to pursue a solution.“I am pleased my colleagues in the Legislature have put such emphasis on this issue – in the form of a committee whose sole focus is bringing relief to Michigan drivers,” Hoitenga said. “The decisions that this broken policy forces northern Michigan families to make are dire. Many are confronted with a choice between paying outrageous insurance rates and financial stability. Families should not be forced to choose between the two. We need to fix this clearly flawed system for Michigan residents.”Hoitenga is also continuing her work to increase broadband capability for more areas of Michigan through her chair position on the House Communications and Technology Committee.During the 2017-18 legislative term, Hoitenga co-sponsored legislation capping certain permitting costs for county rights-of-way work. House Bill 5097, which eventually became Public Act 97 of 2018, streamlines future broadband expansion projects while eliminating unnecessary government red tape.Hoitenga and members of the committee also discussed a proposal establishing a concrete broadband investment plan. This included a development fund within the state treasury, a team tasked with identifying areas in Michigan that are unserved or underserved and policies to award grants.“Better broadband access, including high-speed internet, is a big driver in keeping Michigan competitive and attractive to prospective job providers,” Hoitenga said. “This essential service should be readily available in more than just the state’s larger metro areas. Making more communities attractive to job providers means more business and jobs for residents, and that will be a big boost to Michigan’s economy.”Hoitenga is in her second term in the Michigan House representing citizens in Wexford, Mecosta and Osceola counties. Categories: Hoitenga News,Newslast_img read more

Rep Eisen attends annual State of the State address

first_imgPHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Gary Eisen was joined in the House chamber by Anthony Forlini, District Director for Congressman Paul Mitchell, for the State of the State address on Tuesday. Categories: Eisen News,Eisen Photos 13Feb Rep. Eisen attends annual State of the State addresslast_img

Controversial Klinghoffer Opera Opens to Protests at Met

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares John Adams, 1947 – Credit: Peter StevensOctober 20, 2014; Daily ForwardOn Monday, the New York Metropolitan Opera’s opening night performance of The Death of Klinghoffer was greeted by several disruptions from hecklers inside the opera house, hundreds of placard waving protesters outside, and thunderous applause for the work’s composer, John Adams, as the curtain fell. The work, commissioned by American and European opera companies, has been a lightning rod for controversy beginning before its first performances in 1991.Prior to the opera’s American debut at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lisa Klinghoffer and Ilsa Klinghoffer, the daughters of Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer, expressed their strong displeasure with the opera: “We are outraged at the exploitation of our parents and the coldblooded murder of our father as the centerpiece of a production that appears to us to be anti-Semitic.” Lynn Schusterman, founder and co-chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, depicts the work as “an opera that presents a singular viewpoint about a horrific act of terrorism, contains language that can only be described as anti-Semitic and goes so far as to imply moral equivalence between the Nazis and Jews.”Supporters of the opera have responded to these charges. Michaela Martens, the performer who portrays Mrs. Klinghoffer in the Met’s staging, said:“I don’t think that Leon Klinghoffer’s death is something that should be forgotten, and it’s not pleasant to revisit it, and yet I think his death should not have been in vain. When this opera comes up every two or three years, this discussion needs to happen. This man died a horrific death, and we need to remember this person. At the end of the opera, the whole audience is sobbing. You cry for the Klinghoffers, you cry for the whole situation. The opera gives us permission to grieve.”A decade earlier, commenting on the same opera, art critic John Rockwell said that Klinghoffer “shows unequivocally that murder is nothing more than that, vicious and unconscionable.”The arts have the power to engage audiences on multiple levels; they can foster consideration of difficult issues. In his review of the opening, New York Times opera critic Anthony Tommasini captured a quantum of the power of the medium: “Of all the arts, opera can use the subliminal power of music to explore motivations, including seething hatreds.”But should publically supported arts organizations like the Metropolitan Opera use this power? Are there issues and perspectives that should be kept off the stage? This is the important question that Klinghoffer puts before us.First Amendment expert Floyd Abrams wrote in October 2014 that, though no First Amendment issues were raised, he opposed the staging of this opera. “The killers…chose to commit their crime. So did Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray and Osama bin Laden. We can expect no arias to be sung in their defense at the Metropolitan Opera, and there is no justification for any to be sung for the Klinghoffer killers.”Oskar Eustis, the artistic director of the Public Theater, held the opposite view. “It is not only permissible for the Met to do this piece—it’s required for the Met to do the piece. It is a powerful and important opera.” According to the general manager of the Met, Peter Gelb, “Somebody who looks at this objectively understands that all the opera does is try to explain the motives of the terrorists so that we understand the terrible crimes they committed.”The positive impact that can come from controversial works is illustrated by a staging of Klinghoffer in St. Louis and the community dialogue that it fostered. Speaking of her experience stimulated by the opera’s staging in St. Louis, Rabbi Susan Talve recently said, “They’re missing an opportunity for dialogue in New York. If they won’t even talk about it there, they’re missing an opportunity to grow, to make connections with people that have different ideas. That’s what happened here.”—Marty LevineShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

Inconvenient Reality The Ice Is Melting Seas Are Rising

first_imgShare28Tweet15Share1Email44 Shares“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power with Al Gore.” Credit: Steve JurvetsonAugust 10, 2016; The Atlantic and the Boston GlobeIn An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s 2006 urgent call to save the planet from climate change, Gore predicted that one day we’d see ocean waters flooding into Ground Zero in Manhattan. In the opening scenes of his new film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, we hear the critics who found that prediction so extreme as to be downright ridiculous. Then, we watch the water flood through Lower Manhattan’s streets and subways right into the Twin Towers memorial, as predicted. Hurricane Sandy left $75 billion worth of damage in its wake.Those heart-stopping images are among the many dramatic planetary crises that punctuate a narrative that tries to be uplifting despite the limited progress we have made toward solving the global climate crisis.A travelogue of sorts, An Inconvenient Sequel follows Al Gore to Greenland, where the ice sheet is melting far more quickly than scientists anticipated. In the Philippines, we see the impact of Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful storm to ever hit land. Images of parched earth in Syria are a reminder that the current civil war followed on years of drought, environmental devastation, and famine. Closer to home, Gore wades through the flooded streets of Miami, commenting that it is going to be hard—likely impossible—to keep pumping out the rising ocean. As Miami works to adapt its roadways to higher oceans, we are reminded that Governor Rick Scott is among those who refuses to recognize the crisis already severely impacting his state. In 2015, the Governor banned the term “climate change” from official Department of Environmental Protection communications.As in An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s slideshow and his effort to build a cadre of climate change educators is at the heart of An Inconvenient Sequel. We see Gore training new climate activists in Manila, Beijing, Miami, and Houston. Since 2006, Gore’s Climate Reality Project has trained more than 12,000 climate activists from 135 countries. This cadre of activists provides the real hope for our future, because in the corridors of power, even small steps forward take endless negotiations that may or may not result in real action.Take Paris. The United Nations 2015 conference on climate change serves as the narrative climax of the film. We see Gore preparing to go to the Paris talks, and then serving as a key negotiator behind the scenes. India is not prepared to forgo the rapid development made possible by fossil fuels. Prime Minister Modi describes access to energy as a “human right” currently denied to 300 million Indians (almost the entire U.S. population). In today’s world, it would be hard to deny this truth.But there is another truth as well: Our planet may be reaching a tipping point. Of the last 18 years, 10 have been the warmest on record, with 2016 surpassing all previous years. Storms, floods, droughts, heatwaves, wildfires are becoming increasingly common. An Inconvenient Sequel includes images from India, where in temperatures surpassing 120°F, people crossing the street literally become glued to the melting tar.Nonetheless, the split between industrialized Western nations who created the climate crisis and developing nations seeking to raise their standards of living has been difficult to bridge. Gore uses his “power” to broker a deal between India, its creditors, and Elon Musk, whom Gore urges to freely share intellectual property that would help speed up India’s transition to solar power.Though the India deal may not have been the crucial turning point for the Paris agreement that it is in the film narrative, it shows the hard work necessary to broker a deal of this scale. The audience cannot help but feel cheered when world leaders gathered in Paris agree to set tangible goals to reduce fossil fuel emissions worldwide.Paris would have provided a great ending for a film seeking to tell a can-do story about world leaders facing reality and taking on the greatest challenge of their time. But throughout the film, we get inklings of another setback to come. Donald Trump appears periodically as a climate denier, and one of his first acts after the election was to announce our nation’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. A non-binding agreement many considered inadequate from the get-go now faces an even bigger challenge.Gore, appearing a little tired from the journey of the last decade, reminds us, “we’ve faced setbacks before.” He calls on us, the viewers, to take up the cause, using the hashtag #beinconvenient. To spur us on, he reminds us that there is good news. The cost of solar power has dropped dramatically in the past decade. Chile is well on its way to meeting its goal of producing 19 percent of the country’s electricity from solar energy by 2050. Towns and cities across America, including Republican-led Georgetown, Texas, are powered by 100 percent renewable sources.Though not mentioned in the film, the reaction to the president’s decision to pull out of the Paris agreement has been heartening as well. Other countries, including India and China, have reconfirmed their commitments, and in the U.S., a group of 13 states, led by California, New York, and Washington, have joined together to create the U.S. Climate Alliance to keep the U.S. on track to meet its Paris commitments.With Arctic ice melting, seas rising, and forests burning, we all have to ramp up our commitments. We may have a climate-denying president, but according to a recent Gallup poll, nearly 70 percent of Americans agree that humans are causing global warming.Go check out Al Gore’s 10-minute slideshow and show it at your next meeting or Sunday service or neighborhood get-together. Then, decide what you can do to make a difference. There isn’t a lot of time left.— Karen KahnShare28Tweet15Share1Email44 Shareslast_img read more

Connected TV settop provider Roku has become the

first_imgConnected TV set-top provider Roku has become the latest US over-the-top video specialist to launch in the UK. Two of its streaming players can from today be pre-ordered from Amazon in the UK and Ireland, the first time the devices have been made available to European customers.The devices currently offers more that 40 channels of content including on-demand films and content from Netflix, which launched its own UK service on Monday, giving users the chance to watch Netflix content on TVs. Roku said it would announce “major content” partners for the UK and Ireland by the time the devices ship to customers in those countries at the end of January.Roku also offers live and on-demand sport from MLB.TV and the Ultimate Fighting organisation, music from Classical TV and Tuneln, photos and videos from Facebook and Flickr, news and entertainment from WSJ Live and FoxNews.com along with various games including Angry Birds.“Roku launched the first ever streaming player to deliver Netflix to consumers in the US and now we are among the first to bring Netflix to residents of the UK and Ireland,” said Clive Hudson, vice-president and general manager for Europe at Roku. “In addition to Netflix, we are launching with a variety of entertainment channels and look forward to expanding our content selection in the same way that we have in the US where we have more than 400 channels today.”The Roku LT is the cheaper device with a retail price of £49.99 (€60). It connects to TVs and to the internet via WiFi and supports up to 720p HD video. The Roku 2 XS costs £99.99 and offers the same content found on the LT but with the addition of games. It comes with a motion-controlled games remote and a MicroSD slot for additional game storage. It supports up to 1080p HD video and comes with a USB port.last_img read more