Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation KIEV, Ukraine (AP) – Facing international criticism, Ukraine’s ruling party announced Wednesday it’s recalling a bill that envisioned jail time for defamation _ a rare victory for civil society in the ex-Soviet nation.Critics of the proposed legislation, which was backed by the ruling party-dominated parliament, said it would have enabled censorship and been used by authorities to silence government critics. The bill, which last week passed a first reading, called for penalties of up to five years in jail for defamation. The draft law drew condemnation from international watchdogs and prompted leading news outlets in Ukraine to put up black banners on their websites.One of Ukraine’s top magazines, Korrespondent, said its issue this week would feature a blank cover to protest the bill.President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions said one its lawmakers, Vitaly Zhuravsky, had recalled his bill from parliament and would rework it together with civil society groups. Yanukovych, who is in New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly, said Zhuravsky made the decision after talking with him and fellow party members.“Such decisions cannot be made hastily,” Yanukovych was quoted as saying on his website.Watchdogs say media freedoms in Ukraine have come under threat since Yanukovych came to power two years ago. They accuse the government of resorting to censorship and pressuring independent news outlets ahead of the Oct. 28 parliamentary election.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Top Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizona Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Comments Share Check your body, save your life Sponsored Stories Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day
Quest Apartment Hotels has opened Quest West Perth at 54 Kings Park Road, the first of four brand new properties the leading accommodation provider will open in Western Australia this year; adding a further 395 extra rooms to Perth’s hotel supply.The new property is Quest’s second in West Perth, joining the well-established and highly successful Quest on Rheola in order to offerguests a wider range of options, while meeting a growing demand for quality accommodation in the area. Quest CEO, Zed Sanjana announced this new chapter in the Quest WA network as the state surges forward on the global business stage.“With so many large scale projects in the pipeline, the City of Perth is sure to see a dramatic transformation over the next ten years, reflecting the growing global importance of the city, bringing more commercial space and therefore a greater workforce into the Perth CBD,” said Mr Sanjana.“The state of Western Australia is at the forefront of research in a number of key technologies for the global economy over the next decade.“To date the State Government has committed to several major redevelopment projects, including the $1 billion Gateway WA project improving access to and from the Perth Airport precinct, the $2 million Fiona Stanley Hospital and the new $1.2 billion Perth Children’s Hospital.“Located only a few kilometres from three of city’s largest hospitals, Quest West Perth is also within walking distance to the new Kings Square development, further increasing employment opportunities in the local area.“Today’s opening is just the beginning of Quest’s growth in WA, with an additional 395 rooms on offer by the end of 2016,” he concluded.Quest West Perth Franchisee, Lloyd McAuley expressed his enthusiasm and belief in the success of the opening of the new Quest property.“I am thrilled to open our doors today in West Perth, one of hte city’s most exclusive business districts,” Mr McAuley said.“Quest West Perth is ideally situated in the heart of the resources corporate engine room, and in close proximity to world class health care facilities, leading education institutions and key tourist attractions; what better opportunity could we ask for?”“With a number of significant infrastructure project currently underway and those already existing in the Perth CBD and surrounding areas including Elizabeth Quay, we foresee strong continued demand for Quest’s style of accommodation.”Developed by Exklusiv Kings Park, the brand new property features 72 studio apartments. Guest have access to a onsite gym, reception, and conference room facility. Quest ApartmentsSource = Quest Apartment Hotels
London, England – Reported by Elite Traveler, the Private Jet Lifestyle MagazineHaving satisfied the palates of distinguished travelers for the past 170 years, Cunard Line continues this tradition as it announces the fine restaurants and bars aboard the Line’s newest ship, Queen Elizabeth, debuting this fall. Guests will be treated to an array of experiences, some of which pay homage to fondly remembered venues on the fleet’s predecessors and others that expand upon the successful restaurants and bars currently aboard sister ships, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. The venues will exhibit art deco flourishes, rich wood paneling, intricate mosaics, gleaming chandeliers and cool marbles, each having a distinct design that enhances the room’s purpose and recalls the much loved traditions of Cunard Line.“In planning for the dining and bar options to be offered on board Queen Elizabeth, we looked for inspiration in all the venues that Cunard has created during its history and built upon the best of its offerings,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “With the debut of Queen Elizabeth, Cunard will become one of the oldest names in ocean travel, sailing the industry’s youngest fleet, so it is natural for us to recognize our past while always innovating for the future needs of today’s discerning traveler.”Whether guests look to participate in traditional British tea service, meet up with friends for a cocktail, indulge in a sumptuous meal or find a quiet table to enjoy a nightcap, they will find themselves surrounded by elegant décor, treated to Cunard’s signature White Star Service TM and the finest in food and beverage offerings. Heading the multi-layered culinary program is Cunard’s renowned Global Culinary Ambassador Jean-Marie Zimmermann, who continues to define the culinary standards for excellence aboard flagship Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and now Queen Elizabeth.The Verandah – Continuing a Tradition of Fine Dining at Sea In their day, The Verandah Grills on Queen Mary and the original Queen Elizabeth were perhaps the most exclusive dining rooms at sea, on a par with exclusive private clubs in London, New York and Paris. On the former Queens, The Verandah Grills were available to first-class passengers who wanted a truly exclusive experience. The rooms would be frequented by royalty, film stars, the rich and the famous. In keeping with this tradition, The Verandah restaurant on the new Queen Elizabeth will offer an experience that encompasses exquisite cuisine, contemporary design and impeccable service.With menus created by Chef Zimmermann, The Verandah, located on Deck 2, will be a celebration of fine French cuisine, paying homage to the chef’s homeland. A light and elegant room, views of the ocean and the Grand Lobby will set the tone for a distinguished dining experience. The art is inspired by the playful and whimsical murals on the first two Queens and the vintage menus tell a story of the dining experience on board the original Queen Elizabeth.Guests will experience an emotional link to those that dined on the original Queen Elizabeth whilst enjoying the very best in French Cuisine.The dishes served will take guests on a culinary journey through France, evoking the special personality and flavor of regions such as Périgord, Pyrenees, Alsace, Bresse and Burgundy. Sourcing products from the finest purveyors, including many in France, Chef Zimmermann will combine these with the best methods to achieve the quintessential taste experience. Guests can look forward to enjoying culinary masterpieces, such as Monkfish and Rascas Fish Bouillabaisse, Magret Duck, Baked Brie de Meaux Brioche, and Hot Vanilla Soufflé infused with Edmond Briottet Peach Liqueur. The anticipated alternative restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner for a small surcharge.The Grills – The Ultimate in World-Class Private Dining at Sea The restaurants will follow a similar pattern to the award-winning Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, with the Line’s celebrated five-star Queens Grill and Princess Grill restaurants being offered to those guests in Grills suites. Both the Queens Grill and Princess Grill restaurants will be located on top of the ship (Deck 11), enclosed by graceful and gently curving panoramic glass walls on the seaboard sides, and cantilevered out over the side of the vessel above Deck 10. The Grills restaurants will offer a single seating, allowing for guests to enter at a time of their choosing. A la carte menus will be featured in both restaurants, featuring classic dishes Cunarders have come to know well and some new specialties.The restaurants, although architecturally similar, will be decorated distinctly in an Art Deco fashion to create an individual feel in each dining room. Grills guests also will have exclusive use of their own private bar and lounge, conveniently located next to the Grills restaurants, complete with resident Concierge.French-style doors will open from each Grills restaurant onto the Courtyard, an exclusive patio area, where al fresco dining will be offered. Steps will lead up to the Grills Terrace, a secluded retreat that is on the ship’s uppermost deck, where Grills guests can enjoy luxurious sun beds and dedicated waiter service.Britannia Restaurant – Refined Dining and Service at Its Best The main dining room, the Britannia Restaurant, is destined to be one of the most remarkable dining rooms at sea, spanning Decks 2 and 3 at the stern of the vessel. Art Deco decorative flourishes create a dramatic backdrop for this two-tiered dining room that is sure to evoke memories of classic ocean liner restaurants. A sweeping staircase, ideal for making a grand entrance, and a backlit decorative ceiling are among the focal points. Breakfast and lunch will be served by open seating and guests have the option of either early or late sitting for dinner.Britannia Club – Separate Single Seating Restaurant Like Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth also will offer the Britannia Club, where guests traveling in AA category staterooms will enjoy single-seating dining at a time of their choosing. New for Queen Elizabeth is that this is a separate dining room. The exclusive dining room will be rich with art deco flourishes, a beautiful ceiling with backlit decorative glass panels, a sand-blasted decorative glass wall and panoramic windows for sea views.Exploring the World’s Cuisines in the Lido Restaurants Open 24 hours a day, The Lido Restaurants on Deck 9 will be light, spacious, casual areas with wonderful sea views. Taking note of the cuisines from the exotic destinations that the Line visits during its legendary World Voyages, the Cunard culinary team presents a range of global dishes, offering guests an array of gourmet options that are sure to satisfy any palate. During the day, breakfast and lunch will be served buffet-style.In the evenings, the dining experience is elevated when one of three regional cuisines is highlighted and waiter table service becomes available. Each is offered for a three-day period and include:. Asado – The true essence of South American cuisine, Asado will feature the traditional style of cooking meats on a grill. Guests may choose from a selection of dishes from the Rotisserie and Grill, such as Roasted Chimmichuri Chicken and Argentinean Lamb Chops with Pistachio.. Aztec – A cut above the rest, featuring fine and authentic regional Mexican cuisine. Aztec will explore the variety of spices and ingredients which are native to the country. Guests can look forward to appetizing dishes such as Chile Relleno de Espinaca and Banana-Wrapped Snapper Veracruzana. Jasmine – Pan-Asian cuisine, drawing on influences from Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and China. Tantalizing dishes are inspired by the many flavors of the region, producing dishes that range from Aromatic Crispy Duck to Char Siew Pau.Nods to Past Queens Provide Familiar Venues for Cocktails and Light Bites Named after a room on the first Queen Elizabeth and inspired by the glass houses at Kew Gardens, The Garden Lounge will be a palm-filled conservatory with a magnificent vaulted glass ceiling, making it a truly light and airy place to sit by day. Murals of garden parties gracing the walls will lend to the open and whimsical feeling of the room. On select days at sea, the venue, located on Deck 9, will serve Champagne afternoon tea service, featuring Veuve Clicquot Champagne, for a surcharge of $25 per person. Occasional evening “Supper Clubs” will present guests with the opportunity to mix dining with dancing under the stars. Small plates of savories and sweets will be served while live musical entertainment is presented.As a successor to Queen Elizabeth 2, the ship also will reflect this great liner via artwork and memorabilia and will have its very own Yacht Club, named after the lively aft lounge on QE2. Located on Deck 10, the nautically-themed room will offer guests 270-degree views and the perfect setting for activities and gatherings during the day. It also will double as a dramatic evening venue for cocktails and dancing. The Yacht Club will re-create the much loved ambience and experience that was so appreciated on board QE2 for many years.The original Queen Elizabeth will be celebrated in the Midships Bar on Deck 3 in a space named after one of the more popular spaces on the original ship. Cabinets will house memorabilia from that liner with artwork reminiscent of the 1930s and 1940s. A piano will provide the perfect opportunity for lively musical evenings in the intimate lounge and – as they did on the original Queen Elizabeth – guests will meet at the end of the day to share the news and happenings of the day.Current Favorites Provide Ideal Settings for Cocktails and Nibbles Queen Elizabeth will offer a range of bars and clubs to suit a wide range of tastes with a variety of atmospheres.On Deck 10, guests will find the Commodore Club, a nautically-themed observation lounge, similar to that on Queen Victoria. Rich leathers and wood paneling give the feel of a classic private club. Maritime buffs will be treated to models of the entire current fleet, as well as murals depicting the liner and the historic moment when Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria met in Southampton. Providing extensive views over the ship’s bow and a host of intimate seating areas, the space is the perfect venue to enjoy a martini, cozy up with a novel or just watch the world float by.Due to the popularity of Café Carinthia on Queen Victoria, this inviting lounge will return to Queen Elizabeth and offer guests even more space to enjoy conversation and libations. Touting a leaded-glass ceiling, marbles and Art Deco touches, the space will be a beautiful retreat where guests will be able to choose from a selection of sweet pastries, fine teas and coffees. Located in a central position on Deck 2, overlooking the Grand Lobby, the Café is an ideal place for people watching.The Golden Lion Pub, another Cunard signature, will offer English pub food for lunch in a traditional British pub setting. From fish and chips to shepherd’s pie, guests will be able to enjoy a taste of the United Kingdom, no matter where in the world the ship is sailing. They also can select from a variety of ales and catch a sporting event on the plasma screen televisions in Cunard’s popular pub, located on Deck 2.A Cunard Tradition – Afternoon Tea in the Queens Room Queen Elizabeth’s two-deck Queens Room ballroom, another Cunard signature feature, is designed for traditional English afternoon tea service, complete with finger sandwiches and freshly baked scones with jam and cream, served by white-gloved waiters. Musicians will play soft melodies, creating a soothing background for this civilized custom that has become a Cunard hallmark. This grand room on Decks 2 and 3 highlights Cunard’s royal links and traditions and will have murals inspired by views from royal palaces and a photographic collection of Cunard’s Royal ship namings.Queen Elizabeth will be the second largest Cunarder ever built and will join her sisters, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, as part of the youngest fleet in the world. The first Queen Elizabeth was one of Cunard’s greatest ships, and the new Queen Elizabeth will reflect her predecessor in interior grandeur, décor and style, but with a modern twist.Queen Elizabeth will depart on her Maiden Voyage on Tuesday 12 October 2010. This 13-night celebration will leave from the company’s home port, Southampton, and will call at Vigo, Lisbon, Cadiz, Las Palmas, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (overnight call) and Funchal. She will then embark on five celebratory maiden voyages to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Caribbean.www.cunard.com
by Jennifer Peltz, The Associated Press Posted Mar 15, 2018 1:56 pm PDT Last Updated Mar 15, 2018 at 5:00 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Conductor Levine, ousted after sex abuse inquiry, sues Met NEW YORK, N.Y. – Conductor James Levine sued the Metropolitan Opera on Thursday after a sexual misconduct investigation sank his storied career, saying the renowned company exploited baseless allegations to tarnish him and then fired him without so much as a phone call.“Cynically hijacking the good will of the #MeToo movement,” the Met and its general manager, Peter Gelb, “brazenly seized on these allegations as a pretext to end a longstanding personal campaign to force Levine out of the Met,” said Levine’s suit, filed in a Manhattan state court.But a lawyer for the Met said Levine wasn’t the victim of a vendetta but a man fired because of “credible and corroborated evidence of sexual misconduct.”“It is shocking that Mr. Levine has refused to accept responsibility for his actions and has today instead decided to lash out at the Met with a suit riddled with untruths,” attorney Bettina (Betsy) Plevan said in a statement.The suit accuses the Met and Gelb of defamation and breach of contract. It seeks at least $5.8 million in damages — and “to restore Levine’s name, reputation and career.”Unleashed three days after his ouster, the suit represents Levine’s most extensive public effort to date to combat allegations of sexual abuse and harassment that go back decades.Levine’s suit says one of his accusers sent him friendly letters for decades after their alleged encounter that never accused him of wrongdoing, and even talked of visiting. The suit says the Met wouldn’t tell Levine who some accusers were but acknowledged no one who worked at the opera company made a complaint about him during his 46 years there.The opera company suspended Levine and began an investigation in December, after the New York Post and The New York Times aired allegations of sexual misconduct from three men who said it took place decades ago when they were teenage music students or aspiring conductors. A fourth man later came forward to say Levine had sexually abused him when he was a 20-year-old music student.Levine, 74, has called the claims unfounded.“I have not lived my life as an oppressor or an aggressor,” he said in a December statement. “My fervent hope is that in time, people will come to understand the truth.”He hasn’t been charged with any crime. Prosecutors in Lake County, Illinois, said in December they had investigated a 1980s sexual abuse allegation but concluded that they could not bring charges, citing factors including the age of consent — 16 — at the time.But the Met said Monday that its investigation, by an outside lawyer, found credible evidence of “sexually abusive and harassing conduct” both before and during Levine’s tenure there.His suit calls the investigation “nothing more than a kangaroo court” that capped years of efforts by Gelb to get rid of him.“Gelb pursued this agenda for his personal gain to advance his own career and step out of the long shadow cast by Levine’s incredible talent,” says the complaint from Gelb’s lawyers, Elkan Abramowitz and Edward J.M. Little.The events have brought scrutiny upon the Met, as well as Levine.One of the world’s most prominent opera companies, the Met has faced questions about why it didn’t act sooner, particularly since a Lake Forest detective contacted the company in October 2016.Gelb has said he briefed Met board leaders about the police investigation and spoke to Levine. But at the time, the opera company decided to leave the matter to police, a Met spokeswoman said in December.The Met said its own inquiry found any claims of a Met “coverup of information relating to these issues are completely unsubstantiated.”After Leonard Bernstein’s 1990 death, Levine was regarded as the top American conductor, so widely known he was given a starring role in the film “Fantasia 2000.”He made his Met debut in 1971, became chief conductor in 1973, then music or artistic director from 1976 until he stepped down two years ago because of Parkinson’s disease. Levine then became music director emeritus and headed the Met’s young artists program until his suspension.He has conducted from a wheelchair since a 2011 spinal injury.The Met paid Levine’s company, Phramus LLC, over $1.8 million for his services as music director in the year ending July 31, 2016, according to the Met’s last-released tax return. The lawsuit says his pay as music director emeritus dropped to $400,000, plus additional pay for performances.___Associated Press writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.
Categories: News 26Feb Heise invites residents to March office hours to discuss state and local issues State Rep. Kurt Heise invites residents of the 20th District to meet with him during office hours in March.Heise’s office hours are scheduled for Monday, March 9, at the following times and locations:In Canton at Parthenon Coney Island, 39910 Ford Road from 10 to 11 a.m.;In Northville at Northville District Library, 212 W. Cady St. from 12 to 1 p.m; andIn Plymouth at Plymouth District Library, 223 S. Main St. from 3 to 4 p.m.“I always look forward to meeting with the members of our community so that I can listen to every voice that needs to be heard,” said Heise, R-Plymouth. “The most important job I have is to be a productive liaison between my neighbors and Lansing.”No appointments are necessary for these office hours. Residents who are not able to attend are encouraged to contact Heise’s office by phone at 1-855-REPKURT, or by email at KurtHeise@house.mi.gov.###
12Jan Rep. Noble announces FIRST Robotics grants to local schools State Rep. Jeff Noble today announced a combined grant award of $18,100 to FIRST Robotics programs at Northville Public Schools and Plymouth-Canton Community Schools from the Michigan Department of Education.Northville’s Robostangs and Redbulls robotics teams were awarded $2,500 and $1,300 respectively, with Plymouth-Canton receiving over $14,000 to 26 programs ranging from elementary to high-school levels.“I’m very proud of Northville and Plymouth-Canton schools for securing this important funding,” Noble said. “It is essential to continue providing opportunities and funding to our students, teachers, and school districts.”FIRST is an international educational organization focusing on the development and implementation of science and technology in schools. The Michigan Department of Education awarded over $2.5 million in grants to FIRST programs in public and non-public schools this year. Since 2014, Michigan has invested over $12 million to FIRST programs.PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Jeff Noble with students from Northville’s Robostangs robotics team during the Michigan Association of Computer Users and Learning Annual Technology Showcase in December. Categories: Noble News
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares February 10, 2015; NewsweekAs NPQ’s Shafaq Hasan noted in last week’s coverage of the #NetGain program at the Ford Foundation, social media is an avenue for expression and communication made available to people in the street—to activists and protestors, to educators and communicators—and not just the well-heeled and powerful. That’s why news like the continuing struggles of social media users in Turkey catches our attention, as governmental efforts to choke off social media are transparently attempts to stanch free speech and dissent.Last week, Turkey’s family and social policies minister, Ayşenur İslam, said he wanted to investigate whether the game “Minecraft” promoted aggression and celebrated violence against women. It’s a concern that even critics of violent online games never considered, given that Minecraft isn’t widely viewed as a violent game. Dr. Andrew Przybylski, an experimental psychologist and research fellow from the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University, was quoted in Newsweek to say, “Thinking of investigating Minecraft for being violent is the equivalent of ordering an investigation into violent Lego playing.”There may be a little knee-jerk anti-Internet conditioning in the minister’s concerns about Minecraft. For a putative parliamentary democracy, Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been rather hostile to some forms of social media, particularly Twitter, which the Erdoğan government banned last spring after media recordings that appeared to implicate Erdoğan and his advisors in a corruption scandal were spread by Twitter users. Although the Turkish courts forced the government to end its Twitter ban, the president has been slow to warm to tweets. In August, for example, he said that social media was a “knife in the hand of a murderer” and proclaimed that he doesn’t “tweet” or “schmeet.”Perhaps, despite the official suspicions of the dangers of Minecraft, Turkey’s Twitter chill may be receding. A day before the Minecraft warning, President Erdoğan sent his first-ever tweet, or at least the first official one from his official account, @RT_Erdogan—an account previously used by Erdoğan supporters, but in this case signed “RTE” to signal that it was, according to his public communications head, Mucahit Kucukyilmaz, really “his Excellency’s own account” with a tweet directly from him.Interestingly, President Erdoğan used the occasion to send a tweet that was much like the tweets of many nonprofit advocates: On Turkey’s national anti-smoking day, Erdoğan tweeted, “Get a grip of yourself against this poison” and used the hashtag #SigarayaTeslimOlma, which means, “don’t give in to cigarettes.” Maybe the president is starting to understand some of the positive utility of Twitter, as the last time we looked, his tweet had 22,028 retweets and 28,008 favorites. Bugün 9 Şubat Dünya Sigarayı Bırakma Günü. Bu zehre karşı sen de iradene sahip ol ve #SigarayaTeslimOlma RTE— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RT_Erdogan) February 9, 2015 Nonetheless, in the wake of the killings at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, a Turkish court last month banned access to a couple of online news services that it said were going to show the Charlie Hebdo magazine cover with the image of the Prophet Mohammed. In addition, although the secular Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet chose not to reprint the Charlie Hebdo cover, it did reprint some pages from the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo as a statement of solidarity, which prompted Turkish police to stop and search Cumhuriyet trucks. Despite government hostility to the reprinting of anything, visual or not, associated with Charlie Hebdo, the hashtag #ÜlkemdeCharlieHebdoDağitilamaz (“Charlie Hebdo cannot be distributed in my country”) became wildly popular among Turkish Twitter users.Later in January, another Turkish court threatened to shut down Twitter unless Twitter blocked the BirGün newspaper’s posts of documents concerning another government action, this one concerning the government’s intelligence services. The online source Engadget said that Twitter actually had agreed to delete individual posts, but that apparently didn’t satisfy the Turkish court in question. Twitter seems to be the government’s bête noire, though apparently governmental enmity extends to Facebook. The New York Times reported late in January that Facebook had agreed to block Turkish users’ access to pages that the Turkish government contends had insulted the Prophet Mohammed.Remember that in 2014, Turkey ranked 154th in the World Press Freedom Index, behind Kyrgyzstan (97), Uganda (110), Tajikistan (115), Venezuela (116), South Sudan (119), Afghanistan (128), Zimbabwe (135), Myanmar/Burma (145), Russia (148), and Iraq (153). Perhaps President Erdoğan’s recent foray into the Twittersphere will teach him that the effective use of social media for messages such as his anti-smoking campaign is a two-way street: Social media works best when it is restricted least.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share10TweetShare7Email17 SharesWelcome to Delaware / MPD01605May 21, 2016; Delaware State News/State Capital DailyIn Delaware, only 76 nonprofits are specifically exempt from local property taxes. A number of others don’t pay all of their property taxes. But this makes the First State unusual in that regard.In most of the 50 states, nonprofits are exempt from state and local property taxes by law, without the need for specifically applying for it once an entity has obtained its IRS 501(c)(3) status. But Delaware exempts nonprofits through legislation specific to individual organizations by granting them exemptions in bills introduced in the General Assembly, according to the Delaware State News.Since legislators choose which organizations will not have to pay property taxes, they can propose an exemption for a specific nonprofit, typically one in their districts, making the process very political. In most of the other states, with a few exceptions, the exemption is routinely granted under general rules and regulations governing nonprofit corporations.In Delaware, the burden of obtaining a property tax exemption falls on the nonprofit itself, based on its relationship with the legislator, making such exemptions rather haphazard. The State News says that “not all proposals pass, but the ones that do typically receive no floor votes against.”Since 2009, the state’s legislature has exempted only eight nonprofits, as well as a few community-run swimming pools and land trusts. The list of exempt organizations dates back to the late 1800s—many are local groups, although national organizations like the Salvation Army, American Legion, and Habitat for Humanity are also tax-exempt.The State News brought attention to the situation because three nonprofits have been proposed for tax-exempt status this year, including an affordable housing developer and a drug treatment facility. And even the exemption’s sponsor told the paper that he is concerned that “too many organizations cleared from having to pay property taxes could backfire.”Because the exemption process is inherently political, the opportunity for abuse and influence-peddling exists in a way that doesn’t in states where tax-exempt status is routinely granted to bona-fide 501(c)(3)s. The paper points out the common refrain that while “many nonprofits undoubtedly provide valuable services, saving the state and local government from having to spend funds in certain areas…lifting the tax requirement for too many could create trouble for counties and municipalities by limiting their revenue.”Many cities and towns in Delaware make use of PILOTs,(payments in lieu of taxes) as an alternative to collecting property taxes on real estate owned by tax-exempt organizations. This is a common practice in the eastern U.S., where localities rely heavily on property tax revenues. In some places with a large number of government-owned, tax-exempt buildings, the state offers subsidies to the municipality.Most states, including Delaware, do not exempt nonprofits from paying sales taxes on the goods and services they purchase, although some give nonprofits breaks or rebates on such taxes, either automatically or through an application process. Municipalities (cities, counties, school districts, townships, etc.) in some states will only exempt non-real estate property, such as office equipment, and some assess property taxes on the portion of real estate not used to further a nonprofit’s mission (e.g., a hospital-owned fitness center open to general membership as well as being used for medical rehabilitation). It’s important for nonprofits to track the laws of their state, and engage in the political process if it is unfortunate enough to be located in a state where exemptions are granted on a case-by-case basis.—Larry KaplanShare10TweetShare7Email17 Shares
Share30TweetShare4Email34 SharesBy Cogiati (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia CommonsMarch 3, 2017; Department of StateThe U.S. State Department issued its annual report tracking human rights abuses worldwide on Friday, highlighting both ongoing crises like the brutal war on drugs in the Philippines as well as long-simmering conflicts including Israeli-Palestinian relations, and China’s position on Hong Kong’s autonomy.Given that the 41st annual Human Rights Reports were issued by the Trump administration, the rollout naturally included some controversy, which centered on the decision by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson not to hold an official unveiling.“Our values are our interests when it comes to human rights. The production of these reports underscores our commitment to freedom, democracy, and the human rights guaranteed to all individuals around the world,” Tillerson said in a preface to the reports.Critics argued that his absence gave the report less attention, as Reuters reported, with only an anonymous U.S. official answering reporters’ questions by phone instead of the usual press conference. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) even tweeted:For 1st time in a long time @StateDept #humanrights report will not be presented by Secretary of State. I hope they reconsider.The administration’s commitment to human rights was already under fire, after news recently emerged that the U.S. was considering leaving the United Nations’ Human Rights Council under new Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley.Will America’s future role as a policeman of the world change under President Trump? It’s still too soon to tell.Here are a few items of note in the reports, which cover nearly 200 countries and territories:Haaretz reported that the Human Rights Reports devoted one of the largest number of pages—second only to China—to the human rights situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories and abuses by both sides. The coverage was also the largest for any country in the Middle East.Many media sources noted that the report rightly critiqued the Philippines, where police and vigilantes killed more than 6,000 suspected drug dealers and users since July under President Duterte.Iran rejected the report, while Taiwan’s president called for reforms after the country was criticized for exploiting migrant workers.While the reports are always a good benchmark on human rights around the world, many countries are justified in pointing a finger back at America, which doesn’t exactly have a perfect record. From the UN declaring the Flint water crisis a violation of human rights to our history of racial discrimination called out by world, there is no shortage of work to be done both here and abroad.—Anna BerryShare30TweetShare4Email34 Shares
Share15Tweet10ShareEmail25 Shares“Gov. Malloy Signs Law Providing Wage Increases for Workers Who Care for People with Disabilities.”May 5, 2018; Connecticut MirrorAverting a threatened strike and following a vote by the state house, the Connecticut Senate voted earlier this week 29-4 to approve hikes for 19,000 union and nonunion workers who care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The bill was then quickly signed into law by Governor Dannel P. Malloy. These direct care workers, many of whom work for private nonprofit group homes supported by state funding, had not seen a raise in over ten years. In this case, as we reported recently, the nonprofit employers supported a strike by their own employees to ensure the state-backed a rate increase.The minimum wage for these workers, which is now around $11.20 per hour, will increase to $14.75 per hour, according to SEIU 1199, whose 2,500 members staffing 250 group homes had threatened a strike last week. The strike was called off when the Senate agreed to raise the direct care worker wage floor. Workers earning more than $14.75 per hour will receive a five percent increase.In a campaign ad targeting state senators, workers explained that low pay forces them to work as much as 80 or 90 hours a week. “You know what SB 400 means to me? More time with my family,” one worker said.Many direct care workers love what they do, but it has been increasingly difficult for them to make ends meet as state legislatures squeeze their Medicaid budgets. NPQ has written frequently about the “wage ghettos” created by underfunding of nonprofit direct services.“For far too long, the people who provide care to our most vulnerable neighbors have been underpaid for their critical work,” said Governor Dan Malloy. “The action taken by the Senate today will ensure thy are compensated fairly.”The Senate agreed to appropriate $21.5 million for the second half of this fiscal year, and $43.1 million in FY2019–2020 to cover the wage increases. The state will be reimbursed through federal Medicaid funds for half that amount.No doubt, in Connecticut, where the state has faced enormous budget woes, there will be much gnashing of teeth about priorities for balancing the budget. But for far too long, states have balanced their budgets on the backs of the most vulnerable, including people with disabilities and the women and people of color who care for them. The result, according to a 2017 report from the advocacy group ANCOR, is constant turnover, vacancies, and poor quality care, which affects families across the state who have loved ones who need services.“We greatly appreciate the Senate, the House and the Governor for taking up this important matter that will positively impact the lives and wages of 18,000 workers and thousands of clients across the state,” said SEIU 1199 spokesperson Jennifer Schneider. “Today the Senate ended a twelve-year drought of funding for services for the disabled in the private sector. Caring for people with disabilities is a difficult and important job and the workers who provide these services deserve to be valued.”— Karen KahnShare15Tweet10ShareEmail25 Shares
Swedish free and pay broadcaster TV4 Group posted revenues of SEK5.555 billion (€630 million) for the year, up from SEK5.365 billion in 2010. However operating profit fell from SEK826 million to SEK529 million, thanks in part to increased investment in programming.The company said that 2011 was its best year for audience ratings since monitoring began in 1994. The group’s channels scored a collective 31.4% rating in the 12-59 years age range.According to TV4, pay TV arm C More/Canal Plus managed to reverse some of the decline in subscribers that resulted from its 2010 loss of Premier League football rights in the second half of the year. The unit broadened its offering with the launch of the Canal Plus Family channel and the launch of Canal 9 in Norway. Johan Kleberg was named as CEO of C More in January, replacing Jonas Eriksson.
Broadcast management software provider Pilat Media and streaming solutions provider SimpleStream have joined forces to launch OTTilus, a new company specialising in over-the-top video solutions for broadcasters, platform operators and new media ventures.OTTilus will be a jointly owned company with Pilat Media owning 60% and SimpleStream owning the remainder. For an initial period of five years and subject to some exclusions, OTTilus will be the parties’ exclusive vehicle for delivering OTT solutions to TV broadcasters and operators.“With OTTilus, we will combine our 14 years of broadcast management expertise and global presence with the existing technology and talent pool that SimpleStream brings to the joint venture to focus on the emerging OTT market,” said Avi Engel, CEO of Pilat Media.SimpleStream’s OTT platform currently has 14 users in the UK, including TV channels the Food Network, At the Races and Ideal Shopping. Pilat Media is involved with several OTT-related projects in which its Integrated Broadcast Management System’s (IBMS) multiplatform rights, content, and media management capabilities are used as part of wider multivendor solutions.
Discovery Networks International’s Mark Hollinger talks to DTVE about his strategy for growth and the development of new services, and about new opportunities in the CEE region.
UK-based Digital TV Labs has unveiled what is says is the first conformance testing service for the new HbbTV logo programme for hybrid devices.The new HbbTV logo program enables manufacturers to display compliance with the HbbTV specification and official test suite in return for an annual licence fee. The Digital TV Labs programme includes periodic market sample audits as well as a compliance system for suspected non-compliant devices.The test regime will be based on Digital TV Labs’ Ligada iSuite, its platform for HbbTV and MPEG-DASH.The company will also use its HbbTV 1.5 test suite and country-specific suites to provide compliance testing for the rench TNT2.0 and Spanish TDT Hibrida HbbTV platforms.Keith Potter, CEO of Digital TV Labs, said, “We recognise that the growing adoption of HbbTV across Europe – and now into Asia – means that interoperability is vitally important to guarantee the continuing success of the standard and a quality user experience. The new HbbTV logo programme, incorporating a rigorous compliance monitoring regime, provides clear indication of HbbTV device compliance.”
UK local TV operation London Live will stop making and buying entertainment series, and instead focus on news and current affairs programming.Programming execs such as head of programming and commissioning Jonathan Boseley and commissioning executive Derren Lawford – formerly BBC Worldwide’s head of programming and scheduling for the Global iPlayer – will be affected by the decision.They will be “reapportioned” to the London Live’s news and current affairs team, which is planning to create new positions in coming months.London Live, which is part of former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt’s local TV initiative, said a decision to boost news programming would have a “knock-on reduction” to original entertainment commissions and acquired programmes. This would align it closer with sister newspaper the London Evening Standard, itadded.This comes after ESTV, which provides London Live programming, called for media regulator Ofcom to reduce to number of local content the channel must air during peak hours.London Live’s original commissions include Food Junkies, F2 and Drag Queens of London, though the channel has struggled with small viewing figures since launch in March.“I am extraordinarily proud of what Jonathan Boseley and his team have achieved, in record time, and delivered on previously unheard-of tariffs, but I am also excited to take the station in a new editorial direction this autumn that will capitalise on ESI Media’s unique attributes to take the channel from strength to strength into its next season and beyond,” said London Live COO Tim Kirkman.The news is latest blow to Britain’s local TV initiative, coming just eight days after Birmingham’s City TV became the first to collapse and call in administrators.
Arris reported year-on-year drops in revenue and profits in the third quarter, citing “headwinds” related to “telco capex, industry consolidations and the strong US dollar”.Commenting on the results, Arris chairman and CEO, Bob Stanzione, said that he remained “confident about our future business prospects” and said that Arris’ pending takeover of Pace will make the company “even better positioned for future growth.”“Last week the shareholders of both Arris and Pace approved the combination and we continue to work to satisfy the remaining regulatory conditions to close the transaction,” said Stanzione.Overall in the quarter, Arris’ revenues came in at US$1.22 billion (€1.11 billion), down 13.1% year-on-year. Net income attributable to the company was US$26.3 million, compared to US$54.6 million a year earlier.“Our third quarter results were in line with our expectations and are lower than the third quarter of last year when we were launching an unprecedented number of new products,” said Stanzione.
Rob SalterVideo-on-demand aggregator Vubiquity is planning to launch a retail product that will allow consumers to buy digital content, initially movies, in high-street retail outlets in multiple markets.Vubiquity said it is discussion with multiple retailers in a number of different territories about the plan, which would mark its first move into the retail digital space.Vubiquity has hired Rob Salter, formerly CEO of home entertainment supply chain specialist Reverbz Media, to head up the new initiative as vice-president of retail. Vubiquity will use Reverbz to provide the physical supply chain for the service in the retail environment, while Vubiquity will provide digital content services, including content licensing, processing for multiplatform viewing, metadata management, and digital distribution.Vubiquity said the product would enable consumer to purchase digital movies in retail outlets, often weeks before they are available on DVD, Blu-ray or VoD.“We are delighted to have brought Rob to the Vubiquity team. Together we bring a wealth of retail and supply chain management experience giving the credibility to our customers to help shape and deliver these exciting new retail services. We will provide a range of fully integrated, end-to-end services that are very compelling for retailers, content owners and consumers alike,” said Nick Ruczaj, SVP Commercial EMEA at Vubiquity.“Vubiquity has the scale and resources to support the digital retail experience that the market has been calling for a response to for the last 12 months. We are excited to be moving into the delivery phase.”Salter said: “I am thrilled to be working with Vubiquity. We see an excellent opportunity to grow significant business in this channel. Retailers have driven the growth of home entertainment and the building of personal video collections since the first VHS tapes in the mid-1980s. We believe retailers will continue to be a key part of the future of selling video in the digital age. Vubiquity wants to support retailers’ ambitions to go on selling content to their customers in disc form, and also help them go beyond the disc into digital ownership and consumption.”
Stranger ThingsStreaming service Netflix has ordered a pair of tween-skewed scripted series, on of which comes from CBBC, a Bill Nye talk show and a second season of summer hit Stranger Things.The tween series are an untitled Horse Mystery project and one based on Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch novels, both of which are billed as featuring “tenacious girls” in coming-of-age stories.The Horse Mystery show will be set on a beautiful island off the coast of England and follows an American girl who befriends a dangerous horse and realises a thrilling mystery is unravelling around her. Jaylen Barron (Good Luck Charlie) stars as the lead character, Zoe.Rebecca Hodgson, Kate Little and Claire Poyser executive produce, with Paul Norton Walker (Shameless) directing the ten-part series.All3Media-owned UK prodco Lime Pictures is attached to produce ahead of a 2017 launch date in all Netflix territories.Also coming in the same year is The Worst Witch, which will feature the clumsy Mildred Hubble character and her adventures as a student at Miss Cackle’s Academy For Witches.Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones) stars in the twelve-part series.CBBC Productions is producing in collaboration with Germany’s ZDF and its commercial arm, ZDF Enterprises and Netflix. In the UK and Germany, the series will debut on the respective pubcasters before being made available on Netflix.Bill Nye Saves the World, meanwhile, will be talk show set for spring 2017. Scientist, inventor and comedian Nye will in each episode tackle a topic from a scientific point of views to dispel myths espoused by political leaders, religious leaders and industry titans.This will be his first role on television since the 1990s series he created, Bill Nye the Science Guy, which ran for five seasons.“Since the start of the Science Guy show, I’ve been on a mission to change the world by getting people everywhere excited about the fundamental ideas in science,” said Nye.“Today, I’m excited to be working with Netflix on a new show, where we’ll discuss the complex scientific issues facing us today, with episodes on vaccinations, genetically modified foods and climate change. With the right science and good writing, we’ll do our best to enlighten and entertain our audience. And, perhaps we’ll change the world a little.”Bunim/Murray Productions, which yesterday made a series of management promotions and hires, is producing for Netflix. Gil Goldschein and Julie Pizzi executive produce, alongside Michael Naidus (The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson), who will also executive produce.In further Netflix programming news, the SVOD service has renewed Stranger Thingsfor a second season.The first season has become one of the most talked-about series in the world, with it recently becoming the most in-demand programme in the UK.Writer/creators Matt and Ross Duffer will return for the second run, with 21 Laps producing and Shawn Levy, Dan Cohen and the Duffer brothers executive producing.
Some 74% of adult broadband users in the US can now access broadband video and pay TV Services on a home TV, according to new research by The Diffusion Group (TDG).The study claims that the penetration of internet-connected TVs among US broadband homes has increased from 50% in 2013 to 74% at year-end 2016.However, this growth has now slowed to only 4% year-on-year, having risen by 22% between 2013 and 2014, and by another 15% between 2014 and 2015.“At 74% penetration, connected TV use is squarely in the Late Mainstream phase of its trajectory. Barring any major disruption in TV technology or market conditions, growth will slow each year as the solution reaches saturation,” said TDG president and director of research, Michael Greeson.
Sonja BruggerFox Networks Group (FNG) Europe and Africa has appointed Sky buyer Sonja Brugger as vice president of acquisitions across the regions.Brugger will be based in London and begin her new role in October.She will lead content strategy and acquisitions. The regional operations include Fox branded channel feeds and the new non-linear product, Fox+, which was launched in France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Greece.Brugger will join FNG Europe & Africa after nine years at paycaster Sky. She is currently VP of content strategy and acquisitions at Sky Germany.Diego Londono, COO at FNG Europe & Africa, said: “Sonja is a seasoned professional with over 20 years’ industry experience.“Her experience in both acquisition and content strategy, combined with her understanding of broadcaster and platform environments across basic pay, free-to-air and VOD will be hugely beneficial to our organisation as we continue to invest in must-have content and innovate in ways to make this content accessible.”UK culture, media and sport secretary of state Karen Bradley recently said she was minded to refer FNG parent 21st Century Fox’s proposed takeover of Sky to the country’s competition watchdog.