Canadians save up to 40 off with Fall Only in Cayman deals

first_img Thursday, August 24, 2017 Canadians save up to 40% off with ‘Fall Only in Cayman’ deals TORONTO — The Cayman Islands is offering Canadian travellers a sequel to summer with its annual Fall Only in Cayman promotion with up to 40% off accommodations, watersports and dining.To qualify vacations must be booked by Oct. 31, 2017 for travel between Sept. 5 and Dec. 15, 2017.Known as ‘the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean’, the Cayman Islands are also famous for their beautiful beaches plus some of the world’s best scuba diving.The following lodging deals include resort credits, dive packages and reduced rates up to 40% off:HOTELSHoliday Inn ResortComfort SuitesWyndham Reef ResortMargaritaville Beach ResortSunset HouseCarib Sands Beach ResortClearly Cayman Dive ResortsGrand Cayman Marriott Beach ResortThe Ritz-Carlton, Grand CaymanPACKAGES:WestJet Vacations – Grand Cayman Marriott Beach ResortCONDOMINIUMS / VILLAS / GUEST HOUSES:Ocean Paradise Ltd.Avalon CondominiumsCayman CondosCayman VillasGrand Cayman Villas and CondosSunset CoveWindsong PropertiesLuxury Cayman VillasMore news:  Flight Centre Travel Group takes full ownership of Quebec-based agencySee visitcaymanislands.ca for details. Travelweek Group Posted bycenter_img Tags: Cayman Islands, Promotions Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Costa Rica evaluates lifting ban on Mexican avocados

first_imgGuac lovers, rejoice: Costa Rica’s ban on imports of Hass avocados from Mexico could end as soon as this year.The Agriculture and Livestock Ministry (MAG) confirmed that its officials are engaged in a negotiation process to sign a bilateral agreement with Mexico to renew the import of the fruit, a very popular food in Tico homes and restaurants.Officials are currently drafting technical and legal aspects of a protocol for the agreement that would end the ban that Costa Rica issued against Hass avocados from Mexico and eight other countries on May 5, 2015.At the time, MAG’s Phytosanitary Service argued that it was a preventive measure to avoid spreading the sunblotch virus on local avocado plantations.The ministry said in a news release that the new protocol would allow it to negotiate renewed imports from Mexico by midyear.The protocol establishes a series of mitigation actions from both countries to avoid the entrance of the disease. MAG is proposing mandatory lab tests and increased sanitary controls at entry ports for Mexican avocados.Another measure under consideration is approval only for the entry of avocados from areas certified as sunblotch-free. This option, however, would represent increased costs for importers.MAG officials are also working on the implementation of a new laboratory to conduct inspections on samples of all imported avocados. The ministry said the lab would be ready to evaluate samples of Mexican Hass avocados and varieties from other countries later this year.Contentious banThe ministry’s ban on avocado has caused problems for importers, distributors, restaurants, retail stores and a large segment of the population.According to figures from Costa Rica’s Foreign Trade Promotion Office, Mexican Hass avocados make up 80 percent of the 12,563 metric tons of the fruit that the country imported in 2014, the year before the ban went into effect.There are just over 900 avocado farmers in Costa Rica, and local production barely reaches 2,000 metric tons per year, according to the MAG.The ban has prompted shortages at different periods, and retail prices of Hass avocados have almost doubled just one year after the ban.It also boosted a black market for coveted Hass avocados now available in farmers markets and other retails locations around the country.Importers have tried to supply the local demand with imports from other locations, primarily from South America, but import prices are higher than those from Mexico. The country recently started buying avocados from the Dominican Republic.According to MAG’s data, the last recorded import price for Mexican Hass avocados was ₡18,000 ($31) for a 10-kilogram box.Costa Rica is now importing Hass avocados from Peru at prices up to ₡28,000 ($49) per box, and up to ₡30,000 ($52) a box from Chile.Mexico, the world’s largest producer and exporter of avocados, threatened to file arbitration against Costa Rica before the World Trade Organization, but the government has conducted negotiations to avoid the legal complaint.Costa Rica’s ban also revoked import permits for Hass avocados from Australia, Spain, Ghana, Guatemala, Israel, South Africa, Venezuela, and the state of Florida. Renewing import permits for those countries would require bilateral negotiations with each one, the ministry noted. Facebook Comments Related posts:Mexico takes Costa Rica ban on avocados to World Trade Organization Costa Rican importers decry black market avocados 1 year after ban Police seize 20,000 contraband avocados at Panama border Moín cargo terminal will not be ready in Januarylast_img read more

House approves legislation to create public threat alert system

first_img Categories: Maturen News 11May House approves legislation to create public threat alert system Bills establish plan for alerting residents during active shooter situationsThe Michigan House of Representatives today approved bipartisan legislation to establish a system for alerting residents in the event of a public threat, such as an active shooter situation or an act of terrorism.The bill package was introduced by three Kalamazoo-area lawmakers in the wake of the Feb. 20 mass shooting that claimed the lives of six individuals and critically injured two.House Bill 5442, introduced by Rep. Brandt Iden, R-Oshtemo, will establish the Public Threat Alert System to rapidly disseminate information to the public whenever there is a threat. The Michigan State Police would design and maintain the system, which would work similar to the Amber Alert system.House Bill 5449, introduced by Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, will make it a Class F felony to knowingly make a false report of a public threat.House Bill 5567, introduced by Rep. Dave Maturen, will allow a court to order a person convicted of falsely reporting a public threat to reimburse the state and/or local government for the expenses incurred as a result of the false report.“The tragic shootings in Kalamazoo County highlight the need for law enforcement officers to have a quick way to spread awareness to residents when a situation like this is taking place,” said Rep. Maturen, R-Vicksburg. “Our comprehensive bill package not only establishes the Public Threat Alert System, but also creates regulations to help ensure that no one with ill intentions takes advantage of the system.”The bills now head to the Senate for consideration.#####last_img read more

Rep Cole delays vote that would promote Detroit Lions

first_img Categories: Cole News 28Sep Rep. Cole delays vote that would promote Detroit Lions In light of some NFL players refusing to stand for the national anthem and the public response by multiple team owners, state Rep. Triston Cole on Tuesday decided to remove a bill from House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee agenda that would help promote the team on Michigan license plates.The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee was scheduled on Tuesday to consider a bill to create a fundraising license plate with a Detroit Lions logo, but Cole, the committee chair, said he and other committee members now want to wait before deciding whether to consider the bill. “While I support people’s right to peacefully protest, I also believe that disrespecting our flag and national anthem ultimately disparages the brave Americans who gave their lives for our great country,” said Cole, of Mancelona. “The committee is not ready to consider this legislation at this time.”“Our flag and anthem are meant to unite us as Americans, and their disrespectful behavior is misguided and inappropriate,” Cole said. “Professional athletes have the freedom to express their views off the field without disrespecting the brave men and women who are fighting for that freedom.”Cole said the National Football League game operation manual states that during the national anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking.The U.S. Code also states that people should stand during the national anthem.The legislation, Senate Bill 178, remains under consideration in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee###last_img read more

Rep Calleys resolution names January as Mentoring Month

first_img Categories: Calley News State Rep. Julie Calley of Portland introduced a resolution on Thursday to name January as Mentoring Month in the state of Michigan. The resolution was unanimously adopted by the House of Representatives.“I am confident that all of us in this room had the advantage of a mentor,” Rep. Calley said addressing her colleagues on the House floor. “Whether it be a family member, friend, educator or co-worker, we have all benefited from the wisdom and leadership of people we respect.”“Here’s a statistic that should give us pause: one in three young people in the U.S. will reach the age of 19 without having a mentor of any kind,” continued Calley.The Michigan Community Service Commission, the state’s lead agency on volunteerism, is participating through one of its signature initiatives, Mentor Michigan.Through this program, the Community Service Commission provides support services to mentoring and youth development programs statewide. It also ensures quality mentoring best practices, administers technical assistance, and manages software that enables programs to recruit mentors and increase visibility.To become a mentor or learn more about Mentor Michigan, please visit www.michigan.gov/mentormichigan/. 12Jan Rep. Calley’s resolution names January as Mentoring Monthlast_img read more

Rep Whiteford announces June office hours

first_img Categories: Whiteford News 17May Rep. Whiteford announces June office hours State Rep. Mary Whiteford will meet with Allegan County residents during scheduled office hours next month.“By personally listening to your questions and concerns, I can ensure I am delivering results for local residents,” Rep. Whiteford said. “I hope you’ll join me next month to share what’s on your mind!”Rep. Whiteford will be available Monday, June 17 at the following times and locations:10 to 11 a.m. at Laketown Township Hall, 4338 Beeline Rd. in Holland; and12 to 1 p.m. at the Allegan District Library, 331 Hubbard St. in Allegan.No appointments are necessary. Those who are unable to attend at the scheduled times, but would like an opportunity to talk with Rep. Whiteford may call her office at (517) 373-0836 or email MaryWhiteford@house.mi.gov.###last_img read more

Rep Frederick applauds Michigan House support for Shiawassee County following tornadoes

first_img Categories: Frederick News,News ### 06Jun Rep. Frederick applauds Michigan House support for Shiawassee County following tornadoescenter_img State Rep. Ben Frederick today led the Michigan House in approving financial relief to help Shiawassee County law enforcement agencies pay needed expenses following mid-March tornadoes that stressed public safety budgets.The House approved $163,000 in documented expenses to help first responders bridge the gap for extra costs. The money will be distributed to 13 agencies in the county.Frederick and state Sen. Tom Barrett began work to secure the funding in the state budget following Gov. Whitmer’s unexpected decision to not declare a state of emergency. Such a declaration would have provided immediate access to emergency relief dollars of an equivalent amount.“Our community rallied together and stayed strong in the face of adversity,” said Frederick, of Owosso, after the House approved the funding. “Our first responders and law enforcement agencies led the charge, working around the clock while partnering to keep our families safe.”Two tornadoes touched down in Shiawassee County on March 14 – damaging 94 homes, four businesses, 16 barns and several vehicles – with properties in Vernon, Venice and Shiawassee townships particularly hard hit.“Everyone came together and did what had to be done – for our community, and for each other,” Frederick said. “That’s part of what makes Shiawassee County so special.“I appreciate both sides of the aisle now coming together to ensure our Shiawassee County first responders are supported.”last_img read more

Fed Contracting Case Bad News for Nonprofits

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares December 22, 2013; Washington PostAlthough the National Council of Nonprofits and the Urban Institute released powerful reports on challenges of contracting and payments for nonprofit recipients of governmental grants and contracts, no one should be surprised that the revelations didn’t lead to epiphanies in attitudes and behavior on the parts of federal agencies.Running the gamut of federal courts right now is a case pitting the federal government against the Shoshone-Paiute tribes living on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation that covers parts of Nevada and Idaho. The federal government had agreed to compensate the tribes for running a hospital on the reservation, but reneged. The tribes sued, won twice in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the federal government is still fighting not to pay. In fact, the Obama administration has asked Congress to approve a plan for permanently limiting how much Native American tribes could be compensated for specific costs associated with government contracts.This is no isolated issue. The precedential implications are obvious to the federal contractors and other tribes that have joined with the Shoshone-Paiutes to press the federal government to pay up rather than negotiating partial payments. According to the Washington Post, hundreds of tribes say that they are owed some $2 billion collectively. Representing 229 tribes with more than $350 million in unpaid claims, Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) warns that the federal government’s attitude “should put some fear into the small, medium and large contractors.”Like the National Council/Urban Institute findings, this isn’t a new problem, and it has implications for nonprofit contractors in particular. The costs in agreements for education, public safety, and health programs that the feds are resisting are support costs such as legal, accounting, insurance, worker’s compensation, and travel, much of which sounds like overhead costs. Nonprofits know all too well that insufficient indirect or overhead compensation can spell the difference between organizational success and failure. For the tribes on these contracts, these costs are estimated to run to about 20 percent of the contract value, but for other kinds of federal contractors, the proportion could be as high as 30 percent or more, according to the Post.The practice of the Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to pay only part of the tribes’ costs whenever the two agencies ran short of money has gone on for decades. The Obama administration has told the Supreme Court that it doesn’t have the money in its budget to pay the full amount obligated by its agreements with the tribes. In an amicus brief, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce weighed in on behalf of the tribes, arguing, “The government’s position would have the effect of making contracts illusory by giving it a broad right to refuse payment at the stated price for services rendered.” The Chamber added, “This proposed regime is grossly unfair to contractors, but it also does not serve well the government, which will find it difficult to find contracting partners willing to take on such risk.”Although the Court ruled that the government is responsible for the full amount due under the contract regardless of appropriations, the Obama administration hasn’t complied. The agencies even questioned their own estimates of “shortfalls” (they submit annual “shortfall reports” to Congress), suggesting that they were only estimates and needed to be verified before making any payments, and now the Administration is searching for ways of retroactively capping what it owes.The Shoshone-Paiutes’ Duck Valley reservation is hardly a huge bastion of resources, but in many cases, the tribes and for-profit contractors have a lot more wherewithal for dealing with vicissitudes in governmental reimbursement practices than nonprofit contractors. A recent survey of 220 federal contractors, presumably mostly for-profit, though the report didn’t specify, suggests that many are still reeling from the effects of the sequester. The survey conducted by two firms, Lohfeld Consulting Group and Market Connections, found that 77 percent of respondents predicted that they would end 2013 with government sales flat or declining compared to the previous year. In contrast to 21 percent of large business respondents, 39 percent of self-identified small businesses predicted declines of more than 10 percent. About one-third of the respondents said that they were significantly impacted by the combined impact of the sequester and the brief government shutdown.It isn’t hard to imagine that potential nonprofit respondents might have reported equally difficult financial results on their federal contracting in 2013. Although there is now a budget deal between Congress and the White House, it trims but doesn’t end the sequester, much less do away with the cuts already incurred by nonprofits working on the domestic discretionary parts of the federal budget. The uptick in federal money for fiscal 2014 isn’t much, won’t undo most agencies’ recent if not chronic shortfalls, and may still lead the White House to pursue escape hatches allowing agencies not to pay parts of contractors’ overhead costs. Hopefully, the ultimate resolution of the Shoshone-Paiutes argument regarding the Duck Valley reservation hospital will be useful to nonprofits: If the federal government signs a contract, it should pay up what it owes, and not find ways to renege on contractual commitments.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

82 Shot 14 Killed in Chicago over July 4th Time for Nonprofits

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares July 7, 2014; USA TodayFourteen people were killed over the July 4th weekend. They weren’t killed in auto accidents or by misdirected Roman candles, but by people wielding firearms. Eighty-two people were shot. It’s the kind of total one might expect in a nation torn by a civil war, not in just one U.S. city over a holiday weekend. It is hard to believe.At least five of the 14 were killed by police, including two teenagers—14 and 16 years old—who reportedly refused police orders to drop their weapons. According to the Chicago Tribune, many of the wounded are in critical condition, so it is possible that the July 4th tally of deaths due to gun violence may rise. While most of the victims were young, one of the victims was a 66-year-old woman, who was shot in the head as she walked up the steps to the porch of her home.The news from Chicago was so awful that the national press paid little attention to July 4th weekend killings elsewhere in the U.S. In Indianapolis, a police officer was killed amidst shootings over the holiday. Multiple shootings left at least four people dead in San Francisco. A number of shootings in Long Beach left at least one person dead. Two people were killed in Baltimore over the holiday.And so it goes: wherever one looks, deaths due to gun violence in city after city. But Chicago is a special case. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who had made reducing gun violence a cornerstone of his administration, decried the shootings as “senseless” and “unacceptable.” There is no question that Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy is sadly correct that the reason for the unending gun violence in Chicago is primarily due to the proliferation of firearms.In the wake of the Chicago slaughter, there will be marches, and calls, and candlelight vigils, and pledges of community building, and ceremonies, and on and on. They are all worthwhile, but none will work without getting guns off the streets, pure and simple. If anyone needs any justification for gun control, Chicago’s bloody Independence Day weekend is all that is needed.But where is the nonprofit sector? The nonprofit sector writ large has nothing in common with the National Rifle Association and its ilk, which have deep-sixed even the most modest of legislative gun control approaches, such as background checks and the banning of weapons that are better suited to battlefields than neighborhoods. Every single nonprofit that has a whit of concern for the health and safety of 14-year-old teenagers and 66-year-old women ought to be outraged by our nation’s self-slaughter, played out in the streets of Chicago. It isn’t a violation of bans on political electioneering for nonprofit employees, board members, and volunteers—as individuals, but en masse—to tell this nation’s feckless and often gutless politicians that the time for reining in the gun terror of America’s cities in now. Enough!—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

Heritage Foundation Hacked after Critique of Obamas Cybersecurity

first_imgShare9TweetShareEmail9 Shares September 2, 2015; PoliticoPolitico reports that a right-wing think tank suffered a data breach this week that nabbed sensitive emails and donor information, some of which may now be circulating on the Internet.Heritage Foundation spokesperson Wesley Denton confirmed that the group “experienced a malicious, unauthorized data breach of six-year-old documents on an external server that appear to contain personal information of private donors, who we are notifying,” but he stopped short of verifying that the files appearing online were authentic.Think tanks have a special allure for foreign hackers. Earlier in the year, NPQ reported on the hacking of the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics, which involved the files of 600,000–700,000 charities. Neither is this the first such attack on the Heritage Foundation: In 2012, a foundation spokesman told USA Today that it had once foiled an attack that was thought to have originated in China.Denton refrained from getting into specifics. “We have a longstanding policy that we do not comment on private donor or internal staff communications,” he said.The Daily Signal, which is the news outlet of the foundation, has taken the Obama administration and federal agencies such as the Office of Personnel Management to task for what it sees as lax cybersecurity. How embarrassing to live in a glass house when you just threw a bunch of stones! But this was not mentioned by Denton, who was busy portraying the foundation as on the case. “Our internal servers were not part of this breach and we have taken—and will continue to take — all appropriate steps to ensure that our members have the ability to support public policy organizations free from intimidation,” Denton said.—Ruth McCambridgeShare9TweetShareEmail9 Shareslast_img read more

Immigration Reform Activists Regroup after Crushing Disappointment

first_imgShare206TweetShare12Email218 SharesThousands of social justice advocates, immigrants, and faith leaders at the Supreme Court in support of President Obama’s DAPA/DACA / Br. Christian Seno, OFMJune 23, 2016; New York TimesOn Wednesday night, Reform Immigration for America hosted a national community call to discuss the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s recent action on the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA+) program and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. Featuring leaders, activists and individuals personally affected by whether or not DAPA and DACA+ may be implemented, the call addressed a variety of issues on the minds of immigrants and those who support immigration reform.As the NPQ nonprofit newswire wrote last year, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this past spring in U.S. v. Texas to determine whether they would unfreeze President Obama’s two executive actions for DACA+ and DAPA. The two measures affect four million children and parents of children without documentation who have lived in the U.S. since 2010, and would allow them to remain in the country for three years if they meet specific criteria. Under both actions, decisions are to be made on a case-by-case basis; approval can be revoked at any time, and the measures do not guarantee a path to permanent U.S. residency or citizenship. Individuals can get a Social Security number and a green light for employment, and would be eligible for Social Security benefits after paying into the system for ten years (as is the requirement for U.S. citizens).Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court announced it had deadlocked in the case, which left in place the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling blocking the plan because, in the words of the opinion:The interpretation of those provisions that the Secretary advances would allow him to grant lawful presence and work authorization to any illegal alien in the United States—an untenable position in light of the [Immigration and Naturalization Act]’s intricate system of immigration classifications and employment eligibility. Even with “special deference” to the Secretary, the INA flatly does not permit the reclassification of millions of illegal aliens as lawfully present and thereby make them newly eligible for a host of federal and state benefits, including work authorization.On a community phone call Wednesday night with immigration leaders and activists from around the country, Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, put the SCOTUS action into stark terms, calling it a “non-decision” and concluding that the Court simply did not have the courage “to stand up to Texas.” However, while DAPA is therefore blocked from implementation in all 50 states, no precedent was established (because there wasn’t a decision) and she reassured participants on the call that the action does not affect the DACA executive actions from 2012—and that those eligible for renewal must come forward.Hincapié went on to note that following the deadlock, NILC immediately called on the Department of Justice to seek a rehearing so that when a ninth Justice is appointed to the Court, the case can be reheard. She recommended that groups sign onto a letter to the DOJ being circulated by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (under Supreme Court rules, the DOJ must make that request by July 18th). The legal strategy is a long-term plan, however, and Hincapié cautioned participants that if the DOJ seeks a rehearing, the timeline for an ultimate decision would still be up to two years away, with proceedings likely to be in late 2017 at the earliest.The legal strategy, therefore, is just one of the tools that advocates will use in combination with ongoing organizing, policies, and strategies. To the latter point, Hincapié encouraged immigration reform advocates to continue demanding that the Obama administration makes sure that detentions and deportations are limited, and to get the administration to back off from its ongoing detention of Central American families. Paramount, in her opinion, is that the next president be supportive of immigrants.In response to a caller from Houston, who was worried about her husband who had started the process but was waiting for a decision, Hincapié acknowledged that there is little that people in tenuous situations can do to speed up the process, although she did indicate that if Republicans lose by a large margin in November, the Senate may confirm a ninth Justice in a lame duck session. More important, in her opinion, is for individuals to speak to local community organizations that have attorneys on staff who can interview people who may be eligible for other types of relief separate from DAPA and DACA+, such as the “I-601 waiver.” (The I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, as Hincapié explained, allows certain relatives of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to apply for a provisional waiver in the U.S. so that they can adjust their status without being barred from returning to the U.S. for three or ten years.)Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA, was blunt in his interpretation of the Court action, calling out the justices for lacking the “courage and integrity to keep politics out of the courtroom.” He urged the call’s participants to stay involved.We will continue to fight to move [DAPA and DACA+] forward. It was the hard work of our families that brought the case to the Supreme Court. As to the remaining six million who don’t qualify for either initiative, we stand together with them. But this year, right now, our fight is also against hate and xenophobia and is in favor of dignity and comprehensive immigration reform that offers a path to citizenship.Torres encouraged the callers to see the setback as a catalyst for stepped-up advocacy and reminded them that Prop 187 in California, for instance, was a wake-up call for Latinos and immigrants.They began to organize. Their hard work paid off. I share this story to remind all of us that even when it looks most difficult, there is always a way forward. We need to demand and secure justice for our people. Register to vote. If you cannot vote, but know people who are eligible, encourage them to register and vote—to vote for you and your family, so that together the Latino and immigrant vote is heard loud and clear in these elections. Let’s join together to fight hard to stop this madness.Greisa Martinez, advocacy director at the United We Dream Network, spoke about the work that went into DACA in 2012 and DAPA in 2014 and urged callers to recognize the role they played in creating those victories.These weren’t “gifts” from Obama or the Democrats—we won them because we rose up and chose to fight. There are haters out there trying to take our victories away and push us back into the shadows. Our message to the haters is, we are not going anywhere. We are inevitable.The Movement of Immigrants in America, or Mia, as it is known, is a new membership organization formed by 17 local and regional grassroots groups from across the U.S. As a 501(c)(4), Mia can lobby for legislation and advocate on behalf of candidates. Gustavo Andrade, founding executive director of the organization, echoed those speakers before him in their determination to continue pushing for immigration reform and in the power of the voting block they represent: “This year’s too important. The representatives have never been more bold, aggressive, and racist in their messaging. We need to build strong organizations and institutions and send a message to Trump that he’s not going to make it anywhere near the White House if we have anything to do about it.”—Patricia SchaeferShare206TweetShare12Email218 Shareslast_img read more

Arts Politics and Funding in Florida Are Nonprofits Watching

first_imgShare4TweetShareEmail4 SharesOctober 19, 2018; St. Pete Catalyst and the Tampa Bay TimesFunding for the arts in this country has been a strange game for a very long time. These days, with President Trump continuing to call for the end of federal funding through the National Endowment for the Arts, the game remains as ridiculous as ever, if not more so. Of course, this call to end NEA funding has been a clarion call for conservatives for a long time and we are used to it. The good news recently, as reported by NPQ’s Eileen Cunniffe, is that despite this call, NEA’s allocation has gone up! On the other hand, Cunniffe also recently summarized a report that has mixed news about arts funding in the past 40 years.In the past week, three separate reports have given us a snapshot of just how weird the arts funding game remains. One report is about support for the arts in Florida, another is specifically about the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, and the third explores impact investment in the arts.In last week’s Tampa Bay Times, Andrew Meecham covers the fallout from a massive cut in state funding for the arts. In 2014, an election year, the arts received $43 million in support from the state. By 2017, that had been reduced to $25 million after a series of cuts every year. But this year, funding was cut by about 90 percent to $2.6 million. Governor Rick Scott has said that costs incurred from recent disasters like Hurricane Irma and the Parkland shootings are the reason for the cuts, but cuts made like this are seldom simply a temporary measure.There have been some positive responses to this crisis, with a limited number of philanthropists and foundations increasing their support for the arts. But, as Meecham says, this is a stopgap and is likely unsustainable.So, we turn to the fact that this is another election year and the race for governor of the state appears to be wide open. Scott is not running again, so there is no incumbent. Andrew Gillum is running against Ron DeSantis. DeSantis, a congressman, has received the endorsement of President Trump and is calling for increased cuts in taxes, which would not bode well for arts funding. Gillum is the mayor of Tallahassee, where the Community Redevelopment Agency, headed by Gillum, offered $3 million to arts and humanities organizations in a program called Call2 Arts.On the local level, St. Petersburg saw the reverse situation. A report by Bill DeYoung at the St. Pete Catalyst shares the good news that the City Council voted last Thursday to increase funding to the arts. The amount is relatively small, with a $50,000 increase to a total of $355,000, but following the massive cut in the state allocation, this offers a ray of sunshine. The venerable American Stage Company and the Salvador Dali Museum each received slightly more than $15,000, so the grants are indeed small, but as Wayne Atherholt, director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs is quoted as saying, “It’s a good, happy thing that we’re doing.”But calculations like these are frightening and probably leave many arts administrators unhappy as they do the very real math in their heads again and again. It’s just another argument for nonprofits to understand how critical it is to get out the vote. Without being at all partisan, choices must be made in terms of tax expenditures— among many other things—and those choices have great consequences for all kinds of fields, including the arts in Florida.—Rob MeiksinsShare4TweetShareEmail4 Shareslast_img read more

Continued strong increases in mobile and tablet us

first_imgContinued strong increases in mobile and tablet use, as well as improved measurement of radio plays helped drive BBC iPlayer to a record-breaking January, according to the latest statistics on the catch-up service to be released by the BBC.There were 272 million iPlayer requests in January, up 26% on the previous month. TV requests passed the 200 million mark for the first time. There were 37 million TV requests on tablets, up from 26 million in December, and requests on mobile devices grew to 38 million from 28 million in December. TV requests on computers grew from 77 million to 87 million month-on-month, with smaller increases for TV platform operators, Smart TVs and games consoles.Overall numbers were boosted by a fix to the reporting of radio statistics on computers, which had not been functioning properly during the previous few months.Top iPlayer TV shows included episode one of Africa, with 2.279 million requests, followed by Top Gear, series 19, episode one, with 1.887 million and Miranda, series 3, episode 3, with 1.794 million. Comedy show Miranda took six of the top 20 iPlayer TV slots, while wildlife documentary series Africa occupied four of the top 20 slots.last_img read more

Polands new TV platform nc goes live today with

first_imgPoland’s new TV platform nc+ goes live today, with the firm confirming that a ADB-manufactured set-top will be offered with the service, called MediaBox.The new platform is the result of a merger between Polish pay TV operators Cyfra Plus and ‘n’ at the end of last year. Its competitors in the market include Cyfrowy Polsat, UPC Polska, Multimedia Polska and Vectra.last_img

Conditional access provider Conax has secured a de

first_imgConditional access provider Conax has secured a deal with Mexican cable operator Cablemás to support the expansion of its video-on-demand platform.Cablemás will use Conax Xtend Multiscreen to roll out additional VOD content to multiscreen users in the residential and hospitality market via hybrid set-top boxes provided by Evolution Digital.Conax’s Xtend Multiscreen solution supports VOD and other advanced services such as catch-up, live TV, nDVR and multiscreen.Integrating the VOD part of the Conax Xtend Multiscreen solution will provide Cablemás with flexibility to add more local content to its platform.Cablemás has chosen an encoding and head end platform from Harmonic and CDN infrastructure from Juniper. Evolution Digital, Conax and middleware partner Cubiware will handle the integration of the Conax Xtend Multiscreen solution and new hybrid boxes into the Cablemás operations.Televisa-owned Cablemás serves over 1.6 million pay TV customers and 600,000 broadband clients.Rohit Mehra, vice-president, Americas, Conax, said, “Over the last few years, working hand-in-hand with the  team at Cablemás and our strategic partners Evolution Digital and Cubiware for middleware, we continue to evolve and foster innovative and future-driven solutions for guiding Cablemas through digitization and beyond for realizing new revenue channels and churn protection. Conax and partners are privileged to work with the forward-thinking and skilled team at Cablemás.”Conax will be exhibiting at ANGA COM on Stand K21, Hall 10.2.last_img read more

Russias recently launched public broadcast channe

first_imgRussia’s recently launched public broadcast channel PTV will run out of money by the end of August unless a new funding solution is found, according to general director Anatoly Lysenko.In an interview with Russian news site ComNews, Lysenko said that PTV had received only about two thirds of the funds required to launch and operate a channel.PTV received funding formerly allocated to defence ministry channel Star, which, unlike PTV, had also been allowed to carry advertising. Lysenko said the channel will have spent about RUB700 million by the end of July on creating the necessary technical facilities.Lysenko said that by the end of Autust the government would have the option of either closing the channel or finding new funds.last_img read more

BTs ad campaign for BT Sport BT and Virgin Media

first_imgBT’s ad campaign for BT SportBT and Virgin Media have agreed a deal for the carriage of the BT Sport channels on the UK cable platform. The deal means that BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2 and ESPN will be available to Virgin Media XL TV subscribers at no extra cost, in HD.Customers on other packages will have the option to upgrade to the XL pack or to add the BT channels, including HD variants, to their existing package for an additional £15 (€17.50) a month.BT’s channels will also be made available as part of the Virgin TV Anywhere offering for mobiles, tablets and online.“Virgin Media homes are kicking-off the new season with the most complete sporting line-up around in one simple subscription, from Barclays Premier League football and Aviva Premiership rugby to F1, live golf and the culmination of a great Ashes series. We’re excited to announce our deal with BT, making these fantastic new channels available at no extra cost to millions of Virgin TV viewers and in HD as standard,” said Dana Strong, Virgin Media’s chief operating officer.The BT Sport channels were previously available via the BT Vision and YouView services, free to BT Broadband customers, and on the Sky satellite platform, retailed by BT for £15 a month to non-BT Broadband customers.last_img read more

Music video service Vevo has launched an app for S

first_imgMusic video service Vevo has launched an app for Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players, giving users access to its library of 75,000 music videos, original programming and live concerts. The app will, by default, open to display Vevo’s always-on broadcast-style linear music channel, which it launched earlier this year. However, viewers can also select genre channels of music, play their own playlists, or browse for specific artists or videos.The Vevo app is available on 2012 and 2013 models of Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players in Europe in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK. Viewers in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, can also access it.last_img read more

Lithuanian service provider Teo is to provide publ

first_imgLithuanian service provider Teo is to provide public WiFi for a large-scale indoor arena in Vilnius, enabling spectators to access video on their smartphones during performances.Teo will provide WiFi for the Vilnius Siemens Arena. According to Teo, spectators will be able to use the WiFi provided to view videos as well as share photos and personal media. The company has created about 70 hotspots within the venue to prevent signal distortion and reduce impact from devices transmitting in the same frequency.Video distribution in public arenas is seen as a key application of LTE multicast technologies being developed and deployed by a number of companies worldwide.“Most arenas in Europe dream of the possibility to provide a multi-thousand crowd of event visitors with high-quality Wi-Fi connectivity. Upon implementation of this project, we will become the arena which has ensured free Wi-Fi connectivity for the largest number of people in the entire region,” said – Juras Vėželis, CEO of the Vilnius Siemens Arena.“Smart mobile phones have become a form of computer, and the audience wants to not only watch events, but also to simultaneously share the moments of events with their friends or to keep track of event statistics on the internet. This is not possible without high-quality, high-speed Internet access.”last_img read more

YouTube is launching a new data tool called Music

first_imgYouTube is launching a new data tool called Music Insights, that it says will help artists to plan tours, get local radio play and build online buzz. The new tool is part of YouTube’s recently launched YouTube for Artists service and will offer information about the cities around the world where an artist is most popular, the top tracks by artist, and views of official music videos and fan-uploaded videos.“This data can help you get a song added to radio by showing a programmer how big your local fan base is. It can be a great resource when mapping a tour, since top cities could be a good indicator for where fans might come out to see a concert. And you can share insights from your data to build buzz for a new video or express appreciation to the fans who helped get you here,” said YouTube for Artists product manager.YouTube said Music Insights offers data for more than 10,000 of the most popular artists on YouTube and Google with more to be added “all the time”.last_img read more