Top Stories Sponsored Stories Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments Share The vital role family plays in society The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 5 ways to recognize low testosterone New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) – The prime minister of unrest-wracked Bahrain says Gulf Arab leaders are ready for closer ties on security and foreign policy issues to confront pressures such as Arab Spring uprisings and tensions with Iran.The Gulf Cooperation Council is scheduled to meet Monday in Riyadh to examine ideas for greater union. Proposals have included more open borders and a regional defense force.Bahrain’s prime minister, Sheik Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, was quoted Sunday by a Saudi newspaper as saying that he expects union plans to move ahead. Calls have intensified during the 15-month uprising against Bahrain’s monarchy. Iran’s nuclear program has also stoked concerns. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches
12Apr Rep. LaFave: Road funding for Upper Peninsula Categories: LaFave News Like you, I’m frustrated with the condition of our roads.That’s why I fought for a plan to provide an additional $175 million in road and bridge funding statewide without raising taxes or fees. The money will go directly to counties, cities and villages for road preservation and construction.Some of the communities in line for additional funding include Menominee County ($376,372), Dickinson County ($313,720), and Delta County ($418,066). Local cities and villages also will receive funding including Carney ($3,268), Daggett ($4,290), Escanaba ($102,891), Garden ($2,044), Gladstone ($48,247), Iron Mountain ($69,973), Kingsford ($46,900), Menominee City ($72,393), Norway ($31,603), Powers ($5,225) and Stephenson ($9,488).This money will be used for the current construction season and will have a positive impact on our communities.This additional money comes on top of earlier projections and record level road funding for local allocations in 2018, including Menominee County ($4,872,198), Dickinson County ($4,005,073) Delta County ($5,389,322), Escanaba ($1,336,613), Gladstone ($626,754) and Iron Mountain ($908,997).The Michigan Department of Transportation will work closely with local road commissions to ensure our roads last longer and are properly maintained. There have already been many projects announced in Menominee, Dickinson and Delta counties for 2018 and 2019.The projects will improve road conditions and make travel safer.Some of the Menominee County projects include:• Sealing and pothole patching at locations to be determined by the road commission;• Finish paving the No. 10 Lane Bridge over the Little River; and• Complete construction of Bay De Noc Road from Birch Creek Road to north of No. 7 Road.Some of the Dickinson County projects include:• Crush, shape and pave in Waucedah and Norway townships;• Paving projects in Breitung Township;• Reconstruction and drainage correction of a section of Leeman Road; and• Paving County Road 577 and County Road 607.Some of the Delta County projects include:• Reconstruct and overlay 18.5 miles of Highway 13;• Pave 1.75 miles of County Road 416; and• Seal about 60 miles of primary and local roads.I will work closely with MDOT and local road commissions to ensure they have the resources to complete these local projects.I will continue to fight for the residents in our community and make sure that road funding makes it way north of the Mackinac Bridge.###
Share30TweetShare10Email40 Shares July 28, 2015; National Public Radio, “nprED”In large cities across the country, public schools districts are consolidating schools. Sadly, once the schools close, many of the buildings remain vacant, breeding crime and hemorrhaging resources.Over the last decade, many major cities from Chicago to Tulsa lost large numbers of families with school-aged children. As these families moved to the suburbs, the infrastructure that supported them also emptied, particularly the schools. Many city districts consolidated and closed schools. In the 2010 school year alone, two percent of all public schools in the U.S. were closed. As schools close, one question rarely considered is what happens to the abandoned buildings afterward.Over the last 43 years, the number of students in the St. Louis, Missouri school district fell almost 80 percent from 115,543 to 24,000. This drastic drop led to the closing of 43 out of the 111 schools in the city, most in the last ten years. Virginia Savage understands this trend too well. Her area is filled with vacant buildings, including the school she went to as a girl, Marshall Elementary. It was shuttered in 2004. Over a decade later, the building remains abandoned and little is done to protect it from the drug dealers and users who have replaced the students.Virginia knows that a closed school does not automatically turn into an eyesore. She volunteers in a church that is located in a closed school. The school district sees the potential of these once-stately schools as well. They contracted with architects, real estate developers, and others to explore the opportunities.Repurposing these abandoned school buildings often has a domino effect on the entire community, according to Jessica Eiland, president of Northside Community Housing, Inc. in St. Louis. The organization creates affordable housing in the city. Its first housing project was the renovation of an old school into twenty affordable apartment units for seniors.What Virginia’s community is experiencing is going on across the country. In December of 2012, Philadelphia announced what was then the largest single-year closing of public schools in the nation. A total of 37 schools, or fifteen percent, were closed. Chicago followed less than a year later with the decision to close 50 schools.In 2013, the Pew Trust completed a study documenting the consolidation, abandonment, and repurposing of public schools in twelve cities: In addition to Chicago and Philadelphia, the study comprised Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City (MO), Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Tulsa, and Washington (DC). Throughout the twelve districts, 301 former schools remain vacant and 267 were sold, leased, or repurposed. The typical school for sale is located in a residential area and is over 60 years old and larger than 50,000 square feet. Those sold were purchased for a price between $200,000 and $1 million, often well below initial projections. In some cities, public school buildings for sale compete with shuttered parochial schools. Additionally, Pew noted that the sale of an abandoned school does not always lead to reuse.The study found that more than 40 percent of the buildings sold, leased, or reused went to charter schools, but this option is controversial. One reason is that as charter schools expand into bigger buildings, they often attract additional public school students, leading to further reductions in the population of the public school district. To prevent this, many districts, including St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia, limit, refuse, or are legally unable to sell closed school buildings to charter schools. In Chicago, there’s a shift in this trend as buildings remain vacant. In other school districts, like Tulsa, charter schools and other organizations with a mission of teaching and learning are given first priority.Refraining from selling these buildings to charter schools does not seem to prevent student flight, either. For example, in St. Louis, public charter schools enrolled 42 percent of all public school students in 2014. In 2006, the district listed the Hodgen school building for $1 million. A charter school offered to buy the building, but the district refused. The charter built a brand new school across the street for $7.5 million and spent an additional $774,279 to demolish Hodgen and use the land for a parking lot and playground.The longer a building remains vacant, the harder it is to sell and repurpose. Additionally, school districts often choose to close schools because the buildings themselves are in poor condition. Tearing one down could cost a district half a million dollars at least.—Gayle NelsonShare30TweetShare10Email40 Shares
Share15TweetShare4Email19 SharesFebruary 27, 2017; Southern Maryland OnlineNPQ has reported on the attempt last year by the U.S. Labor Department to expand the number of Americans entitled to overtime pay despite their being salaried rather than hourly workers. That effort was stalled in federal court over concerns whether the relevant statute authorized the Labor Department to make the change without Congress authorizing it first. We have also explored the problem of nonprofit “wage ghettos”—the ethical and practical dilemmas associated with struggling nonprofits paying low wages to direct service personnel.With the federal rule likely dead due to the judge’s ruling and the turnover of presidential administration, the state of Maryland is jumping into the fray. New state legislation, “HB665, would increase the salary cap for white-collar and service workers currently exempt from overtime pay to $47,476 up from the current $23,660. That would be $913 per week, up from $455 weekly.”Traditionally, Maryland’s pay standards have followed the federally set amounts, but there are concerns that the federal standard hasn’t changed since 2004. Less than seven percent of workers are covered under the current rule, as opposed to 60 percent in 1975, according to the Economic Policy Institute.The proposed change isn’t sitting well with Maryland nonprofits. Lauren Kallins, director of government relations for the Maryland Association of Community Services, which represents over 100 service providers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, said, “Our workforce is the backbone of the community services […] We are Medicaid providers. Unlike other businesses we are also prohibited from passing on costs or fees to the people we support.” According to Southern Maryland Online, “Kallins said most of the providers are nonprofits operating on thin margins due to the Medicaid reimbursement rate that is only a smidgen above the minimum wage. She said 67 percent of the workforce she represents, roughly 13,000 salaried employees, would be eligible for overtime pay under the bill.”The dilemma for nonprofit employers is how to pay wages that are both fair to workers and affordable given government’s interest in minimizing the taxpayer cost of services. The sudden doubling of the overtime rule threshold only shines a harsh light on the long-festering problem of insufficient wages being paid to workers often improperly classified as salaried. Most nonprofits want to pay their workers more, both as a matter of principle and recognizing that low wages promote high turnover and affect service safety and quality. However, they are stymied by their self-perceived unequal bargaining power with government over scarce resources. In addition, the nonprofits themselves may be tempted to interpret mission fulfillment to use scarce resources to increase numbers of individuals served instead of increasing wages for staff.At the extreme, mistreating workers by underpaying them while increasing caseloads is a particularly self-defeating strategy for any nonprofit. Nonprofits need to advocate for themselves as organizations, and particularly for their direct service employees and front-line managers. Organizational sustainability is in the interest of both the nonprofit and the government paying for services, and paying reasonable wages is a key part of the social contract involving workers, clients, the nonprofit employer, and the nonprofit’s funder.—Michael WylandShare15TweetShare4Email19 Shares
News Corp has promoted Peter Rice to chairman and chief executive of Fox Networks Group, giving him control of the company’s Fox Sports division and National Geographic Channel. This comes as the company has also promoted David Hill, longtime chairman of Fox Sports, to senior vice-president, News Corp, where he will look after international television programming. Rice, who was previously chairman of entertainment, Fox Networks Group, will now be responsible for sports programming and factual content across the company in addition to his role overseeing US broadcast network Fox, cable network FX and Fox International Channels.Hill’s new role will see him focus on television programming and digital initiatives across Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australia as well as the US.As part of the move, David Haslingden, president and chief operating officer, Fox Networks Group, and Mike Hopkins, president of distribution, Fox Networks Group, will both report to Rice. Previously, the pair reported directly to Chase Carey, president and chief operating officer, News Corp. Kevin Reilly, president of entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Company, and John Landgraf, president and GM of FX, will continue to report to Rice.“The contributions that Peter has made to News Corporation over the years are immeasurable. Peter has proven himself at both the Fox Entertainment Networks, and Fox Searchlight before, to be one of the most innovative and strategic leaders in the entertainment industry,” said Carey.
France’s competition authority has approved Canal Plus’s acquisition of Bolloré-owned free-to-air channels Direct 8 and Direct Star, and has simultaneously imposed a series of punitive injunctions on the pay TV operator over its failure to fulfil the obligations it undertook at the time of its merger of CanalSat with TPS in 2006.The injunctions relating to the merger include a restriction on multi-year framework movie deals to a three-year term, the imposition of separate contracts for each type of rights acquired, such as for first ad second pay TV windows, and the banning of multi-year framework deals for French films.Canal Plus has also been told it must sell its stake in the Orange Cinéma Series channels or, at the very least, take measures to restrict its influence on the channels.Canal Plus must also undertake to implement clear rules for access of independent channels to the CanalSat platform, must allow alternative distributors including ISPs to compete effectively by granting them favourable terms to distribute content exclusive to CanalSat, and must make its own movie channels available on a non-discriminatory basis to third-party distributors.The pay TV operator must also sign separate contracts for video-on-demand and subscription VOD rights on a non-exclusive basis, with no bundling with linear pay rights, must sell VOD and SVOD rights to StudioCanal films to any distributor on a non-discriminatory basis and must not grant exclusive VOD distribution rights to any ISP.Canal Plus has been forced to accept strict conditions for its acquisition of the two free-to-air channels. The pay TV operator will undertake only to acquire simultaneous pay and free-to-air rights to films or original series from one of the six Hollywood majors, preventing it from retaining an exclusive hold on popular US shows. The regulator has also mandated that Direct 8 should acquire mostly medium-budget films from StudioCanal that are not generally seen on TV, rather than air the kind of mainstream blockbusters shown in primetime on the main free-to-air channels. Canal Plus has also been prevented from retaining exclusive free-to-air rights to sporting events it acquires for its pay channels, but which must also be shown in some form on free, by entrusting the decision on re-distributing the free rights to an independent body.Both the injunctions relating to the CanalSat-TPS merger and the conditions on the free-to-air channels are for a five-year term.Canal Plus has accepted the conditions for the acquisition of the Bolloré channels, which media regulator the CSA must now take a decision on by September, but has rejected the injunctions on the TPS merger. Canal Plus said it would move quickly to demand the suspension and cancellation of the latter before the Conseil d’Etat, whose rapporteur Vincent Daumas has already accepted the pay TV operator’s case that the legality of the competition regulator’s actions should be looked at by the country’s constitutional council.
French digital-terrestrial pay TV service provider TV Numeric has been placed in receivership.The company had revealed at the start of this year that its closure could be a possibility. A number of terrestrial pay TV channels, including TPS Star and CFoot had already withdrawn their offerings, leaving pay TV services on the digital-terrestrial platform looking threadbare. There are currently only five pay TV services on terrestrial – Eurosport, Paris Première, LCI, Planète+ and TF6 – giving little reason for subscribers to pay a €10 a month fee to receive them. TV Numeric’s base is believed to have fallen from 100,000 at the start of the year to around 40,000 today.TV Numeric will remain on air until the end of the year, with the possibility of finding new backers before that time.
Fox International Channels has launched its Fox Crime channel on South African pay TV platform DStv.The thematic channel, branded locally as FOXCRIME, will have FIC’s noir drama coproThe Bridge, and franchise crime properties including Criminal Minds, CSI and Blue Bloods as well as a classic crime block comprising NYPD Blue, Remington Steel,CHIPS and Streets of San Francisco.It will also include crime-themed documentaries including an African-focused slot entitled Case Files: Africa that will cover infamous cases from across the continent.“FOXCRIME’s steady subscriber growth and enduring rating’s success since its original 2006 launch in Italy, is the product of a killer mix of addictive crime programming and FOX brand sensibility,” said Alessandro Tucci, senior VP and general manager for FIC Africa.FOXCRIME now reaches 26.6 million homes worldwide. It joins FOX, National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild on the MultiChoice-owned DStv platform, which has 1.5 million subscribers.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU)’s general assembly has named two new executive board members.Peter Salmon, director of BBC North, and Leopoldo González-Echenique, the incumbent president of Spanish public broadcaster RTVE, will fill posts formerly held bythe BBC’s Roger Mosey, who left in September, and Tehmis Themisocleous, director-general of Cyprus broadcaster CyBC, who is set to retire at the end of this year.
UK mobile operator EE has partnered with video-on-demand site Wuaki.tv to launch EE Film Club, offering a “blockbuster film” rental every week for £1 (€1.38). The offer will be available to all EE, Orange and T-Mobile customers and is due to launch on March 30.The offer comes after Orange phased out its UK two-for-one ‘Orange Wednesdays’ cinema ticket promotion at the end of February citing changing viewing habits.“More people than ever before are downloading and streaming movies so they can watch at home or on the go. With one in three UK adults enjoying digital entertainment every week – and this number is only going to grow – our viewing habits are clearly evolving,” said EE’s chief marketing officer Pippa Dunn.“This reaffirms our commitment to put customers first as we deliver a series of new offers in 2015. The new weekly £1 film offer launches at the end of March and is set to be a box office hit with our customers.”Customers will be able to choose from a range of films – including new releases – via the Wuaki.tv, which is available on connected devices including smartphones, tablets, laptops, games consoles, smart TVs and via the app on EE TV.The £1 films will be available by texting ‘film’ to 141. Customers will receive a promotional code that can be redeemed from Monday to Wednesday at the Wuaki.tv check out. Texts cost £0.35 each and users have 48 hours from redemption to watch their film rental.
Sky Deutschland has teamed up with German football league the DFL to add a video-on-demand offering to its existing football coverage. The service, which will focus on archive content, will be made available via the Sky Go multiscreen offering. Sky will re-format footage of recent Bundesliga history and package it for on-demand consumption.Further details of the service will be unveiled at the start of the new Bundesliga season.
Russian service provider Komkor, which operates in Moscow and St Petersburg under the Akado brand, is making two of its premium sports offerings available à la carte.Since August 17, boxing channel Boks TV has been available à la carte. Akado will make football service Futbol available on the same basis from September 1.Sales director Andrei Agayev said that making channels available à la carte was one of the tools available to the operator to attract and retain customers.
US digital video ad spend grew by 42% over the past year to total US$7.46 billion in 2015, according to AOL’s 2015 State of the Video Industry report.The study said that in the next four years the video ad-spend figure will nearly double, reaching more than US$13 billion by 2019.“For the sixth consecutive year, digital video has been growing and shows no signs of stopping. For many in the video space, this is a great problem to have. But, with more dollars piling into video, new opportunities are emerging quickly,” said AOL.The report found that nearly 40% of buyers, more than twice as many as in 2012, said their increased digital spend is coming directly from broadcast TV, with 31% saying they were funding their digital video efforts with cable television dollars.Some 90% of buyers also said they are shifting dollars from linear TV to digital channels, reallocating an average of 10% of their television budgets.“Of marketers who are moving TV dollars towards digital channels, 88% are shifting that television spend to some form of video, such as desktop, mobile or over-the-top,” said AOL.“63% of buyers claimed that the bulk of this shifted spend is going to desktop video, with 55% directing the reallocation to mobile video.”Overall, AOL said that digital ad spend in the US is projected to total more than US$58 billion in 2015 and is projected to reach US$93.7 billion by 2019, with much growth acceleration coming from digital video.
Rochus SchreiberTV technology provider SeaChange has named Rochus Schreiber head of EMEA operations and global services.Schreiber was previously CEO of 4G mobile provider igicel Anguilla and triple-play cable operator Caribbean Cable Communications. He will report to COO Ed Terino.“I’m pleased that we continue to draw the industry’s top talent to continuously enhance our offerings and accelerate our growth in emerging markets. With his track record in video and mobile service management and cloud product delivery, Rochus strengthens SeaChange’s capacity for surpassing the expectations of our customer base across EMEA and globally,” said Terino.“SeaChange has broken new ground with a number of exciting customer initiatives including mobile OTT, and has established a new generation of products in the market. It’s an exciting time to join a global team showing tremendous momentum and great potential in an increasingly multiscreen world,” said Schrieber.
Ukrainian telco Kyivstar has added a number of new channels to its TV programming line-up.The operator has added news channel PravdaTUT to its line-up, along with Ukrainian information and music service RTI, a TV version of a radio service.Kyivstar has also added Tsentralny Kanal, a channel focusing on life and culture in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America’s news service Nastoyashcheye Vremya (Current Time).The latter channel was recently added to rival cable operator Volia’s TV offering.Last week Kyivstar also removed Russian channel Karusel from the line-up of its Home TV package after the country’s National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting removed the channel from the list of service that it said met the requirements of the European Convention on Trans-frontier Television.
Delphine Ernotte CunciFrance Télévisions has been in touch with about 10 major producers about securing content for its forthcoming SVOD service to rival Netflix in the French market, with a possible revenue-share arrangement – and potential equity participation by the producers – in mind, according to French financial daily Les Echos.France Télévisions director-general Delphine Ernotte-Cunci revealed at a French parliamentary hearing last month that the SVOD service would likely be launched in the autumn. The launch will follow on from a planned revamp of existing catch-up service Pluzz, envisaged for May.Ernotte-Cunci said at the time that the new SVOD platform would have to promote French content first and would have to be financially self-supporting.According to Les Echos, France Télévisions had initially sought to form partnerships with international – and French – audiovisual media groups before turning to producers directly.While details of the project have still to be worked out, according to the paper, the broadcaster is looking towards some kind of revenue share agreement, with the possibly equity participation of producers in the platform.Les Echos said that the revamp of Pluzz in May would involve the addition of new content and a new name for the platform, which will be available on all screens as well as ISPs’ TV boxes. The SVOD platform will be integrated with Pluzz’s replacement when it launches in the autumn.According to the paper, the pubcaster envisages securing a relatively modest 800,000 subscribers over five to six years.
Middle East and North African streaming service, Starz Play, is now available as an app on selected LG Smart TVs in the MENA region.Starz Play COO and co-founder Danny Bates said that the partnership confirms the SVOD’s service’s ongoing efforts to up customer satisfaction.“With smart TVs being one of our viewers’ favorite streaming devices, our collaboration with such a leading brand brings us closer to our customers and helps us simplify their viewing experience,” said Bates.Starz Play offers a line-up of Hollywood and Bollywood movies, US TV shows, kids entertainment and Arabic series.The service is available in Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen.
21st Century Fox demonstrated greater resilience of broadcast TV in the three months to June, auguring well for its post-Disney sale future, with solid growth in its television segment from US$1 billion (€0.9 billion) last year to US$1.14 billion for the last quarter, boosted by higher retransmission revenue and advertising revenue from the FIFA World Cup.Over the course of the full year, broadcast TV saw revenues dip from US$5.65 billion to US$5.16 billion, which the company said was due to cyclical factors including the a stronger sports line-up in the prior year.Overall, Fox posted strong results for the final fiscal quarter. Cable network programming revenue was up from US$4.33 billion to US$4.93 billion, while filmed entertainment was up from US$1.8 billion to US$2.3 billion. Overall revenues for the quarter amounted to US$7.94 billion, up from US$6.75 billion.Operating income before depreciation and amortization was up from US$1.45 billion to US$1.9 billion.Fox said that its deal with Disney had delivered value for shareholders with the company’s stock price rising by 75% across the year thanks to the battle for control of its entertainment assets between Disney and Comcast.Joint executive chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said that the “outstanding shareholder value created this year through our proposed transactions recognizes the work we have done to position our businesses to succeed during a time of great change”.The pair said that the post-Disney transaction company would be well placed to continue to deliver value to investors.“As we move closer to combining our businesses with Disney and establishing new “Fox”, we are convinced that the paths we are creating for our iconic businesses will drive enduring and growing value for our shareholders,” they said.
One in three Spanish homes connected to the internet use pay platforms to watch audiovisual content online, according to a survey by Spanish markets regulator the CNMC, with Netflix taking second position to Movistar+.According to the survey, some 2.2 million consumers subscribe to Movistar+, with two million subscribing to Netflix. Vodafone TV online is used by 950,000 while the Orange TV app is used by 741,000.The regular cautioned that some subscribers to telecom operators’ online TV services may be unclear in their responses about which services they actually use, citing the example of Vodafone TV online users who take HBO, with which Vodafone signed an exclusive distribution deal.According to the survey, 44% of individuals consume audiovisual content online each week, up 10 points in two years. Over half of those watching online video use platform to watch TV shows on-demand. YouTube is used by 55%, followed by commercial broadcaster Atresmedia’s Atresplayer catch up service with 35% and public broadcaster RTVE’s online portal with 30%.Some 86% of those who use the internet weekly prefer to do so using their smartphones, while laptops are preferred by 54%, desktops by 40%, and tablets by 35%. The CNMC also said that the use of TVs to view internet content had grown by 44% in two years.
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