<< Previous PostNext Post >> This story originally ran in the December 21st, 2017 issue of Travelweek magazine. To get Travelweek delivered to your agency for free, subscribe here. TORONTO — The Canadian skies are about to be filled with a new crop of ultra low-cost carriers (ULCCs) vying for deal-minded Canadian travellers looking for an inexpensive way of getting from A to B. The ULCC airline movement began in Europe and has since successfully migrated to both the U.S. and most of Asia. Canadians have long looked at carriers like easyJet, Ryanair, AirAsia, Spirit and Allegiant and asked, why not in Canada?Many have argued that the unique aspects of the Canadian marketplace – and by that they mean 36 million Canadians spread over 9.98 million square kilometres – make the ULCC business model unworkable. Where the ULCC model has thrived is in high-population density regions.Additionally, the ULCC model has been most successful in regions where airlines have been able to connect large urban areas that are fairly close to each other – about 1 to 2 hours’ flying time apart. Ryanair in Europe and Allegiant in the U.S. are prime examples of this traditional ULCC feature. The Canadian population density sits at about 3.7 people per square kilometre and is among the lowest in the world. Fairly recent low-cost and ultra low-cost casualties that faced this issue in Canada include Canada 3000, CanJet, Harmony, Jetsgo, Roots Air and Zoom.Ryanair in Europe and Allegiant in the U.S. are prime examples of this traditional ULCCSome Canadian passengers think the country already has a ULCC with Air Canada Rouge. While Air Canada Rouge utilizes some aspects of a ULCC business plan (think more ancillaries and lower employee costs), Air Canada Rouge is more of an LCC.More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”Over the next year a varied group of entrepreneurs is going to attempt to show that in reality, Canada is not so different from Europe, Asia or the U.S. when it comes to ULCCs. The question is, will they be successful?Flair Airlines is already up and running. Many believe Flair was simply a re-branding of virtual ULCC NewLeaf, but this is not the case. What’s a virtual ULCC? This is when a travel company – NewLeaf in this case – brands the airline and puts its own livery on the planes, but operates as a reseller for the airline’s fares, and is not the airline itself. NewLeaf was never an actual airline and it used planes chartered from Flair Airlines.Flair Airlines’ new liveryWhen Flair Airlines announced it was buying NewLeaf this past June, Flair’s management decided to continue NewLeaf’s business plan. Since it didn’t have to charter aircraft, as NewLeaf did, it could have lower costs. Flair Airlines had operated as a cargo and charter airline in Canada for more than a dozen years prior to this ULCC experiment. Flair has a fleet of Boeing 737-400s for its operation with plans for two more aircraft to join the fleet in 2018.In December 2017 Flair announced it was offering GDS access to its fares via Amadeus with Travelport (Galileo/Worldspan) access looking likely for January 2018. Discussions with Sabre are also in the works.More news: Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTFlair has also indicated that it is planning to grow and start international flights, and news about the expansion could be coming in these early months of 2018. Flair said it expects to add four more Boeing aircraft to accommodate the nearly 1.5 million ULCC passengers that are forecast to use Flair in 2019.Meanwhile WestJet plans to launch Swoop in June 2018, with two Boeing 737-800s. That number is expected to increase to six by September 2018 and to 10 by summer 2019.When WestJet announced the Swoop name back in September, Bob Cummings, WestJet Executive Vice-President, Strategy said, “It’s a powerful verb that demonstrates we plan to swoop in to the Canadian market with a new business model that will provide lower fares and greater opportunity for more Canadians to travel.” When WestJet launched in 1996 it was positioned as a “great leap forward for Canadian air travel”, and a no-frills LCC. More than 20 years later WestJet flies to more than 100 destinations and has its sights set on becoming a global carrier.This is the first installment of a two-part series. Click here to read Part 2. Michael Schoenberger is an aviation and travel industry expert and freelance travel writer.This story originally ran in the December 21st, 2017 issue of Travelweek magazine. To get Travelweek delivered to your agency for free, subscribe here. Analysis: Can ULCCs fly in Canada? Crunching the numbers on Jetlines, Flair and Swoop By: Michael Schoenberger Wednesday, January 3, 2018 Share Tags: Canada Jetlines, Feature Story, Flair Airlines, Low-Cost Carriers, Swoop, Trend Watch
Related posts:Thanks to dear neighbor Nicaragua, Costa Rica advances to Central America Cup final against Guatemala Costa Rica takes on Nicaragua on Wednesday afternoon in Ticos’ first match since World Cup Costa Rica dominates Nicaragua, 3-0, in national team’s first match since World Cup Arsenal’s Joel Campbell stars on Costa Rica roster for Ticos’ first post-World Cup match Costa Rica is a victory away from their 6th straight trip to the Central America Cup final. The team takes on Panama at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Cotton Bowl in sunny Dallas, Texas.The Ticos opened the tournament Tuesday with a 3-0 thrashing of Nicaragua — in La Sele’s first match since its run to the World Cup quarterfinals.Now Costa Rica looks to continue its dominance in the regional tournament by knocking off Panama and securing a spot in the championship match set for Sept. 13 in Los Angeles, California.The roster only includes seven players who saw time on the pitch during the World Cup. Still, the roster — which includes Arsenal’s Joel Campbell — contains enough star power to make the Ticos clear favorites to repeat as champs of the regional tournament.Costa Rica has seven of the 12 editions of the Central America Cup, and has only finished worse than second once. The Ticos, under new coach Paolo Wanchope, didn’t disappoint in the team’s first match since their historic performance in Brazil. World Cup participants Celso Borges and Marco Ureña scored against Nicaragua as did La Sele newcomer Johan Venegas.Panama should be a much more formidable opponent for the 15th-ranked Ticos. Nicaragua is the worst team in the region and placed 175th in FIFA’s most recent poll. Panama actually dropped 30 spots in the August rankings, but still remain more than 100 spots ahead of Nicaragua at 63rd.The canaleros were minutes away from qualifying for their first ever World Cup last October before the United States mercilessly eliminated Panama with two stoppage time goals.Panama looks like one of the up-and-coming teams in Central America. But with the Ticos coming off their World Cup run, they have no excuses for stumbling against the Panamanians. Even a tie might be good enough to send Costa Rica to the championship, although Wanchope insisted his players will be pressing for another victory.All seven countries in Central America compete in the cup, which is taking place in the United States for the first time. The top four teams secure an automatic berth to next year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup. Costa Rica is in Group B with Nicaragua and Panama. Group A contains the remaining sides: Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and El Salvador. Facebook Comments
The beauty of Jordan lies in its mountains and beaches, castles and ancient churches, the urbanity of its people, and the richness of its culture which makes it the ideal place for a family vacation.Jordan is well- known for the warmth and friendliness of its people. Anywhere and everywhere you go, you will always find someone to assist you. Jordanians have always been eager to open their doors and welcome visitors to experience their country.Jordan caters to the vacationer who likes to combine a visit to an ancient site with a relaxing swim – so both the aspects are well taken care of. The activities and tourist locations make Jordan a country well-suited for tourism. From visiting the ancient site of Petra, camping in Wadi Rum, snorkelling in the Red sea, floating in the Dead Sea, mountain climbing in Wadi Mujib, to just shopping, these are just a glimpse of the complete set of activities available in Jordan.The country is blessed with a fantastic climate all year round, with autumn and spring being especially pleasant to visit.
How Some Companies Wading Through Heightened Regulations and Operational Barriers Are Navigating Their Way to Title and Closing SuccessBy Xhevrije WestLenders and servicers are not the only ones finding themselves wading through the murky waters of regulatory compliance. Recent rule changes germinating in the mortgage industry have shaken up business as usual at title and escrow companies.For the sake of simplicity, title companies issue title insurance policies to assist in real estate transactions by ensuring that the acquisition or transfer of property interest can be affected with a maximum degree of efficiency, security, and safety. An escrow agent is responsible for the transfer of property from one party to another. They also secure the property and examine documents to make sure that the terms of the sale are met from both the buyer and seller during the transaction.As another (and valuable) piece in a borrower’s mortgage origination journey, title and closing companies have felt the effects of a prosperous housing market and new regulations from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Some have had to adapt their businesses to the new way of life while still meeting the expectations of closing mortgage deals with speed. Although the path to compliance has not been easy, many have managed to stay ahead of the curve.Swimming Upstream in a TRID-Rich EnvironmentIt wasn’t a surprise that the 1,888-page TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule would result in administrative delays. But many didn’t anticipate the repercussions of the delays to be so wide sweeping. The results of a study released in April by Washington-based Callahan & Associates found that a whopping 96 percent of the 200-plus credit union executives surveyed reported closing delays related to TRID over the past six months.Surveyed across 46 states, Callahan found a variety of reasons at the heart of the delays in the TRID implementation period. Half cited new lender workflow between title companies and members, as well as a refinement of processes and procedures as the primary catalysts in closing delays. A quarter cited compliance issues related to settlement, systems, members, and mortgage disclosures. Sixteen percent said that their own mortgage loan origination and core processing systems were not fully equipped to handle necessary updates, while 6 percent said their members were unable to provide documentation and other information in a timely manner.Additionally, open-ended survey responses noted timing issues with disclosures, difficulties integrating mortgage origination systems with core processors, and challenges with title companies, realtors, and other settlement agents, Callahan stated.All told, more than half of the respondents said new TRID regulations have added five or more days to mortgage closing, while the average number of days to close, according to respondents, is 42. The industry’s ideal average closing goal is 31 days.The title insurance and escrow settlement industry is experiencing a two-fold shift in its business environment: an exponential growth in local and federal regulatory oversight, coupled with unprecedented technological change, according to P.J. Ruokis, VP of Sales/Marketing, ATA National Title Group.“The lending and title industries have made great strides towards resolving those conflicts. Just as importantly, however, TRID has required substantial process changes and those will likely take much longer to fully implement,” Ruokis stated. “While these regulatory and technological changes are challenging, they are not insurmountable. The best settlement providers are mastering them while retaining their ability to provide dependable, timely and accurate service to their customers.”Larry Zielke, President of First Financial Title Agency of Minnesota, Inc., and managing partner of Shapiro & Zielke, LLP, and Tom Paschen, of the LOGS Group, noted that “TRID, and the changes necessitated in the processing of closings, is a significant challenge to the title and closing industry.”The Consumer Disclosure Form (CDF) and the redesigned settlement statement are confusing for many borrowers and lenders, and they cause (sometimes significant) delays in the closing and funding of new loans. There is a considerable amount of confusion on the TRID and CDF data, and its accuracy.New regulatory requirements are also causing title and escrow companies to continually update their procedures and workflows as lenders work to become compliant with TRID and the changes that it has brought to the loan origination process.“As standards for TRID compliance are more established and widely agreed upon, we should have a new ‘business as usual’ and that impact should decrease,” said Chad Mosley, COO of MCS Solutions. “The most lingering effect of TRID has centered on the lender preparation of the closing disclosure, and the operational changes that it has mandated.”Navigating the Muddy Sloughs of TRID UpkeepKeeping up with TRID has not only posed closing challenges at title and escrow companies but has cut into operations, costing more time, labor, and resources, which could result in cuts in revenue, according to Steven J. Melmet, Esq., CEO of Vendor Connect, LLC.“The industry is experiencing a lack of consistency in compliance requirements from one lender/investor to the next. There is significantly more scrutiny and paperwork required,” Melmet said. “Obtaining lender pre-approvals while gaining an appreciation for individual lender requirements is time-and resource-consuming which requires new disciplines for title and closing specialists”.While the industry has been able to absorb the battery of regulatory changes, TRID has completely changed the name of the game. Cristy Ward, Chief Strategy Officer focused on consumer experience at Mortgage Connect, LP, explained that TRID upkeep and operational maintenance continues to be the center of focus for lenders and their associated title and closing partners.“TRID has been tough on the industry as a whole. Many lenders are still struggling with technology platforms and forced to create manual workarounds to process their transactions,” Ward said. “The title and closing companies that were committed to training their employees, used technology as a tool and not the solution, and focused more on TRID knowledge, education, and timelines did well.”Looking For Transparent DirectionAccording to Mark Myers, CEO of Meridian Title Corp., and Laura Levi Francesconi, SVP/Director of Meridian’s Corporate Development, the title industry’s very nature is to protect the public and the consumers it is serving. “Because our industry takes that seriously, it’s been a challenge to work with heightened regulations that do not provide transparent direction to the industry on how to comply,” both said in an interview.Regardless of TRID obstacles and operational challenges, title and closing companies remain focused on one common goal: Get closings done in a timely and compliant manner.Prior to the housing crisis, the title and closing landscape experienced a more competitive environment, more products were being launched by the underwriters, and technology was largely well received and leveraged in order to keep swimming. Since the crisis, there has been a retrenching of innovative products and technology, as well as companies becoming hyper focused on creating processes to comply with the CFPB’s regulatory guidelines.“The future is promising for those who choose to innovate in the title and closing space,” Ward said. “The lending process as a whole is overly regulated and that regulation has caused disruption to innovation. Those who will flourish in the industry must embrace innovation to meet the demands of growing demographic segments.”The title industry was more segregated prior to new regulations, Mosley added. Moving forward, we see the most success occurring when partnerships with lenders are solidified to provide customers with the highest level of service on their transactions,” he said. “That supports the ultimate goal of TRID, which was to create more transparency and a better customer experience. Ultimately, that will help the industry.”Weeding Out Bad Actors Makes For a Better Customer ExperiencePost-crisis, title and closing companies who always operated “above board” will continue to operate and strengthen the industry, albeit with operational adjustments to their labor costs and profit margins.“There is a sense in our industry that the heightened oversight could put some longstanding, smaller entities out of business due to the additional burdens, but it’s still too soon to tell,” Myers and Francesconi explained. “Those who knowingly succumbed to the less-than-ethical schemes pre-crisis have hopefully been weeded out of the industry, and we’re confident with the new regulations, will be more quickly identifiable moving forward.”The success of the title and closing industry will be highly dependent on building solid relationships, effective communication, technology innovation, and regulatory compliance.Vendor Connect’s Melmet says that the title and closing specialists have no alternative but to embrace changes brought about by the new regulations. “Companies need to be proactive in ensuring for success in our new regulatory environment,” he said. “Invest in personnel and IT resources to stay one step ahead of the ever changing regulatory demands of our industry.”Small companies rarely have the technological or regulatory knowledge or resources necessary to effectively compete in rapidly changing real estate markets.“The result of these challenges is that the trend towards title and settlement company consolidation will escalate,” Ruokis noted. “Economics will drive the trend but service flexibility will be improved through the process. Mid to large companies will simply have greater resources to meet the ever increasing technological and process requirements of their customer groups.”Communication is still of utmost importance among all the players to the transaction.Looking ahead, progressive thinking and planning will be key in helping title and closing companies comply with both state and federal regulations at the most affordable level.“Knowing the expectations of your lenders is key in this new regulatory era, then finding ways to meet the lenders’ expectations will be another key factor to success,” Myers and Francesconi said. “As millennials emerge as homeowners, it’s important that they understand the importance of having title insurance from a reputable, financially stable title company.”Ward added that title and closing companies will be successful in the future if they innovate in their service offerings by developing unique solutions through technology, process flow flexibility, and creativity in how they can enhance the consumer experience. “I believe there is a tremendous amount of opportunity in this space to make a difference,” he said.Editor’s note: This select print feature appears in the May 2016 edition of MReport magazine. Title Companies Navigate Murky TRID Waters May 13, 2016 698 Views in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News, Print Features Share Title & Closing TRID 2016-05-13 Staff Writer
4. The Broad ChareAt the Broad Chare near the Quayside they pride themselves on good pub grub and good pub booze. It’s fancy, but in a good way. Cask ales and ciders and a great menu of British classics make this a good place for a post-match feed possibly washed down with a few oat sodas.5. Fat HippoFor diner style burgers, fries and hot dogs head to Fat Hippo. They have a vast selection of massive burgers and good veggie options – which can be a rarity at burger restaurants – the service is pretty fast too so if you need a quick bite on the way to the game, hit Fat Hippo.https://instagram.com/p/ux6-YRvhcA/6. The Newcastle ArmsThe Newcastle Arms is a cracking pre/post match pub and a regular haunt for fans heading to St James’Park. It’s one of the best in town on Newcastle United match days. Real ale buffs will be salivating at the ale selection and you might get lucky to be there for one of the beer festivals. If you’re after hip and trendy or shots of radioactive coloured liquid, then this isn’t your place, but if you want a few pints on your way to or from St James’Park in a proper pub, then the Arms is the place to go.7. Digital Since opening in 2005, north east mega-club Digital has been voted the 11th best nightclub in the world. Hosting two big floors of music, it’s popular with both locals and visitors meaning queues can get a little long after about 11pm. Get there early to catch the DJs and live rock bands.Where to stayIf you’re looking for rooms on a budget you couldn’t do better than those on offer at the centrally located Albatross Backpackers hostel. It’s well situated, being just a short walk to the metro, shops, bars and St James’ Park. The rooms are clean and comfy and there’s secure car parking at the rear. As it’s a hostel, some amenities are shared – kitchen, TV lounge, wifi area – but for location and price it’s a good bet for a couple of nights.Morning! Have you seen what we have to offer people looking for a hostel in #Newcastle? @altweet_pet pic.twitter.com/wQkwLrReRa— The Albatross (@AlbatrossNewc) February 11, 2015The upmarket Sandman Signature Newcastle Hotel occupies the building once owned by the historic Scottish & Newcastle Brewery. The city centre location offers views over iconic St James’ Park and surrounding areas. It’s a five minute walk to most of the key central attractions and offers an ideal base for those with a taste for the luxurious.Find hotels in NewcastleGetting aroundIf it’s the real Newcastle you seek, you won’t have to go too far to find it. The Newcastle-Gateshead area is pretty well covered by public transport – The Tyne & Wear Metro is a fast, safe and cheap way of getting around the city. Day passes are available if you’re going to be hopping on and off or a single ticket for a city trip costs around £1.50.Check Newcastle flightsGoing to any other games this Rugby World Cup? Check out our handy guides to some of the host cities:10 places for post-match munch in Milton KeynesGo ‘out out’ in MK after the match and see a different side to the Buckinghamshire ‘burb.Top 10 places to eat and drink in Manchester Check out our Top 10 pick of places to eat and drink in the city of Oasis and Manchester United – ideal for 2015 Rugby World Cup visitors.Top 10 bars and restaurants in London for rugby fans Our tips for 10 best places to eat and drink in London post-World Cup match.Leeds: where to eat and drink for during the RWCWe give the lowdown on the best places to soak up some Rugby World Cup atmosphere in Leeds.Top 10 places to eat and drink in Cardiff for rugby fans Travelling to Cardiff for the 2015 Rugby World Cup? Take note of our top tips on where to eat and drink in the Welsh capital.Top 10 places in Gloucester for scrummy scran during the RWC It’s rugby-mad Gloucester’s time to shine as it welcomes the Rugby World Cup.Exeter’s 10 best rugby pubs and fan friendly restaurants With its cosy pubs and buzzing local student community, Exeter is set to prove Devon can party come the Rugby World Cup.6 of the best places to eat and drink in Leicester whether you like rugby or not Celebrate Rugby World Cup victory in one of these six top pubs and restaurants in Leicester.Brighton feasts for rugby fans: top 10 caf**é**s and restaurantsIf you’re heading to the games, or fancy a cheeky weekend beside the seaside, there’s plenty of fish and chips to be had but you might want to shake things up – here’s 10 of the best local bars and restaurants for you to check out.7 incredible rugby stadiums around the world Get set for the Rugby World Cup with our world tour of where to see rugby at its very best.Skyscanner is the world’s travel search engine, helping your money go further on flights, hotels and car hire.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map Related12 top places to drink and party post-match during the Rugby World CupNot ready to call it a day after the rugby? Discover the best post-match party spots!Top 10 places to eat and drink in Exeter for rugby fansWith its cosy pubs and buzzing local student community, Exeter is set to prove Devon can party come the Rugby World Cup.Top 10 places to eat and drink in Gloucester for rugby fansIt’s rugby-mad Gloucester’s time to shine as it welcomes the Rugby World Cup. Newcastle is always ready for a party and this summer they’re throwing open that welcome to rugby fans for the Rugby World Cup.Newcastle is renowned for its lively city centre and nightlife and there are bars and restaurants aplenty within walking distance of St James’ Park. Newcastle is more renowned for the round ball game, but as it’s World Cup time there will be no end of bars offering up big screen sport and beers aplenty, while an official World Cup fan zone will be open for the tournament, providing big screens to watch the games and get you warmed up with rugby fever.Will Cooper provides a few pointers on what to do and where to eat and drink while you’re soaking up the festival of the oval ball in Newcastle.1. BerliseBerlise in Jesmond has big screens inside and out, so you should be able to get a comfy spot to enjoy the game. They also have some good drink deals so you won’t have to break the bank for your brown ales.2. NineRight on the doorstep of the hallowed turf at St James’ Park is Nine (formerly called Shearer’s). They show all live sport inside and do a decent selection of bar meals, be warned that it gets busy on game days so pre or post-match food can take a little longer.3. Tyne BarWhen the weather’s fine the Tyne Bar beer garden is a top spot. It’s tucked away just outside of the city centre but it’s worth a walk if you’re in the mood for some good ale, live music and a friendly Geordie atmosphere. The beer garden overlooks the river (hence the name).
Kor Hotel Group has announced it is changing its name to Viceroy Hotel Group. The new identity reflects the decade-long growth and evolution of the hotel management company, as well as the success that has resulted for its Viceroy brand since the debut of its flagship property in Santa Monica in 2002. “The timing is ideal to underscore the success and growth of our flagship Viceroy brand, in the same year that three new Viceroys debut in Miami, Anguilla and Snowmass,” said Brad Korzen, Chief Executive Officer of Kor and now Viceroy Hotel Group. “While the name change is a significant evolution for us, the Company’s focus on brand growth and standards of excellence will remain unchanged.” Viceroy Hotel Group will continue to seek premier hotel and resort opportunities around the world, based upon uncompromising standards for location and guest appeal. Viceroy Hotel Group will function as an umbrella company for the sister hotel brands that formerly fell under Kor, Viceroy Hotels & Resorts, The Tides and Urban Retreats. The Viceroy brand exemplifies a passion for visionary design and intuitive service. Signature Viceroy amenities and services created for the brand’s diverse business and leisure guests include dynamic dining venues featuring world-class culinary talents and destination spas specializing in health, fitness and beauty. Current Viceroy properties include hotels and resorts in Santa Monica, Palm Springs, Miami, Anguilla and Snowmass, Colorado; with forthcoming openings in Mayakoba in Mexico&rsquos Riviera Maya and Sowwah Island in Abu Dhabi. The Middle Eastern Viceroy flagship is slated to debut in 2013 in the core of Abu Dhabi&rsquos new Central Business District as a deluxe business hotel comprising up to 250 hotel guest rooms and suites, as well as branded residences. The Tides collection of resorts offers “chic-by-the-shore” settings that invite guests to unwind and reconnect. Each Tides destination offers culturally inspired leisure and wellness experiences delivered with style, spirit and intuitive service. The Tides portfolio currently includes resorts in Miami’s sizzling South Beach and Mexico’s Riviera Maya and Zihuatanejo, as well as a development on the horizon on St. Lucia in the Lesser Antilles. Viceroy Hotel Group’s Urban Retreats are a collection of individual boutique hotels that each offer a unique experience and currently include the Avalon Hotel and Maison 140 in Beverly Hills and Chamberlain in West Hollywood. Other global locations for Urban Retreats are under consideration. The Viceroy Hotel Group name change follows the 2008 partnership with Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Company, whose continued strategic support is facilitating the growth of Viceroy Hotel Group on a global level.www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com
State Rep. Jeff Farrington, R-Utica, with officials from Jefferson ElementaryJefferson Elementary School Media Center has achieved exemplary status from the Library of Michigan and state Rep. Jeff Farrington today delivered congratulations to Media Specialist Stephanie Staub and Principal Jennifer Davis for the accomplishment.To achieve the highest status in the state’s Michigan School Libraries for 21st Century Schools (SL21) program, the school completed 38 measurement criteria in the areas of learning, environment and leadership.“The endorsement Jefferson Elementary has earned from the state library reflects the commitment to excellence its staff and administration have for giving our children one of the greatest gifts possible – a quality education,” said Farrington, R-Utica. “The successful learning environment they have created will go a long way in preparing our young people for the challenges of tomorrow.”SL21 is part of voluntary management school improvement standards program that assists and recognizes K-12 libraries by setting benchmarks in the areas of instruction, student achievement, technology, facility, staffing, budget, instructional materials, curriculum development, school improvement, community engagement, advocacy and additional applicable criteria.Jefferson Elementary is in the Warren Consolidated Schools district.##### Categories: Farrington News,News 25Jan Jefferson Elementary library earns top status
25Jan Rep. Glenn votes to provide tax relief to Michigan families, seniors Categories: Glenn News State Rep. Gary Glenn today voted to approve a package of bills aimed at providing substantial income tax relief for families and seniors.The bills continue and increase personal exemptions for Michigan taxpayers and their dependents on their income taxes, while providing additional relief for senior citizens.Glenn, R-Williams Township, voted for the three-bill package that will enable people to keep more of their hard-earned money.“This legislation delivers much-needed tax relief to the hardworking taxpayers in Bay and Midland counties,” Glenn said. “The technical fix related to the federal reforms saves $172 per person on state income taxes each year – that’s $688 for a family of four. Raising the personal exemption provides an additional $102 in relief for a family of four.”The legislation, House Bills 5420-5422, will:Ensure Michigan taxpayers can continue claiming personal exemptions on income taxes after federal tax reforms signed into law last month, and increase the state personal exemption from the current $4,000 to $4,300 for the 2018 tax year, with gradual increases reaching $4,800 for 2020;Certify taxpayers in Michigan cities with an income tax will continue to be able to claim exemptions; andHelp senior citizens in addition to the personal exemption increase by providing a $100 income tax credit for a single filer age 62 or older – or $200 for joint filers.House Bills 5420-5422 now go to the Senate for consideration.###
This week I introduced a bill increasing penalties for harming medical personnel. This measure would be similar to laws that institute penalties for harming a police officer or other law enforcement officer. I was disturbed to hear of a number of violent events occurring in our state’s medical facilities where hospital employees are assaulted by a patient, family member, or friend. This is not just a regional problem as reports of such occurrences are happening throughout our state. I have so much respect for our selfless and hardworking medical personnel, and that’s why I am so passionate about this legislation. If you have any questions about this legislation, or any other state legislation, please contact my office.***I was pleased to join Congressman Mike Bishop and Senator Joe Hune in honoring the Livingston County Marine Corps League Honor Guard this week. These individuals selflessly serve the community by attending events and funerals throughout mid and southeast Michigan to honor our fallen heroes. Their support for veterans and their families cannot be overstated and I appreciate their dedication to our local heroes. Thank you to all members for your continued service to your country and community.***Studies show that summer reading helps with learning retention so there is less need for review during the following school year. That’s why I am happy to announce I will be hosting another Summer Reading Contest. To enter, students between 1st and 5th grades will need to fill out a special contest bookmark with 10 books they have read over the summer. The winners will be randomly drawn and receive the opportunity to serve with me as “Rep. for a Day.” This is a great opportunity for a young student to be invited to Lansing to learn about the state Legislature and what it’s like to be a representative.The bookmarks can be picked up and returned when completed at the Howell and Hartland libraries, the Village of Fowlerville municipal office and the Fowlerville library when it reopens at its new facility. The contest will run from June 1 to Sept. 1. Best of luck to all who enter!***Great job by all the volunteers across the county who made each Memorial Day service and parade such a success. I appreciate the hard work that goes into this important event recognizing and remembering the ultimate sacrifices made by those who protected our freedom. Thank you to everyone who participated in honoring the fallen.***If you have any ideas, comments or questions for my office, please do not hesitate to call us at 517-373-8835 or send an email to HankVaupel@house.mi.gov. We are happy to hear from you! Categories: Vaupel News 04Jun Rep. Hank Vaupel Weekly Column: June 4, 2018 PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Hank Vaupel recognizes members of the Marine Corps League along with Congressman Mike Bishop (left) and Sen. Joe Hune (right).
Categories: Albert News,News 07Dec Rep. Albert named House Legislator of the Year by Michigan organization State Rep. Thomas Albert, of Lowell, was recently presented with the 2018 Legislator of the Year Award among Michigan state representatives by the Michigan Council for Maternal & Child Health.Albert’s work on House Bill 5222 was pivotal in his work to receive the honor. The proposal requires medical marijuana sold by provisioning centers to include a warning for pregnant and breastfeeding women – similar to what is found on alcohol or tobacco products – helping keep Michigan’s current and soon-to-be residents safe.“As the legal landscape surrounding medical and recreational marijuana use changes in Michigan, Rep. Albert recognized the need for protections for pregnant women and children,” said Amy Zaagman, who serves as the council’s executive director. “We are so grateful for his leadership and openness to collaboration on warning labels for medical marijuana packaging, and adding poison control notices to dispensaries. We need thoughtful maternal and child health advocates like Rep. Albert in the legislature.”The legislation was overwhelmingly approved in bipartisan fashion in a House vote in December 2017 and currently is under consideration in the Senate.“I feel honored and humbled to receive this recognition and I hope we can see this bill through into law,” Albert said. “Marijuana, alcohol and tobacco use can lead to low birth weight and certain developmental disabilities in newborns. We should label marijuana as we do the others to remind pregnant mothers of the very real risks while helping to ensure the protection of Michigan’s children.”Albert was recently elected to a second term in the Michigan House, beginning in January. He serves residents in portions of Kent and Ionia counties within the 86th House District.PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Thomas Albert, of Lowell, is joined by Michigan Council for Maternal & Child Health executive director Amy Zaagman (left) and Board of Directors president Anna Ronke while accepting the organization’s House Legislator of the Year Award for 2018.
20Feb Rep. Lower issues statement after governor announces revised environmental order Categories: Lower News State Rep. James Lower, of Cedar Lake, today issued the following statement following Gov. Whitmer’s decision to revise a previous plan that was rejected by the Legislature and issue another executive order reorganizing the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality:“I’m glad Gov. Whitmer finally realized she needed to come to the table and work with us on this issue. The Legislature has led the way on reforms to safeguard the health and safety of Michigan families by protecting the environment and improving access to safe, clean drinking water.“The original executive order went too far. We made our concerns clear and Gov. Whitmer initially was unwilling to work with us to correct her mistake. She gave us no choice but to reject it. Now that all parties are at the table, including those affected by environmental regulations, I’m confident we can find a lot of common ground. It’s time to work together on policies that improve drinking water safety and protect our natural resources for all Michigan families.”###
Categories: VanWoerkom News State Rep. Greg VanWoerkom, of Norton Shores, recently announced where he will be available to meet with Muskegon County residents during scheduled coffee hours for the month of June.“I am hard at work making sure we the priorities of my district and its residents are represented at the Capitol,” Rep. VanWoerkom said. “If you have anything you want me to advocate for, please join me at one of my upcoming hours and share your thoughts.”Rep. VanWoerkom will be available Monday, June 17 at the following times and locations:7 to 8 a.m. at Toast ‘N Jams, 3462 Henry St. in Norton Shores;8 to 9 a.m. at Ravenna Round Table, 12396 Stafford St. in Ravenna;9:30 to 10 a.m. at Country Charm Coffee & Café, 1558 Newaygo Road in Bailey; and2 to 2:30 p.m. at Blue Lake Township Hall, 1491 Owasippe Road in Twin Lake.Additionally, Rep. VanWoerkom will be available on Friday, June 21, from 9:30 to 10 a.m. at Gary’s Restaurant, 906 E. Colby St. in Whitehall.No appointments are necessary. Those who are unable to attend at the scheduled times, but would like an opportunity to talk with Rep. VanWoerkom may call his office at (517) 373-3436 or email GregVanWoerkom@house.mi.gov.### 14Jun Rep. VanWoerkom announces June coffee hours
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesMay 1, 2014; Denver PostColorado legislators have proposed the creation of local nonprofit financial-service cooperatives—the business equivalent of a credit union—for legal marijuana shops as a way to force federal authorities to finally decide whether the pot industry can access critical banking services.The Denver Post reports that, in a unique twist on the credit-union concept, a state representative has introduced a bill that would create “cannabis credit co-ops” for licensed pot businesses and those businesses that buy and sell with them.“This sets up a new type of financial structure to bridge the gap we’re seeing between banking and the marijuana industry,” Rep. Jonathan Singer (D-Boulder) said before the bill passed through its first committee hurdle.While the bill allows the creation of co-ops similar to a credit union, their access to the nation’s financial banking system requires approval from the Federal Reserve Bank—without it, they don’t work. Because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, some bankers doubt the system will gain that Federal Reserve approval. Since it’s ultimately up to Congress, as banking experts tell the Post, Singer’s approach is to send a message to the federal government that the state has a template in place that it can approve. The Colorado Bankers Association said that passing the bill would force Congress to focus on the issue and come up with a solution.The co-op idea emerged when the state’s credit unions unsuccessfully tried to organize the industry, according to Colorado’s director of marijuana coordination. “We will be in a strong position to lobby Congress if we’ve tried every avenue to get into the system,” he told the paper.The bill has met with mixed initial opinions, with some Republican legislators questioning whether the concept is tantamount to “money laundering.” The State Attorney General is neutral on the bill, so long as the provision requiring Federal Reserve permission remains. The Federal Reserve Bank has refused to comment on it, or the concept of a co-op system. The bill’s co-sponsor is not particularly optimistic that the current Congress would tackle the issue, adding “this bill would lay it squarely at their feet and force the conversation.”Pot shops have been unable to access the full range of banking services and have struggled with how best to handle the millions of dollars in cash that flows through their registers, the Post reports. Even though federal authorities have provided some guidance for banks wanting to handle marijuana business deposits, most say it was little more than limited assurances that they could do so without legal reprisals.—Larry Kaplan ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
French media and telecoms conglomerate Vivendi has given Canal Plus chairman Bertrand Meheut the task of undertaking a strategic review of media and content development.Vivendi did not specify the exact nature of Meheut’s remit. He will retain his current responsibilities.Vivendi has also named Jean-Yves Charlier as senior executive vice-president in charge of telecoms activities and head of the group’s strategic review. Charlier is currently CEO of interactive learning specialist Promethean.Vivendi has also confirmed that its management board will now comprise Jean-François Dubos as chairman and Philippe Capron as chief financial officer. Frédéric Crépin, senior vice-president, head of the legal department, has been appointed secretary of Vivendi’s supervisory and management boards, while Mathieu Peyceré, vice-president, human resources, has been promoted to executive vice-president, human resources.The latest executive moves at Vivendi follow the departure of president Jean-Bernard Lévy, leaving the company under the direction of Dubos and supervisory council chief Jean-René Fourtou.
The HomeGrid Forum and the HomePNA Alliance have merged under the HomeGrid Forum name to create a larger, stronger organisation that is better positioned to promote the evolution of home wireline networks to the ITU-T G.hn standard.The G.hn specification defines networking over power lines, phone lines and coaxial cables with data rates up to 1 Gbps.The HomeGrid Forum said that G.hn products are now beginning to ship and that the merged body would guide those planning new networks based on the standard.It said that it would continue to support the installed base of over 40 million certified HomePNA devices.The new HomeGrid Forum will have over 70 members, including 28 service providers.“HomePNA is a mature, field proven technology, and continues to be selected by large service providers worldwide for IPTV deployments,” said HomePNA president Eran Gureshnik. “Service providers over four continents have achieved great results with HomePNA-based products and we have gained considerable experience in deploying home networks. However, the obvious future direction for all wireline home networking is to migrate to G.hn. Therefore, it made sense for us to merge the HomePNA Alliance with the HomeGrid Forum at this time, providing a clear, strong vision to existing and new customers.”
UK-based Oasys Automated Playout Limited is due to launch and showcase its new line of playout software called Chameleon at IBC.The new product consolidates relevant Oasys software into a single configuration for a variety of channel playout requirements, the firm said.Chameleon is designed to adapt to the broadcast workflow environment in which it is deployed so that operating parameters for specific environment are configured to their most efficient use.“Chameleon is the best example yet of the flexibility and value-added strength of our software solution architecture. We believe it is the ideal way to ensure optimal performance and functionality, unique to every facility in which it is installed,” said Fraser Jardine, vice president of global sales at Oasys.Oasys said it will also use IBC to featuring its strategic partnerships with key broadcast vendors such as Loft London Solutions.Oasys will present at IBC on stand 8.B16
TDC-owned Danish cable operator YouSee has launched a TV everywhere offering under the YouSee Play brand, offering a range of content available on the the web and via apps for smartphones, PCs and tablets. The service will make TV shows and movies, including live TV, available on multiple screens, with startover functionality. YouSee will also make its music services available on multiple devices.The service is available on devices running iOS 7.0 and above or Android 4.0.2 or above.
The global broadband consumer premises market was worth US$10.5 billion (€9.9 billion) last year, up 9% on the 2013 figure, according to Infonetics Research.According to IHS-owned Infonetics Research’s PON, FTTH, Cable, DSL and Wireless Broadband CPE report, the figures were boosted by growth in the FTTH segment, up 18%, with DOCSIS 3.0 equipment sales growing by 3%. The group said that growth had been seen from GPON and DOCSIS 3.0 sales in North America, GPON sales in China, Europe and Latin America, and VDSL sales in Europe.There was some sign of growth tailing off towards the end of the year, with fourth-quarter revenue from broadband CPE coming in at US$2.7 billion, flat quarter-on-quarter.Infonetics Research predicts that DSL will take a smaller share of sales as telcos migrate to FTTH or, in some cases, forego fixed infrastructure altogether in favour of LTE.Top broadband CPE vendors in terms of market share were Huawei with 17%, ZTE and Arris with 11% each, Alcatel-Lucent with 7% and Technicolor with 7%.
African Movie Channel has signed up with the new Lebara Play OTT TV service, securing distribution outside Africa for the first time.Lebara Play, the recently launched OTT service from low-cost mobile communications specialist Lebara, carries over 150 channels in 13 languages and has a catalogue of about 3,000 movie titles.The service is currently available in the UK, France, Germany and The Netherlands, and will be in the rest of Europe over the summer, and other territories worldwide by the year-end.African Movie Channel specialises in Nollywood and other African productions. The channel is available on the West African English bundle on Lebara Play.“African Movie Channel brings the best in domestic African productions to its viewers across Africa. Broadcasting on Lebara Play in Europe is a fantastic opportunity to showcase top African talent to the African diaspora, and a bigger audience. We are extremely delighted to be back in the European space where we started, serving the burgeoning need for top-notch African content,” said Yinka Mayungbo and Lola Onigbogi, founding partners and co-directors of the channel.
BBC director general Tony HallThe UK government has ordered public broadcaster the BBC will foot a £600 million (US$929.4 million ) bill for free TV licences for over-75s.This is to be phased in from 2018/19, with the Corporation taking on the full cost from 2020/21. Estimates of the cost range from between £600 million and more than £650 million, with the official total in 2013/14 being £608 million, according to the BBC Annual Report.The government has demanded the BBC take on the provision due to the state of Britain’s economic deficit.In return, the Conservative government said it would “forward legislation in the next year to modernise the licence fee to cover public service broadcast catch-up TV”.Currently, the British licence fee is mandatory for all viewers using a TV set, but not for those watching live channels through on-demand platforms and web-connected devices. The likelihood now is a subscription charge will be brought in.Furthermore, the government said it expects the licence fee, which currently stands at £145.50 a year, would rise in line with inflation during the next Charter Renewal period, though with this currently at 0.1% it may not seem a huge boon to BBC bosses scrapping to bring its finances to a more stable footing.However, this would only happen if the conclusions of the review find it a viable option in relation to “to the purposes and scope of the BBC” and if the broadcaster showed “it is undertaking efficiency savings at least equivalent to those in other parts of the public sector”.The deal will also end a decree on the BBC that forced it to ring-fence cash to allow for broadband roll-out around the UK. This will fall to £80 million in 2017/18, £20 million in 2018/19, £10 million in 2019/2020 and nothing by 2020/21.A final element of the government’s announcement noted it would “carefully the case for decriminalisation” of the licence fee – a change the Conservatives are thought to be largely behind.Unexpectedly making the announcement ahead of Charter Renewal talks set for 2017, UK Chancellor George Osborne said: “The BBC is a valued national institution that produces some of the finest television and radio in the world. But it is also a publicly-funded body, so it is right that it, like other parts of the public sector, should make savings.”“The deal we have agreed with the Corporation means that it will take on the significant cost of TV licences for the over-75s, easing some of the pressure on taxpayers who have to meet the country’s welfare bill, while also ensuring that our promise to maintain pensioner benefits is met in full over the next five years.”“We have secured the right deal for the BBC in difficult economic circumstances for the country,” said BBC director general Tony Hall.“This agreement secures the long term funding for a strong BBC over the next Charter period. It means a commitment to increase the licence fee in line with inflation, subject to Charter Review, the end of the iPlayer loophole and the end of the broadband ringfence. In the circumstances, the BBC has agreed take on the costs for free licence fees for over-75s, and after the next parliament, will take on the policy.”Hall’s predecessor, Mark Thompson, came close to resigning over the over-75s issue, claiming it would be a disaster for the BBC, while current BBC director of television Danny Cohen has also indicated programming, and even television and radio channels, could be cut if it comes to pass.Commentators have already moved to criticise the timing of the announcement, which came before any public consultation, and the back-room nature of the negotiations.Rona Fairhead, chairman of the the BBC Trust, which is the under-fire body that governs the BBC, wrote in a letter to Culture Secretary John Whittingdale she accepted the decision “as a legitimate one”, but added she could not “endorse the process by which it has been reached”. It is the second time in five years the BBC and government reached an agreement without public consultation.“It is our presumption that the government will now not seek to impose further costs on the BBC during the Charter Period,” wrote Fairhead.“Both the Trust and the Executive are committed to driving further change and efficiencies, in the light of the economic challenges that face us, and to pursue all other possible sources of revenue.“However, the Executive are clear that the necessary savings will not be achieved through productive efficiency alone and will inevitably have some impact on the nature of the BBC’s services.”The news comes days after the BBC announced it was cutting 1,000 jobs in a bid to save £50 million per year.