French pay TV provider Canal has secured distribu

French pay TV provider Canal has secured distribu

first_imgFrench pay TV provider Canal+ has secured distribution of its pay TV channels Canal+ International and CNews on the DirecTV platform in the US.Since March 19, DirecTV customers subscribing to the FrenchDirect option have access to both channels.Canal+ International is a new general entertainment channel aimed at Francophone viewers in the US. The channel offers a mix of original series, movies, live sport and entertainment programming.The launch of the new channel along with news service CNews on DirecTV marks the first time that Canal+ services have been available on a pay TV platform in the US market.Canal+ International will air content including Canal+ originals Pigalle La Nuit, Baron Noir, Platane and Section Zero along with Top 14 rugby and other sports and kids content from Canal+ kids channels Piwi+ and Teletoon+.Canal+ International and CNews are distributed in the US by the pay TV group’s distribution arm Thema.last_img read more

Eutelsat has issued sevenyear senior unsecured bo

Eutelsat has issued sevenyear senior unsecured bo

first_imgEutelsat has issued seven-year senior unsecured bonds for a total of €800 million, taking advantage of what it termed as a “current competitive market” for raising long-term financing.The bonds will be issued at 99.4% and will be redeemed at 100% per cent of their principal amount when they mature on October 2, 2025.“The Bonds will enable Eutelsat to redeem at maturity the outstanding bonds issued on 14 December 2011 for a total principal amount of €800 million, bearing interest on its principal amount at a fixed rate of 5.0% per annum and due January 2019,” said Eutelsat in a statement.The transaction is expected to maximise Eutelsat’s free-cash-flow and reduce pre-tax cash interest by some €24 million on an annualised basis from full year 2019-20. It will also allow Eutelsat to extend its debt maturity profile.last_img read more

The EU is likely to launch a full investigation of

The EU is likely to launch a full investigation of

first_imgThe EU is likely to launch a full investigation of Liberty Global’s planned sale of its German and central European assets to Vodafone, according to a Reuters report, citing an unnamed source.The opening of an in-depth investigation by the EU would imply that the EC will reject the request by the German competition regulator, the Bundeskartellamt, to refer the German portion of the sale to it. If the EC has decided to consider the acquisition in a broader EU-wide context, this is likely to be welcomed by Vodafone and Liberty Global. A specifically German investigation would have been welcomed by opponents of the deal such as Deutsche Telekom.The EC is scheduled to complete its initial investigation of the deal by next week.Germany’s competition watchdog, together with together with the country’s Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, requested the European Commission to refer Vodafone’s planned acquisition of Liberty Global’s Unitymedia unit to it last month on the grounds that the deal has an impact on markets in Germany.Andreas Mundt, the Bundeskartellamt’s president, said that the acquisition by Vodafone of Unitymedia and certain of Liberty’s central European assets would “affect Germany in particular” as it “could lead to very significant changes in market conditions in cable television and telecommunications”.Speaking after Vodafone released its last set of quarterly figures, CEO Nick Read said that the deal involved two businesses with “multi-country, non-competing, overlapping footprints” and that precedent existed to suggest that the deal should be approved.last_img read more

Satellite operator SES has been contracted to prov

Satellite operator SES has been contracted to prov

first_imgSatellite operator SES has been contracted to provide 15 free-to-air channels to viewers in Benin by the government of the West African country.As part of the agreement some HD channels will be broadcast over the country, which SES says are the first HD channels to be available via digital-terrestrial TV across Africa, making an important step forward in the planned 2020 digital switchover for the country.SES is using a spot-beam on SES-14 to feed video to the Benin DTT infrastructure, with DTH coverage used to complement this in areas where DTT coverage is lacking. The SES-14 satellite, launched last year, is positioned at 47.5° West.“SES has delivered a creative solution to us to ensure the introduction of digital television with HD channels. This is an important milestone as we move toward our deadline for the analogue switch-off. We are very pleased to be working with SES, which has both the technical capabilities and required experience to support our ambitious plans to set new standards for broadcasting,” said Darius Quenum, chairman of the DTT steering committee of the presidency of the Republic of Benin.“We are excited to be working with the committee leading the digital television transition of Benin to deliver such high-quality service to the people of Benin. Launching HD service can be complex, and we are dedicated to providing innovative solutions to respond to market needs. Launching this DTT and DTH service is an important step for Benin and we are in the best position to successfully deliver the complete set of services required,” said Clint Brown, VP, sales and market development for Africa, SES Video.last_img read more

As the CEE channel environment becomes more compet

As the CEE channel environment becomes more compet

first_imgAs the CEE channel environment becomes more competitive, with new digital launches from local as well as international players, so channel providers have to differentiate through strong content and localization to stay ahead. Stuart Thomson reports.International channel providers continue to see central and eastern Europe as a significant growth market, despite the well-publicized economic challenges faced by a number of countries in the region. As the market matures, a number of international players are moving towards establishing a stronger local presence across the region’s key markets, creating local offices and launching local production initiatives.Local presenceThe extent of building a local presence depends on the relative strength of the channel provider and on the business model. BBC Worldwide recently opened a local office in Poland and appointed former Polsat executive Jacek Koskowski as general manager. For the BBC, as for other channel providers, Poland, with the largest population amongst the central European EU states, a strong economy and a vibrant pay TV market, is the key market and test-bed for expansion elsewhere.“Poland is an important European market growing very strongly,” says Ian McDonough, senior vice-president and general manager, EMEA, BBC Worldwide Channels. BBC channels are currently present on two of the major DTH platforms – ‘n’ and Canal Plus Cyfrowy – but lost their position on the third – Cyfrowy Polsat – with which they previously had an exclusive carriage deal. BBC Worldwide also has distribution with the country’s major cable operators. According to McDonough, BBC Worldwide is “realistic and flexible – we very much prefer to have non-exclusive deals”, which gives the channels reach and opens up the possibility to developing an advertising revenue stream, but if exclusivity is preferred by the distribution partner, such a deal will be considered on its merits.While Poland is the keystone of its presence in the region, BBC Worldwide is beginning to strike deals elsewhere in central and eastern Europe for its portfolio, launching BBC Entertainment in Serbia, and is looking at other opportunities in the Balkan region. Other recent deals include the launch of the BBC HD channel on TTnet in Turkey (where it is already available on Turksat and DSmart). “HD is certainly interesting for the market – BBC Knowledge HD has worked well in Poland,” says McDonough. “It’s the most-watched channel on the ‘n’ platform.”While major players including BBC Worldwide see central and eastern Europe as a market that offers strong growth (albeit increasingly challenging from a competitive standpoint), for single-channel provider KidsCo flexibility is the key to success.   KidsCo originally launched in the CEE region because it identified a gap in the market. “Having got carriage quickly [when we launched] it’s been a bit slower than in the first two to three years,” says managing director Paul Robinson. However, while KidsCo has been focusing on making headway elsewhere of late (including western Europe), there are still a number of key operators to target in central and eastern Europe, including Cyfrowy Polsat and Cyfra Plus in Poland. The Baltic States and Bulgaria also remain KidsCo-free zones and Robinson believes there may be opportunities for distribution in both those territories. “The other part is Russia, where we now have licences and an agent,” he says. “We are now building our presence there, with Akado, Orion and some smaller operators, but there is a lot of potential. We have had to spend time investing in infrastructure and finding the right partner, but in the next year we will see good growth.”For more specialist content providers, the CEE region also remains a market characterized by growth. Adult channel provider Marc Dorcel sees considerable opportunities in the region based on multiple revenue streams from linear channels, video-on-demand and magazines. “Historically, CEE has been a very segmented market, with many small-to-middle sized analogue cable operators,” says CEO Gregory Dorcel. “Because of analogue switch-off, they will have to upgrade the networks and that requires huge investments. Quality adult content is a good way to recover these investments as it drives a demanding audience ready to pay. And I do believe that we have the most complete and comprehensive offer on the market today.” The company’s content is, says Dorcel, present on many of the major platforms in the region and it is now focusing on smaller regional platforms and on selling video-on-demand, as well as being present at trade shows including PIKE (Poland) and Tihany (Hungary). “Any country is interesting for us. Our only limit, which we have everywhere, is the legal framework for adult content distribution,” says Dorcel.One channel provider with a strong heritage in the region is Chello Zone, the international channels arm of Liberty Global’s Chellomedia unit. Chello Zone operates 13 channels: Zone Reality, Zone Romantica, Extreme Sports Channel, JimJam, Food Network, Fine Living Network, Fantasy Channel and (the latest addition to the stable) The Outdoor Channel. The division is focusing on developing its existing brands as well as the launch of Food Network and Outdoor Channel, both of which are available in HD versions. Chello Zone also recently teamed up with Polsat in Poland to launch JimJam Polsat, a dedicated Polish kids channel. The Outdoor Channel is currently available in Russia. “Well positioned channels, with a core target audience and a potentially commercial audience  are important for operators, especially as they are looking for a strong driver content for new SD packaging, VOD offerings and HD packaging,” says Louise Cottrell, vice-president, affiliate sales at Chello Zone. Outdoor Channel is therefore a good solution for platforms and has an important role in helping operators build additional revenue opportunities.” Cottrell says another channel in the portfolio may be available in HD later this year.“Quality adult content is a good way to recover these investments as it drives a demanding audience ready to pay.”Gregory Dorcel, DorcelCentral and eastern Europe as a whole is seen as “a very significant market” by Tom Davidson, managing director of AETN UK, the US channel provider’s joint venture with BSkyB, which distributes a range of brands including History, Crime & Investigation and Bio in the CEE region. While consumer purchasing power in the region clearly has a long way to go before it catches up on the West, the strong growth profile of the region makes it attractive. Davidson says that AETN has sold History across the region and penetration is growing. More recently, the channel provider has pushed its Crime & Investigation channel into new territories across CEE, including Poland, Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia. “Getting that out into the rest of the territories s a key goal, and in the longer term we are looking to get Bio and Military History into that market too,” says Davidson. He says AETN benefits from Crime & Investigation belonging to a completely different genre of channels than History – allowing it to present it to distribution partners in a different way. “It’s completely different which allows us to access a very different audience,” he says.Local productionIn addition to building an advertising business in key markets such as Poland, Davidson says that local content will be key to the channels’ success.  “The next step is local production and we have started talking to local producers both for History and C&I,” he says. This will enable the channel provider to become more relevant to its distribution partners and to build an audience for advertising too. He says that the obvious first step is to take formats that have worked well elsewhere (such as the group’s American Restoration and Pawn Stars properties) and produce local variants. “The other thing we see potential for is topics that have not really been touched on with real PR value in those territories,” says Davidson. “The feedback we get is that there are topics that people have an interest in covering but lack the money. There seems to be more opportunity in the CEE market because the local production industry doesn’t have the money to take those shows.”While local production is something that AETN has yet to build in earnest, at the very minimum its channels are launched into new markets fully versioned in the local language. Greater effort towards meaningful localization is given impetus by growing competition in the region as a whole. International players are facing competition from local channel providers as well as intensified competition from each other, as they attempt to expand their portfolio and move into new genre areas. For Davidson, competition comes not only from the big international players but from national channels attempting to build their own channel portfolios, particularly as digital switchover gets under way. “What’s really making a difference and making the market tougher is a big push by local channels to launch additional services. If you talk about competitive pressure, that’s where a lot of it is coming from,” says Davidson. He says must-carry rules implemented by local regulators can push out international players in favour of the digital channels launched by local public broadcasters, for example.For other players, local production is seen as an important way of differentiating their proposition. For premium content provider HBO Central Europe, it is a way of staying relevant to audiences and justifying the cost of subscription. Last year, HBO produced programming in five of the 14 countries in the region which it operates and won an international Emmy award for Romania-produced documentary The World According to Ion B.Local production is also seen as a significant opportunity by adult channel provider Marc Dorcel, which aggregates content from over 60 adult catalogues from US and European studios. According to Dorcel, the company produces a significant portion of its content in CEE, using local production crews and actors. VOD and subscription VOD now account for the bulk of the company’s revenues. “Adult non-linear requires special know-how and we propose most of the time to operators to manage their adult non-linear offerings,” says Dorcel. “We proceed with editorial, refresh the titles regularly, localize the interface. This is a real win-win partnership – all operators who have trusted us generate…at least a million euros of revenues each year.”Localization can also involve, more simply, dedicated feeds with content tailored to a particular market. “In large and consolidated markets we have moved towards making dedicated territory feeds available, or else regional feeds. This allows us to buy programming more specifically for individual territories,” says Chello Zone’s Cottrell. “Localisation becomes more and more important as we take our channels to an ever increasing list of countries, but it is essential to balance localization initiatives with overall channel economics, advertising opportunities and platform or audience requirements.” In Poland Chello Zone has dedicated Extreme Sports Channel and Zone Reality feeds as well as JimJam Polsat; and in Romania it has a dedicated Romantica feed. “We also have regional feeds covering one or two key areas which allows us to acquire programming on a more focused basis – for example Zone Reality has a regional feed covering four major territories, including Hungary and Romania,” says Cottrell.“The next step is local production and we have started talking to local producers both for History and C&I.”Tom Davidson, AETNRegional or territory-specific feeds also open up the possibility of developing new revenue streams, notably from advertising. “We are some way off from advertising sales overtaking subscription revenue, but by having a multi-revenue approach to key markets it allows us to develop the brands and invest in shaping them to individual markets,” says Cottrell. “Advertising spend has increased in CEE markets amongst the multi-channel environment principally in key markets such as Poland and Hungary, also Romania, as in turn audience share to these television channels has grown. Consolidation within the market has also enabled multi-channels to build strong distribution frameworks, which in turn enables ratings systems to develop to include them and advertising sales to become firmly established in this environment.”  According to Cottrell, Poland and Hungary have built strong advertising markets, enabling both domestic and international channels to get involved in ad sales, which also allows new channels to enter the market.Marketing is also increasingly key to building a channel’s presence on a country-by-country basis. KidsCo, for example, has already engaged in joint marketing initiatives with platforms including Akado, Orion (Russia), Toya (Poland), Romtelecom (Romania) and DSmart (Turkey). For the latter, the channel has made some films with a child psychologist based at the Tavistock Centre in London on the impact of media on child development. “We also launched a breakfast sequence in central and eastern Europe in April taking the key shows based on video game characters and aggregating them into a breakfast show package,” says KidsCo’s Robinson.In order to give KidsCo greater flexibility, Robinson recently set up an in-house distribution team of five (the channel was previously sold through shareholder NBC Universal). “By having our own team we can focus on achieving our objectives although we will continue to work with NBC,” he says.Robinson believes that the kids market has become more competitive, with stronger competition from the likes of Disney in particular, as well as from local players and international providers including the BBC. “Our strategy has been to be complementary. We are sticking to our proposition of targeting six-to-ten year-old boys and girls and giving them a safe environment with high-quality programming – it’s a niche that has been underserved by our competitors,” says Robinson. As the channel gains traction its buying power grows, he says – giving an international player such as KidsCo an advantage over local channels that are restricted to one particular market.One issue that faces the channel in Poland  is a growing requirement for HD. “Poland is a very advanced HD market – more than some western European countries,” says Robinson. “Poland is a special case in that sense but we are increasingly being asked for HD in other markets too.” While kids themselves are not necessarily interested in HD, the demand of operators for HD channels presents something of a dilemma to a programming genre that associates HD with high costs and few tangible commercial or creative benefits.While some channels seem ripe for localization in depth, other providers prefer to rely on the strength of their existing content libraries. So far BBC Worldwide has held back from local production and acquisition, preferring to market itself on the basis of access to the BBC’s vast library of content. McDonough says the group has “an ambition to do [local production] – but not at this stage”. In the future, he says, it is possible that the company will look at exporting formats that have worked well in the UK and developing them in particular territories.Non-linear distributionThe impetus towards greater localization is one sign of the growing maturity of the markets of central and eastern Europe. The time when international channel providers could simply pitch up with a proposition and expect to win carriage on distribution platforms is long past, but the degree of sophistication required of content providers’ offerings is rapidly converging with the demands of platform operators in more highly developed pay TV markets. Channels are increasingly bringing not only localized linear feeds to the party, but also local content, joint marketing initiatives with distributors, and non-linear content to complement the main channel.Led by forward-looking companies including UPC Broadband, video-on-demand has been gaining traction across CEE as cable operators and a few IPTV players try to upsell their subscribers to digital services.As far as non-linear distribution is concerned, BBC Worldwide has delivered video-on-demand programming to UPC in Poland. While the BBC has yet to announce which international territories will be targeted for its forthcoming international iPlayer service, McDonough says that “over-the-top is not something we are really looking at in this stage”. In central and eastern Europe, he says, the group still has a lot of work to do to catch up with more established international players in securing linear distribution for its channels with pay TV operators. BBC Worldwide is open to launching branded blocks – it has just launched a Cbeebies block on the Canal Plus Family premium channel in the Nordic market – but McDonough says that for much of the central and eastern Europe region, the story will be one of securing carriage on basic cable and on the basic tier of DTH services. “We are still at an early stage in our development and there are lots of basic cable and DTH [platforms] we should be launching on before we get into [premium],” he says.Like most channel providers, AETN believes that online and non-linear distribution only makes sense in partnership with a pay TV operator. “We are lucky to have a broad rights ownership situation across most of our shows,” says Davidson. “Compared to some of the other entertainment-focused channels we own most of the rights because most of the content is produced by our parent in the US, and we have been able to give consumers a lot more ability to access non-linear content. Demand has increased significantly when it comes to VOD particularly.”This is also a view taken by KidsCo, which plans to introduce its VOD-based recommendation engine MyKidsCo soon. KidsCo already has one deal in the pipeline with a European cable operator. “It will launch this summer and we are very excited about that,” says Robinson. “I think personalization is a trend that’s not going to go away.” However, he says, the company is currently not actively negotiating to launch this service in central and eastern Europe.On the premium side, HBO Central Europe is rolling out its recently launched HBO Go service in the region on a market-by-market basis, initially in Poland, followed by Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania and, most recently, Hungary. HBO aims to make its services available across multiple platforms, including tablets and other internet-connected devices as well as PCs.Adult specialist Marc Dorcel meanwhile has invested significant amounts in developing adult 3D content – ?1.5 million to date – but Gregory Dorcel says that there are relatively few operators in central and eastern Europe geared up for this type of content yet. “We do not believe that 3D suits for a linear consumption. We prefer to reserve it for the premium universe in our SVOD offer,” says Dorcel. “First, for comfort reasons, our clips have a maximal length of 30 minutes. Then 3D remains an exceptional experience.” The company launched its 3D SVOD offer in November 2010 in France for ?30 a month and has attracted few thousands subs on each of the platforms where it is available.The appearance of 3D services – particularly sports, thanks in part to recent efforts by Eurosport – are one more sign that the more advanced markets of central and eastern Europe (including, once again, Poland) are rapidly converging with those of the western half of the continent. In many cases, providers in these markets are already leapfrogging their peers in western European markets by launching online catch-up, multiscreen and 3D services. It is true that the socio-economic profile of the region remains significantly apart from western Europe, with a much larger proportion of very low-income households for which pay TV services are either likely to remain out of reach or for whom specific low-cost or pre-paid offering must be tailored. Nevertheless there is also clearly a sizeable demographic for which such advanced services are increasingly attractive.last_img read more

Cordcutting may be ubiquitous in headlines but t

Cordcutting may be ubiquitous in headlines but t

first_imgCord-cutting may be ubiquitous in headlines, but the reality is not quite so cut-and-dried, claims a new report.According to the European Audiovisual Observatory, cord-cutting primarily depends on local market conditions.One of the major findings of the report is that cord-cutting is not taking place right across the board in Europe and is very specific to national markets. Each national market has been and is still shaped by very specific conditions, often growing from pay audiovisual services, including purchasing power, supply of free services, penetration and performance of broadband access, and regulation.The report claims that  due to the specific convergence of market factors, both pay-TV and SVOD uptakes and market shares paint a very different picture from one country to another as well as from one player to another. The European Audiovisual Observatory says that this is the result of a strong granularity of pay AV services’ market strategies.The report concludes that while cord-cutting is one of the pay AV services market realities in Europe, it is not the only one and is largely dependent on the national market conditions of a highly diverse European pay AV services landscape.Elsewhere, the report also found that Netflix, Comcast and Liberty Global are leading the European pay AV services market in terms of subscriptions. Combined, they controlled a third of all EU subscriptions to pay AV services in 2017. Almost one in three pay-TV subscriptions were signed off either to Liberty Global (UPC, Ziggo, Virgin TV, Telenet, Unitymedia TV) or Comcast (Sky), while Netflix and Amazon alone accounted for almost 80% of the SVOD subscriptions in the EU.last_img read more

ShareTweet

ShareTweet

first_imgShareTweet Otwarcie wystawy: piątek 23/01/2015 o godz. 19.00!!! SERDECZNIE ZAPRASZAMY!An exhibition of Derry’s cultural diversity has been captured in a series of photographs taken by Polish artists who have made the city their home.The Polish Abroad Photo Exhibition will be launched tonight at the Cascade Gallery, Waterside Theatre at 7pm and is open to the public. exhibitionPolish AbroadWaterside Theatre POLISH ABROAD EXHIBITION OPENS TONIGHT IN DERRY was last modified: January 22nd, 2015 by John2John2 Tags:  Work in partnership with other community and charity organizations, Their Representatives and officials as well as other relevant organisations and agencies that formulate and implement strategies that constructive Encourage the promotion of the Polish community in the North West of Northern Ireland. Raise awareness among the wider community of the needs and rights and the contribution of the Polish Community in the interest of community relations in the North West. Bring together members of the Polish community that develop and advance their arts, culture and heritage. Advance the education of the Polish community in the North West by providing educational opportunities.POLISH ABROAD PHOTO EXHIBITION OPENS TONIGHT 7PM AT THE WATERSIDE THEATRE AND ARTS CENTRE, GLENDERMOTT ROAD.The Exhibition runs from January 23rd -February 6th.*The Waterside Theatre has called on any artists who would be interested in exhibiting their work in Cascade Gallery (32 metres of hanging space using the Boyer Picture Hanging System) at the Waterside Theatre please ring 02871 314000 or emailroisin@watersidetheatre.com to discuss. Polish Abroad is a non-profit community group established in 2008 in Derry-Londonderry supporting the Polish community in the North West.The aims of the group include:Contribute to the advancement of citizenship and community development through social, cultural and educational projects undertaken either independently or together with organizations sharing the same objectives. This exhibition will be an opportunity to see Derry and its environs through their eyes.Places, faces and moments captured in the frames are a manifestation of their personal experiences and a way to express themselves through the art of photography.Polish Abroad Photo Exhibition is a project funded through Derry City Council Support Grant.The Polish community in Derry City Council Area is one of the largest BME communities which over the last decade has added hugely to the cultural variety and richness of the City.last_img read more

He passed away despite the best efforts of his mot

He passed away despite the best efforts of his mot

first_imgHe passed away despite the best efforts of his mother Sarah and their neighbours, who ran from their homes to administer first aid until paramedics arrived.Paramedics tended to him at the scene and then rushed him to Altnagelvin Hospital but Donnacadh tragically died from his serious injuries.The Mass of the Angels for Donnacadh is at 11 am this morning.One man was arrested and questioned at Strand Road police station. Donnacadh Maguire lovingly described as a ‘wee angel’ by his uncle Cahir Killen.HEARTBROKEN family and friends will gather today to comfort each other and say a tearful farewell to Donnacadh Maguire whose life was so cruelly cut cut short earlier this week.Hundreds of mourners are expected to attend the Mass of the Angels at St Eugene’s Cathedral in Derry.Donnacadh died on Tuesday morning after being struck by a car while playing outside his home in Tyrconnell Street, in the Bogside area of the city some time between 10 am and 10.30 am. ShareTweet He was later released on bail pending further police inquiries.His devastated uncle and godfather Cahir Killen lovingly described Donnacadh as a “wee angel” in a posting on his Facebook page.REQUIEM MASS TODAY FOR LITTLE ANGEL DONNACADH MAGUIRE was last modified: July 14th, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: DerryREQUIEM MASS TODAY FOR LITTLE ANGEL DONNACADH MAGUIRESARAH MAGUIRESt Eugene’s cathedralTYRCONNELL STREETlast_img read more

NewsWatchState NewsTop Stories

NewsWatchState NewsTop Stories

first_img NewsWatchState NewsTop Stories W.Va. regional jail starts inpatient treatment pilot By Tyler BarkerFeb 21, 2019, 10:55 am 1442 0 Mail Pinterest Home NewsWatch W.Va. regional jail starts inpatient treatment pilot Facebook Next PostStructure Fire In Tioga Previous PostFour People Are In Jail After Stealing Copper From Mine Causing 4 Million Dollars In Damages CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – For the first time, West Virginia has begun offering inpatient substance abuse treatment to jail-housed inmates via court referral. The promising pilot launched at the Western Regional Jail aims to break the cycle of addiction, save lives, and reduce crime and incarceration costs.Circuit judges in the counties served by the jail have started sending eligible offenders to the program. The pilot provides individual and group therapy daily as well as medication-assisted treatment in qualifying cases. It has a capacity of 32 beds each for men and women, in separate sections and away from other jail inmates.“Our goal is to return people so they can become contributing and productive members of society,” said Corrections and Rehabilitation Commissioner Betsy Jividen, who links this effort with her agency’s emphasis on strong reentry programs that assist with housing and employment.The pilot is voluntary and open only to non-violent offenders. The inpatient treatment is in lieu of a regular sentence, and is expected to take at least six months. If successfully completed, the treatment term would lead to a reduced sentence, supervised release or some other alternative to further incarceration.“We’ve tried to make this a judge-led program,” said Assistant Commissioner and Inspector General Gary Johnson. “We leave it up to them as to who comes and what happens when we send (inmates) back to them after they finish the program.”Specially trained recovery coaches will continue to work with these individuals upon release as they rejoin their communities. These offenders would also be eligible for injections of naltrexone (Vivitrol), which blocks the effects of opioids. More than 375 exiting inmates have received these injections since July 2015.Huntington and Cabell County have made gains targeting substance use disorders and overdoses. Officials such as Cabell County Prosecuting Attorney Sean “Corky” Hammers believe the pilot will further that progress.“What I hear from the public a lot is, ‘Why do these same people get arrested and they keep getting out after they serve their sentence, and they just keep getting arrested again and again?’” Hammers said. “We have tools to prevent that, and this is going to be another useful tool to protect the public and keep offenders from re-offending.”Successful outcomes will also reduce inmate crowding and the burden of incarceration on taxpayers. It costs an estimated $75.85 a day to keep an inmate in prison, while the State Budget Office has calculated the jail per diem as $53.20 Corrections and Rehabilitation hopes to expand the pilot throughout the statewide network of 10 regional jails.“When someone completes this program, we can then quantify the money we can save by cutting off a lot on the tail end of what their sentence could have been,” said Secretary Jeff Sandy of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, which includes Corrections and Rehabilitation.The pilot also promises to improve safety in the jails by reducing demand for drugs and therefore the smuggling of contraband, noted Jack Luikart, DMAPS’ director of Corrections Substance Abuse Control. He also cited how more than half of the West Virginians who suffer fatal overdoses had contact with the criminal justice system, such as being in jail, within a year of their deaths.“This puts them on a good path to recovery while it also would help, hopefully, decrease the number of people who die,” said Luikart. “At the same time, it would cut down on our contraband issue because we’re treating the addiction.”West Virginia has long offered inpatient Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) in its prisons. It also has RSAT units, one each for men and women, at the Southwestern Regional Jail but for inmates who have been sentenced to prison and await bed space in one. Tumblr Linkedin Twitter Google+ Tyler Barker Tyler Barker is currently the Interim News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. I was promoted to this job in Mid-November. I still will fill in on weather from time to time. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email me at tbarker@woay.comlast_img read more

Tyler Barker Tyler

Tyler Barker Tyler

first_img Tyler Barker Tyler Barker is currently the Interim News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. I was promoted to this job in Mid-November. I still will fill in on weather from time to time. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email me at tbarker@woay.com Tumblr Linkedin Google+ CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett say charges alleging he lied to police about an attack have been dropped.Smollett attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a Tuesday morning statement that Smollett’s record “has been wiped clean.” Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs.A spokeswoman for Cook County prosecutors didn’t immediately respond to messages requesting comment.Police and prosecutors have said the black and gay actor falsely reported to authorities that he was attacked Jan. 29 in downtown Chicago because he was unhappy with his pay on the Fox show and to promote his career. Twitter Pinterest Home NewsWatch National News Jussie Smollett’s attorneys say all criminal charges dropped National NewsNewsWatchTop Stories Jussie Smollett’s attorneys say all criminal charges dropped By Tyler BarkerMar 26, 2019, 11:33 am 271 0 Previous PostDems cry foul as Trump calls for striking down ‘Obamacare’ Mail Next PostMidland Trail High School Lockdown Lifted Facebooklast_img read more

One of them has been tortured another is surround

first_imgOne of them has been tortured; another is surrounded by armed men and trapped; and the third is hiding ten thousand miles away, in fear of his life. And what were their crimes? Telling the truth. Talk about a sick commentary on the modern world. For those who didn’t know, Ed Snowden is the young man who released evidence of the US government purposely trashing the Constitution that they swore to protect. Coming on the heels of the press surveillance, Verizon, IRS, and Boundless Informant scandals, his information on project Prism has capped off quite a run. Whether Americans still have the emotional strength to give a damn, or they are simply looking for reasons to believe, is another question, but this young man is a hero of the highest order. So is Julian Assange and so is Bradley Manning. They released the truth about what they saw happening. And the gigantic operations are threatening their lives because they do not want you to know the truth. Let me quote Jesus here: Everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God. So, who’s on which side of this issue? The haters of light proclaim that they see more than you do, know more than you do, and are wiser than you. And they go further: first demanding that you give them your money, and then that you thank them for keeping you in the dark. What would you think if someone who proposed that to you as a business deal? Yet, these people proclaim that they are empowered to do dark deeds by the great LAW. When questioned, they quote dozens of statutes and rulings and regulations. Yet, it all crumbles as soon as anyone refers to the original and paramount law. That “supreme law” reads: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated. That paramount law does not say, “unless you have appropriate statutes, or rulings, or executive orders, or international treaties, or other impressive scraps of paper.” It says shall not be violated. In response, they call you stupid, uneducated, and deceived. Then they will threaten you. Their threats, of course, have to be taken seriously. After all, they’ve purchased how many billion bullets in the past couple of years? And how many people have they tortured in Cuba? And how many violent, international kidnappings have they undertaken under the more pleasant term of “rendition”? And they claim to be righteous. Don’t you believe it. When Snowden, Assange, and Manning walk free, you can reconsider. But until these three truth-tellers are publicly thanked, these agencies – no matter how many dollars and guns and agents they have – are the enemies of light and truth. [A note to my religious friends: Don’t you dare try to say that these agencies are agents of God’s will. By doing so, you are calling Jesus a liar.] Paul Rosenberg The Dangers of Telling the Truth: Snowden, Assange, and Manning FreemansPerspective.comlast_img read more

For the Monday trading session gold was up 140…

first_img For the Monday trading session, gold was up 1.40%…platinum was up 2.61%…palladium up 3.79%…and silver stunk up the place…down 0.05%. The dollar index closed late Friday in New York at 83.18…and once it opened on Sunday night in New York, it chopped lower in fits and starts…and closed the Monday trading day at 83.02…down 16 basis points from Friday.  Nothing to see here. On August 1st, the “Unthinkable” Could Happen Harry Dent – the economist who has correctly predicted nearly every major financial event over the last 25 years – says that, this summer, one of America’s largest retailers may shut its doors. In his latest special presentation, he’ll show you how to get its ticker symbol to ensure you’re not holding this financial death-trap. Click here to learn more. Sponsor Advertisement (Click on image to enlarge) The CME’s Daily Delivery Report for ‘Day 3’ of the July delivery month showed that 24 gold and 295 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Wednesday.  In silver, the two largest short/issuers were Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia with 232 contracts…and Jefferies with 60 contracts.  The only long/stopper of any consequence was JPMorgan Chase with 250 contracts in its proprietary [in-house] trading account…and 25 contracts in its client account.  The link to yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is here. Despite the big gains in the gold price over the last couple of days…GLD reported a withdrawal yesterday.  But it was a rather smallish 38,655 troy ounces.  And as of 8:30 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV. The U.S. Mint had a big sales report yesterday…and I’d be prepared to bet a big chunk of dough that these sales were actually in June, but weren’t reported until July 1st…just to keep them out of the June sales month.  They sold 14,500 troy ounces of gold eagles…5,500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes…and 826,000 silver eagles.  These are pretty impressive sales numbers…especially for just one day…and particularly in gold. There was big activity in silver over at the Comex-approved depositories on Friday.  They reported receiving 2,019,727 troy ounces…and shipped out 392,714 troy ounces.  The lion’s share of the silver ended up at Scotia Mocatta…and the link to yesterday’s activity is here. In gold, these same depositories reported receiving 4,817 troy ounces…and shipped 702 troy ounces of the stuff out the door.  The link to that action is here. I have a large number of stories today…and I’ll happily leave the final edit up to you. In silver, the Commercial net short position came down by 1,900 contracts, to a new low total of 4,100 contracts. Four months ago, this total commercial net short position was 51,900 contracts (Feb 5th), so the commercials have bought nearly 48,000 net silver contracts on the COMEX, or the equivalent of almost 240 million oz, on a price decline of $13 (40%). By my calculations, I think JPMorgan may have accounted for as much as half (120 million oz) of the total commercial amount bought. I‘d like to see anyone explain…with a straight face…how that could have occurred without prices being manipulated lower. – Silver analyst Ted Butler…29 June 2013 I wouldn’t read much into yesterday’s price action, although I did think that gold got hit by a not-for-profit seller just before lunch in New York yesterday…just as the price was about to go ‘no ask’. What I am intrigued about is that Zero Hedge piece that was the last story in today’s column. I remember the day, months ago, that Australian reader Wesley Legrand sent me the story about Goldman Sachs in Australia advising that the gold price was about to fall…and recommending that their clients go short.  I noted it, but didn’t comment on it in my column that morning, as I’d heard these bearish rumours before. When I got up later that morning, it was all over the Internet in Europe and North America, as every major brokerage firm and main stream media outlet had picked it up…and the rest, as they say, is history. A couple of weeks back I asked Wesley to keep his eyes open for any sign that GS might be going long gold, now that we were close to a bottom…and JPMorgan was mega-long the gold market…and I figured that the news once again might break in Australia before Europe and the U.S. opened later the same day. But it was JPMorgan Chase that issued the buy recommendation I was looking for…and the details of that were posted in that Zero Hedge piece yesterday afternoon EDT. Ted Butler correctly pointed out in his comments at the end of that story…”This is the ultimate racket. They rig prices lower, forcing everyone to sell, so they can buy and when they’re done, they issue a buy signal. The Mafia couldn’t come up with anything better.“…and I couldn’t put it better myself. JPM’s additional comments that “liquidity could fall quickly in summer” struck a nerve with me.  I wonder if that meant that they won’t be the sellers of last resort when the shorts begin to cover, as that would certainly fulfill the definition of an “illiquid market” that they spoke of. I’m also wondering how the other story about “Shanghai starts night trading for gold and silver futures July 5th”…which is Independence Day in the USA…China time, fits into this. This is wild-ass speculation on my part, but I’ve always been of the opinion that when things do blow up, it will happen when few people will be able to take advantage of it…and this scenario fits the bill nicely. But maybe I’m looking for black bears in dark rooms that aren’t there…and it wouldn’t be the first time.  We’ll see. In overnight trading in the Far East on their Tuesday morning, there was no price activity worthy of the name, although all four precious metals popped a bit at the London open.  Volumes in gold are already very decent at over 40,000 contracts…and silver’s volume is north of 7,500 contracts.  It’s a good bet that most of that is of the HFT variety.  The dollar index was trading sideways in a very tight range barely above the 83.00 level…but once London opened, it jumped up 15 basis points. And as I hit the ‘send’ button on today’s column at 5:15 EDT…gold is up about ten bucks…and silver is up a dime. If we manage to make it through the rest of the trading day on Tuesday with no big surprises to the upside in either gold or silver, the next Commitment of Traders Report…along with the July Bank Participation Report…both of which come out on Monday because of the July 4th holiday in the U.S…will be a sight to behold. That’s all I have for today…which is more than enough…and I’ll see you here tomorrow. The gold stocks opened almost on their high tick of the day, but got sold down immediately for no reason that I could see, as the gold price itself was in a serious rally mode at the time…and that lasted until around 11:30 EDT.  The gold stocks hit their nadir at 10:30 a.m. in New York right on the button…and rallied back to their original opening high by 1:15 p.m…before chopping sideways into the close.  The HUI finished up 1.28 percent. Coeur d’Alene Mining got clocked for 4.36% yesterday for no reason that I could see…but that didn’t stop Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index finishing solidly in the green…up 2.29%. Silver attempted to rally in the first hour of trading on Sunday night in New York…but that wasn’t allowed to stand. After that, not much happened for the rest of the Monday session anywhere on Planet Earth…and gold closed down a penny from Friday at $19.65 spot.  Net volume was a very healthy 55,500 contracts. Here are the platinum and palladium charts for yesterday as well…and they turned in decent gains. It was JPMorgan Chase that issued the buy recommendation I was looking for. The gold price certainly didn’t do much of anything during Far East trading on their Monday…and that pattern didn’t change until shortly after Comex trading began in New York.  Then once the gold price broke through the $1,260 spot mark, either the buyer disappeared…or a willing seller showed up.  After that, the gold price traded down a bit into the close. Kitco recorded the high tick as $1,263.40 spot. Gold finished the Monday session at $1,262.60 spot…up $17.30 on the day.  Net volume was pretty decent at around 178,000.  A big chunk of that was high-frequency trading in the Far East.last_img read more

This month as proud parents listen to dull or ove

first_imgThis month, as proud parents listen to dull or overzealous high-school commencement speakers nationwide, many will (or should) wonder: Is paying for college the best way to equip my kid to support himself, and what will I give up to do it? The holder of a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn about $2.42 million over a 40-year working life, according to Synthetic Work-Life Earnings (SWE) estimates based on US Census Bureau data. Tack on a master’s degree and it jumps to $2.83 million… or a professional degree and it skyrockets to $4.16 million. With only a high-school education, the SWE estimate drops to $1.37 million. Statistics like these aren’t new; however, how to pay for those degrees is causing parents increasing anxiety. Retirement savings is often the first thing to fall victim to the offspring’s college plans, but this is a mistake. No parent should pay for college at the expense of his or her own retirement.Student Debt Is Prison for the Whole Family Since 2010 the total outstanding student debt in the US has outpaced credit card debt, mortgages, and auto loans. According to data published by the New York Fed, student loan balances totaled $1.08 trillion in Q4 2013, a $114 billion increase for that year. 11% of that debt is at least 90 days overdue, and sad to say, the burden doesn’t just fall on students. Last month Yahoo Finance shared the cautionary story of Peter and Valerie Shippen, a schoolteacher and an electrical engineer who backed into $500,000 in student debt for their brood of four. At first the Shippens agreed to pay for just one year of college for each of their three oldest children, who were all attending private colleges at the same time. They assumed financial aid would cover the rest and had no money saved, because they thought they could pay for the year out of their current earnings. They learned some harsh realities. As a middle-class family, the Shippens’ income was too high for financial aid. The fact that they had three children in college at the same time and a fourth to follow made no difference. So the Shippens borrowed from the federal direct loan program, taking out a total of $500,000 in Parent PLUS loans. Each of their children agreed to pay back 75% of the loan, but only two of them followed through. Today, the Shippens sit on a $150,000 debt—which translates to payments of $1,700 per month over 25 years. In Valerie’s own words, “It has just killed us. … We have no retirement savings.” The Shippens made a couple of clear-cut mistakes: assuming their current earnings would cover their children’s college costs; and bankrolling private colleges when their children likely had lower-cost options at public universities. But even if you did everything right, getting your kids through college is a colossal hurdle for middle-class parents, even those who plan well in advance. Plus, the cost doesn’t necessarily stop at graduation. 85% of American parents either expect to allow their adult children to move back in with them after graduation or to help their children pay for a place of their own. What the heck happened to preparing your kids for financial independence and then kicking them out the door?Cost of College Up 27% over Five Years The rising cost of college is a big part of the problem. The cost of attending a public four-year college rose 27% above inflation over the last five years. For private universities, the cost is up 13% and for community colleges, 24%. One of my favorite sayings around Casey Research is: In a free market, the cure for high prices is high prices. This means prices can only rise so far, and then the market will no longer pay them. Unfortunately, the university system is not a free educational market. The government has enabled colleges to raise their costs to astronomical levels by making student loans easily available. Take student loans out of the picture and college costs would come down radically.Having Children Late Leaves Little Time for Catch-Up In addition to rising tuition costs, today’s parents are writing those checks when they should be making the final wealth-building push before retirement. In 2011, the median age at which an American woman had her first child was just under 26, up from age 22 in 1970. In addition, one in five women now have their first child after age 35, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Waiting to have children has created a retirement Catch-22. On the one hand, postponing childbirth generally correlates with higher earnings, but it also leaves parents with no time to finish saving for retirement after the kids have flown the coop. If you have your last child at age 35, you’ll be 53 when your baby graduates from high school and at least 57 when he graduates from college. That doesn’t leave many kid-cost-free years to plump up your nest egg. So, unless you’re ultra-wealthy or have saved a spare $100,000 or so per kid, something has to give.A Way out of That Catch-22 While everyone’s family and finances differ, consider taking some or all of these eight steps.#1—Shop smart. In conjunction with The College Board, most college websites include a net price calculator. Parents and students can use them to compare approximate costs of attendance, estimated grant and gift aid, and the net cost families should expect to pay out of pocket or via loans. These calculators require students to enter financial details about themselves and their parents to best predict costs, and they also factor in non-tuition expenses. (Here’s an extensive list of net price calculators.) You wouldn’t buy a pair of blue jeans without knowing the cost, so why commit to paying for a specific college without seeing the real price tag? In real life, some parents can afford the cost of prestigious universities, and some cannot. While non-need-based financial aid is sometimes available for particularly gifted students or athletes, most children and their parents shouldn’t rely on that. If you can’t pay for your child’s top-choice school or if you can only afford to pay in part, tell him or her. Your love and support as a mother or father is far more important than your spot on the economic ladder. Plus, being upfront about what you can and can’t afford will teach your children to do the same—an invaluable lesson. Shop around and price out alternatives. Graduates of prestigious universities often earn more, but nowhere on any diploma is there an asterisk noting, “This student spent the first two years at a junior college getting excellent grades before we accepted her.”#2—Majors matter. If you can afford to indulge your kid’s intellectual whims and have no problem raising a scholarly bartender, great! If not, take stock of realistic post-college job options as well as your kid’s aptitudes, skills, and desires. The Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) published a fascinating report titled “Why Are College Graduates Underemployed?”, analyzing how students with different majors fare economically. Though this isn’t the whole story, this sort of information is important for students to consider when choosing a major. On the other hand, it’s important to encourage your kids to do what they love to do. As a senior in high school, I had my required 30 minutes with a guidance counselor. The counselor (who had never worked in the private sector) told me I was good at math, so I should become an accountant. My mother, too, wanted me to be an accountant because we had a rich uncle who was a CPA. Maybe I had a rich uncle and was good at math, but I hated being an accountant. Fortunately, one day a well-meaning mentor called me into his office. He complimented me on my people skills and strongly suggested I apply for an opening in the sales department. My whole life changed, and I never looked back. Hopefully parents today are more informed and listen to their children. Our youngest daughter changed majors in the middle of college, which was expensive. She basically told us she’d tried it our way, didn’t like it, and was going to focus on what she wanted to do. She became an honor student and an independent thinker, and Mom and Dad learned a good lesson along the way.#3—A country club is a luxury, even when it’s called “college.” The CCAP study highlights what college life is for many: a really expensive party. For a large portion of the college-going population, attendance is only partly motivated by human capital investment criteria, namely a desire to ultimately obtain a good job and a ticket to a relatively affluent middle class (or better) life. Those students go to college also to have fun—to meet new friends, to use top-of-the-line exercise machines to relax, to party, to get drunk, and have sex. The “country-clubization” of higher education … is important to many, particularly for the relatively affluent families who can afford to let their kids indulge in such activities. Some schools explicitly cater to students for whom this social/consumption dimension is very important. Those who came of age in the ‘60s and ‘70s saw college as a fun rite of passage. They were fortunate to graduate into a growing economy where jobs were plentiful. A lot has changed. Is a four- to six-year party with no job at the end worth the price? Will the college experience described above prepare your kids to be financially and emotionally independent? Not likely. Of course, that doesn’t mean college shouldn’t be fun. However, setting ambitious expectations for your child’s academic performance, capping the number of semesters you’ll pay for, and requiring your children to cover at least part of the tuition—whether from summer jobs or part-time work during the school year—can make college a good investment for everyone. Your kids will still have fun… trust me.#4—Every student should be a stakeholder. Even if you can cover 100% of your children’s college expenses without flinching, students are more responsible when they’re spending their own money. It’s basic human nature. There are countless ways to make your children financial stakeholders: requiring them to cover a set dollar amount each semester; creating financial incentives for good grades and timely graduation; or only paying for tuition, room, and board, but not beer, spring break, or a car. Pick your flavor.#5—Budget together. Write a college budget with your children, no matter whose money you’re spending. Learning to budget for food, clothes, gas, and fun is essential to adulthood. Help them prepare and monitor monthly and annual budgets and insist on regular updates. Be explicit from the outset that there are strings attached to your money, including sticking to a transparent budget. Don’t fuss over every pizza purchase (or your children will quickly learn about creative accounting), but do review ways to save on larger purchases and suggest places to cut if they routinely cut it close each month. If you don’t teach your children to budget during college, expect them to be on your payroll long after graduation.#6—Don’t touch your IRA/401(k). While it is relatively easy to tap into IRAs, 401(k)s, and the like, just don’t do it. They’re safe havens for non-taxable compounding, which is how retirement money grows fast. The deal you want to cut with your children is: you will take care of your retirement so they won’t have to support you in old age. Keep your end of the bargain.#7—Start early. 529 plans, which are operated by the states and some educational institutions, provide a tax-advantaged way to start saving early. In our family, most of the money grandchildren receive from their grandparents goes into a college fund. It’s an easy way to introduce kids to saving and helps put an early dent in college expenses.#8—Don’t fret if you can’t pay. If you simply cannot fund a college education and retirement, don’t ignore the facts. Talk to your children and show them the numbers. It’s a teaching opportunity parents shouldn’t overlook. Most kids get it. Realign their expectations early, and most will take on some or all of the responsibility for college costs without complaint. Once the plain facts are clear, you can build a plan together. Maybe a part-time job, a less expensive school, and/or community college is in order. There are ways to fund a college degree without drowning in student loans.Cut the Cord So You Can All Survive Do not give up your retirement to send your children to college. Any child who would ask or allow you to do that has a distorted sense of values. Compromise where you can, but there comes a time when you must cut the financial cord so you both can survive. My children summed it up this way: “Dad, it’s the job of parents to help their children learn to survive on their own. When it comes time for us to send our kids to college, we don’t want to worry about supporting our parents.” My wife and I plan to enjoy our retirement ride for as long as we can—on our own dime. Most parents have a similar goal: an independent and dynamic life during retirement. Really, retirement offers more free time than you’ve likely had since college, but hopefully on a much better budget. Our monthly newsletter, Money Forever, makes it easy for you to achieve the income you need to enjoy that free time—whether you’re already retired or in the planning stages. In the current issue, you’ll read how to buy stocks on the cheap… how to retire rich with a 50-20-30 portfolio… and all the details on this month’s pick, an ETF that gives you international income and diversification without leaving home. (The best part: it yields 6.4%.) I suggest you give Money Forever a risk-free try today. Remember, you have 90 days to decide whether or not we’re your flavor. If not, just call or drop us an email within that time, and we’ll promptly refund 100% of every penny you paid. Even if you decide to cancel after the 90 days are up, you’ll still get a prorated refund on the remainder of your subscription. What could be more fair? Click here to learn more about Money Forever, or go straight to the order form.On the Lighter Side Hockey has certainly become an international sport since it became part of the Olympics. Seems like every National Hockey League team has players from around the world. Late Sunday, Los Angeles beat Chicago in sudden-death overtime to advance to the finals, where they’ll play against New York for the Stanley Cup. There’s no sport more riveting than hockey in overtime. In a flash, a player takes a shot, and the game is over. Winners move on and losers go home for the season. Hopefully it will be a great series and go seven games. When Tampa won the cup about 10 years ago, Jo and I had a picture taken standing behind it. She even put her hand on it. Pretty neat! And finally… Dear friend Bob L. sent along more of Murphy’s laws: At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle always arrive last. They will leave their seats several times to go for food, beer, or the toilet and leave before the event is over. The folks in the aisle seats come early, never move once, have long gangly legs or big bellies, and stay to the bitter end of the performance. The aisle people also are very surly folk. As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something that will last until the coffee’s cold. When you try to prove to someone that a machine won’t work, it will. The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach. Until next week…last_img read more

Shannon Wood Rothenberg walked into her annual phy

Shannon Wood Rothenberg walked into her annual phy

first_imgShannon Wood Rothenberg walked into her annual physical feeling fine. But more than a year later, she’s still paying the price.Routine bloodwork from that spring 2018 medical visit suggested iron-deficiency anemia. The condition runs in Rothenberg’s family and is often treated with over-the-counter iron pills, which typically cost under $10 for a month’s supply. Her doctor advised exactly that.But after two months with no change, the doctor told Rothenberg to see a hematologist who could delve into the source of her problem and infuse an iron solution directly into her veins.So, the 48-year-old public school teacher went twice in July 2018 to a cancer center, operated by Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver, to get infusions of Injectafer, an iron solution.When the bill arrived in March, after prolonged negotiations between the hospital and her insurer, Rothenberg and her husband were floored.The hospital initially had billed more than $14,000 per vial of Injectafer. Since her treatment was in network, Rothenberg’s insurance plan negotiated a much cheaper rate: about $1,600 per vial. She received two vials. Insurance paid a portion, but Rothenberg still owed the hospital $2,733, based on what was still unpaid in her family’s $9,000 deductible.”I have twins who are going to college next year. I’m already a bit freaked out about upcoming expenses,” she says. “I don’t have $2,700 sitting around.”Anemia, the principal outgrowth of low iron levels, can cause headache, fatigue and an irregular heartbeat. People with certain medical conditions, including a history of heavy menstrual periods, inflammatory bowel disease and kidney failure, among others, are prone to low iron levels and anemia, which can be severe.Crunching the national dataAlthough Rothenberg had private health insurance, a close look at Medicare data suggests her experience with pricey iron infusions is pretty common. Since 2013, the first year for which data are available, about 9 million Americans in the federal government’s health plan for people 65 and above have gotten iron infusions each year. That’s almost one infusion for every five Medicare recipients.In other countries, doctors usually would not be so quick to resort to iron infusions for anemia — especially in healthy patients like Rothenberg, who have no underlying disease and no obvious symptoms.In Great Britain, for example, “it would be extremely unlikely that IV iron would be administered,” says Richard Pollock, a health economist at London-based Covalence Research, who studies the use of iron products.But one key difference between the United States and other countries is that American physicians and hospitals can profit handsomely from infusions. Under Medicare, a doctor’s payment is partly based on the average sales price of the prescribed drug. Critics say that gives health practitioners an incentive to pick the newer, more expensive option.For patients who have private insurance, hospitals and doctors can mark up prices even more. Intravenous infusions, generally administered in a hospital or clinic, also generate a “facility fee.”That creates a financial incentive to favor the most expensive infused treatments, rather than pills or simple skin injections that patients can use readily at home.Indeed, a Kaiser Health News analysis of Medicare claims found that Injectafer and Feraheme — the two newest (and priciest) infusions on the American market — made up more than half of IV iron infusions in 2017, up from less than a third in 2014. Cheaper, older formulations — which can go for as little as a tenth the cost — have seen their share of Medicare claims fall dramatically.Situations like these, which drive up Medicare spending, are why the Trump administration has suggested changing how Medicare pays for intravenous drugs. The administration would tie Medicare reimbursements for some IV drugs to the price paid in countries that set drug prices at a national level — prices that are partly based on an estimate of each drug’s comparative value. This plan has generated sharp backlash from conservative lawmakers and the medical and pharmaceutical industries.Physicians argue that they simply prescribe the most effective medication for patients, regardless of what the payment system would suggest.But the government’s own Medicare claims data, research and stories like Rothenberg’s paint a different picture.”When there’s a financial incentive … that might move the physician away from the choice the patient would optimally make, we might be concerned,” says Aditi Sen, a health economist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who is researching how doctors prescribe and are paid for intravenous iron treatments.The example of iron infusions, she adds, suggests “a clear financial incentive to prescribe more expensive drugs.”Iron-poor “tired blood” and the marketing of iron supplementsTreatments for iron deficiency are nearly 100 years old. Geritol, a decades-old dietary iron supplement for iron-poor “tired blood,” was among the first medicines widely advertised on TV in the 1950s and ’60s.The first federally approved iron infusion didn’t hit the U.S. market until 2000, but the treatments have since surged in popularity. For one thing, infusions carry fewer side effects than do pills, which can cause constipation or nausea. And scientific advances have mitigated the risks of intravenous iron, although getting infusions still comes with inconvenience, some discomfort, the risk of infection at the IV site and, rarely, serious allergic reactions.Five branded products now dominate the American market for IV iron, and three have generic counterparts. They have different chemical formulations but, by and large, are considered mostly medically interchangeable.”There’s not a huge amount of difference in the efficacy of iron formulations,” Pollock says. So, for value, “the question really does come down to cost.”Doctors are supposed to recommend infusions only if patients don’t respond to iron pills or dietary changes, Pollock says. Instead of steering patients toward “unnecessarily costly” infusions, physicians should determine the underlying cause of low iron and treat that directly.Injectafer, which Rothenberg received, is one of the most expensive infusions, retailing for more than $1,000 a vial. And, as Rothenberg learned the hard way, hospitals can charge privately insured patients whatever they choose. Insurers then negotiate that hospital “list price” down.An analysis of private insurance claims conducted by the Health Care Cost Institute, an independent research group funded by insurers, found that in 2017, private health plans paid $4,316 per visit, on average, if a patient received Injectafer infusions. Feraheme, the next most expensive infusion drug, cost private plans $3,087 per visit, while the other three on the market were considerably cheaper. Infed was $1,502, Venofer $825 and Ferrlecit $412, the institute found, in an analysis for Kaiser Health News.The share of newer, pricier infusions has crept up in the private market too. In 2017, 23% of privately billed iron infusion visits involved Injectafer or Feraheme, compared with 13% in 2015, according to the institute’s data.Nobody told Rothenberg that cheaper options might exist or warned her about her treatment’s price, she says. The hematologist who treated her did not respond directly to our repeated requests for comment.But Alan Miller, the chief medical director of oncology for SCL Health (Saint Joseph’s umbrella organization), says the hospital stopped using Injectafer in August 2018 — a month after Rothenberg’s visit — because of the relatively high cost to patients. The hospital now turns to Venofer and Feraheme instead.There are some other, nonmedical reasons doctors might choose the more expensive drug. Newer, more expensive drugs are more likely to be heavily marketed directly to doctors, says Stacie Dusetzina, an associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University.Walid Gellad, an associate health policy professor at the University of Pittsburgh, says some formulations may be more convenient in terms of how many doses they require or how long patients have to sit for an infusion. Or a certain patient might have a distinctive profile that makes one drug an obviously better fit.None of those explanations sit particularly well with Rothenberg, whose iron levels are now fine — but who is still paying off her $2,700 bill in installments over two years.”If they had said, ‘This is going to cost you $3,000,’ I would have said, ‘Oh, never mind,’ ” Rothenberg now says. “It’s a big mental shift for me to say, ‘I’m supposed to weigh the costs against the health benefits. I’m not supposed to necessarily do what the doctor says.’ “Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit, editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation and is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Copyright 2019 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.last_img read more

Construction commences around the Paul Revere stat

Construction commences around the Paul Revere stat

first_imgConstruction commences around the Paul Revere statue on the Prado as the Freedom Trail space undergoes a complete restoration. (NEWF photo)Following the closing of North Square for reconstruction, another popular Freedom Trail public space in Boston’s North End has been fenced off for an overhaul. The Paul Revere Mall, known as “the Prado,” was closed to the public as construction begins on a major renovation, the second since it was created in 1925. [See the restoration design renderings from the public meetings.]The renovation project will include new brick paving, fountain restoration, accessibility improvements, planting of new trees, pruning of existing ones and significantly more lighting. The budget for the project is $2,900,000 of which $1,900,000 came from the City’s Capital Plan with the remainder provided by the George Robert White Fund. City of Boston, Freedom Trail advocates and local officials held a groundbreaking in late July 2018.Access from Hanover Street is completely blocked and likely will be for the bulk of the renovation. Freedom Trail pedestrians can get to Unity Street and the Old North Church by going down Tileston or Charter Streets.Most impacted along the Freedom Trail are the Paul Revere House and Old North Church, two major destinations adjacent to the construction. Tourism waves are typically heavy in the summer and fall foliage season in Boston’s North End. Coming off years of record attendance, the sites will remain open despite the detours.*Advertisement* North Square streets are closed for a renovation. (NEWF image)While you’re here …we have a small favor to ask. More people than ever are reading NorthEndWaterfront.com but we need your help making ends meet. Advertising doesn’t bring in enough to pay for reporting or editorial work. Keeping this website going takes a lot of time, money and hard work. But we do it because we believe community news is important – and we think you do too. If everyone who reads this site, who likes it, puts in a bit to pay for it, then our future would be much more secure. Checks can be made out to North End Boston LLC, 343 Commercial St. #508, Boston 02109 or contribute online using the following links:*Make a One-Time Contribution* or *Become a Patron*last_img read more

Sale

Sale

first_img Sale Dana White addresses contender status of Colby Covington, Leon Edwards, Corey Anderson Standard Ranked Rashguard Nightmare Matchup for UFC’s Biggest Stars Saturday’s Bellator show, built around the heavyweight title tournament final with Fedor Emelianenko, the MMA debut of Jake Hager and the sixth fight of heavily promoted Aaron Pico was the company’s most-watched television show in one year.The show averaged 697,000 viewers, finishing sixth in its time slot on cable in 18-49 demographic. The number was the best for a Bellator show since Jan. 20, 2018 a show headlined by a first-round heavyweight tournament fight headlined by Chael Sonnen against Rampage Jackson.The audience would have been significantly higher if the top three fights had lasted longer than a combined four minutes.The Emelianenko vs. Ryan Bader tournament finale that ended with a first punch knockout by Bader in 35 seconds, drew 1.2 million viewers.Generally, a big fight starts at a certain level and the audience consistently grows until the finish.The same thing happened with the other two big fights.Pico’s loss to Henry Corrales did 808,000 viewers even though it only lasted 67 seconds. Similarly, Hager, the pro wrestler better known as Jack Swagger, did 809,000 viewers for a two-minute fight where he defeated J.W. Kiser.Bellator had significant sports competition that night. The Golden State Warriors vs. Boston Celtics NBA game on ABC did 4,290,000 viewers. Premier Boxing on FOX, headlined by Keith Thurman’s win over Josesito Lopez did 1,980,000 viewers. The NHL All-Star Game on NBC did 1,778,000 viewers.The Bellator audience was strongest with males 35-49, far weaker with older viewers, but in a surprise, in the 12-34 age group the audience was 43.8 percent women, far higher than the 22 to 33 percent women’s percentage that big MMA television shows usually do. Timeline of Israel Adesanya’s Rapid Rise to UFC Contender Latest From MMA Warehouse MMA Fighting Greatest Highlights of Anderson Silva’s Career Top Contenders for Fight of the Year Latest From Our Partners Accessories Apparel Brock Lesnar’s WWE Future After UFC Retirement Good Night Tee Should Frankie Edgar finally fight at bantamweight? Coach Ricardo Almeida weighs incenter_img Which is More Dangerous – MMA or Football? ProMax 440 BJJ GI Morning Report: Jorge Masvidal praises Conor McGregor: ‘The dude is a f*cking G, bro’ More: Esther Lin, MMA Fighting Standard BJJ Gi King Ryan Longsleeve Shirt Gloves Lockdown duffle bag Colby Covington rips ‘diva’ Robbie Lawler for leaving American Top Team over a photo ABC passes rule alteration to definition of grounded fighter Video: Aalon Cruz scores ridiculous jumping knee KO on Contender Series More From Gordon Ryan Competition Kitlast_img read more

The Canadian Who Died Saving a Whale Will Be Missed by the

The Canadian Who Died Saving a Whale Will Be Missed by the

first_img Sign up for Boston Daily. News. Commentary. Every day.* Get a compelling long read and must-have lifestyle tips in your inbox every Sunday morning — great with coffee! 7/13/2017, 11:29 a.m. Print 000center_img By Spencer Buell· News The Canadian Who Died Saving a Whale Will Be Missed by the Aquarium The late Joe Howlett was a collaborator with Boston researchers. Photo via the New England Aquarium Right Whale Research Blog by Marianna HagbloomJoe Howlett, the Canadian fisherman who died last week rescuing a whale from a net, has gotten resounding praise and tributes for the selfless act that cost him his life.Among those mourning his loss are researchers at the New England, with whom he was a collaborator.The aquarium, whose crews worked with him several times over the years, called it “a devastating tragedy, and those that knew him are in a state of shock,” according to the Globe, adding, “His loss will be felt in many ways. … His skills as a mariner were surpassed only by the enduring friendships he developed with the researchers who worked with him.”Howlett was the former captain of a ship used by the Canadian Whale Institute called the Shelagh, that worked with the aquarium, carrying researchers around the Bay of Fundy in 2013. In a blog post from 2015 about another trip that experts at the aquarium took with Howlett to study right whales, thanks are extended to him “for making all of our trips safe, fun and successful!”Howlett 15 years ago helped found a group called the Campobello Whale Rescue Team, which undertakes risky rescue attempts for entangled whales near New Brunswick, just north of Maine.It was on one of these rescue missions July 5 that Howlett was tragically killed. “Taking part in whale rescue operations requires immense bravery and a passion for the welfare of marine mammals,” Fisheries and Oceans Canada Minister Dominic LeBlanc said in a statement. “Mr. Howlett’s notable experience and contribution to whale rescue include his very recent and critical role in successfully freeing an entangled whale.”last_img read more

FixerUpper Friday A 60s Lake House in Littleton

FixerUpper Friday A 60s Lake House in Littleton

first_img Print By Madeline Bilis· Fixer-Upper Friday: A ’60s Lake House in Littleton A quick refresh will take this contemporary pad to the next level. 5/11/2018, 11:14 a.m. Sign up for Home & Property newsletters. Design, real estate, and pretty things for living.*center_img 101 Sign up for our weekly home and property newsletter, featuring homes for sale, neighborhood happenings, and more. Photo via DCU Realty34 Long Lake Road, LittletonPrice: $310,000Size: 1,080 square feetBedrooms: 2Baths: 1Behold: a cute, affordable little lake house within commuting distance to Boston—and as a bonus, it’s got some midcentury flair. The thing is, the place needs a quick refresh before it’s ready to move into.Located in Littleton, which is less than an hour’s drive away along Route 2, this ’60s pad has a lot going for it. For one, it boasts huge windows, letting in plenty of natural light to the home’s five rooms, as well as a gigantic brick fireplace. It’s also mere steps from Long Pond, and offers views of the water from a small balcony. The vaulted ceilings and angular design of the place make it perfect for a midcentury modern-inspired renovation. Throw in some Eames Evie chairs and a starburst clock and you’re one step closer to creating a home straight from the pages of Dwell.What this fixer-upper needs, though, is to be brightened up. Even with all those windows, it’s still dark on the inside, thanks to wood paneling and some questionable paint color choices. To maximize natural light and revitalize the space, you could clad all the walls in white (leaving the wood ceilings, of course) and rip out the maroon and gold carpeting.Nix the pink tub in the bathroom for something a little more modern, liven up the three-season porch, maybe install some shelving in the garage, and you’ve got yourself a hip and happening starter home.For information, contact Gilbert Ouellette, DCU Realty, dcuhomes.com.Photo via DCU RealtyPhoto via DCU RealtyPhoto via DCU RealtyPhoto via DCU RealtyPhoto via DCU RealtyPhoto via DCU RealtyPhoto via DCU RealtyPhoto via DCU RealtyPhoto via DCU RealtyPhoto via DCU RealtyPhoto via DCU RealtyPhoto via DCU RealtyPhoto via DCU RealtyPhoto via DCU RealtyPhoto via DCU RealtyThe Boston Home team has curated a list of the best home design and home remodeling professionals in Boston, including home builders and contractors, building supplies, custom woodworking, custom closets, heating and cooling, kitchen and bath experts, and more. Get the help you need with FindIt/Boston’s guide to home renovation pros.last_img read more

Five Questions with Les Fleurs Founder Sandra Sigman

Five Questions with Les Fleurs Founder Sandra Sigman

first_img 5/10/2019, 5:35 p.m. By Rachel Kashdan· 101 Weddings Five Questions with Les Fleurs Founder Sandra Sigman The floral designer and owner of the Andover boutique is all about simple, Parisian-chic arrangements. Sign up for wedding newsletters. The New England bride’s ultimate guide.*center_img Print Delivering the latest in style, inspiration, helpful tips and tricks, and everything else you need to know to plan the perfect New England wedding. Photo by Leah HaydockSandra Sigman was 11 years old when her mother Madonna started selling the bouquets she arranged in their Shrewsbury home to local grocery stores. One day, when an order came in for 200 bouquets, Sigman accompanied Madonna to the Boston Flower Market. “I thought, ‘Oh my god this is amazing! Where do all these flowers come from?’” Sigman says. “I think that was when my interest in floral design first started.”When Sigman was 20, she moved to Paris to tour Europe professionally as an ice skater. Still, when she wasn’t performing, the Massachusetts native would spend the day wandering around neighborhood flower shops, wheels spinning. She’d call her mom in her Worcester-area floral design studio to report back. “I’d say, ‘Mom, they do everything with their hands and they wear beautiful black aprons!’” she recalls. Not long later, her mother had a recurrence of breast cancer, so Sigman returned home to help her in the workshop.Then, at the dawn of the ’90s, the mother-daughter duo decided to open Les Fleurs—a European-inspired flower shop they’d talked about starting for years. A month after Les Fleurs opened its doors in Andover, however, Sigman’s mom passed away. “I was devastated,” Sigman recalls. “I was like, ‘How am I going to do this?’” Sigman knew she needed to figure out how to market her business quickly, so she brought a batch of her bouquets and a stack of homemade business cards to the Park Plaza for a bridal show and booked 38 weddings that day. “Then I was like, ‘Okay, I can do this,” she says. “[I thought,] ‘What’s the worst thing that could happen?’”Whether she’s crafting a fairytale-chic floral chuppah or a dreamy, free-flowing bouquet, Sigman has found her stride. These days, the shop has more than 30,000 followers on Instagram and offers floral-design services, gifts, design workshops, and antique décor rentals. “When you’re first starting out, you’ll take any [business]. I think that’s changed for me now. I know our style–it’s a garden style, a much more French style,” Sigman says. “There are definitely brides who come in and want something super modern, but I just realize now that I’ve kind of zoned in and noticed my niche is.”Ahead, Sigman reveals the one floral piece you shouldn’t skimp on and why she loves designing for couples.Photo by Lovely Valentine PhotographyHow would you describe the Les Fleurs aesthetic?When I was starting my business, I needed to find inspiration somewhere. Back then, there was no Instagram, no Facebook, no Pinterest. So I decided that I’d go back to France to visit some of the flower shops that had really inspired me. What the French are so good at is quality. I learned that from day one: Never skimp on the quality of what you use. They’re also very minimalistic. They don’t just add everything but the kitchen sink into their bouquets. They may take one or two colors, say purple and white, and add a shade that’s a little lighter like lavender, but they don’t put purple, lavender, yellow, and orange [together]. That’s my aesthetic. My palette is much more monotone because I think it’s more pleasing to the eye. I also think the placement of flowers is really important. If it’s all bunched up and really tight, I always say let the flowers breathe. Let them show their beauty. If you just cram a peony next to a rose, they’re competing to look the best.What’s one trend in floral that you’re really loving these days?There’s a big trend towards foraging, where a florist will go out to the side of the road to get flowers. It’s when you’re driving and you’re like, “Oh, what’s that blooming over there?” For me, my garden is where I pick things that I could never get at a traditional flower market. For example, I’ll grow lamb’s ear, or French lavender, or a rare kind of tulip that I know I could only get shipped in from Holland. It makes the [arrangements] more interesting.Photo by Gina Brocker PhotographyWhat’s one thing that brides and grooms should (or shouldn’t) skimp on?First of all, your bouquet is in the pictures for the rest of your life, and when you walk down the aisle everybody turns their head and looks at the bride. So your bouquet should be part of that whole first-look package. The other aspect that I wouldn’t skimp on is centerpieces. Again, it’s the first thing you notice at a reception, and people are sitting there for six hours. They may not notice the arrangement in the bathroom or at a cocktail table, but they’re going to notice what’s on their table. I don’t try to tell people where to spend their money, though: If someone is really into their ceremony and wants it to be all blooms, then of course I’ll do that for them, but they have to be realistic with the budget.Have you had a major wedding crisis? If so, how did you handle it?Oh yeah, one time the centerpieces kept falling over because it was outdoors and windy, but you just start thinking on your feet and find anything you can to secure them. Thank God for moss. We got some rocks to put at the bottom of the pedestals and covered them with moss and little flowers, and that finally helped. My nerves were shot, but everyone was like, “It’s lovely!” Wind and gusting rain are just not our friends. I can’t even tell you how many times [a pedestal] has fallen or blown over. So I always bring extra, just in case. And when you’re trying to set up an archway in a monsoon, or it’s super windy, everything has to be staked in the ground. That means it’s either going to be cast iron or weighted down. My dad got PVC piping, and we cemented it into gorgeous pots that are super secure and then added lots of balloons. The customers don’t know and the guests don’t know, but those things are structured.Photo by Gina Brocker PhotographyWhat do you love most about designing for weddings?The whole process. When you first meet the family it’s cordial, but you really quickly get to know their style and tastes. Then you’re hugging them the day of their wedding, and you’ve become really attached because you’re planning such a big day for them. I hear of flower shops that do three, four weddings a weekend. But when you’re running around and trying to get it all done, I don’t think you enjoy the process. I get to know my brides much better. I’ll really [ask], “What [are] your interests? Do you like to go to museums? What’s your style? What kind of restaurants do you like to go to? Where do you live? What do you do?” If everything is geared toward getting to know them, I have a better idea and understanding of what I can do to make this experience really great for them. Executing their vision is so rewarding because when you see [the arrangements] at the store, they’re pretty, but when you get them to the site and you add the bride and the dress, it’s like, “Oh my god, the bouquet is even more gorgeous with you holding it!” That makes me so excited, too.27 Barnard St., Andover, 978-475-9669, lesfleurs.com.Getting married? Start and end your wedding planning journey with Boston Weddings’ guide to the best wedding vendors in the city.last_img read more