Cruise Whitsundays will make some major changes to its Great Barrier Reef pontoon infrastructure next month, providing new opportunities for a range of visitors to the Whitsundays to experience the famous Hardy Reef ‘River’.The 45metre/150 foot pontoon currently at Knuckle Reef will be relocated to the Hardy Reef River, to be permanently moored just over 300 metres south of the other large ‘Reefworld’ pontoon.The ‘Reefworld II’ pontoon (currently located 300m south of Reefworld) will be towed back to the mainland for a refurbishment and exciting relaunch in the new year.Cruise Whitsundays CEO Nick Hortle said the changes presented exciting opportunities for visitors to the Great Barrier Reef.“Having two large pontoons in the spectacular Hardy Reef River will mean that the demand on the infrastructure will be better managed, enhancing our guest experience,” Mr Hortle said.“Along with the relocation of the Knuckle Reef Pontoon, we will be installing 130m of new snorkel swim lines at its new site, giving guests an entirely new location to explore the Hardy Reef River coral wall.“We are also taking the opportunity to install new moorings for the relocated pontoon which are anchored only to the sea bed – not the coral wall – which will aid in further protecting the precious environment of the Great Barrier Reef.“Hardy Reef offers the best combination of reef, coral and fish life for visitors to see, and is in the best condition in living memory.“The two pontoons both have underwater viewing chambers and full facilities for guests, which will mean we can better service the combination of our guests arriving on day tours, by helicopter or by Cruise Ship.”Cruise Whitsundays is undertaking all infrastructure changes and upgrades with approval from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and above and beyond best practice environmental guidelines.The changes will occur in the first two weeks of August. Cruise WhitsundaysSource = Cruise Whitsundays
in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Share FHFA: HARP Volume for 2012 to Total 1M Fannie Mae First-Lien Mortgages Fixed-Rate Mortgage Freddie Mac HARP Home Equity Investors Lenders & Servicers Loan-to-Value Ratio Mortgage Debt Mortgage Rates Prepayments Refinance Service Providers 2012-10-17 Carrie Bay October 17, 2012 461 Views Nearly 99,000 homeowners refinanced their mortgages in August through the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), according to a report released by the “”Federal Housing Finance Agency””:http://www.fhfa.gov (FHFA) this week.[IMAGE]The federal government’s HARP initiative, which is applicable for borrowers with loans owned by “”Fannie Mae””:http://www.fanniemae.com or “”Freddie Mac””:http://www.freddiemac.com, has put 618,217 homeowners into new mortgages with lower interest rates since the beginning of this year, when a broader group of borrowers were made eligible for the program.According to FHFA, HARP is on target to reach a million borrowers in 2012. The agency attributes the continued[COLUMN_BREAK]high volume of HARP refinances to record-low mortgage rates and program enhancements that included the elimination of its maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratio limit.Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans refinanced through HARP accounted for nearly one-quarter of all refinances in August, 24 percent to be exact. In states hard-hit by the housing downturn├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô-Nevada, Arizona, and Florida├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô-HARP refinances represented nearly half or more of total refis during the month.HARP refinances for borrowers with LTV ratios greater than 105 percent accounted for more than 70 percent of HARP volume in Nevada, Arizona, and Florida and more than 60 percent of the HARP refinances in Idaho and California. Nationwide, LTV ratios above 105 percent characterized more than half of new HARP loans made in August.FHFA also noted in its report that nearly 18 percent of HARP refinances for underwater borrowers were for shorter-term 15- and 20-year mortgages in August. By reducing their mortgage terms, these borrowers will be able to build equity faster.Since the program’s inception in 2009, FHFA reports, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have financed more than 1.6 million loans through HARP.
Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact TE Kory SperryDL Ronald TalleyWide receiver Brittan Golden (hamstring) is active Sunday for the first time since Week 7 in San Francisco. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories With Ellington out, the Cardinals will carry just three running backs Sunday — Rashard Mendenhall, Alfonso Smith and Stepfan Taylor.Here’s the list of the team’s other inactives:QB Ryan LindleyRB Ryan WilliamsLB Dontay MochG Earl Watford The Arizona Cardinals look to win their fifth straight game Sunday afternoon against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field, but will have to do so without the services of their leading rusher, rookie Andre Ellington.Ellington, who has 73 carries for 441 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games this season, was ruled inactive for Sunday’s game due to a left knee injury. The sixth-round pick out of Clemson tweaked the knee at the end of Thursday’s practice and was held out of Friday’s session. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Comments Share
With her family by her side, state Rep. Holly Hughes took her oath of office Tuesday to represent the families and businesses of the Muskegon County.Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen Markman administered the oath while Rep. Hughes’ husband Rick, daughter Morgan and nephew Chandler Breit joined her for the Capitol ceremony.“This is an honor given to me by the residents of the 91st District,” said Rep. Hughes, R-Montague. “My first priority will always be to families and businesses in my home district. Although we have a lot of work to do in Lansing, my focus will continue to be on jobs for our hometown. In fact, our next Veterans Jobs Fair is already scheduled for May 20. I will continue to work every day and with every vote for our communities to make today and the future better in the Muskegon County region.”Rep. Hughes encourages residents with concerns or questions pertaining to state government to contact her Lansing office. Legislative assistants Justin Malek, a Muskegon County native, and Eric Dean are ready to assist district residents.Residents can contact Rep. Hughes’ Lansing office toll free at (877) 633-0331, via email at HollyHughes@house.mi.gov, and by mail at N-1195 House Office Building, Lansing, MI 48909.“We look forward to working for everyone in the 91st District over the next two years,” Rep. Hughes said. “We’re here to help.” 13Jan Rep. Hughes renews commitment to Muskegon County region Categories: Hughes News,News
16Feb Sheppard holds first meeting as chair of Financial Services Committee State Rep. Jason Sheppard, of Temperance, presides over his first meeting as chair of the House Financial Services Committee.State Rep. Jason Sheppard on Wednesday presided over his first meeting as chair of the House Financial Services Committee.The meeting included presentations by the Michigan Bankers Association and the Michigan Credit Union League and Affiliates.“I greatly appreciate the information that was shared with me and my fellow committee members today,” said Sheppard, of Temperance. “We learned about the great services banks and credit unions provide to our communities, as well as issues that the financial services industry are facing — including cyber security threats.”Sheppard also welcomed two local members of the financial industry who served as special guests for the presentations, H. Douglas Chaffin, president and CEO of Monroe Bank & Trust, and Mike Newman, president and CEO of Monroe County Community Credit Union.“I’ve known Mr. Chaffin and Mr. Newman for many years,” Sheppard said. “I look forward to working with them on the policy concerns and suggestions they discussed during the committee meeting.”### Categories: Sheppard News
No appointments are necessary to attend office hours. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Kahle’s office at (517) 373-1706 or BronnaKahle@house.mi.gov. 07Mar Rep. Kahle to host local office hours Categories: Kahle News Tags: #SB State Rep. Bronna Kahle invites Lenawee County residents to join her for office hours on Friday, March 10 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Lenawee District Library, 4459 W. US Highway 223 in Adrian. “I welcome the opportunity to connect with people to learn what matters most to them,” Rep. Kahle said. “I look forward to listening to my neighbors, addressing their concerns and working toward solutions for the people of Lenawee County.”
19Jan Rep. Webber applauds work of House mental health task force Tags: CARES Task Force, Mental Health Categories: Webber News Legislator looks forward to change that will result from the projectState Rep. Michael Webber said today he looks forward to the many legislative changes that will come as a result of the House’s mental health task force report, which was unveiled this week and included recommendations to make significant improvements to Michigan’s broken mental health system.The bipartisan task force spent five months taking part in public meetings and site visits across Michigan, reviewing areas where vulnerable residents are lacking in care and resources and collecting feedback to learn how best to deliver meaningful solutions. In particular, the panel focused on five key elements: Community, Access, Resources, Education and Safety (C.A.R.E.S.).“I’m most excited about the fact that the report resulted from the stories of real people impacted by mental health care in our state,” said Webber, of Rochester Hills. “The needs of our mental health community are so important and I’m thrilled to know that vital changes are on the horizon.”According to task force members, the House C.A.R.E.S report will not only serve as a blueprint for policy changes and legislation to be introduced in the next several months, but also establish a framework to further enhance mental health services in the future.Some of the proposed solutions in the report include:Eliminating barriers to increase access to mental health care;Creating a statewide crisis hotline to connect people in need with local services;Establishing incentives to encourage hospitals to create and expand psychiatric wards and help drive professionals to work in underserved areas;Improving training for first responders;Providing additional treatment to convicts with mental health challenges during and after incarceration.The full report is available to review at www.house.mi.gov/CARES.###
26Jan Rep. Kahle announces consumer education presentation Categories: Kahle News State Rep. Bronna Kahle announced that the attorney general’s office will conduct consumer education presentations in Lenawee County. The senior seminar will offer an identity theft presentation teaching the signs of identity theft, how to protect personal information online and off, and what to do if you become a victim.“This is a great opportunity for seniors to learn how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and how to minimize the impact on your life when you’ve been targeted,” Rep. Kahle said. “I’m happy to work with the attorney general’s office to provide this vital information.”The seminars will take place on Friday, Feb. 2 at the following locations:Hudson Senior Center from 10 to 11 am; andAdrian Senior Center from 12:30 to 1:30 pm.RSVPs are not required and there is no cost to attend. For more information, please contact Rep. Kahle’s office at (517) 373-1706 or BronnaKahle@house.mi.gov.
Plan helps Lake, Oceana and Newaygo countiesState Rep. Scott VanSingel on Wednesday voted in favor of a plan to invest an additional $175 million into road repairs across Michigan as soon as possible.“Lake, Oceana and Newaygo counties will see a significant amount of money for their road repairs,” said VanSingel, of Grant. “This plan will help our local communities and give them the resources they need to improve our roads.”The money included in the bill approved this week comes in addition to previous changes that provide more funding for road and bridge projects in Michigan.The new bill includes money for counties, cities and villages throughout Michigan.Some of the estimated local allocations include Lake County ($300,233), Oceana County ($383,144), Newaygo County ($536,471), Baldwin ($12,185), Fremont ($35,102), Grant ($7,483), Hart ($16,607), Hesperia ($9,589), Luther ($6,592), New Era ($5,531), Newaygo ($19,581), Pentwater ($10,217), Rothbury ($4,926), Walkerville ($4,254) and White Cloud ($12,835).The money is left over from a previous state government budget cycle and is already available, meaning no budget cuts or additional fees are required for the investment.House Bill 4321 advances to the Senate for further consideration.### 22Feb Rep. VanSingel helps state House approve more money for road improvements Categories: VanSingel News
17May Rep. Runestad testifies on plan to better protect senior citizens from abuse Categories: Runestad News Legislation gives law enforcement the resources to help vulnerable adultsState Rep. Jim Runestad today testified before the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee in support of his legislation to better protect senior citizens from abuse by giving law enforcement the resources to make accurate observations about incidents and assist officers in their investigations.“Some warning signs may be obvious, but other forms of abuse can be hard to spot,” said Runestad, of White Lake. “This plan is designed to cover all bases from physical abuse and neglect as well as financial abuse. Law enforcement will have the tools they need to better protect senior citizens and vulnerable adults.”Law enforcement will be given a specially designed form to record officer observations and to prompt officers to ask questions that expose the signs of neglect, abuse, and financial exploitation.The purpose of the form is to help law enforcement work with prosecutors and families to protect senior citizens, and prevent future abuse from happening.“Senior citizens who are subjected to any type of abuse are survivors. I will continue to fight for them,” Runestad said.While Michigan has penalties for convicted abusers, elder abuse is under-reported. Approximately one in 10 Americans age 60 years or older have experienced some form of elder abuse and only one in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities, according to the National Council on Aging.Scott Teter from the Michigan Office of Attorney General testified in support of the bill.House Bill 5813 remains under consideration by the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee.###
09Jan Rep. Joe Bellino, R-Monroe; audio on pension tax repeal – 0:00:00 / 0:00:00Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. playpause playpause playpause Categories: Audio,Bellino Audio,News – 0:00:00 / 0:00:00Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. – 0:00:00 / 0:00:00Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Rep. Bellino talks about his legislation, introduced on the first day of the 2019-2020 session of the Legislature, that would repeal the state’s pension tax. Rep. Bellino says Michigan’s economy has improved significantly since the tax was enacted in the early part of the decade.
16Jan Rep. Lower to chair House Local Government and Municipal Finance Committee Categories: Lower News,News State Rep. Jim Lower, of Cedar Lake, has been tapped to lead the House Local Government and Municipal Finance Committee for the 2019-20 legislative term.Lower is entering his second term in the Michigan House and served as the House Local Government Committee chair for his first term.The new committee will blend together elements of House committees from the previous legislative term and aims to address municipal government issues related to budgeting, financial liabilities, zoning, local authority, public safety and planning.“Looking at issues that impact the viability of communities throughout our state has been a priority for me in my work on this committee,” Lower said. “I will continue to review meaningful reforms that protect the health of communities, reduce property tax burdens on residents and ensure growth in the future. Strong communities going forward will mean a stronger Michigan economy and a more prosperous place for individuals to live, work and raise a family.”Lower will also serve as the vice chair on the House Tax Policy Committee and sit on committees for Energy and for Health Policy in the new term.
Categories: Bollin News,News 19Feb Rep. Bollin applauds House Republican Action Plan State Rep. Ann Bollin, of Brighton Township, joined colleagues today to unveil the 2019-20 Michigan House Republican Action Plan, titled “Leading the Way for an Even Better Michigan.”The policy plan highlights the key areas to focus on for the current legislative term and will build on recent successes to create an even better Michigan for our children and grandchildren.“Fixing our roads, lowering auto insurance rates, and protecting the most vulnerable will lead to an even brighter tomorrow,” said Bollin. “We will work hard to ensure Michigan taxpayers get the best possible return on their investments.“I look forward to working together with all of my House colleagues to prioritize policy that will build Michigan’s future and lead the way for future generations,” Bollin said.Rep. Bollin served as a member of the Policy Action Plan Committee to develop the plan.The 2019-2020 House Republican Action Plan may be viewed at http://gophouse.org/leading-the-way/###
Categories: Miller News 10Apr Rep. Miller receives Legislative Advocacy Award PHOTO INFORMATION: Rep. Miller receives the Legislative Advocacy Award from the School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan. Presenting the award was the Board President of SCHA-MI and Superintendent of Oakridge Public Schools, Tom Livezey, and Associate Director of SCHA-MI, Renee Edmondson. Representative Aaron Miller, of Sturgis, today was presented with the Legislative Advocacy Award by the School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan at the state capital.The Legislative Advocacy Award is given to the legislator who best exemplifies hard work and dedication towards supporting child and adolescent health centers in Michigan. The representative was selected, in part, for his efforts in shepherding Senate Bill 149 through the Michigan House as part of a budget supplemental last fall. Moreover, Rep. Miller has been a consistent advocate for both community resources in schools and health centers and has demonstrated a particular commitment to ensuring that rural communities have health services.“The School-Community Health Alliance has been a tremendous partner and to receive this recognition from them is very humbling,” Rep. Miller said. “I am proud of the work we have done together and look forward to building on our success in the future.”The School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan supports over 124 child and adolescent health centers in Michigan. These centers help kids learn and stay in school by providing primary care, mental health, and dental services to kids in need.###
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesMay 24, 2014; Montreal GazetteIn suburban Montreal, an affluent area of “manicured lawns, in-ground swimming pools and two-car garages,” according to Sue Montgomery writing for the Gazette, the hidden homeless remain “invisible to all but the few community organizations struggling to meet the demand of those in need.”According to Lucie Latulippe, in charge of two homeless shelters in Longueuil, “what is new is the size and diversity of homelessness.” Her two shelters house 700 people a year but turn away 1,200. The number of homeless who might be beyond those numbers is difficult to imagine. A study of homelessness from Vancouver in 2009 indicated that for every one known homeless person, there were another 3.5 hidden homeless.Montgomery notes that a little-discussed aspect of the recent Quebec election campaign was a plank of the Parti Québécois calling for an action plan on homelessness, emphasizing “much-needed social housing.” This is striking for U.S. readers in two ways. One is that the U.S. press, to the extent that it shows any awareness of Quebec, is focused on the issue of linguistic nationalism, with no sense that Parti Québécois might have anything else in its platform. The other is the surprise that Canadian parties actually talk about housing and homelessness, a topic missing in political discourse in this country when it comes to Republicans and Democrats.Unfortunately, Parti Québécois lost at the polls to the Liberal Party, which Latulippe and others say doesn’t seem to fully recognize the dimensions of the homelessness challenge. Émilie Rouleau from l’Écluse des Laurentides, a group that has street workers in a number of suburban Montreal communities, said that “there’s a lot of uncertainty and worry” about what the Liberals might do in their plans for an “austerity budget.”However, speaking for the Liberals, Lucie Charlebois, the Liberal minister whose portfolio includes homelessness, said that the Liberal Party will develop an action plan on homelessness before the beginning of winter, noting that the Parti Québécois was not the only party with “heart and passion” on the issue.A number of aspects of homelessness in suburban Montreal might have comparable dynamics here in the U.S.:It seems that a significant portion of suburban homelessness involves young people aged 16 to 24.Many of these homeless youth, according to Carol Paré, director of Travail de Rue de Île de Laval, “have been raised by parents who themselves are in difficulty and can’t feed their kids, let alone teach them how to manage the responsibilities of life.”Much of the homelessness encountered by shelter operators and outreach workers is “situational, caused by a lost job or leaving a spouse…but it can still last a few years,” according to Sandrine Gaudelet, the director of a suburban shelter called l’Aviron.We suspect that homeless youth comprise an underreported dimension of homelessness in the U.S., too. Not just the children of homeless families, but young people who if not in shelters are crashing on friends’ couches or living in precariously insecure housing situations. What’s truly underreported about housing and homelessness in the U.S. are the positions of U.S. political parties on the issue; they can’t be reported because neither major political party says much of anything at all.–Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Polish pay TV provider Cyfrowy Polsat is adding channels from A+E Networks UK to its line-up as part of a wide-ranging deal.Cyfrowy Polsat will add History, History HD and Crime & Investigation Network to its line-up. The broadcaster is airing History and Crime & Investigation immediately, with History HD scheduled for launch early next year. Crime & Investigation is being offered as part of its Mini and Family packages, while History will be offered as part of the Family and Family HD packages.Tom Davidson, managing director of A+E Networks UK said: “Poland is a key TV market in Central and Eastern Europe and Cyfrowy Polsat is a major platform and channel provider. We expect this deal to have a significant impact on our business, and together with Cyfrowy Polsat we believe we can build on the success of A+E Network UK’s portfolio of channels in this market place.’’
An unnamed Tricolor TV shareholder has applied to acquire an additional 50% stake in the Russian pay TV operator.The country’s competition regulator FAS has received an application from an existing shareholder. The identity of the person in question has not been revealed but if they are successful they will hold an 87.4% stake in Tricolor TV.
German cable operators Kabel BW and Unitymedia have unified the pay TV packages they offer to subscribers.Earlier this year Liberty Global completed the merger of the two cable companies that operate in North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg. Kabel BW has begun marketing the DigitalTV Allstars package at €15 per month and the DigitalTV Highlights package at €7, bringing its offering in line with Unitymedia’s. The packages replace its Mein TV offering.Kabel BW has also added new channels to its line-up, including RTL Crime, ProSieben Fun, Passion, PenthouseTV, Nautical Channel and Unitel Classica.Like Unitymedia, Kabel BW is also now offering a HD option for €4 that includes ProSieben Fun HD, Kinowelt HD and RTL Crime HD.
News service Euronews has teamed up with North American video-on-demand network Eurocinema to make its content avaialble on the Eurocinema service in the US and Canada. Euronews’ magazine programme Cinema, dedicated to the latest movie news including clips, comments and interviews, will be available as free content to Eurocinema’s on-demand subscribers beginning this month.Michael Peters, CEO of Euronews, said, “I’m pleased to announce our association with Eurocinema, the very successful VOD platform for European films in North America. This new deal represents a new step for Euronews’ distribution in the United States and Canada. Euronews, already well-known for its international news coverage, will now place the spotlight on its culture and lifestyle programming on Eurocinema. I’m confident that Eurocinema’s subscribers who are passionate about international cinema will appreciate our programming.”
Swedish cable operator Com Hem has struck a deal with Telenor Sweden-owned OpenUniverse, which specialises in providing open broadband infrastructure, to offer TV, broadband and telephony services over OpenUniverse networks. OpenUniverse currently operates 37 metropolitan networks across Sweden, with a potential customer base of over 100,000 customers.