CHURCHILL, Man. – A ship has arrived in Manitoba’s northern port of Churchill, bringing fuel to heat the town through the winter and also carrying away a train that’s been stranded there since the rail line to the community washed out in the spring.Churchill mayor Mike Spence says the Nunalik arrived early Sunday and began offloading 2.2 million litres of propane in large cylinders, which were ordered by the Manitoba government.The town usually gets its heating fuel by rail, which is its only land link to the rest of Manitoba, but the track hasn’t been fixed and its owners are in a battle with the federal government over the responsibility for repairs.A Via Rail train was in Churchill when the floods hit and hasn’t been able to leave.For months, Via said it was deliberating options for what to do about the two locomotives and five passenger cars, but said in a news release earlier this month that it would take the train by ship to Montreal for maintenance.Some people in the town had discussed forming a blockade to prevent the train from leaving by ship, but the town issued a request on Friday asking people to allow workers to get the train loaded.“While the town’s desire was to see these rail cars be removed on a repaired rail line, we recognize that is not possible at this time,” the statement read.“Via Rail is an important partner in our community and will remain so well into the future.”Spence said people are disappointed the train is leaving by sea lift, but have not obstructed work to get the rail stock to the ship.He said they understand the train would be damaged if it sat all winter.“The community respects the fact that Via Rail is not the culprit here,” Spence said, noting the train would be loaded onto the Nunalik once the incoming cargo is on shore.The ship also brought other items, including a tundra buggy for a local tour operator.Via noted the train is already getting rusty, and that recovering it now will save time and money that would be needed to get it running again for when the line is repaired and service to Churchill can safely resume.“Should the equipment remain exposed to the elements much longer, it would require a comprehensive overhaul to ensure its safe return to operation,” Via said in a news release.The town of 900 is known for its polar bears and beluga whales, but has seen a drop in tourism numbers and goods and people have had to be flown in at high cost since the train stopped running.The 250-kilometre track is estimated to require $43 million in repairs.A recent report from independent engineering firm AECOM predicted that 60 days would be needed to get the track fixed well enough to handle lighter loads.Ottawa issued an ultimatum last week to Omnitrax, the Denver-based owners of the broken line, ordering the company to make the necessary repairs within 30 days of face an $18.8-million lawsuit.Omnitrax, which has been in talks to sell the rail line, responded by saying the rail line is no longer economically viable.—by Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton
Category: bilrwhfd Page 1 of 12
approximately 5’10 to 6 feet (178 – 183cm) tall,wearing:baggy jeansa grey jacket with a dark hoodiedark glovesblack shoes with distinct white stripescarrying a small back packThe Fort St John RCMP continue to investigate and are asking anyone who has information about this incident or can assist in identifying the suspect, please contact the Fort St John RCMP at 250-787-8100.Should you wish to remain anonymous, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip online at www.crimestoppersnebc.ca FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The RCMP are investigating a Break and Enter at a multi-resident complex located at the 9800 block of 108th Ave.Fort St John RCMP secured and reviewed video surveillance. A man entered the complex through an unlocked window and was seen attempting to break into mailboxes inside the facility. The man proceeded to steal a television, a laptop, as well as cash and gift cards before leaving the building.The man is described as:
OTTAWA — Bell will pay $11.82 million to its current and past customers after a Competition Bureau investigation into the telecom’s premium text messaging charges.This marks the highest amount of money obtained for consumer rebates under a Competition Bureau agreement to date.The Competition Bureau started its investigation in 2012 and looked into whether Bell, Rogers, Telus and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) made or allowed false or misleading advertising for premium text messaging services, like trivia questions and ring tones. The bureau also investigated whether the telecoms charged consumers without their authorization.CRTC calls major telecoms to hearing on ‘skinny’ TV amid concerns basic packages deliberately unattractiveBCE Inc beats class action over expired prepaid phone card balancesBell will also donate about $800,000 to public interest advocacy groups, create a consumer awareness campaign, notify affected customers and enhance their corporate compliance program as part of the agreement.The Competition Bureau also settled with the CWTA, which will also develop a consumer awareness campaign, among other things.Last year, Telus agreed to pay $7.34 million in rebates, while Rogers settled for $5.42 million.
US retail sales increase 0.6 per cent in August, led by spending on autos and restaurants by Josh Boak, The Associated Press Posted Sep 12, 2014 7:24 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – Auto buying drove U.S. retail sales higher in August, a possible sign that job growth in recent months has led to accelerated consumer spending.The Commerce Department said Friday that seasonally adjusted retail sales rose 0.6 per cent compared with the prior month. Sales are up 5 per cent in the past 12 months. July sales were also revised upward from flat to a 0.3 per cent increase.Motor vehicles accounted for roughly half of the August increase. Buying also picked up at restaurants and for furniture, electronics, sporting goods and building materials.Those gains were partially offset by falling sales at gasoline stations and department stores.The figures suggest that Americans’ reluctance to spend has faded somewhat, even though their wages have yet to increase by much. The increase in retail sales could boost overall economic growth because consumer spending accounts for 70 per cent of the economic activity.Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said that the sales increase points to stronger economic growth through the end of the year and start of 2015.“With further jobs gains, rises in income growth and a loosening in credit conditions in the pipeline, consumption growth should strengthen in the fourth quarter and into next year too,” Dales said.But there are mixed signals from other indicators regarding consumers.The University of Michigan said its index of consumer sentiment rose to 82.5 in August from 81.8 in July. But much of that increase was due to greater optimism about jobs, rising incomes, and increasing wealth among higher-income groups.The pace of hiring slipped in August after several months of strong gains.Employers added just 142,000 jobs last month, well below the 212,000 average of the previous 12 months. The unemployment rate fell to 6.1 per cent, from 6.2 per cent. But that was because more people without jobs stopped looking for one and were no longer counted as unemployed.The largest drop in hiring last month occurred in retail, which shed 8,400 jobs after gaining 21,000 in July.Wage gains have been sluggish since the recession ended in 2009 and that’s led many people to be more cautious about spending money. Average hourly pay rose 6 cents to $24.53 in August. That’s only 2.1 per cent higher than a year ago and barely ahead of the overall 2 per cent inflation rate.Yet consumers felt comfortable enough with their financial situation to ramp up auto buying last month. A stunning 1.58 million motor vehicles were sold last month, giving the auto industry its best August in 11 years, according to a separate measure by Ward’s Automotive. That represented a 5.4 per cent increase in auto buying over the past 12 months.Chrysler sales soared 20 per cent, while Nissan jumped nearly 12 per cent. Total sales last month ran at an annual rate of 17.5 million, the highest since January of 2006.
Britain’s youngest councillor – a Conservative youth leader who had a “bright future” in politics – has been found dead at her university accommodation.Clarissa Slade, 21, who was 18 when she was elected to Mid Devon district council and to Tiverton town council, was found in bed by one of her housemates on Monday morning. Her parents, who are also both Conservative councillors in the area, are said to be in “shock” at the news of her death, which is being treated as unexplained. Colin Slade, her father, said: “We are still pretty much in the dark as to the circumstances and we are waiting for the coroner.”She had a bright future ahead, she was very keen on politics and she was a very bright young councillor, the youngest in the country when she was elected.”She was looking to possibly pursue a career in politics. She was very active in the Conservative Party.” She was found in bed by one of her housemates in her student accommodation on Monday Morning. Ms Slade was elected to Mid Devon District Council and Tiverton Town Council in May 2015 at the age of 18 years, 2 months, 1 week and 6 days – making her the youngest councillor in Britain at the time. Her mother, Elizabeth, was elected the same year and her father was re-elected. At the time Ms Slade it was a “shock” that the three of them had been so successful at the polls. Later that year she moved to Winchester to begin her Classical Studies course, but with the support of her fellow councillors said that she had “no intention” of resigning her seat and would continue representing the ward. The third year classics student at Winchester University had been born with a heart defect and though doctors had told her she could live a normal life she had in recent weeks and had complained of pains and attended hospital. Doctors found no cause for alarm, it is understood.Cllr Slade said: “It is such a shock. She was due to come back to visit yesterday and the first thing we knew was when she was not on the train. ” Ms Slade was a leading light in the Conservative youth movement and had been the chair of Devon Conservative Future at the age of 16.Her social media profiles contain photographs of her alongside Theresa May, the Prime Minister, Sajid Javid and Jacob Rees-Mogg and she had been due to carry out work experience at the Westminster office of her her local Tiverton and Honiton MP Neil Parish. Clarissa Slade with Theresa May Clarissa Slade was born with a heart defect Police are currently treating her as unexplained and a post mortem is yet to take place. Cllr @ClarissaELSlade with Jacob Rees-Mogg at Party Conference #cpc2017 pic.twitter.com/d8o76TfZY6— MidDevonConservative (@MDTories2015) October 2, 2017 Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Stephen Walford, Mid Devon District Council’s chief executive, told Devon Live: “Sadly I was informed last night that a serving member of our council, Clarissa Slade, had passed away suddenly yesterday. “This is clearly a great shock to everyone at the council and will affect all those who worked with Clarissa and the community she served.”Clive Eginton, leader of Mid Devon District Council said: “The devastating news regarding the sudden passing of Cllr Clarissa Slade has been deeply felt by myself, fellow councillors and officers across Mid Devon District Council. “As our youngest ever elected councillor, Clarissa worked hard for her residents in Cranmore ward and also participated across the town in a whole in a variety of events. “On the national stage she had also made her mark with her involvement in youth politics.”Clarissa had an endearing personality to all those who knew her well, and we will miss her enormously. “Our thoughts at this time are with Clarissa’s parents Colin and Elizabeth.” Clarissa Slade with her father and fellow Conservative councillor Colin Slade
The past two Elder Scrolls games have taken the sandbox gaming concept to new levels by allowing their passionate community members to create modifications that add to the gameplay experience. While both games touted spectacular visuals, community-based modders have found ways to make the titles even better… all with Bethesda’s blessing.Of course any game that allows these kinds of changes means that you are going to see some bizarre inventions. Some will be cool, some will be clever, and others will justt make you scratch your head and wonder why someone would ever bother to build it. Skyrim modders have been hard at work since the release, for better or worse. Here are some of the most bizarre Skyrim mods that we could dig up.Let’s go ahead and get the obligatory nude mods out of the way. While we won’t link you to the complete nude graphic change packages out there (since many of you are at work), we thought the one pictured above would give you a chuckle. Designed for people who have some sort of candy-striper fetish, it turns the Ancient Nord Draugr female armor into a “nurse” outfit that would probably be banned in any reputable hospital.The mods is available at Skyrim Nexus (login required), but please note that it only works in certain areas of the game right now.Of course, be sure to create an embarrassment-minimizing explanation in case your non-gaming significant other walks into the room while you are playing. Nude mods for a video game are perplexing at best.As Obi-Wan said, “That’s no moon.” Oh wait, yeah it is.Your eyes are not deceiving you, that is the Death Star hovering over the world of Skyrim. Created to bring out a players inner Star Wars geek, the mod replaces the moon graphics in the game with the image of the Emperor’s most powerful weapon. Now if there was only a mod that allowed players to make a trench run to go after those exhaust ports. You can put your own ultimate weapon in the sky for your Skyrim night time viewing pleasure by going here.“Spider-man, Spider-man, does whatever a spider can, spins a web, any size, catches a dragon just like flies…”That’s right true believers! You can now play as you friendly neighborhood Spider-man as you hack your way across the lands of Skyrim. While it doesn’t come with web shooters, this mod takes one of the hoods in the game and transforms it into a accurate replica of the web swinger’s mask. This is one we would actually play with for the sheer geek cred that it gives by donning it.We’re not sure where the sudden resurgence of interest in the My Little Pony franchise has come from, but it’s so infectious that it has made its way into Skyrim as a playable community mod. Transforming your trusty steed into one of six pony replicas, we would like to assume that this mod was created for lady gamers. To each their own, but this is just one of many mods that are designed to make you do a double-take while you are in-game.Fans of Reddit will recognize the Me Gusta rageface ethereally floating in the night sky in the picture above. This mod creates a literal “man on the moon” for all phases of the celestial body. It can certainly be a comfort if you are in an area of the game that you are having difficulty with. It can also remind you to upvote all the kitten and doggy pictures you so love. Come at us bro.“I don’t usually run around Skyrim with no shirt, but when I do, I want more hair.”Why? Why in the world would someone want this added to their game? The more hair mod does exactly what its name says, it gives a player the ability to make their character have more or less chest hair. Perhaps people are using Skyrim to create fantasy romance novels involving dragons and heroes. (Please do not sent us the cosplay shots.)There are bound to be scads more whacky modifications that come out for Skyrim. It took barely two weeks to get the beauties listed above out into the wild to be downloaded. If you have a bizarre or whacky mod that you have created, let us know in the comments.
Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Stakeholders in Victoria’s taxi industry will gather on January 22nd in Dandenong to thrash out a united front on how to create a better service for customers. The forum will take place just days before the extra period of public consultation finishes on the controversial recommendations contained within the Allan Fels Taxi Industry Inquiry report. Organised by Taxi Industry Stakeholders Victoria Inc, the forum is timed to give one last opportunity to those wishing to influence the Baillieu government’s thinking on the future of the industry. Harry Katsiabanis, director of Taxilink – one of Melbourne’s largest taxi fleet agencies – is the architect of the forum. Mr Katsiabanis said that the forum’s purpose was not to contest the Fels Inquiry’s recommendations, but to hear from stakeholders what should be done to improve the industry. “It’s bringing everyone together to establish the issues and to report back with a strategic plan,” Mr Katsiabanis told Neos Kosmos. “We’re asking industry bodies that have made submissions to the Fels Inquiry – including disability groups, public transport users, Tourism Victoria, and other taxi stakeholders including government bodies. “Anyone who has made a submission and wants to attend is welcome.” Taxilink’s director said that the intention was to gather information on where taxi customer satisfaction levels needed to improve. Following the forum a jointly-authored report is to be compiled and submitted to the Victorian Government before January 30th – the deadline for final submissions in response to the Fels Report Asked what such a late submission could achieve, Mr Katsiabanis said: “The information we’ve had from Allan Fels is second-hand, third-hand information. We want to hear from the horse’s mouth what the issues are. “Last week the Victorian Taxi Directorate presented satisfaction ratings that have improved significantly, so we want to know what is going on. “The VTD is providing new information, showing a 68 per cent satisfaction rate. Let’s see what’s going on and where we need to improve.” Mr Katsiabanis denied that the forum was being organised by an industry reluctant to accept reforms proposed in the Fels Report. “This is not a gathering of propaganda. This is a conference that will gather information on where the public see the need for improvement,” said Katsiabanis. “The industry is looking for reform and it was the industry that prompted the minister to undertake the Fels Inquiry. Let’s understand what is really the truth of the industry. The industry wants reform to be able to deliver a world class taxi service. “We want to hear it from the customer, and the people engaged in our services, not Allan Fels.” The day-long event will take place at the Chisholm Institute campus in Dandenong. Neos Kosmos understands that the Victorian Taxi Directorate will attend as an observer. For more info on the forum go to www.taxivictoria.com.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org
West Ham United were easily beaten by Manchester City and after this 4-1 defeat, David Moyes’ side are pretty close to being relegated – but the coach still believes that the season won’t end up as a disaster.The Hammers failed to gain anything from the match against the Premier League winners but they still sit above the drop zone – but they are dangerously close to it and there are still a couple of matches to go…The former Manchester United coach spoke about his side’s situation as he said, according to Sports Mole:Report: City are stunned by Norwich George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Manchester City was stunned by Norwich City in todays Premier League clash.Much has been made in recent days of the potential impact of Aymeric…“We didn’t play well today. There are reasons for that, and also the quality of Manchester City. We didn’t do things as well as we should. You need things to go for you and a bit of good fortune when you play a team like Manchester City.”“We grew into the game. I thought we did it better in the last 15 mins of the first half. You need to have the quality of all-round top defenders if you are doing things further up the pitch. The big thing is to try to win the next game.”“When we came in we were in the bottom three, we’re not now. There are other teams who would rather be in our position. We are good enough to win another game at least and let’s hope we can do that.”
This week, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a preliminary determination on the antidumping trade case filed against biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia. The preliminary determination found that biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia are sold into the United States below fair value, and as a result preliminary duties will be imposed on imports from these countries based on the amount of dumping found.The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Fair Trade Coalition filed these petitions to address a flood of subsidized and dumped imports from Argentina and Indonesia that has resulted in market share losses and depressed prices for domestic producers. Biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia surged by 464 percent from 2014 to 2016, taking 18.3 percentage points of market share from U.S. manufacturers. Imports of biodiesel from Argentina again jumped 144.5 percent following the filing of the petitions.As a result of this week’s ruling, importers of Argentinian and Indonesian biodiesel will be required to pay cash deposits on biodiesel imported from those countries. The cash deposit rates range from 54.36 to 70.05 percent for biodiesel from Argentina, and 50.71 percent for biodiesel from Indonesia, depending on the particular foreign producer/exporter involved. The duty deposit requirements are in addition to the deposits required under the Commerce Department’s preliminary countervailing duty determination in August, which confirmed that biodiesel producers in Argentina and Indonesia have received significant subsidies.Between the preliminary and final antidumping determinations, the Commerce Department will audit the foreign producers to confirm the accuracy of their data submissions. Parties will file briefs on issues arising from the agency’s preliminary antidumping duty determinations, and the Commerce Department will hold a hearing, with a final antidumping determination due early next year. A final determination by the Commerce Department in the companion countervailing duty determination is due to be announced in early November, with a final determination by the International Trade Commission in connection with the countervailing duty case expected in December.
It is no secret that Balaji Telefilms and Ekta Kapoor have given us some of the most memorable serials and actresses of all times. Not only did Ekta Kapoor rule on the small screen back in those days but, these actresses too, enjoyed an unbeatable fan following. Such strong were these characters that even till date, they are known by their screen names more than their real names. Nausheen Ali Sardar in KkusumNausheen Ali Sardar, as Kusum, was another gem produced by Ekta Kapoor which the audience immediately connected to. Nausheen played the role of a strong-headed, honest girl from a modest family, trying to make a living and support her family. The show and the actress went on to win a number of awards. Anita Hassanandani in Kabhii Sauten Kabhii SaheliiAnother actress that Ekta introduced us to was Anita Hassanandani, who played the role of a naïve wife – Tanu – oblivious to the fact that his husband had another marriage which he had kept a secret. Anita’s simplicity and powerful acting won her tremendous applause and love from all sections of the society. Urvashi Dholakia in Kasauti Zindagi KiiIt was the role of ‘Komolika’ in Kasauti Zindagi Kii, that gave Urvashi Dholakia the fame she enjoys today. Though she went on to do a number of memorable roles, but, her style and attitude as Komolika still remains one of the most talked about characters on small screen. Smriti Irani in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu ThiBefore she joined politics and started working as the Minister of Women and Child Development and Minister of Textiles, Smriti Irani, played the role of Tulsi Virani in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. One of the most loved actresses of the small-screen, Smriti still manages to amuse her fans and followers with her humour on social media. Sakshi Tanwar in Kahaani Ghar Ghar KiiOne of the most popular and loved characters on the small screen was that of Sakshi Tanwar as Parvati, an ‘ideal’ daughter-in-law of the Agrawal family in Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii. The show revolved around the trials and tribulations of the family and how Sakshi stood rock solid behind the family always. Shweta Tiwari in Kasautii Zindagii KayShweta Tiwari’s role as Prerna became so famous that many parents named their new-born girl child in that decade. Shweta still remains one of the most popular faces of the small screen. Aamna Shariff in Kahiin to HogaAamna Shariff’s smile and role as ‘Kashish’ made people go weak in the knees. The show was based on the novel – Pride and Prejudice.Prachi Desai in Kasam SePrachi Desai’s role as a doting wife – Bani – received unparallel adulation and swept away all the awards till it aired.
Edna Odessa Tartt HarrisEveryone is invited to the 101st birthday celebration for Mrs. Edna Odessa Tartt Harris, 12:30 to 3 p.m., Sept. 13 at Parkview at Coldspring, 4803 Tamarind Road, Baltimore. Her family calls their matriarch a faithful Christian activist, singer, educator with nothing but fruitful years.Sen. Larry Young visits with members of the Dale family along with Mrs. Harris.Call Dr. Grady Dale Jr., 443-326-5696 by Sept. 4 to respond to the invitation.
Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailDrivers have been warned to get their eyes tested – after police launched a crackdown on drivers with poor sight. Every motorist stopped by traffic officers from three forces in September will be required to read a number plate from 20 metres, and anyone who fails will have their driving licence immediately revoked. Data from the tests will be used to improve understanding of the extent of poor driver vision. The initiative is being run by forces in Thames Valley, Hampshire and the West Midlands, and is supported by road safety charity Brake and optician firm Vision Express. Sergeant Rob Heard, representing the police forces taking part in the campaign, said: “Not being able to see a hazard or react to a situation quickly enough can have catastrophic consequences.” Bad eye sight is said to be the cause of a number of collisions “Only by introducing rigorous and professional eye tests can we fully tackle the problem of unsafe drivers on our roads.” Read MoreAngry passengers: ‘We can’t wait at flooded bus stop because we’ll get drenched by passing cars’ Research by the Association of Optometrists published in November last year found that more than a third (35 per cent) of optometrists saw patients in the previous month who continued to drive despite being told their vision was below the legal standard. A 2012 study by insurance firm RSA estimated that poor vision caused 2,874 casualties in a year. Jonathan Lawson, chief executive of Vision Express, said: “We believe official Government statistics on the impact of poor sight on road safety are the tip of the iceberg and we know the public feel the same as we do about tackling poor driver vision.” Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “The human cost of driving with failing eyesight and having an accident can be immeasurable. Read MoreMan RAMMED two police cars after officers found him sleeping inside car “Drivers mustn’t just keep their eyes on the road, they must ensure they can see what’s ahead.” Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com said: “Our sight is our most important sense when it comes to driving, so it’s understandable why police are making sure people have clear vision while they’re behind the wheel. It’s likely most motorists would even support this crackdown, given that our research shows over half (55 per cent) think regular eye tests should be a legal requirement if you hold a driving license.” Traffic officers will be carrying out eye tests (Image: Getty) He warned that officers will be carrying out eyesight checks, ‘at every opportunity’. Officers can request an urgent revocation of a licence through the DVLA if they believe the safety of other road users will be put at risk if a driver remains on the road. The power was introduced in 2013 under Cassie’s Law, named after 16-year-old Cassie McCord, who died when an 87-year-old man lost control of his vehicle in Colchester, Essex. It later emerged he had failed a police eyesight test days earlier, but a legal loophole meant he was allowed to continue driving. Brake and Vision Express are calling for a recent eye test to be required when licences are renewed every 10 years. Under current rules, the only mandatory examination of vision takes place during the practical test, when learners must read a number plate from 20 metres. Read MoreM6 driver off to court after overtaking police car at 117mph Once someone has obtained their licence, it is up to them to tell the DVLA if they have a problem with their eyesight. Residents in North Staffordshire have backed the initative. Glenn Hodgkinson, aged 47, of Alsager, said: “I think it’s a good idea. Being able to see properly is a pretty basic requirement for driving, but I bet loads of people haven’t had their eyes tested since they took their test.” Angela Jones, aged 34, of Meir, said: “I think everyone who drives should have to have their eyes tested every 10 years or so. You see people driving badly and wonder if they can see properly.” But Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “It is frankly madness that there is no mandatory requirement on drivers to have an eye test throughout the course of their driving life.
HUD Reviews Castro’s First Year of Progress Since His Secretarial Induction in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News While much has been written and said in the last two weeks on the fifth anniversary of the passing of Dodd-Frank into law, HUD is celebrating an anniversary of its own on Tuesday. secretarialJuly 28 marks exactly one year since former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro was sworn in as HUD secretary, succeeding Shaun Donovan. In addition to celebrating Castro’s one-year anniversary as HUD secretary, HUD will commemorate the 50th anniversary of its founding on September 9.During his first year as the nation’s top housing official, Castro has made several policy changes with the intent of increasing opportunity for more Americans to obtain affordable, sustainable housing. Several of those changes are outlined in an announcement from HUD on Monday titled “Year of Progress: Delivering on the Promise of Opportunity.””We recognize housing as a platform for Americans who are striving to improve their lives and break the cycle of poverty for the next generation,” HUD stated in the release. “As needs for our services have increased, HUD will continue to invest in initiatives that have demonstrated outcomes in helping the people we serve.”One of the major changes Castro enacted occurred just one week into the new calendar year. On January 8, Castro announced that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) would be lowering the annual premiums for first-time buyers by half a percentage point, down to 0.85 percent. The Agency estimates the move will save more than two million borrowers an average of about $900 annually on mortgage premiums and will allow about 250,000 new homebuyers to enter the market during that time.”I applaud FHA’s initiative to lower the mortgage insurance premium by 50 bps,” said Laurie Goodman, center director of the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute. “This was a courageous move, as the MMI Fund had not reached its 2 percent minimum.”Indeed, the MMI fund stood at 0.41 percent last November, less than a quarter of the 2 percent required by law, which caused the lowering of the annual premiums to draw some criticism.”Since FHA’s financial future is still uncertain, now is not the time to reduce premiums. It has nowhere near the level of reserves to withstand even a minor recession,” Edward Pinto, co-director and chief risk officer of the American Enterprise Institute’s International Center on Housing Risk, told DS News in a recent interview. “Given FHA’s current high risk practices, it would be imprudent to not stay the course; it should not lower premiums.”Another step HUD took toward providing Americans with access to affordable housing was the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, which was announced on July 8. This rule creates a streamlined fair housing planning process that helps communities analyze their choices for fair housing and establish goals and priorities to address barriers to fair housing. The rule was widely praised as a way to help the 1968 Fair Housing Act meet its obligation to help state and local governments improve their housing policies and achieve more meaningful outcomes that allow all Americans to live where they want to.”The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing provision of the Fair Housing Act was intended to help remedy years of government-supported segregation and inequality, not by forcing diversity, but by empowering and encouraging states and localities to partner with the federal government to address the effects of these harmful policies,” House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-California) said.Other HUD achievements in the last year include funding rental assistance vouchers for 2.4 million low-income households, providing an opportunity for families who are seeking to become homeowners; investing $250 million through the Choice Neighborhoods Program to transform high poverty areas; and investing $4 million to expand the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program to help approximately 650 Native Americans who are currently homeless or at risk of being homeless.Still, there is more work for HUD and FHA to do as Castro approaches his second year as HUD secretary, particularly in the area of relaxing the standards on loan level certifications for lenders.”The FHA needs to focus more on access to credit by giving lenders the comfort they need to eliminate their overlays,” Goodman said. “This means changing the loan level certifications lenders sign. FHA currently requires lenders to certify that the information it has provided to FHA is true, complete, and accurate. This has resulted in FHA seeking indemnification for small, inadvertent errors and has served as a basis for the False Claims Act, under which lenders are liable for treble damages.” July 27, 2015 467 Views Share 50th Anniversary Affordable & Sustainable Housing Federal Housing Administration HUD 2015-07-27 Seth Welborn
January 21, 2018 865 Views in Daily Dose, Government, News Mortgage Industry Reacts to Government Shutdown As day three of the government shutdown begins, the concern about its impact on mortgage lending grows.As previously reported, if the government doesn’t find a resolution quickly, the shutdown is likely to affect the industry in three major ways: FHA and VA mortgage loan originations could be impacted due to government workers not being in office; loan applications will be held up if lenders can’t obtain verification of social security numbers; and mortgage firms won’t be able to process loans if the IRS is not available to verify borrowers’ tax returns, effectively creating a backlog when the government eventually re-opens.”It’s going to take a little longer to get those loans funded,” Kelly Decker with First United Bank Mortgage told NBC, referencing lenders not being able to obtain IRS data due to the shutdown. “[If the homebuyer] had planned on moving trucks showing up on the last day of the month, it might mean they have to wait maybe another three, four, five days, depending on how long the shutdown takes,” Decker said.As companies brace themselves for what a prolonged shutdown could mean, Ginnie Mae announced on Sunday that its operations will continue despite the shutdown. In a press statement the Ginnie Mae insured investors that:During a lapse in government funding, Ginnie Mae will reduce staffing to essential personnel levels. Importantly, Ginnie Mae will continue to remit timely payment of principal and interest to investors. There will also be no disruption of essential functions like the granting of commitment authority and support for continued issuance of Ginnie Mae-guaranteed Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) and REMICs.Many are looking to the 2013 shutdown for guidance. But the fundamental changes to the industry in the past five years may mean we are in unknown territory. To learn the full impacts of a prolonged shutdown, the 2013 shutdown, which lasted 16 days, can be a guide, however other changes in the market will impact the total cost of the current shutdown.“In the past decade, government involvement in the housing industry has precipitously increased, hastening an even greater dependence on the federal institutions that would be affected by a potential government shutdown,” said Five Star Institute President and CEO Ed Delgado. “I call on all congressional stakeholders to stop using the needs of American homeowners as leverage for achieving their policy goals.”The Senate is scheduled to vote at noon today on a resolution that if passed would extend the budget until February 8. FHA Ginnie Mae HOUSING mortgage Shutdown 2018-01-21 Rachel Williams Share
28Jan Rep. Jon Bumstead hosts February office hours State Rep. Jon Bumstead invites residents of the 100th House District to join him during office hours this February.Office hours will be held at the following dates, times and locations:Friday, Feb. 1210 to 11 a.m. at One East Main in Fremont;11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Sally’s Restaurant in White Cloud; and1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Lake County Courthouse in Baldwin.Monday, Feb. 158 to 9 a.m. at the Pink Elephant in Hart;10 to 11 a.m. at the Good Stuff’s in Pentwater; andNoon to 1 p.m. at the Brown Bear Café in Shelby.“It’s always a pleasure to spend time with members of our community to discuss Michigan’s state government,” said Rep. Bumstead, R-Newaygo. “I look forward to meeting with you and listening to any concerns you might have.”No appointment is necessary. Residents who are unable to attend are encouraged to contact Rep. Bumstead’s office by phone toll free at 877-999-0995, or by email at JonBumstead@house.mi.gov.### Categories: News
Categories: News 29Jun Rep. Jason Sheppard announces July coffee hours State Rep. Jason Sheppard, R-Temperance, today announced he is holding coffee hours at four local establishments during July to connect with residents of the 56th District. He encourages people to share their thoughts and concerns about state and local issues.“An important part of my job as a state representative is to listen to residents from our community and make sure their voices are heard in Lansing,” said Rep. Sheppard. “I enjoy hearing feedback, and I’m happy to answer any questions people might have.”The times and locations are as follows:7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Friday, July 1, at DaCapo Coffee, 7370 Lewis Ave. in Temperance.7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Friday, July 22 at Old 23 Grill, 3168 Lewis Ave. in Ida.7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Monday, July 25, at Gander’s Family Restaurant, 4219 Luna Pier Road in Luna Pier.7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Friday, July 29, at Dena’s Family Restaurant, 15391 S. Dixie Highway in Monroe.For those unable to attend, Rep. Sheppard’s legislative office can be reached at any time by phone at (517) 373-2617, by email at JasonSheppard@house.mi.gov and online at RepJasonSheppard.com.###
11Oct VanderWall bill offers more flexibility for ice shanty owners Categories: VanderWall News State Rep. Curt VanderWall, left, and Dennis Eade, executive director of the Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association, testify before the House Natural Resources Committee.Legislation introduced by state Rep. Curt VanderWall increases the flexibility of rules regulating ice shanties placed on Michigan waterways.VanderWall’s bill gives the Michigan Department of Natural Resources the ability to adjust ice shanty removal dates each year based on weather conditions. Current law sets precise dates by which ice shanties must be removed from specific waters.“Some winters may be warmer, some colder,” said VanderWall, of Ludington. “It just makes more sense to allow the department to determine the dates based on weather conditions each year.”Furthermore, the legislation will offer increased privacy protections for the owners of ice shanties, who are currently required to put their names and addresses on the structure.“Not everyone wants their name and address visible to anyone who happens to walk out on the ice,”VanderWall said. “My bill offers more options. You’ll be able to choose whether you want to put your name and address, driver’s license number or DNR Sportcard number on your ice shanty.”Dennis Eade, executive director of the Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s Association, joined VanderWall today to testify in support of the bill before the House Natural Resources Committee.“This is a bill that gives a little more flexibility to the shanty owner as to how they are identified,” Eade said.VanderWall noted the additional identification options in his bill are consistent with other types of sporting equipment, such as tree stands and animal traps.House Bill 4787 remains under consideration by the House Natural Resources Committee.###
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares February 14, 2014; Los Angeles Times and the Staten Island AdvanceThe close relationships between museums and the cities in which they reside were highlighted by two stories in the news this past week.Most people around the world know that since the beginning of the U.S. space program 55 years ago, Cape Canaveral in Florida is where American space missions have begun. But not nearly as many know that most of the satellites, space vehicles, and rocket boosters used in the U.S. space program were designed and built in nondescript factories in the suburbs of Los Angeles. The southeast Los Angeles County city of Downey, in particular, was where the Apollo moonshot command modules, and later the Space Shuttle, were built.The city of Downey (population 110,000) put up $8 million to open the Columbia Memorial Space Center in 2009, a modernistic building, filled with artifacts from the space program, built as a hands-on learning center, museum and memorial to the seven astronauts killed in 2003 when the space shuttle Columbia broke up as it reentered Earth’s atmosphere. The center sits on part of the former manufacturing site. But the Times reports that today the space center is struggling to attract visitors and donors, and city officials are hard pressed to help fund the operations of the struggling institution, with a deficit of more than $500,000 that comes from city coffers.“Our city government is not in the business of running museums,” Mayor Fernando Vasquez told the Times. The city council has “been committed to supporting this museum, but at some point, we need to see a plan that’s sustainable.”Critics tell the Times that a lack of leadership has contributed to the museum’s problems: the center had an executive director for only the first eight months of its five-year history; otherwise, it’s been run by city employees only devoted to the museum part-time. Some say it is not a priority amidst the city’s budget cutbacks in the Great Recession and the loss of its manufacturing base.But once the original investment has been made, it is hard and probably ill-advised to walk away. City officials have started the search for a full-time executive director. Officials told the paper that an experienced executive director would know how to raise money, bring in popular exhibits, and find creative ways to generate revenue, which the museum desperately needs.Meanwhile, on the other coast, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has its hands full with Staten Island’s National Lighthouse Museum, according to an editorial in the Staten Island Advance, which serves New York’s most suburban and residential borough. In 1998, Staten Island was chosen as the site for the museum in a hard-fought national competition. Former mayor Rudolph Giuliani was a big supporter and funded the effort. But then the project stalled, the board was dissolved, and the nonprofit museum lost its lease on the waterfront property where it was to be located.The Advance editorial said that a new board was formed and the EDC agreed to give the museum an 18-month interim lease on the property so that the institution could prove itself. A goal was set to raise $350,000 in private dollars, which the new board did. Unfortunately, under EDC’s rules, the museum was $25,000 short, because that amount was a pledge of state funding from a local assembly member.The editorial says that EDC backed out of its commitment on a technicality, and the deadline for the museum to get possession of the site had passed. But museum organizers stepped up again and raised the money, surpassing its previous total, beating the goal by over $50,000 through money garnered from board members, several foundations, and small donors, primarily lighthouse fans across America.“The bottom line: the National Lighthouse Museum board met the challenge—twice. Cold cash is in the bank. The ball is back in the Economic Development Corporation’s court,” it continued, adding that “although they certainly have proved themselves over the past three years to get this far, we will never know unless the EDC allows the National Lighthouse Museum board members to get to work so they can provide a product to sell to the public, and to future funders.”These two stories illustrate the need for carefully structured public private collaborations backing most museums. For the most part, government agencies are not very good at funding, developing, and running cultural institutions like museums and performing arts centers on their own. This is because of the importance of fundraising to success; government knows how to collect taxes and fees, but is not set up to develop donor relationships and engage in fundraising campaigns.In addition, by its very nature, government leadership is characterized by “inside the box” thinking, which protects the public purse, but often leads to a failure to innovate and adapt to changing times. These are things more entrepreneurial private, philanthropically supported, organizations do better. Cities are often motivated to create cultural institutions as a tool of economic development, which speaks volumes about their pride in their history, culture, and locale, but that still doesn’t necessarily mean they are capable of operating and programming them well.Finally, it is tough for city officials confronted with prioritizing basic services like police and fire protection, trash collection, and maintaining infrastructure to give cultural amenities the attention and cultivation they need to be successful. However, there are examples of local government forging successful partnerships with community-based private nonprofits, usually where the public agency builds and owns the building but the nonprofit operates and programs it.—Larry KaplanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares July 27, 2014; Clarion-Ledger Some states are facing a challenge in meeting the standards of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, but not Mississippi. The Clarion-Ledger reports that “Mississippi is well-prepared to meet new federal nutrition regulations regarding school lunches,” according to information from state officials.“We’ve been very fortunate in Mississippi,” said Scott Clements, the child nutrition director of the Mississippi Department of Education. “We have a legislature and state board of education [that] are both very cognizant of the challenges we have with nutrition in particular.”In several states, meeting the nutritious food standards has led to school districts losing money on the costs of shifting to increased offerings of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. In contrast, in Mississippi, the Statewide Purchasing Cooperative has helped the state obtain lower prices on foods that meet the federal standards by pooling buying power and coordinating low delivery fees. Established in 1992, the Statewide Purchasing Cooperative was the first statewide organization in the nation dedicated to purchasing nutritious school foods.Because of the new regulations limiting sodium in school lunches, the Co-op is partnering with the Culinary Institute of America to generate low-sodium spice blends and develop low-sodium recipes that just might taste good.It is good news to see Mississippi taking the lead on an important indicator of social progress. For too long, Mississippi has been a laugh line for comedians, most recently HBO’s John Oliver, who addressed progress on gay rights:“We are nearly halfway to full nation-wide marriage equality. Which means it’s about to become a question of which state is going to be last. Who could it possibly be? (Mississippi.) We don’t know. We don’t know. (Mississippi.) It could be anyone. (Mississippi.)”The sad truth is that Mississippi is often at the bottom of a number of social rankings. The United Health Foundation ranks Mississippi 50th in overall health conditions, with a very serious obesity problem, the nation’s worst rank regarding infectious diseases such as chlamydia and salmonella, and a stunning pre-ACA decline from 19.8 to 15.8 percent in the proportion of the population with health insurance coverage. Mississippi is tied with New Mexico as the states with the highest population proportions below 100 percent of the federal poverty level, including, according to Time, the highest rate of child poverty in the nation. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2014 Kids Count report ranked Mississippi last in overall child well-being.As the achievement of Mississippi’s Statewide Purchasing Cooperative demonstrates, there is nothing holding Mississippi back from changing its social and economic conditions other than popular will. If Mississippi’s electorate and, through their elected representatives, its government choose to shed its history of lagging social indicators, the potential for substantial progress is there. If Clements’ testimony about the Co-op is accurate, the state deserves recognition for doing something the right way.—Rick Cohen ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares