Sales of new homes up 4.3% in January

first_imgJanuary is the second consecutive month of increase in new home sales. (Getty) The pace of brand new single-family home sales increased for the second consecutive month in January.The 4.3 percent jump to 923,000 from December’s revised rate of 885,000 also represented a 19.3 percent year-over-year increase, according to the Census Bureau’s monthly report on new residential construction.The report tracks single-family home sales by contracts signed or deposits paid for a sample of homes selected from building permits. The Census Bureau notes that it is a volatile, month-over-month metric, and that it takes about four months to establish a trend.Read moreIt’s never been more expensive to buy a home in the USUS home prices jump 10.4% in best year since 2013US home prices are more than 5% too high: Fitch Full Name* Housing MarketResidential Real Estate Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink In the Midwest and South, new homes sales followed the national trend, with increases year-over-year and month-over-month. But some regional sales trends differed. The rate of sales last month in the Northeast fell 13.9 percent from December and was down 8.8 percent compared with January 2020.The West also reported a lower number of sales compared to a year earlier, down 6.3 percent from January 2020. The region did see a 6.8 percent increase from December to January.At the end of January, an estimated 307,000 new homes were for sale, or a four-month supply based on the month’s rate of sales. That represents a 2.7 percent increase in new housing inventory from December’s revised figure of 299,000 homes on the market.Compared to a year ago, however, the number of new homes for sale has dropped 5.5 percent.Homebuilder confidence is high: Plans to construct new building permits surged last month, but construction costs are elevated and still rising, and the number of housing starts fell in January. Lumber prices hit record highs this month, leading some builders to delay projects or tack the additional costs onto the home price, Reuters reports.The unprecedented low number of homes available for purchase has led buyers to bid up prices, which climbed 10.4 percent in December.In July the median home price surpassed $300,000 for the first time, and for new single-family homes the median price in January was $346,400, up 5.3 percent from a year earlier. A recent report by Fitch Ratings warned that U.S. homes prices were more than 5 percent higher in November than were justified by economic conditions.Contact Erin Hudson Message* Share via Shortlink Tags Email Address*last_img read more

Brookfield’s internal affairs

first_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Brian Kingston of Brookfield Property Partners (left) and Bruce Flatt of Brookfield Asset ManagementThere are several reasons why taking Brookfield Property Partners private might be a bad deal. The company’s investors lose a lucrative dividend, hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of fees to its parent Brookfield Asset Management go by the wayside and the Brookfield empire gives up an established line to the public markets. But privatization gives Brookfield something more valuable than money: time.It allows the company, one of the world’s largest commercial real estate investors, a chance to reconfigure its extensive mall portfolio, which has been walloped by the pandemic. It also lets Brookfield Asset Management buy its real estate subsidiary’s outstanding shares at $16.50 per share, a steep discount from the $27.50 the company claims they are worth.But the process will be far from seamless. If the $5.9 billion deal is approved, Brookfield Property Partners’ problems become Brookfield Asset Management’s problems. Both companies declined to comment for this story.ADVERTISEMENTThe parent company will inherit a firm that accumulated $2 billion in losses in 2020 and one that is heavily leveraged, with operating income just about covering its interest expenses. Not to mention a firm whose asset valuations and accounting practices have attracted the scrutiny of short sellers who say the company is hiding its true distress.Privatization will mean that Brookfield will no longer have to answer to those pesky outsiders.“Life is not going to get any easier on the property markets in the next three to five years,” said John Heldman, a partner at Triad Investment Management, which has a significant stake in Brookfield Property Partners. “It’s better to do the rehabbing in private rather than in public.” Playing defense Bruce Flatt, who took the helm at Brookfield Asset Management in 2002, has long argued that the company is not just another real estate investor.Brookfield does not own mere office buildings; it owns the best office buildings, from glistening skyscrapers on Manhattan’s Far West Side to big chunks of London’s Canary Wharf and Downtown Los Angeles. The company talks up its mall portfolio similarly, pointing to trophy properties like the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu and the Shops at Merrick Park outside of Miami. The market never quite bought this. Since it went public in 2013, Brookfield Property Partners’ stock (BPY) has consistently traded below the firm’s book value, or the value that the company assigns to its assets. Some of Brookfield’s rivals are in a similar predicament, according to data from Green Street Advisors shared with the Wall Street Journal, which show that shares for public mall and office landlords were trading this January at average discounts of 20 percent and 32 percent, respectively, to their net asset values. “We’ve been at this for seven years,” Brian Kingston, the CEO of Brookfield Property Partners, told the real estate investment publication PERE last month. “We’ve done everything we feel we can, and it seems unlikely that we will be trading at NAV [net asset value] anytime soon.”Brookfield’s financial statements offer some insight to this statement. The company is facing a number of financial challenges, but perhaps none more pressing than its debt. Its leverage — measured as a percentage of its interest expenses to net operating income — stood at 74 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, filings show. Its closest mall competitor, Simon Property Group, had leverage of 27 percent in the same period. With the pandemic gutting retail cash flow, Brookfield Property Partners’s business is just about able to meet its debt payments. But while some companies may be able to operate with such a thin cushion, Brookfield’s setup makes that very difficult. The company pays a high dividend to shareholders. In the first nine months of 2020, Brookfield Property Partners paid $932 million in dividends to unitholders, according to its third-quarter earnings report. The burden of this dividend stymies growth, according to some analysts and investors.“The structure [of Brookfield] leads to a lack of free cash flow that limits the opportunities to grow,” said James Sullivan, a REIT analyst at BTIG.Privatization gives the company another benefit: Brookfield Property Partners would have fewer questions to answer about its accounting. Both Brookfield Asset Management and Brookfield Property Partners report under IFRS, which allows companies to use internal assessments for property values. (Al Rosen, a Toronto-based forensic accountant, said in October that using IFRS was akin to letting an 8-year-old prepare their own report card.)Taking Brookfield private could give the real estate arm more discretion to mark down the value of its assets — or, in Brookfield’s case, not mark them down enough.“A mistake they made was not writing down the value of their assets in 2020, when it was clear [they] had declined,” said Mark Rothschild, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity. “Many investors are looking at the book value and saying, ‘why would you offer us $16.50 when the book value was so much higher?’” And then there’s Brookfield Property Partners’ unique relationship with its parent company. In exchange for “management services,” it pays at least $50 million a year to Brookfield Asset Management, which has purchased millions of its shares and now holds about two-thirds of its stock. Rothschild said that the fee income was something that Brookfield Asset Management undoubtedly did not want to lose.“This is a transaction that [BAM] had to do,” said Rothschild. “And if they don’t do it, BPY is going to have problems.” Future proofBrookfield Asset Management owns telecommunications lines, solar farms, railroads and large nuclear reactor servicers, with assets north of $600 billion. But real estate remains its calling card. By taking its real estate arm private, Brookfield Asset Management will likely continue its industrial and multifamily push near urban centers, according to analysts. The fate of its office holdings, which as of October spanned at least 27 million square feet in New York City and millions of square feet in prime markets across the U.S., are a bigger point of debate. Still, even as major finance and technology tenants have announced that they will at least partially adopt remote work long-term, the capital markets seem bullish on a large-scale return to the office. In September, the company was able to score a $1.5 billion CMBS loan on its 67-story One Manhattan West tower close to the Hudson Yards megadevelopment. In November, it scored a $1.3 billion CMBS refinance of its 49-story Grace Building in Midtown Manhattan. Talking his own book, Flatt has repeatedly stated that employees will eventually return to the office.“In business and life there are always problems, and having a personal connection with others helps you work through those situations,” he told the Financial Times in January. “That’s why office spaces are important.” The company’s retail portfolio, historically a major cash generator, is now its biggest headache. In 2018, Brookfield bought out the remaining share of Chicago-based GGP’s 125 malls for $9.25 billion in cash, making it one of the largest mall owners in the U.S. Brookfield said it would “future-proof” most of those malls, turning moribund properties into mixed-use “mini-cities.” That strategy hasn’t always panned out. The firm recently handed over the keys to a 1.3 million-square-foot mall in Georgia to its lender. An analysis by The Real Deal revealed that at least 10 Brookfield malls may be at risk of a similar fate. (In the earnings call, the company said that it was in negotiations with servicers on about 20 malls.)Getting absorbed by Brookfield Asset Management would buy the real estate arm more time to reposition its portfolio for the next generation of retail shopping. “BAM is pretty well diversified,” said Triad Investment’s Heldman. ”If they take a hit on the property side over the next five to seven years, it can be hidden within the overall BAM structure. It’s not going to be a large percentage of BAM’s cash flow.” Brookfield Asset Management will likely raise money for Brookfield Property Partners through new funds targeting private investors. Kingston told PERE that the company has investors interested in the real estate subsidiary’s assets at its net asset value, well above its publicly traded price of about $17 per share. It’s unclear why said investors would want to pay such a steep premium. Taking the subsidiary private could also allow Brookfield Asset Management to be more aggressive in a market with falling property values. “Being a very value-oriented buyer with a particular nose for finding distress … I think they smell blood in the water,” said Brian Madden of Goodreid Investment Counsel, which has a stake in both the parent company and its real estate arm. “They see the prize at the end of bringing this back to book value.”Of course, Brookfield Asset Management could always restructure its subsidiary’s debt and then go back to the public markets. The computer giant Dell went private in 2013, only to list its shares once again in 2018.Besides the cash buyout, existing Brookfield Property Partners shareholders also have the option of receiving a portion of Brookfield Asset Management shares or Brookfield Property Partners’ preferred units. At the least, investors have taken note of the sharp disconnect between Brookfield’s book value and its $16.50 per share offer to existing shareholders. A Feb. 10 report by Unite Here, a union of hospitality workers in the U.S. and Canada, claims that Brookfield Asset Management’s offer undervalues the real estate subsidiary, and states that “BPY should demand a higher buyout price from BAM, in the range of $19.50-$21.00 per unit.” “We are not happy about it,” said Triad’s Heldman about the privatization plans. “But I wouldn’t say we are jumping up and down feeling bad about it.” Tags Share via Shortlink brookfield asset managementBrookfield Property PartnersRetail Real Estatelast_img read more

Juab’s Maura Williams Wins Individual Title At Salem Hills Quad Meet

first_img Brad James August 28, 2018 /Sports News – Local Juab’s Maura Williams Wins Individual Title At Salem Hills Quad Meet FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailSALEM, Utah-Tuesday, Juab’s boys and girls cross country teams were among the teams to compete at the Salem Hills Quad Meet Tuesday as they went against host Salem Hills, Payson and Spanish Fork.In so doing, the class 3-A Wasps held their own against these class 4-A schools.Juab’s Maura Williams earned the individual title in the girls’ combined 3-mile, posting a time of 20:11:02.Overall, the Wasps’ girls placed third with 59 points as Salem Hills took the overall title with 40 points.Other Juab girls to excel included Emilia Anderson, who finished third overall, Whitlee Rosquist, who placed ninth, Brooklyn Taylor, who finished 22nd, Alexandria Taylor, who finished 31st overall and Abigail Anderson who finished 33rd.Additionally, Juab’s Nikki Matheson finished 52nd and her teammates, Macie Slater (59th), Jen Cannell (60th) and Talea Frampton (63rd) also competed.For the boys, Juab also finished third with 76 points and once again Salem Hills placed first, amassing 18 points.The highest Juab boys individual finisher was Dason Day in eighth place. His teammates, Tyler Dinkel (10th), Dallin Taylor (19th), Jared Braden (23rd), Bryton Matheson (31st), Thomas Covington (34th), Justus Bradley (39th), Kase White (40th), Jackson Baxter (49th), Jaron Ercanbrack (60th), Parker Hills (63rd), Malachi Compton (64th), Kaleb Bunker (66th) and Jared Bradley (67th) also competed. Tags: Abigail Anderson/Alexandria Taylor/Brooklyn Taylor/Bryton Matheson/Dallin Taylor/Dason Day/Emilia Anderson/Jackson Baxter/Jared Braden/Jared Bradley/Jaron Ercanbrack/Jen Cannell/Juab Cross Country/Justus Bradley/Kaleb Bunker/Kase White/Macie Slater/Malachi Compton/Maura Williams/Nikki Matheson/Parker Hills/Talea Frampton/Thomas Covington/Tyler Dinkel/Whitlee Rosquist Written bylast_img read more

A man’s best friend

first_imgHumberts announced their partnership with Canine Partners, a national charity that transforms the lives of people with physical disabilities, pledging £7,500 in their first year across their network to help sustain the life changing programme of partnering assistance dogs, who provide security, companionship, and practical help, to those who need it most.Staff will participate in a range of fundraising activities beginning with ‘The Great Humberts Cycle’ a companywide launch event, when offices mount static bikes and peddle a total of 1,215 miles, the combined distance between all 21 branches. This event took place on 17th September with real Canine partner puppies and owners on hand for a meet and great with members of the public.Canine Partners’ Community Engagement Manager, Jane Grant says, “We are delighted to have been chosen as Charity of the Year for Humberts Estate Agents. We wish them all the best for their first fundraising event, a static bike ride.”Humberts will also sponsor their own puppy aptly named Humbert, supporting him throughout his journey to become a fully-fledged Canine Partner.Ian Westerling, Managing Director of Humberts says, “I am delighted that we have the opportunity to collectively fund raise for Canine Partners and to be involved with such a worthwhile cause.”Humberts charity Humberts fundraising Canine Partners 2016-10-22The NegotiatorAny comments? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Laptops donated by Hunters in memory of murdered York estate agent28th April 2021 Your Move parent group posts extraordinary profits surge28th April 2021 TPFG boss: Why we’ve joined rival LSL’s mortgage network27th April 2021 Home » News » Agencies & People » A man’s best friend A man’s best friend22nd October 201601,161 Viewslast_img read more

Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park Changes Hands

first_img Email* We’ll send you our regular newsletter and include you in our monthly giveaways. PLUS, you’ll receive our exclusive Rider Fitness digital edition with 15 exercises for more effective riding. Horse Sport Enews Subscribe to the Horse Sport newsletter and get an exclusive bonus digital edition! Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park in Bromont, QC, which has been for sale for well over a year, has been taken over by Marc-Antoine Samson and White Horse Productions (WHP), who will lease the property from Shefford County Agricultural Society (SACS) with the intent to buy it by the fall of 2022. He will be assisted by his father, Michel Samson, General Manager of WHP, and Gabriel Belanger, who has been named as Operations Manager.Marc-Antoine Samson.The young entrepreneur, an equestrian enthusiast who owns the White Horse Boutique, a tack and apparel store in nearby Magog, and Eastern Townships Acreages, an equine nutrition company, had been contemplating acquiring the property for several years. “The primary reason for our commitment to the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park is to restore its credentials” he stated. “We expect an economic impact, both direct and indirect, of up to $50 million dollars per year for the Bromont region in addition to local, national and international media exposure.”Bromont was famously the site of the 1976 Olympic Games, and has hosted numerous major international equestrian events in eventing, show jumping, dressage and driving annually since then. The park is comprised of a series of properties that are owned and leased totalling over 100 acres; the main facility for dressage and jumpers covers more than 30 acres.The new company will take over of the management of the equestrian site for the 2021 show season, with event organizers remaining in control of their respective projects. At present, 17 competitions spread over 22 weeks are scheduled on the Bromont site, including three summer events presented by CSO Bécancour (now CSO Bromont)  and a stop in the Major League Show Jumping tour. The full season schedule will be announced shortly and includes some key FEI events important to the Canadian Equestrian Team leading up to the Olympics; the WHP team assures that they are committed to maintaining those dates. All events will be open to the general public (following Covid guidelines).Several long-needed infrastructure upgrades have been pending for years which SACS predicted would cost around $6 million; the Ministry of Tourism granted $ 1.7 million in 2018 for an initiative which included constructing a reception pavilion which could host indoor events. The erection of permanent structures to replace annual tent rentals was also planned.“Our intent is to upgrade four of the major competition rings. We will be assessing the conditions of all the infrastructures in the coming spring,” said Jean-Francois Archambault, Director of Communications and Partnerships for Bromont Equestrian Olympic Park.It is no secret that hosting public events during the ongoing pandemic is difficult and risky. Organizers must provide special documentation to bring in foreign riders, and create a bubble for US riders to go into quarantine. “We intend to comply to the regulations in place regarding hosting during COVID. The executive team and each responsible event organizer are working tightly hand-in-hand to be all clear for every event and controls that surround them,” said Archambault.The non-profit organization SACS is still saddled with significant debts related to the property. Mortgages total $2.5 million to the main creditor, the Caisse Desjardins de Granby Haute-Yamaska. SACs representative Rosaire Houde has said that all creditors would be paid in full before the sale which which must take place within two years. While the financial terms and other conditions of the agreement are not public, the original asking price when the property was offered for sale in 2019 was over $2.3 million for the land and $450,000 for the infrastructure. (An equestrian activity easement on the site was valued at just over $1.2 million for 2020-22.)“We are delighted with this opportunity. One of the SACS main goals for this agreement is to secure the sustainability of the Park and the improvement of its infrastructure,” says Marcel Bundock, President of the Shefford County Agricultural Society. “We wanted a generational succession, and Mark-Anthony, through White Horse Productions, also meets this criterion. This new agreement will ensure the development of Olympic classic equestrian sport east of Ontario. The future looks bright with this new agreement.”Samson concluded with, “Building on many years of experience in the equestrian world, I want to make the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park a must-see for equestrian competitions, making Bromont shine as a leader of host cities. We aspire to create world-class events, and will do our utmost to achieve it.” Tags: Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park, Shefford County Agricultural Society, Michel Samson, Gabriel Belanger, SIGN UP More from News:MARS Bromont CCI Announces Requirements For US-Based RidersThe first set of requirements to allow American athletes and support teams to enter Canada for the June 2-6 competition have been released.Canadian Eventer Jessica Phoenix Reaches the 100 CCI4*-S MarkPhoenix achieved the milestone while riding Pavarotti at the inaugural 2021 CCI4*-S at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.Tribunal Satisfied That Kocher Made Prolonged Use of Electric SpursAs well as horse abuse, the US rider is found to have brought the sport into disrepute and committed criminal acts under Swiss law.Washington International Horse Show Returns to TryonTIEC will again provide the venue for the WIHS Oct. 26-31 with a full schedule of hunter, jumper and equitation classes.last_img read more

VALLESE, ANNA (nee: Costanzo)

first_img82, of Bayonne, passed away at her residence on March 14, 2017. Anna was born and raised in Jersey City, where she resided, before moving to Bayonne 37 years ago; she was a bank secretary with Statewide Savings Bank in Jersey City for over 20 years prior to her retirement 25 years ago; Anna was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion, MacKenzie Post 165 in Bayonne. Anna was predeceased in 2008 by her husband, Ralph Vallese Sr.; a brother James Costanzo and a sister Jean Allen. She is survived by her sons, James Vallese & his wife Debra and Ralph Vallese, Jr. & his wife Donna; a sister, Gloria Cappelutti; grandchildren, Nicole Vallese and James R. Vallese; and her great-grandchildren, Joseph and Max. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Anna’s name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, PO Box 38101, Memphis, TN 33105 ( Funeral arrangements by DZIKOWSKI, PIERCE & LEVIS Funeral Home, 24 E. 19th St.last_img read more

OCPD Weekly Activity Report 5/28-6/3

first_imgCalls for Service: 1139           Daily Average: 163May 28, 2017: SundayCalls for service: 211 Vehicle Stops: 31 Accidents: 7    Property Checks: 23        Alarms: 2The Police Department assisted with 9 Fire and 12 EMS callsTheft, 800 block Ocean Ave., at 12:11amCriminal mischief, W. 18th St., at 8:01amTheft, 1800 block Wesley Ave., at 8:38amTheft, 2300 block Wesley Ave., at 9:00amVehicle accident, 34th St. & Haven Ave., at 12:38pmVehicle accident, 1400 block Bay Ave., at 1:03pmVehicle accident, 10th St. & Ocean Ave., at 1:07pmTheft, 900 block Boardwalk, at 2:30pmVehicle accident, 9th St. & Bay Ave., at 3:07pmTheft, 1100 block Boardwalk, at 4:10pmVehicle accident, 39th St. & West Ave., at 4:49pmVehicle accident, 1600 block West Ave., at 5:31pmVehicle accident, 5th St. & West Ave., at 5:39pmTheft, 1100 block Boardwalk, at 10:32pmTheft, 1100 block Boardwalk, at 10:49pmMay 29, 2017: MondayCalls for service: 145 Vehicle Stops: 30   Accidents: 4   Property Checks: 26      Alarms: 1The Police Department assisted with 3 Fire and 4 EMS callsWarrant, 2100 block West Ave., one in custody, at 12:27amVehicle accident, 200 block 34th St., at 6:58amTheft, 1300 block Central Ave., at 9:59amVehicle accident, 34th St. & Haven Ave., at 10:35amVehicle accident, 400 block Central Ave., at 3:16pmVehicle accident, 12th St. & Bay Ave., at 3:52pmTheft, W. 9th St., at 5:06pmTheft, 1100 block Boardwalk, at 6:35pmMay 30, 2017: TuesdayCalls for service: 127 Vehicle Stops: 33    Accidents: 0    Property Checks: 38     Alarms: 4The Police Department assisted with 10 fire and 10 EMS callsCriminal mischief, 300 block 11th St., at 7:38amMay 31, 2017: WednesdayCalls for service: 149 Vehicle Stops: 50   Accidents: 4   Property Checks: 35      Alarms: 2The Police Department assisted with 8 fire and 9 EMS callsVehicle accident, 100 block Central Ave., at 7:27amWarrant, 700 block Ocean Ave., one in custody, at 10:37amVehicle accident, W. 55th St., at 11:03amBurglary, W. 14th St., at 2:45pmVehicle accident, 6th St. & Ocean Ave., at 2:52pmTheft, 400 block West Ave., at 3:08pmVehicle accident, 10th St. & Bay Ave., at 6:12pmWarrant, 1200 block West Ave., one in custody, at 9:26pmResisting arrest, 900 block Haven Ave., one in custody, at 10:23pmJune 1, 2017: ThursdayCalls for service: 104 Vehicle Stops: 21   Accidents: 0    Property Checks: 28       Alarms: 0The Police Department assisted with 6 fire and 6 EMS callsJune 2, 2017: FridayCalls for service: 166 Vehicle Stops: 36   Accidents: 1     Property Checks: 30    Alarms: 5The Police Department assisted with 11 fire and 9 EMS callsWarrant, Aberdeen Rd., one in custody, at 1:31amVehicle accident, 16th St. & Wesley Ave., at 11:49amTheft, 2200 block Bay Ave., at 2:10pmTheft, 800 block 10th St., at 3:42pmTheft, 700 block 11th St., at 7:23pmJune 3, 2017: SaturdayCalls for service: 234 Vehicle Stops: 65  Accidents: 1  Property Checks: 46    Alarms: 2The Police Department assisted with 4 fire and 1 EMS callsWarrant, Route 52, one in custody, at 3:34amFraud, Arkansas Ave., at 10:07amVehicle accident, 800 block 9th St., at 5:24pmTheft, North St., at 8:45pmPUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS:Just a reminder that it is a violation of a City Ordinance to have dogs on the boardwalk anytime during the year.Bicycle riders must obey all Vehicle laws similar to that of a Vehicle. They must stop at stop signs, traffic lights and ride with the flow of traffic.       Bicycle riders are not pedestrians and do not have the same right of way as a pedestrian when crossing the street at an intersection.When traveling on Route 52, remember that New Jersey State Law requires Vehicles to KEEP RIGHT and pass left. The speed limit is 45 mph for the causeway.Parking meters are now operational and being enforced by the Parking Authority. Ocean City Public Safety Buildinglast_img read more

CruiseCam impresses risk managers at Vermont captive insurance conference

first_imgThe inventor of the world’s first seat video and imaging apparatus, CruiseCam International, Inc. (Pink Sheets: CCMC), impressed companies that manage the largest fleets in North America, which attended the annual Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA) conference last month. Companies use captive insurance as an alternative to traditional insurance to reduce costs, enhance risk management, gain greater control over their insurance and directly access the reinsurance market. The VCIA conferees recognized the liability advantages of CruiseCam’s fully operational commercial vehicle seat with its latest generation Gemini near High Definition Digital Video Recording System compared to windshield camera systems.”You don’t have to be a race car driver to see that CruiseCam’s video and audio capability leaves behind competitors’ instamatic-type video cameras from both a liability and performance standpoint,” said Scott Watkins, a five-time Daytona Rolex 24 Hours driver who is president and chief executive officer of CruiseCam International, Inc. “The performance of captive insurance carriers – including losses from automobiles, workman’s compensation and property — directly affect the parent company and their budgets.”CruiseCam competitors typically use a hefty device glued to the windshield, recording less than a minute of video, that is turned on by a trigger method, typically from an accelerometer because of a vehicle accident.”Trigger methods fail to capture at risk driving habits, such as tailgating, running stops signs and lights, or speeding,” added Watkins. “Our product records all the miles travelled, so it captures the actions of the vehicle driver, other drivers and pedestrians that may lead to an accident. We then provide training videos through Driver’s Alert, Inc. to guide the driver back to safe operating habits.””CruiseCam has the utmost respect for today’s driving professionals, concluded Watkins. “It is their camera too and it will prove instrumental in their defense of actions of others that often are not readily apparent. Our camera system by their side can identify crimes committed on the roadways, and with management’s permission, they can get a DVD copy of their drive on some of the country’s most pristine roadways to share with their families when they return home.”The Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA) is the largest captive insurance association in the world representing nearly 500 members. Captive owners comprise 53-63 percent of the membership. The Association works to ensure that the educational and networking opportunities and regulatory environment are conducive to the success of Vermont’s captive insurance industry and the industry as a whole.Vermont is the largest domicile in the United States for captive insurance and the third largest domicile in the world. Vermont is home to the captive insurance companies of 44 of the Fortune 100 and has 587 active captive insurance companies on its roster representing all industry types and sizes.VCIA hosted its 24th Annual Conference in Burlington, VT, August 11-13, 2009. Attendees numbered nearly 1,100 and came from 44 states and 8 countries. Of those attending, 22 percent were captive insurance owners. The conference featured 110 exhibitors offering the best products and services available to the captive insurance industry. is external)About CruiseCam International, Inc. CCMC develops automobile, truck and military camera products. CruiseCam is the only Original Equipment Manufacturer video recording product in the market today and the only interior camera that is designed to meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for avoiding occupant injury through crash is external)Included in this release are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements will prove to have been correct. The Company’s actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect subsequently occurring events or circumstances.SOURCE CruiseCam International, Inc. BURLINGTON, Vt., Sept. 30, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ —last_img read more

Brookhaven, Nonprofit Seed Moriches Bay With Shellfish, Eelgrass

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Environmentalists and the Town of Brookhaven are joining forces to seed Moriches Bay with clams and oysters as well as plant eelgrass in an effort to improve the degraded local water quality.The Moriches Bay Project Initiative, a program developed by a Westhampton Beach-based nonprofit, announced the plan along with town officials at a news conference Tuesday at the Forge River Marina in Mastic.“We started this project a few years ago, and we look forward to this partnership to make the water here as beautiful as its surroundings,” said Aram Terchunian, a co-founder of the project along with Laura Fabrizio. “It is such a gorgeous area. It’s got such a rich heritage; there’s no reason that the water quality shouldn’t match.”The initiative is one of many similar projects across Long Island that aim to simultaneously revive the shellfish industry and rid local bays of nitrogen pollution from cesspool runoffs that cause harmful algae blooms.Thomas Carrano, the assistant waterways management supervisor for the Town of Brookhaven, estimated that each year the town grows two million oysters, one million clams and 70,000 scallops. Shellfish such as oysters and clams are beneficial to the environment due to their ability to filter water and reduce the levels of nitrogen in the water, which helps to prevent algae blooms.“These animals are vitally important to the ecosystem of Great South Bay; they’re what we call ‘keystone species,’” Carrano said. “We need to restore the industry to restore the health of the bay, and to restore a fishery that is vitally important to the economics of the Town of Brookhaven. These partnerships with the not-for-profits have allowed us to expand our capabilities.”Carrano explained that the oysters are put into floating cages in groups when they are “seeds,” or juvenile oysters. They remain in these cages until they’re fully grown, which takes about two years. Then they’re released so they can benefit the environment.“Each oyster filters 50 gallons of water,” said Carrano, “and our goal is to create a self-sustaining oyster population in the bay so that we can restore the filtering capacity of the bay.”So far the town has planted 20,000 oysters, but officials want to expand this number to 90,000 or higher.Eelgrass also has many ecological benefits, such as stabilizing seafloor sediments and shorelines, cleaning coastal waters and providing habitat for a diversity of marine life.Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine has submitted a grant to fund the expansion of the Brookhaven oyster and clam-growing facilities. He also said the town might pass legislation in the coming months to limit the amount of nitrogen derived from human waste that could be dumped into the bay. Romaine did not provide specifics at this time but he indicated that this was an important step.“This partnership is vital to the preservation of the water quality in the bay,” Romaine said. “Our waterways have been severely impacted over the years, and it is time to take action and clean them up before it’s too late.”last_img read more

Credit union gentrification is a mixed blessing

first_imgEverybody likes a nice neighborhood. It has less crime, more retail options, better schools and healthy property values. Nice communities are inviting and nearly everyone aspires to live in one.However, when a neighborhood gentrifies, poor people are displaced. They suffer from affordability issues and feel unwelcome.Credit unions have experienced a gentrification of sorts since the 1960s, growing from lunch break institutions run out of a cigar box to the billion dollar, multi-branch institutions millions of Americans patronize today.Growth and an improved credit union experience are not bad things. Expanded fields of membership have enabled more working Americans to access financial cooperatives. That’s good for America.With growth came the ability of credit unions to expand products and services while still offering better pricing. Attractive branches and user-friendly websites and mobile banking apps deliver cooperative value through channels consumers prefer and expect. That’s also good for America.I disagree with those who say credit unions are only for poor people and cringe when I hear the phrase modest means. It’s a term bankers use to their advantage by leveraging the word’s limiting qualities.Modest means should be replaced in the Federal Credit Union Act and our industry vernacular with working Americans. Yes, credit unions are a resource for those who can’t obtain funding from banks. It should also be a resource for those who don’t want to. All Americans – regardless of the size of their paychecks – have the right to form and join a cooperative.This concept isn’t new. The factory workers, teachers and police officers who chartered credit unions 50 years ago weren’t poor. They were working Americans; the middle class.I’ve had the privilege of working for two credit unions. Both served fields of membership that included workers who earned six figure salaries, but these folks weren’t wealthy. They were, and still are, working class Americans; many of them lack college degrees and would have few options if their jobs were displaced. They also live in high-cost areas of the country where a household income of $100,000 is enough to make ends meet, but doesn’t allow for much else.What about the truly poor? Those who can’t make ends meet? Of course the credit union community should serve this demographic, but it’s not as easy as it seems.A couple of years ago, the NCUA drastically improved the application and approval process for the low-income credit union designation, but the agency has since followed with cringe-worthy pitches to utilize the designation as a regulatory loophole, practically writing the banking lobby’s complaint letters to Congress for them.Meanwhile, examiners challenge credit union efforts to serve the poor in the name of risk management. By the time a credit union satisfies an examiner’s concern or regulatory mandate, the product or service is priced out of range.Then consider the dwindling number of small credit unions, which often serve the poor. There are too many credit unions that have failed to grow due to poor management and oversight. However, others have remained small because poor people don’t generate the kind of revenue that fuels robust growth. Yes, small credit unions can still effectively serve the poor, but to do so increasingly requires the elite skill and herculean effort of a Helen Godfrey-Smith or Bill Bynum. We should strive to be the very best credit union leaders possible, but we can’t all be superheroes.I recall a thought-provoking discussion I had a few years ago with some credit union leaders about serving the poor. Think about your members. Would they feel comfortable if poor people – who sometimes lack social graces and appear intimidating – stood next to them in the teller line? Would poor people feel comfortable in your branch? For many credit unions, the answer to both of those questions is no. Gentrification.How can credit unions provide more than plain vanilla services to the poor without the kind of net income the middle class can generate? Regulations that make it easier for low-income credit unions to access capital and funding is a good start. However, our government may need to provide some sort of guarantee so products that serve the unbanked can meet risk management requirements while offering affordable pricing.Just look at the challenges the CFPB has faced drafting payday lending rules. On one side, financial institutions have complained – rightly so – that the rule’s limits on interest rates and fees don’t allow them to adequately cover risk. Meanwhile, consumer advocates have howled that the bureau caved to lobby pressure and proposed regulations that don’t go nearly far enough. If both are right, that means more regulation isn’t the answer. Letting the free market solve the problem isn’t working, either. We need to look elsewhere for solutions.Financial cooperatives are a right of all Americans, regardless of income. It’s up to the credit union community to lead the way to ensure that right. 22SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Heather Anderson Heather Anderson is co-founder of OmniChannel Communications, a marketing company that serves fintech and asset/liability management firms. Previously, she was executive editor of Credit Union Times. She has more … Web: Detailslast_img read more