Source = World Expeditions Adventure South NZ announces all trips operating after New Zealand quakeAdventure South NZ, a division of World Expeditions, which specialises in cycling and walking holidays in New Zealand, has confirmed that all its travellers, guides and staff are safe and accounted for in the wake of the earthquake that hit New Zealand’s South Island east coast overnight.The magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck around 180kms north of Christchurch city at 12.02 this morning.Whilst the tremors were felt by the Adventure South team in their homes, evidently there is no damage in the city.Adventure South NZ General Manager, Mike Smith, says they have been in contact with all accommodation providers this morning and they have not been damaged and that the roads linking them are also unaffected.“This is positive news, because it means that for all our travellers that are currently in the field, or due to arrive into New Zealand in future days and weeks, our trips will continue to operate as normal,” he said.Mr Smith wants to assure clients that there will be no disruption to upcoming trips.“While our thoughts are with those families and businesses that have been affected by this recent quake, it is business as usual for us here in Christchurch.“Aside from disrupted sleep last night, the team are preparing for a busy week ahead.“I’d like to assure clients on upcoming trips with us to not be concerned and we look forward to continuing to provide great New Zealand holidays for all our customers.”
Rep. Beau LaFave of Iron Mountain is sponsoring a tele-town hall for the residents of Delta, Dickinson, and Menominee counties.“I am always trying to find new and better ways to listen to people,” Rep. LaFave said. “This tele-town hall is a great way to communicate with people from a large area, and I encourage everyone to participate.”The tele-town hall is scheduled for Tuesday, June 6 at 7 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. CST. Although the discussion will be centered around government fiscal responsibility, auto no-fault, and other current issues, people are encouraged to call in with any questions or concerns they may have. The initial call for the event will come from Rep. LaFave’s office, but if someone misses the call, the number to dial is (855) 756-7520 ext. 35322.For questions regarding the tele-town hall, residents are encouraged to contact LaFave’s office at (517) 373-0156 or BeauLaFave@house.mi.gov. 06Jun LaFave sponsoring tele-town hall for U.P. residents Categories: LaFave News
19Sep Bill protecting concealed pistol license holders gains committee approval Categories: Runestad News Rep. Runestad: People who forget to renew CPL do not deserve felony chargeThe House Judiciary Committee chaired by state Rep. Jim Runestad today advanced legislation protecting concealed pistol license holders from facing excessive and unreasonable punishment simply for forgetting to renew their licenses before the expiration date.CPL holders currently face the possibility of a five-year felony if they are found in possession of a concealed pistol even one day after their license expires. Individuals who carry a concealed pistol without ever obtaining a CPL face this same penalty.“A felony charge is much too harsh of a penalty for someone who has every intention of following the law, but makes one simple oversight,” said Runestad, of White Lake. “We must make sure the punishment matches the crime.”House Bill 4458 creates a six-month grace period after the license expires where people who remain eligible for a CPL would be subject to a civil infraction with a $330 fine. The fine could be waived if the individual receives a renewal license within 60 days of the violation. The bill moves to the full House for consideration.Runestad co-chairs the House’s Second Amendment Caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators committed to defending and advancing the right to bear arms.“This is a great example of the type of legislation the Second Amendment Caucus was formed to help advance,” Runestad said. “People are being unfairly punished for exercising a fundamental right, and that must stop.”###
08Feb LaFave: Grant helps increase access for Upper Peninsula veteran services Categories: LaFave News State Rep. Beau LaFave of Iron Mountain cosponsored legislation Wednesday encouraging counties across the state to establish and maintain veteran service offices through a new grant program.Under the measure, each county with a veteran service office that satisfies pre-approved requirements would receive $25,000, plus an additional amount based on the number of veterans in the county. To continue receiving the grant, an established county veteran service office must meet benchmarks for staff performance and reporting while maintaining the previous year’s funding level.“One of the biggest headaches for veterans is finding their local liaison to help connect them to the benefits they are seeking,” LaFave said. “Not every county in Michigan has a veteran service office. This makes access to important services difficult for veterans in those counties. If Michigan wants to be a leader in veteran services, we need to prioritize it at a local level.”Under the current veterans benefit model, the state supplies the Veteran Service Coalition with a grant to provide benefit services to veterans. Depending on the county, a Veteran Service Officer may only be available for a few hours each month at a single location.“The grant will encourage counties to establish their own veteran service office with accredited service officers,” LaFave said. “I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to have an accredited service officer present in every county to extend the reach of our services. The window of opportunity for some cases is too slim to not have a presence statewide.”The measure, House Bill 5536, now moves to the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee for consideration.
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesApril 24, 2014; Statesman JournalThe old adage in the nonprofit sector is that any media coverage is good media coverage. In Oregon, three nonprofits are going against this old salt and are complaining about being included in a series of radio spots aired by Barbara Jensen, a candidate in a Republican primary for a seat in the state assembly. The charities believe that listeners may get the false impression that they support Ms. Jensen’s campaign, not to mention the presence of inaccuracies in the radio spots.In February, Jensen announced that she would be running in the Republican primary for the assembly seat vacated by Rep. Kim Thatcher, who is running for the Oregon senate. The district is apparently heavily Republican, having a reported 3,000-voter registration edge over Democrats. Earlier in her career, Jensen had been part of a state initiative to consolidate 12 state data centers. Her role has been described as serving to “plan and build” the new data center. Apparently, the process was incredibly expensive—far more than originally intended—and by some accounts was a disaster.Jensen’s opponent, Bill Post, is a former conservative radio talk-show host. Jensen petitioned Post’s former radio station, demanding equal time, and she was award 566 minutes of airtime. She’s chosen to devote a majority of that to public service announcements in which she describes the work of some area nonprofit organizations.Unfortunately, she did not ask those nonprofits, and she did not check with them what she should say. The result is that at least three of the featured organizations are unhappy.Lou Jaffe of the Oregon World War II Foundation is reported as saying that listeners might believe the organization supports Jensen’s candidacy despite disclaimers during the ad. “Her tone of voice and what’s said is terrific,” Jaffe said, “but at the end of the day, what’s this really about?…It sounded like we were endorsing a candidate. I frankly went ballistic.”Lyndon Zaitz of the Keizer Heritage Foundation agrees, arguing that the disclaimer is at the end of the ad, and if anyone even did pay attention, it might already be too late and the perception of endorsement would be in the listener’s mind. Given that nonprofits are not allowed to openly endorse any candidate running for office, “…we just can’t have that,” Zaitz said.Kyle Dickinson of Union Gospel Mission (UGM) is reported as saying the organization was unhappy that they had not been contacted and asked what they needed before the ad was written and aired.The UGM ad can be heard here. It contains several inaccuracies, including the address for donations, and calling the agency a “food bank.”Jensen’s not asking for permission or for assistance in developing the ads suggests at best a lack of sense of protocol and, at worst, a personal agenda. The perception could be that she is building her campaign on the backs of the good reputation of local nonprofit organizations.—Rob MeiksinsShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Adobe will no longer provide Flash for mobile devices and is also pulling back from browsing on TVs to concentrate on PC browsing and mobile apps.Vice-president and general manager of interactive development Danny Winokur said on a blog posting that HTML5 was now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively, and that it no longer made sense to develop Flash Player in the browser to work with new mobile device configurations following the upcoming release of Flash Player 11.1 for Android and the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.In a related post, Pritham Shetty, vice-president, video solutions, said that Adobe remained committed to support premium video to multiple devices but would not support browsing on a TV given that apps rather than browsing to a website would be primary way for viewers to access video and games on TVs and peripherals. He said that Adobe would continue to support TV apps with the ability to embed Flash video in native HTML apps and Flash-based apps packaged with Adobe AIR, the element of Flash that supports the deployment of applications, games and HD video on devices and systems including set-tops and TVs.Support for Flash Player was seen as a differentiator for the struggling Google TV platform, and industry observers have seen Adobe’s decision as a blow to the latter. The UK YouView project, French ISP Free’s Freebox and Liberty Global’s Horizon set-top also supported Flash.
YouTube has recorded a large increase in the number of viewers to the RBS 6 Nations rugby tournament channel since the start of the 2014 championship.According to RBS 6 Nations, views of videos on the channel to date number 3.79 million, with over 60,000 subscribers.The numbers represent a solid increase on 2013. From February 3-9 this year, the channel recorded 558,228 views, compared to about 405,000 views for the comparable period last year.The channel airs video highlights of all matches in the competition.“We are delighted with the popularity of the channel to date this season and very pleased we have seen an increased viewership in comparison to 2013,” said RBS 6 Nations Chief Executive John Feehan.“The partnership with YouTube is a great addition to our digital plans and we will continue to bolster the channel with excellent footage, both on and off the pitch, for the remainder of the Championship.”
Richard HaltonConnected BBC Red Button support and the addition of content from “major international brands” are among the innovations planned for UK connected TV platform YouView this year, according to CEO Richard Halton.Speaking at TV Connect yesterday, the chief exec said that YouView is now “capable of supporting a potentially infinite number of internet TV channels” following an over-the-air update to YouView boxes that were first brought to market in 2012, and said that it had plans to add more services to the existing YouView offering.“We have a path of continuing innovation that extends over the course of this year. You’ll see new content from major international brands, you’ll see support for the BBC’s Connected Red Button, which we will launch in time for a quite extraordinary summer of sport in 2014,” said Halton.He added that YouView was focused on “futureproofing” its service in order to guarantee its long-term success.“Making sure that we’ve built a technology and an ecosystem that can continue to develop is absolutely vital for retaining our relevance as the world around us continues to develop. The untold story of YouView, which I think is perceived as a broadcaster and network-backed business, is in actual fact it’s a software and technology powerhouse,” said Halton.“We’re adding more channels and more content as we go, with everything from Sky Store, their new on-demand transactional VoD service that launched just before Christmas, through to S4C, the Welsh public service broadcaster. The YouView model is very broad. We welcome a range of content from all different types of provider,” he added.Giving an update about the service, Halton said that, 18 months on from its launch, YouView receives around three and a half million on-demand views every single week. “The vast majority of those [YouView] boxes are connected and people are watching three or four half hour shows every single week,” he said.Halton did not provide a figure for the current number of YouView households or how many boxes had sold to date, simply saying that it was in a “significant number of homes” and is the “fastest growing TV platform in the UK.”“To give you a sense of YouView’s growth trajectory, more YouView boxes were connected in the UK last year than TVs from the UK’s number one TV provider. If you add together the TVs manufactured by the number two, number three and number four manufacturers in the UK and those that were connected, YouView was bigger than all of those companies combined. So we’re getting to a position of relative scale,” he said.
TV manufacturer Sharp has extended its partnership with middleware provider Espial by choosing the Espial TV browser for additional mid-range smart TV models in some countries. Espial software is currently deployed in various Sharp AQUOS LED TV models in North America and other regions globally.“Smart TV shipments continue to increase as consumers access Internet video and other apps directly from their TV sets” said Kirk Edwardson, head of marketing for Espial.“High performance HTML5 support has become a critical element of Smart TVs, as top TV manufacturers like Sharp aim to enhance user experiences and support a growing number of HTML5 based Internet video apps. At Espial, we will continue to build on our success in providing HTML5-based user experiences for smart TV manufacturers and pay-TV operators worldwide.”
Streaming content has overtaken live programming as “the viewing method-of-choice” among Americans, according to Deloitte’s latest ‘Digital Democracy Survey’. The ninth edition of the research report claims that, on a monthly basis, 56% of US consumers now stream movies and 53% stream TV, compared to 45% who prefer to watch TV programs live.Among millennials aged 14-25, nearly 60% of time spent watching movies occured on computers, tablets and smartphones, making movie viewing habits “decidedly age-dependent,” said Deloitte.Some 68% of respondents were also found to ‘binge-watch’ three or more episodes of a given programme in one sitting, with 31% of Americans doing so on a weekly basis.“Personal viewing experiences and the ability to consume media at your own pace is significantly impacting how US consumers value their content devices and services,” said Gerald Belson, vice chairman, Deloitte and US media and entertainment sector leader.“Today, binge-watching, and the ability to watch what we want, when we want, and where we want, is an exciting cultural phenomenon that is shifting consumer behaviours and attitudes towards curating an individual experience.”The survey found that the internet was the most valued service to an overwhelming 93% of millennials. Despite this, 58% of millennial internet subscribers said they still value pay TV, with 22% of those who don’t currently own a television planning to purchase a new television within the next 12 months.However, a quarter of millenials also said they had either cancelled their pay TV subscriptions in the last 12 months or hadn’t had pay TV for more than a year.The research surveyed more than 2,000 consumers, aged 14 and older in the US to assess technology, media, and telecommunications consumption trends.
Anthony Jewitt4K UHD TV content and channel provider Love Nature has named former Red Bull Media House executive Anthony Jewitt in the role of director of partnerships.UK-based Jewitt will oversee Blue Ant Media and Smithsonian Networks-backed Love Nature’s global SVOD and linear television distribution, excluding North America. He will also take the lead on building the business, and driving strategic initiatives, partnerships and business development. Blue Ant International will continue to manage Love Nature’s programme sales.Jewitt was previously director, affiliate sales and programming at Red Bull Media House, overseeing he global launch and distribution of Red Bull’s subscription linear TV service and the sale of Red Bull’s linear and digital programming across northern Europe.Jewitt will join the Love Nature team at the forthcoming MIPCOM market in Cannes.“Anthony brings over a decade of experience in global content distribution and partnerships to his role as Director, Partnerships,” said Jo Parkinson, managing director, Love Nature International.“By leading the charge with international affiliate relations and platform partnerships, Anthony will be a key player in Love Nature’s mission to bring our library of stunning 4K natural history content to wildlife and nature lovers across the globe.”
Michael PaullThe rise of sports-focused online video provider BAMTech and of live online sports is complementary rather than disruptive of traditional pay TV, according to company CEO Michael Paull.In an onstage interview at the NAB Show, Paull also played down the idea that non-sports fans could churn from pay TV as more entertainment content became available from other sources.Paull said that services such as Major League Baseball’s MLB.tv, which is delivered by BAMTech, are “complementary to traditional television”, bringing additional content to audiences over and above what is available from other sources. “I don’t view my job as to disrupt anything,” he said.Playing down the idea that the rise of OTT TV gives non-sports fans an alternative to traditional big-bundle subscription services, Paull said that while there are “hardcore sports fans” that will always sign up to view everything, there are also a lot of people that just want to watch the World Series. He said most viewers would continue to take mainstream pay services.“There are people that are not huge sports fans, but when it gets to be really entertaining and dramatic, everyone becomes a sports fan,” he said.OTT TV allows service providers to ‘micro-programme’ and bring new events and background content to the fore, he said.Paull admitted there are consumer segments, particularly among younger age groups, that are not interested in pay TV, primarily because they look to mobile first. He said behaviour was driving the rise of new consumer services rather than the other way round.On the rise of mobile viewing and moves to unlimited data packages, Paull said that “unlimited plans…will provide people with the ability to watch as much video as they want”. He said that for the content industry, “this is definitely good news”.Paull said that one key trend is that the wealth of data available now allows content providers to “super-serve their customers,” which will also help with programming decisions and investments. “I think data will play a very important role in the future of television.”He said that “building more sophistication in data analysis is critical” for online programmers. It is key to use data to ensure quality and data can also be used to provide services such as dynamic ad insertion, which BAMTech is doing, he added.BAMTech was created by Major League Baseball to enable it to address its customers on the internet, and has been responsible for streaming baseball on the web for 14 years.Disney took a US$1 billion (€900 million) stake in the business last year and the company is now a joint venture between MLB, Disney and the National Hockey League. BAMTech Europe, a JV with Discovery that will power Eurosport online, is also in the process of being set up.
The European Commission has urged the European Parliament and member states to finalise key legislation and complete its Digital Single Market strategy by 2018.In its mid-term review of the 2015 Digital Single Market plan, published last week, the EC said that “good progress has been made” overall, and that it has delivered 16 key measures – which adds up to 35 proposals and policy initiatives in total.However, it outlined three three main areas where further EU action is needed: to develop the European Data Economy to its full potential; to protect Europe by tackling cybersecurity challenges; and to promote online platforms as responsible players of a fair internet ecosystem.“The commission has lived up to its promise and presented all main initiatives for building a Digital Single Market. Now, the European Parliament and member states need to adopt these proposals as soon as possible, for new jobs, business and innovation to take off across Europe,” said vice-president for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip.“Two years on, we propose to update our strategy to reflect new challenges and technologies. We need cyber-secure infrastructure across all parts of the EU so that everyone – everywhere – can enjoy high-speed connectivity safely.“We have already agreed on strong EU rules for personal data protection; we now need to make sure that non-personal data can flow freely to assist connected cars and eHealth services. We need high-performance computing along with a digitally skilled workforce to make the most out of the data economy. All these areas are essential for Europe’s digital future.”The EU has already reached important agreements to end mobile roaming charges on June 15, 2017 for all travellers in the EU; to release the 700MHz band for the development of 5G and new online services; and to allow portability of content by as early as 2018, so that Europeans can travel with the films, music, video games or e-books they have subscribed to at home.The EC claims that a “fully functional Digital Single Market” could contribute €415 billion per year to the EU’s economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
Catalin ItuLiberty Global’s central European satellite TV arm, UPC DTH, has named Catalin Itu as its new managing director.Itu takes over from Michael Lee, who is leaving the company. Lee has served as chief executive of UPC DTH since 2013.Itu, who is currently vice-president of sales and operations at UPC DTH, will take up his new post on October 1. He previously held positions in Orange Romania, Bosch Communications Romania and Astral Telecom.“I am very happy we are able to appoint Catalin to this role, he has extensive experience in DTH business and am looking forward to have him lead the next phase of growth of our DTH business across the CEE region. I would like to thank Michael for his long-term leadership and contribution to the Group and to wish him all the best for the future,” said Severina Pascu, CEO of UPC Central & Eastern Europe.
Video viewing will help smartphones to pass computers for the first time this year as the preferred way for UK adults to access the web, according to eMarketer.The research firm said that adults will spend one hour 59 minutes a day on their smartphone in 2017, compared to one hour 58 minutes for desktop and laptops, with the rise of mobile use attributed largely to digital video viewing.Videos, particularly on social media platforms, as well as the popularity of messaging apps were defined as “the key drivers behind the mobile uptick” with mobile use expected to rise in the coming years as computer use continues to fall.Daily time spent on smartphones in the UK will reach 2 hours 14 minutes by 2019, compared to 1 hour 54 minutes for desktops and laptops,according to the research.Overall, the forecast shows that this year UK adults will spend 2 hours 45 minutes per day with mobile-only devices, including tablets, and will watch an average of 31 minutes per day of digital video on these devices – up 13.5% from 2016.Adults in the UK are also tipped to spend one hour each day on social networks this year, with 34 minutes of that time spent accessing these platforms via a smartphone.In terms of overall media consumption, adults in the UK are expected to spend an average of 9 hours 31 minutes per day with “major media” in 2017, up 0.5% from last year.eMarketer predicts that digital media, including mobile, will account for 49.6% of all media time this year, while TV will account for a 31.7% share – down 2.3% compared to 2016.“Mobile use is increasingly coming to mean smartphone use in the UK, so it’s no surprise to see the time spent forecast tilting ever-more in that direction,” said eMarketer senior analyst Bill Fisher.“The trend within this trend is the growth in social media and video time. More than any other media on any other device, UK adults are migrating their social media and video habits to smartphones.”