Gloriana Villalobos, who first joined the Costa Rican Women’s National Soccer Team at the age of 15, has always been ahead of the game. Now 16, the young phenom is already getting serious looks from major college programs in the United States, where she hopes to play after graduating from the high school ranks here in Costa Rica. That is, if she doesn’t jump straight to the pro leagues, which the talented midfielder may have the ability to do.Last year, when she was included on the roster for the Ticas’ first ever World Cup appearance, she became the youngest Costa Rican player ever, female or male, to be invited to the World Cup. The wunderkind also debuted for club power Saprissa when she was just 12.In an extensive interview with The Tico Times, Villalobos discussed how she balances such a heavy load of football with high school, how nervous she really was playing on the game’s biggest stage, and why women’s soccer is steadily gaining popularity in Costa Rica. Excerpts follow.How did you get into soccer, and what do you like about it?I started playing soccer with my brothers. I saw them play and got interested. At the start, it was about spending time with them and not so much because I liked it; then it became a passion. What I like the most about soccer is that it’s not only about what you do on the field, it’s also about meeting new people. Many people think it’s just a hobby, but it teaches you life lessons. This has changed me as a person and I’ve become more mature in many aspects.How do you balance school and soccer?The truth is that I wouldn’t have accomplished what I have without my school’s help. The Colegio Metodista has helped me a lot. I’ve had to ask for permission to train since eighth grade. I’m in my senior year now. The school has given me the necessary permissions and has made everything possible to help me.Has this balance helped you develop your discipline, both in soccer and school?Of course! Soccer has helped me a lot with discipline. Sometimes in which I’ve got to wake up at 5 a.m. to go to school and I don’t want to. For two and a half years I had to wake up at 3 a.m. to go train. There were days when the alarm went off and I just wanted to break it. I was very tired, but I remembered the responsibility I had and the motivation. That’s what made me wake up. Now that I train with La Sele, we train at dawn. It has become a habit to wake up during those hours without indisposition. You already know that you’re doing what you like, so you wake up. Villalobos participated in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, where Costa Rica finished as the runner up to the United States. Patrick McDermott/AFPWhat was it like to play in the World Cup?I remember when I was in the locker room and heard all of the people in the stadium shouting.Now people do support women’s soccer. This has changed, but it’s not supported as much as it is for men. However, my teammates and I had gone from playing at a match at Proyecto Gol, in which there were 15 people watching including our family members, to a match with 35,000 people watching and waiting for you to do you job well. It was a harsh change. I remember coming out of the locker room, going into the tunnel and watching the fully-packed stadium in the background. I felt an emptiness within me, as if I were going to pass out. I was nervous. However, as time passed I told myself that this was what I had prepared myself for, over a long period of time. You always get nervous.What does it feel like to represent Costa Rica on such a big stage?It’s always an honor to be able to represent Costa Rica. When you leave the country bearing that flag, you’ve got a great responsibility because you always want to raise up Costa Rica worldwide. It’s always a privilege to wear the jersey and know that you’ve got the name of a country and millions of people who have deposited their faith in what you’re going to do.How do you feel about having accomplished so much at an incredibly young age?I’ve always been very thankful to God for the blessings He has given me: being able to play with two selecciones and being able to play a major world cup at the age of 16. I always try to learn. I like it a lot when I can go out with La Sele because they’re my idols. When I began playing with Saprissa when I was 11 years old, I trained next to Katherine [Alvarado], Raquel [Rodríguez] and Carolina [Venegas]. I watched them and said, “They are so good!! Being able to play on a team with them is a great dream come true.Since you were called to play with La Sele, how have things changed?Everything has changed. I remember the first time I was with the team: it was in 2014 at the UNCAF in Guatemala. I didn’t know my teammates and I was beginning to get into this world. Now, they’re like my sisters and we’re a family.Which is the next accomplishment on your checklist?Representing the country is always a motivation. My objective is to play with La Sele and remain a constant fixture on the team. My next objective would be able to study in the United States. Even though you love soccer, it’s not going to grant you everything in your life. You’re going to get to a point in which it will end. Physically, you won’t be able to do the same things. It’s important to have an education plan as well. I want to study physiotherapy or be a fitness trainer. I want to keep it within the sports area. The 16 year-old Costa Rican football player, Gloriana Villalobos, poses with our mascot Sloth Kong. Elizabeth Lang/The Tico TimesHow can women’s soccer be more supported on a national level?There has been a before and after. I can bet that before the Under-17 World Cup, which was held here in Costa Rica [in 2014], there were lots of people who didn’t know women’s soccer existed here in our country. Afterwards, everything changed. People have noticed there’s a women’s league and that there’s a match every Sunday. In July and December there’s a national champion from those matches, and at the end of the year there’s one champion. Many people don’t know about this, but there are also people who have informed themselves about it. The media has given more coverage to the women’s soccer, and it has advanced and progressed.Our dream, for us players, is to be able to see a fully-packed stadium on a Sunday with people watching women playing. Maybe it’s not about watching us play, but watch the future generations. Maybe when we’re 60 years old we’ll see a packed stadium watching women play.Do you think that your generation can have a better team in the future? Could you compete against USA and Canada at the CONCACAF with this next generation of rising stars like you?Yes. Before, when Costa Rica played against the United States, the scores would 8-0 or 10-0. Now you watch the matches and it’s 3-0 or 2-0. It’s not such a big difference. That’s the purpose of the under-17 tournament: to prepare young players who can reach their best level when they’re 20.When you began playing soccer, you started playing with boys. How has that been an advantage or disadvantage?Playing on a boys’ team helped me greatly. All of us began that way, and it helped us a lot. Boys don’t like it when a girl is better than they are. I had to struggle a lot with that, because in more than one match there were boys who would pull my hair, kick me and call me things. That helps you to build character. I was getting into what was a “boys’ game” during that time. I tried to behave like a boy on the field: I had to bump into them and knew that the boys I played against would not feel pity towards me. They would play harsher against me because they would say: “So, you want to play a ‘boys’ game’? Feel what it’s like to play with boys.” That helped me a lot. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rica women’s Olympic hopes dashed in 3-1 loss to Canada Costa Rican Noelia Bermúdez named best goalkeeper in Spain’s La Liga PHOTO: Raquel Rodríguez makes NWSL debut in Sky Blue’s 2-1 win WATCH: Raquel Rodríguez’s first professional score is a beauty
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: D.M Uniworld Boutique River Cruises are set to re-introduce programmes to Russia , launch new itineraries for China, and will also for the first time introduce child-friendly departures, all to coincide with significant investments made to its fleet in recent years.Focusing on “new, new, new” Managing Director, John Molinaro at the 2011 Europe & Russia brochure launch emphasized Uniworld’s commitment as the “world’s only boutique river cruise line“, offering cultural experiences for Australian clients, and on the brink of introducing two new ships to its fleet, will also have some of the newest product in the marketplace.“The brochure is already getting a huge response, good signs for 2011,” Mr Molinaro said.The new Russia itinerary is expected to draw significant interest in this market, which was re-instated after the company decided to deploy one of its newest ships conduct the tour. It will now allow clients to cruise the entire continent with Uniworld.“We stepped away from it (Russia) in 2010 because the ship just wasn’t right. We took the financial hit to get the product right, and now we have gotten the ship we want and ready to start next year,” Mr Molinaro said.The 2011 brochure offers 30 cruises incorporating Uniworld’s two newest ships, the largest vessel for the company at 73 staterooms, the River Antoinette, which will be used for its Castles Along the Rhine itinerary, and the Douro Spirit, which will sail along the Portugal, Spain & the Douro River Valley waterways. Other investments are being made to its entire fleet, upgrading and refurbishing current ships to add more balconies and adjoining rooms, which will be used for its upcoming Family Friendly itineraries. Mr Molinaro said demographics have changed in recent years, dropping to a “very young 50” allowing Uniworld to launch key departures for multi-generational travel next year. Itineraries will focus on excursions of a “cultural” nature, according to Mr Molinaro, which will include cooking classes, German soft drink tasting and French lessons for youngsters between 4-18 years old.Uniworld’s 2011 China Yangtze River cruises are set to be released in coming months in a separate brochure. Early bird discounts are currently being offered for a number of itineraries across the brochure, including Family Friendly itineraries. For more information or to order a brochure, visit www.uniworldcruises.com.au Travel Corporation’s Phillapa Walker, John Molinaro, Nina Conacher
Hilton again named one of Australia’s best companies to work forHilton again named one of Australia’s best companies to work for Hilton has again been recognised by the Great Place to Work® Institute as one of Australia’s best companies to work for in 2018. Hilton placed 4th on the top 50 list for companies with over 1,000 employees.This recognition is a great addition to Hilton’s recent win of being Asia’s Best Multinational Workplace, and is an incredible testament to Hilton’s leading practices and purpose-led culture that has built a strong team culture and outstanding working environment. In particular, Hilton’s Team Member value proposition, Thrive@Hilton, has been distinguished for creating a high-trust and high-performance organisational culture by offering Team Members great work environments, careers and rewards.“We are again thrilled to have been recognised by the Great Place to Work® Institute. Our hotels and corporate offices are committed to providing meaningful career opportunities for our team; having already facilitated more than 375 internal transfers and promotions across the Australasia region already in 2018,” said Richard Todd, senior regional director, human resources, Australasia.“This accolade is an attribute to all of our dedicated Team Members’ who work tirelessly and passionately to provide our guests with memorable and heartfelt experiences. We want to reward our Team Members and help them thrive as we know they are our greatest asset in supporting our commitment to be the world’s most hospitable company.”In Australia, Hilton’s leading practices and programmes that build a strong team culture include:Thrive@Hilton – In 2017, Hilton introduced Thrive@Hilton which completely evolves the way Hilton works and leads by creating more time for what matters most to Team Members so they can be at their best every day. The initiative aims to improve the health and happiness of all Team Members in Body, Mind and Spirit.Flexible work practices allow for customisation and personalisation in order to meet the distinct needs of each Team Members’ lifestyle, their location and their role, to encourage work/life balance. Examples of the various options Team Members have include work-from-home, flexible scheduling, compressed workweek, flextime, job sharing, and part-time working options.Initiatives such as Thrive Sabbatical which gives Team Members the opportunity to apply for a month-long paid sabbatical to either ‘Give a Dream’ or ‘Live a Dream’ and take time to recharge and enrich their spirit, returning to work feeling rejuvenated, accomplished and more inspired. To ‘Give a Dream’, Team Members will be looking to enrich the lives of others through a philanthropic volunteer activity of their choice, while those wanting to ‘Live a Dream’ will be wanting to achieve a personal goal, explore a new interest or embark on a meaningful exercise.Travel with Purpose – Hilton’s corporate responsibility strategy that empowers Team Members to make a difference and develop local solutions that positively impact their communities and environment. Throughout 2017, there were 10,315 volunteer hours contributed by Team Members on over 210 community projects.Hilton also has a national partnership with The Smith Family which sees them collaborate on the Work Inspiration program that saw 150 disadvantaged youths gain work experience at one of the eight participating hotels across Australia in 2018.In Q2 2018, Hilton eliminated plastic straws from all hotels across Australasia with the aim of removing approximately 2.5 million straws from the environment annually.Hilton Sydney partnered with the City of Sydney on the Sustainable Destination program and also the World Wildlife Fund to improve its food waste program, reducing food waste by 15 percent and recording an annual saving of $30,000 in 2017.Hilton Brisbane houses two beehives on the hotel rooftop in collaboration with Bee One Third, a regional beekeeping organisation with the intention of educating Brisbane’s inner populace on the importance of bees in our global food system. The honey from the hives is then served in Vintaged Bar + Grill at Hilton Brisbane.Celebrating diversity – Since launching in 2015, the Women in Leadership program has empowered more than 139 female Team Members in Australia, assisting them in their career journeys. So far, 29% of participants have already been promoted or transferred within the company. Additionally, 39% of females at Hilton are in leadership positions, including Heidi Kunkel, Hilton’s recently appointment Vice President, Operations, Australasia and Jane Lyons, General Manager of West Hotel Sydney, Australia’s first Curio Collection by Hilton property.Opportunities for development – Hilton Australia launched a training program called ‘Driving Effective Career Conversations’. Since launching the course in 2012, over 1,000 Team Members have attended the course, which was designed to assist Team Members in better planning and communication of their career goals, including the completion of a Birkman Profile and Career Map.Go Hilton – A travel program that provides exclusive travel discounts and benefits for Team Members, as well as their family and friends. This program allows Team Members to explore the world and experience any of Hilton’s 14 world-class brands comprising more than 5,400 properties, in 106 countries and territories.Recognition – Hilton offers several opportunities for recognition through programs such as Catch Me at My Best, and the CEO Light & Warmth Awards that acknowledge Team Members at all levels from guests, peers and managers. Team Member Appreciation Week saw over 100 events organised to celebrate their Team Members in Australia in 2018.Hilton promotes or transfers 20% of its Team Members every year in Australia, creating more than 1,300 employment opportunities each year in Australia across 12 hotels and corporate office.About HiltonHilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company, with a portfolio of 14 world-class brands comprising more than 5,400 properties with nearly 880,000 rooms, in 106 countries and territories. Hilton is dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company by delivering exceptional experiences – every hotel, every guest, every time. The company’s portfolio includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton Honors. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose exactly how many Points to combine with money, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else, and free standard Wi-Fi.About Great Place to Work®Great Place to Work Australia, part of Great Place to Work Inc, is a global research and consulting firm specialising in workplace excellence and development of high-trust and high-engagement workplace cultures. Our proprietary research tool, the Trust Index® Employee Engagement Survey, is taken annually by over 10 million employees worldwide. Leading companies worldwide use our model to increase the levels of trust across their organisations and drive business results.Source = Hilton
Fire-fighting crews were kept busy on Sunday as they were called in to put out five fires in several areas of the island, in two cases in residential areas.According to the fire service spokesman Andreas Kettis there are generally more fires at the weekends because there is increased human activity outdoors.He reiterated that in 94 per cent of cases, the human factor is responsible for the fires caused.“Either due to ignorance, or negligence, or even maliciousness,” Kettis told the Cyprus Mail.On Sunday, firemen and volunteers managed to put out a blaze that erupted in Sina Oros in the Nicosia mountainous area in the afternoon before spreading close to nearby houses.The fire, according to the forestry department broke out at around 1.45pm in the Astromeritis to Troodos road, in the community of Sina Oros.It took seven engines, a 30-men crew, a fire-fighting aircraft and the assistance of residents to put out the blaze within 20 minutes, to prevent it from spreading to houses.Another fire erupted at around 3pm on a pile of old electrical appliances and parts outside a warehouse in the Aradippou industrial area in Larnaca. Three engines helped put out the fire an hour and a half later.At around 3.05pm, another fire erupted in a river bank, near Kyvides in Limassol that burned around three hectares. The fire is believed to have been caused by the burning of rubbish. In total six engines, two fire-fighting helicopters and an aircraft were used to put out the fire.Fire-fighters were also called to put out a blaze that erupted at around 4.15pm on ten large bales, which were processed for the purpose of producing planting soil, in Tersefanou in Larnaca. The fire was put out some three hours later. The fire is believed to have been caused by self-heating of the materials that led to spontaneous ignition.At around 4.40pm, the fire-service was called in to put out another blaze that erupted in a warehouse storing wood and parts of prefabricated wooden houses in the old part of Nicosia, near the Orfeas football club, which is a densely inhabited area.The fire was put out some 40 minutes later, before it spread to adjacent residences. Part of the warehouse roof collapsed, due to the fire.The fire service is investigating all these cases in cooperation with the police.Kettis said that members of the public should avoid activities that could cause fire, such as burning trimmings and garbage. He said that people who witness such activities should immediately report them so that the fire service can take action to prevent fires.You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppHow to Become Fully Anonymous Online in Less Than 3 Minutes? Better safe than sorryFigLeaf Beta AppUndoCity BeautyDo This To Fix Sagging Jowls Without SurgeryCity BeautyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
Dust levels in Paphos over the past few days have not been much lower than in the rest of the island, but they have not been measured because of a technical glitch, the department of labour inspection explained on Monday.Residents complained over the weekend the air quality website showed a ‘green’ level while they were having problems breathing and could see dust in the air, while other areas in Cyprus were marked ‘red’.However, head of the department Chrysanthos Savvides said the particulate matter, which indicates the dust, is not being measured at the moment because a new device installed to measure it is broken.“We installed it in the beginning of November, and there is a problem with the software. We are waiting for a spare part to arrive,” he said. “In the meantime, we propose people follow the Limassol reading, as it is close enough to have a similar result to Paphos.”What people see is ‘green’ in Paphos are the measurements for Ozone, Nitrogen Oxide, Sulfur Dioxide and Benzene, but what is missing are the particulate matters P10 and P2.5 which indicate the small particles causing the problems with breathing.The labour inspection department is working on adding an announcement regarding the matter on the website to make people aware of the problem, Savvides confirmed.Dust levels were much higher than normal with levels having reached between 288μg/m3 and 133μg/m3 on Sunday. They subsided by the end of the day. The ‘green’ limit is 50μg/m3.The phenomenon affecting the island was due to environmental conditions such as incoming dust from other continents, the labour inspection office said.Air quality readings can be found at https://www.airquality.dli.mlsi.gov.cy/You May LikePlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
09May Rep. Miller hails landmark reforms to Michigan’s no-fault system Legislator: Choice, protections part of dedicated efforts to save drivers moneyState Rep. Aaron Miller, of Sturgis, today cast a historic vote to bring lower car insurance prices to residents and families in Southwest Michigan, joining House legislators in approving a plan to reform Michigan’s broken no-fault system.The plan guarantees lower rates for all drivers in Michigan, reducing what currently is the highest average car insurance premium in the nation. The average premium is also twice as high as in neighboring states such as Indiana. The bill offers personal injury coverage options, fights fraud and abuse, and addresses medical costs.“Finally,” Miller emphatically said after the vote. “Finally, after literally decades of gridlock, we’re going to be giving people some real rate relief and putting people’s hard-earned money back in their pockets. The out-of-control status quo has hit border communities the hardest. Workforce talent is crossing state lines more than ever to escape crushing premiums. I can’t stress enough how much our state and local economies will benefit when hard-working Michigan residents don’t have to choose any more between buying car insurance and putting food on the table. This is a true game-changer and I really think it’s just the start of driving down costs for drivers. Today is a happy day.”Michigan’s costs are high largely because it’s the only state mandating unlimited lifetime health care coverage through car insurance. The House plan allows those currently using the coverage to keep it, and those who want it in the future to continue buying it – while providing more affordable options.The plan:• Guarantees lower rates on the personal injury protection portion of policies. It would result in a 10-percent reduction within the PIP portion of bills for those buying unlimited coverage, a 30-percent drop for drivers choosing $500,000 in coverage, a 60-percent reduction for those purchasing $250,000 in coverage, and an 80-percent drop at the $50,000 coverage level.• Allows seniors with retiree health coverage such as Medicare, and those with health insurance policies that cover car accident-related injuries, to opt out of PIP coverage;• Establishes fee schedules to end the practice of charging far more to treat car accident victims than other patients;• Cracks down on fraud and abuse by creating a fraud task force;• Provides more financial oversight of and transparency within the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association;• Sets reasonable limits on compensation for attendant care contracts; and• Helps the state ensure insurance companies charge fair rates, while addressing attorney fee settlements and significantly reducing litigation.The sweeping legislation now advances to the Senate for consideration. Categories: Miller News,News
Share22TweetShare7Email29 SharesDecember 22, 2015; The AtlanticIn her article “The Pervasive Fear of Affordable Housing in New Jersey,” Alana Semuels looks at Howell Township, New Jersey and the efforts of some in the community to resist a 72-unit affordable housing development. The issue may be anti-Semitism in this community of around 50,000 people, 88 percent of whom are Italian, Irish, German, and other European ancestries. Ms. Semuels explains, “There were the usual range of complaints: that the affordable housing would create more traffic, put additional stress on its aging infrastructure, and bring an undesirable element to town.” According to the story, there was a groundswell of concern that members of a Hasidic community in nearby Lakewood, New Jersey would be moving in.New Jersey has been a leader among states in requiring local communities to accept a share of affordable housing cases. Their open housing policy resulted in a series of court decisions known collectively as the Mt. Laurel case. In 1975, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled, “In the decision, the N.J. Supreme Court held that zoning ordinances which make it physically and economically impossible to provide low and moderate income housing were unconstitutional.” In her article, Ms. Semuels recounts the long administrative and court battles that (for now) ended with a March 2015 decision that rebuked Governor Christie’s actions and determined that “each town needed to submit to the courts a plan for affordable housing, committing to building a certain number of units.”Anti-Semitism was in the news earlier this year when NPQ reviewed a story on a challenge to a Long Island community’s “German only” restrictive covenant. At the time, it seemed as if the complainant in the case, a resident homeowner who wanted to sell his house on the open market, would be seeing a compromise. Apparently not, since New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has issued subpoenas for information from the nonprofit, which owns 40 acres in the village of Yaphank, New York. According to the N.Y. Daily News, “the subpoena seeks a range of information to be provided…including decades of league meeting minutes, a demographic breakdown of the league, what dues are used for, and how people wishing to become members are screened.”Resistance to affordable housing coming to suburbs seems to be cropping up everywhere. This week, Al Jazeera America reported on another Long Island community. In the article, reporter E. Tammy Kim recounts a ten-year legal battle over efforts by Garden City, New York to restrict affordable housing development. Plaintiffs The Mutual Housing Association of New York (a nonprofit affordable housing developer) and the New York Communities for Change charged that the village of Garden City “had maintained its founder’s vision by preventing minorities from moving in.” In 2013, a lower court found for the plaintiffs, and an appeals court ruling is expected shortly.At issue is a practice of zoning restrictions that had the effect of discrimination. Ms. Kim notes that the ruling would be the first in the nation to apply the 2015 Supreme Court decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., which upheld the principle of “disparate impact” in discrimination cases.A common thread in all these stories is xenophobia in American suburbs. Often, the forces of resistance mask their motives in claims of “maintaining property values” or “cultural heritage.” As the US moves inexorably towards becoming a “majority minority” country and “white privilege” is undermined by both demographic reality and legal challenges, more overt and public resistance is to be expected.—Spencer WellsShare22TweetShare7Email29 Shares
Share13Tweet2Share3Email18 SharesBy Originally uploaded by Bill (Transferred by rohith_goura) (Own work (Originally uploaded on en.wikipedia)) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia CommonsSeptember 28, 2016; WVTF-FM and the Roanoke TimesThe 215-foot-high limestone arch in Virginia known as Natural Bridge has been privately owned since the late 1700s, when Thomas Jefferson bought it from King George III. As of this week, though, it’s become Virginia’s 37th state park. It will also be affiliated with the National Park Service, which makes it eligible for federal funding and a potential larger base of tourists. What makes this more interesting is the complex arrangement of public and private funding in place. The land is privately owned, but the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will operate the park.The land will continue to be owned by the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund, which was created by Tom Clarke, a businessman and conservationist living in nearby Roanoke. When the land around the arch, including the 500-million-year-old arch, nearby caverns and hotel, plus 1600 acres, went up for sale in 2013, Clarke intervened to avoid the land becoming 30 lots full of condos.Initially, the Legacy Fund hoped to fix up the park, make it profitable, and donate a successful operation to the state. However, there were difficulties in paying off the $9 million loan it used to buy the property. Under this agreement, the state will manage admissions and the gift store while the nonprofit manages the hotel. Profits from the hotel will go to pay down the debt, and the plan is to donate the park to the state once the loan is paid in full.The loan for the land parts of the deal was made through the Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund. Angelo Puglisi, a real estate developer who was 88 at the time of the sale, did not want to develop the property. He hoped that the state or federal government would make it a park. Eventually, he donated the bridge and some of the land to the Fund. The loans were for the remainder of the surrounding land.Virginians will now pay $8 to enter, rather than the most recent price of $20. In the current scenario, this is a public park operating on private land, with plans in place to pay down the debt and deed the land to the state.—Jeanne AllenShare13Tweet2Share3Email18 Shares
Share60Tweet22Share39Email121 Shares“I’m not a liar!” Credit: Tristan SchmurrAugust 2, 2017; New York Times“I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful.”Yesterday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, confirmed that the “head of the Boy Scouts” had not, in fact, called President Trump to tell him that his partisan and vaguely risqué rant to the Boy Scouts annual jamboree was the best speech ever given to that gathering. The president had, earlier in the week, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that he had received such a call, but the Boy Scouts said that they were entirely unaware of such a call being made, pointing once again to a statement issued by Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh last week.“I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree,” Surbaugh said. “That was never our intent.”The Boy Scouts have been hosting presidents for the past 36 years with the expectation—almost always fulfilled—that the addresses be nonpartisan.As with a prior alleged phone call, one the president claimed he received from the President of Mexico to congratulate him on his border enforcement efforts, the party line from the White House is that the conversations did happen, just not on the phone.“Multiple members of the Boy Scouts leadership” praised Mr. Trump’s speech on July 24th, Sanders said. That may be true, but there is quite a chasm between that and a grateful phone call from the “head of the Boy Scouts” following a fiasco for which they had already issued an apology. For its part, Mexico denied the communication attributed to its president altogether, saying in a statement, “President Enrique Peña Nieto has not had any recent telephone communication with President Donald Trump.”Michael D’Antonio, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who also wrote a biography of Mr. Trump, says, “He’s been lying his whole life, almost reflexively, and it’s almost as if he finds it more satisfying and easier than to speak with precision. When he was a kid, he lied about whether he hit a home run or not, and when he was a young man, he lied about how tall Trump Tower is—how many floors it is and the actual floors in feet—and he lied about which beautiful women were interested in him.”—Ruth McCambridgeShare60Tweet22Share39Email121 Shares
NBC Universal’s female skewing cable broadcaster Style Network is to expand its international channels arm and ramp up its licensing and merchandising and digital businesses with the creation of a new umbrella company.The firm has launched Style Media, which will bring together Style International, Style Digital, Style Licensing & Merchandising and Style Experiences into one company, operated by network boss Salaam Coleman Smith.The move is similar to that of the move made by NBC Universal’s Bravo and comes just over a year after Style parent Comcast completed its acquisition of NBC Universal.“Style is a powerful brand that resonates with women on multiple platforms and across the globe. The creation of Style Media will broaden our business and allow us to capitalise on Style’s strong consumer base of savvy women with immense purchasing power,” said Coleman Smith.
The BBC Trust and the S4C Authority, the governing bodies of the BBC and Welsh-language public broadcasters S4C respectively, have launched a public consultation on the agreement that sets out the terms by which S4C will be financed via the BBC licence fee from next year.Interested parties have until October 23 to make their views know. The BBC was forced to accept responsibility for funding the Welsh broadcaster as part of its controversial licence fee with the government in 2010. Last year the pair struck a deal designed to balance S4C’s editorial independence with accountability to the BBC for funding.The BBC and S4C have agreed funding levels for the Welsh broadcaster up to 2017, with £76.3 million (€97.4 million) to be provided by the BBC Trust for 2013-14 and an additional £6.7 million provided by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Middleware provider Oregan Networks is to add remote recording and viewing capability to its hybrid digital TV platform.According to Oregan, new multiscreen EPG and PVR applications, running on Android and Apple OS companion devices, will enable consumers to synchronise their tablets, laptops and smart phones with the living room TV, access aggregated search, synchronise recorded libraries and remotely manage scheduling options, including reminders and social alerts features.
Telemundo Internacional and Samsung Latin America have joined forces to launch a new app for Samsung Smart TV and Samsung mobile devices.The Telemundo Internacional VOD will allow viewers to watch the US Hispanic broadcaster’s content on-demand, on connected devices.The line-up includes Telemundo’s hit telenovelas La Reina del Sur, Dame Chocolate, Decisiones and La Diosa Coronada.The app was developed by Tangerine Mobile.“We are really excited about this new agreement which marks another important step in Telemundo Internacional’s digital developments in the region, using its own brand and its new image,” said Luis Daniel Capriles, vice-president of digital media for Telemundo Internacional.
Russian broadcasting infrastructure provider RTRS has selected the system integrators that will be responsible for building the country’s second digital-terrestrial multiplex.The winning bidders in the tender process were TD Svyaz Engineering, NPP Triada-TV, TekhnoServ AS, Rossiyskiy Institut Moshchnogo Radiostroyeniya, Almaz-Antey Telekommunikatsii, Moshchnaya Apparatura Radiovesshchaniya I Televideniya, Telekom-Proyekt-5 and Soyuz-Telefonstroy.TD Svyaz Engineering will act as the lead integrator on the project, with a RUB14.5 billion contract to supply engineering services and equipment.RTRS plans to construct a DVB-T2-based network based on 4,956 sites.
Telefónica has made a €725 million bid for a controlling stake in Prisa-backed Spanish pay TV operator Digital+.According to a statement made to the Spanish stock market regulator yesterday, Telefónica is bidding for a 56% stake in Digital+’s holding company Distribuidora de Televisión Digital (DTS), in which it already holds a 22% stake.Telefónica’s filing has not provided further financial details related to the bid. The group’s chief operating officer, José Maria Alvarez-Pallete, said in February that Telefónica wanted to expand its interest in TV.The remaining 22% stake in DTS is owned by Italian broadcaster Mediaset, which has been trying to forge a pay TV alliance with international investors – reportedly Canal+ and Al Jazeera – into which the stake could be folded.Heavily indebted Prisa is in the process of disposing of a number of assets, with the stake in Digital+ seen as a prime candidate for a sale.Telefónica could combine the satellite-delivered pay TV platform with its own Movistar IPTV service, extending its reach and enabling it to offer bundled products to a wider range of subscribers.
Germany’s WDR Media Group, an affiliate of public broadcaster ARD, is looking to revive plans to launch a VoD platform, after regulators blocked its joint Germany’s Gold initiative last year.In WDR’s recently published annual report, WDR’s managing director Michael Loeb said that “the idea of a separate VoD platform with top quality content is not off the table” after German regulator the Federal Cartel Office’s “negative decision” as regards Germany’s Gold.Speaking to German media journal Funkkorrespondenz last week, Loeb said talks were underway with “several potential partners from channels as well as from producer groups and publishers,” with more information due to follow later this year.German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF shelved plans to launch a joint online video-on-demand service called Germany’s Gold last September, following objections by the Federal Cartel Office.In a statement at the time, WDR Mediagroup, the commercial arm of German public broadcasting institution WDR and another partner in the project, said that the Cartel Office – which has been examining the venture since November 2011 – blocked the project in its originally planned form. It claimed that alternative models would not be economically positive and that the project would not be continued.
Sundance Channel Global has launched in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Paraguay for the first time.The channel, part of the AMC Networks International stable, has secured carriage with a range of pay TV platforms.In Panama the standard and high definition versions of Sundance will be carried on Cable Onda, the country’s largest pay TV platform.The SD channel will roll out on Millicom’s Tigo in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala and in HD on Tigo in Paraguay.In Colombia and the Dominican Republic, it will roll out on the Claro pay TV platform and in Peru on Telefonica’s Movistar.The channel launched in the region last year.Ed Palluth, executive VP of global distribution, AMC Networks International said: “Sundance Channel continues to experience strong growth since last year’s South American launch and will now be widely available in Central America on the leading subscription television platforms in the region.”
Norwia will exhibit at IBC on stand 9.C19 Broadcast media equipment manufacturer Norwia will demonstrate its miniHUB optical platform at IBC this year.The platform is designed to let broadcasters contribute video and audio over a fully redundant ring structure and the demo will showcases Norwia’s AutoSFP technology.Norwia CEO Tore Steen said that the miniHUB optical platform provides “all the functionality of a multicard system in just one card, striping out cost and reducing the complexity of optical signal distribution.”The platform consists of a fully flexible optical blade with the next generation miniHUB interface and is configurable as a multiple fiber solution or a multiplexed backbone structure that provides redundancy in both main and redundant fiber paths.The miniHUB optical platform is built around a single card that adapts to the individual function a ring structure needs. Norwia’s AutoSFP technology ensures that signal capacity can be easily added without having to worry about bandwidth calculations.“As live content continues to increase in importance, broadcasters need solutions that meet the complex challenges of signal distribution,” said Steen, claiming that Norwia’s miniHUB solution “meets this challenge.”
Pay TV operator Sky Deutschland is to add music channel Jukebox to its programming line-up at the start of October.The channel, which airs a mix of contemporary and classic hit music, will be included in the Sky World package for satellite and IPTV customers and will also be receivable over cable.Jukebox is owned by niche channel provider High-View, which also provides channels including Planet, RCK TV and RLX TV.
Olivier LaouchezYouth-oriented media group Trace will launch Trace Play, a new international subscription video-on-demand service, beginning this June.The millennial-focused service will launch first in France, Switzerland, Belgium, and other French speaking territories in the Carribean, and then launch in the UK and US at the same time between two weeks to a month later.Eventually it will be available in more than 60 countries in Europe, the US, the Caribbean and Africa in both English and French, with a Portuguese language version also in the works, according to Trace CEO Olivier Laouchez.Speaking to DTVE at MIPTV, Laouchez said that Trace Play will be priced “cheaper than Netflix” and will offer “general entertainment focused on Urban culture”.This will include 4,000 hours of programming – some of it original and exclusive. Trace will offer content produced for its Trace Sports Star and Trace Music Star channels on the SVOD service and its linear music channels will also be available to watch on Trace Play.“We are working with more than 100 different content providers from the big studios to guys you are never talking about,” said Laouchez.“We are going to bring something very new that complements our existing offering, because we want people to continue watching our channels also on the linear, cable, DTH, DSL [platforms].”Trace Play will be available initially on iOS, Android and web browsers with further developments to follow for platforms like Roku, TiVo, operator set-top boxes, games consoles and other streaming devices like Apple TV and Chromecast.“This is the most important project that we are launching this year. We will soon announce certain very strong partnerships with different companies that have an interest in working with us on this project,” said Laouchez.The Trace CEO first revealed plans to launch a subscription VoD service for sub-Saharan Africa in the first quarter of this year to DTVE back in October.