AM7 arrives in BaikonurThe Russia Satellite Communications Company (RSCC) is due to launch its Express AM7 satellite on March 19, 2015, after it was delivered to Baikonur in Kazakhstan last week.Express AM7 was manufactured by Airbus DS and is due to launch next month on a Proton-M/Breeze-M rocket.The satellite carries up to 80 transponders in the C-, Ku- and L- bands and was built using federal funds set aside for the ‘Development of TV and Radio Broadcasting in the Russian Federation in 2009–2015.’It will support TV and radio broadcasting, broadband access and multimedia, data, telephony and mobile communications services.
Sky CEO Jeremy DarrochA strong UK performance helped deliver exceptional full-year results for Sky, with the operator adding close to a million customers over the course of the full year while increasing revenue and profit significantly.Delivering its first full-year results as an expanded operation spanning the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy, Sky added 973,000 customers over the last 12 months, an increase of 45% on the previous year’s additions. Sky posted full-year adjusted revenue of £11.283 billion (€15.888 billion), up 5%, and EBITDA of £2.030 billion, up 10%. Operating profit was £1.4 billion, up 18%. Pre-tax profit was £1.196 billion, up 6%.Europe-wide, the company had 21.006 million customers at the end of June, up 158,000 on the previous quarter, taking 53.783 million products, up 829,000 for the quarter. Churn was down – to under 10% – across all markets.The UK and Ireland led the way, delivering revenues of £7.820 billion, up 6% and an operating profit of £1.35 billion. The UK and Ireland business delivered customer growth of 506,000 for the year, the highest for 11 years, taking Sky’s total above 12 million. The number includes the Now TV OTT service, for which the operator did not break out figures separately. Sky did say that it sold almost three times as many sports passes for the service as in the previous year.Sky in the UK and Ireland added 3.3 million revenue-generating units, taking it past 38 million, including the addition of 113,000 TV customers in the final quarter and broadband additions of 96,000.Sky Go passed the six million markGermany and Austria saw revenues grow from £1.262 billion to £1.377 billion, and operating losses improve from negative £57 million to negative £11 million. The company added 467,000 new customers, including 55,000 in the fourth quarter. Germany and Austria added 969,000 revenue-generating units, 56% higher than the previous year, including 127,000 new products sold in the fourth quarter.The Italian unit remains – relatively – the weak link in the chain, delivering lower revenues of £2.086 billion due to rival Mediaset’s hold on Champions League football. The unit nevertheless contributed a 56% improvement in operating profits to £61 million and held its customer base stable at 4.7 million after three years of decline. Over the year, Sky in Italy added 387,000 RGUs, but saw a loss of 19,000 in the fourth quarter as a result of repackaging customers onto HD products.Sky said its Sky Store movie purchase and rental services saw revenues grow by 77% over the year thanks to the launch of its ‘buy and keep’ service. Revenue from Sky Store, AdSmart and Sky Vision together was up 122%. On the production front, Sky said it had 35 projects in development, on-air or in production over the next three years, with at least 10 of these to launch as priority projects across Europe.Sky said it was on track to realize its target of £200 million in synergies by 2017 from the combination of the three international operations, and said that it would implement a common look and feel across all its channel by next summer.“The past 12 months have been an outstanding period of growth for Sky. We’ve successfully completed a deal that has transformed the size and scale of opportunity for the business whilst delivering an excellent financial and operational performance as more customers chose Sky and took more of our products. It’s clear that the steps we have taken to broaden out our business are paying off. By distributing our content over multiple platforms and launching new products and services, we are now able to offer something for every household,” said CEO Jeremy Darroch.“The UK and Ireland, where our strategy is most progressed, put in a particularly strong performance. We passed the 12-million customer milestone with the highest growth in 11 years; we surpassed 38 million paid-for subscription products; and we delivered the lowest churn in 11 years. This is the direct result of the investments we’ve made in connected services and quality content with more than seven million customers now connected. Germany and Italy also posted strong performances. Germany delivered its highest-ever customer growth, while Italy maintained its subscriber base in a tough market. Both businesses also achieved significantly increased customer loyalty, thanks to continued investment in the customer experience.”
Beasts of No NationNetflix’s feature film, Beasts of No Nation, has performed poorly at the box office, although the US SVoD service has said it is pleased with the streaming performance of the movie.The Idris Elba feature, from True Detective’s Cary Joji Fukunaga and following a group of rebel fighters and child soldiers in Africa, launched on Netflix on Friday and also had a limited theatrical release in indie cinemas in the US.It recouped just US$50,699 (€44,765) across 31 cinemas on its debut. Netflix would not comment publicly on the streaming results, as is its policy with all of its shows, but privately said it was ‘very happy’ with the pick up of the film on its SVoD service.Some movie theatre chains including AMC, unhappy about Netflix’s movie into films, boycotted Beasts.Netflix paid a reported US$12 million for Beasts, beating out competition for the buzzy movie. It picked up the rights as it moved into original features and set out a new hybrid theatrical/SVoD release model.The theatrical release means Beasts is eligible for Oscar and other award consideration. Critically the film was well received, receiving a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 78% on review aggregation site Metacritic.In a statement issued to US trade The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said: “Whether in theaters this week or on any Internet-connected device now or in years to come, people all over the world are getting a unique opportunity to appreciate this film.”
UK viewers have been the quickest in Western Europe to embrace on-demand TV, while Italians watch more TV overall than any other nationality in the region, according to new research.Overall daily viewing time of linear TV has continued to decline in the UK, but factoring in online and on-demand services the time spent watching content actually increased, according to research house IHS Markit. The average Britain watched 247 minutes of content a day in 2015, 187 minutes of which was via linear TV.Within the online viewing segment, the amount of time watching long form content increased 25.7%.In terms of overall daily time spent watching TV, Italians topped the heap in Western Europe, with an average of 280 minutes. Averaged out across all Italian households, the non-linear average was just 18 minutes.“Linear viewing remains king in Italy,” said Daniel Sutton, senior analyst at IHS Technology. “Similar to Germany, pay TV on Demand is not gaining traction in the Italian market.“Online long-form reached 46 seconds per-person per-day in 2015. As with Pay TV Video on Demand, the dominance of transaction-based services can be pointed to as an inhibitor for growth in this area.”In Germany, where overall TV revenues were up in 2015, there was an increase in online viewing, but SVOD services are struggling, according to HIS.“Online services such as Amazon Prime and Maxdome are growing in popularity in Germany, but are somewhat struggling to gain traction,” Sutton said. Online long-form viewing in Germany increased by 30 seconds per-person per-day to reach two minutes in 2015.“Over the coming months it will be interesting to see how the German consumer responds to revised television on-demand offering of the new Sky Europe,” Sutton said. “Sky Deutschland has historically not had the same success as its sister company in the UK.”Spain was behind Italy with an average of 234 minutes of daily TV viewing, although that total is down year-on-year and the lowest since 2010.The non-linear viewing totals were up, with short-form the most popular category of content, increasing 21% year-on-year to almost nine minutes day.In France viewing time was up to 224 minutes a day, driven by both old and young demos, the under-14s and over-50s.
Pan-regional pay TV operator M7 Group has tapped satellite provider SES for additional capacity to offer additional HD channels in central and eastern Europe.The operator’s new deal with SES, which gives it additional capacity on the Astra 3B satellite at 23.5° East, will enable it to host all HD channels of the Czech public broadcaster Ceská Televize, as well as new HD channels for Skylink, M7’s DTH pay TV platform for the Czech Republic and Slovakia.“This recent agreement with SES will enable us to satisfy the existing and growing consumer demand for better picture quality and innovative new programs in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as well as allow us to further reinforce our positions in these highly competitive markets. SES has been our reliable partner in delivering a quality TV experience to our viewers, and we are looking forward to continuing this fruitful relationship,” said Hans Troelstra, CEO of M7 Group.“M7 Group has been a long-standing partner, and we are pleased that our collaboration continues to grow,” said Ferdinand Kayser, chief commercial officer at SES.“M7 has a leading position in the high definition broadcasting segment of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and we are happy to continue contributing to this success by providing our reliable satellite services.”
Troubled Hong Kong pay TV operator i-Cable is involved in last-minute moves to secure its future after ceasing trading yesterday, according to press reports.According to the South China Morning Post, chairman Stephen Ng Tin-hoi, who is also chairman of parent company Wharf Holdings, told staff that the company had taken an important step towards securing its future, without giving further details.Earlier, an investment consortium called Forever Top led by local businessman David Chiu Tat-cheong said it was interested in investing in i-Cable.i-Cable shares ceased trading yesterday after losing over a fifth of their value since the start of this year. Wharf Holdings said last month that it would stop funding the loss-marking operator.i-Cable is obliged to state whether it will accept a 12-year renewal of its pay TV licence with the Hong Kong government next week. Without the licence, the operator will shut down its operations at the start of June.i-Cable posted losses of HK$313 million last year, a deterioration from the HK$233 million loss posted in 2015.If i-Cable shuts down, it will be the second pay TV provider to fold since the start of this year in a challenging market.In January, broadcaster TVB said it was shutting down its loss-making pay TV service after issuing a profit warning.i-Cable’s departure from the pay TV business would leave only PCCW’s Now TV standing.
Sports broadcaster Eleven Sports has struck a deal with Twitter to live-stream Ivy League American football games.Eleven will stream seven games during October and November on its @ElevenSportsUSA Twitter feed.The game will be available for free to logged-in and logged-out users on Twitter and connected devices globally. Eleven will post additional features including game-in-progress clips during the live streams.The partnership kicked off on Saturday with a live-stream of a match between Harvard University and Cornell University and will continue October 14 with University of Pennsylvania v Columbia University.“Eleven Sports aims to meet the demands of underserved fans everywhere and with this innovative partnership we are doing just that – making top college action available in a very accessible and engaging way,” said Marc Watson, executive chairman and group CEO, Eleven Sports.“We are truly platform agnostic, we will go where the fans demand to consume their sports action and we are looking forward to working with Twitter and the Ivy League to grow this exciting partnership for the benefit of these dedicated fans.”
Cable and telecom investor Zegona Communications has unveiled plans to raise at least £100 million through a share placement as it moves to realise its aim to purchase shares in regional Spanish cable operator Euskaltel on the open market.Zegona has also entered into agreement with Virgin Group and Barclays Banks to draw up to £30 million in debt to supplement the equity placement.The latest move follows Zegona’s decision to withdraw a tender offer to acquire an additional 14.9% of Euskaltel and focus on increasing its ownership position up to a maximum of 12.5% through open market purchases. Zegona has also struck an agreement with Zegona and Euskaltel shareholder Talomon Capital, giving the latter an entitlement of up to 2.4% in Euskaltel.Zegona currently holds a 15% stake in Euskaltel following the merger of the latter with Zegona-owned Asturias region operator Telecable.Zegona’s latest move comes after Euskaltel last week unveiled a modest plan to expand into regions outside its core northern Spanish markets with a view to recruiting some 90,000 new customers over four years.Zegona has previously made clear a certain frustration with the pace of development of Euskaltel, which it believes has underperformed relative to its potential, and is believed to favour a more ambitious plan, including the introduction of former Jazztel CEO Javier Miguel García to the company’s management and the launch of the Virgin brand in Spain.
THE Guildhall Square has been playing host to a parade and a marching band with a difference.Musicians from North Dakota State University proved to be a big hit, as they brought a flavour of campus life from across the pond.It is all part of the warm up before this Saturday’s St Patrick’s Day Carnival in the city. “We’re really proud to be here and we love this week, where we can be in Ireland for the St Patrick’s Day festival,” he said.“We’re looking forward to playing in Dublin in a few days then we’re going to be marching two parades on St Patrick’s Day so that’ll be a lot of fun.“Plus we get to see a beautiful country in the meantime!”North Dakota marching band hits the right note in Derry was last modified: March 14th, 2018 by John2John2 Tags: ShareTweet For some in the Gold Star Marching Band it was their first time away from home.“I’ve never been out of the country before so this is my first time out of the US,” said one of the musicians.To represent our university and our state in such a way is really amazing. It’s a really great feeling, our jackets even on the back say ‘pride of North Dakota’.”Dr Sigurd Johnson from North Dakota State University said the band is especially looking forward to playing on St Patrick’s Day. Dr Sigurd JohnsonGold Star Marching Bandguildhall squareNorth Dakota marching band hits the right note in DerryNorth Dakota State University7
NewsWatch False Eyelashes Have Become A Must-have, Everyday Accessory By Daniella HankeyMay 10, 2018, 04:32 am 481 0 Facebook Previous PostMother’s Day 2018: Restaurants Offering Moms Deals Or Freebies Mail Daniella Hankey Pinterest Home NewsWatch False Eyelashes Have Become A Must-have, Everyday Accessory Tumblr Google+ The entire process takes about two hours and costs between $120 and $350. Twitter Synthetic lashes are considered to be for beginners. Hollow, feather lashes are known for being light and weightless. Next PostMock Trial Held For Future Lawyers (ABC NEWS)- Celebrities sporting lush eyelashes have always been in vogue, but now false eyelashes have gone from special-occasion adornment to a must-have, everyday accessory.With demand soaring, the market for false eyelashes is booming and is projected to reach more than $1.5 billion in the next five years in product alone.Salon owners and makeup artists spoke to ABC News’ “Nightline” about their growing industry as well as the different kinds of false eyelashes in the market and gave a demo of the process. Tirzah Shirai started Blink Bar, an eyelash-extension specialized salon in Los Angeles, to cash in on the booming market.“I just couldn’t find anyone in L.A. that was doing eyelash extensions that looked really natural and didn’t damage the lashes and would look good on camera,” she told “Nightline.” “I really saw a need.” Linkedin Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website
When Kerry Lutz turned off the recorder after interviewing me for the Financial Survival Network, we started talking about a common challenge we both face: getting an entire generation to wake up and see that we have a real problem. Most seniors and savers readily admit that interest rates are terrible and don’t keep up with inflation, yet – even with the terrible squeeze this puts on their pocketbooks – Kerry and I know of too many people who think their nest egg will manage itself. After working a lifetime to build up their portfolios, many retirees are looking for a “set it and forget it” type of investment that no longer exists. What would happen if I shared this attitude? On a recent morning walk I found myself imagining what it would really mean if high inflation or sloppy investing were to wipe out our life savings. Personally, worrying about having to live off the government or looking to our children for help would not be the worst of it. There’s a bigger issue at stake, one most folks of my generation would likely agree with me on. Colette Dowling wrote a book in the 1980s called The Cinderella Complex, and in the early chapters she addresses how my generation was raised. She contends that boys, from the moment of birth, were raised to be independent, citing that boy babies were frequently left to cry much longer than their girl counterparts in newborn nurseries. For most of us, family roles reinforced the message that men were in charge. Dad drove the family car, Dad sat at the head of the table, Dad was the primary breadwinner, and on most things Dad had the final word. Gender politics aside, I still remember how good it felt to grow into being an independent young man. I recall the excitement of getting my driver’s license (something no retiree wants to lose), my first car, and all the other symbols of my increasing independence. As I got on the train to leave for boot camp at age 18, my dad remarked that I would be a man the next time he saw me. Step by step, I became an independent adult. It wasn’t until my 30s that someone finally addressed me as “Mr. Miller,” and it shocked me even then. It’s funny how friends my age call me “Denny,” but with each passing year more folks call me “Mr. Miller.” That’s just the way life is. Somewhere in the mid-1960s, the woman’s movement really picked up. I always thought bra burning and protests obscured the real message: women also have a right to independence and the same financial opportunities as men. That’s certainly a position I agree with. When I was contemplating marrying for the second time, my future wife Jo and I decided to visit a marriage counselor. Our counselor emphasized to both of us that the best marriages consist of two adults who can thrive – both emotionally and financially – on their own. That way, both partners know they are together because they choose to be, not because one is totally dependent on the other. Twenty-five years later, Jo and I wholeheartedly agree with that idea. As I continued to daydream on my morning walk, I realized that being a ward of the state or having to ask my children for help is not what motivates me to do everything I possibly can to protect my portfolio. I spent the better part of 73 years working hard, building a nest egg, and enjoying life. I’ve been the captain of my own ship, with a first mate who is not shy about speaking her mind, and I want to keep it that way. That is what pushes me to protect what Jo and I worked so hard to build. Shortly after my interview with Kerry, I received an email from one of my ROMEO (“Retired Old Men Eating Out”) buddies, Carmen. It was a link to a beautiful rendition of Frank Sinatra’s My Way by André Rieu. I encourage everyone to click on the link, enjoy the song, and take note of the man shown at the 1:48 and 2:29 marks. He reacted to the song just as my ROMEO brothers and I did. As I watched that video, I realized just what outliving my money would mean to me. It would strip me of my self-image, rob me of my dignity, and I would feel shame beyond anything I can imagine. It reminded me of how fitting Kerry’s name for his site is: “Financial Survival Network.” Seniors are not only fighting for financial survival, we are also fighting for emotional survival. Jo and I have discussed what living off the government – our worst-case scenario – would actually look like. Our life would be limited to Social Security checks and food stamps – not what I would call enjoying our golden years. But then Jo reminded me that it could get even worse than that. Twenty-five years ago, her father had Parkinson’s disease and was in a nursing home. We were paying full price for his care, and as the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” Jo’s father usually had his own room, but occasionally he had a temporary roommate. There was always a whisper that the person in the bed next to him was penniless, and the government had required the nursing home to accept him because it had an opening. Now I’m sure the staff would deny this, but there were obviously two levels of care: the kind you pay for and the kind healthcare workers are forced to give. I will never forget one sad event where his roommate messed his diaper; it smelled so bad we had to track down a nurse to help change it. It doesn’t get much more degrading than that. Eventually, these down-on-their-luck roommates would be rolled into another room with a similarly situated patient, and Grandpa would have his private room back, along with full control of the television clicker. In almost all of these cases, the patient did have family somewhere in the country, but they never visited. We would often bring them a snack, a piece of birthday cake or something, and they would thank us with tears in their eyes. The old proverb, “There but by the grace of God, go I” sums up how this all made me feel. I hoped that I wouldn’t end up in the same situation at the end of the line. Even though Social Security doesn’t come close to keeping up with inflation and our cost of living is rising, I’ll be damned if I am going to give up. If you’re reading this, you probably have the same attitude. I’m lucky to have the backing of a great research team; together, we do whatever it takes to find the right investment opportunities for our Money Forever subscribers. If you haven’t taken advantage of our no-risk, 90-day trial subscription already, I invite you to take it for a spin. Look over the recommendations in the Money Forever portfolio; if you decide it’s not for you, just call or email within 90 days to receive a full refund. We all need to make sure our nest eggs outlive us. Learning and sharing with my peers is the fun part of my job, and I’m confident our team can help you make your money last. The alternative certainly stinks! As long as I am using music to make a point, I will share one more with you. When my day finally comes, I don’t want to die humiliated as they play Boulevard of Broken Dreams. I’d much prefer to have a smile on my face as they all sing the lyrics to Dad’s favorite song: “I did it my way.”On the Lighter Side I don’t remember the last time we watched a NASCAR race, but we sure tuned in last Sunday. What a finish it turned out to be! Danica Patrick slid from third to eighth place at the end, finishing less than a full second behind the winner. Our generation has witnessed many women be the first to accomplish a lot of things: first female astronaut, first woman to fly in an air combat mission, first female racecar driver, and first female sideline reporter at football game, to name of few. Personally, I think this is wonderful as long as they are like Danica and earn it. Good for them! And speaking of driving, I was quite pleased to renew my driver’s license this week. I passed all the necessary tests, and I’m good to go for the next eight years. And finally… I mentioned my friend Carmen earlier in this article. He sent along his travel plans for the year, and I thought our readers might enjoy them. I have been in many places, but I’ve never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can’t go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone. I’ve also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there. I have, however, been in Sane. They don’t have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my children, friends, family, and work. I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I’m not too much on physical activity anymore. I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often. I’ve been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm. Sometimes I’m in Capable, and I go there more often as I’m getting older. One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get! And finally, one place I don’t want to be is in Continent. I hear it is no fun. Until next week…
In This Issue. * Dollar continues to fall * German and French leaders join to push for Greek solution * Australia and Japan to join the new Asian bank backed by China * Gold stays on track for weekly gain And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts. Dollar continues to move lower… I’ll let Frank start us off as he has throughout this week, so here’s Frank: San Carlos de Bariloche – I have always been a sucker for the mountains. No real idea why. Is it a genetic trait or family meme? Is it the beauty somehow connecting with another part of the brain. Don’t know but I do like them. Up here in Argentina’s “Little Switzerland” it’s pretty remarkable. Vistas of epic proportion. Glacier fed lakes show mystical blue. Odd trees to my eyes and the howling wind off the Andes in the afternoon. I had time for a pretty decent hike with excellent views and now the evening is setting in. Friday morning I’ll meet with a group traveling through directed by Barb Perriello of Opportunity Travel. I wrote about this trip in a January Pfennig and now here they are arriving tonight. I suspect we’ll chat about the wild swings in the markets . . . if only the markets had patience . . . still. It seems to me that a one word change in a Fed statement creating all that trouble this week is an indicator of it’s own. Are we all so outlandishly ill informed about the status of the economy that 10,000 economists worldwide need a periodic statement from a government official to generate a thought? We do note that the character of the Tech Bubble, the Real Estate Bubble, and the Credit Disaster were never included in any forward looking statement by the then currently sitting predecessors of Ms. Yellen. In fact in all three cases her colleagues forecast clear sailing ahead. When the current language borders on hesitant from an institution with a track record of calling crashes wrong how does that make you feel? Thanks Frank. He is really great at weaving a story which ends up depositing us back to the day’s markets, don’t you think? As Frank suggests, investors across the globe continue to focus on this week’s FOMC statement and in spite of the drop of the word patience most of the markets are interpreting Yellen’s statement as being dovish. This was a classic case of ‘buy the rumor and sell the fact’ when it comes to the currency markets as most currency traders had piled on US$ longs in anticipation of the dropping of ‘patience’ from the statement but then Yellen threw them all a curve ball with her dovish words and these investors immediately reversed these long dollar positions. While the moves weren’t quite as dramatic as the previous day, Thursday continued to see the dollar move lower across most of the currency markets. Mike sent me a note this morning summarizing some of the data we got yesterday morning, so I’ll share his thoughts with you now: The action in the currency market was hot yesterday, but it wasn’t because of the economic reports. As I mentioned yesterday, it was going to be fairly uneventful in the data world once we saw the conclusion of the Fed meeting on Wednesday. With that said, Thursday brought us the usual weekly jobs numbers, which showed little change by rising a bit to 291k from the previous reading of 290k. We also saw continuing claims edge slightly lower and, in the end, the labor market continues to show resolve. The Philly Fed index came in lower than expected and fell in line with the lower New York area manufacturing gauge, both of which suggest the stronger dollar environment is impacting this sector. Leading indicators increased for a second month but weakness in the industrial sector and lower business investment are areas of concern. We have nothing out today so commentary from Fed members will look to guide the market as we head into the weekend. Looking ahead to next week, its shaping up to be a tame data week as February CPI, housing, and durable goods pretty much takes care of it. Today we really don’t have any US data to drive the markets so it looks like the dollar bears will continue to wake up from their winter nap. The dollar index is down .88% this morning with the best performing currencies being the unusual combination of the South African rand and Polish Zloty, both of which are up over 1% vs. the US$. The Euro, Swiss Franc and Mexican Peso round out the top 5 currencies this morning with increases of .8% vs. the dollar overnight. But as I mentioned earlier, just about all of the currencies we follow are up vs. the dollar with the only two exceptions being the Russian ruble and Japanese yen. Even though the dollar is continuing to pull back overall, it has actually steadied a bit vs. the Euro which spiked up to a high of 1.1062 yesterday. In news coming out of Europe last night Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was told by EU leaders that he needs to come up with a more concrete plan for reform before further talks about Greek debt relief will be held. Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande suggested that time is running out for Greece. The leaders of Europe’s two largest economies seem to be joining together to try and force a restart for the Greek bailout negotiations. The new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank – a multinational development bank backed by China received the good news yesterday that both Australia and Japan are willing to join up. The Australian National Security Committee approved a proposal for Australia to join the AIIB overnight, which clears the way for Australia’s Cabinet to formally approve the participation early next week. Japan has already indicated a willingness to join the bank which will be another alternative to the World Bank in lending to Asian countries looking to borrow for infrastructure projects. Just another indication of China flexing their financial muscles which they have been building over the past several years. The precious metals held on to their gains and look on track to book their biggest weekly jump since January. Gold prices hit a four month low earlier this week but had a strong rally following the FOMC announcement and is holding near two week highs. The Chinese buying in the physical markets is one of the items supporting prices at these levels according to a news report I read on Reuters this morning. The FOMC meeting also got the ‘paper traders’ back into the markets as the largest gold ETF SPDR Gold Shares saw its first inflows since the end of February on the heels of the Fed meeting. Currencies today 3/20/15. American Style: A$ .7681, kiwi .7454, C$ .7862, euro 1.0723, sterling 1.48, Swiss $ 1.0166. European Style: rand 12.212, krone 8.1079, SEK 8.6701, forint 283.32, zloty 3.8520, koruna 25.608, RUB 60.545, yen 120.94, sing 1.3874, HKD 7.7594, INR 62.395, China 6.1496, pesos 15.202, BRL 3.3038, Dollar Index 98.659, Oil $43.89, 10-year 1.95%, Silver $16.14, Platinum $1,123.95, Palladium $768.50, and Gold. $1,171.46 That does it for the week, hope everyone has a great day and a wonderful weekend! I know I will. Chris Gaffney, CFA President EverBank World Markets
UPDATE Jan. 31: Tuscaloosa Police identified the two people killed in a Tuesday evening crash between an SUV and an 18-wheeler.Tina Michelle Williams, 55, and Alton Michael Williams, 56, both of Northport, were occupants of the SUV when it was struck by an 18-wheeler in the intersection of Jack Warner Parkway and the Bryant Bridge.A wreck between an 18-wheeler and an SUV ended in tragedy Tuesday evening.It happened just after 9 p.m. near Nucor Steel on Jack Warner Parkway in Tuscaloosa.Tuscaloosa Police said the vehicle, which was traveling eastbound, was struck by the 18-wheeler in the intersection of Jack Warner Parkway and the Bryant Bridge. Both occupants of the SUV were killed at the scene.Authorities confirmed two people were killed in the wreck, but they have not yet been identified.No word yet on what caused the crash.
What started as a day of fun in the water soon turned into a nightmare for one Alabama family.Ricky Rutherford and his family enjoyed a day of kayaking on the Tennessee River in Waterloo last Saturday, but the carefree outing left Rutherford in the hospital after he contracted a flesh-eating bacteria. He was infected despite having no open cuts or sores, which is usually how a waterborne bacteria is contracted.Rutherford’s wife Cassey noticed that he was running a fever the night after returning from the river.“He came home with a 103 temperature,” Cassey Rutherford said. “There were not signs of anything else just the fever.”By Tuesday, Rutherford could hardly walk and there was a concerning spot on his leg. Rutherford was taken to the hospital, where he had surgery to remove the infected area. The doctors confirmed that it was Necrotizing Fasciitis, a rare flesh-eating bacteria.“I don’t want anyone else to go through this,” Cassey said. “Saturday I was having to think about burying the love of my life.”Doctors say Ricky has made it through the most dangerous part of the ordeal and will be back home by the end of the week.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Olympic sailor Erik Heil floated a novel idea to protect himself from the sewage-infested waters he and other athletes will compete in during next year’s games: He’d wear plastic overalls and peel them off when he was safely past the contaminated waters nearest shore.Heil, 26, was treated at a Berlin hospital for MRSA, a flesh-eating bacteria, shortly after sailing in an Olympic test event in Rio in August. But his strategy to avoid a repeat infection won’t limit his risk.A new round of testing by The Associated Press shows the city’s Olympic waterways are as rife with pathogens far offshore as they are nearer land, where raw sewage flows into them from fetid rivers and storm drains. That means there is no dilution factor in the bay or lagoon where events will take place and no less risk to the health of athletes like sailors competing farther from the shore.“Those virus levels are widespread. It’s not just along the shoreline but it’s elsewhere in the water, therefore it’s going to increase the exposure of the people who come into contact with those waters,” said Kristina Mena, an expert in waterborne viruses and an associate professor of public health at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. “We’re talking about an extreme environment, where the pollution is so high that exposure is imminent and the chance of infection very likely.”In July, the AP reported that its first round of tests showed disease-causing viruses directly linked to human sewage at levels up to 1.7 million times what would be considered highly alarming in the U.S. or Europe. Experts said athletes were competing in the viral equivalent of raw sewage and exposure to dangerous health risks almost certain.The results sent shockwaves through the global athletic community, with sports officials pledging to do their own viral testing to ensure the waters were safe for competition in next year’s games. Those promises took on further urgency in August, after pre-Olympic rowing and sailing events in Rio led to illnesses among athletes nearly double the acceptable limit in the U.S. for swimmers in recreational waters.Nevertheless, Olympic and World Health Organization officials have flip-flopped on promises to carry out viral testing in the wake of the AP’s July report.Now, the AP’s most recent tests since August show not only no improvement in water quality — but that the water is even more widely contaminated than previously known. The number of viruses found over a kilometer from the shore in Guanabara Bay, where sailors compete at high speeds and get utterly drenched, are equal to those found along shorelines closer to sewage sources.“The levels of viruses are so high in these Brazilian waters that if we saw those levels here in the United States on beaches, officials would likely close those beaches,” Mena said.Brazilian, Olympic and WHO officials now say Brazil needs only to carry out testing for bacterial “markers” of pollution to determine water quality. That’s the standard used by nations around the globe, mostly because it’s been historically easier and cheaper.The WHO on Wednesday said it had no comment on the AP’s latest findings.The Rio 2016 Olympic organizing committee said in an emailed statement that “the health and safety of athletes is always a top priority and there is no doubt that water within the field of play meets the relevant standards.”“Rio 2016 follows the expert advice of the World Health Organization, whose guidelines for Safe Recreational Water Environments recommend classifying water through a regular program of microbial water quality testing.”However, in recent years technological advances have made it simpler and less expensive to monitor viral levels, too.That’s why many in the scientific communities in the U.S. and Europe are pushing for legislation that would require viral testing of water. They argue that repeated studies dating back decades have shown little to no correlation between the levels of bacteria pathogens in water, which quickly break down in salty and sunny conditions like those in tropical Brazil, and the presence of viruses, which have been shown to last for months, and in some cases years.That disparity has surfaced in AP’s testing in Rio, where the water often falls within safe levels of fecal bacteria, but the same water sample shows levels of viruses akin to raw sewage. Many of the testing points show spikes in bacterial contamination, too — especially in the Olympic lagoon and in the marina where sailors launch crafts.Rio’s waterways, like those of many developing nations, are extremely contaminated because most of the city’s sewage is not treated, let alone collected. Massive amounts of it flow straight into Guanabara Bay. The Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon and the famous Copacabana Beach also are heavily contaminated.Rio won the right to host the Olympics based on a lengthy bid document that promised to clean up the city’s scenic waterways by improving sewage sanitation, a pledge that was intended to be one of the event’s biggest legacies.Brazilian officials now acknowledge that won’t happen.The AP’s first published results were based on samples taken along the shores of the lagoon where rowing and canoeing events will be held. Other samples were drawn from the marina where sailors enter the water and in the Copacabana Beach surf, where marathon and triathlon swimming will take place. Ipanema Beach, popular with tourists and where many of the expected 350,000 foreign visitors will take a dip during the games, was also tested.Since then, the AP expanded its testing to include offshore sampling sites inside Olympic sailing courses in Guanabara Bay and in the middle of the lagoon where rowing and canoeing lanes were located during recent test events.The tests found the lagoon and bay to be consistently virus-laden throughout, but it also captured a spike in the bacterial fecal coliforms in the lagoon — to over 16 times the amount permitted under Brazilian law.Mena, the waterborne virus expert, said it makes sense for athletes to think that deeper into the bay and lagoon would be safer, but the testing doesn’t bear that out.“One would expect to see more fluctuations with the levels of any pathogen in the water, but it’s not there,” she said.As a result, none of the venues are fit for swimmers or boaters, she said. Athletes who ingest three teaspoons of water have a 99 percent chance of being infected by viruses.That assessment was echoed by Brazilian virologist Fernando Spilki, coordinator of the environmental quality program at Feevale University in southern Brazil, who is conducting monthly tests for the AP.“Samples from the sailing courses and inside the lagoon prove that the viruses are present even away from the shore, away from the sources of pollution, and that they maintain extremely high viral loads,” he said.Athletes in Rio test events have tried many tricks and treatments to avoid falling ill, including bleaching rowing oars, hosing off their bodies the second they finish competing, and preemptively taking antibiotics — which have no effect on viruses.Despite those efforts, athletes at a competition in August still fell ill. The World Rowing Federation reported that 6.7 percent of 567 rowers got sick at a junior championships event in Rio.The International Sailing Federation said just over 7 percent of sailors competing at a mid-August Olympic warm-up event in Guanabara Bay fell ill — but the federation has not conducted a full count of how many athletes got sick in the two weeks following the competition, the rough incubation period for many of the pathogens in the water.Mena and other experts say it’s difficult to put those figures into international context as each geographic location has unique threats. But in the U.S., for instance, the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum illness rate for swimming is 3.6 percent — and many experts say that is too high.The German sailor, Heil, was one of those who got sick at the Rio test event.“I’ve never had infections on my legs. Never!” he wrote on the German sailing team’s blog in late August as he underwent painful treatment to scrape the infections off his hips and legs. “The origin must be the Marina da Gloria. In the future, we will try to travel to Rio right before the start of any event, so that any diseases that show up only occur when we are already back home.”In the year preceding the Olympics, AP is examining monthly water samples for three types of human adenovirus as well as enterovirus, rotavirus and bacterial fecal coliforms. The viruses are found in human intestinal and respiratory tracts. They cause digestive illnesses including vomiting, explosive diarrhea and respiratory problems — all of which would knock athletes out of competition. Serious heart and brain disease are also possible, though rare. One type of analysis tests for adenovirus types 2 and 5, markers for the sewage contamination.Water quality experts say a virus count hitting 1,000 per liter in the U.S. or Europe would cause extreme alarm, leading in many cases to beach closures.Viral levels were all 30,000 times higher than what is highly alarming in the U.S. or Europe at each of the AP’s new offshore sampling sites: at a point 600 meters (yards) offshore and within the Sugarloaf sailing race course; at 1,300 meters (yards) offshore within the Naval School sailing circuit; and at a spot inside the Olympic lagoon where rowing lanes are located, about 200 meters (yards) from shore.In September tests at the Naval School race course and offshore lagoon points, the water was positive for enterovirus, a major cause of respiratory illness, gastrointestinal ailments and, less often, serious heart and brain inflammation.Subsequent cell culture testing showed the viruses in the lagoon water to be “active and infectious,” but the samples taken from the sailing courses in the bay were not. Mena, the risk assessment expert, said several factors inhibit viruses from growing in a laboratory, but the sheer number of pathogens in Rio’s waters means the risk to human health is unacceptable.Rio de Janeiro state authorities promised to complete sewerage infrastructure near the Marina da Gloria by the end of this year and are making progress. Authorities say Olympic venues will then be safe.But the high levels of sewage-linked pathogens found in the offshore sailing courses “show that these viruses don’t just come from the marina — there are many, many points where sewage enters the bay,” Spilki, the Brazilian expert, said. “These pathogens we’re looking for, especially the viruses, are able to migrate in the currents in a big way.”Those pollution points are mostly the dozens of rivers that crisscross metropolitan Rio and dump hundreds of millions of liters of raw sewage into the bay each day. By the government’s own estimate, just half of the city’s wastewater flowing into the bay is treated.Since the AP report in July exposed the serious risk to athletes, Olympic and World Health Organization officials have flip-flopped over whether they would carry out their own viral testing.The WHO, which acts in an advisory role to the IOC, took four different positions on whether or not viral testing should be carried out between July and mid-October. In an Oct. 24 email, the WHO told the AP that it didn’t feel Olympic officials needed to conduct “routine” viral testing, but added that it was not “unconcerned with viral pathogens in water” and that water quality and monitoring would be discussed in Brazil once again in late November.Mel Stewart, an American who won two swimming gold medals and a bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Games, said if his daughter were a contender in an open-water swimming competition in Rio, he would tell her not to compete.“A gold medal is not worth jeopardizing your health,” Stewart said. “Right now there are too many questions. I don’t see safety. It doesn’t appear at this point that the athletes are being thought of first.”BRAD BROOKS, Associated PressTweetPinShare0 Shares
TweetPinShare0 Shares The Greek National Water Polo team was unlucky in today’s Semi-final against the United States at the FINA World League Super-Final. After an 11-11 tie at the end of regulation, the Galanolefki fell in penalties 6-5.The National Team fell heroically in today’s semi-final against the United States at the FINA World League Super-Final. After a slow start in the first period, falling behind by three goals, Greece brought the game within one goal by half time. By the end of the third quarter, the scores were leveled 10-10. The United States took the lead in the fourth period and Greece dramatically scored a equalizer at the buzzer to send the game to penalties. Unfortunately, in the shootout the United States prevailed 6-5. Afroudakis, who sent the game into penalties with his buzzer-beater goal, missed the penalty that decided the final result. Despite the loss, Greece seems to be ready for the upcoming Olympic Games where our National Team is favored to earn a medal.Greece will play Italy in tomorrow’s 3rd place game in hopes of finishing 3rd in this year’s FINA World League. The Galanolefki defeated Italy 15-5 earlier in the tournament during group play.
BOSTON (AP) — The NBA Finals has its first “three-match,” courtesy of a King who passed His Airness.LeBron James scored 35 points and passed Michael Jordan to become the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring leader as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics 135-102 on Thursday night to claim their third straight Eastern Conference title and another trip to the NBA Finals to meet the Golden State Warriors.Kyrie Irving added 24 points and Kevin Love finished with 15 for the Cavs, who never trailed and led by as many as 39 points in one of their most dominating wins of the series. The Cavs set an NBA record by winning their 13th consecutive series closeout opportunity.Cleveland’s 4-1 series win gives it a 12-1 record this postseason and sets up a third consecutive matchup with Western Conference champion Golden State, the team it beat in the Finals last season to claim the franchise’s first championship.“I wear the number because of Mike,” James said. “I think I fell in love with the game because of Mike, just because of what he was able to accomplish. When you’re watching Michael Jordan it’s almost like a god. So I didn’t think I could be Mike.”It will mark the seventh straight trip to the Finals for James, who hit a 3-pointer late in in the third quarter to nudge past Jordan on the playoff scoring list. He quickly flashed one finger as he backpedaled down the court.In the postgame trophy presentation backstage, James spent most of it lingering in the background as his teammates celebrated.But there’s no denying that his accolades are putting him in the orbit of Jordan, his boyhood idol.“The biggest thing is I did it just being me, I don’t have to score the ball to make an impact on the basketball game,” James said. “That was my mindset. If I’m not scoring the ball, how can I still make an impact on the game?”The Cleveland Cavaliers pose with their trophy after winning Game 5 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics 135-102, on Thursday, May 25, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)As much as this series was about James, Irving helped turn the tide of the series with a 42-point effort in Game 4. But he said both he and his teammates continue to be inspired by their leader.“He’s been the driving force, this entire playoff run, and all of us have just helped us along the way,” Irving said.Coach Tyronn Lue said they’ve gotten tighter this season.“This team is a crazy team. They just stayed resilient all year, got to the playoffs, and we really stepped our game up,” he said. “Now we can start focusing on Golden State to get ready. As of tonight, I’ll get started.”Avery Bradley led Boston with 23 points.The Cavaliers basically conceded the East’s top seed to the Celtics at the end of the regular season by opting to rest their starters in advance of the playoffs. But they displayed their superiority over the final two games to wrap up the series.After allowing the Celtics to seize the early momentum in Game 4, the Cavs barely gave them the chance in Game 5.Led by its Big Three, Cleveland quickly built a 21-point lead in the first quarter, while getting lots of contributions from their teammates.Love continued to knock down shots from the outside, Irving sliced his way into the lane to the rim and James got free for several of his one-handed, tomahawk dunks.It was a very welcomed sight in Irving’s case, after he rolled his left ankle in the third quarter of Cleveland’s Game 4 win. He showed no signs of lingering issues, though, beating several defenders off the dribble and handing out seven assists.Meanwhile, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver helped spread out Boston’s defenders by connecting on several wide-open scoring opportunities.Deron Williams, who had been quiet for most of the series, also got in on the act with a series-best 14 points for Cleveland.TIP-INSCavaliers: James has scored 30 or more points in 11 of Cleveland’s 13 games this postseason. … Improved to 36-5 against Eastern Conference opponents in the playoffs since 2015. … The 43 points Cleveland scored in the first quarter set a team postseason record for a quarter.Celtics: Never led at home in the series. … Finished the playoffs having made at least 10 3-pointers in 16 of their 18 games. … Held a pregame moment of silence for the victims of the Manchester bombing.MAKING PROGRESSThe Celtics did their best to keep up, but the consistent outside shooting, bench scoring and defense they relied on to stun Cleveland in Game 3 wasn’t there Thursday night.Celtics coach Brad Stevens said though he’s disappointed with how the season ended, he’s encouraged that no one in Boston’s locker room is satisfied just making it to the conference finals.“I told our guys: ‘We made a lot of great strides, but this pain is part of the path to what we ultimately want to be,’” he said.SHOWING SUPPORTInjured Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas was in attendance Thursday night and gathered with his teammates in a huddle before they took the court for pregame warmups.The two-time All-Star was sidelined in Game 2 after aggravating a hip injury.___KYLE HIGHTOWER, AP Sports WriterMore AP NBA: www.apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketballTweetPinShare0 Shares
Aly Raisman spent months urging the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics to get serious about taking a long hard look into how Larry Nassar’s abusive conduct was allowed to run unchecked for so long.Frustrated by what she considers a lack of progress, the six-time Olympic medalist is hoping she can get some answers in court.Raisman has filed a lawsuit against both organizations, claiming they “knew or should have known” about abusive patterns Nassar, a disgraced former national team doctor now in prison for sexually abusing young athletes.Raisman filed the lawsuit in California on Wednesday. The filing alleges negligence by the USOC and USA Gymnastics for failing to make sure appropriate protocols were followed in regards to monitoring Larry Nassar. Nassar, who is named as a co-defendant in the lawsuit, is serving decades in prison for molesting some of the sport’s top athletes and others as well as child pornography crimes.The 23-year-old Raisman, captain for both the gold-medal winning 2012 and 2016 U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics teams, says she was abused by Nassar in multiple locations beginning in 2010, including at the U.S. national team training facility at the Karolyi Ranch training center in Texas and the 2012 Games in London. Raisman said she initially felt she was receiving medically necessary treatment by Nassar before realizing it was abuse. She battled shame, guilt and depression in the aftermath, Raisman said.FILE- In this Jan. 19, 2018, file photo, Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman gives her victim impact statement in Lansing, Mich., during the fourth day of sentencing for former sports doctor Larry Nassar, who pled guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault. (Dale G. Young/Detroit News via AP, File)Nassar spent nearly three decades at USA Gymnastics before being fired in 2015 after complaints about his behavior. He continued to work at Michigan State University through the fall of 2016 before being hit with federal charges. Raisman said the USOC and USA Gymnastics allowed Nassar to continue abusing athletes by not telling the university about the conduct that led them to fire him.USA Gymnastics and the USOC broke their stated mandates to protect children in their programs by not revealing Nassar’s past misconduct to athletes and their parents or guardians, the lawsuit said.Raisman joins a list of more than 100 civil actions filed against Nassar and USA Gymnastics. McKayla Maroney, an Olympic teammate of Raisman’s in 2012, named the USOC as a co-defendant in a lawsuit she filed last December.USA Gymnastics and the USOC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.Raisman, who has become a vocal critic of both organizations after initially revealing the abuse in her autobiography released last fall, did not plan to go to court but says she felt compelled to press forward because she believes USA Gymnastics and the USOC are not making a sincere effort to “properly address the problem.”“I refuse to wait any longer for these organizations to do the right thing,” Raisman said in a statement. “It is my hope that the legal process will hold them accountable and enable the change that is so desperately needed.”The USOC is conducting an independent review of when former CEO Scott Blackmun and others learned the details about abuse cases at USA Gymnastics and whether they responded appropriately. Blackmun stepped down earlier this week to deal with prostate cancer, though Raisman, several high-profile gymnasts and two U.S. Senators had been calling for his ouster for weeks.FILE – In this Aug. 9, 2016. file photo, United States’ Aly Raisman celebrates after her performance on the floor during the artistic gymnastics women’s team final at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman is suing the U.S. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)USA Gymnastics has undergone a massive overhaul in the last year. Former president Steve Penny, named as a co-defendant in Raisman’s lawsuit, resigned last March. Longtime chairman of the board Paul Parilla, another co-defendant in the suit, and the rest of the board stepped down in January under heavy pressure from the USOC. USA Gymnastics also ended its relationship with the Karolyi Ranch in January and is currently searching for a new training center.Raisman doesn’t believe either organization is going far enough fast enough for future generations of athletes.“It has become painfully clear that these organizations have no intention of properly addressing this problem,” Raisman said. “After all this time, they remain unwilling to conduct a full investigation, and without a solid understanding of how this happened, it is delusional to think sufficient changes can be implemented.”Raisman’s lawsuit claims both organizations focused on medals instead of the well-being of the athletes, a model that allowed Nassar’s behavior to go unchecked for years.The lawsuit says the USOC “had a culture and atmosphere that conceals known and suspected sexual abusers, which transcends all policies and procedures that are set-in place.” Raisman believes the USOC ignored its own mandates “to protect its reputation and blind itself to known abusers within the ranks of the NGBs (National Governing Bodies) for which it is responsible.”—By WILL GRAVES , AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shares
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Farmer Ian Powell works in one of the farm’s hoop houses.The inside of the former pub on the corner of East Concordia Avenue and North Richards Street in Milwaukee looks like a disorderly estate sale.The once-tavern, then church, now makeshift storage facility is stuffed with miscellaneous furniture, antiques and racks of vintage clothing, with artwork lining nearly every inch of wall space.But Gretchen Mead, executive director of Victory Garden Initiative, sees the potential. Clear out the clutter, spruce up the space, install an outdoor patio and transform it into a community hub and headquarters for the urban agriculture organization.Those are among Mead’s plans for the building at 249 E. Concordia Ave. in the Harambee neighborhood on the city’s north side. It would position VGI’s staff across the street from its urban farm – a 1.5 acre-lot located in the middle of the block at 220 E. Concordia Ave, flanked on three sides by residential properties. The interior of the pub at 249 E. Concordia Ave. Farmer Ian Powell works in one of the farm’s hoop houses. The outside of the former pub. Currently, VGI’s headquarters is located at 1845 N. Farwell Ave., a co-working space for a group of sustainability-related organizations called the Milwaukee Environmental Consortium.Mead has long dreamed of the organization occupying a space in the Harambee neighborhood, which would provide not only easy access to the farm, but also a gathering space for the community.Plans include renovating the former pub into a space that can host classes and events and installing a garage door that would open up to an outdoor gathering space. The upstairs, currently an unrented living space, would be converted into offices for the organization. VGI plans to begin occupying the building this summer.Plans for the second phase of the headquarters project would include installing a commercial kitchen.“We’re looking at creating more of a campus,” Mead said. “We have our 1.5-acre farm, a community garden and education site, and then the next step is to have an indoor site, where we’ll have a kitchen and where we can follow the food that we grow to the plate.” Staff would prepare produce after it’s harvested across the street and hold community cooking classes.“It seems like the next piece of the puzzle,” said VGI farmer Ian Powell. “Being across the street from the garden, as we harvest things, we will have a place to bring it, sort it, wash it, clean it, cook it. I’ve stumbled into the philosophy that just growing the food isn’t enough. That’s just half of the circle and the other half is turning it into food and getting it to people. So this is going to give us a chance to fill out the other half of the circle.”VGI is now in the middle of a capital campaign, with a goal of raising about $130,000 for the purchase and initial renovations to the building.“In terms of capital campaigns, it’s a relatively small cost with a really positive, impactful outcome,” Mead said.The new headquarters comes at a time when the scope of VGI’s work is growing.The recent closure of Growing Power, a nonprofit pioneer in the urban agriculture movement that dissolved late last year after operating for 20 years on Milwaukee’s north side, has left openings for organizations like VGI to fill in the gap. VGI has already agreed to take over the operations of an 8.6-acre, Milwaukee County-owned fruit tree orchard in Oak Creek that was formerly operated by Growing Power as part of a county program aimed at combating food deserts in Milwaukee neighborhoods.The organization is also making a bid to take on 11 100-foot hoop houses behind Maglio Cos. on North Port Washington Road in Glendale that were formerly managed by Growing Power. VGI is submitting a proposal to Riverwest Food Pantry to operate the space, which would allow it to expand its growing capacity.The headquarters project joins a growing number of redevelopment and new construction projects in the Harambee neighborhood, particularly along North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.Bader Philanthropies Inc. is currently renovating the 90-year-old building at 3318 King Drive and enlarging it to become its new headquarters. When completed, the building will replace its current office in the Historic Third Ward.Meanwhile, a new mixed-use development project that includes 44 market-rate apartments, 1,400 square feet of retail space and a 17,000-square-foot library, which will replace the current Milwaukee Public Library branch at 310 W. Locust St., is planned to open this year. Rick Banks, community engagement coordinator for Riverworks Development Corp., said those projects, paired with an increase in people buying homes in the neighborhood, illustrate the growing momentum in the area.“There are a lot of positive things happening,” Banks said. Get our email updatesBizTimes DailyManufacturing WeeklyNonprofit WeeklyReal Estate WeeklySaturday Top 10Wisconsin Morning Headlines Subscribe