Triple the Fun! Watch Samantha Barks Nail Three Musical Numbers in Chicago at the Hollywood Bowl

first_imgSamantha Barks’ impressive performance as Eponine in the musical adaptation of Les Miserables was no fluke: The British-born actress thrilled Hollywood Bowl audiences over the weekend with her sassy star turn as Velma Kelly in Chicago. Click below to watch Barks in action leading the company in “All That Jazz” and “Cell Block Tango” and sharing a hilarious duet of “Class” with an unrecognizable Lucy Lawless as Matron “Mama” Morton. Wish we’d been there to see Brooke Shields’ production in person! View Commentslast_img read more

Go Inside the Bloody Good Opening Night of Scotland, PA

first_imgCongratulations, Scotland, PA! The drive-thru is open and so is Scotland, PA! The musical opened on October 23 at the Laura Pels Theatre and is based on the 2001 cult film of the same name, which is a retelling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. With original music by Adam Gwon, a book by Michael Mitnick and direction by Lonny Price, the new work tells the story of Mac and Pat and how far they’ll go to get what they want. Starring Ryan McCartan, Taylor Iman Jones and Jay Armstrong Johnson, this dark comedic re-telling of Shakespeare’s Scottish play is a must-see. Check out the photos below of the cast and creative team celebrating opening night, and be sure to book your own visit to this Pennsylvania town. Related Shows View Comments Star Files Composer/lyricist Adam Gwon with bookwriter Michael Mitnick and director Lonny Price. Scotland, PAcenter_img Jay Armstrong Johnson Ryan McCartan and Taylor Iman Jones (Photos: Emilio Madrid for Show Closed This production ended its run on Dec. 8, 2019 Taylor Iman Jones Ryan McCartanlast_img read more

A good spring still leaves revenues short $180M for FY21

first_imgFrom top left, Economist Jeff Carr, Senator Ann Cummings, Economist Tom Kavet, Representative Janet Ancel, Senator Jane Kitchel, Governor Phil Scott, and Representative Kitty Toll. Screen Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine The good news as far as state tax revenues are concerned is that the strong 2019 economy coupled with tax changes resulted in a windfall of revenues. The bad news is nearly everything else going forward. The three major funds (General, Transportation and Education) are expected to generate about $274.5 million less (-11.2 percent) than anticipated.Economists Jeff Carr on behalf of the Scott Administration and Tom Kavet on behalf of the Legislature presented their updated, consensus state revenue projections to the Emergency Board Wednesday afternoon via Zoom.For those looking for some silver lining, they expect modest population growth and a noticeable increase in home prices, as out-of-staters don’t exactly zoom to Vermont but at least social distance themselves here to some degree permanently.The good news for state revenues was presented by Finance Commissioner Adam Greshin, who said — sticking with the meteorological theme – that the FY20 personal income tax revenues are letting the state enter the FY21 budget process with “the wind at our backs” given the unexpected level of payments that came in by the end June.While Governor Scott lamented as to “what could have been” record revenues, Greshin pointed out that the state’s significant surplus heading into the new fiscal year is about $130 million.Greshin said this was aided by a carry-forward of $60 million of unspent funds, which was about three times what the state otherwise might expect. The state spent less on everything from state parks being closed to travel being limited.Greshin also mentioned that the state took early action during the pandemic with a budget adjustment that raised $84 million to help offset losses.The revenue impacts of the current forecast relative to January 2020 forecasts is usually updated in July. But because of the pandemic and the institution of a “skinny” first quarter budget, the economists were instructed by state leaders to take an extra month. The E-Board is comprised of the governor and the heads of the four “money” committees in the Legislature.Carr said that even with the extra month, “There is no less uncertainty.”The economists stated that while revenue expectations are slightly higher than prior June estimates, the potential losses remain massive: About $182.4 million in the General Fund in FY21 and $100 million in FY22, about $29.3 million in the Transportation Fund in FY21 and $15 million in FY22, and Education Fund losses of about $62.7 million in FY21 and $40 million in FY22.There are about 40,000 Vermonters still receiving unemployment insurance.And the COVID-19 pandemic (the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus) creates both health and economic uncertainty.Although Russia announced a vaccine yesterday and “warp speed” development efforts are under way in many countries, there is still no firm date that a safe, fully-tested vaccine may be widely available.Viral uncertainty represents the largest single risk to the forecasts herein. Given its central link to economic conditions, Kavet said, “We are constantly tracking the best available information about the virus and the COVID-19 disease it engenders with State officials and other experts and linking this information to potential economic and revenue impacts as we learn more.”Vermont has arguably done better than any other state in the nation in controlling the disease to date. Following a brief initial surge in cases coincident with a regional New York and New England outbreak, new confirmed infections, hospitalizations and deaths per capita are now all the lowest or among the lowest in the nation.This is attributable in part to the exceptional social compliance with the state shutdown directives, as measured by mobility data during the period from late March through early May and acceptance of science-based guidance from State leadership. Unlike many other states, the measured reopening of the economy in Vermont has not caused a rise in any of the critical COVID metrics to date.This good fortune has prompted many second homeowners to “socially distance” in Vermont since March and some to stay as “residents” – at least for the time being. It has also caused a surge in real estate sales from out-of-state buyers seeking a safe haven from more urban areas in which socially distancing is more difficult. This will add to the steadily strengthening residential real estate market in Vermont – and related property transfer tax revenues, as well as personal income and other tax revenues from both residents and non-residents working from Vermont.The state’s stellar health status, however, is highly vulnerable, given the increasing regional flows of people and business across state lines.With schools and colleges reopening, tourism attempting a gradual resumption of commerce and the perceived safety of vehicular over air travel, there will be increasing inter-state flows and our health statistics are likely to more closely resemble the region at some point in the future. It would only take a few outbreaks to completely change this positive narrative and with the amplification of the national press, cast the state in a very different light.Until there is a widely available vaccine, it is likely that there will need to be varying containment measures taken at selected geographic levels within the State as new outbreaks occur. This, in turn, could affect economic activity across a wide range of sectors.The economists fear “the dreaded double-dip recession” if health and therefore economic conditions do not improve.Vermont, and every state, is in need of federal funding to shore up state and local government budgets.Federal Fiscal and Monetary Policy IssuesFederal fiscal and monetary policy have responded with extraordinary speed and magnitude in attempting to offset the negative economic and health impacts the virus has precipitated. More than $4 trillion in federal spending (and more, depending upon how some Federal Reserve actions are quantified) has been unleashed, with a share disproportionate to our population landing in Vermont.With about $1.2B in PPP aid, $1.25B in CARES Act funding, more than $625M in supplemental unemployment assistance, and about half a billion in direct cash payments, the State has experienced its largest inflow of federal transfer payments ever. The effects of this have been myriad and are still playing out, but include critical basic needs income for those unemployed, much higher savings rates, diminished credit card debt and defaults, increased spending on motor vehicles, home improvements, electronics and internet connectivity, internet-based vendors of all kinds, and grocery store purchases (both taxable and otherwise).While the unemployment benefits and significant portions of the CARES Act aid were clearly targeted to those most in need, the PPP funds and direct cash payments were not – with a low bar to qualify for PPP funds and none for direct cash payments. This resulted in many businesses most in need (especially in the restaurant, retail and lodging sectors) not receiving PPP funds and others qualifying despite being minimally impacted.The beneficial impacts from these programs will linger in some sectors, but will dissipate quickly among those most in need. Accordingly, there have been measures offered in Congress regarding further funding since mid-May, but nothing enacted. With an election looming in November and prior congressional compromises on this issue, most expected agreement on a new round of funding prior to the expiration of the supplemental unemployment insurance payments on July 31. Instead, much less impactful Presidential executive orders were issued and congressional agreement on additional funding is now in question. Without significant further federal action, a second recessionary decline is probable.The uncertainty surrounding future federal fiscal policy – including who is elected President in November – is another critical component of the uncertainty in the economic and revenue forecasts herein.Revenue Review• Changes in total revenue by fund groupings and year between the current August 2020 forecast and the prior January 2020 forecast are outlined below. Every major revenue category is at risk for substantial decline in FY21 and FY22 relative to prior forecasts, due to pandemic-related impacts. Across all three major funds, FY21 losses could approach $275M and about $160M in FY22.• Personal Income tax revenue had a stellar year in FY20, benefitting from several enormous tax events and a strong economy in tax year 2019. Deferred filings recorded in July exceeded all expectations and closed the year about $30 million above target. This strength, however, is backward looking, with tax year 2020 likely to generate significantly less taxable income. FY21 PI revenues are expected to drop by double digits, but will post a slightly smaller percentage loss (-9.7%) due to a large internal transfer from Corporate to PI of about $40M expected in August associated with activity in FY20.• This same transfer will exaggerate the reported decline in Corporate tax revenues in FY21 (-68%), with an adjusted decline of about 20%, as corporate balance sheets in the most highly affected industries bleed red ink and others close. Despite some corporate winners in this environment, many large corporate taxpayers have experienced large production reductions, reduced global demand and higher expenses involved in protecting workers and customers. Few other revenue categories are capable of such drastic year to year revenue swings, as carry-forwards dry up estimated payments, and refunding abounds during fiscal year filing periods.• Sales and Use tax revenues benefitted from the vast federal transfer payments to the State in the fourth quarter of FY21, but still closed the year about $9M below target. New revenues from internet retailers associated with the Wayfair decision (including Amazon affiliates), however, contributed more than $35M, leaving FY20 4.8% above FY19 levels. The pandemic underscores the huge and growing benefit in having virtually all internet sales as a part of the S&U tax base. Internet sales now represent more than 11% of all S&U revenues, with huge gains in the fourth quarter of FY20. Although total revenues are expected to drop 3.6% in FY21, internet sales will continue to grow dramatically in this environment.• Meals & Rooms revenues have and will experience the most pronounced and lasting impacts from the COVID crisis. Seasonally adjusted M&R revenues dipped below $115M (at annual rates) in both May and June, closing the year more than 18% below January projections and 10% below FY19 (on a comparable adjusted base). FY21 will show further losses as no quick recovery is likely, despite State reopening policies, until all visitors – including the critical older demographic cohort – feel safe traveling again.• Cigarette and Tobacco tax revenue was unaffected by the pandemic – and the vaping tax yielded more than four times the revenue expected, generating about $3.5M in FY20. This good/bad news, along with little visible sales impact from the higher legal purchasing age, will raise projected revenues slightly over the entire forecast horizon.• Transportation Fund revenues experienced across the board declines in FY20, as both local and tourist travel dwindled in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. FY20 Gasoline revenues plunged almost 9% below FY19 levels as both price and demand declines converged. A continuation of these conditions through much of FY21 will lead to further declines of about 4% before recovering some ground in FY22. Diesel revenues dropped 3.5% in FY20 and will probably register slight declines in FY21 as overall economic activity slows.Motor Vehicle Purchase and Use revenues declined 5.7% from FY19, despite a solid sales month in June and a very strong July 2020. The temporary federal transfer payments have boosted a wide range of large consumer purchases, but this support will likely dissipate in favor of more targeted assistance in FY21. An FY20 depositing error about $1.3M in civil fine revenue that should have been in the T-Fund Other Revenue category but ended up in G-Fund Fines, overstates the FY20 Other Revenue decline by about 4 percentage points and is the only reason FY22 shows growth.Sources: Economic & Policy Resources, Williston; Kavet & Rockler, Brookfield. 8.12.2020last_img read more

CO-OP Financial Services, Visa forge EMV agreement

first_imgThrough an agreement with Visa, Co-op Financial Services will make the Visa EMV common debit solution available to its credit union clients. The long-term agreement facilitates the development of regulation-compliant debit EMV solutions using a common AID.The Visa EMV solution provides portability for debit card issuers, and network routing choices for merchants and ATM acquirers. It also supports all transaction types, including contact and contactless.“This is a major advance in adoption of the EMV standard for debit card transactions in the United States, providing a clearer migration path to EMV for our debit issuers and ATM owners,” said Stan Hollen, president and CEO of Co-op Financial Services. “Co-op has been working hard to move the payments industry to an EMV common debit solution, both independently and through our participation in the Debit Network Alliance.”Co-op helped found DNA in December 2013, and will continue to play a key role in its activities, the release said. Michelle Thornton, manager of core products at Co-op, is a member of the DNA board of directors. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Casablanca Paso Apartments sells in Phoenix

first_imgCooper, Cardinal and Company LLC, a boutique multifamily investment brokerage firm with headquarters in Phoenix, closed the transaction for Casablanca Paso Apartments, a 21-unit turn-key multifamily community located in Phoenix on Monday. The sale price of $750,000 equates to $35,714 per unit or $57.47 per square foot.Jack A. Cardinal, a managing director of the firm, and Jennifer Runyon, an investment associate, represented the seller in the transaction. “The sellers did a great job of updating the interiors of all 21 units, this allowed their team to achieve economically sustainable rents.” stated Cardinal.The 13,050-square foot apartment community was built in 1985 on a 0.46-acre lot.“Witnessing an investor make marked improvements and successfully turn around Casablanca Paso is another positive indicator of the strong Phoenix multifamily market,” said Runyon. “As importantly, it shows what can be accomplished when ownership, management, and leasing roll up their sleeves and executes as a team.”last_img read more

News Scan for Apr 17, 2020

first_imgDRC reports 2 more Ebola cases in Beni The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has tracked two new Ebola cases, raising the outbreak’s resurgence total to five cases that have emerged just as the country was poised to announce an end to an outbreak that began in August 2018.According to Reuters, the two new cases occurred in a 43-year-old woman and a 28-year-old motorbike-taxi driver in Beni. The taxi driver is believed to have brought an Ebola patient to the hospital last week. All five of the recent cases have been in Beni, one of the hot spots of the outbreak.Yesterday demonstrations broke out across Beni as citizens criticized the government’s response to the flare-up of cases and demanded all Ebola test results be verified by laboratories in eastern Congo’s main city of Goma and in the capital, Kinshasa, Reuters said.So far, the DRC has reported 3,460 cases in the outbreak, of which 3,313 are lab-confirmed, with 2,277 deaths. Apr 17 Reuters story Study finds rising use of antibiotics in Chinese hospitalsAntibiotic use in Chinese hospitals rose by nearly 40% from 2011 through 2018, with a troubling rise in the use of last-resort antibiotics, according to a study this week in Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control.In the study, researchers from Peking University analyzed aggregated monthly antibiotic procurement records from 586 hospitals in 28 provinces. Information included the generic antibiotic name, procurement amount, dosage form, strength, route of administration, and geographic data. Antibiotic use was expressed in defined daily doses per 1,000 inhabitants per day (DID). The researchers also used the Watch, Access, and Reserve antibiotic categories established by the World Health Organization (WHO) to analyze antibiotic use.From 2011 through 2018, total antibiotic use in China’s hospitals increased by 39.6% (from 4.8 DID in 2010 to 6.7 DID in 2018). Antibiotic use was stable or moderately decreased in 13 provinces, while in the other 15 provinces it substantially increased. Cephalosporins were the most consumed antibiotics, accounting for 26.9% of the total antibiotic use (1.8 DID/6.7 DID). In 2018, antibiotics in the Access category accounted for 19.4% of the total use (1.3 DID/6.7 DID), while antibiotics in the Watch category made up the largest proportion—71.6% (4.8 DID/6.7 DID). The most important relative increase observed during the study period was in the use of carbapenems (233%, from 0.03 DID to 0.1 DID).Population-weighted antibiotic use was greater in secondary hospitals than in tertiary hospitals (7.3 DID vs 6.6 DID). The use of oral antibiotics was almost twice as high as parenteral antibiotic use in secondary hospitals, whereas in tertiary hospitals the amounts were about the same.The authors of the study note that the results show that antibiotic consumption in Chinese hospitals is more than triple the average level of antibiotic consumption in 24 European Union/European Economic Area countries (2.0 DID in 2017). The increase comes despite efforts by the Chinese government to limit antibiotic use.”The increase of antibiotic utilisation, especially the increase of last-resort antibiotics raises serious concern for public health,” they wrote. “Current patterns of antibiotic utilisation demonstrated that gaps are existed towards the global target set up by the WHO. To better facilitate proper antibiotic use, more efforts are needed to explore the appropriateness of antibiotic use at the individual level.”Apr 15 Antimicrob Resist Infect Control study Pakistan and Niger report new polio casesPakistan and Niger reported new polio cases this week, according to the latest weekly update from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).In Pakistan, health officials identified three more wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases, raising the country’s total for the year to 39. The new cases are from three different provinces: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, and Sindh.Elsewhere, Niger reported another circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) case, which appears to be the first of the year, based on GPEI background materials, though no other details about the new case were available.Apr 16 GPEI updatelast_img read more

RREEF determined after £1.5bn blow

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Social impact: How do you measure up?

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Rentel OWF Reaches Financial Close

first_imgThe shareholders and financial partners involved in the 309MW Rentel wind farm project have signed a financing agreement in Brussels which marks the official financial close for the 42-turbine project.The Rentel offshore wind farm is being developed in the Belgian part of the North Sea by Rentel NV, a consortium of eight Belgian shareholders, including Otary Offshore Energy, DEME Group and Elicio NV, who announced the signing of the agreement.The project is to be financed by its 8 shareholders and a consortium consisting of the European Investment Bank and 8 commercial banks. This group includes AG Insurance, ASN Bank, Belfius, ING, KBC, KfW Ipex-Bank, Rabobank and Société Générale.The European Investment Bank will provide a EUR 250 million tranche via the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI or Junker Plan) and fund a EUR 50 million tranche that will be guaranteed by Delcredere|Ducroire, while EKF will guarantee a EUR 208 million tranche.In April 2016, Rentel NV and Siemens signed a contract for the supply and the 17-year servicing and maintenance of 42 7MW offshore wind turbines.In the same month Rentel ordered a subsea cable system for the wind farm from ABB.In March 2016 the company awarded STX France with the EPCI contract for the wind farm’s offshore substation.DEME is in charge of the design, supply, transport and installations of foundations and infield cables.Rentel OWF is located approximately 34 kilometres from Zeebrugge and approximately 40 kilometres from Oostende.The development headquarters is located in the harbour of Ostend, where also the operational management of the wind farm will be based.The consortium aims to complete the EUR 1.1 billion project by the end of 2018.last_img read more

Online confusion

first_img Susan Singleton,Singletons, Pinner Feeling in masochistic mood, I filed my tax return on a recent Sunday morning and applied online for the new SRA practising certificate in the afternoon. Despite its shaky start, the online registration was fairly smooth. There were difficulties on the fee-earner page, which a number of people have encountered, as it did not clearly say to search for the name and then on the right click on that fee-earner to confirm their details. The system also wanted me to state when I ceased to hold client money, but I have never held it, so in order to progress I had to say I stopped holding it the day I started my practice. It took me over an hour to complete the form, which is longer than usual with the paper version. I am the only person in my firm. The fee was less than last year. Let us hope reductions continue and cuts are made. I was disappointed that, at the end, the system would not let me pay by debit or credit card, although supposedly that is an option. I tried many times, but only a blank page which should have been WorldPay came up. So, unlike the paper system, I will have to return to the issue to pay an invoice shortly when one is available. One advantage of recent problems is that instead of paying in October, we have had a three-month delay in having to pay! Page one had a disheartening ‘it’s’ for ‘its’ and a page near the end contained a sentence which would not have been out of place in a list of examples of the worst use of prepositions; but overall it is not too bad.last_img read more