Moody’s downgrades Burlington’s credit rating

first_imgMoody’s Investors Services has announced that it has downgraded the City of Burlington’s general obligation credit rating two notches from Aa3 to A2. Moody’s moved the City’s status from a ‘negative watch’ to ‘negative outlook,’ which means that the credit rating company will not review Burlington’s status until the City next pursues a bond sale. The Moody’s action follows its decision in March of this year to downgrade the City’s credit rating and place Burlington on a 90-day negative watch period. That action resulted in an A2 rating, which was subsequently raised back to Aa3 when Moody’s recalibrated all municipal credit ratings to reflect general improvements in the municipal bond arena.The Moody’s analysis leading to today’s action reflects concerns that are similar to those from the March analysis. Primarily, this is the uncertainty regarding the financial situation of Burlington Telecom and the enterprise’s approximately $16.9 million debit to the City’s pooled cash account. The Moody’s report states that ‘while the city is actively pursuing a viable solution for the telecommunications system there remains a high degree of uncertainty regarding the city’s ability to place the enterprise on a more sustainable path and ultimately repay the funds owed to the city’s pooled cash account.’ The report notes that the City’s credit rating could go back up based on the reduction or elimination of the amount due from BT to the pooled cash account, or could move down without progress on repayment to pooled cash and the lack of a viable plan to make Burlington Telecom more financially sustainable.‘While the Moody’s decision today is disappointing, we are optimistic that ultimately the City will be able to address their concerns. To that end we are working to resolve BT’s challenging financial circumstances,’ said Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss. ‘We continue to be involved in productive negotiations with CitiCapital regarding our lease purchase agreement. Burlington Telecom is an asset to the City of Burlington and its nearly 4800 customers. It is signing up new customers every week. The recently-approved City FY11 budget, with a near-level property tax rate, demonstrates that the City continues to provide efficient and effective services to the people of Burlington. With more time, we remain optimistic that we’ll be able to address BT’s financial issues and keep moving forward.’A copy of the Moody’s announcement and analysis can be found at: http://www.ci.burlington.vt.us/docs/2258.pdf(link is external)Source: City of Burlington. Burlington, VT ‘ July 9, 2010.last_img read more

North Merrick Crash Leaves 1 Dead

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A driver was killed and four passengers were wounded in an SUV crash on the Southern State Parkway in North Merrick early Monday morning.New York State police said the truck was being driven eastbound when the driver lost control near exit 24 and hit the guiderail, causing the SUV to roll over down an embankment at 4:29 a.m.All five occupants were taken to local hospitals. One is listed in critical condition.Police are continuing the investigation into the cause of the crash. The victims’ identities were not immediately available.last_img

House moves CUNA-backed Choke Point limits forward

first_imgThe U.S. House voted Thursday to pass a Credit Union National Association (CUNA)-backed bill to limit the federal initiative that restricts depository institutions from entering into or maintaining a financial services relationship with specific customers by insisting certain criteria are first met.The bill is aimed at the Department of Justice’s controversial Operation Choke Point. That program allows investigations of financial institutions and payment-processing companies to determine if they have enabled fraudulent activity by taking on certain customers or members.In advance of the vote, CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle wrote to all House members urging passage of the bill, the Financial Institution Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 766). It was approved 250-169.“Credit unions are committed to maintaining the ability to serve their members while strictly following all laws and governing regulations,” Nussle wrote. He called H.R. 766 “a reasonable approach to preventing fraud and maintaining financial integrity without overreaching.” continue reading » 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Make the most of year-end credit card statement at tax time

first_imgOf all the documents you shuffle as you get your tax return ready, keep an eye out for one from your credit card company. Year-end credit card statements from 2015 can cut your tax-time workload and help you ferret out deductible expenses. And if you’re always wondering where the money went, they can help you get a handle on what your spending was really like over the past year.Here are ways to make the most of these statements.Find tax-deductible expensesEven if you hire a professional to do your tax return, there can still be a lot of drudge work on your part. Going through 12 months’ worth of receipts and credit card statements to find out what you spent, and where, can take hours. Year-end statements that categorize your spending are much more efficient. Looking for medical expenses? Moving expenses? Job-hunting expenses? Or just want to jog your memory? Check the relevant sections of your year-end statement.If you do most of your spending on a single card or a few cards, the statements become that much more valuable. But most people will still have to look in multiple places to find every tax-deductible expense. continue reading » 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Common Core Opponents Predict Record-Breaking Numbers Of Students Opting Out

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Parents and school officials across Long Island and New York State were met with more than the typical back-to-school anxiety following spring break this year.Tuesday marked the first test in the latest round of controversial Common Core examinations for grades three through eight, and parents who hadn’t yet made the decision to opt their children out were running out of time, while letters from parents who had were piling up across the desks of school administrators.More than 50,000 students across the state refused to take the Common Core standardized tests last year—more than 30,000 of those on Long Island—and local education activists tell the Press they expect even more opting out this time around. Though exact figures were still rolling in as of press time, preliminary numbers on related social media sites Tuesday afternoon, such as anti-Common Core Facebook group “Long Island Opt Out,” tallied several school districts as having a more-than 50-percent opt-out rate among test-eligible students.Yet where a good deal of opponents’ vitriol against the Obama administration’s education reform program last year was born of its botched roll-out, what parents deemed to be the detrimental effects on their children, and the testing’s accounting for a high percent of teacher evaluations, among other gripes, Common Core opponents now credit Gov. Andrew Cuomo with pouring more gasoline on the already scorching anti-Common Core inferno.Local and regional education activists, such as the founders of New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE), Badass Teachers Association (BATs) and state teachers union NYSUT all kicked their anti-Common Core reform campaigns into high gear after Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address in January—in which he announced his plan to ramp up what many believe was already an aggressive approach to the teacher evaluation plan, calling for the controversial high-stakes test to account for 50 percent of teacher evaluations, among other caveats.“The legislators spoke on April 1st about what their plans are for their children’s classrooms,” blasts Jeanette Deutermann, founder of Long Island Opt Out and a founding member of NYSAPE, referring to the state legislature’s passage of the governor’s budget bill. “The parents will answer on test day.”In addition to the increased weight the standardized testing will have on teacher evaluations, Cuomo proposed other sweeping education reforms in his State of the State that have education activists ticked off, including extending tenure requirements, expanding charter schools and boosting state oversight of failing schools.Opponents’ efforts to rally defiance to the tests included mobile billboards and robocalls, some from Zephyr Teachout, Cuomo’s formidable, though ultimately unsuccessful, former gubernatorial primary challenger and outspoken high-stakes testing opponent, which went out last week and urged parents to consider their “constitutional right to refuse them without any negative consequences to your kids or financial loss to your schools.”“I want you to know that 70 percent of New Yorkers are opposed to these tests and that, by design, 70 percent of students will fail these tests,” Teachout’s message continued.Teachout has become a familiar face of those who challenge the status quo, and some anti-Common Core activists tell the Press they believe Cuomo’s contentious approach to teachers and the teachers union is a direct result of their strong backing of Teachout in the Democratic primary.“It’s a remarkable and unusual movement, grounded in three powerful motives: parents’ fierce protectiveness of their children, teachers’ drive to protect the classroom from a culture of fear and senseless unusable tests, and the public desire to protect our democracy,” Teachout tells the Press via text message. “The tests have no pedagogical value, so parents are opting out because they aren’t helping the kids. I support them because, at root, this testing seems designed to undermine public education itself. “OUTRAGEDespite pleas from the New York State Department of Education, local school administrators and the OpEd page of Newsday slamming the Opt Out movement, parents on Long Island have become increasingly outspoken about opting their children out of the standardized tests, citing staunch objections to the test-based curriculums they will undoubtedly inspire. They complain about recess and art programs being cut to make way for test preparation. They fear the loss of local control of their children’s public education.“The most dangerous place on Earth is between a mother and her child. Cuomo has crossed the line,” declares GiGi Guiliano of East Islip, a mother of three who will refuse the test. “We want our classrooms back. We want our teachers to be able to teach again. I want my kids to enjoy the love of learning, not how to fill in bubbles. I want them to be lifelong learners.”Parents have formed groups in many pockets across Long Island to share their concerns and educate their neighbors.Allison White is a parent in Port Washington. Although her own children have graduated, she became active in her community as an advocate for public education two years ago by focusing on the student-data privacy issue. But, as she educated herself on the broader issues surrounding Common Core and its high-stakes testing, she was inspired to help form the Port Washington Advocates for Public Education, an ally of NYSAPE. She also acts as a liaison to Long Island Opt Out.“I’m concerned as a citizen,” she tells the Press. “I’m concerned about what’s happening to an entire generation of students. I’ve also been concerned about attempts to limit the information that gets out there, and that school districts have not been so open about sharing what is going on.”Stacy Leckler co-founded Mineola Concerned Parents for Public Education. In a community forum on April 9 at the Portuguese Heritage Society, she and approximately 50 parents participated in an educational forum in which they participated in taking sample ELA (English Language Arts) tests. They were allotted 12 minutes to complete a reading assignment and answer questions.“Some wouldn’t take it,” she explains. “Others were flipping back and forth trying to figure out the answers. When the reading maturity was later revealed, it was shocking.”Kathi Heggers’ seventh grader opted out of the state tests this year and last in Rocky Point.“The tests are completely flawed,” she bashes. “They’re used for the wrong purposes.”Heggers, a school board member who became critical of the Common Core standards when they were first introduced in 2010, has only grown stauncher in her objections to the reforms.“They’re reading passages that are two to three grade levels above what they are capable of comprehending,” she laments. “There’s embedded field test questions in the exam so that the children don’t even know the question that they’re trying so desperately to answer and have never been taught, which is all taking time away from the time they need to take the real test. Most of them don’t finish because they’re spending so much time on a question they don’t know the answer to because they can’t know the answer to it. They change the cut score constantly to manipulate their own self-serving needs.”Those “self-serving” needs, according to Common Core opponents, include the dismantling of public education and the rise of private and charter schools. The education tax credits written into the governor’s budget supports this tactic, they argue, contending that it grants dollar-for-dollar tax incentives for private and religious school spending.“While NYSAPE supports a parent’s choice of private education, one of the core values of our nation is separation of church and state,” slams Lisa Rudley, Westchester County public school parent and founding member of NYSAPE, in a statement. “Enabling public dollars to pay for private and religious education is an affront to New Yorkers and Americans. The education tax credit creates a back door for Cuomo’s wealthy backers to drive their privatization agenda, attempting to sneak a voucher system past a public that rejects their attempts to destabilize our public schools.“This scheme is an outrage and simply unacceptable,” she continues.Deutermann says the governor’s combative approach to teacher evaluations backfired and served as a catalyst for parents all across Long Island, strengthening their resolve to learn more about what is going on in their children’s classrooms.“Rarely will you have a parent who has taken the time to become informed—[and when they are,] rarely do they choose to have their children sit for the test,” she says.The total number of students opting out Tuesday, she believes, will support this.last_img read more

Hostelworld considers product offer options outside of the accommodation itself

first_imgSource: Shift; Hostelworld Currently, 28 hostels in Australia and New Zealand use the Tipi guest management system. Like many other travel brands, Hostelworld is increasingly looking to the future outside of accommodation and believes it could provide a wider range of services to an engaged audience. There are several ways I can accomplish this from Hostelworld. They can work with hostels to help them sell their own extras and products, they can also work with other companies to help them reach younger audiences, and finally, after launching a new payment platform this year, they will have the opportunity to offer additional products like travel insurance . Hostelworld’s immediate plans to improve the guest experience were announced the same day as the provisional results of the acquisition of a minority stake in technology guest management company Tipi for about $ XNUMX million. Morrison hopes the impact of the free cancellation initiative, whose number of cancellations has increased 0,09 million to 0,25 million this year, will equalize in 2020 allowing the company to focus on other areas of business. “Although I noticed the opportunity a year ago, I think there are more now. We have the ability to expand our core platform beyond accommodation where we sell 8 hours a day, so we are considering using this platform to sell products within the remaining 16 hoursSaid Morrison. “It makes absolute sense for hostels to use Tipi’s platform and we could, based on the agreement we made with them, download that content and implement it through our platform.Morrison added.center_img Attractive advertising campaigns with celebrities are a thing of the past, and the company is trying out ways to reach a younger audience by improving the booking experience and providing more individual hostel content. But potentially larger changes are also being considered. “Our competitors have had cancellations free of charge for a long time, so I think that our decision was made for competitive reasons.Morrison concluded. In the first half of 2019, Hostelworld recorded a 9 percent drop in revenue, to $ 43,1 million, and bookings on the primary Hostelworld platform fell 4 percent, to $ 3,7 million. All of this resulted in a drop in pre-tax profit – 86 percent to $ 437. In reality, Hostelworld still feels the effect of providing consumers with the option to cancel bookings free of charge, which is a policy that is aligned with other online travel agencies. The full global introduction of this change took effect in July last year, so it was to be expected that the numbers in the first half of 2019 would be challenging. Tipi technology allows guests to check in and access their rooms via mobile phones, and also provides the ability to interact with colleagues and information about hostel events (similar to what Hostelworld has already worked on with its own bulletin board and chat). Hostelworld CEO Gary Morrison has only been in that position for a short time, but it seems that he was not wasting time, but throwing work around structural changes in the company that offers accommodation, Skift reports.last_img read more

Spectrum needs more local games

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionWhen I get the paper in the morning, I look at “Sports On The Air” to see what I want to set up to record. It’s now the time of year when I’m looking for UAlbany, Siena or Syracuse basketball. Recently, I read a short bit about the Siena-at-Lehigh game. It ended with: “There will be no television.” That last statement needs a little more discussion. There will be virtually no Siena or UAlbany basketball on television this year. From what I have been able to determine, the only game on television all season is Siena vs. Louisville Dec. 6 on ESPN2.Why the difference from last year, when between UAlbany and Siena, there were probably 20 games on? The answer is Spectrum. By discontinuing the Time Warner Sports Channels, Spectrum has apparently eliminated any coverage of local sports (except their high school football game of the week). There are several Siena/UAlbany games on ESPN3 during this season, but it seems Spectrum really doesn’t want their customers to be able to watch UAlbany/Siena basketball on TV. The UAlbany/Iona game was on ESPN3 and I tried to Chromecast it from my phone on to my 60-inch TV. I got a message on my TV screen that said my television provider (Spectrum) wouldn’t allow me to cast to this device. I ended up watching on my computer’s 21-inch screen.I’m not sure what legal authority Spectrum has to prevent casting to my own TV, or why they’d want to, since I get my television and internet from Spectrum. The main reason I switched from satellite to Time Warner a few years ago was to get those basketball games, and now it looks like I’ll have to go back to satellite. I doubt they will block me from casting to my own TV.Steven LippincottGlenvilleMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?last_img read more

Nottingham – Infrastructure the lure for offices

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

‘Death Cross’ strikes US dollar as COVID-19 cases grow

first_imgTopics : A resurgent coronavirus pandemic in the United States and the prospect of improving growth abroad are souring some investors on the dollar, threatening a years-long rally in the currency.The dollar index is off 6% from its recent highs, while net bets against the currency in futures markets stand near their highest level since 2018.A decline in the dollar earlier this week set off a technical formation known as a “Death Cross,” which occurs when the 50-day moving average crosses below the 200-day moving average, according to analysts at BofA Global Research. Past occurrences of the Death Cross have been followed by a period of dollar weakness eight out of nine times since 1980 when the 200-day moving average has been declining, as it is now, analysts at the bank said.The US currency’s weakness comes amid criticism over the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and protests over racial inequality that has eroded support for President Donald Trump months before the Nov. 3 presidential election. At the same time, investors increasingly expect growth to accelerate in Europe, threatening to narrow an economic performance gap that has boosted the dollar for years.”If we look at the idea of American exceptionalism, that has dimmed dramatically during this crisis,” said Karl Schamotta, chief market strategist at Cambridge Global Payments. “Growth differentials are tilting against the United States, putting the dollar on the defensive.”The dollar started off the year soft but reversed its losses in March, when a coronavirus-fueled selloff sent investors into the buck and other traditional haven assets.center_img Since then, the US currency has slipped as improving risk appetite pushed investors to unwind some of those bets.More recently, some investors have begun to factor in the US coronavirus response in their dollar outlook amid signs that Europe appears to have had greater success in containing the pandemic.While US economic data has partially rebounded from a sharp decline earlier in the year, some investors worry those gains may evaporate if US states roll back their reopenings due to a coronavirus resurgence.”Clearly at this point, European Union countries have made more progress than … the US — where economic trends are lagging noticeably,” said Shaun Osborne, chief FX strategist at Scotiabank, in a note.The bank said its year-end forecast of $1.12 for the euro may change to the upside due to “improving Eurozone economic signals and the mishandling of the US’ virus response.”The euro recently traded at $1.1342 and is up 6% from its lows of the year.Many investors have been wary of cutting their positions in the dollar and other haven assets, even as stocks have soared. Gold prices hit their highest level since 2011 on Wednesday, while cash levels remain historically high. A broad reversal of risk appetite could push investors to cut bets on stocks and return to the dollar.For now, however, some are viewing the dollar in an increasingly negative light.Analysts at TD Securities recently cut their outlook for the dollar’s performance against a broad range of major currencies. They forecast the euro will trade to $1.20 by late next year against a dollar they believe is overvalued by between 10% and 23% on a variety of metrics.The dollar could also suffer if US lawmakers fail to extend some of the government programs to support businesses and families that are set to expire soon, the bank’s analysts said in a note.The dollar’s “worst-case this month is a surge in US cases and drop over the fiscal cliff,” the report said.last_img read more

Multi-million dollar home sells in suburban real estate hot spot

first_img86 Tristania Road, Chapel Hill.A  five-bedroom, three-bathroom home at Chapel Hill has sold for more than $2 million.The property was sold by NGU Real Estate selling agent Emil Juresic for $2.2 million on July 18. 86 Tristania Road, Chapel Hill.Mr Juresic said 86 Tristania Rd was on the market for 36 days before it sold.“There is not much stock like this at all (in the area). The reason why we received a lot of interest is that land of this size is rare to get close to the city,” he said.The no-through road is walking distance to Chapel Hill State School and Kenmore Plaza. 86 Tristania Road, Chapel Hill.The property, on 1.101ha, features a floodlit tennis court, and indoor swimming pool.The brick home overlooks private grounds. 86 Tristania Road, Chapel Hill.Mr Juresic said a family bought the house and was looking forward to transforming the property to suit their lifestyle.“I believe the drawcard to this property was the potential, with the flat block of land also maintaining privacy,” he said.More from newsDigital inspection tool proves a property boon for REA website3 Apr 2020The Camira homestead where kids roamed free28 May 2019“We are excited to see what the new owner will do with the land as it will be their own private retreat on such a large block.“It’s in a fantastic location and only 7km to Brisbane City.” 86 Tristania Road, Chapel Hill.last_img read more