Congresswoman Debbie Dingell116 Cannon House Office BuildingWashington, DC 20515Phone: (202) 225-4071 Lawmaker: Huron Township house fire is perfect example why grant is needed State Rep. Pat Somerville said an idle train that delayed firefighters trying to respond to a blaze in Huron Township Wednesday highlights a problem residents in the 23rd House District have been dealing with for years.“Long delays caused by stopped trains have become an everyday frustration for many of us who live in the Downriver region,” said Rep. Somerville, R-New Boston. “This is not just a matter of inconvenience, it’s an issue of safety and an economic drain on the area. It is completely unacceptable for our first responders to be delayed 20 minutes when lives are on the line.“I’ve been doing everything in my power to help solve the problem. Unfortunately this issue straddles county and federal regulations, making it difficult for state government to intervene.”An effort is underway to build a grade separation at the Allen Road railroad crossing in Woodhaven. The project, which is estimated to cost $32.5 million, is especially important because Allen Road serves as a main thoroughfare for emergency vehicles traveling to Oakwood Southshore Hospital, a Level 2 Trauma Center that services most of the Downriver region.“In 2014, I helped secure $3 million in state funding for the project, and the Wayne County Road Commission has pledged another $9.56 million. More funding is needed, however, and unfortunately the U.S. Department of Transportation has turned down multiple requests for a $15 million Transportation Investment Generating Economy Recovery (TIGER) grant,” Rep. Somerville said. “Earlier this month, I sent another letter to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation urging him to approve the most recent application from Woodhaven for a TIGER grant in hopes of at least alleviating some of the traffic congestion.“Following the events that took place Wednesday, I can’t help but renew my call for supporting the construction of a grade separation. We need to move forward and provide relief for the residents of Downriver, including the vital first responders who keep our community safe.”Rep. Somerville urges residents to contact Congresswoman Debbie Dingell concerning federal railroad issues, and County Commissioner Joseph Palamara concerning county roads: Categories: News 02May Rep. Somerville renews call for federal grant after idle train delays firefighters Commissioner Joseph Palmara500 Griswold St. 7th FloorDetroit, MI 48226Phone: (313) 224-0880#####
22Dec Rep-elect Frederick to help set House GOP policy initiatives Categories: Frederick News Incoming lawmaker on Action Plan workgroupRep.-elect Ben Frederick of Owosso has been chosen by Speaker-elect Tom Leonard to serve on a special workgroup developing new policy proposals for the 2017-18 House term that begins in January.Rep.-elect Frederick will serve on the Policy Development Workgroup, a team of lawmakers who will study current laws and propose legislative initiatives that the 99th Legislature may consider.“It is an honor to have such an active early role in helping our caucus develop strong public policy initiatives for the coming session,” Rep.-elect Frederick said. “I believe House Republicans should continue to drive Michigan’s comeback by fostering a strong economy, building an environment in which more jobs can be created and reducing government inefficiency. In particular, I plan to emphasize with my colleagues the need for stronger vocational education opportunities for students, local control within our schools and communities and the importance of preserving a strong agricultural sector. With an action plan in place, we can hit the ground running.”Rep.-elect Frederick will take his seat in the House when session convenes on Jan. 11. The Action Plan was developed to promote transparency in state government. The 2017-18 Action Plan will be publicly unveiled in the coming weeks. The plan also will be available online for review.#####
Categories: Roberts News 26Apr Rep. Roberts sponsors resolution to reduce regulation of portable gas cans Resolution encourages Congress to repeal EPA standards for designState Rep. Brett Roberts shows the House Natural Resources Committee the changes made to the design of portable fuel containers because of EPA standards adopted in 2009.State Rep. Brett Roberts spoke before the House Natural Resources Committee today in support of a resolution he introduced to stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from overregulating the design of portable gas cans.In an effort to reduce evaporation from portable fuel containers, the EPA has required containers manufactured since 2009 to feature a permeation barrier and new spouts that close automatically.“The problem is the EPA’s regulations do more harm than good,” Roberts said. “The new containers aren’t effective because they don’t have vents, which creates a slow, uneven flow of fuel that frustrates users. Additionally, the new rigid spout designs don’t allow for easily filling gas tanks such as those in vehicles and lawnmowers.”Roberts’ resolution urges Congress to repeal the standards set forth by the EPA.“The EPA adopted these regulations without properly accounting for the real-life application of the changes,” Roberts said. “It’s time to do away with the changes.”The Natural Resources Committee overwhelmingly approved the resolution. It now moves to the full House for consideration.###
07Feb Representative García: Grant essential for Ottawa County veteran services Categories: Garcia News Today state Representative Daniela R. García (R-Holland) cosponsored legislation that would develop a new grant program encouraging Michigan counties to develop veteran service offices.Under this legislation, each county with a veteran service office that satisfies pre-approved requirements would receive $25,000, plus an additional amount based on the number of veterans in the county. To continue receiving the grant, an established county veteran service office must meet benchmarks for staff performance and reporting while maintaining the previous year’s funding level.“It’s important for Michigan to invest in local veteran service offices,” García said. “Investing funds into counties will increase veterans’ access to the necessary assistance they may need.”Under the current veteran’s benefits system, the state supplies the Veteran Service Coalition with a grant to provide benefit services to veterans. Depending on the county, a Veteran Service Officer may only be available for a few hours each month at a single location. This bill provides incentives to counties to develop or enhance a tool for providing sufficient services for veterans.“This grant is a great opportunity for making sure counties have the tools to properly take care of Michigan’s veterans.” García added, “With this legislation, we will be moving our state in the right direction when it comes to providing more options and greater access for veteran services across the state.”The measure, House Bill 5536, will be formally read into the record Thursday.
Categories: Noble News Lawmaker cosponsors bill providing counties with grant for veteran services State Rep. Jeff Noble of Northville today joined his colleagues in the House in passing legislation providing Michigan counties grants to establish and maintain veteran service offices. Under the legislation Noble is co-sponsoring, each county with a veteran service office that satisfies pre-approved requirements will receive $25,000, plus an additional amount based on the number of veterans in the county. To continue receiving the grant, an established county veteran services department must meet benchmarks for staff performance and reporting while maintaining the previous year’s funding level. “Despite Wayne County already having an established veteran service office that is staffed and helping veterans obtain benefits, this new grant program will help provide the county department with additional resources,” Noble said. “It is increasingly important that we invest in our local veteran service offices so the men and women who fought for our liberties are more easily connected to the services they need and deserve.” Lack of funding and sparse access to services has led to inadequate coverage for portions of the state. Depending on the county, a Veteran Service Officer may only be available for a few hours each month at a single location. Only 72 out of Michigan’s 83 counties currently have a county veteran services department. House Bill 5536 now advances to the Senate for further consideration.##### 14Mar Noble helps House approve grant to invest in local veteran services
Categories: Vaupel News 16Jan Rep. Vaupel again appointed chair of House Health Policy Committee Tags: Health Policy Committee, Mental Health, Opioid Legislator names mental health, opioids, rising costs as top priorities State Rep. Hank Vaupel, of Fowlerville, has been appointed by House Speaker Lee Chatfield to serve as chair of the House Health Policy Committee for a second time.Vaupel, who is now in his third and final term as state representative, previously held the position of Health Policy chair from 2017 to 2018. Last term, his priorities for the committee were largely centered on improving Michigan’s broken mental health care system, and he hopes to continue that trend this term.“Last year we made great strides through the work of the C.A.R.E.S. Mental Health Task Force, which traveled across the state to hear from industry professionals and experts, law enforcement and families of those with mental health care needs,” Vaupel said. “Though we did much to improve access to hospital beds, allow canine support for victims testifying in courtrooms, improve training for counselors and address the opioid crisis, there’s still so much more we can do. I look forward to continuing our efforts.”In addition to mental health care improvements and tackling the opioid crisis, Vaupel hopes to address the rising cost of health care.“It’s important that workers, families and seniors across our state have access to quality health care at a rate they can afford,” Vaupel said. “Moms and dads shouldn’t be forced to choose between putting food on the table and paying their family medical bills.”The Health Policy Committee is responsible for deliberating on issues related to public health, health professionals, mental health and wellness, and overall access to health care.Rep. Vaupel was also appointed to serve as a member of the Insurance, Education and Tax Policy Committees.Vaupel’s office can be contacted at HankVaupel@House.MI.gov.###
Share8TweetShare2Email10 Shares“Jeff Sessions” by Ryan J. ReillyMay 22, 2017; National Public Radio, “Law”Attorney General Jeff Sessions has significantly modified his order that threatened sanctuary jurisdictions with the withholding of federal monies. A California federal judge, as many readers know, deemed the original order unconstitutional. In the new memo, both the definition of the offense and the scope of potential defunding as punishment are drastically curtailed.The new memo defines sanctuary cities as only those that “willfully refuse to comply” with federal law and narrows the grants that may be withheld to a small pool of grants from the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security, rather than all federal funding for states and localities.As was mentioned previously in a newswire, the ruling that enjoined the federal government from carrying through on its first order stated, “Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration-enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves.”But even as he voluntarily narrowed the scope of the definition and punishments, Sessions’ new memo not-so-subtly threatens that the administration and Congress may “tailor” grants or impose additional conditions related to immigration on any jurisdiction seeking funding. Further, federal authorities may prioritize grants to places that honor federal requests to detain people in local law enforcement custody.He also seems to be promising to shame offending jurisdictions:While the Executive Order’s definition of “sanctuary jurisdiction” is narrow, nothing in the Executive Order limits the Department’s ability to point out ways that state and local jurisdictions are undermining our lawful system of immigration or to take enforcement action where state or local practices violate federal laws, regulations, or grant conditions.—Ruth McCambridgeShare8TweetShare2Email10 Shares
Broadcast technology provider Net Insight has supplied its Nimbra platform to Cyprus digital-terrestrial platform operator Velister for a new all-IP DVB-T network.The Velister network, which has been live since July, carries three multiplexes. The Nimbra platform provides contribution and distribution services, with network management provided by the Nimbra Vision system.“We have selected Net Insight thanks to the well-proven solution for digital terrestrial TV networks”, said Nestoras Nestorides, general manager of Velister. “The Nimbra platform enables us to run both contribution and distribution services based on a single platform as well as supporting a seamless expansion of new services.”[ad_banner]
US-based advanced TV advertising specialist BlackArrow has hired Joseph Matarese as its chief technology officer. Matarese was previously vice-president and general manager of the on-demand business unit for Arris Group.BlackArrow has also hired Tricia Iboshi as senior vice-president, client services and Dean McCormick as vice-president, advertising solutions. Iboshi was previously senior vice-president, sales at KIT Digital, while McCormick was co-founder of advertising sales and marketing services company Mix Media.
Deutsche Telekom has launched a new iPhone app called Shair that enables users to discuss shows they watch with Facebook contacts, as well as the possibility to make comments on shows in real time.The Shair app enables users to access synopses and other background information about shows as well as information on directors and actors. The app can currently identify shows on 15 channels carried by Telekom’s IPTV service including services from ARD, ZDF, RTL and ProSiebenSat.1.Telekom cited a recent study by Bitkom showing that about 50% of TV viewers use the internet to obtain additional information at the same time via laptops, smartphones or tablets.
Vivendi-owned French service provider SFR is to drop its own IPTV service and adopt a partnership model instead, the company has revealed in a communication to union representatives.According to French news channel BFMTV, SFR will team up with Vivendi-owned Canal Plus to provide its TV service. BFMTV cited an SFR source as saying that the company had decided that structuring its own pay TV packages was not profitable and that it would be more lucrative to resell Canal Plus’s service instead.SFR is likely to strike a commercial deal with Canal Plus whereby SFR IPTV subscribers will be offered similar packages from Canal Plus, according to the reports.There has been speculation that Vivendi could sell or spin off SFR. Among options reported to be under consideration are a sale to Vodafone or a merger between SFR and cable operator Numericable.
IT magnate and The Apprentice star Lord Sugar has stepped down from his role as non-executive chairman at UK connected TV platform YouView.Sugar, founder of pioneering electronics brand Amstrad, will step down from his position at the broadcaster-backed IPTV service over the next few weeks, with a replacement chairman to be announced in due course.He was first drafted in to replacement Kip Meek, who had resigned from the joint venture platform following a series of pre-launch hitches in 2011. The platform – which is backed by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, telco TalkTalk and television infrastructure firm Arqiva – finally went on sale last summer.“When I joined YouView in 2011, my brief from the shareholders was to use my experience in the electronics industry to get the product to market and into the homes of consumers. Having done that successfully, my job is complete and I will now focus my time and attention into my other businesses.“I’d like to thank all those who are part of the YouView project, including its suppliers, staff and shareholders and I wish them every success for the future,” said Sugar.
Internet media platform provider Blinkx has launched a dedicated app and open source HTML5-based Blinkx video player for Tizen-based mobile devices.The Blinkx app, available through the Tizen store, will replicate the look and feel of the recently re-launched blinkx.com portal, giving access to over 35 million hours of online video and over 800 media partnerships.Tizen is Linux’s open source software platform for mobile devices. Backed by Samsung and Intel, Tizen released version 2.0 of its platform earlier this year, with Samsung expected to bring devices to market later in 2013.“The blinkx Video Player is an outstanding addition to the Tizen ecosystem and community,” said Christopher Croteau, Tizen Association board member and managing director of Intel’s system software division. “Developers will be able to access the open source HTML5 code and manufacturers utilizing Tizen will be able to more easily include video in mobile devices.”
Irish social TV and second screen technology firm Axonista has appointed Brian Armstrong, who has previously worked at CNN, the BBC and Siemens SBS, as its new director of UK Partnerships.A 25-year veteran in the broadcasting industry, Armstrong’s appointment coincides with the establishment of Axonista UK, the company’s base of operations in the United Kingdom.Axonista is an approved EPG software provider for the Sky platform in the UK and works with international broadcasters including ESPN, MTV Networks, SPI, Setanta Sports, RTÉ and TV3.
Seventy-seven per cent of content broadcast by Russia’s leading TV channels is of Russian origin, with only 6% coming from Europe, according to the latest report from the European Audiovisual Observatory.There are currently 60 different video-on-demand services operating in Russia, according to the TV Market and Video on Demand in the Russian Federation report, 45% of which deal only with Russian content.TV channels with Federal coverage, including Channel One, Russia 1, Russia 2, Russia 24, Russia K, NTV, Petersburg – Channel 5, TVC, CTC, Peretz, Domashniy, U, Disney Channel, TV3, MTV, TNT, REN TV, Mir, Zvezda, 2×2 and RBC TV, regularly reach 90% of Russian viewers.Just over half of VoD services included both national and foreign content. Smart TV is one of the fastest growing distribution platforms, with 50% of all applications offered by smart TV stores being Russian-speaking.Only 11% of international content on Russian channels in 2012 was premiere content, compared with 43% of national content.Among leading channels, CTC was the leading distributor of premiere foreign content in 2012, accounting for 32% of the total, followed by TNT with 29% and Ren TV with 15%.In two areas – feature films and animation – international content accounted for the majority of content on air – 83% in the case of films and 83.4% in the case of animated films and serials.Fully 99.8% of entertainment programming in 2012 was Russian, as was 96.2% of documentaries and 85.8% of TV series and TV films.The US accounted for 71% of international content, followed the UK with 6% and France with 5%.
Dutch telco KPN added 62,000 IPTV subscribers in the first quarter of this year. KPN said it now had a 26% share of the TV market.Triple-play penetration grew to 46% or 1.264 million customers and the operater added 62,000 quad-play customers, taking the total to 235,000.However, KPN’s adjusted revenues were down 1% year-on-year, thanks in part to the impact of IPTV promotions in the second half of last year. TV revenues stood at €59 million, down from €57 million in the previous quarter.
French culture minister, Aurelie FilippettiFrench culture minister Aurélie Filippetti has said she wants to reduce the delay before films can be distributed on subscription video-on-demand services to 24 months after their cinema release, in place of the current 36 months – but only for services that sign up to the country’s system of financing French and European content. Filippetti provided details of the proposal, widely seen as a move to blunt the impact of Netflix’s impending launch in the country, in an interview with Le Figaro.She said that her objective is to make content available more quickly and legally to the public.Filippetti’s prosposal would go some way to meeting the recommendation of former Canal+ chief Pierre Lescure’s report on how to maintain France’s ‘cultural exception’ in the internet age, which proposed a reduction in the opening of the window for SVoD content from 36 to 18 months. By linking the reduction to support for France’s content creation regime, it would also help assuage the concerns of domestic players such as Canal+ that global internet players including Netflix, whose European operation will be based in Amsterdam, are not subject to the financial burdens imposed on local providers.Filippetti said that she would also like to see a revision of the windows during which content can be distributed exclusively on TV channels in favour of a longer VoD window.
BT continued to generate the highest volume of complaints about pay TV services to UK regulator Ofcom in the first quarter of this year, with 0.15 complaints per 1,000 customers.TalkTalk generated the second highest volume of complaints, with 0.12 per 1,000, an increase since the fourth quarter of last year.Cable operator Virgin Media generated an average number of complaints for the industry, with 0.04 per 1,000, while Sky imporved its performance to as few as 0.01 complaints per 1,000 customers.In broadband, EE generated the highest number of complaints – 0.51 per 1,000 – an increase in the number of complaints quarter-on-quarter and the highest level since the first quarter of 2013.BT, Plusnet and TalkTalk generated above average levels of complaits for the period, while Virgin Media generated a small but growing number of complaints at 0.06 per 1,000. Sky delivered the best performance, with 0.05 complaints per 1,000 customers.
21st Century Fox’s US FX Networks unit has teamed up with cable giant Comcast to launch a new premium ad-free service subscription video-on-demand service for Comcast Xfinity TV subscribers.The new service, FX+, will provide current seasons of all FX and FXX original series and every season of a number of current and catalogue titles of FX originals without adverts for US$5.99 (€5.08) a month.The service will launch on September 5. Fox claims that the initiative will made FX Networks the first ad-supported cable networks group to offer all seasons of the majority of its original series available at once. Shows available include American Horror Story, Damages, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Legion, Louie, Nip/Tuck, Rescue Me, The Shield, Sons of Anarchy and Terriers.FX+ will provide over 1,100 series epioseds in total. The shows will be rolled out progressively, with the complete roster expected to be available next year.FX+ subscribers will be able to access the FX+ content via Xfinity On Demand, the Xfinity Stream app and website, and FXNOW. In the future, FX+ will also offer select series in 4K as well as temporary downloads of current season episodes.John Landgraf“This is an exciting day for FX Networks, because it represents the next step in building a consumer experience as good as our original programming brand. We have been diligent about recapturing the in-season stacking rights for all current original programming and recapturing the rights to all seasons of a large portion of our legacy of great original series,” said John Landgraf, CEO, FX Networks and FX Productions“Since changing the course of basic cable TV with The Shield, over the past 15 years FX amassed a roster of dramas, comedies and limited series that is unequalled in ad-supported television – and in quality and breadth has few rivals anywhere. This initiative represents the first of its kind for an ad-supported cable network, and begins to put us on equal footing with premium networks and streaming services. We appreciate our partnership with Matt Strauss and everyone at Comcast who had the vision to support the creation and launch of FX+, which adds significant value for Comcast and its subscribers.”Matt Strauss, executive vice-president and general manager, video and entertainment services, Comcast Cable, said: “FX has built a brand known for high-quality, award-winning original content and we are pleased to partner with John Landgraf and the team at FX to offer premium experiences like FX+ to Xfinity TV customers, and explore what it means to be a network in the future,” said Strauss. “Our innovative platforms and technology enable us to collaborate with our partners to experiment with new ways to super-serve our customers, provide them with more choice and access to new content and experiences, and continue to add value to the Xfinity TV subscription.”
Françoise NyssenFrench culture minister Françoise Nyssen has outlined a series of economy measures and changes to be implemented by public broadcaster France Télévisions as part of the reform of public service media in the country.Youth-oriented channel France 4 will be merged with France 5, which will have a revamped programming line-up to make space for France 4-type shows. At the same time, France Télévisions will focus on making developing a digital-only offering for young people.France 3 will see the amount of regional programming it air trebled from the current two hour daily regional opt-out.Regarding France Ô, the channel dedicated for France’s overseas territories and departments, Nyssen said that it would be necessary to consult with citizens in these territories to determine whether an over-the-air channel or a digital offering would best meet their needs in the future.Nyssen also said that the country’s various public media organisations would have to develop “synergies” and would have to find further economies and rationalise their management. She stopped short of calling for a single management structure or of quantifying the economies she had in mind.Nyssen, quoted by Le Monde, said that she had in mind a “universal” public service media that was capable of resisting “new competition” and responding to citizen’s evolving needs. She said that the goal was to focus “on content more than on distribution”.Nyssen said that France Télévisions would have to invest €150 million more a year in digital as part of a drive to address changing media consumption patterns among young people in particular. She said that the broadcaster currently only invested about 3% of its budget on digital – about €100 million a year.She also said that as part of the drive to further the regionalisation of France 3, the channel would launch a trail of a joint morning programme with radio service France Bleu in two regions in the autumn.On speculation that the digital-terrestrial slot currently occupied by France 4 would be granted to news service Franceinfo, she said that this was a matter for regulator the CSA but noted that the service’s current place in the DTT line-up was “a real handicap” to its visibility.Nyssen said she would commission a task force comprising UniFrance chief Isabelle Giordano, former CSA director-general Frédéric Lenica, Fablabchannel founder Claire Leproust-Moroko, former BBC executive Catherine Smadjia and former France Télévisions president Marc Tessier to take the reform process forward.