“Traitor” MP Left in Lurch

first_imgThe City Council, an Oxford Mail front page and the suspended Labour “MP for Baghdad” caused confusion for students on both sides of the political spectrum this week. An Oxford Students Stop the War Coalition meeting to be addressed by George Galloway MP was due to be held at the Town Hall today, before being controversially cancelled and then rescheduled at the last minute. The farce was complicated by the prospect of the Oxford University Conservative Association’s “first ever protest,” over Galloway’s close links with Saddam Hussein. Managers at the Town Hall cancelled today’s meeting because of fears over the numbers expected to attend. However, OUCA trumpeted the cancellation as a moral victory and the headline on the Oxford Mail’s front page on Wednesday declared, “City council bans ‘traitor’ Galloway”. City Councillor Rick Muir, one of the organisers of the meeting, said that the details of the piece in the Oxford Mail were, “simply untrue” while an email circulated on the Oxford Stop the War mailing list early on Thursday morning accepted that the meeting had been moved from the Town Hall but affirmed, “This is not due to banning of George Galloway by anyone.” John Townsend, the OUCA President who had organised protest to bring attention to the Glasgow MPs support of Saddam’s Ba’athist regime told Cherwell, “I see this as a victory for freedom of speech. Galloway needs to be challenged.” Organisers are now hurriedly seeking an alternative venue so that the meeting can go ahead as planned on Friday evening. Townsend insisted that if meeting was moved the planned protest would follow it saying, George Galloway is not a whose views should be given free airing in an uncritical environment.” Joe Silk, of the Oxford Students Stop the War coalition, said, “George Galloway and other speakers all have interesting views about this and they all have right to speak out in public”. The cancellation and threatened protest comes as another blow Galloway, the disgraced MP Glasgow Kelvin, who has been suspended by the Labour party pending the outcome of Government inquiry into dealings with former Iraqi leaders. At the time of press Galloway’s office confirmed to Cherwell the MP will be coming to Oxford today, but the venue is still open question.ARCHIVE: 3rd Week TT 2003last_img read more

Councilman Tony Wilson Lays Out Plans in Re-election Bid

first_imgCouncilman Tony Wilson, standing at center, is joined by, from left, Councilman Michael DeVlieger, Councilwoman Karen Bergman, Mayor Jay Gillian, Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, Councilman Keith Hartzell, Council President Peter Madden and Councilman Bob Barr on March 11 when he turned in his petitions. By MADDY VITALEOcean City Councilman Tony Wilson said he has a lot more he wants to accomplish on the governing body when he laid out his re-election plan in a press conference at City Hall on Wednesday.Wilson, 50, a lifelong Ocean City resident who owns Wilson Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, is seeking his third term as the Third Ward councilman.He is being challenged by Boardwalk businessman Jody Levchuk, who filed his nominating petitions to run on Monday.In speaking about the Third Ward race being the only contested one out of the four wards in the May 12 municipal election, Wilson said it is clear he has a proven record of accomplishments in his tenure on Council.“There is no one who works harder,” Wilson said.Should he win a new term, he wants to continue doing what he has been for years, he said.“We are trying to continue with the momentum we already set up,” Wilson said of Council. “We have a great synergy up there.”He has the backing of his colleagues.Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, who was the Second Ward councilman before winning election to the state Legislature, Mayor Jay Gillian and all of the members of Council came out to show their support for Wilson during his press conference.Councilmen Bob Barr, Michael DeVlieger and Keith Hartzell, Council President Peter Madden and Councilwoman Karen Bergman filled the room and held up a “Tony Wilson” magnet.The work to pump more sand onto the beaches in Ocean City in a replenishment project is a top priority for Wilson and other city officials.Wilson said during his time on Council, there have been some notable achievements that could only have been done with the working relationship of the current governing body and mayor.If re-elected to another four-year term, Wilson, who is currently serving as vice president of Council, said he would continue to focus on issues that matter most to residents and business owners.“We have to make sure to keep taxes low. The most important people are the taxpayers,” he said. “We are keeping taxes low and getting the most bang for our buck.”He wants to continue the projects to dredge the back bays, replace bulkheads, and work with county and state officials to ensure that all of the roads that need repairs or repaving are done.Wilson pointed out that improving and replacing what he called “antiquated” drainage pipes was paramount to the future of the community.“Replacing the dilapidated infrastructure is vital to providing new infrastructure for generations to come,” he explained.Wilson says maintaining the Boardwalk is vital to the tourism economy.Replenishing the beaches as well as reconstructing and modernizing the Boardwalk are also important projects to help retain the beauty of the coastal community and bolster tourism, Wilson said.“We are doing tip-to-tip beach replenishment to protect properties and homeowners and make sure visitors have a place to sit on our beautiful beaches,” he said.Another major area of concern for the community and city officials is the tract of land between 16th and 17th Streets bordered by Simpson and Haven Avenues, next to the Ocean City Community Center.Wilson said the Council and mayor want to protect that area, which encompasses an entire city block in the Third Ward.He would like to see the city acquire the land and use it for green space. Negotiations are underway for the city to buy the property from private developers who are looking to build a 22-lot housing project there.“I’ve been fighting to make sure we procure that spot to keep open space for future generations, not only the Third Ward, but the entire community,” Wilson said.“If we could keep that large tract for open space, we could have a continuous stretch of city-owned land from 15th to 21st Streets. That would be unprecedented,” he added.An architectural rendering shows the proposed housing project slated for a large piece of property the city is looking to buy to protect it from development.When asked about construction and housing stock, Wilson said there needs to be a middle ground.“It’s a delicate balance,” he said. “You need to make sure to update the continued housing stock and keep with the traditions of Ocean City upheld.”Wilson has two children, Anthony, 20, who is in college, and Julia Marie, 17, an Ocean City High School junior.He is involved in a number of community groups throughout town, including the VFW and the American Legion. He is also an avid fisherman and serves on the board of directors of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce.Hartzell described Wilson as hard working, works well with Council, and is concerned with keeping taxes under control, and continued improvements to the city’s infrastructure.“When Tony got on Council it was a pivotal time. We started working on infrastructure. He hit the ground running,” Hartzell said.Hartzell said the current Council has a good working relationship to get the job done. Wilson, he said, is a big part of that.Third Ward Councilman Tony Wilson is accompanied by his children, Anthony and Julia Marie, during his swearing in by Municipal Court Judge Richard Russell after the 2016 election.last_img read more

Press release: Nearly £10 million cash boost to bring hundreds of homes to Festival Gardens

first_img£10 million for iconic Liverpool site at heart of the city Funding comes from Government’s £450 million Local Authority Accelerated Construction (LAAC) programme Homes England to share office space with combined authority to help realise housing ambitions Up to 1500 family homes will be built at the Festival Gardens in Liverpool thanks to a multi-million pound funding boost from Homes England, the agency announced today (February 28).The Government’s housing accelerator – which brings experts and funding to areas to tackle the housing crisis – will give a grant of £9.9 million to Liverpool City Council.The cash injection– which comes from Government’s £450 million Local Authority Accelerated Construction (LAAC) programme – will allow essential remediation work to take place on the site, paving the way for residential development to begin.The news comes as Homes England officially opened new offices in the same building as Liverpool City Region Combined Authority at Mann Island, Pier Head – a move designed to help the two organisations collaborate more effectively to get homes built.Sir Edward Lister, Chairman of Homes England, said:“We are determined to use all the resources available to us to make homes happen across England – so I’m thrilled our funding means work can move forward rapidly at this historic site, providing homes for hundreds of families.“And with Homes England and combined authority experts now working side by side, we expect to further accelerate the construction of new houses across the region.”Minister of State for Housing, Kit Malthouse MP, said:“Delivering the homes Liverpool needs is a crucial element of our plan to build a successful and vibrant Northern Powerhouse.“I was born and brought up in Liverpool and went to the original garden festival as a child, so I know how much this investment will regenerate a key area of this great city, transforming Festival Gardens site with desperately needed family homes.”The council has long held ambitious plans for the site but, to date, a lack of funding has meant crucial remediation works have been unable to take place. Now, activity is expected to begin on-site in the spring, with the first homes being available by 2022.In addition to owner-occupied houses, the site will also include privately rented apartments.Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, said:“We welcome this essential financial injection from Homes England. Festival Gardens is a much-loved waterfront location and people have very fond memories of spending time there. We are fully aware of the potential the Festival Gardens has and its transformation will be a game-changer for this city’s economy in terms of new homes, construction jobs and growth.“Thanks to this funding, the council can start essential remediation works on site and move forward with the vision of creating a significant number of new family homes in South Liverpool at an iconic destination.“Alongside this, we are testing feasibility for a leisure element on site – Festival Gardens will not only deliver a much sought-after housing development, but also a first class visitor and cultural destination.”Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:“I welcome today’s announcements from Homes England which demonstrate a real and ongoing commitment to the Liverpool City Region.“I am particularly pleased to welcome the co-location of Homes England staff with the Combined Authority, which is the first arrangement of its kind in the country. Being physically based together in the same building will facilitate even closer joint working and present opportunities for further projects across the whole city region.”EndsThe Homes England press office can be contacted on [email protected] or 0207 874 8262.last_img read more

Senator Al Franken Guest Hosts SiriusXM’s Grateful Dead Channel, Interviews Weir, Kreutzmann, And Hart

first_imgOn Tuesday, Senator Al Franken took over SiriusXM’s Grateful Dead Channel, treating listeners to some of his favorite shows and hosting an interview segment with former Grateful Dead and current Dead And Company members Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart. During his daylong position as radio host, the politician and former Saturday Night Live comedian focused on shows the Senator has personally attended at the Winterland Ballroom, including October 16th and 17th of 1974 and December 31st of 1978. Franken also played his favorite version of “Althea,” a passionate topic for the senator, which also made its way into the newly released Grateful Dead documentary Long Strange Trip.Al Franken Talks The Grateful Dead In New ‘Long Strange Trip’ ClipFranken also shared personal anecdotes about being a Deadhead and various memorable shows from the past, including the time the Franken & Davis comedy team hosted the Grateful Dead’s Halloween show in 1980 at Radio City Music Hall and the recent Fare The Well shows for the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary. Those who missed out on Franken’s SiriusXM Grateful Dead Channel takeover need not fret, as the channel will replay his daylong hosting this Saturday, June 2nd, starting at 6 a.m. (EST). You can listen to snippets from Senator Al Franken’s interview portions below. [H/T Jambase]last_img read more

LOVE ROCKS NYC! Announces Warren Haynes, Gary Clark Jr., Donald Fagen, & More For 2018 Event

first_imgThe second annual LOVE ROCKS NYC! has just announced its return to The Beacon Theatre in New York, NY on March 15, 2018. With all proceeds going to non-profit group God’s Love We Deliver, an incredible roster of musicians will be joining together for the occasion. With Whoopi Goldberg “and special guests” as the event’s host, the 2018 installation will feature performances from Norah Jones, Emmylou Harris, Billy F. Gibbons, Warren Haynes, Gary Clark Jr., Mavis Staples, Donald Fagen, Andra Day, Trombone Shorty, Marc Cohn, Lucinda Williams, Cheap Trick, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm, Ann Wilson, Patty Smith, Anthony Hamilton, The Bacon Bros., Bernie Williams, Vallerie Simpson, John McEnroe, Nona Hendryx, David Hidalgo, Doyle Bramhall II, Jimmie Vaughn, Amy Helm, Ivan Neville, Allen Stone, and Tash Neal.The LOVE ROCKS NYC! house band will include Will Lee, Paul Shaffer, Steve Gadd, Shawn Pelton, Eric Krasno, Larry Campbell, and Jeff Young, with vocalists Elaine Caswell, Alecia Chakour, Dennis Collins, Chrissi Poland, Nicki Richards, Mark Rivers, Evan Barker, Ron Blake, Joe Fiedler, Aaron Heick, Jim Hynes, and Andy Snitzer.Tickets sales go live on Ticketmaster at 12noon ET on Saturday January 20, 2018 here. All proceeds of the concert will directly benefit God’s Love We Deliver. For more information please visit the event website.last_img read more

What’s next for Your Harvard

first_imgThe Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) has hosted a series of Your Harvard events over the past two years in cities across the globe from Los Angeles to Mexico City and Dallas to London, attracting more than 3,500 alumni and friends to eight regional gatherings.For the coming academic year, the HAA is already planning the next events in the series with local alumni groups in Atlanta (in November), Boston (March 2016), and Toronto (April 2016).Your Harvard events invite alumni, parents, and friends to connect with each other and engage with some of the most exciting scholarship underway on campus. At each event, President Drew Faust speaks to her vision for Harvard’s future — the foundation of The Harvard Campaign — and eminent faculty members discuss cross-disciplinary research and innovations that address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.In Seattle, professors of music and neurobiology discussed the role of creativity in generating breakthrough ideas. In Beijing, professors of science and architecture explored advances that will shape the future global research agenda. In New York, professors of economics and law tackled the issues of decision-making and leadership. All of these discussions highlighted the increasingly cross-disciplinary nature of the participants’ work.The most recent event took place in Chicago, home to the longest continuously operating Harvard Club (founded in 1857), drawing nearly 400 attendees.“At each Your Harvard event, I have been impressed by the incredible dedication of our alumni and their enthusiasm to connect with each other and the Harvard of today,” said HAA Executive Director Philip Lovejoy.The Harvard Campaign was publicly launched in September 2013. To date, this historic effort — the first such undertaking to include the participation of all Harvard Schools — has raised more than $5 billion in support of University aspirations, including advancing new approaches to teaching and learning, attracting and supporting the best students and faculty, creating a campus for the 21st century, and supporting multidisciplinary research.Visit the Harvard alumni website to learn more about the Your Harvard series as well as other alumni events.last_img read more

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters holds 7th annual employee cleanup of Winooski River

first_imgVermont employees of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. will sponsor and participate in their seventh annual River Cleanup event, in conjunction with American Rivers’ National River Cleanupâ ¢, a nationwide effort to keep America’s waterways clean. From August 1-5, employee volunteers will use paid time off to pick up trash in and around Vermont’s Winooski River.”River Cleanup is GMCR’s most popular volunteer effort, and one way we make a difference in our hometown community,” says Paul Comey, GMCR’s Vice President of Environmental Affairs. “Clean water is important for both healthy communities and a good cup of coffee, so we are proud to support the River Cleanup for the seventh year in a row.”The annual River Cleanup event is part of the company’s Community Action for Employees (CAFE) program, which allows employees to spend up to 52 hours a year volunteering for nonprofit and community-based organizations during normal work hours. During its 2010 fiscal year, GMCR employees volunteered 14,878 hours through the CAFE program.Over 150 GMCR employees participated in last year’s River Cleanup, and the group removed 130 tires and four and a half tons of trash and scrap metal from the Winooski River. GMCR employee river cleanup efforts have also recently taken place on the Tennessee River in Knoxville, TN, with additional cleanups planned for other sites beginning in 2012.This year marks the 20th Anniversary of National River Cleanup, which is considered to be the most successful stream cleanup program in the country. Sponsored by American Rivers, this popular annual event raises public awareness of the magnitude of trash accumulating in our nation’s waterways. Last year alone, more than 300,000 volunteers removed 1.2 million lbs. of trash from 76,000 miles of streams and rivers. For more information or to find a cleanup, visit www.AmericanRivers.org/cleanup(link is external).About Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR)As a leader in specialty coffee and coffee makers, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) is recognized for its award-winning coffees, innovative brewing technology, and socially responsible business practices. GMCR supports local and global communities by offsetting 100% of its direct greenhouse gas emissions, investing in sustainably-grown coffee, and allocating at least five percent of its pre-tax profits to socially and environmentally responsible initiatives.  WATERBURY, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–last_img read more

Latin American security forces crack down on smuggling of alcohol and cigarettes

first_imgBy Dialogo September 30, 2014 Cocaine, heroin, and other illicit substances are high-priority targets in the fight against drug trafficking in Latin America, but regional security forces are also combatting attempts to smuggle alcohol and cigarettes. Both are legal, but criminal organizations are trying to secretly transport them into the country to avoid paying taxes. Drug trafficking groups like Los Rastrojos and the Clan Úsuga have taken up the practice as well, using buses, trucks, private cars and even boats. It’s become big business in Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Honduras, El Salvador and Panamá. In these countries, one out of every four bottles of liquor is illegally produced or sold. Their sales, along with contraband cigarettes, total more than $2.3 billion (USD), with tax losses of about $736 million (USD). Those losses, which would normally fund the government, go to fund criminal enterprises instead “This is an illegal business that’s part of a larger economic criminal system,” POLFA director Brig. Gen. Gustavo Moreno said. Large seizures in Colombia That system extends beyond the borders of Latin America. Criminal groups are smuggling alcohol and cigarettes from countries as far away as Switzerland, Scotland, and the Czech Republic. Often their contraband ends up in Colombia – or along the Pacific Coast, arriving at the Port of Buenaventura in the department of Nariño, near the border with Ecuador. Colombian security forces are responding with increased enforcement efforts. As of late September, they’ve seized 202,408 liters of liquor nationwide, worth more $2 million (USD). Just last month, Fiscal and Customs Police (POLFA) seized 2,440 liters of liquor, 18,160 packs of cigarettes and 239 bottles of foreign beer. Their agents, stationed at a series of checkpoints in the department of Guajira, found the alcohol and cigarettes hidden inside vehicles. POLFA has also in recent months seized alcohol and cigarettes smuggled into Colombia by boat from Panamá, Curacao and Aruba. A big businesscenter_img International cooperation is a key component in the fight against alcohol and tobacco smuggling – because both are international problems. For example, the smuggling of liquor increased more than 167 percent in Ecuador in 2012. In Colombia and Panamá, liquor smuggling increased by 26 percent and 29 percent, respectively. POLFA has labored to increase information sharing among Latin American countries, for instance with security forces in Ecuador and Perú. It has compiled about 75 databases that include information about shipping firms and trading companies which have been sanctioned for helping transport contraband alcohol and cigarettes. Eventually, their goal is to create a list that allows labor unions to identify such firms. They’ve also helped organize three joint workshops with agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). “The issue of smuggling is still not widely recognized within the police forces of Latin America,” Moreno said. “But it’s very important to position the problem of smuggling as a phenomenon with concrete repercussions, as a reality that is now here, that is an underlying issue and that will not go away.” It is a common good for society not to take any drugs. Healthy people and their healthy habitat what they need to do is close the companies that prepare the illegal products such as alcohol and cigarettes Drugs, cigarettes and alcohol are elements that are regulated within the crimes against health, the three are legal, only the first which is through medical prescription. What’s strange about this article is that it talks about defrauding the economy of the countries, then if taxes were paid it would be OK, it would be legal it DOESN’T MATTER THAT IT HURTS PEOPLE’S HEALTH, we have to take into account that in the majority of Latin countries and El Salvador, most of the budget goes to the armed forces, which does NO GOOD to the country, Salvadoran territory is being invaded by the Hondurans and it’s the armed forces, who should protect it, but no, now it’s the lawyers, if this is so they should be eliminated, with the army of the United States is in the region, what are these armies for ?Or is it a business proposition, to buy old weapons, let’s keep them armed and all is well, that money is poorly invested. It should be given to health, education, agriculture, invest to create jobs, since that component reduces drug, alcohol and cigarette use.last_img read more

Helping special-needs children to laugh and play

first_imgHelping special-needs children to laugh and play Helping special-needs children to laugh and play Associate Editor L eaving wheelchairs behind, kids climb high on horseback, thrilled to ride powerful and tall.Blind children dip brushes into pots of colorful paints, cheerfully creating vibrant art for others to see.A Downs Syndrome child grins broadly at the beauty of the Manatee River, snuggled in the bottom of a canoe, while two counselors do the paddling.When an autistic child stands up in the middle of dinner and hollers, “Go Marlins! Go Marlins!” everyone else joins in and chants, “Go Marlins!” too.Welcome to Dream Oaks S.W.A.M.P. Camp, where “special wishes and magical play” are delivered in a beautiful, natural setting to terminally ill, mentally and physically challenged children, as well as at-risk kids.Watching special-needs children laugh and play at a summer camp that builds confidence and lets them feel normal for a week is a dream come true for 57-year-old Eddie Mulock, a Bradenton lawyer who once served on The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors.After years of dreaming and scheming about creating the special children’s camp an idea sparked during Mulock’s hospitalization for heart transplant surgery the first group of kids finally arrived in June and continued to pour in through the end of July.“Overwhelming!” Mulock said of the first time he met the long-awaited campers. “Since I got out of the hospital in 1995, I had visualized in my mind what the kids would be like and how I’d spend time with them. All of a sudden, on a Monday morning, we had a slew of kids at camp. It was a very teary experience.” Mulock still practices law, but this summer he’s been a happy camper in the thick of things, loving it when the children call him “Mr. Eddie” and make him the target of water balloons and squirt guns.“We had children arrive on Monday, a little sick and angry, and some wouldn’t smile. One mother said, `My son never smiles.’ But by the end of the week, he was laughing. His mother came to a talent show, and she was in tears and he was laughing,” Mulock said.Another mother, Pam Lozano, expressed her gratefulness in a letter, thanking Mulock and the camp staff for giving her daughter, Gabrielle, the time of her life.Born with a brain tumor in her optic nerve, Gabrielle endured a year and a half of chemotherapy, three operations, 35 radiation treatments, and “probably at least 2,000 needles.”One night a priest was called when she stopped breathing and her heart stopped, but she miraculously pulled through and has not needed treatment for seven years.“For my child to go through all she did, which is something no child should ever have to go through, and have her ask me for the last three years to go to camp, I would always have to tell her `no.’ They were either too far away or just not suited for a child like her,” Lozano wrote.“After she came home from the first day of camp on June 25, I said, `Well Camper Lozano, how was camp?’ She responded with such a grin on her face and said, `Oh, Mommy! It was great! I had so much fun, I wish I could go forever!’“That one phrase should make each and every one of you feel like the most important person in the world.”Pretty heady stuff for Mulock, who gets his reward whenever he hangs out with the kids at the camp.“One little boy, all he says is `You! You! You!’ and runs over and hugs me. Another little boy speaks Russian and English and plays chess, but he’s autistic and has trouble controlling his behavior.“He didn’t want to go home and wanted to be a counselor, so I gave him a shirt that says he’s a member of the staff and invited him to come back and help at lunch time. He thinks he’s a counselor,” Mulock said with a chuckle.“I love to pat the kids on the back, hug them, and let them know they’re important because they are.”Mulock came up with the idea for the camp, while stretched out in a hospital bed preparing to receive a heart transplant. His heart muscle had been ravaged by a virus that doctors speculated he contracted from drinking tainted water while backpacking in the Idaho mountains with his sons.A major heart attack in 1993 sent him to Shand’s Hospital in Gainesville, where he was connected to a heart and lung machine while awaiting a new heart.Within those stark and sterile walls, Mulock had met a lot of very sick children stuck in hospitals too, and he wondered what they had to look forward to.He’d found out about special-needs camps, but learned there were none on Florida’s West Coast, and vowed to do something about it if he survived.“I was given one day to live. I was on the critical list for a long time. Any time you face a life-or-death situation, you learn perspective. I say to people every day: `So what?’ I think you learn that working night and day to make a dollar is not as important as being with kids and giving. Getting fills your pockets. Giving fills your heart,” Mulock said.On more than 200 acres of a little used Boy Scouts of America property, Camp Flying Eagle in East Manatee County has been transformed into Dream Oaks S.W.A.M.P., an inclusive, barrier-free campground for children ages 7 to 18. Grouped by age and disability, the children enjoy day camping activities, get a break from their parents (and vice versa) and feel independent many for the first time.A pair of all-terrain wheelchairs roll along nature trails. The Sarasota-Manatee Association for Riding Therapy provides a slanted wooden ramp to bring disabled children to saddle level where they happily trot away on gentle horses.Mulock’s oldest son, Brett, who teaches emotionally handicapped children, is program director.Camp director Jodi Franke spent six busy months planning meals and coordinating activities that include everything from humor therapy to music therapy to swimming to meeting special visitors such as a world champion cyclist who is paralyzed from the waist down and pedals with his hands.When the children check in at the camp, a full-time nurse takes all the medications from the parents and carefully doles out the meds during the day. The nurse checks blood pressure and monitors vitals at the new health lodge built by Manatee Memorial Hospital. Doctors are on call.After the first month of camp, Eddie Mulock was proud to report: “One bug bite. One skinned knee. A little boy with an upset stomach. Bottom line, we were free of serious problems.”On the last week in July, Mulock was busy welcoming his new group of campers, at-risk kids bused in by the Boys and Girls Club.“They might be having trouble at school or at home. They need an opportunity, too. I saw a need,” Mulock said. “Most of the children are minority children who haven’t had the same opportunities. They might not have parents, they might be in foster homes.”What Mulock teaches the kids: “Hope is so important. I am one person who knew that to have hope for the future is so important for your health. If they look to next summer, they’ll live that long and beyond.”What the kids teach him: “Sicknesses are only a certain aspect of life. They don’t have to limit your enjoyment of life.”Mulock, who aptly named his 18-acre homestead the “Second Chance Ranch” is still dreaming big.Through his not-for-profit Foundations of Dreams, Inc., the camp was opened with $250,000 from companies and private donations.This month, construction is beginning on 10 cabins, so that next year the camping experience will be an overnight adventure. They’re $300,000 short of their cabin-construction goal, Mulock said.He invites donors to name a cabin after their law firm or organization. So far, he said, Holland & Knight lawyers have been very involved helping raise money for the camp.He envisions an ecology building and aviary, where children will bend over microscopes studying plants and animals.“What I really want to do is go to an adult handicapped camp in the fall, after we get the cabins built,” Mulock said.It’s all part of an ambitious plan for the changed man who once vowed, if he were given a second chance at living: “I’d give more and live more. Now, I don’t pass up hugs. I don’t pass up conversation. I laugh more. I hope more. And I dream more dreams.”For more information contact the Foundation for Dreams, Inc., 519 13th Street West, Bradenton 34205, telephone: (941) 748-2104, or visit www.foundationfor dreams.org. August 15, 2001 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular Newslast_img

Swiss pension funds cut bond exposure to ramp up alternatives

first_imgThe CHF1bn (€820m) Pensionskasse for Swiss fashion company Manor has cut its exposure to bonds from 30% to 15% to free up money for higher-yielding investments.Martin Roth, chief executive at the scheme, which has a target return of 3%, told delegates at the 2014 Swiss Pensions Conference in Rüschlikon that the step had been necessary.“I do not think, over the next 10 years, we will see the same returns from bonds as we have over the last 20,” he said.Instead, the pension fund has allocated “very strongly” to alternative investments such as infrastructure, hedge funds and convertibles. On the same panel at the conference, Stefan Köhler, senior portfolio manager at Swiss pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche, reported that the company’s CHF7bn Pensionskasse was “managing its bond exposure more via the duration”, which is approximately two years lower than that of the average Swiss Pensionskasse.Heinrich Flückiger, a pensions expert at Swisscanto, pointed to a growing trend of lowering duration in bond portfolios in Switzerland, with pension funds aiming to increase duration again once interest rates go up.“However, there is interesting research that, over one year, the downside risk of almost all bonds is much greater than the upside return opportunities,” Flückiger said, adding that some Pensionskassen were therefore opting for equities instead.He said there was an unprecedented level of interest in fundamental indices, with some of his clients shifting half of their passive portfolios into investments based on fundamental or rule-based indices.“Three years ago, nobody was interested in alternative indices,” he said.At La Roche, Köhler also still believes in return from equities and has increased the fund’s equity exposure by 700 basis points to 37%.On the other hand, Stefan Beiner, head of asset management and deputy director at the CHF36bn Publica fund, decided to sell off some equities at the beginning of the year, as he was unsure the asset class could return as much as it did over the previous two years, when Publica increased its exposure to equities.Instead, Publica is considering to go into private debt, infrastructure debt and direct lending, although “not necessarily in Switzerland”.Beiner stressed, however, that the fund was still “at the beginning” of the assessment process of whether these investments would be worth the effort and risk.Last year, the Roche pension fund made two direct investments in Swiss infrastructure using in-house legal expertise, but Köhler pointed out that this was the limit.He said he was “disappointed” by the range of infrastructure products, most of which are structured as private equity investments, with a planned exit after 10 years.“But why should I sell after 10 years only to get back money I immediately want to reinvest?” he asked.”I am not talking about buy and hold, but buy and manage would be nice.”Roche and Manor have joined forces with other Swiss Pensionskassen to pool assets and resources for infrastructure investments.All three panellists argued that the debt situation of Swiss regional and local authorities was too good to really be in need for external infrastructure financing.However, the Swiss government is thinking to establish a so-called Zukunftsfonds, in which venture capital is to be sourced from domestic institutional investors.All three pension fund representatives said they were against any obligation to pay into this fund, with Köhler arguing that venture capital investments only worked when there were follow-up investors after the seed money had gone.“We are no development bank,” he said. “That’s what other investors are for.”last_img read more