in News, Technology Real estate brokerage firm RE/MAX acquired booj, an award-winning Colorado-based web design, and technology company as part of its technology strategy.Moving forward, RE/MAX will leverage the capabilities of booj and other strategic partners to deliver core technology solutions designed for and with RE/MAX affiliates, the company said in a statement. The acquisition will help RE/MAX use technology platforms that create a distinct competitive edge for its brokerages and agents and complement other tech products they choose to use.“Our strategy is to serve the industry’s most productive agents by providing technology that saves them time, connects them to buyers and sellers, helps them leverage the brand and its many competitive advantages, and ultimately enables them to be even more productive and successful,” said Adam Contos, RE/MAX CEO.Booj has developed powerful technology systems for more than 40 regional real estate companies and 20,000 agents, allowing agents and brokerages to grow their business. These platforms, designed by and for the real estate industry, include websites, mobile apps, lead generation and cultivation systems and predictive analytics.“We’re passionate about building technology that changes agents’ lives and makes buying and selling a home easier,” said Ido Zucker, Enterprise Director and Managing Partner of booj. “Putting our existing platform and new innovations into the hands of RE/MAX agents will be incredibly rewarding for our entire team. We’re excited to see what world-class technologies we can build together.” March 4, 2018 634 Views Share RE/MAX Acquires Technology Firm booj analytics booj broker clients platforms RE/MAX real estate technology 2018-03-04 Radhika Ojha
LANSING – Rep. Holly Hughes, R-Montague, is advising Muskegon County residents to be aware of fraudulent behavior that has affected multiple people within the 91st House District.“During an ‘office hours’ event in Whitehall today, I was approached by a resident who had – unknown to her – her mailing address changed online without her permission,” said Rep. Hughes. “This resident’s mail was being sent to a Detroit address for fraudulent purposes including obtaining credit cards.“After meeting with the constituent, I went to the local U.S. Post Office in Montague to inquire about this issue and learned 15 to 20 residents had the same thing happen to them in December,” said Rep. Hughes. “The local postmaster indicated the proper authorities had been notified. I’m asking all residents to be aware of this growing problem. If you notice a sudden change or stoppage involving your mail delivery, please do not hesitate to directly contact your local U.S. Post Office.” 11Jan Rep. Hughes advises area residents to be aware of fraud, illegal change of address Categories: Hughes News,News
Categories: Glenn News,News 13Jun Committee approves Glenn bill banning sex between prostitutes, police The House Law and Justice Committee approved bipartisan legislation from state Rep. Gary Glenn making it illegal for law enforcement officials to engage in sexual acts with prostitutes or victims of human trafficking during the course of an investigation.“There is no evidence that law enforcement officers are taking advantage of this unintended legal loophole, but Michigan is going to protect victims of human trafficking from abuse,” said Glenn, of Larkin Township. “People who impersonate police officers use this unintended exemption from prosecution to intimidate women into having sex. That casts an unwarranted cloud over our law enforcement officers.”House Bill 4355 specifically states a police officer is no longer exempt from prosecution if the officer has sex with a prostitute, eliminating the unintended exemption in current law. The legislation also seeks to protect victims of human trafficking who have been forced into prostitution.“Michigan is the last state in the country where police officers having sex with prostitutes are shielded from prosecution,” Glenn said. “This legislation will protect our police and victims of human trafficking.”HB 4355 advances to the House for its consideration.State Rep. Gary Glenn testifies before the House Law and Justice Committee in support of legislation to ban sex between law enforcement officers and prostitutes or victims of human trafficking.
06Oct Rep. LaSata hosts local office hours Categories: LaSata News,LaSata Photos,News State Rep. Kim LaSata is inviting residents of Berrien County to talk with her about issues facing Michigan during her October office hours.“Listening to the concerns of members of the community is a very important aspect of my job,” LaSata said. “Local office hours are a great way for me to speak with my neighbors about how I can better serve them in Lansing.”Office hours take place on Friday, Oct. 20 at the Mason Jar Cafè, 210 Water St. in Benton Harbor.No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may contact her Lansing office by phone at 517-373-1403 or via email at KimLaSata@house.mi.gov.
Legislation also forgives outstanding debt State Rep. David Maturen today voted for a bipartisan legislative package to end driver responsibility fees on Oct. 1 and forgive all outstanding debt associated with the fees.Maturen, of Vicksburg, said he voted for the bills because too many families have been burdened with the senseless fees since they were put into place by a previous administration trying desperately to balance the budget.“It’s ridiculous to think that paying a fee – on top of court costs and fines – will do anything to improve someone’s driving skills,” Maturen said. “The fee schedule amounts to nothing more than a money grab to fill a budget shortfall nearly 15 years ago. The fees have caused hardships for families and cost many people their jobs when they had no source of transportation.”In addition to the fees ending on Oct. 1, Maturen said all associated debt will be forgiven at that time. The legislation also creates a grace period from enactment of the bill thorough Dec. 31 that enables them to get their driver’s licenses back without paying a $125 restoration fee. People on monthly payment plans will receive immediate forgiveness, and others may participate in workplace development training programs to regain their driver’s licenses prior to Oct. 1.The bills now go to the governor for consideration.##### Categories: Maturen News,News 14Feb Rep. Maturen votes to end punitive driver responsibility fees
Categories: Cox News,News Rep. Laura Cox today said newly signed school funding legislation will provide more resources to improve academic performance and better prepare Michigan students for jobs and careers.“This investment will brighten the future for kids across Michigan, regardless of where they live or what career pathway they choose,” said Cox, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, after Gov. Rick Snyder signed the school funding bill for the upcoming budget year. “We are laying the foundation for schools to improve and students to succeed.”More than a quarter of the overall state budget will go to K-12 schools, with $14.8 billion establishing a new record for investment – including the largest annual per-student increase in 15 years, ranging from $120 to $240 per student. This raises the minimum per-pupil foundation allowance to $7,871 per student and sets the maximum guaranteed foundation allowance at $8,409.Early literacy and special education programs will receive a boost in funding. Support for academically at-risk students is set at $499 million to improve their performance in reading and math.The budget bill signed today also includes funding for universities and community colleges. The legislation includes provisions to raise standards for handling sexual assault complaints at universities, holding institutions accountable for student safety.House Bill 5579 is the final major piece of next year’s budget plan to be signed into law.Earlier this week, Snyder signed legislation to provide $100 million to better prepare students for emerging, high-demand jobs of the future – an initiative the governor calls the Marshall Plan for Talent.Michigan’s new budget includes more money to improve school safety across the state. The budget also provides more resources for road repairs, public safety and to improve community mental health services – all without growing state government overall.### 28Jun Rep. Cox: Record-setting investment in education brightens Michigan’s future
19Mar Rep. LaFave votes to make state government more accountable Categories: LaFave News,News Plan extends open record requirements to governor, LegislatureState Rep. Beau LaFave today voted to approve a bipartisan plan to make state government more accountable to the people of Michigan.LaFave, of Iron Mountain, said the House unanimously approved the multi-bill proposal, which he co-sponsored.“Citizens have a right to know what their government is doing,” LaFave said. “With these common-sense reforms, the public will be able to hold the Legislature and the governor accountable.”Michigan is one of just two states that still exempts its governor and the Legislature from open records laws. The bipartisan solution approved today would end these exemptions and increase transparency in state government.The proposal will subject the governor and lieutenant governor to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and hold state representatives and senators to the same high standard by creating the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA).While LORA mirrors FOIA in many ways, there are exemptions for constituent inquiries to ensure that personal information is protected and kept private. Other types of communications – including those lawmakers have with state departments and lobbyists – would not be exempt.House Bills 4007-13 and 4015-16 now advance to the Senate for consideration.
Plan ends policy requiring 17-year-olds to be treated as adults in courtThe House Judiciary Committee today unanimously approved state Rep. Doug Wozniak’s plan to improve the way 17-year-olds are treated in Michigan’s criminal justice system.Wozniak, who sponsored the plan alongside a bipartisan group of his colleagues, said Michigan is one of just four states still requiring all 17-year-olds to be prosecuted as adults – even those who commit the most minor offenses. He said eliminating this outdated practice will help rehabilitate young offenders and reduce the likelihood of them breaking the law again in the future.“Seventeen-year-olds are not legal adults. They can’t vote, sign contracts or serve on juries in Michigan. And yet, we treat them like adults when it comes to our criminal justice system,” said Wozniak, of Shelby Township. “Ending this obsolete practice will ultimately make our neighborhoods safer and allow some of the taxpayer dollars currently spent on prisons to be invested in schools, roads and other critical services.”The proposal would raise the age at which individuals are considered adults for the purposes of prosecuting and adjudicating criminal offenses, allowing 17-year-olds to be treated as minors within the juvenile system in most circumstances beginning Oct. 1, 2021. Prosecutors would continue to have discretion, allowing them to waive minors who commit violent crimes into the adult system when appropriate.The measure also includes a funding plan to ensure local communities do not incur any additional costs associated with keeping 17-year-old offenders in the juvenile system, which is administered at the local level. Funding was the key sticking point that halted similar reform efforts in the past.Wozniak said the proposal is expected to save public tax dollars over time. Other states that have raised the age have downsized their juvenile justice systems and lowered both short-term and long-term costs. Including 17-year-olds in the juvenile system has been shown to reduce reoffending by 34 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control.House Bills 4133-46, 4443 and 4452 now move to the full House for consideration.### Categories: Wozniak News 16Apr Rep. Wozniak: ‘Raise the Age’ reforms approved by House committee
Share40Tweet9Share3Email52 SharesFrom WaterWired.November 30, 2017; News Deeply, “Water Deeply”“On Monday, November 27, the United States Supreme Court let stand a California federal appellate court decision that could chart a new course for Native American tribal groundwater rights,” reports Debra Utacia Krol in News Deeply.The case was Agua Caliente Band v. Coachella Valley Water District. Last March, Krol reports, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Cahuilla’s water rights include an aquifer that lies beneath the Palm Springs-based tribe’s 31,500-acre reservation.“The United States impliedly reserved appurtenant water sources, including groundwater, when it created the Tribe’s reservation in California’s arid Coachella Valley,” the judges ruled. The court’s decision is based on the Winters Doctrine, which, Krol explains, “springs from a 1908 Supreme Court decision that reserves the federal government’s right to reserve sufficient water for Indian reservations’ needs.” The decision in the Agua Caliente case effectively affirms that tribes have a federally reserved right to groundwater, at least within Ninth Circuit states. In addition to California, the Ninth Circuit includes Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.Krol writes that, “The Agua Caliente case was the culmination of a struggle over nearly two decades.” Four years ago, Agua Caliente filed their suit against the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) and the Desert Water Agency to “gain ownership and control of a portion of the aquifer.”The water levels in the 65-mile-long aquifer have fallen 55 feet over the past 40 years due to overuse. The water agencies’ solution was to direct untreated Colorado River water into the aquifer through a process that is called “artificial replenishment.”The water districts in the Palm Springs area claim the water quality is sound. However, Agua Caliente and many other water agencies have concerns about Colorado River water quality. Krol notes that, “Some of the region’s biggest water agencies—the Central Arizona Project (CAP), the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California—formed the Lower Colorado River Water Quality Partnership to address issues that impact Colorado River quality, including dissolved salts, selenium, phosphorus, nitrate, pathogens, pharmaceutical and personal care products, perchlorate, chromium 6 and uranium.” In a white paper, Krol adds, “CAP officials determined that these contaminants could pose an ‘immediate or long-term threat to the river’s water quality.’”“The case is going to be very important for any state within the Ninth Circuit,” says Judith Dworkin, an American Indian law attorney in Phoenix. Dworkin, notes Krol, has worked on American Indian water rights settlement and litigation, but has not been involved in the Agua Caliente case. Arizona, Dworkin adds, however, will feel less impact “as the Arizona Supreme Court has already determined that [an American Indian nation] may have a federal reserved right to groundwater if surface waters are inadequate to accomplish the reservation’s purposes.”While Agua Caliente’s court victory has established its aquifer water rights, The Ninth Circuit Court still needs to hold a second trial to determine how much of the aquifer belongs to Agua Caliente. The second trial will involve so-called “Phase 2 Legal Issues—the correct standard or methodology for quantifying the tribe’s share, whether the federal reserved or Winters water right carries with it a right to water of a certain quality and whether the tribe owns the groundwater storage space, or pore space, under its reservation,” says Kate Anderson, director of public relations for Agua Caliente.For Agua Caliente, the legal ruling allows them to “explore the range of water sources available to…[develop] a long-term plan,” says Dworkin. For water agencies, “it may require those with state water rights to establish working relationships with [American Indian nations] to develop aquifer management programs.”—Steve DubbShare40Tweet9Share3Email52 Shares
Google is expected to close its acquisition of Motorola Mobility this week following the crossing of its last major hurdle, approval by the Chinese regulatory authorities.The Chinese authorities gave the US$12.5 billion (€9.8 billion) acquisition the green light on condition that Google continues to offer its Android operating system free of charge for the next five years.Google is known to be interested in acquiring Motorola’s extensive patent portfolio, particularly strong in the mobile devices area, which would position it better to challenge patent lawsuits from Apple, Microsoft and others.To allay fears on the part of other Android device manufacturers that the acquisition would mean Google competing directly with them in the hardware market, Google is expected to keep Motorola Mobility at arms length, operating as an independent unit. There has been speculation that Google could sell off the set-top box part of the business at a later date.
SeaChange and TiVo have launched a joint solution targeting cable operators looking to launch advanced VOD services.The new Cardio solution comprises SeaChange’s interactive consumer electronics gateway software and servers that interface directly to TiVo’s user interface and set-top boxes including the Premiere, Premiere Q and Preview models. The solution supports platforms Cisco and Motorola.“Cardio improves upon a simple and hugely popular goal to give operators more choice in set-tops and subscriber experience while further leveraging their SeaChange video back office,” said Anthony Landamia, executive director, product management, SeaChange. “SeaChange and TiVo solved a fundamental challenge for operators who invested in VOD yet wanted to expand set-top options without disruption. Its capabilities will continue to evolve and support more devices and digital network vendors.”
German cable operator Kabel BW is adding four new HD channels to its platform.The operator has already added Turner’s female skewed network Glitz HD and Romance HD to its line-up this week. Next week will see RTL Living HD and Passion HD joining the platform, taking the total number of HD channels offered by Kabel BW to 46.
Liberty Global has contracted logistics specialist Norbert Dentressangle to provide e-fulfilment services for the company in German.Netherlands-based Norbert Dentressangle, which already provides logistics for Liberty Global’s operations in the Netherlands, will double its e-fulfilment activities for the company from its Venray facility.Norbert Dentressangle will begin fulfilling orders for Unitymedia Kabel BW customers in June. Liberty Global plans to use the Venray facility as its core European distribution centre, with regional centres operating in different countries.However, the facility will handle regional distribution both for the Netherlands and Liberty Global’s networks in Germany as the two regions are geographically close.
German TV manufacturer Loewe has filed for insolvency, as attempts to restructure the business and refocus itself as an “entertainment platform system provider.”In a statement, Loewe said that the Coburg insolvency court yesterday approved the self-administration proceedings from Loewe’s management, but said that business “will remain fully operational beyond October 1, 2013.”It said that a restructuring process, initiated by the executive board, will also continue and that the company’s banks and the Bavarian state government continue to support the firm’s restructuring.“At the core of the change process at Loewe is the move from a TV manufacturer to an entertainment platform system provider. Besides specialised hardware knowledge, it is becoming increasingly important for Loewe to have greater software expertise to facilitate the management of its multimedia smart home-entertainment systems,” said Loewe.“Moreover, the company will join forces with partners to start offering special premium content exclusively for Loewe customers, thereby underlining the strong benefits of Loewe systems.”The firm has already partnered with Chinese company Hisense and recently launched joint sales and marketing activities with them in Austria, which Loewe said would be a test market for other European countries.
Fox International Channels (FIC) has launched a new on-demand service, Fox Play, for pay TV subscribers in Poland. Polish operator Vectra will be the first to offer the service to its subscribers, allowing them to watch full series and shows from the Fox and Fox Comedy channels.Viewers able to access the service via the foxplay.pl website with smartphone and tablet apps for iOS and Android due to launch soon.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is due to launch a new 4K Ultra High Definition movie streaming service in the US next week.ULTRA will launch on Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs, powered by the Android TV operating system, on April 4.Sony said that the app will allow users to buy Ultra HD movies, with many titles including high dynamic range (HDR) and digital extras.Films available on ULTRA will include new releases like Concussion and The Night Before and library titles such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Ghostbusters – priced at US$30 in 4K with HDR.“Consumers are rapidly upgrading their living rooms to 4K, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s new ULTRA streaming service will provide a premium viewing experience to satisfy growing demand for 4K movies and television shows,” said Jake Winett, vice-president, consumer services and advanced platforms at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.“ULTRA takes advantage of the latest industry innovations – 4K resolution, high dynamic range, a wider colour spectrum, digital movie extras, and UltraViolet interoperability – so viewers get the most out of their televisions and their movie collections.”Sony said the UltraViolet compatibility will allow users to link their ULTRA profiles with their existing UltraViolet libraries, and stream Sony Pictures content previously purchased or redeemed through other UltraViolet-compatible retailers.Sony Pictures Store customers that already own HD versions of select titles will also be able to upgrade them to 4K on ULTRA for a discounted price, while customers who buy an eligible Sony 4K Ultra HD televisions this summer will get four complimentary movies when they sign up for ULTRA.Sony first announced plans for the ULTRA service at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year.
The Box Plus Network, a joint venture between Channel 4 and Bauer Media, has launched two new linear TV channels – Box Hits and Box Upfront.The UK music video network has also introduced a new social-first digital channel, called BeBox.Box Plus Network said that the launches are designed address the “changing dynamic in youth media consumption,” consolidating its linear TV proposition and tapping new audiences with the BeBox digital offer.Box Hits will feature “the most popular hits of the last few years” while Box Upfront will showcase new and emerging artist talent alongside new music from established artists.BeBox will target the company’s core audience of “mainstream 16–24 year olds” with music and pop culture content across multiple digital platforms, led by social media.“We’ve been spending a lot of time speaking to our audience and the introduction of our new linear channels; Box Upfront and Box Hits, as well as our new digital channel BeBox, are a direct result of this feedback,” said The Box Plus Network managing director, Matt Rennie.“The way our audience consume media may be changing, but what remains constant is their love for music and pop-culture.”At the same time the Box Plus Network said it will refresh its flagship channel The Box and international network Box Africa. With Box Upfront focusing on brand new music, The Box, will now cover a “broad chart mix” alongside music productions and features.
Vivendi has pulled out of its planned acquisition of an 89% stake in Mediaset Premium and submitted an alternative proposal to take a 20% in the pay TV outfit after the emergence of what it described as “significant differences” in its analysis of Mediaset Premium’s results.Vivendi said that its CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine wrote to Mediaset’s management on June 21 to inform the Italian broadcaster’s management of its concerns. The media giant said that it submitted its alternative plan to Mediaset yesterday.Mediaset acknowledged that it had received a communication from Vivendi with the alternative proposal, which it said changed the value of the agreement and of Mediaset’s capital.Vivendi said it would go ahead with the exchange of 3.5% of its capital with Mediaset, but that it would only purchase 20% of Mediaset Premium instead of the agreed 80%. It said it would purchase a further 15% of the pay TV unit’s capital in three years through a convertible bond issue.Mediaset made it clear in its statement that Vivendi’s proposal was a surprise and that it was not agreed. It said it was contrary to the commitments made by Vivendi in its April 8 agreement with Mediaset. It said it would pursue its rights by all means available.The Italian company’s board will meet later this week to disucss its interim results and is expected to address the matter.Vivendi for its part said that it still had a “desire to build a major strategic alliance with Mediaset and Mediaset Premium”.A Vivendi spokesman told DTVE that differences had emerged as a result of due diligence performed by Vivendi after its April agreement. She said that Vivendi remained committed to finding an agreement and to its strategy to build media assets in Italy and southern Europe.Continued losses at Mediaset Premium helped push its parent company into the red in the first quarter, posting a loss of €18 million as against a profit of €0.6 million for the same period last year.Mediaset shares fell sharply on the news.
Andrew GriffithSubscription video-on-demand services such as Netflix are not having “a big impact” on Sky’s growth, according to Sky CFO Andrew Griffith.Speaking to analysts after Sky released its Q1 figures, Griffith said that “the two services don’t go directly toe-to-toe” with each other. He said SVOD customers are generally either people who look to these services as a supplement to free-to-air and would not otherwise sign up for a pay TV service, or – “more commonly” – they take SVOD services “on top” of pay TV services such as Sky or Virgin Media.He said the situation of SVOD customers is little different from the situation in the past where Sky customers would also rent DVDs to supplement their viewing.Griffith said he saw little sign that OTT SVOD services in Europe were competing for first-window pay TV rights, as they did to some extent in the US. “They are trading a bit more on their original content,” he said, adding that the services lacked strength in movies in Europe and generally only carried movies on a non-exclusive basis.Griffith said that while there had always been competition for rights from “different sources”, Sky still “typically has all the first pay TV rights” in its different markets.Separately, Griffith highlighted a series of service launches and changes in Italy and Germany to drive subscription growth in those markets following first fiscal quarter results that revealed solid progress in both markets.Griffith that Sky would launch a new Sky Kids app in Italy along with a fully HD video-on-demand offering, and would revamp its user guide with a new home page.In Germany, Sky will take its Sky Sports News service free-to-air in addition to the planned launch of Sky 1 with flagship show Masterchef. Today also sees the launch of Sky’s UHD TV offering, with coverage of a football match between Dortmund and Hertha Berlin.Griffith said that Italy had produced a strong quarter, emerging as Sky’s “fastest growing market”, with 4% like-for-like revenue growth. He said that over half of Sky Italia customers had now connected their set-top boxes to the internet.Griffith also highlighted this week’s launch of enhanced mobile TV service Sky Go+ in Italy.
Ammar BaranboUAE-based satellite broadcasting company Yahlive has struck a deal with Adriatic Tours S.L., owners of Alpha One RTV Network, to launch an expanded bouquet of channels for the Balkan diaspora in the Middle East and North Africa.The bouquet, along with other free-to-air channels, is available to anyone in the MENA region that can receive signals from the Yahsat 1A satellite located at 52.5° East.The additional seven Balkan community-targeted channels include content available in several languages including Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian, Albanian, Turkish, Spanish, English and Arabic.This latest move forms part of the partnership deal struck in October 2015 with Mahir Zisko, general manager od Adriatic Tours S.L., which saw the introduction of the first Balkan TV bouquet for the Balkan community in Europe.The launch of an expanded Balkan bouquet on Yahlive follows the latter launch of 57 Algerian channels of which 36 are exclusively available on the platform.The company says it has tripled its free-to-air channels in the region to over 247, 147 of which are exclusively available through Yahlive, in the last three months.“Our expanded offerings are designed to bring tailored content to different communities; hence we broadcast channels that are culturally and socially relevant. The Balkan community, living in MENA, holds immense significance for us and we are delighted to be able to air their favourite TV channels through Yahlive,” said Ammar Baranbo, Yahlive’s chief operating officer.“Today, Yahlive’s viewers have access to hundreds of channels in more than 12 languages. We are committed to working closely with broadcasters to ensure that we are offering more free-to-air TV channels to niche communities across our coverage area.”