Freddie Mac Resumes Risk Sharing in 2016 Where Last Year Left Off

first_img Share Save Brian Honea’s writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master’s degree from Amberton University in Garland. January 5, 2016 1,168 Views Credit Risk Transfer Freddie Mac STACR Program Structured Agency Credit Risk Program 2016-01-05 Brian Honea The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago  Print This Post in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Secondary Market Freddie Mac Resumes Risk Sharing in 2016 Where Last Year Left Off Previous: Will Existing-Home Sales Bounce Back from the Recent Disappointment? Next: How Does the SFR Market Look Going into 2016? The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / Freddie Mac Resumes Risk Sharing in 2016 Where Last Year Left Offcenter_img About Author: Brian Honea Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Related Articles Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Tagged with: Credit Risk Transfer Freddie Mac STACR Program Structured Agency Credit Risk Program The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Freddie Mac’s Structured Agency Credit Risk (STACR) series, which began in mid-2013 as a way to reduce the Enterprise’s exposure to credit risk and bring private investors back into the single-family mortgage market, has picked up in 2016 right where it left off in 2015.According to a press release issued on Tuesday, Freddie Mac has announced its intention to sell its first STACR debt notes offering of 2016, STACR Series 2016-DNA1, which is valued at $996 million. It is the 17th STACR offering since the program began two and a half years ago.The offering consists of a reference pool of recently acquired single-family mortgages with an unpaid principal balance (UPB) totaling about $35.7 billion, according to Freddie Mac. The transaction is scheduled to settle on January 21, 2016.“We have demonstrated our ability to execute credit risk transactions on a regular basis with a standard structure and have been transparent in our disclosures,” said Mike Reynolds, Freddie Mac vice president of Credit Risk Transfer. “Our loans are subject to Freddie Mac’s underwriting standards, internal fraud prevention and quality control review process. We are finding with each issuance that STACR is more diverse, liquid and durable.”The 17 STACR offerings, combined with two Whole Loan Security (WLS) offerings and 14 Agency Credit Insurance Structure (ACIS) transactions, has resulted in the transferring of a substantial portion of credit risk on more than $385 billion of UPB in single-family mortgages backed by Freddie Mac.Freddie Mac was the first agency to market credit risk transfer transactions through STACR, WLS, and ACIS programs. In two and a half years, Freddie Mac’s investor base has grown to include approximately 190 unique investors, which includes reinsurers.Freddie Mac’s fellow GSE, Fannie Mae, has followed Freddie Mac’s lead for credit risk transfer with two programs, the Connecticut Avenue Securities (CAS) Series and the Credit Insurance Risk Transfer (CIRT) program. Through six CIRT transactions since the program’s inception in 2014, Fannie Mae has acquired more than $1.2 billion of coverage on more than $46 billion of loans. Through the CAS Series, Fannie Mae has sold more than $12.4 billion in securities to private investors, which covers $438 billion worth of mortgage loans since the program’s inception in September 2013. Sign up for DS News Daily Subscribelast_img read more

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How Pre-Election ‘Stress and Uncertainty’ Might Influence the Housing Market

first_img  Print This Post Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago October 7, 2020 1,162 Views Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Subscribe Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Share Save Traditionally, Presidential elections have not made much of a difference in the housing market. This one could be more impactful, according to a survey from Redfin.That said, most insiders do not believe that, in the long term, it will significantly impact the market, although COVID-19-related issues could.”We expect home sales to continue to grow this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic; we are forecasting more home sales in 2020 than in any year since 2006,” Redfin reported.Some findings of note from said survey:22% of homebuyers and sellers (looking to buy/sell in the next 12 months) out of 1,400 surveyed said the presidential election is impacting their plans to buy or sell a home.  That’s down from 32% in November 2019, according to a previous Redfin report. “The drop from last year is likely due to the pandemic, which seems to be outweighing the election as a factor for homebuyers and sellers,” the researchers said.13% of respondents said the election is making them more hesitant to buy or sell a home, down from 20% in November 2019.9% of respondents said the election is making them less hesitant to buy or sell a home, down from 12% in November. “That’s unlikely to have a major impact on the housing market, partly because a portion of those people will probably buy and/or sell once the election has passed,” Redfin reported.65% of potential homebuyers and sellers said the upcoming presidential election isn’t impacting their plans, compared to 60% in November 2019.75% of buyers and 50% of sellers say COVID-19 is impacting their plans this year.43% of buyers said they’re planning to buy a home later than originally planned because of the pandemic, and 34% said they’re buying a home sooner than originally planned.21% of sellers said the pandemic is delaying their selling plans, 19% said it’s accelerating their selling plans, and 10% said they’ve decided not to sell their home.On the ground, agents aren’t necessarily expecting a huge market shift due to the current battle for the White House.“Almost all the buyers I work with ask how the election could impact their home purchase,” Pruitt said. “I don’t have a crystal ball, but presidential elections have never seemed to affect the housing market much in the six election cycles I’ve been a real estate agent. The pandemic is having a much bigger impact, with low mortgage rates motivating buyers who want more space to work from home.”Although agents including Danielle Field from Louisville, Kentucky said some experiencing pre-election anxiety want to hold off.“Some home sellers—and buyers, to a lesser extent—are delaying their plans because of all the stress and uncertainty in the world, including the divisiveness surrounding the presidential election,” said Field. “They don’t want to add one more stressful experience to their lives. I’m hopeful that once the election is over and there’s finally some certainty in this country, people will start putting their homes on the market again, creating more inventory for buyers.”Past presidential elections have had “minimal correlation with U.S. home sales rising or falling, which squares with Redfin’s survey findings,” Redfin reported. “Home sales rose by an average of just 0.4% in October and November of presidential election years compared with non-election years, according to a Redfin analysis of home sales going back to 1980, which includes 10 presidential elections and controls for other economic factors such as changes in mortgage rates. In the December of presidential election years—the month representing closed sales for offers made during November, the election month—home sales dropped by an average of 1.5%, followed by a 1.5% recovery in January.”Redfin noted that its survey is the result of the following methodology:The analysis of elections’ impact on home sales is based on a TSLM forecast for monthly seasonally adjusted home sales from 1980 to 2020 across each metro where county records are available and nationally. The model predicts monthly home sales in each region, incorporating factors of previous trend, mortgage rates, consumer confidence, job growth, and a recession indicator. Then we estimate the expected effect on home sales during each October, November, December and January of presidential-election years. The average growth or decline in home sales noted above is the change that’s attributed to the election. For instance, if Redfin expects 500,000 home sales in the typical October, we expect 502,000 (0.4% more) in the October of a presidential election. About Author: Christina Hughes Babb Sign up for DS News Daily 2020-10-07 Christina Hughes Babb Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media and Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning News, among others. in Daily Dose, Featured, Market Studies, News Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Previous: HUD Awards $4 Million for Disabled Veterans’ Residences Next: ‘Good Time to Sell’ Sentiment Climbing The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / How Pre-Election ‘Stress and Uncertainty’ Might Influence the Housing Market Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Related Articles Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago How Pre-Election ‘Stress and Uncertainty’ Might Influence the Housing Marketlast_img read more

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Parliament Passes Bill To Increase Upper Limit For Legal Abortions

first_imgNews UpdatesParliament Passes Bill To Increase Upper Limit For Legal Abortions Akshita Saxena16 March 2021 6:50 AMShare This – xThe Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, in light of the need and demand for increased gestational limit and to ensure safety and well-being of women. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 17, 2020. The Bill is a legislative response to various petitions moved before the Supreme Court and High Courts, seeking permission…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, in light of the need and demand for increased gestational limit and to ensure safety and well-being of women. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on March 17, 2020. The Bill is a legislative response to various petitions moved before the Supreme Court and High Courts, seeking permission for aborting pregnancies at gestational age beyond the present permissible limit of 20 weeks, on the grounds of foetal abnormalities or pregnancies due to sexual violence faced by women. Introduced by Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the Bill seeks to amend Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, to extend the upper limit for medical termination of pregnancy to 24 weeks, from the present stipulation of 20 weeks, for certain categories of women which will be defined in the MTP Rules. These categories will include ‘vulnerable women’ including rape victims. Objective of the Bill The Statement of Objects and Reasons annexed with the Bill states, “With the passage of time and advancement of medical technology for safe abortion, there is a scope for increasing upper gestational limit for terminating pregnancies especially for vulnerable women and for pregnancies with substantial foetal anomalies detected late in pregnancy. Further, there is also a need for increasing access of women to legal and safe abortion service in order to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity caused by unsafe abortion and its complications.” Medical Opinion As per the Amendment Bill, opinion of one doctor will be required for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks; and opinion of two doctors will be required for termination of pregnancy of 20 to 24 weeks. They have to be of the opinion that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health; or that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from any serious physical or mental abnormality. Notably, the Bill stipulates that the upper gestation limit will not be applicable in cases where the termination of pregnancy is necessitated by the diagnosis of any of the substantial foetal abnormalities, diagnosed by a Medical Board. Medical Board The Medical Board will be comprised of (i) a gynaecologist, (ii) a paediatrician, (iii) a radiologist or sonologist, and (iv) other members, as may be specified by the state government. Their functions and other details of will be prescribed subsequently by the MTP Rules. Confidentiality Of Identity The Bill also stipulates that the name and other particulars of the woman whose pregnancy is terminated will not be revealed, except to a person authorized in any law which is in force; and any person acting in contravention of this provision will be punished with imprisonment which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both. Parliamentary Debate The Bill was supported by several members, who said that it is a big relief to women, undergoing unwanted pregnancies acquired on account of rape, incest, etc. The provision retaining privacy of the woman terminating pregnancy was also appreciated by the members. However, many members suggested that the Bill should be sent to Select Committee for re-consideration. Other suggestions/ concerns raised during the debate are as follows: Inputs from those who are directly affected by the Bill have not been taken during framing of the Bill;The provision for establishment of Medical Board states that it will consist of experts like gynaecologist, paediatrician, etc. However, the Government has not addressed the acute shortage of Health professionals in the country, especially in rural areas;In the absence of any time limit for decisions to be taken by the Medical Board for termination of pregnancy, the concerned party may again have to approach the Courts seeking expeditious disposal;Anaesthetist and Psychiatrist should also be included in the Committee to address concerns surrounding administration of anaesthesia and mental well-being of the woman;Fast track Courts should be set up to deal with disputes arising under the Act;Persons belonging to the Transgender community should also be brought within the ambit of this Bill. Significantly, a motion to refer the Bill to Select Committee and other amendments were defeated and the Bill was passed by a voice vote. Click Here To Download BillNext Storylast_img read more

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CHHS art students present ‘showcase’ performance

first_img By Jaine Treadwell Remember America’s heroes on Memorial Day Troy falls to No. 13 Clemson Print Article You Might Like Men still wanted in shooting Police continued their search Thursday for two men wanted in connection with a burglary and attempted murder on Gibbs Street… read more Pike County Sheriff’s Office offering community child ID kits Morgan Vardaman was one of the presenters at the Charles Henderson High School creative writing showcase Thursday at the school.Art inspires art.It’s that simple.Because it is that simple, Carla Johnson uses visual art and the written word to inspire her creative writing students to put their feelings on paper, and then to verbalize them before an audience. Book Nook to reopen The Penny Hoarder Issues “Urgent” Alert: 6 Companies… By The Penny Hoarder There were parodies of favorite Christmas stories and songs and several students shared their thoughts on the Charlie Lucas art exhibit at the Johnson Center for the Arts in Troy.Lucas is a nationally acclaimed folk artist with studios in Selma and Pink Lily.“Each student chose a favorite work of Charlie Lucas and then spent 30 minutes sitting and looking at it and writing about it,” Johnson said. “Art does inspire art.”Morgan Vardaman was inspired by Lucas’ “Rolling It Back the Old Time Way” painting.She titled her piece “Grasp Reality” and read with great feeling, “Falling, falling. Down they go. Opportunities slipping by. Too many burdens to carry. Time to fast. Wheels keep turning down the path of life. I’m striving for more. Higher, Higher. Opportunities rising, coming towards me. I seize the moment up on the horse and off into the sunset.”Johnson said the students did outstanding work and are to be congratulated on a job well done.“Some of our students will participate in the Alabama Literary Art Competition in January and we are planning a public showcase later in the year,” Johnson said. “We are very appreciative of the grant that we received from the Troy City School’s Education Foundation Grant program that enables us to do these special things.” Email the author Around the WebMd: Do This Immediately if You Have Diabetes (Watch)Blood Sugar BlasterIf You Have Ringing Ears Do This Immediately (Ends Tinnitus)Healthier LivingHave an Enlarged Prostate? Urologist Reveals: Do This Immediately (Watch)Healthier LivingWomen Only: Stretch This Muscle to Stop Bladder Leakage (Watch)Healthier LivingRemoving Moles & Skin Tags Has Never Been This EasyEssential HealthBet You’re Pretty Curious About Jaden’s Net Worth Right About Now, HuhBradofoThe content you see here is paid for by the advertiser or content provider whose link you click on, and is recommended to you by Revcontent. As the leading platform for native advertising and content recommendation, Revcontent uses interest based targeting to select content that we think will be of particular interest to you. We encourage you to view your opt out options in Revcontent’s Privacy PolicyWant your content to appear on sites like this?Increase Your Engagement Now!Want to report this publisher’s content as misinformation?Submit a ReportGot it, thanks!Remove Content Link?Please choose a reason below:Fake NewsMisleadingNot InterestedOffensiveRepetitiveSubmitCancel CHHS art students present ‘showcase’ performance Sponsored Content Johnson said when a student performs his or her own work they are sharing something deeply personal.“They are sharing with the world who they are,” she said.At the Thursday showcase performances, the students had the choice of sharing historical narratives, dramatic monologues, parodies or art inspired pieces.Nik Knighten wrote of “the eye to the window pent up inside you,” while Robby Elmore allegorized the wind as chimes in the tundra and Jon Baugh reminded listeners that life is not a fairytale. At the end of each nine weeks, Johnson’s three creative writing classes at Charles Henderson High School participate in a “showcase” of their creative writing abilities.On Thursday, Johnson’s students participated in two showcases and preformed their writings for students and guests.“I don’t want my students to just put their thoughts in writing, I want them to perform their work,” Johnson said. “No matter what you do in life, you need to have the confidence to speak before a group. For some of my students, the showcase is their first opportunity. We present showcases four times a year, so each time the students perform their work their confidence increases.” Skip Published 11:00 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012 Latest Stories Plans underway for historic Pike County celebrationlast_img read more

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Manhunt continues for suspect who killed off-duty officer, authorities say

first_imgiStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Ky.) — An off-duty police officer in Kentucky has been killed in the line of duty, authorities said.The officer was driving his personal vehicle when he was pulled over just after 5 p.m. by a man pretending to be a cop, the Hopkinsville Police Department said in a statement.Shortly after, the suspect, 34-year-old James K. Decoursey, allegedly shot the officer and fled, police said.Decoursey absconded on food and stole a white Chevrolet pickup truck with Kentucky license plate 2070GH, according to police.The officer, identified as Phillip Meacham, was taken to Jenny Stuart Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.Meacham, 38, was married and had two school-aged children. He’d been with the Hopkinsville Police Department since May of last year after 12 years at the Christian County Sheriff’s Department.Authorities are currently searching for Decoursey, said to be armed and dangerous.Gov. Matt Bevin wrote on Twitter that there is “no greater sacrifice than that of a person willing to lay down their life for another.”The shooting occurred in Hopkinsville, a city in the western part of the state, ABC Nashville affiliate WKRN reported. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Vincent’s Club to remain all-male establishment

first_imgVincent’s Club, whose membership is all-male and overwhelmingly made up of Oxford Blues, has recently voted against the admission of their female Blue counterparts as full members.The club, informally known in the sporting community as ‘Vinnie’s’, has recently released a statement covering the details of this consultation. The consultation was launched after the establishment of the V150 project, which was established in 2013 as a review of several aspects of the club and its administration. The project coincided with the club’s 150th anniversary. It was decided that there should be a consultation of members and alumni on whether the word “male” should be removed from the club’s constitution, thus allowing women to become Vincent’s members.Currently, to access the club, any non-member must be invited as the guest of a Vincent’s member; however, members of Atalanta’s Club, a similar society for female Blues, have full access to the King Edward Street clubhouse.The decision was made by both alumni of Vincent’s Club, consisting of around 5000 members, and residential members, of whom there are about 150. The statement regarding the vote, which was jointly issued by the committees of both Vincent’s and Atalanta’s, includes a breakdown of the vote.According to the statement, “695 alumni members gave their opinion: 12% abstained, most saying it is up to the resident members to decide. 25.5% were against deleting the word “male” from the Constitution, and 62.5% alumni members were of the opinion that change should occur.” With regard to the residential members, a majority of resident members voted to remove the word “male”. However, in both cases, the barrier to female membership could not be removed because there was not the two-thirds majority support which is required for a constitutional change.The statement continues, “In addition, Vincent’s Club consulted Atalanta’s as part of this process. Atalanta’s members expressed the view that they would rather Atalanta’s remained as the sole club representing women’s sport in Oxford. Vincent’s and Atalanta’s will continue to maintain their close relationship and women will continue to be welcome to enjoy the Vincent’s clubhouse.” However the vote has met with a mixed response among the Oxford sporting community. The Oxford University Netball club told Cherwell,”As the only female-only sports club in Oxford, OU Netball Club believe that Vincent’s membership should not discriminate on the basis of gender and that women should be able to be members of Vincent’s club, should they meet the ‘social, sporting and intellectual’ criteria for membership. Having our options restricted because we are women is NOT gender-equality. As frequent users of Vincent’s Club space, OU Netball Club were deeply shocked and disappointed to hear that the vote did not pass. We honestly believed that there was no tolerance in modern-day institutions for gender-based assumptions, exclusions and segregation.“Many of the men who voted against removing the stipulation of ‘male’ from Vincent’s membership requirements appear to have done so based primarily on the belief that it was not wanted by Atalanta’s Club, representative of the views of sportswomen of Oxford. OU Netball Club wish to make clear that the Atalanta’s position on the admission of women to Vincent’s Club is not an adequate nor accurate representation of the views of sportswomen in Oxford. Atalanta’s represents only 7.8% of sportswomen in Oxford and there are women’s Full Blue sports who have no Atalanta’s members at all.“The outcome of the Vincent’s Club vote has reaffirmed the institutionalised sentiment within Vincent’s Club that women (or anyone who identifies as anything other than ‘male’) are not welcome, wanted, or worthy of Vincent’s Club membership. It is deeply disturbing that one of the strongest opponents of Vincent’s Club membership becoming open to women was from Atalanta’s, a club set up to strive for the equality of women’s sport in Oxford University. The extent to which this influenced the outcome of the vote remains unclear.“OU Netball Club are, and will remain, committed to promoting gender-equality and decry the upholding of institutionalised sexism at Oxford University.”Rosie Barker, Women’s Lacrosse Blue and a student at St Catherine’s College, also commented on the decision, remarking, “I think people aren’t really giving their opinions [on women’s membership of Vincent’s] because we are all quite divided on what should happen. I think we could just concentrate on making Atalanta’s a stronger club and have some integration with Vinnie’s. Equally, there should be equality between the sexes in sport and therefore I do think it is bad that the men’s club have voted essentially against this principle.”  Âlast_img read more

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Ocean City Council Says No Way to Marijuana

first_imgBy Maddy VitaleCity Council took a strong stance Thursday night to preserve the community’s family-friendly atmosphere. To go with its ban on alcohol sales since the 1800s, the city is also prohibiting the sale of marijuana, keeping with its slogan “America’s Greatest Family Resort.”In a unanimous vote, Council adopted an ordinance prohibiting marijuana facilities within one-quarter mile of a school, church, recreational or sports facility, the Boardwalk and any residential area. It would effectively outlaw businesses from selling marijuana or pot paraphernalia in all parts of town.Council President Peter Madden said after the meeting that the ordinance just makes sense for Ocean City.“I think it is a matter of what Ocean City is all about,” Madden said. “You can’t buy a drink in this town, why would you be able to buy marijuana? This ordinance is the right move for our town.” Ocean City is following other towns that have already passed local laws banning marijuana sales in anticipation of the state Legislature and Gov. Phil Murphy legalizing the recreational use of pot. Murphy made it a campaign promise to make recreational pot smoking legal, but the Legislature has not yet been able to agree on a bill.City Solicitor Dorothy McCrosson explains at a meeting in January that communities can ban marijuana sales, even if the state Legislature legalizes it.At a prior Council meeting, City Solicitor Dorothy McCrosson explained to the Council that by banning cannabis sales, the city also bows out of receiving revenue from a tax on marijuana dispensaries.She also advised the Council that they could legislate with an ordinance their stance against the legalization of marijuana. On Jan. 10, Council voted to introduce the ordinance 7-0. Thursday night’s vote gave the ordinance Council’s final approval.Mayor Jay Gillian said of the vote to prohibit marijuana sales, “This is a continuation of what Ocean City is all about. I believe in medical marijuana,. I’m for that, but recreational use – no way.”City Clerk Melissa Rasner explained that since the ordinance involves land use law, the measure would need to go to the county’s Planning Board for its approval.After that time, she said the ordinance would go into effect within 20 days.Founded in 1879 as a Christian resort by a group of Methodist ministers, Ocean City has always been a “dry” town” with its ban on alcohol. It is one of the hallmarks of the safe and family-oriented image of the community. The Council members said keeping with what makes Ocean City such a special place to live and raise a family is exactly why the ordinance is needed.“I’m all for it,” Councilman Bob Barr said of the ordinance.Barr has adamantly opposed the legalization of marijuana, saying it has the potential to be a gateway to other drugs.Councilman Michael DeVlieger echoed Barr’s sentiments while stating his support for the ordinance. DeVlieger added that it is sad that the matter should have ever had to be contemplated. City Council bans pot shops taking a strong stance to keep community family friendly.last_img read more

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Speech: Proud to be dyslexic

first_imgFirstly, stigma.I recently went public as a dyslexic. And I have been overwhelmed by the sheer outpouring of support. Texts, emails, messages from fellow dyslexics and other people with their own similar stories to tell.Other MPs I had no idea were dyslexic. One other member of the Cabinet: Brandon Lewis, also dyslexic.It turns out dyslexic ministers are a bit like buses. You wait ages for one to turn up then 2 come along at once.It really shouldn’t have been a surprise. Not when dyslexia affects 1 in 10 people. And when the skills the world increasingly needs ‒ creativity, lateral thinking, empathy ‒ these skills are often more prevalent in dyslexics because we find written communication that bit harder.Just to put that in context: the same percentage of the population are dyslexic as are left-handed.Not the majority. But certainly part of the mainstream.So why did it take me so long to come out as a dyslexic?If I’m honest, it’s in part because there was still a fear. A fear that the old stereotypes about dyslexics would get dredged up.That we’re lazy. That we’re stupid. That we can’t do the things that come so easily to other people.Now, those stereotypes have been proven to be lazy and stupid in themselves. Because there’s nothing a dyslexic can’t do. In fact, there’s many things that we can do better.A dyslexic painted the Mona Lisa, the most famous painting in Western art.A dyslexic invented the electric lightbulb, ushering in a new age for mankind.And a dyslexic discovered the theory of relativity, setting a new definition for the word ‘genius’.Yet, Made by Dyslexia’s recent research found that 9 out of 10 dyslexics said they had been made to feel angry, stupid or embarrassed because they had dyslexia.That’s true for me too.And only 3% of the wider public believe dyslexia is a positive trait. Unbelievable.Somehow, in 2018, there is still a stigma, a prejudice.That dyslexics are less rather than more. Or at the very least, not equal to other people.And it’s true. There are some things that come with greater difficulty to us – like spelling.I used to dread spelling tests at school. And if it wasn’t for the simple invention of spellchecker there’s a very good chance I wouldn’t be standing before you today as health secretary.It’s one of the reasons I am such a firm believer in the potential of technology to help people fulfil their potential. So thank you Bill Gates for your incredible invention, and Steve Jobs for the one I use every day now too. I even used spellcheck to write this speech. I even find the word dyslexic quite hard ‒ why couldn’t they come up with a simpler name for it?!But I think the real reason dyslexia is still seen by some as a drawback is because they still look at life through a 20th, or even 19th, century lens instead of a 21st century lens.Where they prioritise straight-line thinking, not creativity or insight.I can understand the importance of spelling and how we need a standardised system so we can read and write without misunderstanding each other, I just struggle to see what order the letters go on the page.And I reject those who say that spelling isn’t important.Just because I find it hard, doesn’t mean I don’t value it.For me, relearning spelling through phonics got me to a position I can just about manage on paper.And then, like all dyslexics, I’ve got my workarounds.Like requiring short briefings. And really scratchy handwriting, so it’s harder to spot a spelling mistake.It’s what we specialise in: how to adapt and thrive in a non-dyslexic world.But wouldn’t it be so much easier, and better, for everyone involved, if we could change mindsets?Change mindsets in schools and colleges? In offices and workplaces? If a young child coming into school isn’t made to feel inferior to his or her classmates simply because their brain is wired differently?Because that is where stigma starts. And the worst kind of stigma is the one that is internalised. When you actually believe that you’re incapable. That you can’t rather than can do something.Schools that are using phonics are starting to address this.Since the government introduced phonics screening checks in 2012, we have seen the number of 6-year-olds reaching the expected reading phonics standard go from 58% to 82% this year.And I would like to pay tribute to the Department for Education for all of the work they have done, to fund specialist resources for teacher training, new advanced online modules on dyslexia so we can enhance teachers’ knowledge, understanding and skills.This is all welcome, and it is what the government’s reforms were designed to do.I believe that education, health, public health and social care commissioners should work more closely together to better deliver for children and young people with different educational needs.I want to see every child taught according to their needs. And this brings me to the second thing I would like to talk about – early assessment.Now, I discovered I had dyslexia pretty late on. I was already at university. I’d made it through school by specialising in maths subjects. And then when a brilliant tutor saw that my ability to talk was very different to my ability to write, he suggested I go and get myself tested.That was the breakthrough moment. I retaught myself grammar and spelling from scratch using computer courses.I was caught early enough. Diagnosis made adaptation so much easier. But there are still too many stories of late assessment, which makes it that much harder.Early assessment and identification of dyslexia is essential to keeping a child’s life chances and horizons open. With the right support and technology anything is possible if you’re dyslexic.I think every child who needs a dyslexia assessment should get a dyslexia assessment to ensure children with different educational needs get the support they need.It’s only by early assessment that we can ensure dyslexics fulfil their potential and that, as a society, we start to see dyslexia not as a weakness, but as a strength. A huge strength to draw on, to meet the challenge of the changing nature of work, and the technological revolution coming around the corner.That is my third point today: why the world needs more people to think like dyslexics do.Over a generation, automation has moved the world of work from valuing brawn to valuing brains.Over the next generation, as the march of the machines takes over straight-line cognitive functions, what will set human beings apart from the machines is our creativity, our intuition, our emotional and social intelligence, our ability to think laterally and imaginatively, our visualisation, our reasoning, and how we can bring a fresh perspective to an old, sometimes seemingly intractable, problem.That’s what will set us apart from the robots. And those are exactly the skills and strengths that dyslexics have in abundance.We know that better decisions are made when people bring different perspectives. That’s what underpins my profound belief in the value of diversity.Throughout my career I’ve sought to promote diversity: of background, of race, of gender, of sexual orientation.Not just because as a liberal conservative, I believe in the equality of opportunity for each and every one of us to reach their potential, and I believe in the role of society and the state to see that justice made real.But more than that, I admire what Idris Elba calls diversity of thought.Dyslexia is another dimension of diversity of thought: and maybe because I’m dyslexic that’s why I feel so strongly about it.So rather than trying to get dyslexics to think like everybody else, we should value the diversity of thought dyslexics bring.Imagination, creativity, neuro-diverse dyslexic abilities are the skills of the future.Our strengths can help build better businesses, spark innovation, and create new solutions.We may in fact hold the answer to some of the biggest challenges in education, employment and wider society.So we shouldn’t fear dyslexia, or see it as a weakness. We should embrace it and see it as a strength.And if anyone ever tells you dyslexia is just a disability or a drawback say: no.It’s a mark of distinction, a mark of difference, which has driven some of humanity’s greatest ever achievements.And let us each say, clear and loud: I am proud to be dyslexic. My name’s Matt Hancock, I’m proud to be Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, a member of the Cabinet and of Made By Dyslexia.And having not talked about it for almost the whole of my adult life, I’m proud to be here today at the Global Dyslexia Summit, saying to dyslexic people the world over: you can do it.For years, dyslexia was seen as a problem. And sure, it brings its challenges.For me, I find long words hard to spell, and dense writing hard to read. I get frustrated when people use long words when a short one will do.But for me, for us, and for the world, let us say it loud and clear: dyslexia brings challenge ‒ your brain works in different ways, but with the right support, dyslexia brings big benefits too.Dyslexia isn’t a disability, but a difference. It’s a distinction, not a drawback.It’s like we’re on Android when most others are on Microsoft Windows.Now, when you have different operating systems, there’s going to be interface issues. Some misunderstandings.Like when I was a boy driving home with my parents and I saw a sign saying: “Swan wood for sale.”In my mind, there was a whole wood of swans for sale.Just picture it – like us dyslexics are so good at doing.An entire wood full of swans. For sale!After making my parents take a long detour, we arrived back at the sign.My parents looked at the sign, and then looked at me.“Matt, it’s not swan wood for sale. It’s sawn wood for sale.”That was a long drive back home, involving a lot of mickey-taking at my expense.But. We did get a boot full of sawn wood to see us through the winter.Like I said, some misunderstandings. But some big benefits also.There’s 3 things I would like to talk about today: ending stigma early assessment how the world needs more people to think like dyslexics dolast_img read more

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New Festival Established To Benefit At-Risk Youths Through Music Education

first_imgProject Primavera is a non-profit organization that based out of Florida that uses music to positively impact the lives of orphaned and at-risk youths. Each year, the organization pairs foster kids with musicians to serve as mentors and teachers and provides free professional music lessons to kids in foster care through the Sherriff’s Youth Ranch in Tampa. To benefit their awesome cause, the non-profit is throwing a one-day music and arts festival on April 8th in Safety Harbor, Florida called the Primavera Music and Arts Festival.The festival is set to be a family-friendly affair and whose ultimate goal is to create 200 new mentors for Project Primavera to directly impact the lives of underprivileged children. Kicking off the day with a hot-air balloon egg drop, musical acts Soul Circus Cowboys, Have Guns Will Travel, The Black Honkeys, and Ethan Parker will all perform before a fireworks show over the water ends the night. Food trucks will be hanging around all day to keep the masses fed, though VIP tickets are available with catered food as well.General admission for the event is free, with the ability to buy premium and VIP tickets that will support the organization. You can get more information about the awesome benefit festival via the festival’s website, and check out what Project Primavera is all about in the video below.last_img read more

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