Category: tmstwkno


Letters to the Editor for Tuesday, May 21


first_imgBefore voting in Schenectady’s school board election, consider the district’s school quality, reading and math scores, and graduation rates since 2013 when candidates Lewis, Reilly, and Chestnut were elected to the board and a new superintendent was hired.  In 2019, the state Education Department identified six Schenectady elementary schools (Keane, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lincoln, Paige, Pleasant Valley and Yates) that are among the lowest 5 percent of schools in the state. Only four district schools were not cited for academic deficiencies. Last year’s on-time graduation rate of 58 percent was no better than in 2013. Additionally, fewer than 50 percent of SCSD’s African-American and Latino students graduated on time in 2018.Last year, English-Language Arts (ELA) proficiency rates for the district’s African-American students was 15 percent and 17 percent for Latino students. Overall, 22 percent of Schenectady students were ELA proficient. The changes from 2013’s ELA proficiency rate is due to changes in state testing. Schenectady schools lagged behind statewide ELA proficiency increases.In 2018, only 13 percent of all Schenectady third- through eighth-graders were math proficient. Math proficiency for African-American and Latino students was less than 10 percent. For details, see www.facebook.com/SDFelderman/Whoever is elected to the board will need to press hard on academic improvements and hold the administration accountable.Scot FeldermanSchenectady Nisky board member had info on issues Reach compromise on the environment Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionSpa should adopt inclusionary zoningSustainable Saratoga applauds our city government for supporting new workforce rental housing developments in Saratoga Springs.However, we encourage the City Council to go farther to foster a more economically resilient, stable, and Sustainable Saratoga by working to create a more diverse portfolio of housing opportunities.The new generation of Saratoga residents can’t afford to live in the city where they were born.Saratoga Springs needs a comprehensive strategy to provide housing across a range of income categories, without depending on government funding.Most of the new affordable housing units target low-income households. Kudos to The Daily Gazette for their April 28 editorial “Time to get busy on environment,” advocating action on climate change by the New York State Legislature before their summer recess.As noted by The Gazette, the Climate and Community Protection Act (“CCPA”, Senate bill S2992, Assembly bill A3876) is an ambitious piece of legislation that requires the Legislature’s full attention.However, Gov. Andrew Cuomo included equally ambitious legislation in his Executive Budget proposal that had very similar goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and for addressing environmental justice concerns.Unfortunately, negotiations over the details of a compromise bill seem to have stalled, threatening what should be a slam-dunk piece of legislation for the environment and the Democratic majority.I urge everyone with a stake in these negotiations to remain flexible and accept whatever changes are necessary to ensure passage this session of some of the strongest climate change legislation in the nation.Otherwise, another year will pass before New York State is truly committed to a carbon-neutral economy and a just transition away from fossil fuels.Bryan SwiftAltamontcenter_img Middle-income households also need housing opportunities.Diversity of household incomes within individual housing development projects would make them more inclusive, avoiding the problem of segregating housing by income.Current projects are all rental units. Saratoga needs more home ownership opportunities, so that low- and middle-income households can build equity.Almost all current workforce-housing projects depend on state and federal low-income tax credits. We caution the city against relying solely on unpredictable tax credits for its affordable-housing strategy.We urge the City Council to formally adopt inclusionary zoning to address the inadequacies mentioned above. Inclusionary zoning, with creative local public-private financing efforts, would guarantee the development of new mixed-income rental and owner-occupied housing units.The council has been studying the proposed Spa Housing Ordinance for several years. It’s time to stand up for the community and make a long-term commitment to sustainable affordable housing.Art HolmbergSaratoga SpringsThe writer is chair of Sustainable Saratoga. This is in response to Edward A. Carangelo’s May 16 letter (“Backus will meet the challenges in Nisky”), and comments made by Board of Education member Brian Backus at the Meet the Candidates forum. In Mr. Carangelo’s letter, he claims that Brian Backus stated “no member of the represented groups had chosen to speak to him before the meeting about the issues brought up to the board.” Sadly, this statement is simply not true.I serve as secretary for the Niskayuna School District Employees Association (NSDEA), which includes kitchen staff, custodial and cleaning staff, security, print shop, and IT personnel, bus drivers, and grounds and maintenance staff. As secretary, I drafted a list of urgent safety issues that was hand-delivered by our union president to each board member, including Mr. Backus, on March 12. We did not receive a reply, let alone an acknowledgment, from Mr. Backus or any other board member.Mr. Backus made comments at the forum that our presence at a recent Board of Education meeting was disruptive because it overlapped on an evening honoring several of our students. I disagree. I’m glad that over 80 employees could attend and cheer our students on at a meeting that normally would have had a handful of attendees. Faculty and staff are the ones in Niskayuna who work directly with the students and provide all the educational, health, athletic, transportation and other services available at this great district. We are proud of their accomplishments, and our students always know they have our full support.Richard StigbergNiskayuna More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more


Interest rate hike kills off investment deals


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More North Queenslanders putting their homes under the hammer


first_img119 The Esplanade, Toolakea is for auction on February 4.“It creates an atmosphere and the buyers get to see the actual house they bit on and not just a picture on the wall.“Most agents also do a final open house half-and hour before auction and I’ve actually experienced sales were the buyer literally saw the house for the first time during that final open house, fell in love, decided to bid and won.”The auction process also generated greater competition among buyers, resulting in a better result for sellers and buyers.“For the buyer there are great advantages. The process is transparent, the buyer has the opportunity to know everything about the property before they even bid,” he said.“The buyer will have a good indication of the market value of the property through research or by obtaining an independent valuation from a registered valuer. “Armed with all the facts they can then bid with confidence or beat the competition and put an offer in before the auction. 49 Sycamore St, Pimlico is schedule for auction January 30“Remax agents have been busy and have booked up to three properties to take to auction every weekend for most of January and into February, ”he said.“More sellers and agents are beginning to understand the benefits of the Auction process. “When the process is followed correctly it can drastically reduce the time on the market and generate top dollar for the property. “Auctions are the purest way of selling. There is no price on the property for buyers to try and knock down and the seller will get a good idea of where the market sees value in the property, over the four week process.”Mr Musumeci, who auctioned two properties last weekend and will put three more under the hammer this Saturday, said all of his sales were conducted on site.“There are some agencies that auction of their properties in house but personally I love doing them on-site,” he said.More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020 Remax auctioneer Sam Musumeci predicts a good auction market this year.MORE North Queenslanders are choosing to sell their property under the hammer with around 10 properties heading to auction each week. A parcel of land on Magnetic Island kicked off the what is hoped to be a successful auction year when sold by Smith And Elliott Real Estate for $250,000 last week.Re/Max Auctioneer, Sam Musumeci said Townsville’s auction market was shaping up to be the best it had been years.center_img 18 Charlotte St, Aitkenvale is scheduled for auction on February 4.“Where else, other than at an auction, does the buyer know what the competition is offering?”In a private treaty sale it is against Queensland law to reveal what another buyer is offering on the property.“If the agent is well trained and experienced in the auction process, it is definitely the ideal way of selling. In a turning market, putting a price on the property greatly increases the chance of underselling.” Sam said.“Most of the top agents in Townsville prefer Auctions and for good reason.last_img read more


Institutional investors ‘uncertain’ over risk-factor exposure in equities


first_imgOf the most common, a value tilt was used by just over one-third of those who use tilts, with quality, size and momentum each used by 16.9% of investors.However, despite the fact over-exposure to certain factors was a top concern regarding the use of risk-factor tilts, only 18% of respondents was ‘very certain’ of the total risk factor exposure in the entire listed equity portfolio.Just over 50% was ‘moderately certain’, while the remaining 31% was either ‘fairly uncertain’ or entirely unaware of cross exposure.Further analysis on three pension funds – one each from the UK, Europe and the US – Northern Trust found that investors’ use of varying tilt strategies negated any positive tilts through contradicting methods.As a result, those using a wide range of active and passive equity strategies in the portfolio ended up with a neutral factor exposure, despite intended tilts to one or more factors, the US asset manager said.“The portfolios do not always reflect the investors’ goals and objectives,” NTAM said.John Krieg, managing director of institutional distribution at Northern Trust, said the ability to understand cross exposure was imperative in multi-factor tilt circumstances.“The fact fewer than one in five respondents felt certain of their factor exposures shows the difficulty of monitoring a large, complex institutional portfolio,” he added.On analysing three pension funds’ equity portfolios and discovering a neutral factor tilt, despite intended exposures, Krieg said: “In general, taking an experimental approach to factor-based investing does not produce the desired results.“Investors have a greater likelihood of success if they make a substantial commitment to these strategies.” A significant proportion of global institutional investors are unaware of risk-factor cross exposure when applying tilts in equity portfolios, a survey has shown.The concept arises from applying risk-factor tilts in both active and passive equity portfolios, which has become increasingly common in recent years.Some of the tilt strategies are referred to as smart beta or alternative index strategies.A survey of 139 global investors by Northern Trust Asset Management (NTAM) found a slight majority (51%) use factor tilt strategies within their listed equity portfolios.last_img read more


Why 2016 made a monkey out of market-cap indices


first_imgLast year was the Chinese year of the monkey – and the monkeys ruled over traditional passive equity investing, too, according to academic research. In an influential 1973 book ‘A Random Walk Down Wall Street’, economics professor Burton Malkiel famously quipped that “a blindfolded monkey throwing darts at a newspaper’s financial pages could select a portfolio that would do just as well as one carefully selected by experts.”Fast-forward to the start of this year, and more financial academics had monkeys on their minds. Looking back on 2016, Andrew Clare, Nick Motson, and Stephen Thomas of City University’s Cass Business School set out to ascertain whether the monkeys had again beaten the professionals.In 2011 the trio had established that randomly weighted indices (i.e. those chosen hypothetically by monkeys) outperformed market-cap weighted indices 99% of the time, when backtested on US equity markets between 1968 and 2011.Using the 500 largest stocks listed on the NYSE, Amex, and NASDAQ stock exchanges, the authors constructed a market-cap weighted benchmark. They then used the “Monte Carlo” randomisation technique to generate another one billion indices – the “monkeys”.In addition they measured the performance of eight alternative indices such as smart beta benchmarks, equal-weight benchmarks, and the maximum diversification technique first introduced by TOBAM founder Yves Choueifaty in 2008.Lastly, they generated an index based on the rules of the word game Scrabble, with weightings based on the score of each company’s three-letter stock market ticker – a technique Clare has used previously with much success.The monkeys“In the interests of animal welfare we have since released our monkeys back into the wild for a well-earned rest and some energy replenishing bananas.”In 2016, according to Clare, Motson, and Thomas, “88% of the monkeys managed to produce a higher return than the market cap benchmark”.“The average monkey return was 13.4%; the luckiest monkey achieved a return of 27.2%; while the unluckiest monkey managed a return of just 3.83%,” the researchers wrote.The trio’s market cap benchmark posted a total return of 11.6%.Almost 90% of monkey indices performed better than the market cap index, the researchers found. On a risk-adjusted basis, 67% of monkeys performed better.Smart betaThe best of the alternative indices was the fundamentally weighted benchmark, a composite of indices with companies weighted according to book value, dividends, cash flow, and sales.It posted a total return of 16.1% during 2016, the authors reported. The Scrabble-based benchmark returned 13.4%.Only the minimum variance index underperformed its market cap rival, gaining 10.2%.On a risk-adjusted basis, the maximum diversification index had the best Sharpe ratio of the alternative benchmarks. All alternatives had a better Sharpe ratio than the market cap index, the authors found.“Taken together, our results suggest that it was a pretty good year for Cass Business School’s monkey index constructors, and another poor year for market cap weighted US stock investing,” Clare, Motson, and Thomas wrote.They added: “2017 is the Chinese year of the rooster. It remains to be seen whether the Cass Business School monkeys will be crowing at the end of next year or not… but all the evidence suggests that they have the beating of market cap-weighted index investing.”The authors sought to reassure readers in the paper’s abstract: “In the interests of animal welfare we have since released our monkeys back into the wild for a well-earned rest and some energy replenishing bananas.”The full paper can be downloaded here.,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sites’Was 2016 the year of the monkey?’ – Clare, Motson, Thomas (2017)last_img read more


MaRINET2 Announces New Free Course on Offshore Renewables


first_imgMaRINET2 has launched its fifth free course on marine renewable energies, scheduled to happen from 22 to 24 April in Edinburgh, UK.The short course, entitled “Test and verification processes from tanks to the sea”, will be hosted by project partners FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility and European Marine Energy Centre, EMEC.These 2 to 5 days short courses are part of the Work Package 7, coordinated by WavEC, which aims to organize 10 short courses along the 54 months of the project.Just like the previous version of the international project MaRINET, the courses are organized and lectured by project partners, distributed equally among thematic areas such as wind, wave and tidal.Besides coordinating the short courses, WavEC is also hosting 3 of these courses.The registration deadline is March 17.MaRINET2 is a €10.5m project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, and coordinated by the MaREI (Marine and Renewable Energy Ireland) Centre in University College Cork. The project has been set up to accelerate the development of offshore renewable energy technologies by providing free-of-charge access to a network of 57 research facilities across Europe.last_img read more


‘Ursula’ infra, agri damage in Aklan hits P1.16 billion


first_imgDamaged houses and trees are seen in this inundated area in the aftermath of typhoon “Ursula” that hit Western Visayas on Dec. 25. According to the authorities, around P1.158 billion worth of damages to agriculture and infrastructure were recorded in Aklan due to the typhoon, which displaced thousands of people. AKEAN FORUM The local DRRMOs said 97 persons wereinjured, of which Malay had 29; New Washington with 21; Nabas (18); and Lezo(10). Ibajay incurred P176.775-milliondamage to infrastructure and losses to agriculture pegged at P39.642million.   The typhoon also damaged aroundP134.818 million to infrastructure and P12.565 million to rice farms inMalinao.  These include the towns of Kalibo with14,869 houses partially damaged; Ibajay with 9,319; New Washington (9,133); andBanga (8,994). The PDRRMO said a total of 10,298totally damaged houses were recorded in the province. Of the figure, NewWashington had 1,419 while Numancia had 1,233. Meanwhile, around 101,230 houses werepartially damaged in 17 towns when “Ursula” brought rains and strong winds onDec. 25, it said.     At least P60.600 million in productionlosses and agriculture were recorded in Altavas while P53.763 million worth ofdamages in agricultural crops were registered in Numancia.(With a report from Akean Forum/PN) BORACAY – Typhoon “Ursula,” whichravaged the province of Aklan, dealt a total of P1.16 billion worth of damagesto agriculture and infrastructure, displacing thousands of people, according tothe Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO).            Kalibo had the most number ofdisplaced residents with 73,135, followed by Malay with 50,568 and Ibajay with49,924, figures from the PDRRMO showed.   New Washington had 44,852 individualsaffected by the typhoon while Banga has 39,380 and Numancia has 38,924, itadded. Damages to crops were placed at aroundP434.192 million, P681.721 million to infrastructure, P25.588 million tolifelines, and P16.9 million to public utilities in the province. The totally damaged houses in Kaliboreached 1,167; Nabas with 986; Ibajay, 944; Altavas, 887; Banga, 813; Malay,735; Buruanga, 487; Makato, 361; Tangalan, 343; Batan, 296; Lezo, 285; Malinao,166; Balete,125; Madalag, 42; and Libacao with nine. According to the report, two personshave died in Ibajay, Aklan and one each in the towns of Malay, Nabas, Kalibo,Batan, New Washington, and Malinao. The final damage assessment report onJan. 3 showed eight people were killed and 462,395 individuals or 127,074families were affected during the onslaught of the typhoon, the PDRRMOsaid.     last_img read more


Billmeier aces Arlington Hobby Stocks


first_imgARLINGTON, Minn. (June 4) – Frank Billmeier was the hot shoe in the Premier Logistics IMCA Hobby Stock feature Saturday at Arlington Raceway as he started sixth and by the end of the first lap was leading the race.Billmeier held onto the lead for the remaining 12 laps to win the event. Charlie Rustman moved through the field to challenge but had to settle for second ahead of Shawn Harms.Newcomer Jason Reinke drove to the front of the Coors Light IMCA Sport Compact field from his 10th place start and dominated to win his first feature of the year.Changes in the lead came fast and furious in the Unhinged Pizza IMCA Northern SportMod fea­ture but it was Eric Larson scored first at the finish.The 95.7 IMCA Sprint Car feature only saw one yellow flag but it was a devastating one for Justin Allen. He had led the first 12 laps of the race and was quite a distance ahead when he got loose and spun. That gave Jeremy Schultz the lead and eventually the win.Matt Speckman led the last six times around the track in winning a hotly contested B&B Racing Chassis IMCA Stock Car main event.There were three different leaders in the MN 93 IMCA Modified feature, with Clint Hatlestad tak­ing charge on the last lap.last_img read more


Authorities find mummified remains while investigating sexual abuse case


first_imgOfficials in Newark, New Jersey are reporting that they found mummified remains inside of an apartment while investigating a suspect who was accused of sexually abusing a child.Authorities say they went to the home of Robert Williams after receiving allegations that he sexually abused a 12- to 13-year-old boy over several months, but during their investigation, they found an altar with mummified human remains that seemed to have been used in some sort of religious ceremony.Investigators say they found a head, part of an arm, and a torso dressed in a necktie and suit jacket in a plastic bin in Williams closet.Prosecutor Michael Morris told a judge Monday that Williams a danger to society and requested that he be held pending the trial.Williams public defender argued, however, that Williams should be released on home confinement and electronic monitoring and added that Williams has lived in the neighborhood for over 18 years and only has disorderly person offense on his record nearly 10 years ago.The judge noted that Williams’ alleged crimes carry a presumption of detention.Williams next court date is scheduled for Sept. 16.last_img read more


Your back-to-school (well, not quite) August streaming guide


first_imgHulu “Love & Basketball” “Beautiful Boy” If you’re looking for a reason to go down memory lane, this is it. This film reminds me of my childhood, as do most of the things found on Disney+. Anne Hathaway is Princess Mia Thermopolis from the make-believe kingdom of Genovia. She is faced with the challenge of finding her prince charming within 30 days to secure her position as queen. She learns of this news immediately after her graduation from Princeton University, which just so happens to actually be Bovard Auditorium. Mark Zuckerberg is receiving more media attention in recent days from his sunscreen faux pas and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questioning him in Congress, but this film is here to provide a look into his life as a college student while he created Facebook. Although Facebook is not the most popular social media network today, the drama that went into it is well worth viewing. Remember to take the plotline with a grain of salt as Zuckerberg was not involved in the project, even though those close to him helped create the book the film is based on. Other campuses are mixed in throughout the film to replicate Harvard University, but you should be able to recognize one of the lecture rooms in Taper Hall during the note passing scene.  “Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement” Calling law students and thriller fans! Acclaimed lawyer Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) and five of her brightest students become involved in a murder plot filled with twists and turns. The show wrapped up in May of this year, so you are all set to binge the entire 90-episode series. The Student Union and Bovard Auditorium, along with Mudd Hall and the Physical Education Building, can be spotted within the first few episodes and appear in later seasons as well. Netflix “Legally Blonde” “How to Get Away with Murder” “The Social Network”center_img Disney+ This film follows the haunting story of a father and son’s tumultuous relationship, portrayed by Steve Carrell and Timothée Chalamet. Nic Sheff (Chalamet) is an accomplished student but his battle with addiction takes over his life and alters the course of his future. As you can tell, this movie is one you should emotionally brace yourself for. If Chalamet isn’t your cup of tea, Carrell’s performance will make you reconsider. His acting capabilities go beyond what most of us are used to seeing with his portrayal of Michael Scott on “The Office.” If you enjoy the movie, be sure to check out the pair of memoirs that inspired the film written by Nic and David Sheff, respectively.  Amazon Prime Video Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) are life-long friends turned lovers with the same dream of playing basketball professionally. They both end up playing at USC prior to making it big. As their professional careers take them on different paths, their bond is tested. You’ll become invested and wonder throughout the film if both love and basketball can win. This film also has a $3.99 rental price, but it is well worth the cost.  Missing campus? While going virtual will remain the norm for students this fall, we’re bringing campus back to you in this month’s streaming guide. All of this month’s recommendations for films and TV shows feature USC’s campus. The majority of these claim to be filmed in other locations, like Harvard, Princeton and the fictitious Middleton University, so you’ll get to see all the places USC can be. “The Graduate” Appropriately titled, this film follows the life of 21-year-old college graduate Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) as he tries to figure out what he wants to do with his life post-graduation. His plans, or lack thereof, are interrupted by a seductress about twice his age. Regardless of what year you’re in, the worries and uncertainty that come with the future are relatable for all students. Out of the list, this movie is probably the easiest to spot campus in. Hint: Look for Doheny Library!  This is one of two films on this list that you’ll need to pay to view, but with a rental price of $3.99, I couldn’t resist including this classic. The movie follows the journey of Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) on her untraditional path to Harvard Law School. In the movie, Elle serves as president of Delta Nu at California University, inspired by USC’s chapter of the Alpha Nu sorority named Delta Gamma. Watch this movie if you’re in need of a pick me up or simply a fun breakup redemption story. Be on the lookout for Bovard Auditorium! Design: Claire Wong, Photos from IMDblast_img read more