The recent petrol price drop was a huge relief to motorists around the country, but now the price may increase again.The Automobile Association warned on Tuesday, February 17, that the recent drop in fuel price could be short-lived.“International fuel prices have climbed by over 20 per cent since the last week of January,” the AA said in a statement.A spike in the Rand/US Dollar exchange rate has also put pressure on the fuel price, with current data predicting a March petrol price increase of around 68 cents a litre, with diesel and illuminating paraffin up by approximately 45 and 48 cents a litre respectively. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite
5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Comments Share Sponsored Stories 4 must play golf courses in Arizona How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Associated PressPARIS (AP) – A police union says three Saudi women who refused to remove their face veils at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport have been barred entry to France.A 2011 French law bans people from wearing Islamic face-covering veils anywhere in public.An official with the SGP-FO police union said Tuesday that border police asked the women to remove their veils after they arrived Monday on a flight from Doha, Qatar. The official says the women refused, border police refused them entry in France, and they returned to Doha Monday night. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly for the police. Supporters of the ban say the veil contradicts France’s principles of secularism and women’s rights. Some Muslim groups say it stigmatizes moderate Muslims.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Top Stories New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths
Arizona families, Arizona farms: providing the local community with responsibly produced dairy Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Comments Share 5 ways to recognize low testosterone RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) – Saudi Arabia has denied allegations that Syrians will not be able to perform the annual Muslim pilgrimage of Hajj this year because of a conflict with Damascus.The Saudi Hajj Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that preparations to receive Syrian pilgrims are being processed and are highly considered because of the “difficult circumstances” Syrians currently face.The statement follows a report Monday by Syria’s state-run news agency that Syrians would not be able to perform the Hajj because Saudi authorities had failed to agree on details in time. Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Countries normally agree on numbers of worshippers to make the pilgrimage ahead of time.Syria-Saudi relations have deteriorated over Damascus’ accusations that the kingdom is helping the rebels seeking to topple President Bashar Assad.Millions of Muslims participate in the pilgrimage.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Sponsored Stories Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement How men can have a healthy 2019 Top Stories
Clean energy: Why it matters for Arizona New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Forty members of the U.S. Air Force band were among more than 5,000 troops in the parade.Belarus, once part of the Soviet Union, has close ties with Russia, but Lukashenko has tried to serve as a bridge with the West by hosting Ukraine peace talks.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Sponsored Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Top Stories MINSK, Belarus (AP) — U.S. servicemen have marched together with Russian soldiers in the Victory Day parade in Belarus.The show of Allied unity in Minsk was in sharp contrast to the military parade in Moscow, which was shunned by the United States and most European countries because of Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict.Opening Saturday’s parade on the 70th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said it was “deeply symbolic” that representatives of the U.S. and Russian armed forces were taking part. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches Comments Share 5 things to look for when selecting an ophthalmologist
Top Stories LONDON (AP) — British police were questioning four Polish truck drivers Friday after authorities found 68 migrants crammed in the back of trucks at a port northeast of London.The 53 adults and 15 children were found during a “proactive” search Thursday at Harwich International Port in Essex, Britain’s Home Office said.The migrants were from Afghanistan, China, Vietnam and Russia. Some were hospitalized as a precaution, but all have now been released. The Polish drivers were arrested on suspicion of facilitating a breach of U.K. immigration laws. Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies The stowaways were discovered on vehicles that had arrived on the Stena Hollandica ferry from Hook of Holland, Netherlands.Britain’s border force uses sniffer dogs, heartbeat detectors and carbon dioxide probes to find stowaways.___This story has been corrected to show that the migrants were crammed into more than one truck, rather than a single container.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Comments Share Four benefits of having a wireless security system Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk Sponsored Stories Check your body, save your life Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober
Herrera grew up speaking Spanish in his early years and became ashamed to speak at school, so he shut down, he said. But he eventually found his voice through joining choirs in middle school and high school.Herrera eventually graduated from UCLA, earned graduate degrees at Stanford and the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and built a career in teaching.From 2012 to 2015, Herrera served as poet laureate of California. In March, he retired from teaching creative writing at the University of California, Riverside and is now a visiting professor in ethnic studies at the University of Washington.___Follow Brett Zongker on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DCArtBeat .Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. WASHINGTON (AP) — A son of migrant farm workers in California, Juan Felipe Herrera will be the next U.S. poet in chief.The Library of Congress announced Wednesday the appointment of Herrera as the nation’s 21st poet laureate for 2015 through 2016, beginning in September. Herrera, 66, whose parents emigrated from Mexico, will be the nation’s first Latino poet laureate since the position was created in 1936. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall The vital role family plays in society Top Stories How do cataracts affect your vision? Librarian of Congress James Billington said he sees in Herrera’s poems the work of an American original.“His poems engage in a serious sense of play — in language and in image — that I feel gives them enduring power,” Billington said in a written statement. “I see how they champion voices, traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity.”Some of the works Herrera said he most enjoyed writing were captured in “Half the World in Light,” a book of poems lauded for his experimentation and for documenting his Chicano experience in America.Herrera was born in 1948 in Fowler, California. His family of migrant workers moved often, at times living in tents and trailers along roads. His father learned English by paying fellow workers pennies to teach him each new word.Herrera said he is humbled and overwhelmed to be named U.S. poet laureate and to be the first of Latino descent.The laureate position involves crafting poetry projects and broadening the audience for poetry. The 2013-2014 poet laureate, Natasha Trethewey, launched a series of reports from locations nationwide for a “PBS NewsHour” poetry series to explore societal issues. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Comments Share Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility For his term, Herrera is envisioning a program with the Library of Congress that he calls Casa de Colores — House of Colors — to include people of every color and cultural background. He may host voice ensembles with young people to engage with poetry, perhaps taking a poem by Walt Whitman and then having a group write a poem together to perform in spoken word or with music. Or perhaps the public could contribute to a national writing project by making submissions online.“Yes, I am the first Latino poet laureate in the United States. But I’m also here for everyone and from everyone. My voice is made by everyone’s voices,” Herrera said.At the same time, he said, he also wants to encourage more young Latino students to write and read and benefit from the Library of Congress’ resources.“You know, we speak about understanding each other, having those conversations nationwide — culturally, historically — and yet there’s a lot of gaps,” he said. “So I want to assist with closing the gap of knowing about and hearing about our Latino communities in terms of literature, in terms of writing.“And I want our young Latinos and Latinas to write their hearts out and express their hearts out and let us all listen to each other.” Sponsored Stories Top ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day
Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility 4 sleep positions for men and what they mean Comments Share “We are making some critical decisions that are going to move the process forward in Iraq,” he said.“Prime Minister (Haider) al-Abadi has a plan. We support the plan and were part of the plan,” he added, while also acknowledging that the U.S. could be more “self-critical” about its role and improve on communications within the coalition.The 71-year-old Kerry is an avid cyclist who often takes his bike with him during overseas trips.He said while he expects to remain on crutches for some time he hopes to return to cycling.“The one big thing I will tell you about being on my back for a few days is that it gives you time to think,” he said. “It gives you clarity. I’ve had a lot of time to think about some of the challenges we face.”White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Kerry’s release indicates his determination to get back to his office and back to work.“The truth is he probably benefited from a little rest when he was in the hospital,” Earnest said.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Sponsored Stories He promised to be “absolutely, totally and fully engaged” in nuclear negotiations with Iran, saying he remained confident the June 30 timetable for completing a deal could be achieved.He said he expected to travel overseas to join in the discussions later in the month as they neared a critical juncture.“Our team is in Vienna right now working out very complex … details of this agreement,” Kerry said “It’s a tough slog. It’s not easy.”Kerry was injured May 31 when his bike struck a curb and he fell on a regular Tour de France route southeast of Geneva. He was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Geneva where X-rays confirmed the fracture of his right femur.The former U.S. senator from Massachusetts was later flown to Boston and underwent a four-hour operation June 2.Dr. Dennis Burke, an orthopedic surgeon, said Kerry’s recovery from surgery has been uncomplicated.“He is ambulating independently on crutches and working hard with physical therapy toward a full recovery, which we anticipate will occur in several months’ time,” Burke said in a statement.Kerry said he has been working the phones and spoke with President Barack Obama and other top administration officials on Thursday about issues including efforts to help Iraq stop advances by the Islamic State group. BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was discharged from a Boston hospital on Friday, 10 days after undergoing surgery on a broken leg he sustained in a bicycle accident in France, and he declared he had not missed a tick on key foreign policy issues during his recovery.Kerry left Massachusetts General Hospital on crutches but under his own power. He told reporters he planned to go to his nearby home in the Beacon Hill neighborhood for a few days before traveling to Washington next week. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Men’s health affects baby’s health too Top Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober
While she has avoided talking directly about a Greek euro exit, she has appeared to lay the groundwork lately for that possibility — and for preserving her own legacy, whatever happens.She has laid the blame squarely on Greece for failing to compromise before Tsipras’ referendum and touted German-led efforts to strengthen the eurozone’s defenses.“There is a lot at stake. The world is watching us,” Merkel told Parliament last week.“But the future of Europe is not at stake; the future of Europe would be at stake if we were to forget who we are and what makes us strong: a community of law and responsibility. If we were to forget that, the euro would have failed and with it Europe.”_____Olga Syrova contributed to this story.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. BERLIN (AP) — As Athens staggers toward what may be its final deadline, German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces one of the toughest decisions of her 10-year tenure: sacrifice political credibility at home by conceding more aid for Greece, or risk tarnishing her status as “queen of Europe” by sticking to her guns and facing the blame for the first-ever exit of a country from the euro.The pressure is enormous and one thing is certain: Merkel has to make a decision that won’t satisfy everyone. “Germany does not want to pay the price for keeping Greece in the eurozone by getting a transfer union in exchange,” said UniCredit’s chief German economist, Andreas Rees. “The ball is now in the Greek camp — only if Prime Minister Tsipras makes concessions, Chancellor Merkel might show some flexibility in exchange. If not, Greece is leaving the eurozone.”Late Thursday, Greece submitted a proposal for a new bailout worth nearly $60 billion in exchange for sweeping measures including pension cuts and tax hikes. It remained to be seen whether that would satisfy skeptical creditors. Hans-Peter Friedrich, a lawmaker with Merkel’s conservative bloc, told Deutschlandfunk radio that “we will ask critical questions.”The decision on Greece’s future is far from being Merkel’s alone. But as leader of Europe’s biggest economic power and a figure strongly identified with the eurozone’s rescue efforts, she has the experience and clout to steer the ship — and is a prime target for the blame if things go badly wrong.“She knows that a ‘Grexit’ would mean a failure of her crisis policies of the past five years,” said Julian Rappold of the German Council on Foreign Relations think tank in Berlin. Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall 0 Comments Share German Chancellor Angela Merkel listens to questions during a final media conference after an emergency summit of eurozone heads of state and government at the EU Council building in Brussels on Tuesday, July 7, 2015. EU leaders have called for a full EU summit to take place on Sunday, July 12, 2015 to continue discussion on the Greek crisis. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Sponsored Stories Greece’s “no” vote to reforms demanded by creditors “is a rejection of the rules of the economic and currency union,” Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said this week. The Social Democrat added that Athens could not be allowed to push through its national interests unconditionally.“Ultimately, every member state would demand special rights for itself like Greece,” he said, “and that would be the end of the eurozone.”If there’s a new deal with Greece, Merkel will need to go the German Parliament to get a mandate to open negotiations, and again to get approval for any bailout package that emerges. And although her government holds around four-fifths of the seats, she will be keen to ensure an agreement is tough enough that she doesn’t risk a major rebellion in her own conservative party.Already, a small but growing hard core of conservative lawmakers has long opposed eurozone rescue measures and has been signaling distaste at the idea of approving any further aid to a radical left-led government.Still, Merkel can draw on large reserves of political capital and long experience of emerging ultimately unscathed from difficult positions. She has long thrived on a cautious, methodical approach to politics and tends to avoid taking unpredictable risks. As she headed to an emergency eurozone summit this week, Germany’s top-selling Bild newspaper portrayed Merkel in a spiked Prussian helmet, with a headline declaring “today we need the Iron Chancellor.” It demanded: “no new billions for Greece.”The weekly Der Spiegel, meanwhile, pictured her among Greek ruins under the headline “the rubble woman” — a reference to the women who helped clear devastated German cities after World War II. Its message: “If the euro fails, Merkel’s chancellorship fails.”The headlines from the hardline Bild and the liberal-leaning Der Spiegel illustrate the balancing act that Merkel has performed, so far successfully, for five years: help struggling countries that accept tough budget cuts and reforms while convincing Germans she is defending their interests and wallets.Since Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called a referendum on creditors’ demands, she has dusted off her famous phrase “if the euro fails, Europe fails” (a slogan that Spiegel ironically echoed in its own headline.)It was a saying she used frequently in the early phases of Europe’s debt crisis as a general warning that the currency’s failure would endanger the idea of European unity. Now she has fine-tuned the message: danger to the euro would come from abandoning the rule-respecting, aid-for-reform principles of the rescue effort. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Top Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Men’s health affects baby’s health too “She would be perceived in future as the one who pushed Greece out of the euro. But she also now has very little room for maneuver inside her own party, and the German population is more and more skeptical.”Recent polls suggest that Germans are in no mood to cut Greece more slack, showing them solidly against more concessions to Athens and either evenly divided on the country’s euro exit or in favor of it leaving.Andrea Caroselli, a self-employed supporter of Merkel’s party from the southwestern city of Mannheim, said she hasn’t followed the situation in detail — “but I think Merkel’s policies are consistent, and that is right.”Vladimir Sedlak, a longtime Berlin resident originally from Slovakia, said he believes Merkel’s ability to be flexible is hindered by cost-cutting demands from Greece’s formal creditors, including the International Monetary Fund, but that she has been determined do the right thing.“Greece hasn’t played a fair game from the outset in order to buy more time,” said the 34-year-old who works for a sightseeing company.The mood is reflected in remarkably tough talk even from the junior partners in Merkel’s coalition, the center-left Social Democrats, who often criticized her austerity-heavy approach when in opposition from 2009 to 2013.
WASHINGTON (AP) — State-run health insurance markets that offer coverage under President Barack Obama’s health law are struggling with high costs and disappointing enrollment. These challenges could lead more of them to turn over operations to the federal government or join forces with other states.Hawaii’s marketplace, the latest cautionary tale, was awarded $205 million in federal startup grants. It has spent about $139 million and enrolled 8,200 customers for individual coverage in 2015. Unable to sustain itself, the state marketplace is turning over sign-ups to the federal HealthCare.gov for 2016. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies FILE – In this Feb. 12, 2015, file photo, Enrollment counselor Vue Yang, left, goes over some of the health insurance plans available to Laura San Nicolas, center, accompanied by her daughter, Geena, 17, while enrolling for health insurance at Sacramento Covered in Sacramento, Calif. State-run health insurance markets that offer taxpayer-subsidized coverage under President Barack Obama’s law are grappling with high costs and disappointing enrollment, challenges that could lead more of them to turn over functions to the federal government, or join forces with other states. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File) Arizona families, Arizona farms: working to produce high-quality milk “Our biggest concern is that you may see many states looking to enact taxes and fees, and that makes health care less affordable,” said Justine Handelman, policy chief at the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.Hawaii is the third state exchange going to the federal sign-up system, following Nevada and Oregon, which made the switch last year. Among the problems confronting states:–Minnesota’s MNsure faces a murky financial future. Its budget is balanced as a result of repeated cuts when enrollment has come in below projections, a tactic that cannot work forever. Despite a slew of proposals, no concrete changes came out of the state’s most recent legislative session. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has signaled that MNsure’s fate is on the table, including the option of shifting operations to HealthCare.gov.–The U.S. attorney in Boston has subpoenaed records dealing with the troubled rollout of the Massachusetts Health Connector, dating to 2010.–Colorado officials are considering big changes to the state’s marketplace, from pooling call centers with other states to dismantling the exchange and relying on HealthCare.gov instead. Although the market is on solid financial footing, it has fallen short of best-case enrollment goals. –A federal audit concluded that Maryland used exchange establishment grants from Washington to pay for $28.4 million in costs that should have been allocated to the state’s Medicaid program. State officials dispute that, but federal officials say Maryland should pay the money back. Separately, the original lead contractor for the state website has agreed to repay $45 million to avoid legal action over rollout problems last year.–In Vermont, a debate has been raging about whether to abandon the state exchange. Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin originally wanted a single state-run system for all residents, along the lines of Canada. Shumlin backed off because it would have meant prohibitively high taxes. He wants to fix the state exchange, still grappling with technology problems that plagued it from launch.___Associated Press writers Cathy Bussewitz in Honolulu; Kyle Potter in St. Paul, Minnesota; Steve LeBlanc in Boston; Kristen Wyatt in Denver; Brian Witte in Annapolis, Maryland; Dave Gram in Montpelier, Vermont; and Judy Lin in Sacramento, California, contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments Share Top Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too Twelve states and the District of Columbia fully control their markets. Experts estimate about half face financial difficulties. Federal taxpayers invested nearly $5 billion in startup grants to the states, expecting that state markets would become self-sustaining. Most of the federal money has been spent, and states have to face the consequences.“The viability of state health insurance exchanges has been a challenge across the country, particularly in small states, due to insufficient numbers of uninsured residents,” said a statement from the office of Hawaii Democratic Gov. David Ige, announcing last month that his state’s sign-ups were being turned over to the federal government.Now that the Supreme Court has ruled the Obama administration can keep subsidizing premiums in all 50 states through HealthCare.gov, no longer is there a downside for states turning to Washington. If the decision had gone the opposite way, state exchanges would have been a leaky lifeboat for preserving a major expansion of taxpayer-subsidized coverage under the law.With the pressure gone, “I think you are going to see much more of a hybrid across the nation,” said Peter Lee, who heads California’s state-run marketplace. Covered California fell short of its sign-up projections this year by nearly 20 percent, but Lee says it remains “a solid business proposition.” Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall States are “talking a lot about shared services,” Lee said. “It’s how you get economies of scale.”States could pool resources on functions such as labor-intensive call centers or use HealthCare.gov’s technology for online enrollment. They generally want to keep control over marketing, consumer education and oversight of insurance plans.Sustainability is the focus of the administration’s annual meeting with state exchange directors, scheduled for the end of the month in the Washington area. The two-day meeting is closed to the media.“Each state has a different set of circumstances that informs their approach, and we will continue to support their efforts,” said Mayra Alvarez, the federal liaison to state marketplaces.The pendulum probably will swing toward a greater federal role in the next couple of years, said Jim Wadleigh, director of Connecticut’s Access Health. Eventually, more states will want to take the lead, he said, because it gives them greater control over health care, particularly modernizing Medicaid programs for low-income people.In New England, there’s talk of a regional exchange.The insurance industry would welcome consolidation. 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Skip is beginning to test the first electric scooter that the startup built entirely in-house. They’re not quite ready for prime time, but Skip expects to deploy them in San Francisco this October.That’s notably when San Francisco plans to allow service providers to deploy electric scooters as part of the city’s first permanent permitting program. Skip’s current permit expires on October 14, but the company plans to reapply for a permit, Skip CEO Sanjay Dastoor told TechCrunch.For riders, they will likely notice the sheer difference in the size of this scooter compared to Skip’s previous models. Skip’s S3 is much larger than the company’s previous models in order to help riders feel more stable and secure on the scooter. The S3 also ditches the regenerative brake for a traditional hand brake and rear foot brake.This comes shortly after Skip announced it would bring back its scooters to Washington, D.C. following some battery-related issues that led to fires.The scooter fire in D.C. was caused by a damaged battery, though, it’s not clear if it was intentional or accidental. With this new scooter model, the battery was custom built for the shared electric scooter service use case and is also completely enclosed, which should help prevent it from getting damaged, Dastoor said.This swappable battery should also help with unit economics, given that it won’t need to be replaced as often. The battery pack, Dastoor said, can last for about 20 rides, with a range of 35 miles per charge. The custom battery also features diagnostic capabilities that can detect if it’s wet. Though, the battery is designed to be able to survive submerged in 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes.“What we’re looking at now is how do we actually do the swap,” Dastoor said. “We’re changing the model from taking vehicles off of the road to swapping out the batteries.”Dastoor said he currently envisions a warehouse with a bunch of electric vehicles lined up charging the batteries. Given that the current model relies on independent contractors to take vehicles home to charge them, you could imagine a world in which the independent contractors instead are responsible for picking up fresh batteries at the warehouse and then swapping them out with the depleted ones.Previous models of Skip’s scooters had swappable batteries and even cameras, but the cameras didn’t make it into the new version.“We are testing a variety of sensor systems to solve some of our key priorities, like parking compliance, rider safety and etiquette, and reliable location tracking,” Dastoor said in a follow-up email.And thanks to the modular design of the scooter, Skip can easily add and remove elements, such as cameras, locks and even regenerative braking.Bird, Uber and Lyft get another chance to apply for electric scooter permits in SF
Laguna Beach dealer Peter Blake has chutzpah. Twenty-five years ago, he abruptly left the restaurant industry after walking by a clean white space for rent. Two days later, he’d signed a lease and was well on the way to opening his eponymous gallery, a decision he made simply because he “felt like it.”Focusing on what is today known as West Coast Minimalism and Light & Space, Blake started off wanting to “show the great work of California artists,” giving exhibitions to the likes of Larry Bell and Mary Corse long before they were familiar names.AdChoicesADVERTISINGinRead invented by TeadsA quarter of a century later, Blake is regarded as the longest-running dealer of California Light & Space around. In an industry where galleries come and go, the quick-talking, energetic dealer has managed to endure the ups and downs of a volatile field. How? “I’d like to think it’s because I’m a tough motherfucker and I’ve got what it takes to be in this business,” Blake ventured. We caught up with the gallerist to talk about staying power, losing artists, and the highs and lows of his singular career.Installation view of “25 Years” at Peter Blake Gallery, 2019. Courtesy of Peter Blake Gallery,Congratulations on your gallery’s 25th anniversary. That’s no easy feat. Looking back to the beginning, how did you decide you wanted to start showing Light & Space artists and West Coast hard-edge painters?Actually, what led the gallery at the beginning was a geographic emphasis more than a type of art. I wanted to have a gallery that celebrated the artists of Laguna Beach so I went out and found the best artists in the area. A couple of years later, I organized an exhibition for an artist that was represented by L.A. Louver. That prompted a great relationship and even mentorship with Peter Goulds and Kimberly Davis, two of the gallery directors there, and myself. As time went by, I wanted to have the best artists from Los Angeles, so it became more of a regional gallery, then the whole state. For about 15 years, I exclusively showed California artists. Then I decided to start to show some New York and European Minimalists, which opened up the world. But I began as a California gallery and that’s what led to showing Light & Space and hard-edge work.Installation view of “25 Years” at Peter Blake Gallery, 2019. Courtesy of Peter Blake Gallery,You were working as a restaurateur when you suddenly decided to lease a space and open your gallery. Just this year, you decided to run for city council and won. This speaks to a real conviction of confidence, but also a sense of spontaneity. How do you think these qualities have informed your career? The restaurant industry I came up in is nothing like the hospitality industry of today, which is in and of itself a career that people take very seriously. The work ethic is different because people are trying to move up the ladder and get better and better jobs. Working with people who didn’t see that restaurant necessarily as a long term career really helped me learn how to manage artists, because as we all know art is a very difficult career to actually make a living doing. When I ran for council, I realized a lot of those skills were helpful to me from a political perspective. In the end, that spontaneity is a lot of what’s kept my gallery open. I opened a gallery out of nowhere because I wanted to. I was just naive enough and had just enough ambition and courage to do it. Same with the political thing—I woke up one morning and felt I’d had enough and got into it and wound up winning. I’ve been a very strong council member since I won, meaning a lot of people can’t stand me.How has the perception of West Coast art from the 1960s to today changed over your career?There’s been a tremendous change from the days when no one was interested or really respected these artists coming out of LA. Pacific Standard Time, the Getty initiative, totally opened up the world’s eyes to Light & Space and California Minimalism. Then in 2010, David Zwirner’s show “Primary Atmospheres” in New York was a kind of breaking point that signaled that New York had accepted California Light & Space. New York had accepted it, and therefore the world accepted it. Big galleries went on to pick up some of these artists; Larry Bell was picked up by Hauser & Wirth, Mary Corse by Lehmann Maupin. I remember art fairs where people would walk in and look around and say, “what is this?” and I would explain to them what I was showing. In the last few years, people walk in and know Larry Bell, Mary Corse, Craig Kauffman.Some of the mega-galleries are taking these California artists, and unlike me, just making them international artists who happen to be working in Minimalism, with a capital M, as opposed to California Light and Space or hard-edge. They’re being viewed as part of the Minimalist movement.Installation view of “25 Years” at Peter Blake Gallery, 2019. Courtesy of Peter Blake Gallery,How would you characterize the West Coast Minimalists as opposed to the New York school of Donald Judd, Robert Smithson, and the like?The LA minimalists and Light & Space artists are laid back. There is a sensual nature to their work. It’s more about beauty and references the atmospheres of California: the smog, the mist, the ocean. A lot of these artists were car buffs, they were surfers, they were working with materials in their art that they worked with at their jobs and in their lives.The New York Minimalists are more scholarly and academic. They were writers and able to insert their work into the context of academia. They could take nothing and turn it into something intellectual. The Californians I don’t think ever felt the need to contextualize their work, but let it speak on its own, as beautiful objects that capture the light of the environment.Many of the artists you’ve shown have become very established. Have all of the significant West Coast artists of this generation reached a kind of stratospheric level of recognition, or are there others that remain obscure?Certainly there are artists on the cusp right now. Peter Alexander is about to go big like Mary [Corse] and Larry [Bell]. A next generation of hard-edge painters is rising too. Scot Heywood is painting in that same lineage as John McLaughlin. Lita Albuquerque is a really remarkable multidisciplinary artist who operates not only within the Light & Space movement but also in performance, installations, video, and photography. We still have plenty of California artists from that generation who are waiting for this widespread recognition.Installation view of “25 Years” at Peter Blake Gallery, 2019. Courtesy of Peter Blake Gallery.Are there any moments that really stick out to you in your career as successes or failures?Sometimes the highs and lows are one and the same. Watching some of our artists get picked up by larger galleries and seeing prices skyrocket, on one hand you feel this incredible pride. You started showing these artists before anyone else did. But then you lose them. It’s a real dichotomy.With collectors, they’re thankful: “How many times has this dealer brought me something that he said I should buy, and look at what’s happened to it!” That’s measured with this low of, “I can’t get you that work anymore.” The artist gets so big that I have no access to their work, which is always distressing.It’s not an easy business.We’ve had this ongoing joke that started around 2008 and the Great Recession. When we would make a sale, I would look at my wife and my staff and say, “Well, looks like we all have a place to work for another month!” You’re only as good as your last couple of shows. It’s rare that galleries are supported with huge amounts of money. While today many galleries are owned and operated by people who have inherited a lot of money or whose spouses have a lot of money, those galleries usually last about two years.Even the richest people who open galleries get the call from the accountant that tells them, “Look, you’re losing a lot of money. You could take this same amount, write a check to LACMA, fly to the Hamptons, go to Aspen for ArtCrush, Basel in Switzerland, and throw parties in Miami, and you still wouldn’t lose this kind of money. So why would you want to endure this job?” Not many people want to roll walls and mop floors and pour people drinks and deal with all the BS that you deal with as an art dealer.So then, why do you? Freedom. It is one of the luxuries of the art world. I speak for myself—I do whatever I want, whenever I want. I don’t have anyone telling me what I can and can’t do. So if I want to show this today, I show it. If I wake up tomorrow and decide I want my gallery to focus on something else, I can do that.Most people in this world will never see a day or a month of that kind of freedom. It comes with a severe price, but if you’re willing to pay it, the art world is a great place to be.Any memorable experiences as a dealer?Because I show Minimalism, there are always these “what the fuck” people. That’s a most favorite phrase. Our gallery has an all-glass facade, so it’s pretty easy to see from the outside that there’s nothing you’d like to see. The incredible comments that arise as people try to determine “is this art?” are amazing.And I’d say the selfies are just the most horrendous part of going to art fairs now. People are so compelled to put themselves inside of an art work and make all of these faces and hand gestures. It’s ridiculous, the damage occurring as a result of selfie generation. We had our first major damage, the first insurance claim we ever made for over $250,000 because some father and son were playing hide and seek behind an artwork and knocked something over.We’ve had many near misses and close-calls as result of selfies.Installation view of “25 Years” at Peter Blake Gallery, 2019. Courtesy of Peter Blake Gallery.What’s on tap for the next 25 years? A couple years ago, during my second midlife crisis, one that couldn’t be solved with a red car and a divorce, I decided to introduce design works into the gallery program. I had always loved architecture and design just as much as art.A few years ago, we had this show called “Tendency of the Moment,” a survey from Bauhaus to about the early 1970s, based on the collection I built with my wife. It opened up a lot of dialogue that led to a better understanding of how those two worlds were headed into each other. Now, we proudly show design. We are getting ready to do Salon Fine Art in November and Design Miami in December.Lately, my gallery no longer feels like the white box it was for 25 years. Now, it’s become this kind of experimental space where we could have a pop-up dinner, music, tastings, poetry, show secondary market work, show design. I don’t feel that compelled to be locked up in the white cube anymore. Mind you, I am a total white-cube enthusiast and if I could return to the old days, I would. But we’ve left that place.Follow artnet News on Facebook: Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward. The ongoing protests in Hong Kong, which have drawn hundreds of thousands of the city’s citizens to the streets to make demands of their government, will now figure in two new projects by dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.The first is a work for the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma (Rome Opera House), for which he will design and direct a new version of Giacomo Puccini’s three-act production, Turandot. “This Turandot will be from my point of view,” Ai said in a statement when the production was first announced earlier this year. “It will be an opera immersed in the contemporary world, the present cultural and political struggles represented through Puccini’s story.”The protests in Hong Kong, sparked by a proposed extradition agreement with mainland China that would have made it harder for activists and journalists to seek protections, will now be the focus of his production, according to the Art Newspaper. “The demonstrations will definitely be reflected in the opera,” he told the publication.The entrance to the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome. Courtesy of Wikimedia images.In addition, Ai is also working on a documentary about the protests. Earlier this month, the artist sent a film crew to the city to gather footage.The demonstrators’ demands have grown since Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, withdrew the proposed extradition bill. Among them are a complete suspension of the proposal, which could currently still make its way to law; amnesty for every arrested protester; and an inquiry into allegations of brutal police tactics.The opera project, which was proposed by the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, also taps into Ai’s personal history, according to the Art Newspaper. In 1987, the artist, along with his brother, was an extra in stagings of Puccini’s work at the Metropolitan opera House in New York.“I would never have accepted if it had not been Turandot,” Weiwei said to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica earlier this year. “I have never forgotten [that experience] at the Met with my brother. I did it to maintain my studies, the work was culturally very far from my interests.”The details of how Hong Kong will figure into the opera are not yet clear. (The artist did not respond to artnet’s request for comment.) But the work, with a libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni, is set in China and follows a young prince who must solve three riddles to win a princess’s love. The work was left unfinished when Puccini died in 1924 and was completed by composer Franco Alfano in 1926. It was staged in Milan for the first time later that year.Weiwei’s Turandot is set to run from March 25 to April 5 next year.Follow artnet News on Facebook:
Weaving through the streets and belting out Christmas songs such as ‘Jingle Bells’, it was three nights of merrymaking, all for a very good cause. The list of places to visit included Victory Haven and Meena Place, among others.In the residential areas, children and their parents rushed out into the streets to be part of the action and walk away with some Xmas treats.Santa’s weary but happy helpers (aka Ladysmith Gazette staff) then took a well-deserved break and are now back at work to bring you the news in the new year! WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite Ladysmith Gazette staff – together with ABI, the Biddulph family and Sharaj Ambulance Services – were out and about on December 18, 19 and 20 to spread some joy by handing out toys, sweet parcels and Coca-Cola to underprivileged children in the Ladysmith area.This, as you probably know by now, was part of the annual ‘Toys for Joy’ campaign.The initiative saw the dynamic team once again heading out in a convoy, hauling ‘Santa’s Sleighs’ (filled with all sorts of goodies) and bringing some Christmas cheer to the little ones who are not so fortunate.
Oh Christmas tree, how I envy thee!The most important ornament you’ll find in the home of people celebrating Christmas is, of course, the Christmas tree. That sparkly, dazzling ornament of fake twigs and plastic leaves!For most people, this is the main focus, the centrepiece of the house – and some can go wild with decorations. It seems customary for most households to leave the tree up well into the next year. Better Homes and Gardens (bhg.com) suggested the following steps for decorating a Christmas tree:– Hang Christmas tree lightsThe first step in how to decorate a Christmas tree is adding the lights. Tree lights typically come on green or white wire strands; choose the strand color that matches your tree so the wire will be hidden. Illuminating your Christmas tree from the inside out will give it the most dynamic look. Start at the base of the trunk and work your way up, wrapping lights around every major branch, moving from the trunk to the tip and back. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite – Add Christmas tree garlandsThere are no firm rules when draping garlands on your Christmas tree. To avoid the “sausage effect” (branches bulging between tightly cinched garlands), start at the top of the tree and slowly increase the amount of garland between each wave as you work your way down the branches. Plan to use about two strands of garland for every vertical foot of tree.To avoid a busy look on your tree, use a variety of garlands from plain to fancy. Thin, beaded garlands look best hung from branch to branch; thicker paper, ribbon, or foil garlands look best wrapped loosely around the entire tree.– Hang Christmas tree ornamentsThe next step in Christmas tree decorating is to hang your Christmas tree ornaments. To showcase your favorites, place them in prime positions on the tree first. Next, hang your larger ornaments, spacing them evenly around the tree. Fill in around those ornaments with medium- and small-size ornaments. Be sure to hang some ornaments closer to the trunk to create depth and interest. Finish dressing the tree by adding specialty items, such as clip-on ornaments or icicles. Decorate the Perfect Christmas Tree by following this handy advice video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsDf0emteIU. A lot of people have different views on when it’s acceptable to start decorating their homes for Christmas.
WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite Aloclair is formulated to ease the pain of mouth ulcers and promote fast healing.Now available in three applications – gel, mouthrinse and spray – Aloclair forms a protective barrier over the ulcer, shielding sensitive nerve endings and giving fast, effective, long-lasting relief.Aloclair contains soothing Aloe Vera, liquorice extract, lubricating Hyaluronic Acid and PVP which forms an invisible, protective coating and promotes healing. Aloclair is made without alcohol, does not sting and is suitable for adults, children and babies.Dirna Grobbelaar, IVOhealth’s oral hygiene advisor recommends Aloclair.“Aloclair is suitable for all ages and can be easily applied wherever the ulcer is located. A rinse is great if you have several ulcers or if they are situated at the back of the mouth. The spray and gel are user-friendly in a young child’s mouth.“Aloclair forms a barrier over the sensitive nerve endings making eating, talking and drinking more comfortable and giving immediate pain relief.”Aloclair is available at Dis-Chem and leading pharmacies at these recommended retail prices:• Aloclair Mouthrinse (120ml) – RRP R109.95 – excellent for multiple, reoccurring ulcers; orthodontics and dentures; post-surgery / dental treatment• Aloclair Spray (15ml) – RRP R84.95 – makes hard-to-reach ulcers accessible• Aloclair Gel (8ml) – RRP R69.94 – for isolated mouth ulcersAloclair is distributed by IVOhealth, distributors of leading oral care brands. For stockists for further details www.ivohealth.co.za / call 0860 123 456 / firstname.lastname@example.org or find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/ivohealth.Mouth Ulcer FactsMouth ulcers, also known as canker sores, regularly affect around 20 per cent of the population and most people will experience at least one during their lifetime.Although mouth ulcers are not contagious and usually clear up in a few days, they can be extremely painful because they expose sensitive nerve endings, making drinking, eating and even talking uncomfortable. For some people the pain is so severe they cannot sleep.Who is affected?• Mouth ulcers can happen at any time, although they are more common when one is run down, busy or stressed; for example during exams, deadlines and end-of-year pressures.• Recurring mouth ulcers most commonly start during adolescence (between 10 and 20 years old).• Fluctuating hormone levels can be a trigger – women are more likely than men to experience ulcers. Ulcers can occur when premenstrual, tired, pregnant or menopausal.• Genetics seem to play a role – if your parents have had recurring mouth ulcers then there is a 90 per cent chance you will too.Causes • Once-off ulcers are usually the result of a minor injury (such as accidentally biting the cheek).• Babies and young children may be affected as a result of common viruses (including Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease).• Some medication causes mouth ulcers, as do allergies; people with coeliac disease may develop ulcers when they eat foods containing gluten.• People undergoing chemotherapy and radiography treatment for cancer are at higher risk of ulcers and sore mouths.• Trauma from orthodontics (braces) or dentures.• Smoking• Nutrition – deficiency of Vitamin B-12, folic acid and iron.Management and Treatment• Eat plain food and drinks, avoiding spices and salt or acidic drinks like orange juice that might burn.• Drinking with a straw to bypass ulcers in the front of the mouth will help, but be careful that the drink is not hot enough to burn the throat.• Avoid alcohol and tobacco, both of which can dry out and irritate the lining of the mouth.• Use Aloclair for immediate relief.Oral HygieneGrobbelaar warns against neglecting your oral hygiene if you are experiencing mouth ulcers or a sore mouth.“After eating and before going to bed, rinse with salt water, homeopathic Ora-Salts or an anti-bacterial mouthwash such as GUM Paroex – these will prevent the ulcer becoming infected and promote quicker healing. Ideally continue to brush your teeth correctly twice a day – use a soft-bristled or child’s toothbrush. If you find that your toothpaste stings, try using a non-foaming type like GUM Paroex Gel Toothpaste.”Next StepsMost mouth ulcers will last around 10 days before clearing up naturally. If an ulcer does not heal within two to three weeks, consult your doctor or dentist – oral cancer rates are on the rise globally and predicted to treble in the next generation. An ulcer can be an early indicator and it is important to rule this out.Recommended Products for Mouth Ulcers• Aloclair Mouthrinse (120ml) – RRP R109.95 – excellent for multiple, reoccurring ulcers; orthodontics and dentures; post-surgery / dental treatment• Aloclair Spray (15ml) – RRP R84.95 – makes hard-to-reach ulcers accessible• Aloclair Gel (8ml) – RRP R69.94 – for isolated mouth ulcers• Ora-Salts (120g) – RRP R54.95 – for natural relieve with sea salt and homeopathic ingredients• Sunstar GUM Paroex Rinse (300ml) – RRP R79.95• Sunstar GUM Paroex Gel Toothpaste (75ml) – RRP R39.95Available from Dis-Chem and leading pharmacies.All products are distributed by IVOhealth, distributors of leading oral care brands. For stockists for further details www.ivohealth.co.za / call 0860 123 456 / email@example.com or find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/ivohealth.CAPTION: Mouth ulcers can happen at any time, although they are more common when one is run down, busy or stressed; for example during exams, deadlines and end-of-year pressures. Photo submitted.
Two people were killed in a drive-by shooting on Thursday night along the Colenso Road, believed to be part of faction fighting in the Ladysmith area. It is alleged that a vehicle travelling along the Colenso Road in the Roosboom area drove past a bakkie and opened fire on the occupants.A hail of bullets tore through the bakkie, killing the driver and a passenger who were seated in the front of the vehicle. They died at the scene.The motive for the killing is unknown at this stage. One of the deceased has been identified as 35-year-old Thokozane Emmanuel Gamede. The second deceased has yet to be officially identified.Ladysmith detectives are investigating a case of murder. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite
Online booking travel agency Wotif.com has reported a record year profit of AU$53 million, growing its share of the online booking market for accommodation and flights. The company posted a 21.6 per cent rise in full-year profit, including an increase in net profit after tax of AU$9.5 million on FY2009, the company reported. “It was never going to be an easy task to beat last year’s numbers, so it is a real credit to the team here to have delivered another record outcome – increasing profits by AU$9.5 million, up 22 percent on last year’s strong gains,” Wotif CEO Robbie Cooke said. The profit increase was attributed to strong sales of 7.1 million room nights across the Wotif Group and a 23 percent increase in revenues from the sale of flights. The flight sales totalled AU$6.4 million in revenue and included receipts from the newly-launched Wotflight.com.”We see the sale of flights as an incremental value-add and a logical expansion of our offering to Wotif’s large customer base,” Mr Cooke said.The company declared a final fully franked dividend of AUD 12.5 cents, taking the full year payout to AUD 21.5 cents (up from AUD 17.5 cents in FY2009). Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.C
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: R.M 8Hotels Collection has celebrated their eighth anniversary as Australia’s largest boutique hotel company. At their Regents Court hotel rooftop garden in Potts Point Sydney 8Hotels head of marketing Lisa Wallis explained to e-Travel Blackboard how the firm has doubled in size over the last two years. “We now have 17 eclectic properties stretching from Australia to Bali and France,” Ms Wallis said.Fifteen of these hotels are in Australia, mostly city-based with seven in Sydney, complimented by the exclusive Chandra Luxury Villas in Bali and apartments in Paris. 8Hotels founder and chief executive Paul Fischmann started the successful Australian business in 2004 with his management team located at their Sydney Surry Hills offices.Awarded for HR excellence, the company employ 300 professional staff worldwide and are focused on proper hotel training, world-class hospitality and presenting stylish, unique interiors.8Hotels Collection offer 1000 rooms across a range of 3 to 5 star properties.Appealing to a mix of business and leisure clients, and popular with the gay community due to their prime locales, the company is expanding quickly. 8Hotels are searching for additional city-based locations around Australia and are seeking to develop internationally in destinations where Australians love to travel. Kylie, Marije, Roberto, Lisa, Sophie and Natalie – 8Hotels Collection
Left to right, Crown Metropol Melbourne’s General Manager, Harley Moraitis,Cecilie Algie, Administration Manager, Crown Metropol Melbourne and Stirling Mortlock AM, former professional rugby player. For the second consecutive year, Crown Metropol Melbourne has been presented with the HostPLUS Award for Luxury Accommodation at the annual RACV Victorian Tourism Awards. This prestigious accolade was presented to Crown Metropol Melbourne’s general manager, Harley Moraitis by newly retired rugby player, Stirling Mortlock AM at Monday night’s award ceremony held at Crown Melbourne’s Palladium ballroom. As a Victorian award winner, Crown Metropol Melbourne will represent Victoria at the Qantas 2012 Australian Tourism Awards being held in Hobart on 15 February 2013. Since officially opening in May 2010, Crown Metropol Melbourne has hosted over 750 000 guests, has garnered wide acclaim for the hotel’s stunning day spa, Isika, signature restaurant, Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar and has hosted numerous high profile events at “28”, the exclusive sky lounge.In addition, the hotel has hosted 180 events and over 25 000 conference delegates in 2012 alone. “The dedicated team at Crown Metropol Melbourne is truly honoured to receive this recognition. We’re very proud of our achievement and are thrilled to be part of the state of Victoria’s dynamic and evolving tourism industry,” commented Crown Metropol Melbourne’s general manager, Harley Moraitis. Source = Crown Entertainment Complex
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Although known for its romance, 11 percent of Hong Kongers said Paris would be the perfect cure for a broken heart. Image: Lloydi.com Hong Kongers travelling with a broken heart say China is the “hottest” place to help ease their sorrows.According to the latest ZUJI Travel Index, more than 28 percent of respondents said they would travel to China to move past their ex while only 16 percent said they’d go to Japan.Although best known for its romance, Paris came in third, with only 11 percent of Hong Kongers choosing the ‘city of love’ to cure a broken heart.The study also found, individual bookers dominated Hong Kong’s travel market in 2012, with 63 percent of all departures compared to 8.4 percent in 2011.The online group found booking rates during 2012 were up 20 percent on the prior year, with particularly strong preferences for destination like Taipei and Bangkok.