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Roc City Rib Fest!

Roc City Rib FestNot sure what to do over the long weekend?
Why not spend it enjoying some of Rochester’sbest barbeque!

The Roc City Rib Fest will be held in Genesee Valley Park Memorial Day Weekend, starting Friday, May 27that 5PM! Along with various types of mouth-watering barbeque to taste, there will be several events throughout the weekend to enjoy as well. Don’t miss the Food Truck Throw Down Friday evening at the Roundhouse pavilion from 5pm-8pm, which puts some of Rochester’s best food trucks in head-to-head competition! Saturday is the Roc City Rib Cook Off between Behind BBQ, Rack’Em BBQ, and Big Pappa’sSmokin’ BBQ! Live bands will be playing all weekend, including Cherry Bomb, Tommy Brunett, and The Dirty Bourbon Blues Band! All events are covered in the $5 entrance fee (kids under 12 are free) which includes parking, kid’s activities, and so much more!

Come out and support our community! A portion of the proceeds will go to Golisano Children’s Hospital and the Ronal McDonald House of Rochester!

The High Falls Film Festival today announced the line-up of films for its 2013 edition, which will run April 18-21 at various local theaters. Although it will be the 11th installment of the festival overall, it is the first since 2011 and will feature a return to the festival’s original name and a renewed focus on celebrating women in film.

This is clearly a rebuilding year for the festival, which has a new executive director in Mary Howard and new director of programming in Kate Dobbertin Bernola. The festival will include 32 programs featuring 50-plus films over the course of four days (plus an additional event on April 14) and — at least at this time — a deliberate lack of big-name celebrity guests.

There will be no recipient of the Susan B. Anthony “Failure is Impossible” Award this year, in part because Howard says that the festival wants to take to time to “cultivate” the honor. Festival Board Chair Malcolm Spaull also stated at the press conference that the festival doesn’t want to bring in a celebrity “just for celebrity’s sake.” They want to find a recipient who is truly integral to women in film.

The festival took off 2012 to regroup and redefine itself. In 2009 the festival switched names to the 360 | 365 Film Festival and had brief partnerships with both the George Eastman House and the Rochester International Film Festival.

Dobbertin Bernola explained at Tuesday’s press conference at Little Theatre that the theme of the 2013 festival would be celebrating women in film, which is not the same as films directed solely at women. She said that when choosing movies for the festival she tried to keep an eye on appealing to a wide audience, while still keeping women filmmakers in the forefront.

The schedule released this morning still has several holes on it with films to be announced. Among the more interesting selections released by the festival are:

“The Girls in the Band,” a documentary about gender discrimination in the national jazz scene

“Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel,” a documentary about the highly influential fashion writer and editor

“How We Got Away With It,” a drama that was shot largely in the region

-The “Go Public” Project, featuring short films shot in support of public education

In addition, WXXI will partner with the festival on Sunday, April 14, for “Film For All.” The classic “His Girl Friday” will be broadcast on WXXI that afternoon, and there will simultaneously be a free screening of the 1940 Cary Grant/Rosalind Russell screwball comedy at the Central Library’s Kate Gleason Auditorium. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring High Falls Film Festival staff.

The festival will also offer visiting filmmakers, Q&A sessions, and educational panels on filmmaking. Parties are scheduled for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at the Inn on Broadway, Strathallan, and Eastman House’s Potter Peristyle, respectively. Fashion Week Rochester will present a fashion show in conjunction with a screening of the Vreeland documentary.

Tickets for films and events go on sale Friday, March 15, at the festival website. There will also be mobile box offices set up at around town at various dates and times, but details were not disclosed.

Great designers don’t just do design, they live design. Like them, we can learn how to practice design thinking principles both at work and at home.

As you start designing your life in 2013, here are five ways to begin:

1. Be optimistic, collaborative, and generative.
There’s something wonderfully gratifying about creating something new, whether it’s an award-winning design or a home-cooked meal.

2. Think of life as a prototype.
Conduct experiments, make discoveries, change as needed. Any process can be re-examined and tweaked. Look for opportunities to turn a process into a project with a tangible outcome.

3. Don’t ask “what?” ask “why?”
Instead of accepting a given constraint, ask whether this is the right problem to be solving.

4. Demand divergent options.
Don’t settle for the first good idea that comes to mind or seize on the first promising solution presented to you. Explore divergent options—and then set a deadline so you know when to move on.

5. Once a day, deeply observe the ordinary.
Make it a rule that at least once a day you will stop and take a second look at some ordinary situation that you would normally look at only once (or not at all). Get out in the world and be inspired by people.

Happy designing!

(Artwork by Martin Kay / IDEO)

Five mortgage servicers have provided over 300,000 borrowers with some form of mortgage relief as part of a settlement agreement, according to a report from settlement monitor Joseph A. Smith, Jr.

Bank of America, Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, and Ally reached a $25 billion mortgage settlement with state and federal officials in February 2012 over foreclosure practices. The agreement requires the banks to provide $20 billion in relief, but the servicers are not always credited on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

Thus, the gross amount of relief actually provided will be higher than what is credited.

As of September 30, 2012, banks reported they have provided $26.11 billion in actual consumer relief, which represents a value of $84,385 for each assisted borrower, according to the monitor.

“The relief the banks have reported is encouraging,” said Smith in a release. “But it is important to remember that no obligations will be met until I have reviewed, confirmed and credited them.”

The report explained some principal forgiveness on loans both owned and serviced by a servicer is credited on a dollar-for-dollar basis, but forbearance activities provide a credit of 5 cents for every dollar.

Smith added the information provided in the report “cannot be used to evaluate progress toward the banks’ $20 billion obligation” since it represents the gross amount.

While servicers can receive credit through a variety of forms of relief, at least 60 percent must be through first and second lien principal reduction modifications and no more than 10 percent can be deficiency waivers.

Servicers also have three years to meet the minimum relief requirements, but they are being encouraged to offer relief sooner through additional credit. If servicers provide first or second lien principal reductions or provide credited refinancing activities, they receive an additional 25 percent credit if the relief is completed by March 1, 2012.

Bank of America recently announced that it anticipates fulfilling consumer relief requirements in the first year.

If servicers don’t complete their requirements within three years, they will pay 125 or 140 percent of their unmet commitment amount.

Out of the $26.11 billion, $2.55 billion is from principal writedowns through first lien modifications, while $2.77 billion comes from second lien forgiveness or modifications. The majority came from short sales, $13.13 billion. Another $1.44 billion went towards refinancing.

As part of the agreement, servicers also had to implement more than 300 servicing standards by October 3.

Consumer relief obligations under settlement
Ally $200 million
Bank of America $8.5 billion
Chase $4.2 billion
Citi $1.7 billion
Wells Fargo $4.3 billion

Types of relief servicers can offer
-First and second lien modifications
-Enhanced borrower transitional funds
-Facilitation of short sales
-Deficiency waivers
-Forbearance for unemployed borrowers
-Anti-blight activities
-Benefits for members of the armed services
Refinancing programs

Rochester, N.Y. – Thousands in the Rochester area lost power overnight and it may be days before some homes and businesses get it back. “We are still assessing the damage in some areas,” says Rochester Gas and Electric spokesman Dan Hucko.

More than 23-thousand households serviced by RG & E had lost power by morning. As of 5:00 Tuesday more than 15-thousand were still in the dark.

“The trees were just going back and forth then everything went out,” says Marilyn Zambuto who lives in Henrietta. On Westminster Park it was lights out at 8 o’clock for everyone on the street. A night of tossing and turning ended the way it began.

“Everyone around us has power – all three sides of us! Just this street doesn’t have it,” says her husband Louis with a laugh.

RG & E says Sandy downed 500 power lines overnight. Securing the arching lines has been the number one safety priority. More than 30 poles will also have to be replaced. “We suggest this is going to be a multi-day event,” says Hucko. “The power could be out for some of our customers for several days.”

Crews are working from sun up – 17-hour days and help from Lancaster, PA will be arriving here shortly.

The Zambuto’s have spent the day reading by kerosene lamp. A gas fireplace keeps their house an acceptable – if not toasty – 65 degrees. But they are truly getting by via a long extension cord and a little help from a neighbors generator.

“He ran an extension chord over for us and that’s taking care of the refrigerator for us,” says Louis. When asked if they had good neighbors he replies “Oh yes, very good.”

While the Zambutos would like power back – soon – their thoughts are with family elsewhere. “We have family in New York City and are very concerned about them. We haven’t seen TV yet – so we don’t know how bad the damage is,” says Marilyn.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) recently announced a new $3 million rebate program specifically for the purchase of high-efficiency ENERGY STAR® refrigerators and clothes washers. The program begins Sept. 2, 2011 for more detail about super-efficient refrigerators and clothes washers.

Rebates of $350 will be available for high-efficiency refrigerators and $250 for high-efficiency clothes washers that meet Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) super-efficiency levels. Super-efficient appliances use significantly less electricity than the federal standard and are at the upper end of ENERGY STAR efficiency levels. Super-efficient clothes washers also use less water than standard washing machines.

According to CEE, the refrigerator is the single biggest power consumer in most households, accounting for about 15 percent of residential electricity usage.

Rebates will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis for completed applications, which will be available on a special web site to be launched prior to the kickoff date or by calling 1-877- NY-SMART (877-697-6278). Purchases made before September 2, 2011 are not eligible for rebates. The program will continue until funding runs out.

The new rebate program, supported by federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and approved through the U.S. Department of Energy for use by New York State, is called “Buy Green, Save Green NYS High-Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program.” Unlike the “New York State Great Appliance Swap-Out,” which ran from February 2010 until those funds ran out in March 2011, the new program does not provide rebates for freezers or dishwashers and does not provide rebates for recycling.

“We’re focusing on appliances where we can make the biggest energy efficiency gains,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “Our last appliance rebate program helped consumers save money on energy costs and provided a needed boost to retailers across New York, while reducing the environmental impact of older appliances. We are very pleased that New York residents took full advantage of this program, which supported Governor Cuomo’s goals for improving New York State’s environment and decreasing energy usage. We expect the new program to be just as successful.”

During “New York State’s Great Appliance Swap-Out,” which provided more than $16 million in rebates, 165,148 households participated across the state, and 169,866 appliances were replaced with 57,365 ENERGY STAR qualified appliances. ENERGY STAR appliances are up to 30 percent more efficient than standard models on the market.

More than 1,000 retailers across New York State participated, promoting the sale of ENERGY STAR products.

Participating households statewide replaced, purchased and recycled as follows:

  • Refrigerators – 80,638 replaced with 57,365 energy-efficiency models; 71 percent of old ones recycled
  • Clothes washers – 82,616 replaced with 60,453 energy-efficiency models; 73 percent of old ones recycled
  • Freezers – 4,242 replaced with 2,679; 63 percent of old ones recycled
  • Dishwashers – 2,370 replaced with 1,142; 48 percent of old ones recycled

Appliance Swap-Out figures by region are available here.

The funding described here was provided from the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program.  The State Energy Program provides grants to states and directs funding to State Energy Offices from technology programs in DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.  States use grants to address their energy priorities and to adopt emerging renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. SEP is distributing $3.1 billion of funding to the states and U.S. territories under the 2009 Recovery Act.


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