Fortress of St. Nikola in Šibenik opens on June 15

first_img “Our ultimate goal is a completely revitalized, landscaped and restored Fortress of St. Nicholas that will be open to visitors during the season. This requires enormous effort, hard work and continuous efforts in securing financial resources. But, once we finish this life project of ours, we will leave to future generations a restored, originally preserved and dignified UNESCO monument by which the city of Šibenik and Šibenik-Knin County will be recognizable all over the world.” he pointed out Goran Pauk, County Prefect of Šibenik-Knin County. It is the Fortress of St. Nikola in Šibenik will welcome the first visitors at the grand opening on June 15, after it was closed to the public for almost two years.  During this period, construction works were carried out on the cleaning of the building, the necessary rehabilitation and safety of visitors. The ship’s pier at the main entrance has been rehabilitated and safe and organized access to the site has been provided. This created the necessary preconditions for the opening of the fortress, but the real work of its restoration is yet to come.  The two-hour visit will include an attractive boat ride through the Šibenik Channel and a tour of the fortress accompanied by trained staff and the use of a multimedia guide. The daily maximum capacity of visits is limited due to the limited number of places on board, safety conditions and protection of monuments, but also the quality of the experience of all visitors.  The ticket price includes: organized boat transport from the Šibenik waterfront to the fortress through the significant landscape “Kanal-Luka in Šibenik” and contact zone, escort on board and at the fortress, use of multimedia guides with headphones and return to Šibenik according to the established schedule of regular departures from the Šibenik waterfront , every day from Monday to Sunday, as well as visitor insurance. Tickets will be available at the point of sale on the Šibenik waterfront and online at www.kanal-svetog-ante.com. Opening of the Fortress of St. Nicholas in the Channel of St. Ante is the result of a series of projects funded by the European Union, Šibenik-Knin County and the Ministry of Culture within the Government of the Republic of Croatia. The first significant step was made in 2013, when, through the project of Tourist Valorization of the Channel of St. Ante, landscaped promenade and access road to the fortress. In May last year, the second phase of the project worth 26 million kuna was contracted, during which a visitor center and accompanying infrastructure will be built. In cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and the Conservation Department in Šibenik, a great deal of work was done, which resulted in the registration of the fortress of St. Nicholas on the UNESCO World Heritage List. After that, an additional 2,6 million kuna was provided for the preparation of project documentation for the complete renovation of the facility, and the Ministry of State Property allocated the County the space of the former barracks in Minerska Bay for 50 years. This season, it will be possible to visit the fortress only by an official ship departing from Šibenik. All ships for the Fortress of St. Nikola leaves and returns to the Šibenik waterfront, near the intersection of the Croatian Navy Coast and the Dr. Franjo Tuđman Coast. “We are happy that the fortress, which has a special meaning for all of us, will open its doors. I thank our fellow citizens who recognized the complexity of the project and showed great patience all this time. I can already announce with pleasure that during the first working day we will provide free tickets for all visitors and in the period from 17 to 25 June we will provide free tickets for half the capacity of the ship for residents of Šibenik – Knin County to get acquainted with the offer, but also experienced the fortress in a whole new way. I would also like to thank from the bottom of my heart the Ministry of Culture, the Conservation Department in Šibenik, the employees of Šibenik-Knin County and everyone who helped us open the doors of the proud sea guard of Šibenik.” pointed out Anita Babačić Ajduk, director of the Public Institution Nature of Šibenik-Knin County, which manages the fortress.  The city of Šibenik, one of the few cities in the world with two cultural monuments on the UNESCO list of cultural heritage – the Cathedral of St. Jakov and the fortress of Sv. Nicholas.last_img read more

Stamina and Spirit Fueled Recovery from Sandy

first_imgBut many still sufferingBy Muriel J. Smith and Danielle SchipaniPhotographs may have told the story three years ago, but stamina, hope, and spirit have painted an entirely new picture three years after Super Storm Sandy swept through the Bayshore, Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach taking homes, buildings, and lifetimes of memories away with it.And today, people in those towns are still struggling but have already proven their determination that no storm, including one as historic as Sandy, is going to keep them from living their lives.HighlandsHighlands Borough Administrator Tim Hill can tell the story in statistics for his community: more than $10 million in property damage to borough property alone; untold millions in damage to hundreds of people who live here, some of whom are still patiently – or impatiently – waiting for promised help, some of whom have called it a day and moved on, leaving their properties up for sale.It takes a lot to live past having three to eight feet of water in your home.But others have taken positive stands and fought back valiantly, although with an immense amount of frustration over paperwork, time constraints, and bureaucracy, Hill said.In total, 128 residences have been demolished, including about 60 in the trailer park that used to have that spectacular setting directly on Sandy Hook Bay. The trailers are gone, the owners have moved on, and the property is currently under construction for luxurious new condominiums. Sandy Hook Bay Marina is also gone, and rising in its stead is a modern new marina complete with a lighthouse filled with amenities for boat owners and a top-of-the-line restaurant with unsurpassed views of Manhattan.Another 245 permits have been issued for elevation of homes, Hill said, people who want to stay exactly where they are, albeit the 12 or 14 feet above sea level FEMA now demands. All of these permits represent work either under way or already completed.Another 64 permits have been issued for new housing, Hill continued, with more permits issued for renovations.About 40 to 50 properties have been abandoned. The borough is working with the Department of Community Affairs now looking to the possibility of demolition of some of these sites, Hill said, hopeful that another 20 will be able to be demolished for improvements to the entire neighborhood.Photo by Tina ColellaWorking through all the agencies, filing all the plans, meeting all the requirements and still running the routine business of the community isn’t an easy task, but Hill has risen to meet every obligation. He is continuing to work closely with FEMA and the other agencies in order to negotiate the best financial assistance the borough can get for its own municipal building. Located on Bay Avenue and completely devastated by Sandy, the governing body is still trying to make the determination of what is the best move for renewal. FEMA and other agencies have not yet determined the amount of financial assistance they will give; the governing body is waiting for that figure to see whether it’s more feasible to rebuild on site, which leaves the borough offices still within the 500-year flood plan, or move to higher ground with another facility. Hill, who has been working on the project closely with all agencies since Sandy, remains hopeful a final decision will be reached by the end of the year. In the meantime, the police department is working out of multiple trailers at a 27 Shore Drive address, borough offices are located in more trailers at a 42 Shore Drive address, and the construction office is located at 19 Bay Ave. in yet another trailer.“Overall, I’d say we’re only at 50 percent recovery,” the administrator said, “but I can’t begin to tell you how incredible the people of Highlands are. What they have done on their own, how they have given life to their own property is beyond description. The council will do the best it can with the funding it gets. But it still has to face the infrastructure issues…repairs, repaving of roads, routine maintenance of all our utilities. There’s a lot that still has to be done.”Atlantic HighlandsIn Atlantic Highlands, the neighboring community that for the most part sits higher above sea level than Highlands had approximately $3 million in damages outside of the $22 million in devastation at the municipal yacht harbor. Most of the property damage was on the west side of First Avenue in the area of Many Mind Creek, according to borough administrator Adam Hubeny, since the deluge from Sandy caused the creek to overflow and damage homes and businesses. Hubeny estimated that approximately 100 homes suffered little to moderate damage, and a few had to be torn down. Of six that were substantially damaged he said, one is currently being rebuilt, four have been completed, and one owner has had his house demolished and has the property for sale.The administrator also pointed to the frustration residents have had to face, saying many are still being frustrated by all the regulations, paperwork and requirements that have to be accomplished to meet government standards.Photo by Tina Colella“We had substantial damage at the harbor, there is no denying that,” Hubeny said, “but that’s business, and boats. And while that is bad enough, it isn’t people’s homes and lives. This is what makes the $2 million in land loss so devastating. If there’s any one thing that has come out of Sandy,” he said, optimistically, “it’s that valuable lessons have been learned about preparing for storms, heeding messages and taking swift actions when necessary.”Harbor Commissioner Jane Frotton, lamented the frustration residents feel and concedes the Harbor Commission was fortunate to have connections at several levels of government that enabled them to get funds and have their renovations completed.Frotton was chairman of the Harbor Commission during Super Storm Sandy and, being on-site immediately after the storm sizing up the total damages in the millions, she quickly contacted  Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno. “I was on the commission during the 1992 nor-easter,” Frotton said, “and comparing this to the damage we had then, I knew we were upwards of $20 million and needed all the help we could get.”Guadagno put the commission in touch with the correct state officials and offices and authorizing the borough to waive time consuming permit applications. Congressman Frank Pallone responded to calls to his office with immediate federal aid, securing thousands of dollars for the community, and businessmen leasing commission property took renovations into their own hands as well. “Bernie Sweeney was out there the day after Sandy sweeping up glass, clearing debris, working hard on the Shore Casino,” Frotton recalls. “He suffered a lot of damage to the interior of the restaurant and the Harbor insurance on its buildings could never cover the amount of damage so many received. But working together, and doing so much on his own, Bernie was able to still cater a large scheduled event by February.”  The harbor also saw damage to more than 600 boats, both in the water and on land storage.But today, the harbor is fully operational, has a waiting list for slips at the new floating docks and never lost a season of operation, being able to operate on a more limited basis the first spring after the storm. The tow boat building which was destroyed in now being rebuilt, and just about everything in the water, with the exception of pilings, has been replaced with more storm-resilient materials. “Our people were strong, aggressive, and worked hard to get the job done as a team,” Frotton said, adding her praise to Hubeny’s concerning the residents and business population of the borough.Sea BrightSea Bright is among the towns that have seen improvements in the last three years since the super storm. “Sea Bright in comparison to other towns has rebounded very well,” said Christopher Wood, board member of the nonprofit organization Sea Bright Rising. “It is an ongoing process and I look forward to more improvement over the next few years. Sea Bright has a pulse, there is no doubt about it. There are new businesses and it will look a lot different even two years from now. The town continues to improve which is encouraging.”Photo by Tina ColellaSea Bright Rising raised over $1.3 million that was used to help 300 families and 18 businesses in the town. “Sea Bright Rising had a very big part in getting a lot of people back to their homes. Three years after sandy the organization has run its course and I would say that the mission is about 80 percent complete, maybe even a little higher,” said Wood.However, there is still work to be done in Sea Bright. “There are always things that need to be done,” said Ilene Winters, member of the board of directors of Sea Bright Rising. “There are some businesses that haven’t come back. There is also the issue that what is going to happen with the abandoned homes. There is a very large group of abandoned homes and they cannot stay vacant forever.”“At some point the town has to take some action on the abandoned properties. It is an eyesore and reflects poorly on the improvements that have been made. It takes time and money but should be addressed,” said Wood.But the beach clubs, many of which were destroyed, were back in full swing this summer, Tim McLoone’s Rumrunner is being rebuilt and a new restaurant Tommy’s is enjoying a great deal of popularity. The downtown area still shows some wear and tear but Donovan’s Reef was operating from the beach this summer and hopes to build a full service bar and restaurant by next season.Mayor Dina Long is pleased with the town’s recovery. “Three years after Sandy Sea Bright is doing better than many people thought we would, especially considering the damage Sea Bright sustained in Super Storm Sandy,” she said. “We’ve seen 75 percent of residents and businesses come back but we still have a significant amount of work to do as a borough. We need to rebuild our municipal facilities and to make our infrastructure more resilient for the future.”Sea Bright lost four municipal buildings in Sandy, which the town will begin to rebuild in 2016, the mayor said. The borough will also identify additional flood mitigation projects is seeking funding for.“I think we learned a number of lessons from Sandy the hard way about the risks associated with where we live and the fact that anything can happen and you need to be prepared,” Long stressed. “ We also learned a lot about ourselves individually and our ability to cope and deal with extraordinary circumstances.”Monmouth Beach“Our takeaway from Sandy is that we must build to the National Flood Insurance Program regulations,” said Susan Howard, mayor of Monmouth Beach. “Houses in the town that complied with those regulations were safe during Sandy. Our focus is to make sure that everything that is done to rebuild our town complies with those regulations and is built for the 500-year storm so that we will be safe in the case of future storms..”Photo by Tina ColellaHoward explained that Monmouth Beach is working towards ensuring the safety of businesses and homes in the area by lifting buildings above the FEMA minimum. “We are raising to the Advisory Base Flood Elevation plus 3 feet, so we are going to the FEMA minimum and adding 3 feet because we want to elevate to prepare for a 500-year storm. Any new construction that has occurred we built at a higher level” she explained.The Channel Club has been repaired and is fully operational. The former Sally Tee’s has been rebuilt and is flourishing as The Beach Tavern and the devastation that once had hold of the town has basically vanished with some exceptions.And the ever-popular Monmouth Beach Cultural Center is holding receptions and showcasing local art.last_img read more

Ride of a lifetime for Winters & Company

first_imgBy Bruce FuhrThe Nelson Daily SportsThe rollercoaster ride for Jill Winters & Company ended on a high Sunday night at the Summerland Curling Club.The West Kootenay rink held off a late charge by Karla Thompson to edge the Kamloops rink 7-6 in the C Final at the Interior Women’s Curling Championships.Winters, third Samantha Almquist of Trail, second Natalie Nowicki of Rossland and lead Heather Nichol of Castlegar now advance as one of the two rinks from the Interiors qualifying for the 2011 Scotties B.C. Women’s Curling Championships in Cloverdale.“Ya it started to sink in today,” Winters said Monday from her Snowpack Experience store on Baker Street. “We finished about 8:30 p.m. and jumped in the car and got home about 1:30 a.m. and all went to work so we’re all super tired. But I’ve had a few people come in to congratulate me so it’s pretty neat feeling.”A-event winner Jenn Fewster of Prince George joins the Winters rink.The marathon weekend started Friday with the Nelson-based rink posting a pair of wins over Siomne Groundwater and Jerri-Pat Armstrong-Smith.However, Thompson spoiled the day by blowing past Winters 9-4 in A-event play.The loss dropped Winters into the B event where the skip started steamrolling the competition winning three straight games Saturday. Sunday Winters got past Desiree Schmidt of Trail 10-7 by scoring four two enders. That set the stage for Winters to head home early if the rink could oust Thompson in the C Final.But the Kamloops skip had other things on her mind, bouncing Winters 11-6 to force a B-C Final.“We totally dropped the ball in that game,” Winters lamented. “Halfway through the game we got down by three points and had to push to get two points but literally fell apart. We went for the steal in nine, let some rocks build up but they ended up getting four to win.”And the B-C-event game didn’t look good early for Winters. Thompson struck for three in the opening end forcing Winters to play catch-up.“They got those points in the first end when I nicked a guard,” Winters explained. “But it was no big worry being down that early in the game. We just kept playing a stole two and then one.”“The ice was really tough to defend a lead on and I think that’s the mode they got into,” Winters added.After Thompson tied the contest by scoring one in the sixth, Winters struck for a deuce in the seventh before holding off Thompson for the narrow win.“We really stuck together as a team,” said Winters. “If one players was not curling well, having a bad end or game, the other teammates would pick her up.”“The last two games I thought I struggling out ther but my team was rocking it,” Winters added.This is the second time in three years Winters had skipped a team to the B.C. Scott Tournament. That rink included Allison Hurley and Loreen Amonson of Nelson and Lisa Nevakshonoff of Castlegar.Winters also curled at the provincials in 1998, 2006 and 2007.The Cloverdale Curling Club hosts the 2011 Scotties B.C. Women’s Curling Championships January 17-23.sports@thenelsondaily.comlast_img read more

Behind the ALM Acquisition and Whats Next for the Legal Information Company

first_imgIn June, private equity investment firm Wasserstein & Co. announced it was acquiring ALM Media from Apax Partners. It would be the second time Wasserstein has owned the company, which it had built through a series of acquisitions.Apax put ALM on the block in April and the deal closed July 31. Terms were not released at the time and ALM was strangely quiet about the transaction, with any press being handled by Wasserstein.More recently, a source with knowledge of the transaction said the sale price reported by the New
York Times—$417 million—is accurate, which puts the EBITDA multiple right around 8x based on $55 million in earnings.Those figures fell short of the reported $500 million Apax was seeking, but it’s still a big sale—albeit 34 percent less than when Apax bought it from Wasserstein in 2007. Especially for a company with legacy roots that has tried to move quickly into a more digitally-oriented business model. Plus, the deal reveals where private equity still finds value in such operations and allows ALM to begin fueling its growth with more capital. FOLIO: How are subscriptions breaking down between print and digital products?Carter: The large firms are all taking pure digital. To counter that we also revamped how we sold to individuals—the smaller firms and attorneys. We have a metered paywall that allows you to read five articles before you hit it, then you get an offer based on what you’ve been reading. We’ve had a significant increase in individual sales and 40 percent of those customers are taking a print/digital bundle from us. So we’re still selling a good bit of print.FOLIO: How have you invested in your technology to support these initiatives?Carter: We use as much off-the-shelf as we can. We’re willing to pay a little more for a premium product. That’s allowed us to easily expand. And going forward it’s becoming easier to pull it out and replace it if it loses its best-in-class. We’re much more in the buy camp, but that doesn’t apply to everything. We do some of our own custom development. During the economic downturn in 2009, ALM became an independent company following a split from Incisive Media. Apax dropped its stake in ALM from 71 percent to 51 percent and the Royal Bank of Scotland took over the remaining 49 percent in a debt-for-equity swap.FOLIO: sat down with ALM CEO Bill Carter, who joined the company in 2012, for an exclusive interview about the sale and what’s in store for the company going forward.FOLIO: How did the deal come together? Why did Wasserstein decide to double-dip?Bill Carter: [Apax] acquired us in 2007 and the deal was reaching the end of its lifecycle. Because of the 2009 restructuring, there were restrictions put on what the company could do and it limited our growth opportunities. It prompted the board to have a discussion on what was right for the company and they began looking for interested parties.Wasserstein emerged because they had the deepest understanding of our revenue streams and they appreciated our challenges.FOLIO: What goes into valuing a B2B media company these days and how is that different from just five or six years ago?Carter: I think the markets are pretty good right now in terms of raising debt, especially if you have a business that’s performing well.
Buyers want to look at the stability of your revenue streams and there’s certainly a bias toward subscription revenues and events.There is still a factor that goes into any B2B company that’s being looked at right now and that is how well they held up during the 2008 cycle. Everyone acknowledges a revenue swing. But how big was that swing?We swung a lot less and stayed relatively profitable. We have cyclical and counter-cyclical revenue, which stabilizes things. Scale plays a factor, too.FOLIO: A couple years ago you told FOLIO: you were working on improving ALM through customer growth and renewals, expanding the sales organization and adding more product technology like RivalEdge. How have you evolved that thinking since then?Carter: The biggest initiative that guided us over the last three years has been corporate subscriptions. Historically, ALM had sold to individuals, not to law firms. In 2012, we did an analysis at the top firms and what they were spending with us. We had breadth, but not depth. One lawyer would route his subscription to 20 other lawyers, but it was an individual sale.We set as our goal the top 850 law firms—they should each have one license to all ALM’s products. And we could tailor that content to how they wanted it.To do that we had to re-engineer marketing and sales—bring in sales experts who knew how sell licenses.We also had to completely rebuild the infrastructure. We grew up as a roll-up of acquisitions. Everyone had their own groups. We standardized the websites and print products, but more importantly we standardized the taxonomy. So now we can serve up the content that’s relevant to that user.This was the area that got Wasserstein excited. It cracked a problem they saw in 2005, 2006—how do you get that younger reader?FOLIO: We’re talking digital now, aren’t we?Carter: Yes. When we looked at the lawyers who had the subscriptions and also looked at the online usage we had many more people getting our daily alerts. But they were hitting the paywall. The associates don’t have the ability to make that purchase. So we went to the corporate librarians—younger attorneys are getting the alerts but now they’re reading the content.And that’s why Wasserstein won [the deal]. Wasserstein got that immediately, the other bidders didn’t understand it as much.FOLIO: How have the site license sales been performing?Carter: We’ve had double-digit growth on corporate site licenses. Our circulation counts are way up and our circulation revenue is way up overall. Circulation is all of our subscription brand products, separate from our information solutions, which are also subscription-based.last_img read more

Nepal minister among 7 dead in chopper crash

first_imgNepal’s tourism minister Rabindra Adhikari was among seven people killed Wednesday when a helicopter crashed in the country’s hilly east, officials said.Rescue workers retrieved the bodies of Adhikari, 49, the pilot and five other passengers from a hillside in Taplejung district where the Air Dynasty chopper went down.”The respected minister’s body has been identified,” Ram Krishna Subedi, the spokesman for the ministry of home affairs, said in a press conference.Subedi said two army helicopters had been dispatched to bring the bodies back to the capital Kathmandu.It is unclear why the helicopter crashed.A search and rescue team was deployed to the area after locals alerted authorities to flames and smoke rising from a hillside.”The helicopter is in pieces, and scattered all over,” said Suraj Bhattarai, a witness who saw the debris.The bodies of the others killed in the crash have not yet been identified.The minister was on a trip to scope out a possible location for a new airport in the region.It is just the latest aviation accident to plague Nepal, an impoverished Himalayan nation with a poor air safety record.Nepal has some of the world’s most remote and tricky runways, flanked by snow-capped peaks with approaches that pose a challenge for even accomplished pilots.The country has a booming private helicopter industry, flying tourists and goods to remote corners of the Himalayan nation where road access is limited or non-existent.In September last year, six people including a Japanese tourist was killed when a helicopter crashed.A US-Bangla Airways plane crashed near the capital’s airport in March, killing 51 people.Nepal-based airlines are banned from flying in European Union airspace.Its poor air safety record is largely blamed on inadequate maintenance and sub-standard management.last_img read more