Single-Family Rental Lease Retention Strengthens as Rents Rise

first_img January 4, 2018 2,728 Views Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago in Daily Dose, Featured, Journal, Market Studies, News Related Articles The latest single-family rental research from Morningstar Credit Ratings, LLC shows the rental market following familiar trends in the closing months of 2017, with more renters choosing to renew their expiring leases and delinquency rates holding steady.Morningstar’s Single-Family Rental Research Performance Summary shows lease expirations across single-borrower, single-family rental securitizations declining between October and November 2017, dropping from 6.5 percent to 5.2 percent. The retention rate for expiring leases in October 2017 (the latest data available at the time of the report), increased to 79.3 percent in October, up from 76.4 percent in September.Both of these stats reflect a general trend of tenants typically preferring not to move during the winter months. This correlates to a typical slowdown in homebuying during these colder months, which could present opportunities for single-family rental investors to find inventory that will provide a good return on investment, according to a December report by HouseCanary.Morningstar also reports that the average vacancy rate also declined in November, dropping to 5.6 percent from 5.9 percent in October. The Houston metropolitan statistical area (MSA) retained the highest vacancy rate among the top 20 MSAs, unsurprising given the impact of Hurricane Harvey during the fall of 2017. However, after six consecutive months of increases, Houston’s vacancy rate did finally decrease to 9.4 percent in November, down from 10.0 percent in October. The Nashville, Tennessee MSA came in with the second highest vacancy rate for November, increasing to 8.0 percent from 7.6 percent in October.On average, rents rose 2.8 percent in November. In Houston, however, rents dipped in November for the third consecutive month. September saw a decrease of 0.8 percent, October a 0.4 percent drop, and November a 0.6 percent drop. According to Morningstar’s report, “The rent declines could be in response to the increase in vacancy rates Houston has experienced as the market adjusts. Hurricane Harvey may have partially contributed to the Houston rise in vacancies and decline in rents, but the rise in vacancies started before the hurricane hit.”According to a December 2017 report by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, increased demand and low inventory have driven a demand for rental properties, especially among wealthier people who could afford to purchase a home if they so desired. All of this is presenting tons of opportunities for the savvy investor in 2018. You’ll be able to find out more during the Single-Family Rental Summit, happening March 19-21 at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. You can register for the Summit by clicking here. Sign up for DS News Daily Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago About Author: David Wharton Tagged with: lease expirations Morningstar Morningstar Credit Ratings rental market Rentals renter retention Renters Single-Family Rentals Previous: Rental Property Management: Beware of Fraud Next: Northsight Management Merges with ASONS Construction, Inc. Share Save lease expirations Morningstar Morningstar Credit Ratings rental market Rentals renter retention Renters Single-Family Rentals 2018-01-04 David Wharton Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago  Print This Post Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Single-Family Rental Lease Retention Strengthens as Rents Rise The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / Single-Family Rental Lease Retention Strengthens as Rents Rise Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Subscribelast_img read more

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166% conversion rates from your marketing program

first_imgHow many people do I need actually making referrals (customers who became advocates) in order to generate one new customer.Snapshot: 2:1 averageAcross that same sampling of our clients/industries, they generated an average of one new customer for every two advocates who made a referral.This is an average conversion rate of 50% 22SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Neil Parker Neil Parker is the VP Product Management and Marketing at RewardStream. Neil has 20 years experience in Product Management and Marketing at companies such as Glenayre, Infowave, Sierra Wireless, Contigo … Web: rewardstream.com Details Now, some other referral marketing solutions show a referral conversion rate of greater than 15% as having “nailed it”.  But as our lovely customers have clearly shown, it’s possible to achieve much higher conversion rates with the right solution and program design. Automated referral marketing solutions can achieve the highest conversion rates of any digital marketing methodology. There’s no question about that.How is this possible? How can referral marketing programs deliver these kinds of conversion rates (and better)? The primary reason is related to trust. And math. Consumers trust their friends and family more than all other kinds of digital marketing.92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.84% of global consumers say word of mouth is the most trust worthy source of product recommendations.77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family.What conversion rates are you seeing from your marketing programs? How is your referral marketing program performing? We’d love to hear from you. When I speak with customers and prospects about they would like to achieve with their referral program and what it can do for their business, we usually end up in a conversation about conversion rates. After all, our typical customer is a marketer: someone whose very career is measured by their ability to attract customers. Whether you’re a creative designer, a great content creator, a master of social interaction or a coordinator extraordinaire, your job is one of converting prospects to customers: attraction and retention.All marketers are measured — to one degree or another — on their ability to turn one amount of money (like: their salaries and advertising spend) into much more money: to invest less money in marketing than the value to the business provided by the new customers you attract. Marketers are converting prospects to customers.Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a term used to describe the methods applied to systems that can convert the highest number of website visitors to customers as possible.  And there are hundreds of companies online selling tools, knowledge and systems to help businesses maximize their CRO.Referral marketing is no different. Word of mouth marketing (WOMM) is one of the oldest forms of referral marketing, and optimizing its conversion rate has been a business priority for centuries.Let’s say you are a happy customer of Mary’s Hardware store. You might tell your friends Natalie and Orville about Mary’s store, and about the great service and products you can get there. If Natalie becomes a customer of Mary’s Hardware store, but Orville chooses to use the Hardware store in the next town, you’ve brought Mary one new customer (good), but your two referrals netted only a 50% conversion rate to one referee. Mary might throw an extra 1/2 pound of nails on your next order for free in gratitude for bringing Natalie her way, but its easy to see how the entire process could be better and more rewarding for both you and Mary’s store.This is one of the more interesting elements of WOMM: optimizing a referral marketing program to suit your business.Our referral programs track many different metrics for our customers, includinghow many existing customers were attracted to the program to become advocateshow many people (advocates) make a referral (and how many referrals they make)how many leads are generated (potential new customers who have been referred) and finally …how many actual new customers are generated from the program.I’ve written quite a bit about effective referral marketing program design in other blog posts, so I won’t go into it in more detail here, but let’s take a look at the conversion rates a referral marketing program can deliver. Conversion rates for traditional digital marketing methods are frankly pathetic. According to the direct marketing association, the median return on investment for digital marketing methods ranges from 6% for internet display ads, to 23% for email marketing. The click-through rates of display ads, across all ads and formats, is reported to be around 0.17%.  That means your ad needs to reach 588 people for one to click through. Pretty abysmal conversion. Average email click through rates are around 3%, meaning you need to reach about 33 people for one to click through. And then, those that do click through still need to make a purchase decision, which further dilutes the conversion rate for that given digital marketing methodology.Although it’s possible to influence each of these conversion rates through simple and effective means, in this post, I’m going to focus on two of the simplest numbers, or more accurately, ratios.How many people do I need to attract to my referral program in order to generate a new customer.This is the number of customers to whom you promote the referral program who show up and take interest in your program and who may or may not make a referral.  You want this ratio to be as low as possible. Of course, not everyone who learns about your referral program will make a referral, so you might need to attract 10 people to the referral program in order for enough referrals to be generated that create 1 new customer. That would be a decent conversion ratio of 10:1, or 10%.How many people do I need actually making referrals in order to generate a new customer.This is the number of customer advocates who make referrals on your behalf, reaching out to their friends and family to refer them to you.  Again, ideally this number is less than one; meaning that if you get one person to make referrals that generate one new customer, your Referring Customers ratio is less than 1:1There are many factors that can influence these conversion ratios.How likely are your customers to become advocates of your product or service?Does your brand and product image inspire affinity and advocacy?Is your referral program offering compelling intrinsic and extrinsic rewards?Is your program rewarding the right type of advocates at the right time?By contrast, let’s take a look at conversion rates for referral marketing programs. I don’t do this often but I decided to take a snapshot of a couple of our customers from across our low, moderate and top-performing programs, across industry verticals, and average them out. Here’s what I found for the first calendar quarter of 2016. (Typically, right after Christmas it’s a quiet time for marketing program performance, but our customers referral marketing programs demonstrated that they could knock digital marketing conversion rates out of the park.)How many people do I need to attract to my referral program in order to generate one new customer.Snapshot: 4:1 averageThis means that across a sampling of our clients (across industries), on average they attracted 4 potential advocates in order to generate a new customer.This is an average conversion rate of 25%center_img How many people do I need actually making referrals in order to generate one new customer.Top performer: 0.6:1This is a conversion rate of 166% Now we’re talking. It’s interesting to note that our top-performing customer in the credit union segment outperformed these figures during this period.But that’s not the whole story. During that same period, some of our clients achieved much better results.  If take a look at one of the top performers, this is what I see:How many people do I need to attract to my referral program in order to generate one new customer.Top performer: 1.4:1 This is a conversion rate of 71%last_img read more

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Osgood Woman Dies Following Accident On 421

first_imgImage: Ripley County Sheriffs OfficeUpdate 11/20One of the three injured victims of an accident on U.S. 421 Monday afternoon has passed away.According to the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office, 83-year-old Maxine Young, of Osgood, died Tuesday at a Cincinnati hospital.She was originally transported to Margaret Mary Health following the accident but later transferred to University of Cincinnati Hospital.“Cause of death is not known at this time and will be determined by the Hamilton County Coroner,” explained Cpl. Rob Bradley with the Ripley County Sheriffs Office.The other injured occupants, including a minor in Young’s vehicle and the driver of the semi were reportedly sent to Margaret Mary Health with non-life threatening injuries.Posted 11/19A two vehicle crash sent three people to the hospital on Monday afternoon, and halted traffic for three hours.Authorities in Ripley County responded to an accident on U.S. Highway 421 at the intersection of C.R. 700N between Napoleon and Osgood around 3:30 p.m. Monday.The accident involved a vehicle driven by Maxine Young, 83, of Osgood and a semi tractor-trailer operated by Cleton Swann, 44, of Fort Wayne.Young was traveling with a child at the time of the collision.“Statements from drivers and witness indicate that Young and Swann were both traveling north on US 421,” said investigating officer Cpl. Rob Bradley of the Ripley County Sheriffs Office.According to a report released by Bradley, Young was preparing to turn left on C.R. 700N when her vehicle was struck from behind by Swann’s semi.“The driver and witness statements are conflicting,” said Cpl. Bradley. “It appears that Swann was attempting to pass Young’s vehicle believing it was turning right. Witnesses stated that Young activated her right turn signal and turned left into the path of the Semi operated by Swann.”Image: Ripley County Sheriffs OfficeBoth drivers and the passenger were  originally transported to Margaret Mary Health.“There was considerable damage to both vehicles, State Highway property and a residential yard,” added Cpl. Bradley.U.S. Highway 421 and C.R. 700N were closed to traffic for approximately three hours.The Ripley County Sheriffs Office was assisted on the scene by Osgood Police, Napoleon Fire, Osgood Fire, and Ripley County EMS.Original Story (11/19/2013 at 11a.m.)WRBI is learning more information about a wreck that occurred Monday afternoon on U.S. Highway 421.According to eye-witness accounts, the accident occurred between Napoleon and Osgood during the afternoon drive. Commuters experienced traffic delays as emergency personnel worked on the scene.More than one vehicle may have been involved possibly including a semi tractor-trailer, according to sources.WRBI will have updates as soon as it is made available.last_img read more

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Local Football League results

first_imgAlso in the County Football League, Division 3 Group 1St Patrick’s beat Solohead well in Cloneen on a scoreline of 2-11 to 0-6.The other game in that group saw Rosegreen overcome Cappawhite 1-13 to 0-1. In Division 1 Group 1 of the County Football League Arravale Rovers and Kilsheelan-Kilcash played out a 1-9 a piece draw in Sean Tracey Park in Tipperary town this morning.In the same group Fethard beat Aherlow Gaels on a scoreline of 3-12 to 4-7.And in Division 1 Group 2 Cahir and Ardfinnan finished up all square on a scoreline of Ardfinnan 2-11 Cahir 1-14.last_img read more

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Wilder vs. Fury: Jarrett Hurd, Luis Ortiz win on undercard in Los Angeles

first_imgJoin DAZN and watch Canelo Alvarez vs. Rocky Fielding on Dec. 15Also at heavyweight, British prospect Joe Joyce wasted little time in recording a victory over Joe Hanks.Joyce stopped his opponent inside the opening round, a big left hook ending the contest quickly as he extended his record to 7-0 as a professional. Join DAZN and watch Canelo plus more than 100 fight nights a yearHowever, the American did not have it all his own way, with Welborn standing his ground against the champion as he enjoyed moments of success.Hurd himself looked in trouble early in the fourth, getting stuck on the ropes as the challenger unloaded on him, but turned the tide to force the stoppage before the bell sounded.The final shot was a wicked right hand that dropped Welborn, the former British champion unable to rise in time to beat the count.A clash with Jermell Charlo looks to be on the horizon for Hurd in 2019, with the pair sharing a heated verbal exchange in the ring during the post-fight interview on Showtime.#AndStill WBA Super Welterweight Super Champion Jarrett @Swift_JHurd Hurd stops Welborn in 4th round #HurdWelborn #WBAboxing pic.twitter.com/V6d119CsZA— WBA Boxing (@WBABoxing) December 2, 2018Also in action, Luis Ortiz — who lost to Wilder in March — won inside the distance, eventually putting away Travis Kauffman in the 10th round of a non-title bout.The Cuban was comfortably the better of the two big men, dropping his rival three times in total to record a second victory since falling short in his bid to capture the WBC title earlier in the year. Jarrett Hurd retained his IBF and WBA light-middleweight titles with a stoppage win over Jason Welborn in Los Angeles.In the chief support act ahead of Deontay Wilder’s defense of the WBC heavyweight belt against Tyson Fury, the unbeaten Hurd recorded a 23rd straight victory courtesy of a sickening body shot in the fourth round.last_img read more

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Puig & Pirates, Homer & Harper highlight 1st half

first_imgPittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jeff Locke throws against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning of the baseball game on Monday, July 8, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) by Ben WalkerAP Baseball WriterNEW YORK (AP) – Just for fun, let’s turn back the baseball clock a few months.A well-rested Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals are destined to face Josh Hamilton and the Los Angeles Angels in the World Series. The Houston Astros have the best record in baseball. Manny Ramirez is playing in Taiwan. And no one is quite sure how to pronounce the name of this Puig guy.Well, a few things are still the same: Homer Bailey remains the last guy to throw a no-hitter, Miguel Cabrera swings the most devastating bat in the majors and, well, the drug cloud isn’t going away anytime soon.As the All-Star game approaches next week at Citi Field, a look at the first half of the season:___EXTRA! EXTRA!By the time Matt Harvey and the New York Mets let the hovering seagulls take over AT&T Park well past midnight, they were wiped out. Last week’s win at San Francisco took 16 innings – the Mets already had lost a 20-inning game and a pair of 15-inning contests.“I’ve never heard of anything like this. It’s unbelievable,” manager Terry Collins said. “At least we’re used to it.”All over, fans are getting way more than their money’s worth. Going into this weekend, 19 games had lasted at least 14 innings; there were a total of 20 last year, according to STATS.“Is a lunar eclipse coming?” Oakland outfielder Josh Reddick wondered. “I have no idea. Probably more of a coincidence than anything. That’s how the game goes sometimes.”___WACKY WEATHEREven in ski country, this was a bit extreme: When the Atlanta Braves and Colorado Rockies started up at Coors Field in late April, it was 23 degrees. That made it the coldest game-time temperature in STATS’ records, dating back more than two decades.Braves pitcher Mike Minor threw six innings and won – in short sleeves, no less. He figured long sleeves wouldn’t help much. He also got a trainer to rub his arms, back and thighs with a heating ointment.“I was burning up there,” he said, smiling.Snow at Target Field, hail at Yankee Stadium and buckets of rain from coast to coast. More than 30 games postponed so far, going in the weekend. Last year? Just 21, the whole season.The crummy conditions have wreaked havoc with the schedule. With interleague games most every day, there’s not a lot of wiggle room for makeups. So there’s been a push to get the games in – Tampa Bay waited out almost five hours of rain delays in Cleveland to win a game that started on a Friday night in May and finished on an early Saturday in June. The Mets, meanwhile, played in three different time zones in three days.In St. Louis, there was a 4½-hour rain delay in the ninth inning before Kansas City outlasted the Cardinals. The game ended at 3:14 a.m. at Busch Stadium, and created travel trouble for the umpires, too – they worked at Wrigley Field in Chicago the next afternoon.“We worry about that game when we get to that one,” crew chief Joe West said. “We had to worry about this game tonight.”And recently, a Giants-Reds rainout in Cincinnati had the teams talking about making it up at Coors Field, of all places. A neutral site in Denver might indeed be the most convenient spot for both clubs later this year.___NEW WAVEBe it Manny Machado, Bryce Harper or Mike Trout, the face of baseball is changing. Young stars are dominating, and also revving up the debate: Should Dodgers sensation Yasiel Puig – that’s “Pweeg” – be on the All-Star team?Jeff Locke is trying to pitch Pittsburgh toward its first playoff spot in two decades, Shelby Miller is dealing in St. Louis and Wil Myers is finding his stroke in Tampa Bay while Paul Goldschmidt and Patrick Corbin are leading Arizona. They were all excelling at the same time former perennial All-Stars Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Ramirez were toiling in the minors.Oh, and let’s salute Orioles slugger Chris Davis, who’s proven HR-or-K hitters can learn the strike zone.___SUMMER SURPRISESOverhauled Toronto and R.A. Dickey, the powerized Angels and Hamilton, plus the revamped Dodgers have all struggled to reach the .500 mark. The Nationals also hit a wall – rather, Harper did while chasing a ball and landed on the disabled list.Houston moved to the American League and got off a terrific start, beating Texas in the major league opener. Reality quickly set in, however. Their next time out, the overmatched Astros came within one out of having Yu Darvish throw a perfect game against them.Much harder to figure, Matt Cain and the World Series champion San Francisco Giants.A year ago, Cain pitched a perfect game. This year, he had one start when he gave up nine runs in an inning, another start when he permitted nine hits in an inning and, earlier this week, he was chased in the first inning.Added up, the pitching-rich Giants fell far below the break-even point as the All-Star neared.“For the way we think we are as a group and the team that we are, we feel like this is really, really funky,” Cain said.___AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this report.last_img read more

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Thomson captures Low Gross Crown at Balfour Senior Men’s Golf Tournament

first_imgClarkson won the A-Flight while Tim Jost with a 65 took Low Net honours over Brian Halberstadt at 66.Ron Van Zanden of Nelson topped B-Flight with a five-over 79.Dave Simpson of Nelson bested the Low Net with a 66, two shots better than Garth Keeler at 68.Ron McLean won C-Flight Low Gross while Ralph DeWolfe, 67, edged out John Rayson by a stroke at 68.D-Flight winner was Jim Par with a 90.Albert Volpatti won Low Net with a 65 with Dick Clarke second at 68.More than 90 players from throughout the region entered the 18-hole tournament. Fred Thomson of Nelson fired a one-under par 71 to capture the Low Gross title at the Senior Men’s Golf Tournament Thursday at the Balfour Golf Course.Thomson, who is a member at Granite Pointe in Nelson, edged local golf legend Reg Clarkson of Balfour for the overall title by two strokes at the 6,530-yard, Par 72 course.“I played well and made some long putts and got a couple of good bounces,” Thomson said of a day on the course where everything about his game came together.Darryl Slobodian won the Low Net trophy with a net 64.last_img read more

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EFFINEX, IMPERATIVE & DONWORTH HEAD 79TH RUNNING OF GRADE I, $1 MILLION SANTA ANITA HANDICAP ON SATURDAY

first_imgARCADIA, Calif. (March 9, 2016)–Trainer Jimmy Jerkens’ talented Effinex, along with sharp local contenders Imperative and Donworth, head a field of nine older horses set to go a mile and a quarter in Saturday’s 79th running of the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Handicap.America’s longest continually run “hundred grander,” the Big ‘Cap was first run in 1935, and it was won by Azucar, with legendary George “The Iceman” Woolf aboard. Last year’s renewal was won by Jerry Hollendorfer’s Shared Belief. IMPERATIVE: In one of his best-ever races, KM Racing Enterprise, Incorporated’s stable star was second, beaten a nose, in the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles San Antonio Stakes on Feb. 6 and rates a big chance in his sixth start for trainer Richard Baltas. Second to Hoppertunity in the San Antonio, Imperative, a 6-year-old gelding by Bernardini, was a sharp second two starts back to California Chrome in the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles San Pasqual Stakes on Jan. 9. Ridden by Mike Smith in the San Antonio, he’ll get the services of Santiago Gonzalez in the Big ‘Cap. Claimed for $50,000 twenty starts back in December, 2013, the venerable gelding will hope to be rolling from off the pace as he seeks his fourth win from 30 lifetime starts. Point Piper – Drayden Van Dyke – 115 – 12-1Melatonin – Joe Talamo – 114 – 20-1Donworth – Mario Gutierrez – 117 – 3-1General a Rod – Rafael Bejarano – 116 – 4-1Effinex – Mike Smith – 123 – 2-1Cyrus Alexander – Martin Garcia – 115 – 20-1Hard Aces – Abel Lezcano – 118 – 12-1Imperative – Santiago Gonzalez – 120 – 3-1Class Leader – Kent Desormeaux – 114 – 30-1 DONWORTH: In his first start for the I’ll Have Another (2012 Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner) triumvirate of J. Paul Reddam, Doug O’Neill and Mario Gutierrez, Donworth pressed the pace in the Grade II San Antonio and finished a solid third, beaten a half length by both Hoppertunity and Imperative. According to O’Neill, Donworth was in need of the race, as he’d been idle since taking a minor stakes at Delaware Park this past June. Lightly raced, this 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Tiznow is 5-2-1-2 and appears primed for a big effort in his first graded stakes assignment.THE GRADE I SANTA ANITA HANDICAP FIELD IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH MORNING LINE ODDSRACE 10                                Approximate post time, 4:40 p.m. PT EFFINEX: Owned by Tri-Bone Stables, this 5-year-old horse by Mineshaft was second to Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah two starts back in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic Oct. 31, and has been idle since winning the Grade I, 1 1/8 miles Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs Nov. 27. A winner of Belmont Park’s Grade II, 1 ¼ miles Suburban Handicap from well off the pace last July, Effinex has two wins, a second and a third in five tries at a mile and a quarter. Based at Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida, Effinex had what was termed a “maintenance” half mile work here on Tuesday in 47.80. With seven wins from 20 overall starts, he’ll be making his first-ever start at Santa Anita. A winner of the past three runnings, Mike Smith will seek an unprecedented fourth consecutive win in the Big ‘Cap on Saturday.last_img read more

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NBA All-Star weekend: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson talk trash over 4-point play

first_imgCHARLOTTE, N.C. – Steph Curry didn’t win the 3-point shooting competition on Saturday night, but he beat his little brother Seth.And he wasn’t the MVP of the All-Star Game held in his hometown Sunday in a 178-164 loss to “Team LeBron.” But he lured teammate-turned-opponent Klay Thompson into committing a foul on a 3-pointer that was turned into a four-point play.All in all, that made for a terrific ending to a great homecoming. The play happened with nine minutes and 18 seconds …last_img read more

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Legal Aid Board

first_img20 March 2003“The promotion and protection of human rights must apply to all without exception, and that includes the human rights of both the victims and the accused. It is for this reason that the Legal Aid Board has undertaken to institute litigation on issues that impact on the rights of vulnerable groups”, says Legal Aid Board chairperson Judge Dunstan Mlambo.The Legal Aid Board has extended its services to ensure the protection of human rights by offering quality legal services in both criminal and civil cases.The Board provides independent legal help to indigent South Africans. To achieve this, the Board has opened 44 justice centres throughout the country. These centres are the primary service delivery agents for legal aid, and the number will increase to 60 by the end of the year.For more information, including contacts, visit the Legal Aid Board website.Improved delivery in remote areas in South Africa is also being targeted through a pilot project aimed at creating better integration and coordination between advice offices and the Board’s justice centres.Launched jointly by the Board and the CS Mott Foundation, the aim is to optimise contact with civil society organisations, especially advice offices that have often acted as critical frontline sites for access to justice for the public.Many of these advice offices were established in recent years by a variety of organisations, and the need to integrate and co-operate them with the primary legal aid provider is critical to the aim of providing justice for all.Judge Mlambo says full respect of human rights for all means that the vulnerable in society, especially women and children, need to have the same protection under the law as any other members of society.“We support government and rights organisations in protecting all human rights and ensuring that there is respect for these rights. Our work contributes to a better South Africa, where rights are respected, laws are valued and all citizens have confidence in the justice system.”The areas in which the Legal Aid Board offers assistance include legal representation, access to justice, access to necessary information and to relevant resources. The Board also offers legal advice, accurate information and clear guidelines on the protection of human rights.“Our immediate focus is the rural areas where people need such services. Our motivation behind this arises from the abuse women and children (from these areas) have suffered and continue to suffer”, Mlambo says.“We strongly believe that it is our duty to protect the rights of all human beings, regardless of whom they are, and believe that financial, social or educational constraints should not deprive anyone of the right to justice.”Techno-savvy turns the Board aroundThree years ago, the Legal Aid Board was on the verge of bankruptcy. Handicapped by mismanagement, it faced a real threat of being closed down by Parliament. A decisive action plan was needed.With support from the government, a strong interim management team was pulled together under the chairmanship of Judge Mohamed Navsa. CEO Ashley Ally, Finance and IT executive Kumaran Naidoo and HR expert Mpuseng Tlhabane formed a new triumvirate to address the weaknesses at the Board.Today, the Board is back on its feet. It has recently received a clean audit report, its entire executive team is in place, and over 300 000 people from marginalised communities have access to justice each year via the Board’s justice centres.According to Kumaran Naidoo, the clearance of backlogs, implementation of good control systems and techno-savvy have underpinned the turnaround at the Board.“The Legal Aid Board made a strategic decision to provide its services through local offices, Legal Aid Board justice centres, in communities of need”, Naidoo explains. “Each centre is like a large legal firm offering a one-stop service for civil and criminal cases.“Each centre serves between 10 and 20 courts, which means that the legal representatives spend most of their time in court. We needed to use technology to simplify and speed up processes to free our Justice Centre staff to spend their time effectively on service delivery.“Operating in remote parts of South Africa, we needed an integrated, online, real-time software solution if we were to achieve this.”To this end, new business control systems were put in place, followed by a new administrative and financial system, underlaid by a wide area network connecting all of the Board’s offices to each other.“Our wide area network brings to the Legal Aid Board the ability to monitor standards and create uniform processes”, says Naidoo. “It also allows us to do this without centralising everything at head office, causing delays in decision making, or relying on similarly cumbersome processes.”Each Justice Centre will eventually have its own Internet Cafe set up and will, via the wide area network, be able to track cases and precedents, monitor its budgets, and produce its reports.“Ultimately, all of our business processes will occur online”, says Naidoo.“When you’re sitting in an isolated community like Butterworth or Umtata, for example, and you are dealing with the cutting edge of justice as it faces impoverished communities, the ability to operate in real-time with the best resources available in South Africa really can mean the difference between success or failure in terms of our mandate of ‘Justice for all’.”SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

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