Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Gulf Coast Detoxification Project

Gulf Coast Detoxification Project

Detoxification Program addresses Gulf Coast health challenges

Hope at last!

Health Concerns have gone unaddressed for too long.
Detoxification program providing first sign of real solutions.

The Gulf Coast Detoxification Project is open and results are looking GREAT!

Gulf Coast Detoxification Project

It has been almost two years now since we began raising concerns about the possible health impacts of the Oil Disaster of 2010. We worked to advocate for clean-up workers, fishermen and coastal residents and ensure the use of appropriate safety equipment. Unfortunately, there have been many cases of health problems believed to be related to the oil spill. We have heard the same unbelievable symptoms being described by individuals across the Northern Gulf Coast. Most of these concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

We’ve done our best to get these concerns out to the public. Advocating everywhere from radio interviews to tv shows and through our own e-alerts. If you have not seen the series of testimonials released on the LEAN website please view them here:

LEAN series of Gulf Testimonials

To our knowledge, as of the date of this e-alert, NO health claims have been paid by BP for illnesses related to the Oil Spill of 2010.

While we have done our best to sound the alarm; awareness alone does not solve a problem. In early 2011, Marylee Orr, executive director of LEAN, reached out to Dr. Michael Robichaux.

Dr. Mike Robichaux speaking about growing health problems along the Gulf Coast

In the process of searching for solutions, a group of local divers who were experiencing health problems connected Marylee with Jim Woodward. Jim has managed detoxification programs for many years, including for first responders following the Sept. 11th attacks in New York City.

After over a year of struggles, thanks to the dedication of Dr. Mike, Jim and LEAN, we are pleased to announce that the Gulf Coast Detoxification Project has begun and initial results are looking GREAT.

The facility is operating in Raceland, LA under the supervision of Dr. Mike and has treated over a dozen individuals already. We will be releasing the first video testimonial of this programs success in the next few days. We hope to continue to be able to share positive stories as the program continues and those suffering find relief.

If you or someone you know feel they have suffered health impacts from the Oil Spill please contact:

The Gulf Coast Detoxification Project
(985) 664-1394

source: Detoxification Program addresses Gulf Coast health challenges | Louisiana Environmental Action Network

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog FROGSVILLE MAP HAMMOND INDIANA

FROGSVILLE MAP HAMMOND INDIANA

Hammond Indiana Map

Frogsville is a 4 block neighborhood located in Hammond, Indiana bordered by East Chicago on the north, Stauffer Chemical  east of 75-year-old, 1,781-foot-long, 9-span bridge, a junk yard on the west, and a Gibson Railroad train switching yard on the south.

Gibson Railroad Yard Hump Road

frogsville bridgefrogsville train yard bridge    Frogsville 9 span bridge  Gibson Train Yard Hammond

 

Frogsville is a blue collar steel mill neighborhood.

Famous people who have lived there include: Donny Pudko, Dave Sokol, Kevin Matovina, and Raymond Fogel.

source: Where’s Frogsville Anyways?

If you have any connection to Frogsville, please leave a comment, it will be fun.

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC

MOEX Offshore 2007 LLCMOEX Offshore 2007 LLC

AP

A minority partner in BP’s blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico has agreed to pay $US90 million ($A84 million) in a settlement with the US government and Gulf states over the 2010 oil spill. It includes the largest civil penalty ever recovered under the federal Clean Water Act.

MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC owned 10 per cent interest in the Macondo well, about 80km off the Louisiana coast. The well blew out in April 2010, destroying the BP-leased rig Deepwater Horizon, killing 11 men and resulting in the nation’s worst offshore oil spill.

The agreement, filed in US District Court in New Orleans, calls for MOEX to pay $US45 million in civil penalties to the federal government and $US25 million to the Gulf states affected by the spill. The company also agreed to pay $US20 million for coastal protection projects.

The Justice Department said the agreement is the largest civil penalty ever recovered under the clean water law that was enacted in 1972.

“The Department of Justice has not wavered in its commitment to hold all responsible parties fully accountable for what stands as the largest oil spill in US history,” said Attorney-General Eric Holder said in a statement.

“This landmark settlement is an important step – but only a first step – toward achieving accountability and protecting the future of the Gulf ecosystem by funding critical habitat preservation projects.”

MOEX is the first company involved in the disaster to settle with the US government over the spill. The federal government also sued BP, rig owner Transocean Ltd and another minority partner in the well, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.

A federal trial in New Orleans designed to determine the causes of the blowout that spewed millions of litres of oil into the Gulf is scheduled to start on February 27.

MOEX Offshore, a wholly owned subsidiary of MOEX USA Corp and unit of Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co, no longer owns any share of the lease for the Macondo well.

In May 2011, MOEX Offshore agreed to pay BP more than $US1 billion to settle all claims between the companies.

The federal government’s $US45 million share of the civil penalties will go toward replenishing the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which covers the cost of cleanup and damage from future spills.

Louisiana’s share of the civil penalties is $6.75 million. Alabama, Florida and Mississippi will each get $US5 million, while Texas gets $US3.25 million.

MOEX officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

source: Minority BP partner to pay $90m for spill

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog East Point Florida Review of Special Districts

bob_allen_scott signEast Point Florida Review of Special Districts

STATE OF FLORIDA – OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR Executive Order Number 12-10 (Review of Special Districts)

“The Governor has determined that it is appropriate and necessary to conduct a deliberate and thorough review of all special districts in the State of Florida in order to determine whether such districts are: serving a legitimate public purpose; governed efficiently; levying taxes, fees, and assessments appropriately; being held accountable to the taxpayers whose lives they directly impact; operating in a transparent manner; and prudently spending taxpayer dollars.”

“After nearly a decade of investigating the Eastpoint Water and Sewer District in Eastpoint Florida, I have gained both knowledge and direct experience of the workings of “Special Districts.” In 2001 neither I nor others even knew what a “Special District” was or how it functioned. In 2002 I was the object of this Special District’s abuse of power against my business. As I began to research and seek accountability and oversight, it did not take long to find out that oversight did not exist.” – Robert D. Allen

Letter to Rick Scott and Executive Office

Finally, the State of Florida is taking oversight seriously over special districts. This is not a Commission just to study the issue, but a task order to the Office of Policy and Budget to start a program to “Examine” ALL 1600 districts in Florida for performance, etc. These are not the routine CPA type financial audits performed for most district financial statements, but much broader scope reviews to determine efficiency, justification, and lack of accountability to taxpayers. With an annual budget of 15 billion dollars “Special Districts” affect everyone in Florida and our economy. Yet, they operate without oversight and have “police powers” to use as they will. As the Governor stated, “With such a significant impact on the lives of every Floridian and our economy, it is critical that we get a firm grasp on how these special districts are operating and hold them accountable.”

One of the immediate problems will be  to review 1600 agencies, they will stretch it out over several years and may be constrained by budget and staffing limits. My own story with one such District clearly shows the ability of a District to abuse it’s power and be accountable to none. I have been on my property in Eastpoint for 37 years and have run as environmentally sound a business as any agency would desire. But, when I showed clear evidence in 2005 the District’s operation was environmentally detrimental to the Esturine, Class II, Federally protected waters of East Apalachicola Bay I became the focus of what is a near unbelievable abuse of power. An abuse that cost me personally over half a million dollars and is still costing me the full progress of my business. I showed clearly the District Waste Water Treatment Plant was dumping sewage in Indian Creek which flows through my property and into East Bay. But, three Governor’s later, their abuse continues.

As difficult as it is to condense that story and evidence I have attached a summary of what I have sent to the Executive Office. For a more detailed information please visit my blog site which details my struggle: http://rdausmc.blogspot.com/  I am sending this to all media and relevant agencies and persons asking that we keep this issue in the forefront and please contact our Governor and Lawmakers so this issue is not side stepped.

The first reason being the taxpayers of Florida need to know about it.

The second reason being the  actions of these Districts are impacting each and everyone of us economically.

The third and most important reason is that these Districts without oversight and accountability can without opposition break State and Federal laws that endanger our health and welfare. Whether you use my own story as an example or not please forward the need to support and expedite this Executive Order.

I thank you for this consideration and please contact me at anytime for more information or interview.

Best Regards,

Robert D. Allen

“NO MAN STANDS SO TALL AS WHEN HE STOOPS TO HELP A CHILD.”

source: http://rdausmc.blogspot.com/

RELATED LINKS:

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Occupy East Point Florida

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Apalachicola Bay Oystermen Future

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Chronic Sewage Dumping Chicago Eastpoint Florida

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Apalachicola Bay Public Meetings Corexit Poisoning

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Indian Creek Eastpoint Wastewater Treatment Plant

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Apalachicola Bay Corexit Poisoning

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Eastpoint Florida Sportsman’s Lodge

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Gulf Coast Illusion

Gulf Coast IllusionGulf Coast Illusion

by Edward Flattau

Not so fast, BP. The giant oil company is running TV ads trumpeting that the Gulf Coast is well on its way to recovery from the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Iris Cross, a public relations executive with 29 years of service at BP, is featured in the ads. Ms. Cross notes that she is a Gulf Coast native herself and waxes enthusiastically about the cleaned-up beaches and region’s resurgent economy.

But there is another dimension to the BP spill’s aftermath. Cherri Foytlin, founder of a southern Louisiana grassroots group called “Bridge the Gulf,” told a recent Washington rally that “dead animals wash up on our coast every day; oil washes up on land every day. People are getting sick every day.”

The Waterkeeper Alliance, a group of non-governmental citizen organizations monitoring the aftereffects of the BP spill, also has a less ebullient take than the oil company. In its 2011 State of the Gulf Report, the Alliance concludes that the spill “is an ongoing disaster. Reputable scientific studies show three-fourths of the oil is lingering on the bottom of the Gulf… along the coast and in its marshes… and in the tissues of many of the sea food species.”

This leads the Alliance to declare that especially for youngsters and pregnant women, the “all clear” for consumption of Gulf seafood is “premature,” a conclusion that conflicts with the exonerative findings of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Furthermore, the Alliance says that due to bioaccumulation, some of the seafood has become more rather than less contaminated with the passage of time.

Record dolphin mortality and fish deformities, including damage to the gills, continue to be documented in the Gulf. Researchers at Louisiana State University have detected long term adverse impacts on marine life’s reproductive capacity.

Since the spill, many once perfectly healthy individuals — especially kids — in coastal areas have been reported pulmonary issues, respiratory problems, seizures, skin and eye ailments, and a host of other maladies linked to prolonged exposure to BP oil residues’ toxic chemicals.  One southern Louisiana school has had to keep a closet full of nebulizers at the ready to help pupils in respiratory distress breathe.

No one wants to put a damper on the Gulf Coast region’s economy. Everyone wants a restoration to normality. But whitewashing the situation does no one any good and may actually slow the progress towards complete recovery.

As so often has been the case, BP’s sunny pronouncements must be taken with a grain of salt. Some beaches may be sparkling clean, but out of sight in the ocean depths and just a little bit inland, all is not yet well. How the full recovery timeline will play out is anybody’s guess.

source:  Edward Flattau: Gulf Coast Illusion

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Independent Foreclosure Review

Independent Foreclosure ReviewIndependent Foreclosure Review

Frequently asked questions and answers


Q1. What is the Independent Foreclosure Review?

As part of a consent order with federal bank regulators, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) (independent bureaus of the U.S. Department of the Treasury), or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, fourteen mortgage servicers and their affiliates are identifying customers who were part of a foreclosure action on their primary residence during the period of January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010.

The Independent Foreclosure Review is providing homeowners the opportunity to request an independent review of their foreclosure process. If the review finds that financial injury occurred as a result of errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the servicer’s foreclosure process, the customer may receive compensation or other remedy.

Q2. What is a foreclosure action? What foreclosure actions are part of the Independent Foreclosure Review?

Foreclosure actions include any of the following occurrences on a primary residence between the dates of January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010:

  • The property was sold due to a foreclosure judgment.
  • The mortgage loan was referred into the foreclosure process but was removed from the process because payments were brought up-to-date or the borrower entered a payment plan or modification program.
  • The mortgage loan was referred into the foreclosure process, but the home was sold or the borrower participated in a short sale or chose a deed-in-lieu or other program to avoid foreclosure.
  • The mortgage loan was referred into the foreclosure process and remains delinquent but the foreclosure sale has not yet taken place.

Q3. How do I know if I am eligible for the Independent Foreclosure Review?

Your loan must first meet the following initial eligibility criteria:

  • Your mortgage loan was serviced by one of the participating mortgage servicers in Question 4.
  • Your mortgage loan was active in the foreclosure process between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.
  • The property was your primary residence.

If your mortgage loan does not meet the initial eligibility criteria outlined above, you can still have your mortgage concerns considered by calling or writing your servicer directly.

Q4. Who are the participating servicers? What mortgage servicers and their affiliates are part of the Independent Foreclosure Review process?

The list of participating servicers includes:

  • America’s Servicing Co.
  • Aurora Loan Services
  • Bank of America
  • Beneficial
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • CitiFinancial
  • CitiMortgage
  • Countrywide
  • EMC
  • EverBank/EverHome Mortgage Company
  • GMAC Mortgage
  • HFC
  • HSBC
  • IndyMac Mortgage Services
  • MetLife Bank
  • National City Mortgage
  • PNC Mortgage
  • Sovereign Bank
  • SunTrust Mortgage
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wachovia Mortgage
  • Washington Mutual (WaMu)
  • Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Q5. What are some examples of financial injury due to errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process?

Listed below are examples of situations that may have led to financial injury. This list does not include all situations.

  • The mortgage balance amount at the time of the foreclosure action was more than you actually owed.
  • You were doing everything the modification agreement required, but the foreclosure sale still happened.
  • The foreclosure action occurred while you were protected by bankruptcy.
  • You requested assistance/modification, submitted complete documents on time, and were waiting for a decision when the foreclosure sale occurred.
  • Fees charged or mortgage payments were inaccurately calculated, processed, or applied.
  • The foreclosure action occurred on a mortgage that was obtained before active duty military service began and while on active duty, or within 9 months after the active duty ended and the servicemember did not waive his/her rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Q6. How does my mortgage loan get reviewed as part of the Independent Foreclosure Review?

Homeowners meeting the initial eligibility criteria will be mailed notification letters with an enclosed Request for Review Form before the end of 2011.

If you believe that you may have been financially injured, you must submit a Request for Review Form postmarked no later than April 30, 2012. Forms postmarked after this date will not be eligible for the Independent Foreclosure Review.

If you have more than one mortgage account that meets the initial eligibility criteria for an independent review, you will receive a separate letter for each. You will need to submit a separate Request for Review Form for each account. It is important that you complete the form to the best of your ability. All information you provide may be useful.

Q7. How can I submit the Request for Review Form?

Homeowners meeting the initial eligibility criteria will be mailed notification letters with an enclosed Request for Review Form before the end of 2011. If you received the notification letter, you can send in your Request for Review Form in the prepaid envelope provided, postmarked no later than April 30, 2012.

If your loan is part of the initial eligible population and you need a new form by mail, have questions, or need help completing the form you have received in the mail, call 1-888-952-9105  Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET.

Q8. Who can submit or sign the Request for Review Form?

Either the borrower or a co-borrower of the mortgage loan can submit and sign the form. The borrower signing the Request for Review Form should be authorized by all borrowers to proceed with the request for review. In the event of a finding of financial injury, any possible compensation or remedy will take into consideration all borrowers listed on the loan, either directly or to their trusts or estates.

Q9. What if one of the borrowers has died or is injured or debilitated?

Any borrower, co-borrower or attorney-in-fact can sign the form. In the event of a finding of financial injury, any possible compensation or other remedy will take into account all borrowers listed on the mortgage loan either directly or to their trusts or estates.

Q10. Do I need an attorney to request or submit the Request for Review Form?

No. However, if your mortgage loan meets the initial eligibility criteria and you are currently represented by an attorney with respect to a foreclosure or bankruptcy case regarding your mortgage; please refer to your attorney.

The Independent Foreclosure Review is free. Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee in exchange for a service to complete the Request for Review Form.

Q11. If I have already submitted a complaint to my servicer, do I need to submit a separate Request for Review Form to participate in this process?

If your mortgage loan meets the initial eligibility criteria, you should submit a Request for Review Form to ensure your foreclosure action is included in the Independent Foreclosure Review process.

Q12. What happens during the review process?

You will be sent an acknowledgement letter within one week after your Request for Review Form is received by the independent review administrator. Your request will be reviewed for inclusion in the Independent Foreclosure Review. If your request meets the eligibility requirements, it will be reviewed by an independent consultant.

Your servicer will provide relevant documents along with any findings and recommendations related to your request for review to the independent consultant for review. Your servicer may be asked to clarify or confirm facts and disclose reasons for events that occurred related to the foreclosure process. You could be asked to provide additional information or documentation. Because the review process will be a thorough and complete examination of many details and documents, the review could take several months.

The Independent Foreclosure Review will determine whether financial injury has occurred as a result of errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process. You will receive a letter with the findings of the review and information about possible compensation or other remedy.

Q13. How do I know who my servicer is? How do I find them?

The company you sent your monthly mortgage payments to is your mortgage servicer. It is not necessarily the company whose name is on the actual foreclosure documents (although in most cases, it is). If you don’t remember the name of the servicer for your foreclosed property, we suggest you review cancelled checks, bank statements, online statements or other records for this information.

If you are still unsure of who your mortgage servicer is or do not see their name listed in Q4, please call 1-888-952-9105  Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET.

Q14. If I request an Independent Foreclosure Review, is there a cost or will there be a negative impact to my credit?

The Independent Foreclosure Review is a free program. Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee in exchange for a service to complete the Request for Review Form.

The review will not have an impact on your credit report or any other options you may pursue related to your foreclosure.

Q15. Where can I call if I need help completing the form or have any questions about the review process?

Call 1-888-952-9105 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. ET or Saturday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. ET. If you have already submitted a Request for Review Form, please have your Reference Number available to expedite your call.

Q16. How are military servicemembers affected by the Independent Foreclosure Review?

In the review, servicers are required to include all loans covered by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act that meet the qualifying criteria. However, servicemembers or co-borrowers may also request a review through this process. Financial injury may have occurred if the foreclosure action occurred on a mortgage that was obtained before active duty military service began and while on active duty, or within 9 months after the active duty ended.

Q17. How am I affected if I submit a Request for Review Form while in active bankruptcy?

If you submit a Request for Review Form and a review is conducted of your foreclosure process, this will have no impact on your bankruptcy. The letter being sent to you about the Independent Foreclosure Review is not an attempt to collect a debt. If you are in bankruptcy, please refer this letter to your attorney.

Q18. I’m still working with my servicer to prevent a foreclosure sale. Will I still be able to work with them?

Yes, continue to work with your servicer. Participating in the review will not impact any effort to prevent a foreclosure sale. The review is not intended to replace current active efforts with your servicer.

Q19. How long will the review process take and when can I expect a response?

You will be sent an acknowledgement letter within one week after your Request for Review Form is received by the independent review administrator. Because the review process will examine many details and documents, the review could take several months. The Independent Foreclosure Review will determine if financial injury occurred as a result of the servicer’s errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process. You will receive a letter with the findings of the review and information about possible compensation or other remedy. Not every finding will result in compensation or other remedy.

Q20. What happens if the review finds that I was financially injured as a result of errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process?

You will receive a letter with the findings of the review and information about possible compensation or other remedy. The compensation or other remedy you may receive will be determined by your specific situation. Not every finding will result in compensation or other remedy.

Q21. What happens if the review finds that I was not financially injured as a result of errors, misrepresentations or other deficiencies in the foreclosure process?

You will receive a letter with the findings of the review. Not every finding will result in compensation or other remedy.

Q22. What if I disagree with the eligibility requirements or the result of the Independent Foreclosure Review?

The decision of the review is considered final and there is no further recourse within the Independent Foreclosure Review process. The Independent Foreclosure Review will not have an impact on any other options you may pursue related to the foreclosure process of your mortgage loan.

Q23. Does filing a Request for Review Form prevent me from filing other litigation or action against the servicer?

No. Submitting a request for an Independent Foreclosure Review will not preclude you from any other options you may pursue related to your foreclosure.

source: Independent Foreclosure Review – FAQ

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Robo Signing

robo signingRobo Signing

Robo-signing has been found to be prevalent across the country, and caused foreclosure processing to grind to a near-halt last year as officials went back and scrutinized thousands of documents from some of the country’s biggest banks and lenders, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase.

A federal effort is currently underway to correct the fallout from mishandled foreclosures, including a proposed settlement of as much as $29 billion to be paid by the country’s five largest mortgage servicers, and invitations to millions of foreclosed homeowners to have their cases reviewed by independent consultants and determine whether misconduct took place.

Victims of improper foreclosure practices can submit claims

Fourteen mortgage servicers have begun mailing out 4.3 million letters to potential victims of robo-signing. The letters will invite borrowers to submit their cases for a free review by independent consultants

By Alejandro Lazo

Aggrieved homeowners ensnared by a foreclosure system riddled with misconduct and error are set to get their first shot at winning some cash back from the banks.

Under orders from federal regulators, 14 mortgage servicers on Tuesday began mailing out 4.3 million letters to potential victims of wrongful foreclosure practices. The letters will invite borrowers to submit their cases for a free review by independent consultants that are funded by the lenders but vetted by regulators.

Borrowers may be compensated if the reviewers and regulators find that the homeowners were harmed financially.

“These requirements help ensure that the servicers provide appropriate compensation to borrowers who suffered financial harm as a result of improper practices,” said John Walsh, acting comptroller of the currency, whose agency regulates the nation’s largest banks. The Federal Reserve has also issued the enforcement orders.

Those letters will go out to people who were in foreclosure in 2009 and 2010, a period identified by the regulators as the peak of foreclosure misconduct. In addition to the mailings, an advertising campaign will begin shortly to get the word out to people potentially harmed by the errors.

The start of the review process by the regulators is the first tangible action to stem from widespread revelations last year that banks made a host of errors when foreclosing on troubled borrowers.

Among other problems, mortgage servicers employed so-called robo-signers — people who signed foreclosure documents en masse without properly reviewing them — and took back homes from people even though they were being reviewed for loan modifications.

Consumer advocates criticized the federal regulators Tuesday for what they said was a lack of transparency in their reviews, saying they were concerned that many borrowers injured by faulty foreclosure practices would not be reached.

Regulators haven’t released a system for determining how much to compensate borrowers found to have been foreclosed on improperly, and it isn’t clear whether borrowers will have to give up their rights to further claims if they are compensated in some way. The names of the independent consultants whose work is funded by the banks will be released soon.

“I think that federal regulators … are more concerned about banks’ bottom lines than whether banks follow all the rules,” said Kurt Eggert, a law professor at Chapman University in Orange. “They are trying to fix the servicing problem without it costing the banks much, which is impossible.”

He added that the moves by the federal regulators could detract from efforts by state attorneys general that also are aimed at reaching a settlement with the nation’s largest banks over faulty foreclosure and mortgage servicing practices. Those negotiations continue even though some states have voiced concern over the direction of the talks; California has dropped out of them altogether.

“I worry that this effort will make it harder, for example, for the states to do something meaningful because servicers will just say, ‘Hey, there is this federal process, it’s working, leave us alone,'” Eggert said.

Bryan Hubbard, a spokesman for the comptroller’s office, stressed that the outreach effort was only an initial step in what will be a series of actions.

The mortgage servicers that agreed in April to clean up their foreclosure practices and compensate victims include the nation’s largest: JPMorgan Chase Bank, Bank of America Corp., Citibank and Wells Fargo & Co. Lesser-known servicers and foreclosure processing firms, such as Lender Processing Services of Jacksonville, Fla., also signed on to the enforcement orders.

Each mortgage servicer is required to mail one letter to each customer eligible for the review. About 70% of those potentially slated to receive letters are still in their homes. Hubbard said the firm hired to reach the borrowers on behalf of the banks, Rust Consulting, also has experience reaching people in mass mailings, particularly in class-action cases, and would use sophisticated methods to reach those borrowers who are no longer in their homes.

Borrowers who want to learn more about the federal claims process can visit IndependentForeclosureReview.com or call (888) 952-9105

Borrowers must request reviews by April 30, and the foreclosures must have been on primary residences to be eligible.

alejandro.lazo@latimes.com

source: Foreclosure; robo-signing; mortgage servicers; settlement; banks – Los Angeles Times

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Digital Movie Era

AvatarDigital Movie Era

Digital movie projectors end Hollywood’s film era

By David Goldman

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The 122-year reign of the celluloid 35-millimeter film projector is about to come to an end.

In just two months, digital will overtake film as the predominant movie projector technology in the world’s cinemas, according to a study released this week by IHS. It will be the first time since the advent of the motion picture in 1889 that film projectors will be used to screen a minority of movies.

The most amazing thing about the transition is not how long film stuck around, but just how dramatic and rapid the shift to digital projectors was. Film projectors were in more than 99% of theaters as recently as 2004 and 85% in 2009. That number slid to 68% last year, and by the end of next year, film will be present in just 37% of cinemas.

In 2015, IHS says film will be relegated to “niche” status, used in just 17% of movie theaters worldwide.

How did the mighty fall so quickly? In a word: Avatar.

The blockbuster 3-D movie’s release in late 2009 sparked a rapid increase in digital projector purchases, since its three-dimensional effects couldn’t be viewed with a celluloid film projector. Not wanting to miss out on the highest-grossing movie of all time, theaters were quick to upgrade their technology.

“The release of Avatar represented the pivotal moment for digital cinema,” said David Hancock, head of film and cinema research at IHS. “Before Avatar, digital represented only a small portion of the market. This single film has driven up demand for digital 3-D technology at the expense of traditional 35-mm celluloid.”

Since then, movie theaters have been welcoming the rebirth of the 3-D movie, as they can often charge more money for the shows.

IMAX looks for life after ‘Avatar’

The transition has been especially noticeable in the United States, where IHS predicts there will be no more mainstream 35-mm film projector usage after 2013. Western Europe will reach that point by 2014, and as pressure builds from Hollywood studios that want to ship films in just one format, most of the rest of the world will likely be forced to say goodbye to film projectors the following year.

Though the majority of movies are still shown using film — at least until January — most Hollywood pictures have actually been shot using digital cameras for quite some time. Some traditionalists remain, of course. Star Trek director J.J. Abrams noted that he chose to shoot the movie using traditional film to capture a certain glare effect that digital cameras couldn’t replicate.

Even though the film wasn’t shot digitally, many people around the world still watched it on a digital projector. Soon, no matter how a Hollywood movie is captured, it will have to be digitized at some point.

That means demand for celluloid is rapidly declining. More than 13 billion feet of 35-mm film were sold globally in 2008, but that number is expected to sink to just 4 billion feet next year, IHS said.

What’s even more worrisome for celluloid producers is that the cost of making it is soaring due to the rising price of silver, a key raw material in the production of film. IHS predicts the major celluloid manufacturers — Kodak (EK, Fortune 500) and Fuji — could be consolidated down to just one by 2015.

Of course, film will never completely go away. Art-house cinemas, particularly the roughly 3,000 publicly funded ones in Western Europe, will help keep film alive. Older films that were never digitally transferred will live on there.

But they’ll be relics. IHS expects those last prints to soar in value as the rest of the world moves to digital. To top of page

source: Digital movie projectors end Hollywood’s film era

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog Terra Wellington

Terra WellingtonTerra Wellington

The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home

With the multitude of green choices available, how can moms determine what will be best for their families—and the environment? Terra Wellington has the answers.

This user-friendly and invaluable resource is packed with hundreds of easy green how-tos including:

• Shopping: Get the most bang for your buck by purchasing organic foods that would otherwise have high pesticide residue, like apples, grapes, green peppers, peaches, and pears.

• Kitchen: Save money and water by scraping—not rinsing— dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Today’s models are so efficient that rinsing is not necessary.

• Home office: Screensavers don’t save energy. Instead have the computer switch to sleep mode when idle.

Terra Wellington is an actress and author and has been a popular television guest due to her advocacy of healthy living and environmental topics.

An active supporter of ocean conservation and the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, Terra is the author of the book  The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home (St. Martin’s Press), a comprehensive real-person’s guide on how to help the planet and protect your family.

She has also dedicated her time to Oxfam in supporting international relief efforts, as well as supported the Los Angeles homeless relief charity EDAR.

Terra recently starred on CBS’ “Criminal Minds,” has been a series regular on the television pilot “Rx,” and also appeared as the General Caffarelli’s wife in the award-winning period film “The Last Days of Toussaint L’Ouverture.” The Toussaint film was dedicated to the victims of Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake. See more at IMDb.com.

A champion of healthy lifestyle and eco-friendly choices, she has had the unique opportunity to be a major-brand spokeswoman for over 100 companies’ healthy living and planet-loving brands. Terra has also had the pleasure of appearing on hundreds of television and radio programs over the years to get out important public messages, including The Montel Williams Show, WCBS’ This Morning, Chicago’s WGN, Martha Stewart Living Radio, and The Daily Buzz.

Terra Wellington picTerra regularly contributes articles to several publications on family, healthy living, and eco issues, including Los Angeles Family Magazine and ThriftyandGreen.com. She is the former wellness editor of Fit Body and Real national women magazines, previously contributed at ClubMom.com and Aisle7 syndicated health content, and wrote the syndicated column Terra Wellington’s Balanced Living.

The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home (Stonesong Press Books) [Paperback]

source: About Terra Wellington | Terra Wellington // Official Site

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Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Blog How to Get Medical Marijuana In Arizona

How to Get Medical Marijuana In Arizona

Currently there are two ways to get medical marijuana in Arizona. You can grow your own if you are registered with the state health department as a patient.

Second you can find a caregiver who is registered with the state. As a patient you are allowed 2.5 ounces every two weeks. As of this posting there are no legal dispensaries in the state of Arizona.

Matching patients with caregivers can be a bit tricky. One service I found is Compassion First AZ. They can be reached by form @ CompassionFirstAz

How to Get Medical Marijuana In Arizona How to Get Medical Marijuana In Arizona

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