Apolitical Archives - Page 3 of 198 - SaintPetersBlog

Disney increasing park tickets for certain times of year

Walt Disney World is increasing single-day tickets at certain times of the year and setting expiration dates on tickets in hopes of preventing overcrowding during the theme parks’ busiest times, company officials said Saturday.

The single-day ticket prices are either staying the same or are increasing no more than $5 under the new price structure that goes into effect Sunday. Last year, Disney rolled out a pricing plan that allows visitors to view a planning calendar from eight to 11 months out to determine which days are considered “value,” ”regular” or “peak” times. Visitors pay more on “peak” days, which are the busiest times as forecast by park officials.

The goal of the varied price structure is to give park visitors an incentive to come during times that are not “peak” so that the experience can be better enjoyed by all, officials said. There have been times during holiday and spring break where the crowds have been so large that Disney has had to stop selling tickets.

“Our pricing provides guests a range of options that allow us to better manage demand to maximize the guest experience and is reflective of the distinctly Disney offerings at all of our parks,” said Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler.

Starting Sunday, “value” days for Magic Kingdom will cost $107 for adults and $101 for children, which represent a $2 increase. During “regular” time, park visitors will pay $5 more with prices jumping from $115 for adults to $109 for children. The “peak” prices remain the same at $124 for adults and $118 for children.

At Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, “value” one-day tickets will now be $99 for adults and $93 for children, which is a $2 bump for both. “Regular” times for adults will be $107 for adults and $101 for children, and “peak” tickets jump to $119 and $113, respectively for adults and children. The new prices represent a $5 increase across the board during “regular” and “peak” seasons.

All tickets now will have expiration dates. In the past, only one-day and Florida resident tickets had expiration dates. Also guests will be able to save $20 on multiday tickets when they purchase them in advance. Park visitors can purchase the multiday tickets online at any time prior to entering the park to receive the savings.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Florida Retail Federation installs Scott Shalley as president and CEO

The Florida Retail Federation has hired Scott Shalley as its next president and chief executive officer.

He replaces Randy Miller who is retiring, the federation said, and also will direct the Georgia Retail Association.

Shalley will be the sixth person to lead the federation during its 80-year history.

Word of the impending development first appeared in Sunburn Friday morning.

“We’ve been truly fortunate to have incredible leaders and visionaries to guide FRF in recent years, and we feel strongly that Scott has the experience in business development, association management and government affairs to step right in and make an immediate impact,” board chairman Dan Doyle said.

“I want to thank Randy for the extremely important role he has played in making sure that he is leaving FRF in capable hands, and we know that the leadership team we have in place will be a tremendous asset to Scott as he takes our organizations to the next level.”

Shalley has led the Florida Association of Counties since 2015.

“I am honored and excited to lead the Florida Retail Federation and work with the top notch staff and dedicated board members” Shalley said.

“I look forward to advocating on behalf of Florida’s 270,000 retailers to ensure the industry remains robust and that our member businesses continue to grow and succeed.”

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Publix slicing out free deli meat to customers

Deli customers at Publix may be asking, “Where’s the meat?”

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the Lakeland-based grocery chain has ended a long-standing practice of giving customers complimentary slices of deli meat when they place orders at the deli counter at some stores. Publix deli workers would often give the customer the initial slice to examine the thinness or thickness of the meat.

But Publix began to shift away from that practice at some of its stores about two weeks ago. Now customers have to request the test slice.

Publix media relations manager Brian West says the company has made the change at a few dozen stores in central and southwest Florida. Publix has more than 1,000 stores in the Southeastern United States.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Wallendas among 5 tightrope walkers injured in fall

Five circus performers were seriously injured in a fall Wednesday when a pyramid stunt involving famed tightrope walker Nik Wallenda went awry.

The accident also involved several of his family members, but Nik Wallenda wasn’t among the injured, authorities said.

“He caught himself,” said county spokeswoman Ashley Lusby.

Eight performers were on the tightrope, practicing a pyramid stunt ahead of Friday’s opening of Circus Sarasota, when they lost their balance and most of them fell. Local media reports said Nik Wallenda was the anchor for the pyramid.

Sarasota Fire-Rescue Spokesman Drew Winchester said the group fell 30 or more feet, and four of the injured suffered trauma. Three were brought to one hospital and the other two, to other hospitals.

All three brought to Sarasota Memorial Hospital are expected to survive, said Dr. Alan Brockhurst, the trauma medical director.

“One of them currently is in operating room, two in the ICU,” he said Wednesday afternoon.

One is in guarded condition.

Pedro Reis, founder and CEO of the Sarasota Circus Arts Conservatory which puts on the show, said during a news conference that nothing was wrong with the rigging but that some performers lost their balance. He said the circus will open as planned.

“The show must go on,” he said.

Authorities are investigating and said Wallenda may make a statement later Wednesday.

The Wallendas are considered the pre-eminent family of tightrope walkers. One family member, Rick Wallenda, is scheduled to perform a tight walking stunt Saturday at St. Petersburg’s Sundial luxury shopping center.

This is not the first tragedy strike the family. Patriarch Karl Wallenda died in a fall during a stunt in 1978 in Puerto Rico. Two other family members also died decades ago while performing.

Nik Wallenda said he trains like an athlete and calculates his risks for every stunt.

“I respect deeply what I do and realize there’s a lot of danger in it,” he told The Associated Press during a 2013 interview in Sarasota, his Florida hometown.

In 2013, Wallenda successfully crossed a tightrope stretched across the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon. That walk was televised by the Discovery Channel. There was no safety net and Wallenda didn’t use a tether.

In 2012, Wallenda was the first person to cross a tightrope over the brink of Niagara Falls. Other daredevils have crossed the water farther downstream but no one had walked a wire over the river since 1896. He did use a safety tether for that walk.

The Wallendas trace their roots to 1780 in Austria-Hungary, when their ancestors traveled as a band of acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, animal trainers and a bit later, trapeze artists.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

FAU puts its money where its priorities are – Part 2

Brand-in-himself (and biggest celebrity football coach in our state) Lane Kiffin has hit the headline-grabbing ground running.

Just weeks on the job at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), Kiffin is providing elite sportswriters and citizen journalists with reams of revealing insights into the mind of the young genius chosen to channel FAU’s “unbridled ambition” into a winning season at the jock palace formerly known as GEO Group Stadium.

The ink was barely dry on Kiffin’s $950,000 contract when he struck a blow for transparency and accountability (T&A), inviting Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated to keep him company as he shopped around Boca Raton’s $5 million-and-under waterfront properties.

That would be a lot of house for a guy who’s newly divorced from his wife of 16 years, but Kiffin sees it as an “investment in recruiting.”

Best not to think too hard about what that might mean. Among the coaching talent Kiffin attracted to FAU is Baylor’s Kendal Briles; the school has long been up to its eyeballs in litigation for fostering “an environment that promotes sexual assault and a “show ’em a good time” policy.

Baylor is known for sparing no expense in covering up for miscreant players and coaches, but Kiffin, by contrast, is right up front with his misogyny.

Kiffin pulled off a humble-brag, and a diss on the mother of his three young children, telling Thamel that he was “so young and his wife so attractive” that in his married years, less dazzling folks were inclined not to like him.

For Mrs. Kiffin, the married years meant having babies and dragging them all over the country as Coach tried and failed to keep a job. She’s still caring for the kids, some of whom are old enough to read national magazines and learn that their father resents the 34.5 percent their mom got in the property settlement almost as much as he resents paying “52 percent to Obama.”

On Friday, bachelor Kiffin was in da club, wearing an “aggressive V-neck” and chatting up the coeds. Social media was delighted to see him.

Said one Tweeter to the internet, “If FAU wins a football game for every different girl I saw Lane Kiffin talking to at Club Boca last night you’d be seeing us in the playoffs.”

That’s a consummation devoutly wished for a fourth-rate football program in a city whose name is regularly mispronounced by late night comedians.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Stephen Colbert reaches a ratings milestone at start of Donald Trump era

He may cringe at the thought, but is Stephen Colbert the late-night man for the Trump administration?

Colbert’s “Late Show” won the late-night ratings competition last week over NBC’s Jimmy Fallon for the first time since Colbert replaced David Letterman in September 2015, the Nielsen company said.

The margin was so small — 2.77 million average for CBS, 2.76 million for NBC — that CBS didn’t want to jinx its good fortune by making an executive available to talk about it on Tuesday. But it reflects a turnaround for the troubled show since former “CBS This Morning” executive Chris Licht was put in charge backstage and steered the show toward more topical content to match the times.

The “Late Show” won two of the five nights on which Colbert and Fallon went head-to-head last week, but it was enough to win the week. One night was Tuesday, when Colbert’s former Comedy Central pal Jon Stewart came by to offer an impersonation of President Trump.

The other win was Monday, Colbert’s first night back from a week’s vacation and his first show, he noted, in the Trump era. His monologue that night recorded 4 million views on YouTube, CBS said.

“You’ve got to give the guy credit,” Colbert said of the new president. “He gets a lot of stuff undone.”

It may be Colbert’s first weekly win in over a year, but he’s been creeping closer in the ratings since the election. Fallon still wins among youthful demographics, Nielsen said.

Another late-night story may temper NBC’s disappointment. “Saturday Night Live” is booming, with its most-watched season in 22 years, and Melissa McCarthy‘s impersonation of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer last weekend became an instant classic. Only three prime-time shows last week got better ratings among the 18-to-49-year-old age group than “Saturday Night Live.”

Meanwhile, President Trump lost a ratings competition to his predecessor. Trump’s interview with Bill O’Reilly on the Super Bowl preview show was seen by 12.2 million people on Sunday, compared to the 14.9 million who watched CBS’ Gayle King interview former President Obama on last year’s show. In fairness to Trump, Fox aired the interview 25 minutes earlier in the pregame show than CBS, which showed it closer to kickoff.

The Super Bowl gave Fox the easy win in prime time. The network averaged 29.7 million viewers in prime time, followed by CBS with 6 million, ABC with 4 million, NBC with 3.7 million, Univision with 1.8 million, the CW with 1.6 million, Telemundo with 1.4 million and ION Television with 1.2 million.

Fox News Channel dominated the cable networks, averaging 3.15 million viewers in prime time. HGTV had 1.58 million, USA had 1.55 million, MSNBC had 1.42 million and TBS had 1.34 million.

NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 9.1 million viewers. ABC’s “World News Tonight” was second with 9 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 7.3 million viewers.

For the week of Jan. 30-Feb. 5, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: Super Bowl: New England vs. Atlanta, Fox, 111.32 million viewers; “Super Bowl Post-Game,” Fox, 61.08 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 14.66 million; “Superior Donuts,” CBS, 10.54 million; “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 10.13 million; “Hawaii Five-O,” CBS, 9.81 million; “Mom,” CBS, 8.71 million; “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 8.5 million; “The Big Bang Theory” (Monday, 8 p.m.), CBS, 8.44 million; “Criminal Minds,” CBS, 7.46 million.

___

ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is owned by 21st Century Fox. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Disney’s wonderful world may be too good to last

Disney has been on a tear the past few years, thanks to popular channels like ESPN, its “Star Wars” and Marvel superhero franchises, and improving results at its global parks.

Now comes the hard part.

CEO Robert Iger’s contract runs out next year, creating management uncertainty just as Disney needs to keep its lucrative television offerings relevant in a world increasingly dominated by streaming services.

The company faces “a time of transition” as consumers abandon expensive cable subscriptions, said Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne. That shift threatens Disney mainstays such as ABC and ESPN.

Here’s a look at Disney’s evolving realities.

LIVE TV NOT SO HEALTHY

ESPN has been one of Disney’s crown jewels, but with cable viewership on the decline, its ratings have been under pressure.

Disney revenue and profit both fell in the October-December quarter, hurt by a decline at ESPN and tough comparisons to a year ago, when it released “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Profit dropped 14 percent to $2.48 billion on revenue that declined 3 percent to $14.78 billion.

Cable network revenue fell 2 percent to $4.4 billion, hurt by lower ESPN revenue. Disney blamed the ESPN results on higher programming costs and lower advertising revenue, partially offset by affiliate revenue growth.

STREAMING AHEAD

So Disney has been working hard to adapt to the new realities of online TV watching.

Its channels — ABC, The Disney Channel, ESPN and others — are all part of less expensive “skinny” channel bundles on streaming services such as Sling TV, Sony PlayStation Vue, and DirecTV now.

Disney also took a $1 billion stake in BAMTech , which provides streaming for Major League Baseball. Disney plans to use that technology for an ESPN streaming service, set to launch this year, which will offer live game streaming and programming not offered on regular ESPN.

Disney might also one day offer a standalone streaming version of ESPN, much the way HBO has with its $15-a-month-service HBO Now.

In a conference call with analysts, Iger said Disney won’t rush to offer the ESPN standalone service, in part because the company still makes a lot of money from cable and satellite fees. But he said ultimately it is Disney’s “powerful intent to go out there aggressively with digital offerings directed to consumers for ESPN” and other Disney offerings.

Nomura analyst Anthony DiClemente suggests Disney first wants to see how Hulu’s live TV service, expected in the next few months, fares. Disney owns 30 percent of Hulu, and will benefit from any subscriber growth the live TV service sparks.

IGER’S FUTURE

Disney is also contending with the looming end of Iger’s contract, which expires in June 2018. Since taking the top role in 2005, Iger has acquired Star Wars owner LucasFilm, Pixar and Marvel and driven improvements in Disney’s consumer products and parks division, most recently with the opening of Shanghai Disneyland, which opened in 2016.

Speculation has been swirling whether Iger will extend his contract in June. There’s no obvious successor at Disney; one heir apparent, COO Tom Staggs, left last year.

Iger, 65, seemed amenable to extending his contract during a conference call with analysts. “If it’s in the best interest of the company for me to extend my term, I’m open to that,” he said.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Twitter takes more steps to clamp down abuse and hate

Twitter is broadening its campaign to clamp down on hate speech and abuse.

The company said Tuesday that it has begun identifying people who have been banned for abusive behavior and will stop them from creating new accounts. It is also creating a ‘safe search’ feature that removes tweets with potentially sensitive content and tweets from blocked and muted accounts from search results. The tweets will still exist on Twitter if people look for them, but won’t appear in general search results.

Twitter is also singling out and collapsing potentially abusive and “low-quality” replies so only the most relevant conversations surface. These replies will also be accessible to those who seek them out, but Twitter is making them less visible.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Super Bowl generates mixed results for odds makers

Las Vegas oddsmakers thought they might be headed for a big payday, but the New England Patriots — thanks to a successful two-point conversion that led to the first-ever Super Bowl overtime — left them with mixed results instead.

Gamblers wagered a record $138.5 million at Nevada casinos on the big game, almost $6 million more than last year. The unaudited tallies released Monday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board showed sports books made a profit of more than $10.9 million on the action, about $2.4 million less than in 2016 and a far cry from the $19.6 the casinos cleared in 2014.

Caesars Palace sportsbook director Frank Kunovic said the hotel-casino raked in a decent amount of money from bettors, but would have had a much better day if the Patriots missed the two-point conversion that tied the game. The play resulted in a seven-figure swing for Caesars’ bottom line when MVP quarterback Tom Brady‘s favored Patriots went on to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28. Most bettors wagered for the Patriots to win by more than 3 points and the game’s total points to exceed 59.

“Our saving grace was that we had a lot of people on the under,” Kunovic said, referring to the people who bet that the total points scored by the two teams would remain under 59.

Winning bettors were lined up to cash their tickets until about 1 a.m., and the lines formed again later in the morning, he said.

It could have been worse for the state’s 196 sports books.

A record would have been set if the Patriots had kicked a field goal to win in overtime at 31-28, Pregame.com founder RJ Bell said in statement. That score would have ended with no winners or losers on the side (-3) and total (59).

“That would have resulted in the most bets in Vegas history being refunded,” Bell said.

Bettors also won big Sunday on several proposition bets — wagers offered on unique and various cases — including on whether the game would go into overtime. That bet paid 7-1.

“Every year, the general public bets to go into overtime,” said Jay Kornegay, who runs the sports book at the Westgate Las Vegas. “So, for the longest period of time, we’ve always won on that prop, but this is the first time that we actually had to pay out. I guess it was a long time coming.”

Kornegay said he had no complaints Monday, but he acknowledged that he saw “glimpses of having a banner day” that ended with just an average one.

At the Wynn Las Vegas, the game was pretty much a wash. Johnny Avello, the longtime oddsmaker and sports book director at the casino-resort on the Strip, said he took a lot of six-figure bets and about 60 percent were on the Patriots. What helped the Wynn’s take was that it also took a lot of money on the under.

“There were so many things that happened in the game,” Avello said. “Everything happened.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us

Woman tied to murder of FSU law professor wants out of jail

Attorneys for a Miami woman accused of playing a key role in the killing of a Florida State University law professor are trying once again to get her out of jail.

An attorney for Katherine Magbanua on Monday requested that a Florida appeals court allow her to be released on bail.

The motion with the 1st District Court of Appeal contends prosecutors have not presented enough evidence to keep her locked up ahead of her trial on murder charges. That trial was scheduled for February, but it has been pushed back until later this year.

Magbanua, who has pleaded not guilty, is accused of helping orchestrate a plot to kill Daniel Markel. Police say the murder was sparked by a bitter divorce and family squabbles.

Authorities allege Magbanua has ties to both the alleged shooter and the family of Markel’s ex-wife.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit
Share On Stumbleupon
Share On Youtube
Contact us
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons