Archive forDecember, 2014

Giving Opportunities: Memorial Fund, Elliot the Superhero, and a Rescue’s …

In the season of giving, we wanted to share a few opportunities to give back in the region. Find more opportunities at

GoFundMe focuses more on helping people fund very personal goals. So in addition to traditional charitable causes, you may find someone who is asking for help financing a car payment or paying for a honeymoon.

If you would like to contact a fundraiser or flag a campaign, just click on the image below.

Do you know of a project in town that deserves funding? Let us know in the comments, in a blog post, or head over to to start one.

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China’s Fosun to buy US insurer to help finance acquisition spree

HONG KONG/BENGALURU (Reuters) – Chinese conglomerate Fosun International Ltd is making its first foray into the US insurance market and buying property and casualty insurer Meadowbrook, a deal that it said would help it secure funds for further acquisitions.

The deal, the latest in a buying spree by Fosun that has seen it spend more than $4 billion in two years, would also be the first full purchase of a US insurer by a Chinese company and comes as the Beijing government encourages local firms to extend their reach beyond emerging markets to Western financial firms.

Fosun, owned by billionaire businessman Guo Guangchang, said in an exchange filing it would buy Meadowbrook Insurance Group for about $433 million. The cash deal of $8.65 per share represents a 24 percent premium over Meadowbrooks closing price on Dec. 29, the companies added.

The Group regards the development of insurance business as a major approach to access long-term high-quality capital, Fosun said in the filing. A China-based Fosun spokeswoman declined to comment further.

Shares of Meadowbrook, a specialty commercial insurance underwriter and insurance administration services company, were up 14 percent at $8.15 in extended trading.

Fosuns Guo is seeking to broaden the conglomerates access to capital in order to fund a series of acquisitions he hopes will transform the groups business model.

In the past two years, those deals have largely been funded with bank credit and leverage, but now Guo hopes to gain a more sustainable source of funds by buying into financial firms.

In May, Fosun bought Portuguese insurer Fidelidade for $1.29 billion, bolstering its assets and easing the pressure on its balance sheet.

Guo, who Forbes estimates has a net worth of about $4.3 billion, is also involved in a takeover bid for French holiday operator Club Mediterranee SA with Italian tycoon Andrea Bonom.

The group has also expressed interest in bidding for Portugals Novo Banco SA, the new bank created in the wake of the failure of Banco Espirito Santo SA, Chinese media said.

Fosun, which has a market capitalization of about $9.10 billion, is into insurance, industrial operations, investment and asset management.

The Meadowbrook deal, which has been approved by both companies boards, is expected to close in the second-half of 2015. Meadowbrook will maintain its headquarters in Southfield, Michigan and will operate under the Meadowbrook brand name.

(Additional reporting by Adam Jourdan in SHANGHAI; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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Robber steals cash from south-side store, is caught

Police caught a man who fled on foot after robbing a south-side Des Moines tobacco and liquor shop on Monday.

Police arrested Francis Sunday Brown, 41, of Aldan, Pa., in connection with the robbery, police spokesman Sgt. Jason Halifax said.

Manish Adhikari, manager of Southside Liquor amp; Tobacco Outlet at 1101 Army Post Road, said he had expected to make a business transaction with Brown.

“He came in here (Sunday) saying he was selling some electronics and I could make a 40 percent profit. I thought that was pretty good,” Adhikari said.

Brown left that day and returned Monday morning around 10:30 am wearing what Adhikari said was odd attire: a long coat and tie, carrying a brief case and a pop bottle wrapped in duct tape.

Adhikari said he was counting nearly $2,000 cash at back of the store when Brown approached, pushed him, took the money and ran.

The store manager chased after, pursuing him down the street until he could flag down a police car that happened to be passing by, Adhikari said.

Brown was charged with second-degree robbery and is being held in the Polk County Jail on a $10,000 bond.

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Anadarko Petroleum: The Year 2014 In Review

Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) has made some great progress this year. The company has been able to push its production growth higher, primarily through the accelerated development of its acreage in the Wattenberg field, improve its sales volume/mix for better margins, and put the long-pending legal dispute with Tronox behind it. The companys stock price has increased by around 6% year-to-date, despite the recent sharp decline in crude oil prices.  In this article, we review the key trends and events apart from the volatility in oil prices that drove Anadarkos stock price this year.

Anadarko primarily operates in three segments: oil amp; gas exploration and production, midstream, and marketing. Its asset portfolio includes positions in onshore resource plays in the Rocky Mountain region, the southern United States, and the Appalachian basin. The company is also an independent producer in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico, and has production and exploration activities globally, including positions in high potential basins located in East and West Africa, Algeria, Alaska, and New Zealand. At the end of 2013, Anadarko had proven reserves of almost 2.8 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

We currently have a $91/share price estimate for Anadarko, which values it around 20x our 2014 cash diluted earnings per share (EPS) estimate of $4.45 for the company.

See Our Complete Analysis For Anadarko

Higher Production

Currently, most of Anadarko’s total hydrocarbon production (~75%) comes from its onshore assets in the US The company’s net hydrocarbon production from its US onshore assets has grown at more than 13.3%  CAGR between 2009 and 2013. This compares to the company’s overall production growth rate of just 7% CAGR over the same period. The spectacular growth from US onshore assets continued this year as well. During the first three quarters of this year, Anadarko achieved more than 15% year-on-year growth in its US onshore production, spending a majority (~65%) of its gross capital expenditures on the development of its key assets in the area. A large chunk of this capital has been pumped into the Wattenberg field, which forms the centerpiece of Anadarko’s US onshore development plan. [1]

The Wattenberg field is a liquids-rich area where Anadarko operates over 5,200 wells. Recently, the company’s drilling program in the field has been entirely focused on horizontal development. It drilled 335 horizontal wells last year, which led to a 21% y-o-y jump in sales volume from the field. Anadarko has identified around 4,000 potential drilling locations in the Niobrara and Codell formations of the Wattenberg field that are expected to provide substantial opportunity for continued activity. This year, the company plans to drill over 360 horizontal wells in the field, employing as many as 13 horizontal operated rigs on  average.  During the third quarter, Anadarko’s oil equivalent sales volume from the Wattenberg field grew by 88 MBOED*, compared to last year. This made up almost 84% of the total year-on-year hydrocarbon sales volume growth for the company. [1]

Anadarko expects to grow its hydrocarbon sales volume from the Wattenberg field at 20% CAGR in the long run. We believe that this target is achievable due to a combination of favorable factors. These include rising drilling efficiencies, an increased number of operated rigs, and improving midstream infrastructure. The company is working on more than doubling its oil takeaway capacity from the Wattenberg field to almost 90,000 barrels of oil per day by next year. It also plans to expand the gas processing capacity from around 400 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) to over 1,000 mmcfd by 2016. [2]

Furthermore, the asset swap deal signed by Anadarko in the Wattenberg field will also allow it to leverage this midstream infrastructure even better over the coming years as its development efforts in the region will be more concentrated around the supporting infrastructure. In October 2013, Anadarko exchanged certain oil and gas properties in the Wattenberg field with a third party. Under the terms of the transaction, each party exchanged approximately 50,000 net acres. The transaction increased Anadarko’s production growth potential from the field significantly and is also expected to drive more than $500 million in cost savings for the company through reduced trucking and water sourcing requirements. [2]

Better Margins

The growth in Anadarko’s Wattenberg production is also boosting its consolidated exploration and production (Eamp;P) margins. This is because the company generates the highest rate of return on the development of its acreage in the Wattenberg field. This can be primarily attributed to its land grant advantage in the region. Anadarko holds fee ownership of mineral rights under approximately 8 million acres in the US Rocky Mountains region. The acreage passes through southern Wyoming and portions of Northeast Colorado and Utah. It is commonly referred to as the land grant and covers a large part of Anadarko’s 350,000 net acres in the Wattenberg field. The land grant not only reduces Anadarkos operating costs in the Wattenberg field because of lower royalty rates but it also boosts its returns through royalty income from third-party operations in the area.

The contribution of Anadarko’s Wattenberg operations to its total sales volume has grown from around 9.4% in 2010 to 22.3% during the third quarter of this year.  Going forward, the company expects to grow its hydrocarbon sales volume from the Wattenberg field at around 3-4 times the company’s total sales volume growth target of 5-7% CAGR. Therefore, the weight of Wattenberg production in Anadarko’s total sales portfolio is expected to increase, which would exert downward pressure on its total unit operating costs and thereby help partially offset the impact of lower crude prices on its margins in the short to medium term. According to our estimates, Anadarko’s 2014 first nine months adjusted Eamp;P margins improved by around 320 basis points y-o-y. [1]

Tronox Settlement

In addition to a stellar operational performance, Anadarko also finally put the Tronox lawsuit behind it this year after signing a $5.15 billion agreement to settle fraud claims arising from its 2006 acquisition of Kerr-McGee. The largest-ever environmental cleanup recovery signed by the US Department of Justice resolved the lawsuit filed against Anadarko and its Kerr-McGee unit by Tronox’s creditors. [3]

In 2006, Kerr-McGee spun off its chemicals business to form Tronox. Just a few months later, Anadarko acquired Kerr-McGee for $18 billion. Tronox inherited huge environmental liabilities from its parent that forced it into bankruptcy in 2009. Soon after filing for bankruptcy, the company filed a lawsuit against Kerr-McGee accusing it of deliberately setting it up for failure. When Tronox emerged from bankruptcy in 2011, a litigation trust was formed to pursue the lawsuit against Anadarko and Kerr-McGee. Tronox transferred 88% of its interest in the lawsuit to the federal government.

The settlement agreement crossed the final hurdle last month after it received the approval of a federal judge. Most of the settlement’s proceeds, about $4.5 billion, are earmarked for cleaning up some 2,000 sites in the US contaminated by Kerr-McGee’s decades-old jet and rocket fuel manufacturing and uranium mining operations. The rest will pay for legal claims filed by people who got sick from the pollution. We believe that this settlement will greatly help Anadarko increase its focus on unlocking greater value from its core activities of the exploration and production of hydrocarbons. [4]

*MBOED: Thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day

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  1. Anadarko Announces Third Quarter 2014 Results, [] [] []
  2. Anadarko Investor Conference, [] []
  3. Anadarko Petroleum Settles US-wide Clean-Up Case For $5.15 Billion, []
  4. Federal Judge Approves Anadarko Settlement Over Tronox, []

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School Winners

That’s a whole lot of love (and food)The Granite Falls High School leadership team, along with staff and many volunteers, spent two full days sorting and organizing donations from the community for an annual food and gift drive.This year’s drive brought in 22,443 items and $10,527.25 in monetary and gift card donations. The district “adopted” 204 families, and over 500 children received gifts for the holidays. The local food banks each received a large moving van load of food as well. It took two days to deliver all the items.“Thank you all for showing this community a sign of love,” said Eric Dinwiddie, a teacher and advisor to the student leadership team.More generosity from CascadeCascade High School in Everett holds a massive food drive each year. This year’s event brought in 91,144 cans, $20,784.35 and over 900 gifts, which filled the school’s gymnasium. The school was able to serve 179 families and provide large donations to the Volunteers of America food bank. Extra gifts and food were donated to Hand-in-Hand.A joyful noise in Mill CreekStudents from Cedar Park Christian School’s Mill Creek campus spent two days at Brookdale Assisted Living in Mill Creek before their Christmas break to sing carols, deliver handmade cards and angel ornaments, and share cookies, muffins and quality time, playing puzzles and card games.The children wore their festive best and sang several songs with residents, ending with “Jingle Bells.”The school’s kindergarten and third-grade classes visited one day, while middle-school students visited on a different day.Not-so-secret code after schoolOver 60 students in grades 2-6 at Seaview Elementary School in Edmonds participated in an “Hour of Code” on Dec. 12. After being dismissed for the day for the holiday break, the students gathered at computers set up in the library, computer lab and multi-purpose room to learn the basics of computer science. A similar “Hour of Code” event was held earlier in the week at Chase Lake Community with nearly 30 students participating.The “Hour of Code” is an introduction to computer science, with the vision that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science, according to the website.Rotary honors outstanding juniorsMeadowdale High School Junior Student of the Month is a program sponsored by the Rotary Club of Edmonds. Each month, staff nominate an outstanding junior who has demonstrated leadership, scholarship and citizenship. Students are recognized and presented with a plaque and gift certificate to Edmonds Bookstore.The most recent Students of the Month were Leila Mengesha for October and Raymon Zhao for November.Snohomish grad to study in IrelandRandee Zerger was awarded a $950 Aaron Iverson Scholarship from the Office of International Programs at Washington State University. Students who receive this award are participating in an education abroad program during spring 2015.Zerger graduated from Snohomish High School in 2013. She plans to graduate from WSU in May 2017 with a degree in agricultural education.Zerger is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the Agricultural Education Club, Wildlife Society, and works as a student ambassador for the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. She will be studying abroad at University College Dublin.For the second year in a row, Washington has more new national board certified teachers than any other state, with 946 new teachers passing the evaluation process.To earn the certification, teachers must submit a complex portfolio and participate in content and teaching assessments. The portfolio is judged by a national panel of teachers. Washington encourages teachers to seek the certification with cash loans during the process and bonuses afterward.Teachers in Snohomish County school districts who earned National Board Certification in 2014:Arlington: Jacqueline K Arnold, Chad Palmiter, Emily Beth Palmiter, Leigh Anne RohloffEdmonds: Tory Nicole Ungari Amos, Rebecca Anne Biddick, Jayme Darden, Abigail Lynn Espegard, Patricia A Gloth, Robin Larson, Melissa Anne Petersen, Cristina Ripley, Donna L Schou, Renee Switzer, Jill Marie Van Berkom, Angela ZumboEverett: Terry Lavalle Coleman, Karianne Melinda Eggink, Hillary Karyle Felix, Daniel L Hansen, Kelly Leroy, Steven Perry, Kristie Yuk Pung Rickert, Cerra Victoria Sand, Addie Leigh Smith, Gail Walters, Susan Beth WilsonLake Stevens: Heather Lynn Beg, Alicen Burke, Jodene Lyn Cain, Sabrina Cook, Michelle Dittbrenner, Kathleen F Hart, Erik Brian Mahler, Kathryn TouchLakewood: Risa Stein Livingston, Tina Anne Patrick, Kristine Sorensen, Julie Carol Strittmatter, Elizabeth (Liza) YarnellMarysville: Christina Mary Allen, Manya L Mcfarlane, Elizabeth Patricia Riley, Robert Edward StoddardMonroe: Tammy Amador, Nona Goodwin, Scott David Holland, Alia Lavin, Michelle Simeoni, Rinku Gurpreet Singh, Nicholas Gordon WolfeMukilteo: Elizabeth Colleen Bergevin, Abby Cohn, Patricia Erinn Hubbard, Christina Youn Ko, Laurel A Nyquist, Edriana Christine Park, Karin Schoenhals, Ambyr Lee Thomas, Rebecca Lynn TiniusStanwood-Camano: Bryan Lewis OlsenSultan: Amy Lynn MudrovichFind all local National Board Certified teachers online at gives school projects a boostThe Mukilteo Schools Foundation has awarded 57 grants totaling $25,613 to help Mukilteo educators fund classroom projects that are intended to improve student achievement. The grants, which are for up to $500, are funded by corporate and individual donations.Teachers in 16 schools received grants this year. Examples of projects include school garden supplies, solar car kits, guitars, pedometers, a ukelele-building curriculum, books, field trips and more.To submit items for School Winners, email

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APNewsBreak: Oil train disaster settlement growing

PORTLAND, Maine A proposed settlement fund for victims of a fiery train derailment that claimed 47 lives in Canada is nearly halfway to a goal of $500 million in funding commitments ahead of its filing next month, the defunct railroads bankruptcy trustee said.

More than a dozen corporations that face potential liability in the Lac Megantic, Quebec, oil train disaster have agreed to pay over $200 million to the fund and that sum could more than double by the time judges in the US and Canada sign off, bankruptcy trustee Robert Keach told The Associated Press.

Keach, the trustee in the Montreal, Maine Atlantic Railways bankruptcy case, is casting a wide net as he seeks to build the fund to compensate victims. The names of contributors and other companies targeted for contributions are confidential, he said.

Were very proud of the fact that weve gotten to $200 million. But we have a larger goal in mind, and were going to continue to work for that, he told the AP.

The proposed settlement will be filed by Jan. 12, a deadline for the bankruptcy proceedings in Canada, Keach said. He said he hopes the full settlement will be approved by late March or April, meaning the first payments could be made by the second anniversary of the disaster.

Much of downtown Lac Megantic was destroyed on July 6, 2013, by a raging fire caused when an unattended train with 72 oil tankers began rolling downhill toward the town of 10,000 people. More than 60 tankers derailed and several exploded. Forty-seven people died, and dozens of buildings were destroyed.

After filing for bankruptcy, Montreal, Maine Atlantic was sold for $15.85 million but virtually all of that money went to repay creditors.

Keach said hes committed to getting as much money as possible for the victims.

Whats possible is a half-a-billion dollar fund. Will we get all the way there? That remains to be seen but thats the goal, he said.

A year ago, Keach sued World Fuel Services Corp., owner of the crude oil, and several other companies, accusing them of downplaying the volatility of the crude from North Dakotas Bakken shale region. Canadas transportation agency said the crude was roughly as flammable as unleaded gasoline.

World Fuel Services is presumed to be among the 20 or so companies targeted to contribute to the settlement. Keach also has asked for discovery documents from oil companies and subsidiaries including ConocoPhillips, Shell Trading US Co., and Marathon Oil Corp.

Companies that choose not to participate in the settlement fund could be sued individually by victims. Wrongful death lawsuits are currently on hold pending the outcome of the settlement proposal.

Even if the settlement is approved, that wouldnt mean the end of the case.

Criminal charges are pending in Canada against three railway employees, including one accused of failing to set enough brakes on the train.

The railroad, meanwhile, is now under new ownership and has undergone upgrades totaling $10 million. The new owner, Central Maine and Quebec Railway, has resumed shipments of goods like propane and chemicals but the company has agreed not ship crude oil through Lac Megantic until 2016, company officials said.

Follow David Sharp on Twitter at

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Giving Opportunities: Car Wreck Recovery, Stolen Tools and a Rescue’s Broken …

n the season of giving, we wanted to share a few opportunities to give back in the region. Find more opportunities at

GoFundMe focuses more on helping people fund very personal goals. So in addition to traditional charitable causes, you may find someone who is asking for help financing a car payment or paying for a honeymoon.

If you would like to contact a fundraiser or flag a campaign, just click on the image below.

Do you know of a project in town that deserves funding? Let us know in the comments, in a blog post, or head over to to start one.

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Dell Introduces 802.11ac SonicPoint Wireless Access Points

The biggest challenges facing SMBs when it comes to wireless networking is finding a solution that balances affordability and ease of management, while still providing the highest level of performance and security, Grebe said. Its key that small businesses take advantage of wireless networking solutions that are designed specifically for their needs, rather than under-investing in a home networking solution or trying to manage multiple point solutions to address wireless networking and security.

A host of performance features included with the WAPs enable WiFi-ready devices to connect from greater distances, and use bandwidth-intensive mobile apps, such as video and voice, in higher-density environments with minimal signal degradation.

In addition to intrusion prevention, Secure sockets Layer (SSL) decryption and inspection, content filtering and application control technologies that provide protection against the latest threats, the SonicWall Wireless Network Security solution integrates other security features, such as wireless intrusion detection and prevention, virtual access points (VAPs), wireless guest services and cloud access control.

Sales of 802.11ac WiFi access points accounted for 8 percent of worldwide consumer WiFi shipments in 2013, but ABI Research predicts that figure will hit 45 percent by the end of this year.

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£400000 to expand foodbank service

An estimated 25,000 people struggling as Christmas approaches will benefit from a County Durham foodbank and money advice service which is being expanded through a £397,230 Reaching Communities grant.

The grant to the Durham Christian Partnership comes from the Big Lottery Fund, which is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.

Families and individuals struggling to live on low or reduced income and people with unmanageable debt are referred to the Durham Christian Partnership by a wide variety of organisations including Citizens Advice, NHS, the local authority, Jobcentre Plus and Age UK. The partnership provides a voucher which can be taken to a distribution point where emergency food is provided.

The funding will enable the partnership to increase its emergency food distribution points in more rural areas and create an additional 60 volunteer posts. In addition, trained advisers will offer help with debt and welfare.

Peter MacLellan, chair of trustees of Durham Christian Partnership, said: In three years the foodbank has grown from one distribution point to 25 and provided three days of food to more than 15,000 people in the last 12 months – up from 10,803 in the previous 12 months. Low income, debt and issues with the benefit system have been the major causes of crisis.

Many people are only one pay cheque away from a financial crisis, so attendees can come from all backgrounds, the homeless, people in affluent neighbourhoods, people who have never needed benefits, those who are dependent on them.

Recognising that a food crisis is usually a symptom of other challenges faced by people, the foodbank is keen to extend the support it provides to help address the underlying needs and ensure that those attending it get all the support they need. This grant from the Big Lottery Fund will help us to achieve this aim, restoring some measure of hope and confidence to people who find themselves in a very difficult time.

The partnership is one of 10 organisations sharing £2.7 million which is being awarded across the North East.

Northumberland-based charity DAWN will receive £428,950 to continue a free telephone debt advice service and disadvantaged young people in South Tyneside will benefit from a £458,950 grant to Escape Intervention Services, which works with young carers and domestic violence victims.

Meanwhile, Newcastle-based Friends Action North East has received £496,330 to provide support to adults with learning disabilities, autism and mental health problems across Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.

Tim Davies-Pugh, Big Lottery Fund deputy director, England, said: Our Reaching Communities programme helps communities and people most in need and we are very pleased to make awards to so many worthwhile projects across the North East.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2014, All Rights Reserved.

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Bad Credit Auto Lenders Shares “Are You Getting Ripped Off by Your Auto Loan …

The no credit check auto lender, Complete Auto Loans, helps shopping uncover mad auto loans.

Seattle, WA (PRWEB) December 23, 2014

Most shoppers have to finance when purchasing a new car and with the large number of loans available it is easy for shoppers to get themselves into a bad one. The bad credit auto lender helps shoppers and current loan holders determine if they are in a bad loan in their newest article. – Get approved for a car loan in as little as 60 seconds.

“Long loan terms do reduce monthly payments, but they greatly increase the length of time that you will be paying off your loan, increasing your interest payments and forcing you to pay many times the value of your car to the lender over time,” says Complete Auto loans. Read the full article for all tips on avoiding a bad auto loans.

As an extra service, Complete Auto Loans also provides a complimentary online credit score tool which has helped drivers save thousands of dollars. Upon completing the easy online car loan application, applicants are given the opportunity to save thousands of dollars on their loan. For more information, visit Complete Auto Loans website.

About Complete Auto Loans:

Complete Auto Loans is a Seattle-based company that is dedicated to helping their customers acquire national car financing. They design and develop customized no credit financing, bad and good credit loans. Voted the best for Quality Customer Service and Best National Service by thousands of people, their finance experts focus on providing their customers with the following: information and tools available for different loan offers, how to choose the best loan that fits their budget, as well as related eligibility guidelines.

For the original version on PRWeb visit:

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