Archive for » June 6th, 2013«

Michigan House OKs bill giving sales tax break for vehicle, boat purchases …

 

LANSING – A proposal moving through the Michigan Legislature would allow residents to pay a lower sales tax amount when they trade in vehicles or boats as part of a deal to buy new or used ones.

The Michigan House approved House Bill 4234 by a 100-7 vote on Thursday. That sends the bill to the Senate, which has passed a similar measure.

It remains to be seen if a final version of the plan will be adopted by the Legislature.

Similar bills were approved in the House and Senate last year but were never sent to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk. That’s in part because of the Snyder administration’s concerns about the plan, and partly because differences between competing versions of the proposal were not resolved.

In general, the House-approved plan calls for charging sales tax only on the difference between the price of a new or used vehicle or watercraft and the agreed-upon value of a trade-in. That would lower the amount that would be subject to sales tax by the trade-in’s value, although that change would be phased in over several years for vehicles through the House plan.

The plan would save taxpayers some money, but it would cost the state revenue on vehicle sales – an estimated $125 million to $150 million a year once fully phased-in, according to an analysis from the House Fiscal Agency.

Supporters of the bills say Michigan auto dealers are losing business to neighboring states that have better sales tax arrangements for buyers.

“Michigan should mirror the policies of other states” so it is “not at a competitive disadvantage,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, R-Columbus Township.

The bill would apply to sales of motor vehicles, recreational vehicles and watercraft.

Email Tim Martin at tmartin4@mlive.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TimMartinMI


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Hatteras/CABO has new CEO; company remains for sale

Leadership changes within the Brunswick Corp. have put a new chief executive officer at the helm of Hatteras/CABO Yachts, which is still for sale.

John Ward, formerly head of Hatteras/CABO global sales and marketing, has been named CEO, reporting to Andy Graves, president of Brunswick Boat Group.

“Ward brings over 20 years of extensive experience to this role,” Graves said. “He is uniquely qualified to guide these operations through the ongoing sales process, and will be instrumental in defining and driving the execution of the necessary business strategies to strengthen the Hatteras/CABO business.

Ward replaces Dave O’Connell, who has been named senior vice president of global sales for the Brunswick Boat Group brands Sea Ray and Meridian. Both report to Tim Schiek, an 18-year Brunswick employee who headed the Boston Whaler Group since 2010 and was named president of the Sea Ray Group earlier this month.

Graves said that Ward’s “deep industry and management experience, strong dealer and customer relationships, and track record of success, will prove invaluable in this new role.”

Dan Kubera, director of media relations and corporate communications for Brunswick Corporation, which is headquartered in Lake Forest, Ill., said, “He will lead them through the sales process.”

Former Hatteras CEO Bill Naumann, who led a group that included former Hatteras owner Irwin Jacobs in an unsuccessful offer to Brunswick before the Miami Boat Show to buy Hatteras/CABO, said, “I know John well and I think he will do a good job for them through this process.”

Kubera said, “Things are proceeding fine from an operational standpoint.”

The employee headcount at the end of February at the New Bern plant was 380, compared to 385 in January for the company. The boat manufacturer was once Craven County’s largest private employer with about 1,400 employees.

Of the local purchase offer, Naumann said, “I thought we made a fair offer, but unfortunately it was not accepted and right now I am just a spectator in the process. They have been very closed-mouth about it all.”

There were “a number of ex-Hatteras employees involved in the sales offer process and waiting in the wings to see what would happen,” he said. “We entered into negotiations, but they did not come to fruition. Had we been successful, we would have had some of previous administration return.”

Sue Book can be reached at 252-635-5665 or sue.book@newbernsj.com. Follow her on Twitter@SueJBook.


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3rd annual Sailing for Hope event for St Jude's takes place this weekend

If you see some beautiful boats this weekend on Kentucky Lake, they might be Sailing for Hope.

That’s the name of the third annual regatta to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Four different classes will compete, from beginners to veteran sailors.

The event begins Friday night with a beach party.

“I’ve had the privilege of working at St. Jude for 13 years now,” Elizabeth Owens said. “I’m a medical technician, I work in the blood bank and I’m the overnight tech. So I have a special connection to St. Jude and the children there and I also love to get the children involved in the event.”

Elizabeth and her husband, Barrett, are already at Kentucky Lake preparing. They raised $25,000 for St. Jude in the first two years of the regatta.

For more information on this year’s event, click here.


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Family and friends mourn an Alameda sailing stalwart

ALAMEDA — Boat building and sailing were not just a heritage and livelihood for Svend Svendsen. They were an abiding love that endured from his childhood in Denmark to his life in Alameda, where the boat shop he launched a half-century ago remains a thriving waterfront business.

Svendsen died May 27 after battling cancer. He was 81.

“He was a true legend in the sailing community,” said Brock de Lappe, the harbor master at Alameda Marina.

Svendsen initially opened his business as a one-man shop in 1963. It’s now a full-service yard on Clement Avenue, offering services that range from dinghy sales and repairing keelboats to complete retrofits of commercial vessels.

Along with founding Svendsen’s Boat Works, Svendsen constructed the first Nordic folkboat made of fiberglass in 1975, a move that helped make him famous among Bay Area sailors.

Rigged as a sloop, the first folkboats were built of wood in Sweden and designed as compact vessels that could be easily maneuvered. Shifting to fiberglass helped spread the boat’s popularity and today thousands are sailed and raced around the world, including on San Francisco Bay.

“He had a huge impact on sailing and on folkboats in particular,” said Hilary Andersen, the president of the San Francisco Bay Folkboat Association. “He was a friendly and warm person who created a community wherever he was. People gravitated toward him.”

Building folkboats out of fiberglass likely saved

it as a design for future sailors, de Lappe said.

“If Svend had not done it, the boats probably would not have survived as a class,” he said. “That’s because fiberglass is easier and cheaper for owners to maintain than wood.”

Descended from Danish fishermen, Svendsen was born in 1932 in Espergaerde, Denmark, the fourth of six children to Anna and Jens Svendsen.

“He spoke often of his favorite childhood job, delivering fresh baked bread on his bicycle — through all weather conditions and driving snow storms,” said Nancy Svendsen, his daughter-in-law.

When the Nazis occupied Denmark in 1940, Svendsen delivered messages for the Danish underground hidden in the bread, she said.

Svendsen graduated from a boat-building college before coming to the United States in 1956. He briefly worked at a dockyard in New York, then made his way to the Bay Area, where he worked for yacht builders in Sausalito and Oakland until he opened his own business.

Svendsen met his wife, Suzanne, while on a skiing trip in Lake Tahoe. The couple married in 1960 and raised a son and daughter together.

Along with sailing, Svendsen enjoyed golfing and was a fixture on Thursday mornings at the Chuck Corica Golf Complex on Bay Farm Island. His skill led him to pro-am tournaments in Hawaii, where among those he shared the green with were Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

“Given his down to earth nature, Svend’s golf picture wall of fame was often fascinating to those who just met him,” Nancy Svendsen said.

Svendsen was a longtime member of the Young Scandinavian’s Club in San Francisco, and he was a member of the St. Francis Yacht Club since 1974. He was named the club’s “Yachtsman of the Year” in 2004.

Svendsen’s fellow sailors plan to create a trophy using a folkboat model that was autographed by him and present it during upcoming single-handed races of the vessel, de Lappe said. The races have been taking place locally since 1969.

Sailors are also expected to race in Svendsen’s memory following his memorial service June 15 at the Encinal Yacht Club.

Svendsen’s survivors include his wife, Suzanne Cole Svendsen; son, Sean Svendsen and wife Nancy Svendsen; daughter, Sabrina Svendsen Baltutis and her husband Larry Baltutis. He is also survived by three grandchildren.

Svendsen hoped others would be inspired by his love of sailing, especially children, de Lappe said.

“We need to get all the Alameda kids out on the bay,” Svendsen once told Alameda Magazine, adding: “The wind’s going to blow every afternoon out there. You’re going to have fantastic sailing.”

MEMORIAL
A memorial for Svend Svendsen will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. June 15 at the Encinal Yacht Club, 1251 Pacific Marina, Alameda.

FYI
Tax-exempt donations (ID 94-3156600) in his memory can be made to the “Svend Svendsen Memorial Fund,” c/o Encinal Sailing Foundation, 1251 Pacific Marina, Alameda, CA 94501.


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CSULB Sailing Team to set sail in China

The nationally ranked Cal State Long Beach Sailing Team is turning its sails toward China for next month.

Five of the CSULB Sailing Team’s top sailors will represent the U.S. in Xiamen, China, in a competition against 13 Chinese college teams in the Pan-Pacific Intercollegiate Regatta from July 15 to 17. The five sailors include team members Mark Ryan, John Hill, Nicholas Santos, Tyler Webb and Sailing Team President Shane Young.

Young said that when Mary Barton of the Long Beach-Qingdao Association asked the team three weeks ago to compete in China, he immediately said yes.

“At first it seemed like a far-fetched idea,” Young said.

Long Beach and Qingdao have been sister cities for 30 years, according to Young. In the past, the relationship brought Long Beach musician Jim Fleishman and local band, The Wilsons, to China.

Both Fleishman and The Wilsons are expected to speak at the team’s fundraiser at Long Beach Yacht Club on Thursday, according to Young. Through the fundraiser, the team hopes to raise $12,000 to cover airfare and accommodation expenses for the trip to China.

Young and his older brother, Chase, resurrected the self-coached team in 2010 and brought it to victory in last month’s Southern Conference, where CSULB sailed against University of Southern California; University of California, Los Angeles; and others.

With plans for the trip to China set into motion only three weeks ago, Shane Young said the team has a lot to accomplish within a short time period, including training.

While the team usually practices on boats called Club FJs, it plans to race a larger keelboat called a J80 in next month’s competition, according to Shane Young. The team plans to practice until it departs.

The team’s president said he has never before sailed a J80, which are twice the size of CFJs and “a completely different game.” While the dinghies that the team normally uses house two sailors — a crewmember and a skipper — the J80 accommodates five sailors, each with different responsibilities.

“All five people are doing five different things at the same time, all to achieve the same goal,” he said.

Shane Young said that while steering the sailboat, a sailor must also examine the surrounding wind and water. He said a sailor must look at how the sun is reflecting off the water to determine when wind is approaching, from where and how strong it will be.

“My best friend once told me, ‘sailing is a thinking man’s sport,’” Shane Young said.

He said the team is excited to sail in Long Beach’s aquatic counterpart.

“We’ve never been to Asia,” Shane Young said, “[but] we have a goal to win the regatta. It’s not a pleasure cruise.”

The team is collaborating with founder and Chairman of the U.S.-China Yachting Association Eliot Clauss and other contacts in China to glean knowledge of the course and “local secrets,” according to the team president.

“[We will be sailing] at a foreign venue on foreign boat,” Shane Young said. “There is different current, different wind and so many other factors involved.”

Shane Young said that the team owes a lot of its success to CSULB alumnus Steve Flam, a professional sailor who sailed for the team decades ago. He said that although the team cannot afford to pay an official coach, Flam shares his wisdom and tips with the team’s sailors.

Shane Young said he loves sailing because it’s challenging, teambuilding and ever changing.

“So many factors make sailing a challenging sport, and we’re up to the challenge,” he said.

For more information about the CSULB Sailing Team, email the team captain at csulbsailingteam@gmail.com.

 


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