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Used-boat sales drop in Canada

Posted on June 30th, 2017

Canada saw a slight dip in used-boat sales in 2016 with 63,505 units sold last year.

Corresponding dollars for used boats totaled $1.1 billion, down 2.3 percent from 2015, largely reflecting an 8.5 percent drop in outboard boat sales.

Sales of sterndrive boats, however, were up 5 percent. Inboard cruisers sales increased by 4.5 percent, personal watercraft gained 9.2 percent, and inflatable boats were up by 23.7 percent, all of which helped to offset the decline in other categories, according to data released by the National Marine Manufacturers Association Canada.

NMMA Canada released its third section of the 2016 Canadian Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract, focused on preowned markets.

The next section of the 2016 Canadian Abstract to be released is Exports/Imports, followed by the full report — a compilation of all sections.


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Gas taxes increase by 2 cents, vehicle sales tax by $200

South Carolina’s first gas tax increase in 30 years will help rebuild deteriorated roadways and bridges statewide, but transportation officials caution a smoother ride may still be years away.

The state gas tax — currently the nation’s third-lowest — will rise by 2 cents a gallon Saturday, to 18.75 cents, under a law approved in May over Gov. Henry McMaster’s veto. It’s the first increment of a 12-cent hike over six years.

South Carolina is among five states where gas taxes increase Saturday. Elsewhere, the per-gallon tax increases between 3.5 cents and 10 cents.

Other pieces of South Carolina’s law taking effect Saturday include a $200 increase in the sales tax cap on vehicles. That means anyone who buys a vehicle, boat or plane worth at least $10,000 will pay $500 in sales taxes. And people moving to South Carolina will be required to pay a one-time, $250 fee to newly register their vehicle bought in another state.

Once fully phased in, the law is expected to raise more than $600 million annually for roadwork. This first year, it’s expected to generate less than $180 million, according to estimates by the state’s fiscal affairs office.

That’s far less than the $1.1 billion annually over 25 years the DOT said it needed to bring the entire network to good condition.

Department of Transportation officials have adopted a 10-year rebuilding plan with the money.

That includes replacing 465 bridges — many of them load-restricted — and spending $50 million annually on safety improvements along the deadliest rural stretches, such as rumble strips, guard rails and either widening shoulders or building them where none exist.

Transportation Secretary Christy Hall urges drivers to be patient. The additional money will “trickle in” during the phase-in, she said, but South Carolinians and tourists will see more road and bridge construction “all over the state with each passing year.”

“The poor pavement conditions and countless potholes are spread throughout the system,” Brian Keys, deputy secretary for finance, said Thursday. “These conditions did not occur overnight, nor will rebuilding the highway system be accomplished overnight.”

The additional money will allow DOT to “turn the corner and start the repairs,” Keys said.

The law’s $16 increase in annual vehicle registration fees, as well as new biennial fees for hybrid and electric cars — of $60 and $120 respectively — take effect Jan. 1. New fees for out-of-state truckers will take effect in January 2019. College students, low-wage workers, manufacturers, and married, working couples will start benefiting from the law’s tax breaks with their 2018 income tax returns.

PENSION COSTS

Also taking effect Saturday is a law designed to shore up South Carolina’s pension system for public workers.

It means most workers’ take-home pay will shrink, since the budget provided no across-the-board living raise.

But the law specifies that workers’ rates won’t rise again, while their taxpayer-supported employers will face annual increases through 2022. The 7-percentage-point hike in employers’ contribution rates over the next six years means taxpayer-supported entities will cumulatively put an additional $3 billion into the system. Once the hikes are fully phased in in 2022, employers will contribute $827 million more into the system annually than they currently do.

The state budget that takes effect Saturday includes an additional $150 million for pension contributions. That fully covers the law’s required 2017-18 rate hike for state agencies funded primarily by state taxes and covers half the increase for other employers in the system, including colleges and local governments.

It’s unclear if the Legislature will help cover those increases in future years.


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New-boat sales surge in Missouri, hit record peak – Springfield News

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Boat sales have rebounded from the recession and hit a record high last year.
Andrew Jansen/News-Leader

After hitting rock bottom in 2009 and 2010, the sale of new boats and gear in Missouri has made a stunning recovery, riding a wave of purchases that likely set a record for new-boat sales in the state last year.

New-boat sales dropped below $200 million in Missouri during the depth of the recession, but hit a record $339 million last year, according to data from Chicago-based National Marine Manufacturers Association.

That’s a 9 percent jump in Missouri sales in one year and represents 5,900 new boats in the state, according to NMMA.

Ed Thomas is a good example why Missouri is now ranked 16th in the nation for the sale of new boats.

He works for the company that produces Learjets and has a second home on Table Rock Lake. As his two youngsters have grown, Thomas has bought progressively bigger boats through Springfield boat dealer The Ski Shack — five boats so far.

On Memorial Day, Thomas picked up his newest and biggest boat — a sleek 25-foot Malibu inboard that’s specifically designed for wakeboarding and wake surfing.

Those are water sports his kids, age 16 and 20, love to do on the clean, calm waters of Table Rock Lake.

“As our kids got older and bigger they wanted to do more,” said Thomas, during a quick spin on the lake in his $160,000 Malibu. “We’ve worked hard to create an environment where our kids want to be with us.”

Mike and Vicky Bouchard of Manassas, Virginia, have also helped push Missouri boat sales to a record high.  

They are ready to retire and looked at buying a place at Lake of the Ozarks. But they chose Table Rock Lake instead because it is cleaner and quieter than Lake of the Ozarks, known for its party atmosphere and big wakes from huge cruisers during summer boating months.

They bought a lake house in Shell Knob on Table Rock and bought a Crest tri-toon (a three-hulled pontoon boat) sight unseen from MarineMax at Indian Point Marina.

“We went to a boat show in Fredericksburg, Virginia, to get a feel for what we wanted there at Table Rock,” Vicky Bouchard said. “We asked a lot of questions, looked at how the boats were made. We looked at a lot of used boats online, but this will probably be the very last boat we’ll buy. We didn’t want to buy someone else’s headache so we bought it new.”

Their next adventure will be driving from Virginia to see their $30,000 boat for the first time at MarineMax, get checked out in it, and then cruise their new vessel to a slip waiting at their Shell Knob Lake home.

Vicky Bouchard had no qualms buying the boat without even setting foot on it.

“The MarineMax people were very good,” she said. “It was probably too easy of a process, which is probably why we own a boat!”

Missouri is representative of what’s happening nationwide, according to Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. 

According to NMMA, the sale of new boats, marine products and services reached $36 billion nationwide in 2016, an increase of 3.2 percent from 2015. There were approximately 247,800 new powerboats sold in 2016, up 6 percent from 2015. 

New sailboats saw a 16 percent increase in sales last year, driven by a 23.4 percent increase in the “20 ft. or less’”category.

And it’s not just new boats that are sailing off lots and out of dealer slips.  According to NMMA, 981,600 used boats — valued at $9.2 billion — sold in 2016, up 2 percent from the year before.

“We think this trend is going to continue through 2018 and into 2019,” Dammrich said.  “The economy is gaining strength. Consumer confidence is 13 percent higher than it has been in recent years. New home sales are going up. All of these things correlate highly with new-boat sales.”

Dammrich said special-purpose boats designed for wakeboarding and wake surfing continue to be hot sellers, despite their relatively high price (compared to small ski boats).

And aluminum-hulled pontoon boats, with comfortable seating for a lot of people, modern digital dashboards, fuel-efficient engines and features designed to lure fishermen, continue to grow in sales, he said.

That’s certainly true at The Ski Shack in Springfield, according to owner Greg Mustain.

“We added a line of pontoon boats that have been very popular,” Mustain said. “The technology of these boats has changed. They’re not your grandfather’s boat that can only go 20 miles an hour. You can ski behind these.”

But the Ski Shack’s most popular sellers are purpose-built wake board/wake surfing boats.

“We’re really lucky,” Mustain said. “What was once a small segment of the market has really grown fast, as people learn how fun wakeboarding and wake surfing is.”

Although the economy began to tank in 2007, Mustain said his boat sales hit a low point in 2009 and 2010 — mirrored by the decline in new-boat sales elsewhere in the state during those years.

Although the Midwest didn’t see the kind of economic swings other parts of the country faced, he said a lot of people still had that “fear factor” about economic uncertainty and held off buying new boats during 2009-2010.

“It was almost impossible to sell a new boat back then,” he said. “But consumer confidence changed and the economic outlook is rosier than it was even a year ago.”

Like his customers, Mustain was so confident that boat sales would pick up that he opened a new Ski Shack location in Shell Knob, and also added a cable-powered wakeboard lake to the back of his Springfield store, where visitors can get a feel for wakeboarding before they try it on a boat for the first time.


Malibu has deal to buy Cobalt Boats

Posted on June 28th, 2017

Cobalt Boats is being acquired by publicly-traded Malibu Boats. Shown here is Cobalts A40 Coupe.

Cobalt Boats is being acquired by publicly-traded Malibu Boats. Shown here is Cobalt’s A40 Coupe.

Malibu Boats entered into “a definitive agreement” to buy privately-owned Cobalt Boats for $130 million.

The agreement is subject to adjustment for any settlement or judgement in connection with pending patent litigation between Cobalt and Sea Ray Boats, which is owned by Brunswick Corp.

The combined business is anticipated to deliver approximately $7.5 million in synergies and operational improvements, expected to be realized by the fourth year post-closing, and approximately $18 million in expected tax benefits.

The transaction is expected to close in early July, subject to customary closing conditions.

Cobalt Boats, founded in 1968, manufactures mid- to large-sized sterndrive boats, and recently expanded into the surf and outboard markets.

For the last 12 months that ended March 31, Cobalt generated approximately $140 million in net sales. The company sells its 24 models through a dealer network of 132 locations in the United States, Canada, and overseas.

“It is hard to know where to start, given how positive we are about this opportunity,” Malibu Boats CEO Jack Springer said in a statement issued this afternoon. “We are excited at the prospect of combining two iconic brands with extensive dealer networks, leading market shares, and strong product innovation. We are very excited about bringing Cobalt, its proven management and experienced employees into the Malibu family. Cobalt is a well-recognized market leader and world class brand with a rich history of delivering performance, innovation and uncompromising quality. In addition, the St. Clair family is known for their passion and integrity and this has been proven and re-proven throughout this process.”

Following the completion of the transaction, Malibu, with its headquarters in Loudon, Tenn., will maintain “an important and visible presence in Neodesha, Kansas, Cobalt’s headquarters,” Malibu said.

Cobalt CEO Paxson St. Clair will continue to lead the Cobalt business as its president and he will become a director on Malibu’s board of directors after the transaction is completed.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for Cobalt, our employees, and our dealer network,” said St. Clair said. “As our focus has always been on the long-term success of the company, Malibu brings us a new level of opportunity through accelerated growth and brand awareness. I look forward to working with the Malibu team and continuing our legacy of market leadership.”

The transaction is expected to be accretive to Malibu’s earnings per share in fiscal year 2018, excluding purchase accounting adjustments and acquisition costs. In connection with the transaction, Malibu expects to benefit from tax attributes valued on a present value basis at approximately $18 million.

Malibu will fund the transaction through borrowings under a new second amended and restated credit facility.

Moelis Company LLC is acting as Malibu’s financial advisor and O’Melveny Myers LLP is acting as Malibu’s legal counsel. Raymond James Associates is acting as Cobalt’s financial advisor and Foulston Siefkin LLP is acting as Cobalt’s legal counsel.

“This acquisition is consistent with our disciplined, long term growth strategy, and we believe it provides us with an immediate leadership position in a key segment of the recreational boating industry, while allowing us to diversify our product offering and tap into an exceptionally strong dealer network to accelerate Malibu’s growth and profitability,” Springer said.

“The addition of Cobalt will expand our distribution footprint and allow us to grow both brands across the combined dealer network presenting both customer bases with an array of product offerings. The addition of Cobalt will also provide us with a number of vertical integration and market opportunities that we believe will create significant value for our stakeholders.”

 


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America’s Cup foiling technology set to fly beyond racing boats


HAMILTON, Bermuda From water taxis that “fly” on hydrofoils to aircraft wings and cutting-edge car steering wheels, the America’s Cup has produced technology with potential far beyond its “foiling” catamarans.

With their focus on carbon fiber and aerodynamics, the teams that fought for the America’s Cup attracted partners including planemaker Airbus and automotive groups BMW and Land Rover [TAMOJL.UL] who were keen to learn from them.

One area where this is likely to have an impact is in harnessing “foiling” technology, where the America’s Cup boats “fly” above the water on foils, cutting water resistance.

“Foiling in small electric boats will most likely appear on rivers in major cities. We are just at the beginning of the foiling adventure,” Pierre Marie Belleau, head of Airbus Business Development, who managed its partnership with Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA, told Reuters.

The space age catamarans used in the 35th America’s Cup, which ended in victory for Emirates Team New Zealand this week, can sail at maximum speeds of 50 knots (92.6 kilometers per hour) and have more in common with flying than sailing.

For Jaguar Land Rover, which sponsored British sailor Ben Ainslie’s attempt to win the cup, the relationship is a strategic one with a focus on technology and innovation.

“We don’t just get our logo onto a sail,” Mark Cameron, the company’s Experiential Marketing Director, said by telephone, adding that the carmaker would be providing more designers to help Land Rover BAR with technology for their next campaign.

Land Rover produced a special steering wheel for Ainslie to use in the America’s Cup, with in-built gear shift paddles that allowed him to adjust the catamaran’s “flight” levels.

The relationship is similar between BMW and Oracle Team USA, with the German automaker focused on areas including the electronics in the wheel used by skipper Jimmy Spithill, the development of carbon fiber used to make the boat and its components, and the aerodynamic testing.

“We like to think of ourselves more as a partner than a sponsor. We have a very strong carbon fiber relationship,” Ian Robertson, who is the BMW management board member responsible for sales and brand, told Reuters between races.

“This is a dynamic sport that is developing fast… It’s moving quickly just like the car industry is moving quickly. It’s all changing,” Robertson said.

PLANE SAILING?

The America’s Cup catamarans use similar aerodynamics and load calculations to power their wings as commercial aircraft, which has led some skippers such as Spithill to become pilots.

Airbus is now considering applying the design and method of Oracle’s foils to the tips of aircraft, Belleau said, adding that this would need a two- to four-year certification process and require it to change its production method.

Airbus has also created a new generation of Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) microchips that were originally developed for the wings of its test aircraft and then adapted on board the Oracle boat to measure the wind speed and direction at all points on its almost 25-metre-high wing sail.

The sensors make it easier to tell if the wing sails are set efficiently, as wind speed and direction can vary from the top to bottom of the 25-metre wing of the America’s Cup boats – technology that could become standard in the marine leisure industry to replace less reliable wind instruments.

“I would be very surprised if this MEMS technology does not become standard in order to replace the classic anemometer,” Belleau said.

The Airbus A350-1000, one of Airbus’ twin-aisle, wide-body jetliners, is also flying every day using new instrumentation developed through the partnership.

Oracle used Airbus’ 3D printing and manufacturing process to produce stronger and lighter parts that Airbus has started to use on aircraft to replace titanium and aluminum.

“In 10 years from now… this technology will spread and will be on all the sailing boats in the market,” Belleau said.

“In addition to the sporting competition, there is still this technological competition…The story is not finished.”

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)


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Yarmouth Boat Yard reveals sales partnership

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YARMOUTH

Yarmouth Boat Yard recently announced a new sales partnership with Yachting Solutions, a yacht services provider based in Rockport.

Through the agreement, Yachting Solutions will help expand exposure and availability of the new and used boat inventory of Yarmouth Boat Yard and Moose Landing Marina.

“It’s a win-win situation,” said Steve Arnold, owner of Yarmouth Boat Yard and Moose Landing Marina. “Our partnership with Yachting Solutions will provide greater visibility of our sales inventory and will help us better meet the growing sales demands in the Midcoast Maine’s area.”

“We’re thrilled to be able to expand our product offerings to customers in our region,” said Bill Morong, owner of Yachting Solutions. “Yarmouth Boat Yard and Moose Landing Marina carry a fantastic, well balanced mix of high-quality boat brands. Lines like Pursuit Boats, Ranger Tugs, Regal and Sweetwater just to name a few. These are the types of boats our customers have been clamoring for. This partnership will make it easier for us to supply interested buyers with boat offerings that fit their needs.”


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Houston business brings sailing to the roads

Houston business brings sailing to the roads



June 27, 2017
Updated: June 27, 2017 8:46pm

Pterosail Systems uses wind technology to power cycles.


Media: Brett Coomer

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John MacTaggart is giving sailing a new definition, trading the open seas for broad stretches of asphalt.

On calm days, he pedals his recumbent tricycle along roads in The Woodlands. But when the wind is blowing, he hoists a sail and is propelled forward by gusts of air.

MacTaggart is the inventor of the Pterosail – the “p” is silent as in pterodactyl – a non-polluting form of transportation that he hopes will appeal to cyclists, sailors and baby boomers, who may want to spend more time outdoors, but would prefer something more comfortable and less strenuous than pedalling a bicycle. With the 13-foot sail, MacTaggart has clocked speeds of 30 miles per hour, effortlessly whizzing down the road, almost with a sense of flying.

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“There’s just an exhilaration because we’re not conditioned to feel that on land,” he said.

MacTaggart has worked on the Pterosail for more than a decade, sidetracked by his service in Afghanistan and the illness and death of his father. His business is still in the early stages, financed by his savings and $25,000 in seed money through the Houston Technology Center, provided by the McNair Group.

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He has also found a partner in Myrmidon Corp., a Houston metal fabrication and coating manufacturer, which is building two single-seater Pterosails to feature in a crowdfunding campaign although the selling price has yet to be determined. Robert E. Driver Jr., president of Myrmidon, is helping foot upfront costs of manufacturing Pterosails, paying for labor and materials.

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“When I saw a product that has some patent-related ideas that nobody’s ever seen before and has a neat novelty concept,” he said, “then I’m like, wow, that seems like something that might be worth looking into.”


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Business


MacTaggart estimates that Pterosail has a potential U.S. market of $15 million to $25 million, based on an analysis of bicycle and boat sales. Charles Coyne, publisher of Recumbent and Tandem Rider Magazine, said the appeal of recumbent trikes, which have three wheels and allow riders to recline in their seat rather than hunching over handlebars, is growing.

“There’s a broad spectrum of people who are attracted to recumbent trikes,” Coyne said.

Coyne called Pterosail a clever idea, but said it would likely have a limited market. It could take up a lot of storage space and a lot of the road. It won’t be easy to maneuver on bike trails, either.

Still, he said, he wants to try it. “I’m sure there’s a market for it because some people have access to wide-open roads,” Coyne said.

MacTaggart, who served as an officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine, began tinkering with Pterosail more than a decade ago as a family project. It began in 2005 when MacTaggart, who graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy two years earlier, was working aboard an oceanographic ship and his father emailed with the idea of creating a wind-assisted trike to sail across the country.

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It took MacTaggart years to perfect his design and ensure the Pterosail wouldn’t tip. The Pterosail can be steered with one hand, allowing the other hand to hold a line – called a sheet in sailing – that’s attached to the 13-foot sail. When the line is taught and the wind is blowing, the Pterosail will be pushed forward. Drop the line and the sail goes immediately limp, slowing the trike down.

The Pterosail was completed and ready to sail in 2008, but MacTaggart, a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve, was called to serve in Afghanistan before he could make the cross country trip. He resumed work on the Pterosail after returning home to Iowa.

He embarked on a cross-country trip from San Diego on June 28, 2010, pedaling and land-sailing for 46 days, 3,100 miles to St. Augustine, Fla.

“I had the time, and I wanted to do something for my 30th birthday that no one’s ever done before,” he said.

His invention was gaining publicity and momentum, but MacTaggart got sidetracked again when his father fell ill and later died. Looking for a change of scenery, MacTaggart moved to Houston to work as a service engineer for Drew Marine, which provides a variety of services to the maritime industry. He picked up Pterosail again about two years ago.

MacTaggart said he expects to begin selling Pterosails this summer. He is still deciding which features should come standard with the Pterosail and which should be sold as accessories. Those features include electric-assist motor. As the wind pushes the trike, the spinning of the back wheel drives a generator that charges the motor’s battery. When the wind stops, the motor can be switched on to assist with pedaling.

The trike also has a solar panel to charge mobile phones.

MacTaggart left his job at Drew Marine about three months ago to work full-time on his startup.

“I’m so excited to be able to be at this point,” he said, “to really take this to the next level.”


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Chatfield Reservoir expansion project will start this fall

Take a good look at Chatfield State Park, because it’ll look different a year from now. By this time next year, the popular recreation area at the confluence of Arapahoe, Douglas and Jefferson counties will get updates facilities and the eponymous reservoir within it will be larger.

After more than a decade of discussion and planning, the Chatfield Storage Reallocation Project is set to begin later this year. The more than two-year construction effort will prepare the reservoir to accommodate an additional 20,600 acre feet of water to meet a variety of municipal, agricultural and industrial needs. Currently, the reservoir holds about 27,000 acre feet of water. Eventually it will hold up to another 20,600 acre feet of water and the the water level could rise as much as 12 vertical feet, officials said.

Beginning in winter and continuing through spring, the swim beach and north boat ramp will be reconstructed to accommodate the future shoreline. By the end of 2019, many other features of the park, including the marina, day use areas and South Platte bridge will be visited by construction crews and earth movers.

The park will remain open throughout construction. Higher water levels will change features along the reservoir’s shore.

“It’s going to change. But when we’re all said and done, what we’re looking at is all the same outdoor recreation opportunities that we offer today,” park manager Scott Roush said. “If we have a trail today, after reallocation, we’re going to have that trail. It may move but we’re going to have the same things. Everything is being replaced in-kind.”

The project will cost an estimated $160 million, said Tim Feehan, general manager of the Chatfield Reservoir Mitigation Co., whose eight partners — including Castle Rock, Centennial Water and Sanitation District and the Castle Pines Metropolitan District — will pay that tab in proportion to the amount of water storage each will be granted. Of that, $140 million has already been set aside in escrow.

Groundbreaking awaits final design approval from the Army Corps of Engineers, which built, owns and leases the reservoir to Colorado Parks and Wildlife for recreational use, Roush said. Preliminary designs and a tentative construction schedule are available online at Chatfieldreallocation.org, a project website created by Chatfield Reservoir Mitigation Co.

The swim beach is scheduled to close for reconstruction in late fall and reopen for use by Memorial Day weekend 2018. The beach and park perimeter road will be moved to the west, away from the present shoreline, to accommodate greater water fluctuations, effectively creating another 200 feet of beach area at low water. The parking lot will be expanded and the shower, restrooms and other features will be rebuilt. The north boat ramp also is scheduled to reopen to use by next Memorial Day weekend.

“A lot of the work is going to be done over the wintertime when the visitation is down and when the swim beach is closed and when the boat ramps are closed,” Roush said. “It’s about minimizing the time when the users would not be able to use those areas.”

Changes to the shoreline necessitate relocation of many trees, Roush said, and he’s confident the trees will re-establish themselves as they did after the Army Corps first constructed the reservoir as a flood control mechanism in the 1960s and 1970s. 

Denver resident Roxann Lopez visited Chatfield with her family last week to swim. She hadn’t heard about the reallocation project but supports changes that will better accommodate the state’s growing population.

“I think it’s great if you’re making the changes to meet the needs of people,” she said.

The project will expand recreational opportunities. For example, the reservoir currently features about 1,400 surface acres of water when full. Once the project is done, that figure could grow to 2,000 acres, opening up new areas for paddle boarding and boating. It’s undecided whether the area dedicated to power boat use will be expanded.

Castle Pines resident Don Turk took his power boat to Chatfield last week.

“This lake is too small. I’m glad they’re expanding it,” Turk said. The reservoir can get crowded for boaters, he said, and he hopes plans will include expanding the area open to power boats. Boat owners contribute taxes and fees to the state and help create jobs in boat sales, service and other industries, he noted.

“Power boating is an important part of the economy,” Turk said.

The project’s impact on recreation is important, Chatfield Reservoir Mitigation Co. officials said. The park welcomes 1.6 million visitors annually, and collects roughly $3 million in at-gate revenues. Part of a state-approved mitigation agreement dictates that if the park misses revenue projections while construction is underway, the company is obligated to pay the difference to Parks and Wildlife.

Environmental health is also a consideration. Mitigation work to restore wetland habitat along Plum Creek on the south end of the park is scheduled to begin this year.

But the main purpose for the work is to meet water needs, Feehan said. Colorado’s population is expected to balloon to 7.16 million people by 2030 (it was 4.34 million in 2000). Finding sufficient water storage to meet the diverse needs such growth creates has been a concern since the 1990s, project participants say. The reallocation will help alleviate some of that pressure and lessen the demands on subterranean aquifers, a long-relied upon, non-renewable water source. 

“The main reason for the project is storage and being able to use renewable resources instead of non-renewable resources for some of these partners,” Feehan said. “This reallocates space in this existing facility to allow entities in the metro area to store water and help them balance their water portfolio in terms of meeting their long terms water supply needs for their customers.”


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Outsider Pictures Handling Sales on Small is Biutiful Title ‘1200 Souls’ (EXCLUSIVE)

PARIS — Paul Hudson’s L.A. based Outsider Pictures has boarded “1,200 Souls,” a fantasy thriller set in the high Pyrenees, and one of the highlights at the 10th Spain-Ile de France Small is Biutiful in Paris, a prestigious boutique Spain-France co-production forum which unspooled June 23.

Outsider Pictures is handling international sales rights on “1,200 Souls,” the latest movie from the Zaragoza-based producer-director tandem of Marta Cabrera and Pablo Aragues whose “Novatos,” also repped by Hudson, was a Netflix worldwide distribution pick-up.

In his first two features, Aragues tackled sects (“Vigilo el camino”) and hazing (“Novatos”). Backed by the Aragon Film Commission, “1,200 Souls” is set in a small town in the lap of the Pyrenees, to which a young woman, Carla, returns to scatter her mother’s ashes, only to be confronted by violence, deaths and the seemingly supernatural, such as spontaneous combustion.

A film about “a girl looking for her origins,” Cabrera told Variety, although the story in set in the present, it has “a background of refugees during the 1930s Spanish Civil War, which is a mirror [reflecting] the conflicts of refugees today, fleeing from horror.”

Cabrera is currently tying down a high-profile French actor to play the role of Jacques the Frenchman, the only villager who stands by Carla as she seeks to get to the bottom of events.

In another industry move on a Small is Biutiful title, New Europe Film Sales is in advanced negotiations to take international sales rights on “Las Niñas,” a drama charting the coming of age of an adolescent at a girls-only catholic school who begins to questions her received education.

“Las Niñas” marks the latest feature project from Valerie Delpierre, producer of two film titles which Variety described this Cannes as “two Catalan New New Wave milestones”: Berlinale 2017 Generation Kplus winner “Summer 1993,” which New Europe Film Sales sold robustly; and Laura Ferrés’ 2017 Critics’ Week short “The Disinherited.” A portrait of the origins of a critical conscience and the early shaping of a personality, “Las Niñas,” Palamero’s feature debut, has “multiple layers,” said Delpierre.

“It also talks about the priority parents give to schools, whether they value just their academic quality, whatever the results. There are many ways into this film,” she reflected.

“1,200 Souls” and “Las Niñas” were two of six projects pitched at Small is Beautiful. Allowing France’s quality film production, sales and distribution community, the largest in Europe, privileged access to young but established, up-and-coming or edgier talent from Spain, Small is Beautiful also showcased Jo Sol’s “The Maldoror Case,” Asier Altuna’s “Kilker, The Cricket Hunter,” Max Lemcke’s “Cosmetica del Enemigo” and David Martin de los Santos’ “That Was Life.”

A project which is better suited to be made out of France than Spain, “The Maldoror Case,” the fourth fiction feature directed by Sol (“Living and Other Fictions”), is produced by Bausan Films’ Loris Omedes, one of Spain’s most consistently-laureled producers, winning a 2004 Academy Award nomination for Cuban rafters docu-feature “Balseros” and a Spanish Academy Goya Award this year for eviction drama “At Your Doorstep.”

Also written by Sol, it explores the extraordinary figure and creation of Uruguay’s Isidore Luciane Ducasse. Alias the Count of Lautreamont, he was acclaimed by Andre Gide, who called him “amazing,” and the surrealists who discovered a writer whose phantasmagoric metaphors anticipated surrealism by half a century. Split into three time periods, “The Maldoror Case” combines a modern-day procedural, in which the monster on the loose is Maldoror, a diabolic superhuman created by Lautreamont; scenes set in the poet-novelist’s childhood in a Montevideo, under siege, and on his three-month boat-trip to France in the company of a disciple of the Marquis de Sade; a febrile Lautreamont in a Paris brothel writing his one work of fiction: “Les Chants de Maldoror,” before dying in 1870 at the age of 24.

“The Maldoror Case” will be shot in French, and ideally led by a strong French production company, Omedes said. “A savage hybrid,” said Sol, “The Maldoror Case” attempts to “meld the anguish of terror, the mystery of thriller and the hidden revelations of documentaries,” Sol added.

Catalonia’s film industry is on a rebound, fired up by a levy on telecom revenues and a new generation of producers and directors winning recognition outside Spain, though still plagued by a lack of financing from pubcaster TVC, once a driving film financing force.

Boasting larger ambition and higher profile than in the past, having broken through to competition berths at the San Sebastian Festival, Basque Country filmmaking is also consolidating as a small but vibrant European filmmaking power.

In line with Altuna’s “Amama,” which competed at San Sebastian in 2015, “Kilker” consolidates this status in a tale set between the Basque Country and Paris, asking about freedom to live and die and the values which must influence both. The fifth feature from Altuna, produced by Marian Ferandez Pascal, two of Basque cinema’s leading lights, “Kilker” kicks in with a father refusing an urgent heart operation, preferring to die at home, as he is invaded by memories from his childhood. His youngest daughter, a violinist in an orchestra in Paris, rushes home to try to persuade her father to have the operation. Her return is also an attempt to find herself, in touch once more with her Basque roots.

“Kilker, the Cricket Hunter” is a reflection on a [man’s] return to infancy, on how to die, and how to live the death of a loved one,” Altuna said.

An associate producer on Denis Villeneuve’s “Enemy,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, LikeDoMedia’s Juan Romero is producing another Small is Beautiful title, “Cosmetica del Enemigo.” Lemcke’s fourth feature, it marks a change of direction for a director whose prior features offered lacerating social critiques of corporate malpractice (“Casual Day”) and real estate speculation (“Five Square Meters,” which swept the 2011 Malaga Spanish Film Festival). “Cosmetica del Enemigo” maintains, however, the pace and sense of nightmarish entrapment of Lemcke’s past work. Here, a man awaiting a delayed flight is buttonholed by a talkative fellow passenger whose conversation turns into a litany of ever bloodier murder accounts and macabre confessions.

A female friendship film, “That Was Life” is the latest movie project from Madrid-based Lolita Films, a production house set up in 1996 by Damian Paris, Javier Rebollo and Lola Mayo to produce cinema meshing wider audience appeal and carefully crafted mise-en-scène. The best-known results take in the Rebollo-directed “What I Know About Lola” (2006), “Woman Without Piano” (2009) and “The Dead Man and Being Happy” (2013). “That Was Life” turns on two Spanish women living in France who befriend each other in a hospital room. The younger one dies. Her much-older friend takes her ashes back to Spain and, on the way, experiences a rejuvenation.

Small is Biutiful is backed by the Ile de France Film Commission, Espagnolas in Paris, and the Cannes Festival’s Marche du Film and Cinando. It forms part of Diferente!, an annual alternative Spanish film festival organized in Paris by Espagnolas en Paris


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How to avoid CO poisoning in boats

STILLWATER, Minn. – News of another boating death from carbon monoxide poisoning was hard for John Tetzlaff, owner of Tetzlaff Yacht Sales, to hear.

“When I sell a boat, that’s what I tell people – not to run their generator at night,” he said.

The State Legislature just passed “Sophia’s Law,” named for 7-year-old Sophia Baechler, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning. It requires all boats with a cabin to have a carbon monoxide detector.

Tetzlaff wants to warn others about the importance of those detectors.

“The wind behind the boat can generate a backdraft, that could then flow carbon monoxide from the engines into the boat,” Tetzlaff said. “And if that were the case, this would go off.”

But Sophia’s Law doesn’t go into effect until May 2018. And over the weekend, authorities found three people unconscious inside their boat. One died and one is in critical condition.

“It was cold, they probably had the heater on,” Tetzlaff said. “And they may have gone to sleep and not thought about it.”

Tetzlaff says besides being aware of possible engine fumes drafting back into the boat, boaters need to remember carbon monoxide also comes from the generator, which boaters often use when anchoring.

Tetzlaff warns people not to run the generator at night if sleeping in the boat.

“Again, the exhaust is coming out the back, but easily could work its way back in,” he said.

And lastly, Tetzlaff says it’s important to act fast if carbon monoxide exposure is suspected.

“If you’re driving and the carbon monoxide goes off, get everybody out of the cabin, into the cockpit area, open all the hatches and the canvas, and get air flow into the boat,” he said.

The St. Croix County Wisconsin Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the incident that happened over the weekend. They say they don’t know if the carbon monoxide detector inside was working.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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