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News and Updates

10.24.18 - Centene profit beats forecasts as Fidelis acquisition pays off

'The Clayton-based company, which primarily focuses on government-backed health insurance plans, spent $3.75 billion last year to acquire Medicaid-focused Fidelis Care and doubled down on its Affordable Care Act business, a strategy that has paid off and fueled a 36 percent rise in third-quarter revenue.'

Read the full St. Louis Post Dispatch article here

10.23.18 - $33 million housing development opens at former Endicott-Johnson shoe factory

'A $33 million mixed purpose building is now open at the former Endicott-Johnson shoe factory in Johnson City.'

'RuthAnne Visnauskas, the commissioner for New York State Homes and Community Renewal, announced the project's grand opening Monday at the building at 135 Baldwin St.'

'Apartments are available for individuals and families on varying income levels. Some of the apartments are reserved for people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.'

''For decades, the Century and Sunrise buildings were eyesores and a constant reminder of a bygone era,' said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D- Endwell, in a statement. 'By providing affordable housing and commercial space, Century Sunrise will become an anchor in the community once again.'

The two buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Read the full Binghamton Press Sun article here

10.18.18 - Moskowitz urges de Blasio to give new charters more space, amid calls to raise cap

'Success Academy founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz is calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to provide more space for new charter schools amid renewed calls in Albany to raise the charter cap and with the city running out of space for new schools.'

''I'm here to speak out for equity,' Moskowitz said Thursday morning on the steps of City Hall, flanked by roughly 70 Success parents. 'Parents and families are far too often shut out of good schools and an excellent public charter school is their only option. And yet the mayor, who promotes equity, doesn't seem to believe in it for charter parents, only for district parents. That's discrimination. He is the mayor of all parents, district parents and public charter parents.''

'Doug Cohen, a DOE spokesman, said the department is reviewing Success' space requests along with requests from other charter organizations and requests from communities for new district schools.'

''We take a thorough and holistic approach to evaluating all space requests for high-quality district and charter schools,' Cohen said. 'We've provided 5,000 new seats to Success Academy since 2014 and they currently have 2,500 extra seats available for students, and we're reviewing Success' current requests as we work with them to meet the needs of students and families.''


Read the full Politico article here (subscription required)

10.15.18 - Public Television to Examine the Opioid Crisis in NYS

'APBS announced today that public broadcasting stations across New York State will air special programing examining the opioid crisis during the week of October 14, 2018. “New York’s Opioid Crisis” is a first of its kind partnership to draw attention to this public health crisis and raise awareness of services available in local communities for those impacted by opioid addiction.'

'Public broadcasting is renowned for its thoughtful and thorough approach to public affairs and social issues, and “New York’s Opioid Crisis” will touch on topics as wide-ranging as the science of addiction, reducing the stigma of addiction and recovery, opioids and the arts, opioid addiction among veterans, and what public health officials are doing to combat the problem.'

'APBS also announced that this special programming was made possible through a unique partnership with the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). “New York is holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for their contribution to the opioid crisis, and making significant investments in treatment and recovery services to help individuals struggling with addiction on the path to recovery,”said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Co-Chair of the State Heroin and Opioid Abuse Task Force. “This programming that will be aired across the state will raise awareness about the serious issue affecting our communities, and help to prevent drug abuse and ensure all New Yorkers lead healthy and safe lives.”'

'“New York is working tirelessly to provide comprehensive prevention, treatment and recovery services that fully support individuals and families in need,” said Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez.“This collaborative effort with public broadcasters across the State will not only increase awareness about the hardships of addiction, but will also help to expand our ability to promote the availability of the many valuable life-saving resources.”'

'“The opioid crisis isn’t someone else’s problem anymore,” said Christopher Goeken, Executive Director of the Association of Public Broadcasting Stations of New York (APBS). “It is a crisis that stretches from the largest metropolitan area in the country, to rural areas in the Southern Tier and the North Country, and every community in between. New York’s public broadcasting stations are thrilled to partner with Commissioner Gonzalez-Sanchez and her team at OASAS to bring this special programming to the viewing and listening public.”'

'“New York’s Opioid Crisis” brings together nine PBS television stations and five NPR stations in a first of its kind effort to focus on a single issue across multiple platforms broadcast television, radio, podcasts, online streaming, social media, and more.'

Read the full NYS OASAS press release here

10.10.18 - Novume Aims to Disrupt Vehicle Recognition Market

Novume Solutions, Inc., a holding company that integrates technology and human capital to solve client challenges in today's complex world, announced the launch of its second product using an advanced vehicle identification system and commented on its intent to disrupt the vehicle recognition system market, which is projected to reach $4.25B by 2023.

The Argos Finder™ product is a portable vehicle recognition system that uses advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the performance of automated license plate readers by combining dramatically improved license plate capture rates with the ability to identify a vehicle's make, model and color. It is the second product developed by Novume's wholly-owned subsidiary, Brekford Traffic Safety Inc. (Brekford), designed to protect first responders and improve safety and security systems. Together with its previously announced Argos Guardian Move Over Camera™ system and a third product expected to be completed by the end of the year, the Argos product line will provide a full suite of applications that take advantage of proprietary software developed by OpenALPR Technology, Inc. (Open ALPR). The products will be sold on a competitive monthly subscription basis that requires no initial capital investments. In addition, OpenALPR-based products and services are anticipated to generate significantly greater margins than Novume's existing lines of business.

Traditional vehicle recognition system technologies, also known as automatic license plate readers (ALPRs), use an optical character recognition (OCR) process to identify a license plate. Using Brekford's hardware and integration expertise, OpenALPR's industry-leading software has been used to create ALPR devices with capabilities that significantly surpass those devices existing in the market, at a greatly reduced user cost. The products can identify, in real-time, the vehicle color, make and model under varying weather and lighting conditions and at high vehicle speeds. This technology is increasingly in demand to provide security for government, corporate and educational infrastructure, as well as by Brekford's traditional law enforcement clientele.

We believe that we are uniquely positioned to serve these markets through established business and customer relationships and distribution channels residing within our subsidiaries. Novume recently announced a binding letter of intent to acquire Open ALPR and is looking to take advantage of Open ALPR's demonstrated ability to use AI to provide better solutions to a range of problems its clients face.

Through the use of AI and several years of machine learning, OpenALPR has trained its system to recognize license plates from over 60 countries with a degree of accuracy of about 95%. Other ALPR devices typically have an accuracy of less than 85%. While traditional ALPR systems can only focus on a narrow viewing field and require dedicated cameras for single lanes of traffic, OpenALPR's technology can read multiple license plates at high skew angles, across several lanes of traffic, and can be monitored with a single camera.

"The ALPR industry is exciting for Novume as we are already well established within the law enforcement and municipal government sectors through Brekford's current customer-base. We have immediate uses for AI-powered ALPR software which can generate recurring revenue opportunities through a monthly SaaS subscription model," said Robert Berman, Novume's CEO. "More importantly, we can open new development channels with organizations that already have extensive hardware systems by licensing our ALPR software for use with their existing hardware systems. This allows us to serve both sides of the market – those seeking a full hardware and software installation, and those only seeking a powerful software upgrade to dramatically improve the performance of their current hardware installations."

The OpenALPR solution is an optimal fit for Brekford's line of automatic traffic safety enforcement cameras, its installed base of automated speed and red-light camera systems in the U.S. and Canada, and its backend citation management system. In addition, the software is compatible with most security cameras, opening up a significant pipeline of potential business both domestically and abroad. In 2014, it was estimated that there were 40 million security cameras installed in the United States, and some 245 million installed around the world. Open ALPR software can give them the ability to better identify vehicles and significantly improve their capabilities and performance.

With security being an increasingly important concern, dramatic improvements in ALPR technology will have significant implications for high-value contracts in the federal and municipal governmental sector. Novume, through its subsidiaries, is an established leading government contract consultant, helping clients to win more than $160 billion in federal government contracts – expertise that will provide the company with a unique vantage point in being involved with future government ALPR projects.

"There is a significant opportunity for ALPR offerings within the federal sector, which can be difficult to navigate for those unfamiliar with the innerworkings of the process," said Berman. "Novume's established leadership and relationships within the federal contracting industry will enable the company to capitalize on future governmental requests for ALPR solution."

Aside from security and surveillance, other growing applications for ALPR technology include vehicle repossession and tracking, parking control, shipping and logistics, and retail and rewards-based marketing. OpenALPR's software is also being piloted for use by one of the world's largest fast food companies to enhance their customers' drive-thru experience, while a Fortune 20 company is planning to use the software to streamline logistics by matching tractor and trailer license plates as shipments move between the client's distribution centers.

In addition, Novume remains focused on how AI can be incorporated into products and services of its other subsidiaries, which include AOC Key Solutions, Global Contract Professionals, Global Technical Services, and Firestorm Solutions.

10.3.18 - Going It Solo: The Complicated Financial Lives Of Freelancers

'Working on your own can have its rewards, such as being able to set your own hours. But being self-employed also brings with it the headache of handling taxes — something a traditional employer normally does.'

'"No one really explains to you taxes and contracts and how to chase a client for that bill that they owe you — like, the nitty-gritty," says Bui, who lives in Los Angeles with her husband, who also works freelance, as a graphic designer.'

'They are among the rapidly expanding population of contingent workers that make up, by some estimates, a third of the U.S. workforce. They, like others, enjoy the flexibility of that work arrangement. On the other hand, neither of them has an employer contributing toward Social Security, health insurance, retirement, or paid vacations.'

'As the independent workforce grows and employers create fewer full-time positions, financial security is likely to become a bigger concern.'

'An unpredictable income and a lack of benefits make it hard for solo workers to save, says Caitlin Pearce, executive director of the Freelancers Union.'

'"Two-thirds of them are dipping into their savings every month to make ends meet. We see that freelancers as a result are really lagging behind employees when it comes to saving for retirement," Pearce says.'

Read the full NPR article here

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