Source = Centara Hotels & Resorts Centara steams ahead into ChinaCentara steams ahead into ChinaCentara Hotels & Resorts’ latest venture is two new properties in China, with the Group’s management signing two new agreements for what will become the new ‘Centara Grand Beach Resort Jin Tai Hainan’ in Hainan Province and the ‘Centara Villas Zhaoqing’ in Guangdong Province.Mr. Thirayuth Chirathivat, Chief Executive Officer of Centara Hotels & Resorts, comments that the addition of new properties, in these strategic Eastern locations, is an excellent opportunity to expand the company’s portfolio. “I am extremely pleased that we are developing yet more unique facilities overseas, as we continue to strategically build our brand beyond Thailand.”Centara Grand Beach Resort Jin Tai Hainan will be a new five-star family resort with 350 guest rooms, three restaurants, swimming pools, club lounge, a SPA Cenvaree, fitness centre, large meeting facilities, water park and a kids’ club. The resort is expected to open in Q4 2019. It is owned by Jin Tai Heng Ye Real Estate Co., Ltd., a subsidiary company of Shaanxi Energy Group Co., Ltd., and one of the top 100 state-owned real estate developers in China. Hainan is being promoted as “China’s Hawaii” and the entire island has been designated a Special Economic Zone, therefore Centara is ensuring that they have a presence amid what is expected to be an important growth region in China.‘Centara Villas Zhaoqing’, also newly-built and expected to open in Q4 2018, will provide an upscale resort with 46 villas in three categories, consisting of 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom villas. The resort is owned by Yuhao Properties, a fast growing company which focuses on real estate development and property management and that is currently owner of the ‘Centara Resort Zhaoqing’ property, an upscale resort with 237 guest rooms that was signed to Centara in January 2015. Both Centara Resort Zhaoqing and Centara Villas Zhaoqing are located in Guangdong’s Zhaoqing City, a regional tourist hub and one of the key cities in the Pearl River Delta region. Local visitors and travellers from Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Foshan, Zhuhai and even Hong Kong and Macau are known to visit Zhaoqing for weekend getaways and excursions. The Rainforest-theme adventure waterpark being built at the Zhaoqing resort will certainly new add an additional draw for tourists.Vice President of Brand, Marketing & Digital at Centara Hotels & Resorts, Tom Thrussell, says that he is confident that the hotels will be a success, “At Centara we are well known for our resort products and expertise at providing vacation experiences to families, couples and groups alike. We are fortunate enough to already have a strong Chinese client base and with our continued focus on meeting and exceeding guests’ needs, we believe that these new developments will be a real success in the market. We look forward to delivering our warm Thai service and experience in these new and exciting locations”. Centara Hotels & Resortsbook your holiday hereAbout Centara Centara Hotels & Resorts is Thailand’s leading hotel group, with 45 deluxe and first-class properties across Thailand, as well as 22 hotels and resorts in the Maldives, Vietnam, Bali, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Laos, Oman, Turkey and China. Centara also operates 24 branches of Spa Cenvaree, an award-winning spa brand, together with 8 branches of the value brand ‘Cense by Spa Cenvaree’. The company’s Kids’ Clubs are available at all their family-friendly resorts. Centara also operates three state-of-the-art convention centres in Bangkok, as well as two in north-eastern Thailand. Find out more about Centara at www.CentaraHotelsResorts.com Facebook LinkedIn Instagram Twitter
Source = Hyatt Place Cleveland/Westlake/Crocker Park Hyatt Place Cleveland Westlake Crocker ParkHyatt Place Cleveland/Westlake/Crocker Park wins Hyatt Place Hotel of the YearHyatt Place Cleveland/Westlake/Crocker Park has been recognized as the “Hyatt Place Hotel of the Year” for 2017 by Hyatt at its recent Global Select Service Sales Summit. The hotel also won Hyatt’s HyAchiever Award for meeting all sales goals and metrics as well as the STR Performance – Highest RevPAR Index for 2017. Hyatt Place Cleveland/Westlake/Crocker Park, which opened in 2015, is owned by Stark Enterprises, who selected Olympia Hotel Management to develop and manage the project.“Stark Enterprises, Olympia Hotel Management and Hyatt share similar core values and a mutual dedication to excellence. We have found both Stark Enterprises and Olympia Hotel Management to be terrific collaborators, and we look forward to working with these esteemed organizations as we continue to grow our portfolio of Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotels,” said Laurie Leh, Regional Vice President of Franchise Operations for Hyatt Place and Hyatt House.Hyatt Place Cleveland/Westlake/Crocker Park features 110 guestrooms and suites and 850 square feet of meeting space. The hotel offers complimentary WiFi, a Gallery Kitchen Breakfast for guests, a 24/7 Gallery Menu & Market, Coffee to Cocktails Bar, a 24-hour business center, an indoor pool, and fitness center. Hyatt Place Cleveland/Westlake/Crocker Park is 13 miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and less than 20 miles from downtown Cleveland.“Winning these three prestigious awards is well-deserved by the staff of the Hyatt-Westlake,” said Bob Stark, Chief Executive Officer of Stark Enterprises. “We are so proud of this hotel and the hard work they have done to receive this type of recognition. The future looks very bright for our Hyatt team!”“We’re delighted that the Hyatt Place Cleveland/Westlake/Crocker Park team has been recognized for their exceptional work in hospitality,” said John Schultzel, Vice President of The Olympia Companies. “Winning Hyatt’s HyAchiever Award and the STR Performance – Highest RevPAR Index for 2017 awards as well makes their achievement even more noteworthy.”Olympia Hotel Management (OHM), is a division of The Olympia Companies, an innovative leader in high profile real estate development, equity investment and hospitality management projects throughout the U.S. It is responsible for a new breed of sustainable, environmental and philanthropic hotels that it has developed, managed and /or owns. The dynamic and seasoned executive team at the helm of The Olympia Companies delivers expertise in hotel development, LEED building design and construction, project management, operational oversight, branding, feasibility and market analysis, as well as sales and marketing. The company currently has 23 hotel projects under management or development in the U.S. For more information, visit The Olympia Companies.
Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) in India is keen to work closely with the travel trade to curate and develop enriching itineraries to Macau supporting the interests of the Indian travellers. With this objective, a familiarisation trip was organised from 11 to 14 March for 11 key Indian travel agents from all over India to experience the vibrant city of Macau.To further enhance the experience, a day trip to the Chimelong Resort at Zhuhai, China was also included in the itinerary, where the agents visited the Ocean Kingdom and the famous Circus Show along with a site inspection of three prominent hotels.The objective of this trip was to showcase various family oriented and other varied activities that an Indian travel can indulge while in Macau.A special evening was arranged to witness the famous show, ‘The House of Dancing Water’. The agents also experienced the walking tour to Senado Square, the skyline of Macau from the Macau Tower, the calm and serene Coloane and the Taipa islands.Macau has plenty to offer throughout the year. For those planning a visit this summer Macau is a well-loved all-encompassing summer holiday destination. Mega shopping malls are just a stone’s throw away from characterful small shops along narrow alleys, whereas its authentic local snacks and world-heritage sites bring out the allure of this charming little place and its Portuguese flavours. Macau offers multicultural experience where one can see beautiful urban space with charming Portuguese and Chinese buildings and their enchanting stories.
The Uttar Pradesh Pro-poor Tourism Development Project has been approved by the Screening Committee of the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance and has been posed to the World Bank for an external assistance of USD 210 million.The above project aims to contribute to improving living conditions and increasing income opportunities for poor through enhanced tourism development in selected destinations in the Buddhist Circuit, Braj region and Agra.The project will leverage resources through advisory and technical assistance and financing for institutional strengthening, asset rehabilitation, infrastructure and services along the Buddhist Circuit and Braj Agra Corridor.
A total of 22, 121 Indian tourists arrived at Philippines during January-March 2016, recording an increase of 23.7% over the same period last year. The Department of Tourism (DOT) Philippines has reported 6943 visitor arrivals in March 2016, that is, a growth of 8.23% over that of the same month in 2015.Such a growth, according to SanJeet, Tourism Attaché, Philippines Tourism Marketing Office India, has been the result of continuous effort on the part of DOT to promote the country’s attractions under the ongoing Visit the Philippines Again (VPA) 2016 campaign. The country hopes to end the year with a growth of 25% while maintaining a steady number throughout the year.Parth Satpathy, Senior General Manager- Outbound MICE, Cox & Kings Ltd, said, “Philippines has successfully managed to couture the Indian traveller’s expectations with their warm hospitality, magnificent destinations, rejuvenation activities, shopping and dining options, nightlife, beaches and off course the colourful jeepneys.”“Philippines has geared up to handle Indian MICE groups as the country offers huge conventions centres and meeting locations. There are many reasons to visit this exotic country – be it the adventure options, luxury, rejuvenating holidays or vibrant nightlife, Philippines has something for all,” said Saurabh Mahajan, Director, Ambassador Express Holidays Pvt Ltd.
KJ Alphons, Union Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism recently said that India has attained the third position in the tourism sector after China and the U.S. and 13.92 million jobs have been created in the sector in the last four years.“We want to achieve more, both in foreign tourists’ arrival in the country and earning from the tourism sector. Last year domestic tourists increased by 7% from the previous year while foreign tourists increased by 14%. Over 13.92 million jobs have been created in the tourism sector in the last four years,” he said. Talking about Northeast he said, “There are many incredible things and natural splendours in the Northeastern region. Northeast India would be the hub of the Government’s ‘Act-East Policy’.”Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism confirmed that under ‘Swadesh Darshan’ scheme, 15 major tourism project which are centrally funded are under implementation in the eight Northeastern states. INR 1,300 has been allocated to these schemes. “Only the Tourism Ministry out of all the central ministries are spending more amounts in the Northeastern region than the stipulated 10%,” she said.According to an official document of the government, India welcomed more than 10.04 million international travellers in 2017 an increase of 14% as compared to 2016. INR 177,874 crore was earned in foreign exchange last year by the tourism sector.
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) conducted a destination presentation in New Delhi at The Park hotel recently. The event showcased the country’s many tourism offerings, as the Board targets a 25% growth in arrivals from India. Post the New Delhi event, NTB conducted the presentations in Ahmedabad at Courtyard by Marriott; in Mumbai at The St. Regis; and then moved on to Bengaluru at the Shangri-La hotel.The Nepalese delegation interacted with the travel trade from each of the cities. The Indian market continues to be one of the most important contributors of international visitors into Nepal and last year, the Board recorded 200,438 visitors from India.Commenting on the tourism connect between the two nations, SanJeet, Director, Buzz Travel Marketing India said, “Indian outbound to Nepal has been growing rapidly, owing to the fact that the destination caters to the demands of all age groups. This growth will surge in the coming years.” He also added that there has been a steady increase in FITs and small groups travelling to Nepal from India.Visit Nepal Year 2020The Government of Nepal is working rigorously to ensure a successful tourism period till 2020 and the Tourism Board has set a target of two million tourist arrivals by the end of next year. Currently, the country sees nearly one million visitors annually, which is expected to double as the Board continues promoting the ‘Visit Nepal Year 2020’ campaign aggressively.By 2020, the government plans to operate two new international airports – Pokhara and Lumbini – and introduce the Airbus 330-200 to provide airline services to the growing number of tourists. The government also plans to run Tribhuvan International Airport for an additional three hours from the regular 18, to ensure continued availability of service to both incoming and outgoing tourists.The private hotel sector, too, has planned to add 4,000 rooms in the four and five-star categories in Kathmandu, Chitwan and Pokhara. A number of international hotel chains, including Hilton and Marriott, are expected to operate properties in Nepal in the coming years.
October 16, 2012 440 Views Growth in mortgage originations helped spur “”PNC Financial Services””:https://www.pnc.com/webapp/unsec/Homepage.do?siteArea=/PNCCorp/PNC/Home/Personal to overall income gains in the third quarter, the institution reported.[IMAGE]PNC recorded net income of $925 million in Q3, an 11 percent year-over-year increase from $834 million. PNC’s total net income for the first three quarters was $2.3 billion, down from $2.6 billion in the same period last year.Part of PNC’s quarterly increase can be attributed to a rise in residential mortgage banking revenue, which grew $35 million “”due to higher loan sales revenue driven by higher loan origination volume partially offset by lower net hedging gains on mortgage servicing rights,”” the company said. Loan origination volume increased $1.2 billion from third-quarter 2011 to $3.8 billion, while PNC’s residential mortgage servicing portfolio decreased approximately $2 billion to $119 billion.The increase in origination brought with it an increase in noninterest expense (to $226 million), stemming mostly from servicing costs. Some of those costs were offset by a decrease in foreclosure-related expenses, PNC said.The company set aside only $37 million for repurchase obligations, a massive drop from $438 million in the second quarter. The decrease may signal PNC is less worried about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac forcing buybacks on loans gone bad.PNC also revealed approximately 30 percent of loan originations were revised under HARP. The fair value of mortgage servicing rights fell about $100 million from third-quarter 2011 to $600 million, primarily due to lower mortgage interest rates, the company said. in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Servicing Rights PNC Bank Processing Quarterly Earnings Service Providers 2012-10-16 Tory Barringer PNC Reports Growth in Originations
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Service Providers 2012-10-18 Tory Barringer Walker & Dunlop Expands Freddie Mac Program Plus Operations October 18, 2012 391 Views in Origination, Servicing “”Walker & Dunlop, Inc.””:http://www.walkerdunlop.com/, is now an approved Freddie mac Program Plus Seller/Servicer in 22 states and the District of Columbia, the company announced.[IMAGE]Walker & Dunlop acquired five additional Program Plus Seller/Servicer territories in connection with its acquisition of CWCapital. Separately, the company was also recently granted new territories in six states as a result of its growth and additional market presence.[COLUMN_BREAK]””We hired two fantastic origination teams during the second quarter of this year in Florida and Wisconsin and are very pleased Freddie Mac has given us the ability to partner with them in these two states,”” said Howard W. Smith, EVP and COO of Walker & Dunlop. “”The territories acquired in the CWCapital acquisition, combined with those newly approved by Freddie Mac, dramatically increase Walker & Dunlop’s Freddie Mac lending footprint.””As a Program Plus Seller/Servicer, the company can provide financing for the acquisition, refinance, and rehabilitation of apartment communities. Approved companies have met Freddie Mac’s standards for both origination and servicing of multifamily loans.With its acquisition of CWCapital, Walker & Dunlop became the eighth largest commercial real estate lender in the country. In a release, the Bethesda, Maryland-based lender said “”the additional territories ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬ª strengthen Walker & Dunlop’s position as one of the largest and most competitive multifamily lenders in the country.”” Share
in Data, Origination Housing Market Slows Pace as Inventory Gains Continue Share August 6, 2013 429 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Demand For-Sale Homes Home Sales Housing Supply Investors Lenders & Servicers Redfin Service Providers 2013-08-06 Tory Barringer The real estate market continued to slow its pace in June as inventory growth eased pressure for buyers to act fast, “”Redfin””:http://www.redfin.com/ revealed in its Fastest Real Estate Markets Report.[IMAGE]The report ranks 22 markets across the country measured by the percentage of homes that go under contract within two weeks of debut. Metrics include single-family homes, condos, and townhouses.According to Redfin’s data, the percentage of homes under contract within 14 days fell to 30.5 percent nationwide in June, down from 31.9 percent in May. However, things are still moving faster than they were last June, when only 23.2 percent of homes went under contract that quickly.””The market sped up considerably this year, with the percentage of homes under contract in two weeks or less increasing from 22.5 percent in December to 33.2 percent in April,”” said Redfin analyst Tim Ellis. “”As of June the market has given up some of that ground, rewinding to a level roughly equal to where we were in February.””Once again, California was home to some of the fastest-moving areas in the country, with San Jose, San Francisco, and Ventura earning the top three spots. The number of houses under contract within two weeks was above or approaching 50 percent in all three metros. At the same time, many of the Golden State’s markets also experienced the greatest slowdown over the month, with Sacramento and San Diego experiencing significant declines in the number of fast-selling homes.The slowest-moving markets were Las Vegas and Philadelphia, which saw 11 percent and 9.1 percent of homes go under contract within two weeks, respectively.Redfin’s report also found that months’ supply finally saw a boost in June following three straight months of inventory gains. According to the brokerage, months’ supply was 3.0 in June, up from 2.7 in May. While there were no metro areas in the June report that had climbed into “”buyer’s market territory”” (with six or more months’ supply), Atlanta came closest at 5.7 months.
Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Borrower Profile Credit Standards Housing Affordability Investors Lenders & Servicers LendingTree Loan-to-Value Ratio Service Providers 2013-11-01 Tory Barringer Recent findings released by online lender exchange “”LendingTree””:https://www.lendingtree.com/?theme=scrollable reveal that the financial health of prospective borrowers dipped in this year’s third quarter after seeing a sizable improvement in the second.[IMAGE]LendingTree’s Borrower Health Report shows the national Borrower Health Score was 79.94 in the third quarter, down 1.56 points from the prior period. The score is calculated based on data for average loan-to-value ratios (LTV) and average credit scores.The company attributed the slight decline in borrower health to rising home prices, which boosted LTVs across the country to a national average of 89.8 percent and put more financial pressure on potential borrowers.[COLUMN_BREAK]””Because home prices have been steadily increasing, this minor slip in the Borrower Health Score isn’t necessarily unsettling,”” said Doug Lebda, founder and CEO of LendingTree. “”In order for the housing market to maintain and improve home prices, there needs to be a growing pool of well-qualified borrowers in the market for homes.””The national score also experienced a slight drag from a dip in the average credit score of prospective borrowers, which fell four points quarter-over-quarter to 636.Even with the decline, the third quarter’s health score is still above the first quarter’s reading of 76.44 and Q3 2012’s reading of 72.66–demonstrating that “”mortgage-seekers are in relatively good health and that there is a broader trend of improving borrower qualification levels.””Breaking the data down by state, Hawaii led in terms of borrower health, posting a score of 96.16, with a higher average credit score (689) offsetting a relatively higher LTV percentage: 89.66 percent. Other markets with scores above 90 include the District of Columbia (95.91), New Jersey (91.18), and California (90.59). All reported average credit scores in the 670-680 range and LTVs lower than the national average.Ledba explained that the results were largely reflective of job market conditions, observing that states ranking on the list “”had enough highly qualified, active borrowers to support the higher home prices.”” in Data, Origination November 1, 2013 501 Views Higher LTV Ratios Pull Down Borrower Health in Q3 Share
in Daily Dose, Featured, News December 17, 2017 663 Views Share The University of Michigan will release its monthly Consumer Sentiment data for December on Friday, December 22, 2017—reporting that the largest decline in long-term economic consumer sentiment was recorded among those who reflected their concerns about the proposed tax reform. MReport previously reported the House and Senate Republican’s full agreement, which indicates some of the changes the tax reform could have on housing, such as the lowering of the mortgage interest deduction to $750,000.Although the full consumer sentiment data won’t be available until the report’s release, preliminary results indicate that consumer sentiment has remained quite favorable although it continued to slowly recede in early December from its October cyclical peak.Perhaps the most important changes in early December are higher income expectations as well as a higher expected inflation rate in 2018. Some of the recent declines was concentrated in the long-term prospects for the economy, while consumers thought current economic conditions have continued to improve. Overall, the data signaled an expected gain of 2.7 percent in real consumption expenditures in 2018.Here’s what else is in store in The Week Ahead:NAHB Housing Market Index, Monday, 10 a.m. ESTMBA Mortgage Applications Wednesday, 7 a.m. ESTNAR Existing Home Sales Report, WednesdayFHFA House Price Index, Thursday 9 a.m. ESTFreddie Mac Mortgage Market Survey, Thursday Tax Reform Impacts Housing and Consumer Sentiment consumer survey home sales report Housing Market Index Mortgage Applications price index tax reforms week 2017-12-17 Staff Writer
May 22 , 2019 PRESS RELEASEThere is only one month to go before Hort Connections 2019, the biggest event in Australian horticulture, kicks off at the Melbourne Convention Centre. This year, over 3,250 local and international industry members throughout the horticulture supply chain will come together to listen to experts and discuss ‘Growing our Food Future’.The premier event for the Australian horticulture industry will take place from 24-26 June 2019 and will cater to all members of the horticulture industry, including primary producers to retailers and the entire supply chain. It is an opportunity for growers and industry members to come together in one central location to build their knowledge and networks, and find out new ways to improve the productivity and profitability of their farms and secure the future of the industry.Hort Connections is a joint initiative between AUSVEG and the Produce Marketing Association Australia-New Zealand (PMA A-NZ) that encompasses the vegetable, fruit, nut, cut floral and nursery sectors.“Delegates will learn from the industry’s leaders during a range of plenary and industry-focused speaker sessions, as well as visit more than 300 booths from the sector’s leading agribusinesses at the Trade how, which is almost at full capacity,” said AUSVEG National Marketing Manager Nathan McIntyre.“Hort Connections 2019 is a not-to-be-missed opportunity for delegates to network with their peers from all areas of horticulture, and to work together to address the biggest issues that our industry is facing to discuss how we can grow horticulture’s future growth and value. You might also be interested in “If you haven’t already registered, have a look at the event program at hortconnections.com.au and see for yourself the many opportunities on offer for growers and industry members to attend and improve their knowledge.”Key events for Hort Connections 2019 include: Keynote addresses from leading local and global agricultural thought leaders, including former Masterchef winner Adam Liaw, Foodbank Australia CEO Brianna Casey and athlete and inspirational speaker Samantha Gash. A variety of informative, engaging and thought-provoking presentations and expert panels to inspire and educate delegates on all manner of topics, from on-farm productivity to the latest updates on agricultural technology and industry issues affecting the entire supply chain; A celebration of the contribution of the industry’s female growers and industry members at the PMA A-NZ Fresh Perspectives and Women in Horticulture event and networking session; Numerous opportunities for formal and informal networking at organised events and the Trade Show; and The National Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner where the accomplishments of the industry’s leaders will be acknowledged and celebrated.Registrations are still open and those who are interested in attending any of the three days can also register in person at the event. For more information or to register, please visit hortconnections.com.au.MEDIA CONTACT: Shaun Lindhe, AUSVEG National Manager – Communications Phone: 03 9882 0277, Mobile: 0405 977 789, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Voting has commenced in TIME’s Person of the Year in 2016 online poll, with one of Hillary Clinton’s recent nemeses, Aussie Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange, just ahead of the other one – President-elect Donald Trump – as at Monday morning [US ET].However, this is not a popularity contest. It’s a time-honoured annual tradition for TIME, with editors making the final Person of the Year selection – selecting the person who has, for better or for worse, impacted the news the most in the past year. The online poll merely provides TIME readers with the opportunity to voice their own opinions on who has made the greatest impact on the world in 2016.For 2016, TIME—in partnership with Opentopic and IBM’s Watson—is also able to track and compare influence in a whole new way. Opentopic worked with Watson to track how candidates made their mark on the Internet, in order to create a picture of what the world is saying about the people and ideas that matter. TIME’s editors used this information while finalizing the list for the Person of the Year reader poll.TIME suggests that A-for-Assange, being alphabetically higher in the options participants consider, may give him an advantage over T-for-Trump, who comes closer to the end of the polling list!Voting on the reader’s choice poll ends 4 December at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Events/FamilsTanzaniaTravellers Choice Eight Travellers Choice agents recently explored some of Tanzania’s game reserves and luxury safari lodges, including the recently opened Asilia The Highlands, which sits on the edge of mountain forest north of Ngorongoro Crater, near a Maasai village. They were hosted by The Africa Safari Co. and South African Airlines.Tullie Seneca from Travel and Cruise Ceduna said it was here that the group were given the opportunity to visit the settlement, and speak to Maasai women and children still unaccustomed to meeting international guests.“It was fascinating to see how they live and their perspective on things such as marriage, which in their culture allows a man to have more than one wife,” said Seneca. “It was also interesting to see the way they are interacting with western culture. For instance the hut we entered had a solar panel on top to provide power for one little light, and they now have mobile phones. So some things from western culture they are choosing to bring in, but other things they are not.”The itinerary included a night at &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, and three nights in the Singita Grumeti Reserve, adjacent to Serengeti National Park.For Kathy Granger from Burnie Travelcentre, the game drives in Ngorongoro were outstanding but the Serengeti was the highlight.“We were able to see the animals migrating across the plains. The sheer vastness of it all was extraordinary – you can see forever,” said Granger.The group also experienced the luxury of a bygone era at the Singita Sabora Tented Camp, which is set up as a 1920s-style explorer’s base.
Top Stories Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Kiper originally gave the Cards a B- for a draft thatincluded 5th overall pick Patrick Peterson out of LSU andrunning back Ryan Williams from Virginia Tech.After the season, Kiper gave the Cardinals a B. Why? What isn’t debatable, however, is thatPeterson is the real deal. I gave the Cards an A-minus forvalue because Peterson was No. 1 on my Big Board goinginto the season. He needed refinement at corner, but hisimprovement was steady from Week 1 through Week 17, andhe’s right there with Devin Hester already as one of themost dangerous return men in the league.Peterson is headed to the Pro Bowl as the NFC kickreturner after tying an NFL record with four punt returnsfor touchdowns. He was also the only rookie on the AP All-Pro Team released earlierthis week. Of course, Williams was unable to help the Cardinals’revisited grade because he suffered a ruptured patellartendonin his right knee in thepreseason and spent the year on injured reserve.Kiper also lauds fourth round pick Sam Acho, who had7sacks and cracked the starting lineup at outsidelinebacker midway through the season, and 6th round pickDavid Carter (16 tackles, 1 sack) for adding depth. It’s always fun after any NFL Draft to peruse theinternet and read the endless grades expertshand out to the teams in the league for the players theyselected.But does anybody really know how these players will adjustto the pro ranks and actually help their team? The answerto that question is a resounding ‘no’.That’s why it’s refreshing when draft experts revisit whathappened on draft night, and assign new grades for teamsbased on what actually happened on the football field.ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. did just that, and the ArizonaCardinalsreceived a slightly higher grade for their draft nightactivities after one season. Comments Share D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Check out Kiper’s entire regrading of the 2011 NFLDraft here (must be an ESPN Insider). Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away
TEMPE, Ariz. — Move the ball. Sustain drives. Keep the offense on the field.It’s been a failed strategy for the Arizona Cardinals in each of the past two weeks due in large part to the team’s inability to convert on third down.Against Seattle, the Cardinals were a season-low 3-for-12 when facing third down. They were even worse against Atlanta, going 1-for-7; putting their success rate at 21 percent in the two games. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling It’s no wonder the Cardinals lost both contests.“We’re just not executing,” center Lyle Sendlein said.Head coach Bruce Arians offered a more specific explanation for the recent third-down struggles when asked prior to practice on Wednesday.“Protect a little better because we’ve got guys open and (quarterback Drew Stanton has) had to move off the spot in time,” he said. “It’s a shame because we’ve stayed in very manageable third downs. It’s not like it’s 3rd-and-12. It’s 3rd-and-6, 3rd-and-5, 3rd-and-4.”Of the 19 times the Cardinals faced third down against Seattle and Atlanta, six yards or less was needed for a first down 10 times. Only twice did the Cardinals convert.“That’s the thing that’s kind of surprising is we were in very manageable third downs,” said Stanton, who has completed just three of his 15 third-down pass attempts in the last two games. “We just had a tipped pass here, didn’t throw the ball accurately there, or a lot of different things. That’s just kind of what’s happened unfortunately the past couple of weeks. We just need to understand why it’s happening and move on.” Third down had been a strength of the Cardinals.During their six-game winning streak, the Cardinals converted almost half their third-down opportunities (46-for-93, 49 percent), excelling on both third-and-short and third-and-manageable nearly seven out of every 10 times (25-for-36, 69 percent).Stanton called their mistakes on third down correctable, as did Sendlein, who added, “it’s about just doing your job. It’s one thing if the plays aren’t there to convert, but the plays are there — if it’s someone missing a block or a throw or a route. It seems to be like one guy on every play. We’re going to have to eliminate that.”A healthy Larry Fitzgerald should help, as well.The Cardinals’ leading receiver practiced Wednesday. A knee injury has kept Fitzgerald in street clothes the past two weeks; the first time he had missed back-to-back games since 2006.“Any time you can get that experience back on the field and that passion, it’ll be very nice to have him back out there,” Stanton said. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact 0 Comments Share
Eliminating the trade deadline also gives hope to fans like Arizona. Despite a roster ravaged by injuries, the Cardinals earned a playoff spot. How is it good for NFL playoff ratings to send a team to the playoffs starting their fourth-string rookie quarterback? If the Cardinals are down 21-0 twenty minutes into the game, everybody loses.The fear standpoint isn’t a strong argument because there are also difficult prerequisites to work around making major deals a huge undertaking. It’s a near impossibility a player as good as Watt could fit under Atlanta’s salary cap. That’s not a reason to stay with the status quo. If a GM can find a way to make it work, why should an organization be hamstrung just because of an arbitrary rule forbidding trades? Anything that eliminates creativity in any line of work should not exist.A team like Houston wouldn’t be in a hurry to trade a player like Watt. The public relations hit, compensation requested and salary cap ramifications on the accepting team would be such a hindrance that this isn’t an idea to be feared that it will happen on a regular basis.It is a Hoyer situation in which the idea makes the most sense. The Cardinals are a playoff team with a terrible situation at quarterback caused by something completely out of their control. The Browns are a team that gave up on going to the 2014 playoffs because they believe in pre-conceived hype. Hoyer is not a Hall of Fame-quality injection at the end of the season to be feared by other teams. Cleveland would pick up draft picks from a desperate team to make it’s team more competitive next year. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires It’s hard to be an NFL quarterback. It’s even harder to be a third-string quarterback and start against the Seattle Seahawks. Taking no personal shots at Ryan Lindley, his accuracy is not close to NFL-quality at this time.After evaluating Logan Thomas for months, the Cardinals decided a quarterback they cut earlier in the year was more qualified to start against Seattle. Although we have no clue how Thomas will play Sunday against San Francisco, he has not earned the start through his own merit. Cardinals coaches made the decision after watching Ryan Lindley on film. Either Thomas can’t be any worse or they can’t win with Lindley, therefore any mistakes made by Thomas are part of the educational process and worth the pain. I have always declared the rule forbidding the kicking team to advance an onside kick as the dumbest rule in sports. That opinion is amended and the onside kick rule has been demoted to number two in my personal rankings. The dumbest rule in sports is having a regular season trade deadline in the NFL. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Either way, in this desperate time, I’d rather trust Brian Hoyer’s ability to learn the offense quickly and deal with the consequences.There’s one catch to the idea. The Cardinals can’t trade for Hoyer to start during the 2014 season because the trade deadline has long passed. It raises one simple question: why is there a trade deadline?The NFL is scared a team like the Patriots will pillage a weak team and steal a great player late in the season completely changing the balance of power. There’s also a fairness issue. The Falcons could be a 7-9 division champion but imagine if they pulled off a trade for J.J. Watt this week. Their first week opponent in the playoffs might go from favorite to underdog immediately.In response to the NFL’s feelings on the issue: suck it up!The magic of the NFL is the last-to-first phenomenon. A dramatic trade at the end of the season completely energizes the playoffs. The true benefit is for the bottom-dweller. The turnaround from a bad season could be even faster with a late season trade as preparation for the offseason. The weaker team could stock up on draft picks.Arizona would have paid much more for Hoyer now versus anything the Browns will get in the offseason if they had his rights. Since Hoyer will be a free agent, Cleveland would actually be turning nothing into something. Comments Share Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) That means putting players in the right spots, catering to their skill sets and strengths.“Each and every call that we make, that’s really the first thing that comes to my mind,” he said. – / 23 Your browser does not support the audio element. The thought behind that is simple in that it’s meant to put players in the best position to succeed. Bettcher, who came under a little fire over the offseason from former linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who claimed the coach did not listen to his players at all, said it’s important to make sure players are comfortable in their roles.“I think you always listen to the players; I’ve always been big on that,” he said. “I’ve grown up that way working for guys like Chuck Pagano and Todd Bowles — I think both of those guys really were in tune to what their players were thinking, and I think I’ve always been that way.”Bettcher added he felt like he had a great relationship with some of the players that were on the team last year and are still around this season.“We had those conversations — sometimes they were in private about, ‘hey, here’s what we’re not getting, here’s what we don’t see, here’s how we see it,’” he said. “I always want to know how it is through their eyes because they’re the guys that are on the field playing.“I think each and every week it’s my job to make sure, as well as the position coach’s job, to make sure that we’ve got the right matchups.” Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The defense James Bettcher guided in 2015 was a good one, as the Cardinals finished fifth in the NFL in yards allowed and seventh in points surrendered.The defense Bettcher will be coordinating in 2016, though, is quite different.Gone are Jerraud Powers and Rashad Johnson, a pair of starters from the secondary; in are linebacker Chandler Jones, defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche, safety Tyvon Branch and rookie cornerback Brandon Williams. Defensive lineman Corey Peters is back after recovering from an Achilles injury. Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Comments Share LISTEN: James Bettcher, AZ Cardinals defensive coordinator Expectations are high for the team to take a step forward, yes, but the same can be said for the defensive coordinator.“Just like as a player, as a coach you do the same thing,” Bettcher told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday morning. “You sit around and evaluate every single thing you did, every single thing, every way you did everything and find what worked for me — in terms of game prep and game planning — and what are some of the things I could clean up.“Certainly we’ve got to get better in the red zone and I’ve got to get better as a coordinator in the red zone, and this offseason through OTAs and through mini-camps and now through training camp, that’s been a point of emphasis for me.”According to TeamRankings.com, the Cardinals allowed touchdowns on 56 percent of opponents’ trips inside the red zone. That placed them 14th in the NFL.For comparison’s sake, the Carolina Panthers were ninth at 51 percent, whereas the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos were 16th at 57 percent.Improved talent should help there, as will a more experienced coordinator. Bettcher talked about the idea of moving Jones, the team’s likely top pass rusher who had 12.5 sacks for the Patriots last season, all over the field, allowing him to line up in different spots depending on the situation. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
0 Comments Share Trailing 13-10 late in the second quarter, the Cardinals drove to the Minnesota 9-yard line. On third down, Palmer tried to find John Brown at the goal line. There was contact, but Brown wasn’t physical in response, and Xavier Rhodes picked off the pass and raced 100 yards for a touchdown.The Cardinals answered on an efficient 75-yard drive capped off by a Palmer-to-Jermaine Gresham touchdown pass that covered 29 yards and featured a Herculean individual effort by the tight end.But Minnesota once again seized momentum when Cordarrelle Patterson returned the opening kickoff of the second half 100 yards for a touchdown.It wasn’t the first game in which Arizona’s special teams struggles have contributed to a loss. Keim is trying to diagnose the issues in that phase of the game.“I think it’s playing with cohesiveness,” he said. “When I watched the return yesterday, it comes down to the guys running down the field and having the will to make a play. Half of special teams is the effort and mentality you put forth, and there were three or four guys who got caved on that play. They’ve got to stay in their lanes and stay physical at the point of attack and they didn’t.” If you look really closely at the bald head of Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim, you can probably see scratch marks.That’s because nobody, not even the architect of this year’s Cardinals, can quite figure out what’s going on with a talented team that has underachieved through the first ten games of the season.The latest chapter of underachievement was written Sunday in Minneapolis — a 30-24 loss to a Vikings team that had lost four straight heading into the contest. Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes returns an interception 100-yards for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) “A broken record,” Keim answered Monday morning when asked by Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM about what he sees from his team. “Another game, where statistically, you look at the sheet and it says one thing and the loss column tells you another. It’s getting old and we need to fix that.“That comes down to making plays, minimizing mistakes — particularly mental mistakes — and stepping up when it’s time to make that play in the game, from your playmakers — the guys you’re counting on. We haven’t done that and it’s no secret.”The Cardinals’ offense had opportunities to do just that Sunday. Trailing by six points in the fourth quarter, Arizona had two chances with the ball to take the lead. They had a net yardage total of -14 on the 11 plays in those opportunities. Quarterback Carson Palmer was sacked twice on the Cardinals’ last drive, including one for a 15-yard loss on their final offensive snap of the game.“It’s hard for me to put a finger on it,” Keim said. “You get something going, and again, like (Sunday), I felt like we were just trying to play catch-up. We got in a situation where we started to run the ball really well. David (Johnson) got in a groove. Then explosive plays hurt us.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Your browser does not support the audio element. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Keim also voiced frustration in the amount of inconsistency he’s seen in all three phases of the game.“It comes down to those 53 men in the locker room. I’m out at practice every day and I can hear the way that our staff coaches these young men up,” he said. “At some point in time, it comes down to those guys executing and doing the right things on the field.“I take ownership in that as well, because these are the players I’ve supplied to our coaching staff. So, it starts at the top and it’s certainly something that makes us all look in the mirror, and that starts with me.”Keim said his frustration level is at ’10,’ but noted there is a lot of football left to be played.“The season is not over,” he said. “I know that’s what fans and the people who support us want to hear, but we’re not going to quit.” – / 22 LISTEN: Steve Keim, Cardinals general manager Top Stories