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|Mediacom Communications Buys Local Cable|
|News/Features - City Shorts|
|Tuesday, 06 March 2001 18:00|
• The continuing saga of “Who owns
your cable company?” has taken another interesting twist with the recent acquisition of Quad City metropolitan area cable operations by Mediacom Communications from AT&T Broadband Communications in a $2.
215 billion dollar deal that includes systems in Illinois, Georgia, Iowa, and Missouri. The deal will double the customer base of the Middletown, New York, company and provide AT&T with some much-needed cash. Quad Cities cable operations were once owned by Cox Communications, which swapped them to TCI shortly before it was gobbled up by AT&T. Mediacom promises “to aggressively upgrade the remaining AT&T Broadband cable systems and deliver all of our new customers in these communities a state-of-the-art offering of advanced broadband services.” Of course, the pricing structure of Mediacom’s services is comparable to AT&T’s, but that will be reviewed after the sale is complete. You can learn more about the company that will be owning your cable-TV and -modem services by looking on the Internet at (http://www.mediacomcc.com).
• Illinois Governor George Ryan recognized the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau on February 14 with a coveted Governor’s Conference Award, one of the top honors bestowed in the Illinois Tourism industry. The winning entry for the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau was its 2000 direct mailer, which was designed to introduce the Quad Cities as a meeting destination for meeting planners and group-travel leaders across the United States and Canada. The Governor’s Award program was established in 1986 to recognize excellence in marketing local destinations. Presented annually at the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Tourism, the awards have become a prime focus of the conference with more than 100 entrants vying for the awards, which are judged by a panel of marketing professionals based on clarity of message, creativity, originality, and the projects’ overall success. For more information on events and attractions in the Quad Cities, call the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau at (309)788-7800 or visit its Web site at (http://www.visitquadcities.com).
• As a longtime listener and supporter of National Public Radio (NPR), it was surprising to learn that NPR has helped to handicap an initiative that would have allowed low-power (less than four-mile radius), noncommercial, locally managed radio stations to receive FM broadcast licenses. A last-minute rider in December’s Senate appropriations bill limits the licensing of low-power radio to just nine test markets and mandates testing to determine the economic impact on established broadcasters. NPR objected on a number of grounds to low-power broadcasting, including possible interference with signals for “reading services for the blind” and that the part of the spectrum set aside for noncommercial radio – between 87.9 and 91.9 – is already too crowded. Other objections can also be described as self-serving, especially considering that the FCC has expressed a willingness to work with NPR to protect its turf.
• Voting recounts are in the news again. After a hand recount of the 1,298 ballots cast in the Pleasant Valley School District tax-levy vote, there were still 648 ballots for and 650 against the proposal. The money raised by the tax levy would have paid for an extra year of foreign-language instruction; smaller class sizes; more remedial instruction in reading and science; more staff development; and an orchestra. For the owner of a $150,000 house, the tax would have meant an increase of $48.78 a year. It would have brought the district $443,159 in the first year of its 10-year life.
• The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has established new rules for Web-site operators to protect the privacy of children while they are online. Web sites directed to children, or that knowingly collect information from children under 13, must post notice of their collection practices. The FTC has prepared a guide for businesses, “How to Comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule,” and also gives parents a summary of the most important requirements and tips. Take a look at (http://www.ftc.gov/bep/online/edcams/kidzprivacy/biz.html) for more information.
• Genesis Regional Cancer Center has launched a community-education program to encourage a healthy diet and active lifestyle. The Five-a-Day program follows the American Cancer Society’s guidelines of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, which helps reduce the risk of cancer and promotes better health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 79 percent of children don’t eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, with teens faring even worse. For a free Five-a-Day guide, call Genesis On Call at (319)421-2000.
• Evidence for the assertion that hate-crime laws are enforced discriminatorily can be found in a recently released report by Federal Bureau of Investigation titled “Hate Crime Statistics for 1999.” Law-enforcement agencies nationwide report that 2,030 whites were arrested for crimes against blacks, while 524 blacks were arrested for such crimes against whites. Once you adjust for the fact that blacks account for only 13 percent of the population, African Americans were statistically one-and-a-half times more likely than whites to face prosecution for hate crimes.
• Following the lead of President George W. Bush, Iowa Republicans are proposing that the state spend $10 million in federal welfare money to get churches more involved in delivering social services – mostly to promote the importance of marriage and two-parent families, with the idea of preventing child abuse. The money would come from the $131 million a year that Iowa currently receives for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
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