Seattle, New York battle for supremacy
Scott Lev/NHLI via Getty Images NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Stepan is back in the fold with the New York Rangers, agreeing to a two-year contract that should have him back on the ice in time for the season opener. Negotiations had been tense in recent days as the sides worked on a deal to get the restricted free-agent forward signed and into training camp. A contract was finally worked out Thursday, one week before the Rangers start the regular season at Phoenix. The 23-year-old Stepan, expected to be the Rangers’ No. 1 center, led the team with 44 points last season and was second to Rick Nash with 18 goals while playing all 48 games of the lockout-shortened campaign. He had been seeking $3.5 million per season, while the Rangers were offering around $3 million. The new deal is for a total of $6.15 million – $2.3 million this season and $3.85 million in 2014-15. Signing Stepan was a critical move for the Rangers, who are starting the season under new coach Alain Vigneault without captain Ryan Callahan and speedy winger Carl Hagelin – both recovering from shoulder operations. Stepan set career highs last season with a plus-25 rating and six game-winning goals. He tied his high with four power-play goals. Stepan went over the 40-point mark for the third straight season, tying for the NHL lead with four short-handed points. In 12 playoff games, Stepan had a career-best four goals – including winners in Games 3 and 4 of New York’s first-round victory over Washington. In 212 regular-season NHL games overall, Stepan has 56 goals and 140 points.
The PSC, NYPA and other New York utilities asked the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reconsider its August decision allowing the state’s power grid operator, the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), to create a new capacity zone in the Lower Hudson Valley that includes New York City. The NYISO has said it designed the new capacity zone to maintain system reliability and attract investments in new and existing generation and demand response resources. In basic terms, capacity markets pay generators to help keep existing power plants in service and build new units in order to maintain system reliability. Demand response providers who agree to reduce power usage when needed can also participate in capacity markets. The new zone will include the current NYISO zones G, H and I in the Lower Hudson Valley and zone J in New York City. The PSC and NYPA said the state is already working on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s so-called Energy Highway initiative to expand the state’s transmission resources to bring more power from upstate New York to the Lower Hudson Valley and New York City area. The PSC and NYPA said the Energy Highway could negate the need for FERC to offer financial incentives to build more power plants downstate. “We strongly urged FERC to reconsider its decision to create a new capacity zone in New York, which it says is needed to build more power plants downstate to alleviate demand for electricity,” PSC Chairwoman Audrey Zibelman said in the release. “We are well aware of the downstate demand for electricity…However, in its decision, FERC did not take into consideration the ongoing initiatives included in the Governor’s Energy Highway,” Zibelman said. The biggest power companies in New York include units of Consolidated Edison Inc, National Grid Plc, Iberdrola SA, Entergy Corp, TransCanada Corp and NRG Energy Inc. COSTS TO RISE The PSC said if FERC’s plan goes into effect, typical residential customers in the Lower Hudson Valley could see monthly bill increases ranging from 5 percent to almost 10 percent, depending on the utility. The increases for industrial and commercial customers could be even higher, the PSC said. “Creation of a permanent new capacity zone undermines the Governor’s Energy Highway initiatives,” Gil Quiniones, NYPA president and chief executive, said in the release. “The Energy Highway pursues a long-term solution to deliver lower-cost, upstate power to the downstate area by reinforcing the transmission system, Quiniones said, noting the new capacity zone will “take money out of the pockets of ratepayers and result in a windfall of profits for existing power plant owners in the region.” The NYISO plans to implement the new zone by May 1, 2014.
New York seeks delay of costly FERC power capacity zone decision
On top of that money, the opera company wants to raise an additional $13 million by the end of 2013 towards future seasons, according to a press release. “If we don’t raise the ($7 million) by the end of Monday the board is going to begin the process of bankruptcy,” spokesperson Risa Heller told CNN on Friday. The company started a campaign to raise $1 million of that $7 million through an online fundraising site — Kickstarter.com — that will end September 30. As of Friday the online campaign had raised only $202,223 donated from more than a thousand supporters. The organization raised $1.5 million outside of Kickstarter campaign, according to Heller. “The odds have been against us for a long time,” George Steel, general manager & artistic director for the company, said in an online video, “but in the face of that difficulty we have made tremendous progress.” The company, dubbed “The People’s Opera” by former NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, was founded on the principle that every New Yorker should be able to afford to go to the opera, Steel said. Steel explains that in order for the company to break even, it would need to sell every ticket for $600, but instead the starting ticket price is actually $25 to make it more affordable. The New York City Opera received critical praise in the past for its world premieres of work including Robert Ward’s “The Crucible” and Anthony Davis’ “The Life and Times of Malcolm X.” The company opened its current season on September 17 with the opera “Anna Nicole,” and should it fail to raise the necessary funds by Monday, that could be the Company’s last production. “We need the help of the people we were founded to serve to put on our season this year,” Steel said, speaking to New York residents and opera fans everywhere. “We need you to come together and carry it forward into the future. I hope we can count on you.” This year marks the 70th anniversary of the New York City Opera, which opened in 1943, making it the second opera house in NYC. The Metropolitan Opera was founded over 60 years earlier, in 1880.
New York City Opera sings the blues over finances, faces possible bankruptcy
The Red Bulls, who sit one point clear of the Sounders atop the Supporters’ Shield standings, will be without marquee players Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave for the monumental clash, but that will not weather the team’s desire to pick up a positive result against a star-studded Seattle team in tough environment. “For us as footballers, to go to that place, the fans are amazing,” Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill told MLSsoccer.com. “They do really give a lift and they seem to suck the ball in the net even though some times it doesn’t deserve to go in net. “I know for a fact that we’re going to need 14 players for that game and we’re going to have to have tactics to change things up and adapt to different styles of what they’re going to do. I’m confident that we can work hard this week to prepare and hopefully give them a good battle. I think this will be the hardest test of our season, away at Seattle.” Dax McCarty, who once again has been one of New York’s most influential players this term, is looking forward to the atmosphere and the hope to get a result to maintain the club’s lead in the race for the Supporters’ Shield. “It’s going to be a fun one, it’s going to be a lot of fun,” McCarty told MLSsoccer.com. “I’ll probably be singing a different tune when we’ve got 40-50,000 people barking against us in Seattle and it should be a great atmosphere. “Our depth is going to be tested again, but it’s going to be a huge game. If we can get a result up there, a win or even a draw, I think we have to consider that a positive because we have a couple of teams directly competing us with the Supporters’ Shield but obviously they are right behind us.” The Red Bulls bring a four-game winning run into the clash, though three of those victories have come from the comfort of their home field. New York only has managed a pedestrian 5-7-3 record from its away games this term. The visitors will come up against a surging Seattle side that is enjoying a six-game unbeaten run, avoiding defeat in every contest since its 3-1 road loss to the Houston Dynamo on Aug. 17. Even more impressive has been Seattle’s home form in recent months.