Ocean City’s Spring Block Party Promises Shopping Extravaganza

first_imgOcean City’s Spring Block Party is this Saturday and officials say it should draw record crowds with new vendors and entertainment. (Courtesy City of Ocean City) By Maddy VitaleThe Spring Block Party in Ocean City is always big, with hundreds of vendors lining Asbury Avenue creating a shopping mecca for throngs of visitors. This Saturday will be even bigger, said Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce.“The Spring Block Party is the unofficial kick-off of the season and we are expecting great weather,” Gillian said. “Everyone is always ready for Spring and the Block Party is an excellent way to get outside, see old friends and neighbors, and stroll through the downtown.”There will be 500 vendors in the sold-out event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Vendors featuring clothing, jewelry, pottery and garden décor are just some of the featured choices available in the downtown shopping extravaganza. More than 350 crafters, food vendors, musicians and activities for the kids will span over a mile of downtown Asbury Avenue between Fifth Street and 14th Street. Downtown will be closed to traffic and all street parking and municipal lots near the downtown will be free on Saturday, officials said. Asbury Avenue transforms into a pedestrian mall for the day.And there will be some new additions to this year’s Spring Block Party. “There are many new vendors from up and down the East Coast,” Gillian said.The event will also feature a Philadelphia Mummers Band and other entertainment along the Asbury Avenue including the Tidal Wave Band and the Pennsport String Band.Gillian said the block party really showcases what makes Ocean City special.“Both the Spring and Fall Block Parties help extend the shoulder seasons,” Gillian noted. “The Block Party highlights the downtown shopping district and all that makes it unique.” Gillian credited Justin Juliano and Rose Savastano from the chamber for their efforts to make the Spring Block Party a success in hosting the event, which is in its 36th year, that brings in more than 50,000 tourists and residents.“They do an outstanding job making sure we have diversified offerings, keeping everything organized, and managing the many aspects involved,” Gillian said.Ione Talese, right, the owner of Artisan Body Products, did brisk business at her Asbury Avenue shop during the 2017 Spring Block Party.More than 100 downtown stores will be open for business and have table sales out front. In addition, kids can even take pony rides from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the grounds of the Ocean City Tabernacle.  Ocean City Public Information Officer Doug Bergen said the Spring Block Party certainly isn’t the first event of spring, but it is the most popular. “It falls on the first Saturday of May and that usually coincides with some nice spring weather,” Bergen said. “It’s a chance for folks to get down to Ocean City, get outside, and check out all the downtown shops, vendors, food and entertainment.”Live music is performed throughout the day.last_img read more

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Costa Rica court convicts US investor of fraud

first_imgRelated posts:U.S. man escapes from Costa Rican detention center On eve of historic sex tourism trial, Cuba Dave is optimistic he’ll be acquitted Arrests made in case of murdered Dutch couple and laborer Cuba Dave found guilty of promoting sex tourism, faces five more years in prison While Judge Isabel Porras read out the counts against U.S. investor Cyrus Sepehr in a San José courtroom Thursday, he lowered his head to the wooden table, then lifted it back up to shout over her words.“There is no justice in this country,” Sepehr yelled in Spanish. “I am the victim.”After a three-week trial, judges convicted Sepehr on five counts of fraud, sentencing him to 20 years in prison for what Porras called an elaborate and structured Ponzi scheme designed to defraud fellow U.S. real estate investor Dan Kohanarieh.“Mr. Sepehr presented himself as a good person who was economically solvent and didn’t require any investors to complete his projects,” Porras said. “The court has found the complete opposite to be true.”In addition to a 20-year sentence, judges ruled that Sepehr must pay Kohanarieh $1 million for the “moral damages” he suffered as a result of the failed investments.The criminal case stemmed from a complaint from Kohanarieh, a businessman from Los Angeles, Calif., who alleged that Sepehr defrauded him and other investors of $7.2 million on four failed development projects across Costa Rica. Kohanarieh and Sepehr, along with a third investor, Ali Moradshahi, supposedly purchased the four separate properties with equal shares starting in 2007.Kohanarieh said in his Feb. 4 testimony that he now has no ownership of any of the properties in question, despite the defense arguing that all paperwork was filed legally and that Kohanarieh still has a one-third share of each piece of real estate.Judge Juan Carlos Pérez let Kohanarieh speak again in court on Monday. Following a lengthy attack on Sepehr in which Kohanarieh referred to his former development partner as a “scam artist,” he promised the judge he would reinvest all money afforded to him by the court in Costa Rica.“Every dollar we recuperate will be invested back into Costa Rica,” he promised Judge Pérez. “We will make every effort possible to redeem the name of Costa Rica in our own community and encourage further investments in Costa Rica.”Kohanarieh’s team of prosecutors argued that Sepehr tainted Costa Rica’s image among foreign real estate investors.“This sentence is extremely important for the country because it gives a clear and direct message that if someone comes to invest in Costa Rica, the justice system is going to guarantee that their transactions are done legally,” said prosecuting attorney Alejandro Rodríguez.Sepehr, who often refers to his ordeal as being something out of a movie, gave a long defense earlier this week in which he said Kohanarieh deliberately set him up, bought out witnesses testifying at the trial and once tried to extort him. He said the partnership took a sudden turn for the worse during a June 2010 meeting at the Hotel Intercontinental, where he said Kohanarieh was waiting with several other U.S. men that Sepehr had never seen before.According to Sepehr’s testimony, one of the men told Kohanarieh to step outside and then sat down at a table across from Sepehr. Sepehr testified that the man told him if he didn’t hand over $4 million by the end of the week, Sepehr’s family would be in danger.Sepehr told The Tico Times that he contacted the FBI in Miami, Florida following the incident, and that after that, the men backed off.The judges didn’t buy the story.“Through the use of lies and his knowledge of Costa Rican law, Sepehr took advantage of Kohanarieh and his fellow investors,” Judge Isabel Porras said in court. “He assured the money they gave never got back to the victims.”The wheelchair-bound Sepehr, who suffers from post-polio syndrome, has been in preventive prison since September. Post-polio syndrome affects polio survivors by deteriorating the muscles and paralyzing parts of the body. Sepehr’s preventive prison sentence, which was set to expire Thursday, is now extended until Aug. 16.Despite a December ruling from the Constitutional Chamber of Costa Rica’s Supreme Court, which said that Sepehr had not been receiving sufficient medical attention for his disease in San Sebastián prison, he has remained in the prison, which is notorious for poor conditions and overcrowding.Defense attorney Guido Nuñez told The Tico Times after Thursday’s trial that he will appeal what he called a “totally unfounded” decision.“Giving him a sentence like this is basically a life sentence,” Nuñez said.He said that it was clearly demonstrated in the trial that the proper transactions had been made and that Kohanarieh had received his shares of the properties. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

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The Product Led Growth Playbook

first_imgThe consumerization of IT – a now ubiquitous trend – has led B2B software users to demand better experiences from the products they rely on every day to get their jobs done. It has also shifted the power center away from the buyer towards the user, leaving companies scrambling to create truly one of-a-kind product experiences that draw users in and provide on-the-go mobile and cloud access.Companies like Slack, Expensify and Dropbox have embraced this new paradigm. These companies have not only built products their customers love and actually want to use, but have helped to replace outdated, clunky legacy systems that often created more pains for the user than solutions.Creating a truly enjoyable experience for the user also provides meaningful returns for the product provider. The products produced by Slack, Expensify and Dropbox serve as the foundation for each company’s go-to-market strategy. That is, product usage serves as the primary driver of user acquisition, expansion and retention, meaning these companies can forgo spending large sums on traditional marketing and sales activities. Instead, they rely on the products themselves to supply a pipeline of satisfied users and ‘hand raisers’ they can turn into paying customers.This phenomenon is what OpenView calls product led growth – a capital efficient model through which companies can scale quickly.In our exclusive playbook, we’ll walk you through the most common characteristics that unite product led growth companies. We’ll also provide advice for how PLG businesses can optimize their product, marketing, pricing and sales to scale effectively. And if you’re a traditional sales-led business, we’ll provide key insights into how you too can incorporate product led strategies to turn your existing business into a more efficient growth engine.Get started with your PLG strategy. Access the playbook now.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis11last_img read more

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