Interactive Brokers Launches Bitcoin Futures Trading at the Start of Trading December 10th, 2017

Business Wire

Greenwhich, Conn. –  Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. (NASDAQ GS:IBKR), a global electronic brokerage firm, began offering clients the ability to trade bitcoin futures at the start of trading on the Cboe Futures Exchange (CFE) on Sunday night, December 10th, 2017. In addition to offering bitcoin futures from the CFE, under the ticker symbol GXBT, the company plans to offer bitcoin futures from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) at the scheduled start of trading December 18th using the symbol BRR. IBKR was there at the start of trading and its systems operated normally.

“Interactive Brokers was on the buy side of the low print of 14,710,” said Thomas Peterffy, founder, Chairman and CEO of Interactive Brokers. “A Registered Investment Advisor on the Interactive Brokers platform purchased two March contracts in the first minute of trading.”
As of 9:15am ET on Monday, the company said that 201 of its accounts had placed 1,240 trades in bitcoin futures totaling 1,429 contracts representing approximately 50% of exchange recorded volume. The recorded value of all futures trades at Cboe exceeds $50 million.
The all-in commission rate, including exchange and regulatory fees, for bitcoin futures will be US $5.01 per contract for the Cboe product and US $15.01 per contract for the CME product. The CFE contract size is for one bitcoin, and the CME contract size is for five bitcoins. Old and new clients can learn more about trading bitcoin futures with IBKR and sign up for “Crypto” trading permission here.
Due to the extreme volatility of cryptocurrencies, clients will be unable to assume a short position. In addition, only limit orders will be accepted. IBKR’s margin requirement on long positions will be at least 50%. The company will continue to monitor concerns surrounding the market's ability to process bitcoin futures risk.
Clients can subscribe to live quotes for both Cboe and CME bitcoin futures.

— go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

Tru by Hilton Continues Western Expansion with Las Vegas Opening

Business Wire

Las Vegas, NVHilton (NYSE: HLT) today celebrates the opening of Tru by Hilton Las Vegas Airport, marking a number of milestones for the brand including its eighth U.S. hotel, its largest location, and its westernmost property to-date. Managed by Dallas-based Prism Hotels & Resorts, Tru by Hilton Las Vegas Airport is located less than three miles from the Vegas Strip, offering access to some of the country’s most exciting restaurants and tourist attractions. With more than 470 hotels in various stages of development, Tru by Hilton has achieved the fastest-growing pipeline in the history of the hospitality industry. 
“Tru by Hilton is a true pioneer in the midscale segment and the very first to meet the needs of a previously underserved group of travelers who seek simplicity and value without compromising quality and design,” said Alexandra Jaritz, global head, Tru by Hilton. “We’re incredibly excited to continue our western expansion with Tru by Hilton Las Vegas Airport. This property opening is a testament to our robust pipeline, and we look forward to continuing this momentum heading into 2018.”
Owned by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, the six-floor, 166-room Tru by Hilton Las Vegas Airport is the largest Tru by Hilton hotel property to-date. Located at 6862 Gilespie Street, next to the McCarran International Airport, the hotel offers a 24-hour complimentary shuttle that includes stops at the airport and the Strip. Guests can enjoy a comfortable, spirited and affordable hotel experience with easy access to everything Las Vegas has to offer.
The hotel is also located steps from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) International Training Center (ITC), an incredible, state-of-the-art facility spanning more than one million square feet, also managed by Prism Hotels & Resorts.
“Tru by Hilton perfectly meets the needs of those coming for training at our facility, as well as travelers looking for something that has such an innovative product offering and design,” says Justin Weidner, Chief of Staff, United Brotherhood of Carpenters.
“Managing our new Tru by Hilton property, as well as the training facility for the UBC, has been an honor for Prism and an exciting opportunity to show our unmatched hospitality expertise as best-in-class operators,” said Steve Van, president, and CEO, Prism Hotels & Resorts.
Developed from the ground up using consumer and owner feedback, and brought to market in just 16 months from when it launched at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), Tru by Hilton is a brand-new hotel experience that is vibrant, affordable and young-at-heart. It is energetic, but it is relaxing and comfortable. It is familiar, and it is also unexpected. It is uniquely Tru.
Tru by Hilton thinks differently and is a game changer in the midscale segment, offering the following features:

  • All new-build hotels, which drive the consistency of experience for our guests.
  • Reimagined, enlarged lobby with more square feet of public space with areas to work, play games, eat or lounge.
  • Breakfast reinvented with a build-your-own complimentary “Top It” breakfast bar that has 30 sweet and savory toppings so guests can create their own healthy or indulgent morning masterpieces.
  • Rooms are smaller and more efficiently designed with comfortable beds and 55″ TVs. Bright bathrooms feature spacious showers, along with premium bath amenities.
  • National and local brand gourmet snacks and drinks are available 24/7 in the “Eat. & Sip.” market located in the heart of the lobby.
  • Tech-savvy hotel with mobile check-in, Digital Key, free Wi-Fi, remote printing, social media wall, lobby and market tablets, and accessibility to outlets everywhere.
  • A fitness center that leverages the latest fitness trends through barre, TRX bands, free weights, cardio and flexibility gear, plus guests can get workout ideas from the fitness center tablet.

— go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

Medica Adds Children’s Mercy to Network for Select by Medica Plan in Kansas

Business Wire

Medica today announced it has added Children’s Mercy to its network for the Select by MedicaSM plan. Select by Medica is available to Kansas residents who live in Johnson or Wyandotte counties. Enrollment in the plan is available on the Kansas Health Insurance Marketplace ( for coverage on or after January 1, 2018.

Children’s Mercy features a staff of more than 750 pediatric specialists in 40 pediatric specialties. It was the first hospital in Kansas or Missouri to receive Magnet designation in 2003 from the American Nurses Credentialing Center for superior nursing quality. Only 7 percent of U.S. hospitals receive the designation. It is affiliated with the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and is the principal teaching hospital for the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Medica will add Children’s Mercy to its online directory of in-network providers in the next few weeks.
“We are delighted to add Children’s Mercy to our Select by Medica network,” said Geoff Bartsh, Medica vice president for individual and family business. “Children's Mercy, which consistently is ranked among the leading children's hospitals in the nation, represents the quality innovative care our members expect and deserve.”
In addition to Children’s Mercy, members with Select by Medica coverage can receive care from providers in the Saint Luke’s Health System.
Select by Medica is just one of two product options available to individuals and families in Kansas from Medica in 2018. Medica Connect is offered in the other 103 counties in Kansas.

— go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

24,000 Midwesterners Enrolled in $0 Premium ACA Plans for 2018

Business Wire

Minnetonka, MN – About 24,000 people in the Midwest are now enrolled in $0 premium Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans for 2018. Most of these people live in Iowa and Nebraska, where Medica is the sole insurer. The ACA open enrollment period runs through December 15.

As of November 24, about 5,000 Iowans are covered in plans that will have no premium cost. And in Nebraska, about 17,000 people will have no premium costs. About 25 – 30 percent of enrollees in those states so far have qualified for $0 premium plans. In Kansas, slightly more than 1,200 people, about 15 percent of those enrolled, qualified for $0 premium coverage. The remaining enrollees with $0 premium plans are in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota.
The $0 premium plans are based on an enrollee’s eligibility for premium tax credits, which are available only through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace ( In general, the $0 premium plans are bronze metal level plans. To receive any assistance, individuals must create or update their accounts at The Health Insurance Marketplace determines actual savings available.
“We recognize that 2018 is a very challenging year for people who purchase health insurance on their own and that premiums are very high,” said Geoff Bartsh. “It is important to remember that many consumers will be able to obtain health coverage at significant price reductions through premium tax credits. This is the last week of the open enrollment period and we can’t encourage people strongly enough to shop on to learn what discounts may apply to them.”

— go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

Stay Cool and Within Your Budget During this Summer Heat

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (PRNewswire-USNewswire) – With much of the country stuck in high heat and humidity for the next few weeks, GreenPath Financial Wellness, a nationwide non-profit financial counseling, and education organization, is sharing some tips on ways you can save money on utility costs, during this summer heat wave.

It’s very easy to crank up the air-conditioning, during this extreme heat. If you do, be prepared for a larger energy bill at the end of the month. Here are some tips to cope:

  • Consider using fans to help move cool air more effectively.
  • Close your window blinds during the day to keep out the sun and heat.
  • Invest in a smart thermostat so you can regulate temperatures throughout the day to use less energy.
  • Turn up your thermostat, while you are at work or away from home for an extended time. Does your house really need to be 65 degrees if no one is home?
  • Use your vents wisely. Shut off rooms that aren’t used on a regular basis to help conserve cool air.

Make sure to prioritize your utility bills each month, as these are essential for daily living. It is more expensive to turn the lights back on after they have been shut off than to address your monthly bill.

If you need assistance, GreenPath can help you prepare and review your budget, to help prioritize your expenses and budget for increasing utility costs. We can also refer you to local city and state programs to help you apply for utility assistance.

On days of extreme heat, don’t forget about those who may need your help. Always remember to look in on shut-in neighbors and relatives. Also, watch your pets and neighborhood pets closely. They need more shade and water during this heat wave.

GreenPath provides in-person credit counseling, financial education, and debt management services in more than 60 locations in 16 states. The company also offers licensed services by phone and Internet throughout the United States. For more information about GreenPath, visit or call (866) 648-8122.

Homemade Weed Killer

The recipe I found is as follows:

  • 1 Gallon Vinegar
  • 1 TBSP Dish Soap
  • 1 Cup Epsom Salt

Since I have a two-gallon sprayer and knowing that salt is the main reason that the weeds (and anything else) die, I used the following recipe.

  • 2 Gallons Vinegar
  • 2 TBSP Dish Soap
  • 3 Cups Epsom Salt

Gluten Free Corn Pudding

Now that my wife is on a gluten free diet, I wondered what it would be like to make some of my favorite recipes Gluten free.  Most recently we made Corn Pudding, using the recipe for the original Jiffy Corn Pudding recipe. In this experiment we did have to double the recipe to make it work.

  • 2 cans whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 cans cream corn
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 (16 oz.) pkg. sour cream
  • 1 box Glutino corn bread mix

Melt butter in dish. Put in corn and cream. Mix together well. Sprinkle corn bread mix over corn and stir all together.

Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

In the end, it tasted a little gritty. Like perhaps I didn’t mix it up well enough or perhaps I should use the recipe that uses egg.  I will try using a bigger bowl next time to make sure I get the mixture mixed better.

Corn Pudding B

1 can (15-1/2 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained

1 can (15 oz.) cream-style corn

1 pkg. (8-1/2 oz.) corn muffin mix

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted

3 eggs

PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Mix all ingredients until well blended.

SPOON into 13×9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

BAKE 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with additional butter, if desired.

Mr. Food Recipes-Mexican Toast

Makes 4 servings

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 (10-inch) flour tortillas
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla until well blended.

2. Cut each tortilla into quarters then place in the egg mixture. Gently stir to completely coat the tortillas. Allow that to soak for 10 minutes, or until softened.

3. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add 4 tortilla quarters and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden, turning halfway through cooking. Drain on a paper towel-lined platter. Repeat with the remaining butter and tortillas. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.

NOTE: Sure, you can top these with maple syrup or even fresh or thawed frozen strawberries.