Corruption is a true enemy of development

first_imgDear Editor,Well, finally, it seems as though there will be some sort of audit carried out at City Hall in Georgetown.Of course this audit will be a very small, focused one that will be concentrated on the millions of dollars in funds provided by Central Government to the Georgetown Municipality since 2015.But, hopefully, the findings of this forensic audit will raise the awareness of, and trigger the effecting of, a much more comprehensive audit of the workings of the Georgetown Municipality. The kind of audit needed at the Georgetown Municipality — because of the protracted period since one was held; because of the enormous sums of money and assets involved; and because of the amount of scandals that have surfaced over time at City Hall — would need to be forensic in nature, and would require gargantuan resources.The claim made two years ago by the Mayor — that she was open to facilitate any forensic audit, and that the Office of the Auditor General was welcome at any time — was nothing more than spouting hot air. The Audit Office of Guyana has clearly indicated that all attempts to conduct an audit at City Hall were frustrated and were stymied by documents not being provided. It is time for this charade to be put to an end.To further throw dust in the eyes of the citizenry, the City Council had set up a fully staffed Internal Audit Department. This turned out to be a complete waste of time and revenue earned from ratepayers, as these persons just sat and idled all day long whilst receiving fat salaries for doing little or nothing.Auditing City Hall would require the engagement of several experienced and capable accounting and auditing firms, as the load would simply be just too much for the Audit Office of Guyana. Over the last two decades, many things have been hidden, destroyed and misplaced. Crooked contracts will have to be examined; equipment that has gone missing will have to be traced; persons illegally given interest waivers will have to be pursued and made to pay their correct dues; equipment that has been sent to do private jobs, including work at officers’ residences, will have to be paid for; municipal equipment that was sold dirt cheap would need to be properly assessed, and the proper prices paid for them; municipal property sold or leased when that should not have been needs to be retrieved. Oh, the task would be titanic, but it must be done.Corruption is a true enemy to development, and fighting it at City Hall would not be a one-day or one-time affair.Best regards,Deodarie Putulalllast_img read more

3 Venezuelans remanded to prison

first_imgThree Venezuelan men were remanded to prison on Wednesday at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts for breaking and entering as well as possession of stolen items.Alexis ZapataTwenty-four-year old Oscar Joramillo and 22-year-old Alexis Zapata plead not guilty to the charge which was read by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan.The charge alleged that between June 21 and June 22, 2019 at Kumaka Waterfront, North West Region One (Barima-Waini), they broke and entered the shop of Alicia Wong and stole a quantity of articles and cash totalling $273,000.The two men told the Court that they have been in Guyana for the past six months and they were here looking for jobs because of the difficult situation in Venezuela. The second charge alleged that 26-year-old Nikito Garcia on June 21, 2019 at Kumaka Waterfront, North West, Region One (Barima-Waini), while knowing the items were stolen, unlawfully obtained stolen articles from Joramillo and Zapata totalling $173,000.Prosecutor Gordon Mansfield objected to bail because the defendants are not from Guyana and they are a flight risk. He further stated that some of the items were recovered. Magistrate McLennan upheld the Prosecutor’s submission and remanded the three men to prison, where their next Court appearance is slated for July 8.last_img read more

Wash bay attendant released on bail for robbery charges

first_imgA wash bay attendant on Tuesday appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts to face two robbery charges.Shaquille ThomasNineteen-year-old Shaquille Thomas, of Peters Hall, East Bank Demerara, appeared before Magistrate Clive Nurse and denied both charges when they were read to him.The first charge stated that on September 27, 2019 at Robb Street, Georgetown, while being in the company of others, he robbed Alfredo Rodrigues of a phone valued $30,000.It was further alleged that on the same day and location, he robbed Morissa Spencer of a gold chain valued $216,000.Based on the facts, on the day in question, the victims were walking along Robb Street, Georgetown when they were approached by the defendant and other persons.It was reported that the defendant told the victims to hand over their valuables and without hesitation – out of fear, they did so. Thomas and his accomplices then made good their escape.The matter was reported and Thomas was subsequently arrested.The Magistrate, after listening to the facts, released Thomas on $75,000 bail and instructed him to report to the City Constabulary until the matter is concluded.He is scheduled to make his next court appearance on December 17, 2019.last_img read more

Three tagging suspects held in $400,000 graffiti damage

first_imgPALMDALE – Three tagging suspects were arrested in an early morning raid Thursday and a fourth was expected to surrender later in a six-week investigation of $400,000 in graffiti vandalism from the Antelope Valley to Ventura, authorities said. Sheriff’s deputies arrested Joseph Mendoza, 27; Carlos Chave, 26; and Joshua Calderon, 23, all of Palmdale, on suspicion of felony vandalism. Another suspect, whose name was not released, was contacted by phone and agreed to surrender, authorities said. The four are suspected of causing at least $400,000 damage in the Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita, Los Angeles, Mojave and Ventura. Deputies said targets included the historic Freedom Train in Mojave, which served as a traveling museum in the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976. “In terms of dollar amount, they were the most prolific (graffiti crew),” sheriff’s Sgt. Kyle Bistline said. (661) 267-7802160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Bistline said Mendoza is a member of a Los Angeles gang and was found to be in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia and a sawed-off shotgun. Calderon, a student at Mission College in Sylmar, was found at a Sunland home where authorities said they also seized marijuana and a .22-caliber firearm. “The thing that some people don’t understand about graffiti is property values plummet when people see this,” Bistline said. “It’s a (crime) that we take very seriously up here.” last_img read more

Unqualified Donegal tradesman caused gas explosion in kitchen

first_imgAn unregistered gas installer has been prosecuted after carrying out illegal works which led to an explosion in a Donegal home.Mr. Jerome Travers of 18 Tullan Strand Road, Bundoran, Co. Donegal, was convicted and fined after appearing at Ballyshannon District Court for the incident which occurred in 2015. The Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), Ireland’s independent energy regulator secured a prosecution against Mr. Travers for illegally carrying out gas works while not being a registered gas installer.Judge Kilrane heard how gas works were undertaken in a house in Bundoran in December 2015 which resulted in an uncontrolled flow of gas into the kitchen causing an explosion which injured the occupants and did extensive damage to the property.Mr. Travers contested the charges against him.  Judge Kilrane fined Mr. Travers €500 and awarded costs of €500 to the CER.Judge Kilrane heard evidence from Seán Ward and Keith Walsh, Gas Safety Officers with the Commission for Energy Regulation and from four witnesses.Judge Kilrane commented that there are few things more serious than leaving a gas pipe open ended with an uncontrolled supply of gas going into the kitchen. He stressed the importance of employing a registered gas installer (RGI). There was no evidence of Mr. Travers having any qualifications whatsoever to be an RGI, the court heard.A statement from the CER said the successful prosecution emphasises the requirement by law for all gas installers to be registered with RGII when carrying out domestic gas works.It is illegal for an individual or company to carry out Gas Works or to portray themselves as registered, unless they are a Registered Gas Installer (RGI) with the Register of Gas Installers of Ireland (RGII). The penalties for non-compliance include a fine of up to €15,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 3 years.The CER investigates all reports of alleged breaches of legislation. Illegal activity can be reported anonymously to the CER or to the RGII ( or calling 1850 454 454)Unqualified Donegal tradesman caused gas explosion in kitchen was last modified: September 16th, 2017 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Donegal family have council’s decision on house reversed

first_imgA family living without basic services including running water have succeeded in reversing Donegal County Council’s decision to defer offering them social housing support.Brian and Eileen Ward and their five children had sued the council after it decided not to offer them housing support on the grounds they presented an unacceptable risk of anti-social behaviour. The family are members of the Irish Travelling community and are currently living in a caravan at Shore Front, Bundoran. Two of the Ward children have medical needs,The Irish Times report the family had challenged the council’s decision in the High Court, claiming it was flawed because irrelevant considerations had been taken into account.The matter returned before the High Court yesterday, when barrister Mark Lynam, who appeared for the Wards with solicitors for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, told Judge Anthony Barr that the council had agreed to reverse its decision and will reconsider the Wards’ application for housing support.Fintan Valentine, counsel for the local authority, said the order could be quashed on consent and that his client had acted “with expedition” after the case had been brought to court. The judge then struck out the proceedings.Previously, the High Court heard the family, supported by the Child and Family Agency, which voiced concerns over the Wards’ living conditions, had applied to Donegal County Council for social housing support.They currently have no running water and a limited use of a generator and had tried unsuccessfully to secure private rented accommodation.In March last, they had been told by the council they were at risk of engaging in anti-social behaviour and any offer of housing had been deferred.Donegal family have council’s decision on house reversed was last modified: September 20th, 2017 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:bundorancouncilcourtdonegalHIGH COURTlast_img read more

Kritsch settling in with the Crabs

first_imgOn Tuesday night, Jackson Kritsch led the way as the Humboldt Crabs opened a two-game series against the Seals Baseball with a comfortable 15-8 win at the Arcata Ball Park.If early indications are anything to go by, it could be a good summer for Kritsch, who hit his second home run in just three games while driving in four runs.With the Crabs trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Kritsch hit a two-run blast to right center field to give his side a lead it would not relinquish.Kritsch, …last_img read more

SaaS: A new Generation of ISVs

first_imgThe emergence of SOA and SaaS technologies has created a new breed of ISV on the IT landscape.  ISVs that can create composite applications consisting of aggregated services.  ISVs that can publish niche services and utilities for consumption by others.  ISVs that can easily interact globally with their customers.Software delivery platforms are proliferating and the competition among the alternatives is intensifying.  Some of the platform options include, NetSuite, Apprenda, and Jamcracker.  These “platforms” provide well-tested and highly scalable infrastructures for software providers to build on.   Application hosting and tough-to-implement features like multi-tenanted access and single sign on have already been solved and come as part of the platform provider package.The platforms also offer frameworks for rapid UI development and interfacing with the back-end database.  The result is that the cost of development for ISVs is significantly reduced and they are freed up to focus fully on building the business logic for great applications.   Combine this with readily available Open Source components and we have all the elements for a new generation of application development that is poised to grow explosively. These next-generation ISVs will produce more software, at lower cost, and target many more highly-focused niche markets.last_img read more

Wrapping an Older House with Rock Wool Insulation

first_imgWhen I first met Chris Gleba and Kris Erickson in December 2011 to discuss their plans for a deep energy retrofit, Chris told me that he had been remodeling his modest two-bedroom house in Lowell, Massachusetts, for over ten years. He had painstakingly rewired and re-plumbed the house and had made energy efficiency improvements (including the installation of a high-efficiency natural gas boiler and radiant in-floor heating). He had also devoted much sweat equity towards upgrading the interior finishes of the kitchen and baths.Chris was aiming to achieve a high-performance, low-energy home, yet he understood that his early remodeling decisions limited his options moving forward. One of these limiting decisions was the installation of a polyethylene vapor barrier on the inside face of his exterior wall framing as he gutted and remodeled each room. This construction approach was not a mistake in and of itself, but it required that the wall assembly be designed to dry to the exterior to avoid trapping moisture in the walls. A chainsaw retrofitWith proper planning, the installation of the assembly was systematic. Once all of the exterior finishes had been stripped down to the original sheathing, we transferred the wall stud locations to marks on the foundation, removed the roof eaves with a chainsaw, and then wrapped the building shell in Tyvek like a giant birthday present, carefully taping seams and button caps, with careful attention to penetrations and water management details at door and window openings.We then installed the bracket and metal shelf at the first-floor rim joist. This allowed us to start installing the rock wool boards by stacking them on the shelf, overlapping seams, and fastening the batten strips as we went up. The 2 ft. by 5 ft. rock wool panels were fairly easy to handle, though my carpenters found the fibers irritating to the skin if there was much direct contact. At first, we cut the panels with a hand saw specifically made for cutting rock wool. After a while the carpenters switched to a PVC hand saw, which cut the panels more easily.The batten strips slightly compressed the rock wool panels and held the insulation in place as we continued to stack it. As the insulation went up and fully wrapped the two-story home, I marveled at how snug the continuous rock wool wrap made the structure appear, like the thick wool comforter that might have kept us warm in simpler times. Batts or panels?We first considered using rock wool batts, as they typically have the same thermal value per inch as the denser board products, while being less expensive and more readily available. Although we found examples of similar installations in Europe, our building science consultants (Cathy Gates and Ken Neuhauser) were concerned that wind-washing through the less-dense batts would degrade the thermal performance of the insulation.We considered incorporating rock wool batts within Larsen trusses, but the added material and labor cost of custom truss fabrication and a new layer of plywood sheathing seemed expensive.We then focused on the rock wool board products, because their increased density would minimize the wind-washing concern and their increased stiffness might facilitate the installation of the furring strips and siding. Roxul manufactures several rock wool board products with greater density than their batts, and after analyzing cost and availability, we selected 4-inch Cavity Rock DD for our inner layer and 2-inch Cavity Rock MD for our outer layer.We planned to install the Tyvek directly over the existing 1×6 sheathing boards. These boards had an irregular surface, and we thought that the medium density of the MD board, when slightly compressed, might help eliminate possible air gaps between the rock wool insulation and the irregular sheathing. PROJECT TEAM Homeowners: Chris Gleba and Kris Erickson National Grid staff: Oliver Klein and Marie McMahon Building Science Corp. consultants: Cathy Gates and Ken NeuhauserEnergy consultants: Jason DerAnanian and Mathew Monaghan (Simpson, Gumpertz, & Heger)Structural engineer: Mark Webster (Simpson, Gumpertz, & Heger)Framing and siding: Steve Jordan & Jeremy MelansonyInsulation supplier: Frank Novogratz, IDISpecialty hardware (Heco Topix screws): Albert Rooks, Small Planet WorkshopElectrician: Neal Boissonneault (Boissonneault Electric)Mechanical contractor: Allan Berry (Berry Mechanical)Waterproofing: John Lapan (Lapan’s Waterproofing) The exterior walls need to dry outwardChris’s existing exterior walls were constructed with standard 2×4 framing and R-13 fiberglass batt insulation and he understandably did not want to rip out the interior finishes he had installed over the years.Since the exterior walls had an interior polyethylene vapor barrier, we could not simply wrap the exterior of the house with 4 inches of polyiso rigid foam (an approach that seems to becoming the standard for DER projects in the U.S.). These walls needed to be able to dry to the exterior, so all of the exterior wall components need to be vapor-permeable. Birds love rock woolOne slightly amusing problem that we did not anticipate: birds like to nest in rock wool! As soon as we installed insulation above head height, the word got out to the bird community that there was some prime real estate to squat in! The birds would quickly burrow clean circular holes to claim their own little condo.In the few weeks that it took to install the insulation and await delivery of the metal siding, there were a dozen or so uninvited guests in our wall assembly. Systematic eviction took place as we installed the siding. We simply filled the bird holes (and other small gaps around openings and brackets) by pressure fitting some loose rock wool material. Incentives for deep energy retrofitsNational Grid, a Massachusetts electric utility, had established a DER pilot program that provides generous incentives for comprehensive projects that lower the energy demand of single- and multi-family residences. Although the primary objective was to improve energy performance (at least 50% better energy performance than a house that barely meets the building code), the program offered both financial incentives and integrated design technical support to improve indoor air quality, durability, and overall occupant comfort. Armed with an educated National Grid program staff, the program was strengthened with help from employees of the Building Science Corporation (BSC) who serve as program consultants to evaluate designs (and protect applicants from themselves).The program was a perfect match for Chris’s project goals. There were up to $42,000 of incentives available to meet the aggressive program goals, including rigorous air sealing targets, R-40 above-grade walls, R-5 windows and doors, and R-60 roofs. Enticed by the available funds, Chris moved towards an “all in” position on his exterior improvements.Chris Gleba contacted my company, Verdeco Designs, as our company had been pre-qualified by the DER program as designers and builders with proven experience on high-performance projects. RELATED ARTICLES Installing Roxul Mineral Wool on Exterior Walls Installing Mineral Wool Insulation Over Exterior Wall SheathingWindwashing in Exterior Mineral WoolMineral Wool Boardstock Insulation Gains GroundGBA Product Guide: Roxul Mineral Wool Insulation Batts Residential Insulated Sheathing – Design Guideby John Straube Roxul Report: Fastener Guidelines Roxul: Cladding Attachment and Support Structural Testing of Screws Through Thick Exterior InsulationQ&A: Fastening methods for Roxul ComfortBoard IS Q&A: Installing outie windows with 2-inch exterior Roxul board Q&A: Mineral wool exterior insulation, humidity, and windwashing Chris had held off replacing the exterior wall finishes of his house, as he hoped to build a second-floor addition on an existing one-story section of the house. Now that he was married with two young children, his expanded family made the addition more urgent. As he wondered when he would be able to afford the planned work, along came National Grid’s Deep Energy Retrofit (DER) Pilot Program. Mark Yanowitz is the managing partner of Verdeco Designs, LLC, a design-build and consulting firm in Andover, Massachusetts. The company specializes in energy efficiency and low-impact green building solutions for residential, commercial, and mixed-use projects. Throughout my 28 plus years of designing and building structures in different regions of the United States, I have been blessed with many excellent clients. In many cases, the goals and needs of my clients set me on a path of discovery, a path where I was forced to challenge my preconceived notions and embrace the concept that I am never too old to learn new things about my trade. Sometimes the path leads me to new materials and new methods of construction and sometimes the path leads me to using old materials in new ways. It is through these clients and these projects that I find my greatest inspirations in work and reaffirm that I chose the right profession.I designed the first Passive House certified in Massachusetts and multiple deep energy retrofit projects, but to be honest, I had never designed a deep energy retrofit project with exterior walls that could only dry to the exterior. A tight building that won’t trap moistureThe project was a smashing success. With the assistance of National Grid’s dedicated staff and BSC’s careful guidance, we comfortably achieved our airtightness goal and obtained close to the maximum incentive available. The blower door test result was 320 cfm @ 50 pascals (about 0.9 ach50).As with most deep energy retrofits, this comprehensive renovation included integrated design solutions for water management, energy systems, and controlled ventilation. Low-energy buildings always require rigorous air sealing, but this project was noteworthy for the unusual building enclosure components and the recognition that exterior rock wool is an excellent solution for “vapor-out” assemblies.As the debate on the environmental impact of spray and rigid foam insulation continues, many designers, builders, and homeowners may prefer to let buildings “breathe” rather than wrap them in foam.Since rock wool resists fire, mold, and mildew, designers should recognize that this material has more uses than fire-stopping and acoustical control — the uses for which it is usually specified in the U.S.I feel fortunate to have met Chris Gleba, the client who set the stage of this investigation and helped me identify attractive options for future deep energy retrofit projects. Empowered with new knowledge, I can only look forward to my next rock wool project. Rock wool to the rescueIn recent years, I’ve heard about the use of exterior rock wool insulation, and in my initial conversation with Chris, I was happy to hear that he was interested in working with the product. Along with being vapor-permeable, rock wool has excellent fire retardant qualities. It’s also moisture- and mildew-resistant, so it is an excellent candidate for wrapping the exterior of a building shell, perhaps as an integral component of a rainscreen design.I have read that the use of rock wool is common in Canada and Europe, where it is sometimes installed on the exterior side of the water-resistant barrier (WRB). It is also used as batt insulation and even as a blown-in product within masonry veneer air spaces. With all of these positive qualities, we felt committed to using it for this project. Most rock wool board and batt products average around R-4.2 per inch, so the challenge then became: How would we cost-effectively wrap approximately 6 inches of rock wool insulation on the exterior of a wood structure while anticipating some way to attach the siding?After discussing siding options and preferences for an exterior aesthetic with Chris and his wife, Kris Erickson, we agreed to develop a “modern farmhouse” design solution with vertical metal paneled siding. These vertical panels are typically fastened through horizontal furring strips installed 24 inches on center.We envisioned a simple installation with wood furring strips holding the rock wool insulation directly over the Tyvek Commercial Wrap, our chosen WRB. The Tyvek would adequately serve as our air barrier and WRB, and it had the high permeance that we desired for the “vapor-out” assembly. Searching for a fastening systemWe still needed to figure out how to mechanically fasten 6 inches of rock wool to the exterior of the house. We needed a system that would support the vertical load of the insulation and the siding as well as horizontal lateral loads exerted by wind forces.The Cascadia Window & Door Company offers an excellent fiberglass clip product prepped to receive metal hat channel for cladding attachment. We strongly considered this product, which would have met our structural requirements as well as our need for a proper fastener. However, we wanted solution that was simpler, cheaper, and would avoid the need to notch the insulation boards around the fiberglass clips.As we continued to review various long fasteners, most all of which would need some sort of squash block to help maintain uniform depth and assist in lateral bracing, we discovered the Heco Topix-T fastener (see image below). This German fastener is a dual-threaded screw with a “broken” thread or smooth shaft between the top and bottom threads. The smooth shaft helps set the furring depth off the substrate as the screw is driven into the framing member. This fastener allowed us to continuously install our insulation with minimal notching and resolved concerns of furring attachment and lateral bracing.Although the weight or dead load of our exterior assembly (6 inches of rock wool, 1×4 wood furring, and galvalume metal siding) was not significant, we still had to structurally account for this vertical load. Upon consultation with our creative structural engineer, Mark Webster, we designed a 4-foot-on-center wood bracket system at the first-floor rim joist that could support the metal siding by fastening a small steel angle to the face of the wood bracket (see image below). In turn, we screwed a perforated metal shelf with a nylon insect screen to support and protect the bottom edge of the rock wool insulation while providing ventilation and weep openings for the rainscreen design. We used the same simple bracket system at the window and door headers. TJIs for the roofTo achieve our R-60 goal on the roof, we over-framed the existing roof framing with 16-inch-deep TJIs and installed steel truss rods with horizontal hold-downs to prevent the new rafters from spreading. Along with a positive connection to the existing wall plates we were able to eliminate the structural loads on the existing 2×6 roof rafters, which were both structurally undersized and unable to handle much insulation within their limited depth.Although we did not need to design the roof system to dry to the exterior, we elected to use rock wool batts. We installed three layers of 5-inch batts, overlapping the seams within the TJI cavities. We used the standard 24-inch wide commercial acoustic rock wool batts for this vented roof application, and the batts fit snugly in our TJI framing set at 24 inches on center.last_img read more

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