Power Plant Closures Generate Taxing Troubles

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York ICONIC: The nearly century-old Glenwood Landing plant may no longer produce power, but it may still have value, contend community activists, which could help the North Shore school district plug a multi-million-dollar tax hole that would result from its demolition. (WikiMedia Commons)Several Long Island communities have long feared that their property taxes will rise starkly when the power plants in their districts are either shut down or reassessed at a lower value due to their declining efficiency. As recent developments in Nassau and Suffolk have shown, that day of reckoning may have finally come.The details vary depending on the power plants’ locations, but the dynamic is the same. Long Islanders pay some of the highest utility bills in the nation as well as some of the highest property taxes in the region. The effort to reduce one cost seems to come at the expense of the other.But Long Island’s utilities have grown tired of footing the bill so public officials, from school superintendents to village mayors to county leaders, have to make some very tough decisions.Now that National Grid has begun to demolish its nearly century-old Glenwood Landing power plant, which hasn’t generated a significant amount of electricity in decades, Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy has had to assure homeowners in his village that their school taxes will not suddenly rise 25 percent next year—as some have feared.“We are going to see increases,” he tells the Press, “but they’re going to be spread over a 15- to 30-year period so it’s going to be completely manageable.”The utility paid $21.4 million in taxes in 2011-2012, $22.6 million in the 2012-2013, and $23.6 million in 2013. Last January, the property’s assessed value was cut in half, according to National Grid, which reduced its tax burden $11 million.In 1999, tax revenue from the old plant contributed about 30 percent of the North Shore Central School District’s $45 million budget; now, according to Superintendent Ed Melnick, it’s 20 percent of the district’s nearly $94 million budget.“We do not yet know what percentage that would be lowered by for next year but the maximum we anticipate would be 10 percent,” Melnick tells the Press in an email.State Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) and Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) were able to get an additional $2.5 million in the state budget to soften the blow to the North Shore district, but it’s a one-shot deal.“The homeowner shouldn’t see that much [increase],” the state senator says. But “there’s no doubt that the citizenry, the homeowner, will see an increase in their taxes.”Watching this process unfold has been taxing indeed.“Everybody has been wringing their hands—just wringing their hands—for 30 years!” exclaims Karin Barnaby, a longtime Sea Cliff resident, who has been circulating a petition to save the Glenwood Landing power plant from pending demolition, slated to be completed by December.“I’ve always said to everybody, ‘Look, this is a fool’s errand,’” Barnaby tells the Press. “I have no illusions about the futility of this project in the face of National Grid’s power and influence, but it has to be said, anyway.”Barnaby would like to see Glenwood Landing resemble a place like the Chelsea Piers Connecticut sports complex, which opened across the Sound in Stamford in 2012, transforming Clairol’s former warehouse into skating rinks and other recreational outlets.“All I’m asking is for time so the notion can be explored,” she says. “It’s a fabulous building.”Barnaby recently presented almost a 1,000 signatures on her petition to Judi Bosworth, the supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead, who said through a spokesman that she “will look at all opportunities for waterfront revitalization.”Assemb. Lavine supports Barnaby’s “quite creative” idea to repurpose the old brick facility.“For many, many years it’s been no secret that the North Shore School District has benefitted from the placement of that plant within the confines of its geographical district,” says Lavine. “And for many years we’ve known that that day was going to come to an end.”But he says it’s too soon to predict what the final tax bite will be until the county’s re-assessment is completed “after the demolition occurs—if it occurs.”And he hopes it won’t.“I’ve been in the building,” Lavine says. “It is a piece of architecture the likes of which we unfortunately won’t see again….It would be really, really great for the community if we could figure out some way to keep that structure and make it productive.”Sen. Marcellino views the Glenwood property differently.“That building is full of asbestos,” he says, adding that to make the waterfront viable “would require major dredging… The silt is backed up right to the bulkhead; you can’t even bring a barge in there.”Cursing the Darkness“It’s very unfortunate how the community chose to handle this issue,” says former LIPA trustee Neal Lewis. “They got a good tax return for many, many years, but rather than plan for the change that was coming, they’ve been in denial, seeking elected officials to keep the LIPA contract going for an old plant that LIPA had no need for. They should have set up a process years ago so maybe by now they’d have the zoning in place and have found community agreement on potential uses [for the site].”Until January, Lewis had served four years on the board of LIPA trustees, an unpaid position. He said that the board commissioned an outside auditor to assess the taxes that LIPA was paying for its big power plants in Glenwood, Northport and Port Jefferson. The 2010 report “said that we were as much as 90-percent overtaxed at these various plants. Then I had to say, ‘What is my duty as a fiduciary? I’m on the board acting in trust for the people of Long Island…If we’re overpaying in taxes what the current law would require, then you have to challenge it.’”And so began the tax certiorari cases—the property tax challenges—that are giving Long Island’s body politic so much agita today.The 1936 first edition of the Long Island Lighting Company’s first newsletter The Main Line, featuring the Glenwood Landing plant in its heyday. (Courtesy of The Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities)LIPA wants to reduce the assessment of the Northport power plant by 80 to 90 percent, which could raise taxes in the Northport-East Northport school district by 60 percent, according to the town. Last summer a proposal had been worked out in Albany with LIPA and the state Legislature at the behest of Gov. Andrew Cuomo that would have softened the blow locally by spreading the increase in 10-percent increments over many years but the town and the school district balked.Huntington Town Councilman Mark Cuthbertson is rather blunt when he assesses what that deal could mean for the district and the town.“Accepting that agreement is basically accepting the bankruptcy of the Northport-East Northport school district,” says Cuthbertson. “Our position is that we would be better off and would get a better result by going to court than accepting their offer.”They’ve retained Lou Lewis, an attorney at Lewis & Greer, a Poughkeepsie law firm, who had represented the Shoreham-Wading River school district during the controversial closure of the Shoreham nuclear power plant—a long, drawn-out process.“Everyone was very concerned [at the time] but you know the school district is still there, and they’re getting more state aid now,” the he tells the Press. “A lot of state aid is based on formulas that take income from taxes into consideration; if those taxes go down, then your state aid will go up.”Now the Northport tax certiorari case is in the pre-trial phase, the attorney says, while he tries to get LIPA and National Grid to supply information his appraiser needs to counter their claim. It’s been “like pulling teeth,” Lewis says.Known for its iconic four red-and-white striped smoke stacks, the Northport plant produces 40 percent of Long Island’s electricity but it is also more than 40 years old, according to Sen. Marcellino, whose district also stretches into Huntington Town.“They’re looking to cut their losses,” says Marcellino, explaining the motives of the utility, PSEG Long Island, which is being represented by LIPA in the court case. Marcellino said that he and Sen. John Flanagan (R-Smithtown) thought that the town and the school district should have accepted the governor’s compromise with LIPA because that would have eliminated about $200 million in back taxes, while implementing future tax increases “over a 10-year slide,” as he put it, to cover the “50-percent drop” in the power plant’s assessed value.“If you can wipe out $200 million of potential debt, I think that’s pretty good,” Marcellino tells the Press.But Huntington and the Northport-East Northport school district have said the increases are too onerous and they dispute the drastic reduction in the plant’s assessment.“I’m not happy with the proposal that New York made for settling these things,” says Lewis, the town’s attorney. “I think it was based on a misunderstanding of where the data was coming from.”He says the Northport power plant’s reduced value was determined by LIPA, which “is the main party of interest in these lawsuits because…they’re going to be paying the taxes on the property!”Basically, Lewis explains, the utilities are “under pressure to reduce their costs to their customers, and one way they feel they can do that is pay less in taxes…. But it’s very deceptive because their customers are the same people who are also the taxpayers… You’re taking money out of one pocket and putting it in another.”“Power plants pay a significant portion of school taxes in the communities they are located in,” observes Matt Cordaro, a former utility CEO who is now a LIPA trustee but was not speaking as a representative for the board. He remembers working for the Long Island Lighting Co., LIPA’s precursor, when it was trying to get a tax reduction for the Glenwood Landing plant in the 1980s.“We took out two units [from the original brick building] and they wouldn’t reduce our taxes,” he says. “The only time we got a concession we actually had to clip the wires that were there and demonstrate that it wasn’t a power plant.”On the other hand, Cordaro fondly recalls, “The brickwork is just tremendous.”last_img read more

March Madness: NCAA Tournament East opening round preview

first_imgMarch Madness is finally here. Despite the obvious miscarriage of cosmic justice that resulted in a Badger-less tournament, it is still the best time of the year. Play-in games begin Tuesday, March 13. The National Championship falls on Monday, April 2. Between those two magical dates is a time like no other. Couches mold to fit suspiciously well to your rear-end. Your eyeballs become painfully aware you were not meant to watch that television eight hours a day. Kick back, ignore homework, loved ones and responsibilities and break out your lucky highlighter.And hey, as of now – you have a perfect bracket!Let’s do it.No. 1 Villanova University vs. No. 16 Long Island University-Brooklyn/Radford UniversitySixteen seeds don’t beat one seeds.It doesn’t look like this match-up will provide us with much more than a chance to watch Villanova tune up their game for the rest of the tournament.Villanova (30-4, 14-4 Big East) has impressive wins against Tennessee, Butler (twice), Providence (twice), Creighton (twice) and Seton Hall.The Wildcats feature two of the top players in the country in juniors Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges. The deadly duo is devastatingly accurate from three: Brunson shoots .413 and Bridges nails .433 of their shots from beyond the arc. Both are more than 52 percent in overall field goal percentage and averaging 19.4 and 18 points per game respectively.Coach Jay Wright will be looking to bring his perennial talented Villanova squad past either LIU (18-6, 10-8 Northeast Conference) or Radford (22-12, 12-6 Big South Conference), two teams that have not as much sniffed the kind of competition Villanova will be providing in the inaugural tournament weekend.No. 8 Virginia Tech University vs. No. 9 University of AlabamaThis is one of the most interesting matchups in the round of 64.Virginia Tech (21-11, 11-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) has one of the best resumes of any middle-seeded team in the country. The Hokies beat Duke, UNC and Virginia — three of the best teams in the nation.Tech plays a balanced, high octane, transition offensive style that allows them to average close to 80 points per game, though puts them in mediocre defensive standing. Over the course of the season, Virginia has come up short on the glass, they suffer a rebounding disparity of -1.5 per game.Where Virginia Tech is even-keeled, Alabama (19-15, 8-10 Southeast Conference) contrasts play styles by funneling their entire offense through a single man: Collin Sexton.You may remember the hilarity of a technical foul-induced three-on-five situation between Alabama and Minnesota earlier in the season. Of course, it was funny until Sexton finished the game with 40 points and almost took the Crimson Tide all the way back for the improbable win. Though in the end they fell short, nobody forgot Sexton moving forward.If Sexton is on, the lowly conference record of Alabama will hardly matter and Virginia Tech will be searching for an answer.Men’s basketball: NCAA Tournament released, March Madness begins ThursdayAfter a down year for basketball in Wisconsin, the streets will be unusually quiet in Madison this March, but that Read…No. 5 West Virginia University vs. No. 12 Murray State UniversityWVU (24-10, 11-7 Big 12) had their signature win early in the season against top overall seed UVA.The Mountaineers are famous for their full-court press, and their dogged defense held opponents to an average of 69 points per game this season.They are led by senior Jevon Carter, who was nominated to The Badger Herald’s “How is that guy still in college” All-American Team. Carter is fifth in the country in steals, averaging 2.85 per game and averages 6.6 assists per game to go with his team-leading 17 points average.Murray State University (26-5, 16-2 Ohio Valley Conference) relies heavily on their sharpshooter Jonathan Stark. He’s draining 3.5 threes per game at a 41 percent clip on his way to a 21.8 point per game average.The Racers have a healthy 13.8 average scoring margin that will be tested against the tenacious defense of the Mountaineers.No. 4 Wichita State University vs. No. 13 Marshall UniversityWichita State (25-7, 14-4 American Athletic Conference) has wins against Cincinnati, Houston and Baylor this season and is third in the country in team rebounding margin at 9.8 per game.Their leader Landry Shamet is an elite shooter (.459 three-point percentage), facilitator (5.1 assists per game) and shoots over 82 percent from the free throw line.Marshall (24-10, 13-5 USA Conference) is known as the alma mater of NBA G-League success story and shot-blocker extraordinaire Hassan Whiteside.It would seem the Herd has elected to continue to host block parties. They once again have an elite paint protector on the roster in NCAA blocks leader Ajdin Penava.They also have two 20-point per game scorers on the roster in Jon Elmore and C.J. Burks.No. 6 University of Florida vs. No. 11 St. Bonaventure University/University of California-Los AngelesFlorida (20-12, 11-7 Southeast Conference) has two wins against Kentucky and a victory against Cincinnati on the season.Despite those resume-building wins, the Gators seem rather unremarkable. Their positive scoring margin of 6.7 is barely more impressive than their negative rebounding deficit, and they look like a prime target for a surprise upset.They will wait for the victor of St Bonnies (25-7, 14-4 Atlantic 10 Conference) and UCLA (21-11, 11-7 Pac-12 Conference), two teams that are capable of pulling off a first-round shocker.No. 3 Texas Tech University vs. No. 14 Stephen F. Austin State UniversityTexas Tech (24-9, 11-7 Big 12 Conference) beat Nevada, Baylor and WVU before falling into a free-fall in the latter half of the season as a result of an injury to star Keenan Evans. Before the injury to their chief facilitator and shot-maker, Tech was 22-4 and at the top of the Big 12. Evans returned in time for the Big 12 tournament and will be back in the line up for the first round game.Nothing says March Madness like seeing Stephen F. Austin State (28-6, 14-4 Southland Conference) on the docket opening weekend. You may not know where it is, whether it existed before the NCAA Tournament or who Stephen F. Austin was (The “Father of Texas”), but we are all happy to see our friends back in the bracket.The Jacks have a 13-point scoring margin, albeit against rather weak competition, and match a balanced offense with tight defense — only allowing 68.1 points per game.No. 7 University of Arkansas vs. No. 10 Butler UniversityArkansas (23-11, 10-8 Southeast Conference) has wins against Florida and Tennessee this season and uses an efficient offensive system in which they convert on more than 40 percent of their three-point shots as a team, 47 percent of shots from the floor and drop more than 81 points per game.The tradeoff is the Razorbacks lowly defensive effort. They allow 75.5 points per game, have a negative three-point field goal deficit of .7 and allow almost 43 percent field goal percentage per game.Butler (20-13, 9-9 Big East) has wins against Villanova, Ohio State, Creighton and Seton Hall and will look to assail the weak Arkansas defense with their attack that managed to average just under 80 points a game this season. Senior forward Kelan Martin leads the way on the roster. Martin is tops on the team in points per game (20.8), three-point shooting (2.6 made per game), rebounds (6.2 per game) and blocks (.5 per game).March Madness: NCAA Tournament South opening round previewMarch Madness is finally here. Despite the obvious miscarriage of cosmic justice that resulted in a Badger-less tournament, it is Read…No. 2 Purdue University vs. No. 15 California State University-FullertonPurdue (28-6, 15-3 Big Ten) provided Badger fans with one of the few bright spots of the season earlier in the year when they lost an exciting tilt in Madison, followed by a student court storming to celebrate the upset.As a two seed in a Tournament that forgot to mail Wisconsin an invite, it would seem Purdue had the last laugh. Team leader Carsen Edwards was built for March. He’s a shoot from the hip, all-around solid player who averaged 18.5 points and is a threat to go off any given night. He’s a huge reason why Purdue finished the regular season fifth in the nation in scoring margin (15.5).Cal State-Fullerton (20-11, 10-6 Pac 12 Conference) has a negative scoring margin, turnover margin and averages lower field goal percentages from the field and from three than their opponents.Though, they do have two talented scoring guards, Kyle Allman Jr. and Khalil Ahmad, averaging 19.4 and 15.3 points per game respectively.At the end of the day, it’s March, where anything can happen. So, when push comes to shove, disregard all numbers, knowledge or wisdom and take out the dart board to make some quick, uninformed decisions.last_img read more

Reason for farmer’s arrest a pile of crap

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Some events in the satire article below did actually happen. Read about it here. Now enjoy what should have happened.A Warren County man, who normally delivers horse manure to others in the area as a fertilizer, made a special delivery recently.About 6 yards of horse waste was piled high in front of one of the county’s Political Party Headquarters just days before the Presidential elections, causing quite a stink in the Lebanon area.“The way I see it, some of these candidates are giving us a big pile of crap and I wanted to return the favor,” said the manure connoisseur. “I just can’t figure out what I did wrong.”Surveillance cameras caught the man in the act, but the steaming heap of fertilizer was proof enough of the wrongdoing.“If this man would have followed the new laws laid out in Ohio recently, none of this would have been a problem,” said an environmental representative. “The key to doing this type of manure application correctly is to incorporate it shortly after spreading it.”Many farmers around Ohio have learned about the 4-Rs of nutrient management, but it was obvious that the guilty party had not been certified.“I’m telling you that I got almost everything right,” the dung doer said. “The time was just right, the place was exactly where I wanted it, I know the source personally, but I did have the rate a little lower than I wanted to, I’ll give you that.”A spokesperson for the party affected said that this incident didn’t impact what they were trying to accomplish before the election, stating that this was just another day at the office and that many shovels were being used to make a clear path to the White House next week.last_img read more

Barcelona Easily Wins Historic 4th Straight Copa del Rey

first_imgMADRID (AP) — If it was a farewell, Andres Iniesta went out in style.The veteran midfielder is expected to soon confirm he’s leaving Barcelona at the end of the season. He couldn’t have asked for a better way to say goodbye.Iniesta scored amid a brilliant performance as Barcelona crushed Sevilla 5-0 in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday, and became the first team in 85 years to win four straight Copa titles.“It was a great night, for me and for the whole team,” Iniesta said. “There were a lot of strong emotions, a lot of different feelings. I’m happy to be able to help the team win this title.”Despite a lifetime contract at Barcelona, the 33-year-old Iniesta has been linked to a move to Chinese football. He will reveal his decision in the next week.“It’s a spectacle to watch Andres play,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. “He has to make a decision and see if he wants to come back next season.”Luis Suarez scored twice and Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho also made the scoresheet for Barcelona’s record-extending 30th Copa triumph, and sixth in the last decade.“We played a great match, with a lot of determination,” Valverde said.FC Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta, centre, with teammates as they celebrate during an award ceremony after defeating Sevilla 5-0 in the Copa del Rey final soccer match at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, April 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul White)Sevilla was trying to win a sixth Copa and save a season which will end without any trophies and maybe not even a place in the Europa League next season.“Barcelona … played a formidable match,” Sevilla coach Vincenzo Montella said.The final took place at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in the capital amid the ongoing political turmoil involving Catalonia’s bid for independence.There were jeers by part of the Barcelona crowd when the national anthem was played, but the boos were largely subdued by the reaction of the numerous Sevilla fans in the crowd. Spain’s King Felipe VI smiled and saluted the fans after the anthem.Suarez opened the scoring with a shot into the open net after a breakaway that started with goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen in the 14th minute. Cillessen made a long pass from inside his area to Coutinho. The Brazilian playmaker entered the box free from markers before making a pass back to Suarez, who just tapped the ball in.Messi scored with a mid-height shot from the middle of the area after a great backheel pass by Jordi Alba off the end line. Messi became the second player to score in five Copa del Rey finals, after Athletic Bilbao’s Telmo Zarra.Suarez scored again before halftime with a low shot after picking up a great throughball by Messi and fending off a defender while entering the area.FC Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta holds up the trophy as he celebrates during an award ceremony after defeating Sevilla 5-0 in the Copa del Rey final soccer match at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, April 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)Iniesta scored the fourth in the 52nd after a quick exchange of passes with Messi. He dribbled past goalkeeper David Soria and shot into an empty net.Iniesta received a huge ovation by fans from both clubs when he was substituted near the end of the match. He then lifted the trophy, his sixth in the Copa.Last year, Iniesta became the first player to sign a lifetime contract with Barcelona, a deal allowing him to keep playing for the club for as long as he remained fit.Coutinho closed the scoring by converting a 69th-minute penalty kick after a handball by a Sevilla defender.No other team had won four Copa titles in a row since Athletic Bilbao from 1930-33. The only other team to do it was Real Madrid from 1905-08.Barcelona is also three points away from winning the Spanish league. Sevilla lies seventh, the final spot guaranteeing a Europa League berth next season.It was Sevilla’s eighth straight match without a win in all competitions.—By TALES AZZONI , AP Sports WriterBarcelona’s Luis Suarez reacts during the Copa del Rey final soccer match between Barcelona and Sevilla at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, April 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul White)Barcelona’s fans cheer during the Copa del Rey final soccer match between Barcelona and Sevilla at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, April 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Holly RobinsonPeetes Autism Charity Helps Sandy Victims

first_imgSpecial Needs Network is partnering with Los Angeles-based autism organizations The HollyRod Foundation and Wake Up For Autism for a disaster relief drive to help families impacted by autism and related developmental disabilities affected by Hurricane Sandy.“Because our South L.A. families know about the hardships of scarcity,” said SNN President & Founder Areva Martin, Esq., “we know how important it is to come together and help the families on the East Coast during hard times like this.”From now until Thursday, November 15th, they are collecting donations at the SNN headquarters, located at 3530 Wilshire Blvd. Ste. 1670 , Los Angeles , CA 90010 . Among items needed the most are: coats, jackets, sweaters, and similar warm clothes, shoes, socks, pajamas, hats, gloves, blankets, sleeping bags, diapers, and other children and baby items. Well wishes included in handwritten notes are also appreciated, as folks who have lost their homes could use a little cheer!“Our thoughts are with everyone who suffered losses as a result of Hurricane Sandy and we hope our donations will aid in their recovery,” said actress and HollyRod Co-Founder Holly Robinson-Peete.In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall in Atlantic City , NJ on Monday night with winds up to 90 mph that killed at least 102 people, millions have been left with no power, no gasoline, and no inclination on when their lives may return to normal. While businesses are expected to get power back by Saturday, it could be another week or more for homes in the suburbs and more distant towns along the coast.Estimates currently place the total damage at $20 billion in insured losses and $50 billion in economic losses, making Sandy the 4th costliest U.S. catastrophe, just behind Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the 9/11 attacks, and Hurricane Andrew in 1992.“The need is great and will be ongoing, and we are humbled to be in a position to be able to provide assistance to all those who have been affected by this unprecedented disaster. I’m pleased to be working with my friend Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, who will receive and distribute the items we collect for families”, said Jodi Gomes, Founder of Wake Up For Autism.The Sandy Disaster Relief will go from now until November 15th. Special Needs Network’s office will receive all donations and is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday. They are located at 3530 Wilshire Boulevard, Ste. 1670, Los Angeles , CA 90010. If you have any questions, contact them at (213) 389-7100 or [email protected] For more information on Autism or Special Needs Resources, please also visit www.wakeupforautism.com and www.hollyrod.org.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

BC government sets out new rules for provincial infrastructure projects

first_imgBURNABY, B.C. – British Columbia government projects worth billions of dollars will now be built under a so-called community benefits agreement that sets out job training, who can work on the projects and the wages to be paid.The agreement is aimed at boosting apprenticeship opportunities and hiring more women, Indigenous people and other under-represented workers who will be organized under a new Crown corporation — BC Infrastructure Benefits Inc.Premier John Horgan said Monday the framework will make it a priority to hire local workers and provide good wages for people building roads, bridges, transit and hospitals.However, independent contractors and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation say it’s really a sweetheart deal for unions that will force costs up for public infrastructure.Horgan said the framework will allow everyone to bid on the projects.“Our objective here is to make sure that we can, to the greatest extent possible, hire local contractors to make sure they hire local workers,” Horgan said. “I’m confident there will be no shortage of work.”The first two projects to be delivered under the plan will be the new $1.3-billion Pattullo Bridge and the four-lane expansion between Kamloops and the Alberta boundary on Highway 1.The Canadian Taxpayers Federation said it has deep concerns with the B.C. government’s new “union first” rule for taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects.Contracts for bridges, roads and hospitals should go to groups with the best bids, said Kris Sims, B.C. director of the federation.“It’s very troubling to see the NDP government creating a new Crown corporation just to hand out contracts to their favourite unions, all at taxpayers’ expense.”The Independent Contractors and Business Association said there are nearly $30 billion in government construction projects planned over the next three years and overpaying by creating a union monopoly will cost taxpayers billions of dollars.The government’s announcement was long on taxpayer costs and short on details, said Chris Gardner, president of the association.“Procurement should be open, fair and transparent, not a payoff for political favours.”Horgan said the framework is flexible, would maximize the number of quality bidders and ensure public projects are competitive.“This is a new way of doing business in British Columbia, the previous government delayed and slowed projects by putting obstacles in the way,” he told a news conference at the ironworkers training facility at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.Tom Sigurdson of the B.C. and Yukon Building Trades Council said the best news coming out of the announcement is for apprentices currently in the system.He said the province is facing a severe shortage of skilled labour with more workers leaving than are entering the workforce.“One of the reasons that we have a shortage, or incompletions in the apprenticeship system, is because apprentices are not given job opportunities,” he said. “This is going to allow for apprentices to be on publicly funded projects. It’s something we’ve been calling for for years.”Sigurdson said the agreement means the government will, essentially, be the employer.The Crown agency will work with winning contractors to hire trades and will do the payroll and all the paperwork.“We do have a number of contractors that do not play in the legitimate economy,” Sigurdson said. “In the construction industry there are a lot of workers who are in the underground economy and the contractors are very happy to pay them cash. That’s going to end.”— By Terri Theodore in Vancouverlast_img read more

Samsung still has time to correct its foldable dream

first_imgNew Delhi: Just when the industry through innovation in the smartphone business had hit stagnation, Samsung wowed us with its first foldable device “Galaxy Fold,” worth a whopping $2,000. A super-premium phone that took almost a decade in the making and opens like a book when unfolded, shouted everything next-generation. However, the expectations took a beating when reports of the Galaxy Fold issues surfaced. The units given to international tech reviewers encountered display distortion and screen flickering issues, forcing the South Korean giant to postpone its launch in Hong Kong and Shanghai on April 23 and 24 respectively, and issue a recall of review units. The big question lingers: Will the “Foldgate” make a dent in Samsung’s image like the Galaxy Note 7 with exploding batteries did in 2016? According to CyberMedia Research (CMR), the smartphone major has been mature and pragmatic enough by postponing its launch and sorting out all the issues before its general availiability. “All said, for Samsung, there is no race for first past the post with its foldable smartphone. It is more imperative for the company to focus on not delivering a flawed product, but rather ensuring highest consumer experience when the device goes on sales,” Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, told IANS. Defending its devices just days before its roll-out, a Samsung spokesperson assured that the firm would “thoroughly inspect” the units. According to market research firm Gartner, foldable phones would make up 5 per cent of high-end phones sales by 2023 with around 30 million units. According to Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Principal Analyst of market research firm techARC, from a technology-rich company like Samsung, “one would expect things out only after reliability of desired levels are achieved”. The Galaxy Fold is expected to be priced around Rs 1,40,790 in India. “Nevertheless, the lab and real-world conditions play differently. I don’t see it as a big issue as the product has not exchanged hands with consumers yet. They have time to correct this aberration,” Kawoosa told IANS. Some units of the Galaxy Fold, which became the first phone with a foldable OLED display, is encountering two primary issues: the foldable screen seems to have a layer of protective layer that is similar to a cheap screen film. Several units reportedly failed after the layer was taken off. Few other screens failed because the hinge exposed areas which allowed debris to get inside of the display, thus, damaging the unit. “We expect that users will use a foldable phone as they do their regular smartphone, picking it up hundreds of times a day, unfolding it sporadically and typing on its plastic screen, which may scratch quickly depending on the way it folds,” Roberta Cozza, Research Director at Gartner had earlier said. However, according to market research firm techARC, this is primarily a material issue than a design. “I think till the time it’s a plastic-based screen, the chances of such mishaps remain high. I would certainly like to see a glass display, that too from credible makers like Corning, to have a reliable foldable screen,” stressed Kawoosa. Moreover, there’s no denying that the second-generation of foldable devices would be better that the experimental and ambitious first generation iterations. “The first generation of an innovation is always experimental, and which over successive iterations achieves perfection. Let’s’face it. The Galaxy Fold was just a mistake in timing. It does not take away anything from its manufacturing capabilities,” Ram noted.last_img read more

Taming of the Wildcats Scouting Northwestern football

Northwestern then-redshirt freshman quarterback Clayton Thorson (18) throws a pass in the first half of a game against Stanford at Ryan Field on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 in Evanston, Ill. Northwestern won 16-6. Courtesy of TNSThe Ohio State football team walked into the Woody Hayes Athletic Center on Sunday to dissect film on its last game — but it wasn’t business as usual. The Buckeyes had their first post-defeat film session of the 2016 season, after dropping a 24-21 contest at Penn State.A couple of late blunders by the special teams allowed the Nittany Lions to topple then-No. 2 OSU, but it was a culmination of big plays allowed and a lack of cohesiveness on the offensive side of the ball. Meyer said after the game that his team  was not “a very good team, right now.” As they move on to Northwestern on Saturday, the Buckeyes hope that the first home game in three weeks will rid the errors that plagued them in Happy Valley.“It’s not business as usual,” Meyer said. “If you lose a game, you accept it. That’s the message to our players. We work so hard so that doesn’t happen. It happened; move on. Get ready for a very good team coming in here.”The Northwestern Wildcats (4-3, 3-1 Big Ten), started the season at 1-3, but have won their last three games, including victories over Iowa and Michigan State. Wildcats’ coach Pat Fitzgerald has his team playing its best football coming into a matchup with a No. 6 OSU team fresh off of a loss.OffenseThe Wildcat attack begins and ends with junior running back Justin Jackson. He leads the Big Ten with the most carries (171), the most rushing yards (792) and rushing yards per game (113.1). He also ranks fifth in the conference in rushing touchdowns (6).Last week, OSU faced one of the conference’s top backs in Saquon Barkley, who ran well against the Buckeye defense. Barkley gained 99 yards on 12 carries (8.25 yard average), with two rushes more than 20 yards. Jackson provides the OSU defense with similar challenges, however he doesn’t have the size Barkley has. Standing at 5-foot-11, and weighing 193 pounds, Jackson is coming to Columbus having gained 453 yards on 88 carries and having scored three touchdowns in his past three games.“They got a great running back,” said junior linebacker Raekwon McMillan. “I think he leads the Big Ten in rushing yards. (He was) second last year to (Ezekiel Elliott) in the All-Big Ten.”Redshirt sophomore quarterback Clayton Thorson is in his second season as the starter for Fitzgerald and has shown significant improvement.Thorson has completed just 57.9 percent of his passes, but has thrown for 1,686 yards and 14 touchdowns, while running for three more scores. Like Jackson, Thorson is coming into Ohio Stadium playing his best football. He has thrown for three touchdowns in each of the past three games, which is a reason why Meyer said Northwestern is a thriving team.“That’s as improved a team as I’ve ever seen from beginning to now,” he said. “Three big wins, two on the road — Defining wins.”Redshirt defensive end Tyquan Lewis said on Monday that there’s a feeling inside the locker room, at least for the defense, that the team is ready to prove itself again on the field. Having the last game stand as an “L” on OSU’s schedule doesn’t sit well with Lewis or the team.“I feel more anxious to get out there,” Lewis said. “It’s not that big of a thing to me, to go to work. It’s more so getting over the feeling.”DefenseThe production of the passing game has been lacking during the past three weeks when compared with earlier games in the season. Against Northwestern, OSU redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett might be going up against the perfect defense to assert himself through the air.The Wildcats rank dead last in the Big Ten — and 111th in the NCAA — in passing defense, allowing 282.4 passing yards per game. As a whole, the defense averages 414.1 yards allowed per game, ranking near the bottom of the Big Ten.To make things worse, just this week, four-year starter senior cornerback Matthew Harris retired due to concussions. He has been out since suffering a concussion in Week 2.However, a big reason Northwestern is respectable against the run is because of redshirt senior defensive lineman Ifeadi Odenigbo. The 6-foot-3, 265-pound Circleville, Ohio, native has been terrorizing quarterbacks all season. He leads the Big Ten and ranks third in the NCAA with eight total sacks.Coming off of a game where the OSU offensive line allowed 11 tackles for loss and six sacks, this week may be just as tough as a task to give Barrett ample time to pass and create holes for redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber and junior H-back Curtis Samuel.“There’s not a question of ability within our team at all,” said redshirt junior guard Billy Price. “We got very talented guys in our room. You got to focus in on what we have and continue to develop and execute higher.”BreakdownCoach Meyer and the Buckeyes hope to answer several questions that arose from the loss to now-No. 24 Penn State. The past two seasons, OSU has had great success following a loss, especially on offense. Against Northwestern on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the ‘Shoe, the Buckeyes should be able to re-establish their offense as one of the most potent in the conference.Last week, Samuel failed to get a touch in the first quarter and only ran the ball twice in the game. This week, there should be a higher emphasis on getting the ball to the team’s No. 1 playmaker.On the defensive side of the ball, the amount of big plays allowed last week overshadowed the defense giving up only 276 total yards. Going up against a more up-tempo offense might benefit OSU, which had success earlier in the year against that style of play.Barrett said that the team’s identity will be put to the test this week because they have a smaller room for error for the duration of the season.“We’re going to find out what we’re made of,” he said. “Everybody could be fine when we’re winning games … but as far as backs against the wall … that really shows your true colors.” read more

Ohio State mens hockey set to start freshman Logan Davis in goal

Junior forward Chad Niddery (19) fights for the puck during a game against Bowling Green Oct. 29 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 5-3.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorFreshman goalie Logan Davis is expected to make his first collegiate start as the Ohio State men’s ice hockey team sets its sights on a two-game series against Canisius College.Originally third in the depth chart, Davis is set to take over the reins from fellow freshman Matt Tomkins, who won’t be in the lineup because of a lower-body injury he sustained in the first four minutes of OSU’S 6-1 win against Niagara Nov. 9. Tomkins’ playing status is day-to-day. Davis’ projected start also comes less than two weeks after Collin Olson, who was Tomkins’ backup, elected to leave the team to play junior hockey in the USHL.“At this point, I feel like I might’ve gotten over the nerves a little bit after getting that first game under my belt, but I’m still a little jittery,” Davis said.Coach Steve Rohlik attributed his team’s 4-1 and 6-1 victories against Niagara Friday and Saturday, respectively, to his defensive unit, and said he wants the team to carry the success over into the series with the Golden Griffins (2-5-0, 1-3-0).“You’re only as good as your D-zone. Our D-zone leads all of our offense,” Rohlik said. “We’re doing a decent job on the penalty kill now, and I think we’ve given up quite a few goals early in the year, so we’re trying to clean that part of it up, but everything starts in the D-zone. If we can shut down teams defensively and still put up three, four, five goals, then we’re doing something right.”Junior forward Chad Niddery said the Buckeyes have to continue to build on the momentum they’ve generated in the last few games.“We’re having upbeat practices, just making sure everybody’s still going hard and getting ready for the weekend. These teams are coming in, they’re fast. They work as hard as they can,” Niddery said. “We’ve got to match their work ethic, and we’ve got guys with a lot of skill, so as long as we show as much work ethic — and Logan (Davis) is there backing us up in the net — so we’ll definitely be on top of our game.”The series will conclude a seven-game homestand in which the Buckeyes (6-4-0, 0-0-0) have only lost once, a 3-1 decision against Minnesota Duluth Nov. 1. OSU is set to open up Big Ten play at Ann Arbor, Mich., against rival Michigan Nov. 29.The Buckeyes and Canisius are slated to face off Friday and Saturday at Schottenstein Center, with the puck set to drop at 7:05 p.m. for both games. read more