12/28/2012

Hydro reopens after month-long closure

Calistoga’s fire chief has given Hydro Grill permission to reopen after repairs to a faulty ventilation system that kept the popular restaurant shut almost a month.

Fire Chief Steve Campbell approved the new vent system over the stove on Friday. Owner Gayle Dierkhising said it took several days to restock the kitchen and prepare fresh menu items such as sauces, burgers and pulled pork, all of which are made in-house.

“We make so much in that little kitchen” that it takes a surprisingly long time to restock, Dierkhising said. The restaurant had been closed so long that they had to dispose of all the perishable items.The howo truck is offered by Shiyan Great Man Automotive Industry,

The downtown restaurant was closed on Nov. 26 after a health inspector noticed a roach on the bar while she was typing up a report documenting a number of separate health code violations. None of those violations would have forced the closure of the restaurant, but inspectors usually order an immediate shutdown after seeing an active infestation of roaches or other pests.

Fixing the various violations, including getting rid of the roaches, should have been a quick job, but a subsequent inspection of the kitchen revealed that the ventilation system over the stove needed to be replaced. The county health inspectors cleared the restaurant to reopen weeks ago, but Campbell would not allow it to use the stove until the ventilation was repaired, so Dierkhising and husband Alex Dierkhising decided to remain closed until the work was done rather than reopen with a limited menu.

Dierkhising declined to say how much the repairs cost, but she admitted that it was extremely expensive,Installers and distributors of solar panel, since the new ventilation system needed to be custom manufactured and installed.

“The impact was felt doubly, particularly because we had a month being closed with no revenue and at the same time all that money was going out” for the new ventilation system, she said.

The new vent was not covered by insurance and it is unlikely their insurance company will cover the cost of lost perishable products either, she said.

While the expense will cause the operation to “tighten its belt” and may delay some other planned renovations, she said, it will not threaten the future of the business.

“We will merrily roll along,High quality stone mosaic tiles.” she said.

One other downside, she said, is that customers will probably not appreciate the amount of work that went on into the last month, since the vent work is in the rafters and out of sight and the dining room looks just the same.

Every winter, media outlets across the nation light up with reports of carbon monoxide poisoning, with the occasional fatality pointing out its serious nature.

“We do respond to a numb of them every winter,” Prince Albert Fire Department Capt. Ken Bird said of carbon monoxide calls, usually attended alongside SaskEnergy employees.

Although most calls are a result of faulty detectors, there are the occasionally cases where carbon monoxide has become trapped indoors.

With a few high-profile cases popping up in Saskatoon this week, SaskEnergy is encouraging people to take a preventative approach to carbon monoxide exposure.

“We go out to about 1,100 carbon monoxide incidents every year,” SaskEnergy spokesperson Dave Burdeniuk said. “The majority of those are in the winter time, because that’s when people are using their furnaces, mainly, the most.

“You can still get carbon monoxide from any appliance that uses any kind of fuel, be that natural gas or propane or coal, or whatever.”

Any amount of carbon monoxide is too much, with the compound an indicator of something having gone wrong with the appliance or ventilation system.

“What we recommend is regular maintenance for any natural gas appliance -- particularly your furnace,” Burdeniuk said, adding that annual checks in the fall, prior to the onset of the winter chill, are best.

“Once you get to temperatures that we’ve seen over the last few weeks … a furnace is going to be working really hard … and that’s not the time to find that there’s a malfunction in that unit,” he said.

On the same note, furnace filters should be changed at least every two months to help prevent furnaces from working harder and draining more energy than they should.

Carbon monoxide detectors can also be a useful safety tool, he said, noting that even readings as low as less than 10 parts per million can be a sign of something wrong.

“We’ve seen incidents across the province this year where you’ve had incidents with carbon monoxide into the hundreds of parts per million,Why does moulds grow in homes or buildings? and that really can be deadly, because carbon monoxide is odorous and colourless,” he said. “You don’t know it’s there until your body starts to absorb it into the bloodstream.”

Although SaskEnergy adds smell to natural gas, they can’t with carbon monoxide.

“People may thing that there’s a flu going through the family or people might think it’s food poisoning if they feel nauseous,” Burdeniuk said.

“Some of those symptoms of headache or nausea, can indicate that there’s longer-term exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide, or you can have something quickly escalate if you have a sudden blockage of an exhaust vent or a furnace vent.

On July 8, Whistler resident Kim Slater began her grassroots advocacy run that followed the route of the proposed Enbridge pipeline, which saw Slater run the equivalent of a marathon (42 kilometres) a day for 45 days straight.

Council scrapped an idea to establish free Village-wide Wi-Fi after estimated implementation costs came in at $500,000, with annual operating costs estimated to be $250,000.

The inaugural Whistler Excellence Awards were held, combining a number of traditional annual honours together in one event hosted by the Whistler Chamber of Commerce. Search and rescue expert Brad Sills was honoured as Citizen of the Year while Paul Mathews with Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners was named Business Person of the Year.

RMOW’s CAO presented the results of the two-phased organization review, showing $500,000 in annual savings from staff reductions. Some positions were eliminated, others scaled back. Furey said changes were made to reduce net operating expenditures while still focusing on core services as well as a staff-to-workload ratio “sweet spot.”

Work began on rezoning the BC Transit facility to allow private operators to rent out storage and office space. Concerns were raised by a member of the Transit Management Advisory Committee over a business case prepared by the province, however that document was not made publicly available. Council passed the rezoning bylaw and in October officially marked the change with a ceremony. Pacific Coach Lines signed a one year contract to use the facility resulting in $50,000 in gross revenues for the financially challenged service.

BC Transit’s annual report also revealed that ridership was down in the resort 11 per cent with a seven per cent reduction in revenues over the prior year.The oreck XL professional air purifier, However, the drop falls short of matching a reduction in service of 15 per cent instituted by the municipality, which determines the routes and hours of service locally.

The market units at Riverbend sold out by July of this year leaving Whistler 2020 Development Corp. with only $3 million outstanding of a $100 million loan taken out in 2008.

President and CEO of Whistler Sport Legacies (WSL) Keith Bennett announced his retirement after a little over two years at the head of the organization. Bennett has a long history of involvement with the organization that dates back to when its board of directors was founded in 2007 as part of the efforts to develop Olympic sport venues in the area.

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12/19/2012

U.S. moves ahead on new downtown L.A. courthouse

Downtown Los Angeles is finally getting its new federal courthouse, and it's going to stand out amid the aging government buildings in the Civic Center.

A 550,000-square-foot courthouse — planned for the southwest corner of Broadway and 1st Street, across from the old county law library and the Los Angeles Times building — will feature a bright, serrated facade and a structural design that allow the structure to appear to float over its stone base, officials said.

It will have a public plaza along 1st Street near recently opened Grand Park. Officials say the building's design has received a "platinum" rating for energy efficiency from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The U.S. General Services Administration is moving forward on the project despite last-minute opposition from some Republicans in Congress, who question the viability of the agency's plans to sell the federal courthouse on North Spring Street to private developers. The lawmakers also questioned whether the extra courtrooms were actually necessary.

The GSA awarded a $318-million contract last week to the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Clark Construction Group, and released several renderings of the proposed design. The building will rise on a 3.6-acre lot on Broadway that city officials have long wanted to develop.

"We are moving toward the groundbreaking of a critically needed facility that will resolve long-standing security and space issues," Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-East Los Angeles) said in a statement. "At a time when we need to keep investing in our recovering economy, we expect the courthouse to create thousands of new jobs in the construction industry and related businesses."

Peter Zellner, faculty member at Southern California Institute of Architecture, noted that the courthouse design in some ways is reminiscent of Mid-Century architectural styles of other Los Angeles government centers, particularly the Wilshire Federal Building. Zellner also suggested the architects consider the courthouse plaza as part of a chain of public spaces spilling down from the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The courthouse will include 24 courtrooms and 32 judicial chambers. Along with the judges of the U.S. District Court, the building will be used by the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. attorneys' office and the Federal Public Defender.

Federal judges have been pushing for new space downtown since the late 1990s. In addition to the Spring Street courthouse, federal judges occupy space elsewhere in downtown, but they have complained about overcrowding and security issues.

Construction on the courthouse is expected to begin sometime next year, with completion set for 2016, the GSA said.

The agency also announced that it had released a formal "request for information" to solicit ideas for adaptive reuse of one of the old federal courthouses, on North Spring Street. Under the agency's plan, the 72-year-old building would be sold to a private developer, with the proceeds to help finance construction of a second federal office building next to the new courthouse.

Some real estate experts have questioned whether the exchange proposal would be feasible, saying it could be difficult for a private owner to adapt the old courthouse because of its structural issues, location and historic status. And the Republican critics of the courthouse plan expressed concern that if the GSA could not manage to sell the old courthouse, it would be stuck with a vacant building and higher costs to taxpayers.

Younity is a bit different, in that it creates a personal cloud. When you look at cloud solutions out there, the public cloud is very different from a personal cloud. With public, share storage, you are using public, shared storage where you're putting everything with everyone else's stuff, which makes your stuff available from that location and where you can access it from a device. What's different with Younity, is instead of creating another cloud and walled garden,Our technology gives rtls systems developers the ability. we're actually incorporating the resources you already have, such as the storage on your devices, and over time, your other online services, photos, and documents. The goal is not to create one more, isolated solution, but to conform to the interest and services around each individual user.

Enterprises like to use things like Amazon Web Services. We use AWS too, and those companies are able to use resources created for cloud storage and processing. Younity is not all that different, but we build it from your own devices. If you have a Windows laptop, a Mac, we can actually connect those devices, so that that they're inherently aware of each other.Installers and distributors of solar panel, You can share those resources between both computers. So, for example, if you find you don't have enough storage on your laptop, we'll have your desktop do the heavy lifting. Ultimately,Our technology gives rtls systems developers the ability. Younity takes all of the documents, photos, video,High quality stone mosaic tiles. and music you have and unifies it across devices, connecting them in real time ways to each other, and sharing that continuously.

I've been designing software for 16 years, and am attracted to difficult problems. I was consumerizing enterprise applications, but what I really wanted to do was commercialize consumer software. The idea is that we're context-based users now. I use my phone on the street, my tablet on the couch or in bed, and my laptop when traveling. I use my desktop when I need the screen real estate or processing power. I would be working on my iMac, and head out to a customer site, but I'd forget to sync things or put those files in Dropbox. I was looking for a solution to that. It's not about changing how devices work, because no one cares about devices.The oreck XL professional air purifier, What we really care about is data. We don't want to worry about synchronizing things, we just want to use our devices or whatever screen is convenient.

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Best Buy 'hold' policy puts pinch on debit card user

He visited the Best Buy website and selected a few items for his siblings. The bill came to $117,The oreck XL professional air purifier, and Harper, 18, paid for the purchases with his debit card.

"I didn’t really think twice about using my debit card," said Harper,High quality stone mosaic tiles. an environmental science freshman at the County College of Morris. "I used it because it’s the only card that I own and I figured that Best Buy would be safe … and I didn’t think that they could go in and freeze my money like they did."

Best Buy put a $117 "authorization hold" on the Long Valley man’s account, a common practice when debit cards are used.

When a merchant places a "hold" on the amount of the purchase,Find detailed product information for howo spare parts and other products. it basically puts that money to the side, on reserve and out of your checking account, until the purchase is finalized.

It’s a common practice for restaurants. Eateries do this because when you present your card and the business runs the transaction through, it’s often not the final amount of the bill, as many consumers choose to add a tip to the card.

Debit transactions are typically a two-step process. First, an authorization hold for a transaction is placed on the account at the time of purchase.One of the most durable and attractive styles of flooring that you can purchase is ceramic or porcelain tiles. Later, usually at the end of the day, for purchases that are completed, the merchant processes a batch transfer and funds are actually transferred, said Tom Feltner, director of Financial Services for Consumer Federation of America, an association of nonprofit consumer organizations.

"It can take around one business day for the authorization hold to fall off the account balance," Feltner said. "While this temporarily reduces the availability of funds, the authorization hold doesn’t mean that those funds were transferred to the merchant."

But they’re not available for the account holder,The oreck XL professional air purifier, either. Subsequent transactions could be rejected or result in an overdraft, as the Harpers feared.

OC Transpo has contended with hundreds of reports of fumes on its buses this year, according to a log released to the Citizen last week under access-to-information legislation. The Citizen filed a request for the document after a driver of a double-decker bus was sickened by fumes from his own bus, leaking into the cabin from a faulty gasket.

The exhaust systems on OC Transpo buses are fully inspected at least twice a year, the agency’s Jim Greer said Monday by email.

“Of note is the fact that, to meet its daily service commitments, OC Transpo performs over 8,500 trips while using 816 buses twice daily and 1,500 operators. All reported fumes/odors incidents are documented through OC Transpo’s Control Centre and are either reviewed by its mobile service trucks or scheduled for further inspection at a maintenance facility,” he wrote. By implication, the 337 fume reports logged by OC Transpo’s own operators in 2012 aren’t a sign of a serious problem.

The president of OC Transpo’s drivers’ union said last week that clogged ventilation filters don’t necessarily keep out all the contaminants they’re supposed to, including exhaust fumes that get sucked in particularly when buses are stuck nose-to-tail on the Transitway at rush hour. Greer wrote that they’re actually not supposed to screen out fumes from other vehicles.

“Fresh air filters are installed on every OC Transpo bus, however their purpose is to stop the ventilation system from bringing in dust and dirt into the system, not to stop fume ingress or purify the air,” Greer wrote.

The KAFD Portal Spas, by the architectural firm WORKSBUREAU, are a duo of diaphanous, polygonal structures--one for men, one for women--that are going to raise the bar on decadence. Because between services, pampered patrons will make their way through meadowlike gardens growing within the building--a three-story tower of life within a massive, light-flooded atrium. Indeed, while they’re called “spas,” the buildings may be the most striking greenhouses you’ve ever seen.

A large part of what makes the effect possible is an outer shell fitted with Tessellate panels, a technology created by Chuck Hoberman. They’re built from four layers of perforated titanium, two of which are kinetic, driven by small linear motors. “As the layers overlap, the result is a kaleidoscopic visual display of patterns aligning and then diverging into a fine, light-diffusing mesh,” Hoberman tells Co.Design. “In the extreme climate of Saudi Arabia, with its incandescent solar intensity, the screens will allow a dappled, softened light--like that of a forest canopy-- to diffuse into the spaces during the day.”

The PNC tower is designed to be a warm, inviting place--as much as an impersonal skyscraper can be. Located in the middle of downtown Pittsburgh (AKA the Golden Triangle), the tower will engage the community around it with an open lobby (Ko describes it as "a living room for the city"), retail space at the base of building, and a 300-person auditorium and theater that can be used by the general public outside of business hours. Local partners and consultants are being used whenever possible in construction of the building. The tower will also quite literally be transparent. "The last thing [PNC] wants to do is hide behind a fortress," says Ko.

Each two story "neighborhood" will contain office spaces on the bottom floor and a common area on the other with a space for a pantry or coffee station. Bathrooms will also be located in this space. "It’s about bringing people together, creating spaces that encourage people to have chance encounters," explains Ko.

Comfort is also emphasized in the design; 91% of the building will be lit by daylight, and nearly 100% of the spaces where people spend their time will have enough natural light so that only desk lamps are necessary. The building "breathes" with a double-skin facade: a natural ventilation system that has a glass outer weather and air barrier and an inner layer with automated air vents, a wood curtain wall, and manually operated sliding doors. A series of automatic sensors on both layers open up the building for air when the weather is nice.

Building denizens can step out onto a ledge between the two skins if they want even more air. "If people have control of the environment they’re in, they’re going to be more content, they’re happier, and because they’re happier they’re more comfortable," says Ko. And if people are more comfortable, studies have shown that they’ll be more efficient.

When you open a door or window in other double-skinned buildings, it feels like air is being pushed out, but Gensler has managed to design the PNC tower so that workers instead get the sensation of air coming in. The secret is a system that creates natural suction at the center of the building, so that when a person opens up a door, air moves inward--not in gusts, but gently.

A solar chimney will draw exhaust and warm air up and out of the building, while the double-skin will pull air in--a technique that can dramatically cut down on energy use. A solar photovoltaic array will lie on top of the chimney. Passive natural ventilation can be used for 42% of total working hours in the building, and the abundance of natural light will cut down on energy use even further.

PNC plans on sharing much of the data that the building yields, much as the high-performance buildings around the world that Gensler visited while planning the project shared their own data. Ko wrote in an email: "PNC has not discussed what they will share in specific, but based on our experience with them and their history, I would expect a real transparency of information that includes building performance metrics on energy consumption and water conservation. What I would hope we can talk about too is employee satisfaction and worker productivity numbers. It would be great to have 'scientific data’ that shows how a building like this improves the human experience and thus positively impacts an organization."

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