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Health Care Ruling Does Not Help Farm Families

first_imgHome News Feed Health Care Ruling Does Not Help Farm Families Facebook Twitter The Supreme Court Ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Health Care Reform Act is not being greeted with enthusiasm by most farmers.  Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, in a statement released after the ruling said, “We believe one of the primary goals of health care reform should be to reduce costs for participants. The plan reviewed by the Supreme Court would impose a new financial burden on our members.” For many farmers, health insurance is hard to get because farms are individual businesses in a dangerous occupation. Pat Wolf, with the AFBF in Washington, says Obamacare does little to help farm families get coverage they can afford, “If farmers could afford good healthcare now, we would not have a problem; but simply mandating people buy something they cannot afford without addressing the issue of cost is not reforming the situation.” SHARE By Gary Truitt – Jun 28, 2012 SHARE The program passed by Congress has a provision for an insurance exchange that will be administered by each state, but there are no details on how this program would work and who would be eligible. Governor Daniels said in a statement that he is not sure if Indiana will participate in the exchange program, “Operation of a state-based exchange could cost $50 million to $65 million in the first several years of operation. Indiana has taken steps to research the potential implications of health insurance exchanges, but absolutely no decision has been made to establish a state-based exchange. Before a decision can be made, the state needs more information about how a federally-based exchange will operate and be funded.”center_img Another unanswered question is how seasonal farm workers would be considered under the new program which mandates employers to provide health insurance coverage. “We do not know how the government will treat seasonal employees and if a farmer would have to provide health coverage for seasonal workers under the program,” said Wolf. Health Care Ruling Does Not Help Farm Families Facebook Twitter Wolf told HAT that, despite the court ruling, the future remains uncertain for health care reform, “There are many in Congress who are calling for the repeal of the legislation.”  Stallman said AFBF will continue to work to improve the situation for farm families when it comes to health care, “Moving forward, we encourage Congress and the President to work together to address our remaining concerns on this issue that affects millions of small business owners and individuals throughout rural America.” Nebraska Senator and former Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns says the Supreme Court ruling that the health care law is constitutional does not mean it is wise or should remain on the books. He says he supports and will continue to press for “full repeal of the Affordable Care Act.”   Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the law is only constitutional because it is a tax on every American. As such, he says the legislation was sold in Congress and to the country under false pretenses. Grassley says we need health care solutions that use free-market principle.  House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas says he will work with his colleagues to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act and enact reforms to the nation’s health care system that protect access to health care. [audio:|titles=Health Care Ruling Does Not Help Farm Families]Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Podcast: Play in new window | Download | EmbedSubscribe: RSS Previous articleMarket Review Week Ending 6/28/2012 With Gary WilhemiNext articleGrain Stocks and the Planted Acreage Report Expectations Gary Truittlast_img read more

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Upmeyer says GOP lawmakers may pass work requirement for Iowa Medicaid

first_imgDES MOINES — Republicans in the state legislature may pursue a policy that will require most “able-bodied” Iowa adults enrolled in Medicaid to work. Republican House Speaker Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake said it could help ease the worker shortage in Iowa.“Certainly we’re not suggesting that people who are unable to work should, somehow, work. That’s not the point,” Upmeyer said, “but when we do have able-bodied adults that could work, we frankly need them in the workforce.”The Trump Administration has given states the go-ahead to impose a work requirement for Medicaid recipients. Seven states have adopted the policy and eight other states have submitted requests for federal approval of the move. In 2018, Republicans in the Iowa legislature began reviewing bills to require “childless” adults who are Medicaid recipients and receive food stamps to work or engage in volunteer activities if they are able.Upmeyer said during an interview with Radio Iowa that the policy has not been labeled a top priority for Republicans this year, but it may be considered.“I think there are some inherent benefits to work. The rewards that are sort of intangible sometimes — in addition to a paycheck, you also feel a little better about getting up in the morning and having something to do,” Upmeyer said. “…We genuinely need people in the workforce and if there’s a way to do that where we can get people the skills they need to be more productive and have some opportunities they don’t have today, I think that’s worth considering.”The 2019 Iowa legislative session starts a week from today and Republicans will again determine what gets debated because the GOP won a majority of seats in the House and Senate in November.last_img read more

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South African consumer rights and protection

first_imgShoddy service, bad quality products, broken promises and contract foul-ups are just some of the problems consumers face. But South African consumers’ rights are protected by law, which means they can demand redress.By law, South African consumers have the right to be heard, to safety, to redress, to be informed, to choice, to consumer education, to the satisfaction of basic needs, and to a healthy environment. (Image: Caden Crawford, CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr)There are various pieces of powerful legislation in place to protect consumers, the most important being the Consumer Protection Act (Act 68 of 2008) and the National Credit Act (Act 34 of 2005). Consumers also have the right to information and education.Useful websitesNational Consumer CommissionNational Consumer TribunalNational Credit RegulatorSA Consumer ComplaintsHellopeterConsumer rightsThe Consumer Protection Act outlines key consumer rights, including the right to:Be heard: Consumers have the right to be heard on issues, policies, plans, programmes and decisions which affect them.Safety: Consumers must be protected against flaws or hidden dangers in products or services.Redress: When you are sold an inferior product or service, you have the right to demand a replacement or a refund.Be informed: Consumers have the right to be given all the information they need about a product or service.Choice: Consumers have the right to a variety of products and goods that are competitively priced.Consumer education: Consumers have the right to education that will empower them to make informed choices.Satisfaction of basic needs: Consumers have the right to basic goods and services for survival, such as food, water, education and sanitation.A healthy environment: Consumers have the right to a physical environment that will enhance the quality of life.ComplaintsThere is no need to accept faulty products or shoddy service. First try to settle your complaint directly with the business or service provider. If that fails, you can take it up with your Provincial Consumer Affairs Offices. These offices, in all nine provinces, offer advice, education, information, and protection.There is also a range of statutory, industry and other consumer bodies.Provincial Consumer Affairs OfficesThere are Consumer Affairs Offices, run at provincial level, to provide consumers with protection, information and advice. You can approach a Consumers Affairs Office to intervene in disputes over contracts, quality of products or services.You should first complain to the branch manager or customer care office of the business concerned before asking the Consumer Affairs Office to intervene. These offices have trained staff to advise you on your rights as consumers. You may also want to contact them to find out if a company you intend doing business with has a previous history of complaints against it.Other consumer organisationsNational Consumer CommissionSet up to administer the Consumer Protection Act which came into effect in April 2011, the National Consumer Commission is an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry. Responsible for publishing consumer alerts (which warn consumers of scams or unfair business practices) and prohibition notices (business practices declared unfair in terms of the Unfair Business Practices Act, and therefore prohibited by the Minister).Website: African National Consumer UnionSancu is a voluntary independent body that represents millions of consumers. Its membership extends from the grassroots organisations, such as the Women’s Agricultural Unions and the National Council of Women of South Africa, to influential bodies such as Democratic Nursing Organisation and the Association of Retired Persons and Pensioners.As an independent consumer organisation, Sancu works with manufacturers, retailers, the agricultural sector, the South African Bureau of Standards and government.The union recommends that consumers make a genuine attempt to solve complaints themselves. If the problem remains, take it up with the relevant Provincial Consumer Affairs office.Website: for Savings and Investment South AfricaASISA represents the majority of South Africa’s asset managers, collective investment scheme management companies, linked investment service providers, multi-managers, and life insurance companies.The association aims to promote a culture of savings and investment in South Africa by working with regulators, government and its members. It has a consumer focus, and works to ensure the sustainability of the industries it represents.Website: Services BoardThe Financial Services Board (FSB) is an independent institution established by statute to oversee the South African non-banking financial services industry in the public interest.The FSB is committed to promoting and maintaining a sound financial investment environment in South Africa. It regulates insurers, intermediaries, retirement funds, friendly societies, unit trust schemes, management companies, and financial markets.Note that complaints against service providers are primarily dealt with by bodies set up specifically for this purpose, and not by the FSB.Website: a guide to handling consumer complaints through Provincial Consumer Affairs Offices [PDF]Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and ArbitrationThe CCMA is a dispute resolution body established in terms of the Labour Relations Act (Act 66 of 1995).It is an independent body and is not controlled by any political party, trade union or business. It works to conciliate and arbitrate workplace disputes, as well as facilitate the establishment of workplace forums and statutory councils.Website: Public ProtectorIf you have any complaints about government services or conduct, you might find help from the Public Protector.Website: www.pprotect.orgToll-free number: 0800 11 20 40Brand South Africa reporterReviewed: 10 July 2012Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

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From Red List to Ready List

first_imgJonathan A. Wright, the founder of Wright Builders Inc., has worked on two Living Building Challenge projects. Andrew Solem also contributed to this article. Along with his colleague Phil White, Solem led the vetting process for Wright’s two Living Building Challenge projects. This post was originally published in the Spring 2017 issue of BuildingEnergy, a publication of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. Main electric by Square D, Schneider ElectricThe biggest hurdle with electrical components is confirming that they are Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) compliant. RoHS was developed in Europe and is the highest standard worldwide, for lowering hazardous content, including mercury and lead. American specifiers and manufacturers do not generally require their products to comply. Square D is a company that has already changed its manufacturing process so that some of its products meet the RoHS standard. They also have constructed a timeline for when their non-compliant products will be ready for RoHS certification. R-Guard and ConsolideckProsoco is a company that focuses on clean construction products. The Kern Center includes products from Prosoco’s R-Guard line: Cat 5 and AirDam. The Hitchcock Center used the Consolideck product line: ColorHard and PolishGuard and LS/CS. Prosoco products are in some ways the poster child for LBC, in that the entire line of products was stripped of Red List components as a result of the company’s involvement with the Bullitt Center in Seattle. The company is very forthcoming, offers great support, and generates keen interest. Spectrem 1 and 2 by Tremco SealantsWith the newest addition of Red List chemicals, LBC 3.1, it has become very difficult to find compliant sealants and adhesives. Fortunately, Tremco has taken the initiative to push and create LBC-compliant products. Interior shades by MechoShade SystemsWhen these projects were coming to a close, interior shades rose to the top of the priority list. MechoShade offers a Declared shade, meaning that any LBC project team can easily document and use it, along with other options for Red List-free shades. Solar panels by SunPowerThere are now multiple companies that will install solar panels on your building. The project teams chose to use panels from SunPower because they have proven themselves as a company fighting for sustainability. The high output, longevity, solid warranty, and durability of the panels all contribute to the value. These panels have Cradle to Cradle Certification at the Silver level, giving the project teams confidence in their selection. Carpet tile by Shaw Contract GroupShaw has created a carpet tile that is 100% recyclable. Wright Builders worked with Shaw to identify a good solution for recycling the installer’s carpet scrap. They arranged to send what little scrap was generated back to a facility capable of making new backing and new fiber from the returned materials. Adhesives manufactured by Loctite/OSIThese products included: PL 300 Foam board adhesive; H2U Window, Siding, Door, Trim Adhesive;F-38 Drywall and Panel Adhesive; SF-450 Subfloor Adhesive; and SC-175 Draft and Acoustical Sound Sealant. Loctite and OSI have demonstrated excellence in the Living Building Challenge. The vetting teams for both the Kern Center and Hitchcock Center found success when vetting products from these manufacturers. Liquid Nails 903This common product can be found in nearly every home improvement store across the country. Having been vetted under LBC 2.1, homeowners can be confident in the safety of the chemicals used in this adhesive product. It is no small achievement that this product is LBC 2.1 compliant. Better products over old standbysThe purpose of the Living Building Challenge is not to keep us up at night, but to change the way products are made and used so that we may build and experience our world in a healthier, more resilient and environmentally responsible way. To that end, even if we are not building our next project for LBC certification, we can still choose to use better products in lieu of our old standbys. These everyday decisions will lessen toxin loads and support companies that are trying to make positive change and grow their influence in the marketplace.Enter stage right: not the Red List but its country cousin the Ready List — a specialized private list developed by Wright Builders to answer the question: What can we do today? It is an eclectic range of off-the-shelf products that professionals in our industry can examine and adopt right away to make incremental but meaningful change.The following suggestions from Wright Builders Inc., reviewed by the design and materials collaborators on these projects, are based on our 30-month intensive LBC odyssey. Many of these we have already included in our more conventional projects. We are not vouching for perfection here — only indicating that these are best-in-class for now, and a great place to start. The Hitchcock Center for the Environment and the R.W. Kern Center at Hampshire College are within a quarter mile of each other in Amherst, Massachusetts. As the construction manager for both buildings, Wright Builders learned quickly what a complex process this is. More than 1,400 submittals and products were vetted by the teams. We also learned that with good communication systems, persistence, and careful record-keeping, the teams could advance the knowledge base significantly.The vetting process for the Hitchcock Center occurred just enough later to benefit fully from the lessons learned during construction of the Kern Center, bypassing some blind alleys in favor of proven materials that would pass vetting. Lighting fixtures by FluxwerxLight fixtures can be some of the most difficult products to vet for an LBC project. Every single part of the fixture needs to be accounted for, from powder coating to the coating on the lenses inside the fixture. Fluxwerx was engaged with the vetting team to break down components of the fixtures. This new generation of lighting specifically designed for LEDs is versatile, efficient, and beautiful. Wires and cables by General Cable and BeldenGeneral Cable and Belden succeeded where others have failed. Although they are not the only companies who make LBC-compliant wires and cables, they were both able to supply the required amount of LBC-compliant wire and cable needed for the Kern Center and Hitchcock Center. Yes, the Living Building Challenge is OverreachingLiving Building Challenge 2.0 ReleasedFirst Living Building Challenge Projects CertifiedEarly Lessons from the Living Building ChallengeTeaching Deep Green by Building ItToxic and Non-Toxic Houses A continuous collaborationFundamentally, the vetting process is a continuous three-way collaboration between architect, construction manager, and materials consultant. Early on, I asked Charley Stevenson of Integrated EcoStrategies, who would actually be accountable for securing materials documentation, to join the team, and he said we would collaborate. Hmmm. Who, and how, exactly?The process evolved through months of weekly calls, hot lists, and dead ends. Together with Kern Center architects Bruner/Cott and the Hitchcock Center’s DesignLab, we all lent significant effort and creativity to the process. Charley was so right — everyone has to get under the weight of it to avoid wasting time and resources.From the first days of concept design, the design teams looked at the available materials within 500 kilometers, evaluated these potential palettes, and developed the building designs using materials highly likely to be accepted. This drove us toward regional and local sourcing of all material, especially timber, lumber, and stone.The materials and substances that must be eliminated or reduced are on the LBC Red List. They include known carcinogens, endocrine disrupters, and contributors to a wide variety of diseases and conditions, the effects of which have been largely borne by the manufacturing and skilled trade workforce for centuries.Wright Builders Inc. and the teams worked under the Red List 2.1 (now augmented and supplanted by later versions), which identifies the following material and chemical classes:AsbestosCadmiumChlorinated polyethyleneChlorosulfonated polyethleneChlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)Chloroprene (Neoprene)Formaldehyde (added)Halogenated flame retardantsHydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)Lead (added)MercuryPetrochemical fertilizers and pesticidesPhthalatesPolyvinyl chloride (PVC)Wood treatments containing creosote, arsenic or pentachlorophenolDerived from these are hundreds of other compounds and ingredients, which in turn are being modified and incorporated into still more chemicals — perhaps as many as 200 every day — in American industry.center_img By JONATHAN A. WRIGHTOne of the primary goals of the Living Building Challenge (LBC) is to eliminate the use of known toxins in products installed in the built environment. If it is harmful to life — human, animal or anything else — do not use it if at all possible.In 2016, Wright Builders Inc. completed two Living Buildings, which will be evaluated for certification over the next 18 to 24 months. These projects gave us a unique opportunity to work inside the largely unexplored new world of materials research, vetting, documentation, and advocacy.The International Living Futures Institute has developed a list of worst-in-class chemicals and compounds that are widely used in construction products. We know that the course from first discernment to total ban for DDT took about 15 years; the Red List approach is a quicker, more responsive, advisory process based on a path to better health results. Many of us remember when asbestos was the all-purpose additive in many construction products and have followed its gradual removal with no ill effects on product performance. There are many cases where toxic products are simply not needed. EcoBatts by Knauf InsulationThe project team came across an acoustical issue at the Kern Center. Wright Builders and Integrated Eco Strategy researched and found Knauf Insulation, a company with a proprietary formula which excludes formaldehyde from their insulation. RELATED ARTICLES Manufacturers want inOver the course of these two LBC projects, we at Wright Builders have found that the word is getting out, and that many manufacturers want to be able to participate in the LBC. Paint companies and carpet companies are flocking to be included in specifications. And with each project or consumer purchase, the values of sustainability and resilience are reinforced for those manufacturers who make the commitment.An important connection is created between specifier, designer, builder, and tradesperson around making meaningful change every day. Overall, except for the Kone elevator, none of the products reviewed here come with a significant cost premium. Old habits die hard sometimes, but new habits can sparkle with a little hope, which is always a good thing. Fireblocking foam by Handi-FoamThis is a common product in most building supply stores. Having widely available, LBC-compliant product is great for the everyday buyer. Windows and doors by AlpenThese exterior windows and doors used at the Hitchcock Center are now Declare-labeled products. They have a low U-factor, which makes them attractive to designers aiming for a high performance building. Alpen has a pultruded fiberglass frame system, lots of custom options, and good design support. We have used the 725 series in three different applications with great results. Check out the 925 series and their other products. Expanding foam sealant by Premier Building SolutionsIn any industry, it’s normal for products to be discontinued. In our case, the approved expanded foam sealant was no longer available. Premier Building Solutions was able to provide a Red List-free product with the transparency needed to be approved on extremely short notice. Door hardware: ASSA ABLOYBefore the Living Building Challenge, many of the products made by ASSA ABLOY were already compliant. ASSA ABLOY was very diligent with transparency and is constantly working on improving their products. They are based in New Haven, Conn. Stonetech Bulletproof sealant by LaticreteThere are multiple LBC and Red List compliant stone sealers on the market. What sets Laticrete’s Stonetech Bulletproof apart is the extremely low VOC. A total of 12g/l makes this a smart choice when thinking about off-gassing. PolyWhey by Vermont Natural CoatingsVermont Natural Coatings is a small, regional company that makes great finishes using local whey by-product generated during the cheese-manufacturing process. We like this product for its low stink, local availability, ease of application, and durability. Our teams could sit down in the building for coffee or lunch near these applications and experience no smells. Almost weird — and of course, wonderful! Electric elevator by KONEThe hydraulic fluid used in traditional elevators is full of Red List chemicals. KONE manufactures an electric elevator which performs just as well as a hydraulic elevator. This product uses 40% less power than a hydraulic unit, and its mechanisms free up some of the space usually allocated to a machine room. It provides equal performance without harmful chemicals. The Hitchcock Center for the Environment at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., incorporates timber components manufactured by Nordic Structures.Paint by ECOS Paints and Benjamin Moore PaintsECOS Paints was one of the first options for Declare labeled paint, leading to its use at the Hitchcock Center. We also vetted several Benjamin Moore paints for the Kern Center. The Benjamin Moore paints, which are readily available nationwide, have recently been added to the Declare list of pre-approved products. However, in order to avoid using Red List products, careful attention should be paid to the contents of tints. Glue-laminated post and beam by Nordic StructuresThe post and beam structures inside the Kern Center and the Hitchcock Center are made from black spruce lamination sustainably harvested in Canada. Nordic Structures can make a structure in any shape as long as it can fit on the bed of a truck. Both buildings took advantage of this sustainable and beautiful product. Design, fabrication, and installation were done by Bensonwood for the Kern Center and Architectural Timber and Millwork for the Hitchcock Center.last_img read more

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Flatrock Passive: Wrapping Up the Air Barrier

first_imgIn the previous post we were beginning to install the OSB air barrier on the interior side of the 2×8 stud walls. Once all joints are caulked with acoustical sealant and then taped, the OSB will act as both an air barrier and a vapor retarder.It didn’t take long to decide that lifting these heavy sheets (each sheet of 1/2-inch OSB weighs about 46 pounds) and attaching them to the ceiling using muscle power and a dead man support was out of the question. Our local Princess Auto had a drywall lift on sale so we bought it (see Image #2 below).We started in one corner of the building. One person on a ladder guiding the other where to push the drywall lift loaded with a sheet of OSB worked great. Our first sheet was cut so that the edge of the sheet could be nailed under the underside of the roof truss. Using a framing nailer armed with 2 3/8-inch nails was the way to go. A hammer and nails was just frustrating. The second run of OSB was offset so the joints were staggered. There were 42 sheets of OSB in the ceiling, which took about eight hours for us to complete.After the ceiling was complete, the next task was to install the OSB on the walls. Luckily we already had a plan in place for this because we had completed the installation on the main level. The batt insulation had already been installed upstairs so all we had to do was start at one corner and install the sheet goods one at a time. Sealing around windows and doorsWith the date for our blower-door test set within the coming week, we had some major work to complete with air sealing around the windows and doors. Like all of the details for the air barrier, there is a redundant system for air sealing. First, the gap between the window and the buck gets a good bead of spray foam. This will provide some air sealing as well as some insulation to the gap. Next, a backer rod is installed. Finally, the backer rod is caulked to the door jambs/header and the window buck.Overall, its not a hard detail to implement… unless there’s not enough space between the window frame and the buck.When the windows were installed, we worked to ensure there was an even space all the way around. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that framing is accurate. It is not. Once a square window goes into a framed opening we quickly saw the bucks weren’t as square as the windows. We had to rob space at one corner of the window in order to get an even space at the opposite diagonal corner. With the longest window (9 feet), this lead to a 1/4-inch gap at the window corner.Low-expansion polyurethane foam was the first step in air-sealing windows and doors.My experience with the window installation is that Kohler doesn’t provide for enough space when specifying windows. They specified the rough opening should be 3/4 inches larger than the window frame. With framing inaccuracies being anywhere from 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch (especially as studs are drying, cupping, and warping), that’s simply not enough room to play with. A full inch would be better and would lead to a better installation, with gaps wide enough to work with.In any case, I had no other option but to work with the space left. Luckily, my spray foam gun has tips which can be inserted into fairly narrow openings. The big issue is seeing how much spray foam you are actually applying to the space between the buck and the window. Using a flashlight helps, but with really deep bucks it was really hard to see. I was using a low-expansion foam so I just had to spray enough so the bead touched the window/door and the buck.After some expansion there was still enough room to push backer rod in place. We caulked the backer rod to the door and the stud opening. For large gaps, we opted to caulk one side of the backer rod to the window/door and caulk the other side to the stud opening. On gaps smaller than 3/8 inch, the gap was filled with caulk.Because of the uneven spacing between the windows and the bucks, we needed a selection of backer rod. I picked up backer rod with thicknesses from 3/8 inch to 3/4 inch for the windows. Backer rod should be about 1/8 inch larger than the gap it’s filling in order for it to be effective. The rod should compress enough that it stays in place. Working around the window I transitioned from one size backer rod to another, pushing it in place with my fingers first and then pushing it firmly against the spray foam using a 4-inch broad knife.It is really amazing how effective backer rod is. The gap at the bottom of one of the sills was too narrow to spray foam. Because the bottom of the window was not caulked (for drainage) we could feel air entering the building from outside (it was a particularly windy day again). My only option here was to insert layers of backer rod. Pushing lengths of backer rod into the gap immediately stopped the air from entering, so I know it is doing the job it was meant to do. Sealing the seamsAfter the OSB was fastened it was time to start air-sealing the seams. The technique is straightforward: simply caulk the seam with a 1/4-inch bead of acoustical sealant and then roll 3M 8067 tape on top (see Image #3 below). After rolling the tape I used a J-roller to apply pressure to the tape and the bead of acoustical sealant. This flattens the acoustical sealant and pushes it into the seam. The walls were completed using the same procedure.Corners… those darn corners! They are a real pain to work with. The 3M tape is too floppy to work with in a corner. Blueskin, on the other hand, is pretty easy in comparison. First, the corner was primed with Bakor Hi Tac Primer. To make an inside corner I simply cut a square of Blueskin, and ran a half cut through the center. After a simple fold it was ready for install (see Images #4 and #5 below).There was an interesting conundrum with the upstairs wall. The OSB is attached to the bottom side of the trusses, then strapped with 2×4 before drywall is attached. In order for the ceiling to be the right height for drywall and to allow for about 1/2 inch of play at the bottom, the exterior wall had to be about 99 1/8 inches high. This height is not standard. Because of this, a single sheet of OSB wasn’t high enough to reach to the top of the wall. We had to add a 3-inch-wide strip all the way around the top of the 2×8 wall. This lead to a minor problem: How to seal the upper corner of the wall with Blueskin? My plan was to run the Blueskin 4 inches down the wall and 2 inches onto the ceiling. This would effectively cover two joints at the one time.Blueskin doesn’t have a split paper backing. Using a straightedge, I could score the paper backing if I cut lightly with a utility knife. 3M tape was too hard to work with in the corners. Blueskin is firmer and easier to place. We came up with a two-person system that allowed us to lay about 8 to 10 feet at a time. We primed the surface with Bakor Hi Tac Primer before applying the self-adhering membrane.The key here is to work slowly and methodically. Trying to rush leads to a bad installation with a lot wrinkles and folds. Even working slowly allows some folding. With some experience working with the material, we eventually were able to minimize wrinkling, mainly through careful observation as we were applying the tape. Overall the installation went pretty smoothly (see Image #6). The trick was to angle the bottom of the sheet against the bottom wall plate, wedge it with a foot and use hand force to compress the insulation while pushing the OSB in place against the studs. Nailing initially (with a framing nailer) at the plate holds the sheet in place. Working our way across and up the sheet with nails on 24-inch centers completed the job. If we overlapped with a window we found that scribing around windows and then cutting to fit worked best. RELATED ARTICLES Questions and Answers About Air BarriersOne Air Barrier or Two?Service Cavities for Wiring and Plumbingcenter_img Editor’s Note: This is one of a series of blogs by David Goodyear describing the construction of his new home in Flatrock, Newfoundland, the first in the province built to the Passive House standard. The first installment of the GBA blog series was titled An Introduction to the Flatrock Passive House. For a list of Goodyear’s earlier blogs on this site, see the “Related Articles” sidebar below; you’ll find his complete blog here. BLOGS BY DAVID GOODYEAR Insulation and an Air BarrierInstalling Windows and DoorsFoam Sheathing and Window DetailsFraming and Air SealingA Well Insulated SlabFootings and Frost WallsA Final Design and Energy ModelingAn Introduction to the Flatrock Passive House Air-sealing the rim joistsAir-sealing the rim joists called for a two-component spray foam (see Image #7 below). Initially, I was going to get a contractor to do this for me. However, after exploring my options, I decided to do it myself. We used a 600-board-foot kit that we purchased at our local Home Depot. We were equipped with a disposable suit, a respirator, safety glasses, and a set of nitrile gloves.Working in the rim joist space is difficult. Space is limited, which makes it hard to orient the spray gun and also makes it hard to see where you are spraying. It took some time to get the application right. Spraying on 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch gives about 1 inch when the foam has fully expanded.We sprayed the corners first then the surfaces as specified in the instructions. We sprayed a second coat after a couple of hours to ensure we had about 2 inches of foam as specified in my construction drawings (see Image #8 below). Spray foam can suffer from issues during the curing process, which can lead to non-uniform R-values. In places where the foam was protruding, I cut it off to inspect the quality. The pieces that were cut were randomly sampled. The inside of the the samples looked almost like XPS insulation. There were no large voids or bubbles so I am pretty confident that the application was good. Spray foam is expensive but about half the price if you do it yourself. A few final detailsSome final details included sealing around the ERV duct vents (see Image #9 below). First, I applied a bead of acoustical sealant around the duct, sealing it to the OSB sheathing. Next was a Roflex gasket from 475 High Performance Building Supply, pushed back to the OSB and tape-sealed with 3M 8067. The same application was completed for our wood stove air intake.In preparation for the blower door test, all duct openings, pipe stubs, etc, were sealed with tape and plastic. According to my Passive House designer, the area included in the thermal boundary is 5,906.8 square feet. Based on the PHIUS standard, I need to hit 0.05 cfm/sq. ft. for a total of 295.34 CFM at 50 pascals of depressurization. This is a hard target to meet but I feel that we have implemented the air-sealing details accurately, so we are hopeful!With the air-sealing details completed, we feel a sense of accomplishment and a sense of uncertainty.last_img read more

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Pawn Shops: The Basics

first_imgBy Carol ChurchHave you ever visited a pawn shop? Businesses like these have been in business in one way or another for thousands of years. Pawnshops offer an opportunity for people in need of money to get a short-term loan by offering their belongings as collateral.  Although bringing possessions to a pawnshop can be one way to obtain cash when money is short, it’s important to understand the pawnshop model.How Does It Work?The way it usually works is this:You bring in your item. Typically, pawnshops are interested in relatively valuable goods, such as electronics, jewelry, tools, firearms, and musical instruments.The pawnshop tells you if they are interested and how much they will offer. Bargaining is typical. The amount you receive will not be the full value of the item.If you both agree, you are given the agreed amount of money and a ticket or claim form.You are now agreeing to a loan, with interest. In order to get the item back, you must repay the loan. It’s important to understand the total amount due and when it is due. Usually, you get about 1-4 months to repay.If you repay the total amount within a specified time, you can go reclaim your item. If you do not, the item now belongs to the store, who can sell it.In some cases, one can also simply sell belongings to a pawnshop outright, with no agreement to come back and reclaim them. However, most pawnbrokers prefer the collateral loan option. This is because it will make them more money.What Should Customers Know Before Dealing with A Pawnshop?Research pawnshops in the area beforehand to find out which ones are considered reputable and which are not. Some pawn shops also specialize in certain kinds of items.Customers should be sure to completely understand the terms of the loan—when is it due? What is the total amount due? The pawnshop MUST disclose this information, by law.In some circumstances, it is possible to extend the length of a loan, but this will incur additional fees.If customers lose their ticket, they will probably not be able to reclaim their item.One must show government-issued ID to conduct a pawnshop loan.Pros and Cons of Pawnshop LoansPawnshops can be appealing because they offer the chance to acquire a small loan of money quickly and fairly easily with no credit check and a minimum of red tape. In addition, if a customer is unable to return to repay the loan and claim the item, his or her credit will not be damaged. According to the National Pawnbrokers Association, 80% of consumers do return to claim their items.The downside of pawnshop loans is the high interest they charge, though this varies by state. In some cases, pawnshops also engage in deceptive practices by advertising low APRs, but then tacking on numerous last-minute fees.Pawnshops and Members of the MilitaryHowever, there is an important caveat to this interest rate warning for members of the military. Thanks to the protections of the Military Lending Act, pawnbrokers are now limited as to how much interest they can legally charge active members of the military and their dependents. The rate is now capped at 36% annually (3% a month).This new law has been controversial and pawnbrokers are currently suing the government in regard to it, but for the time being, it stands. All pawnshop owners are required to check with customers regarding their military status. Be aware, however, that a pawnshop may also legally refuse service to military members.Alternatives to PawnshopsConsumers and members of the military who find themselves short of cash and in need of a short-term cash infusion to tide things over do have other options. If parting with some consumer goods that are no longer needed still seems like the best option, selling the item on Craig’s List or eBay might well produce a larger profit without the issue of interest. Other options include a small personal loan from a bank or especially a credit union, working with a creditor to develop a payment plan (if debt is the issue), a cash advance on a credit card, or even a peer-to-peer lending platform such as Lending Club. For military members, special relief programs like Army Emergency Relief offer zero-interest loans and other help.Pawnshops do serve a unique function as far as their ability to offer small collateral-based loans without requiring a credit check or impacting credit, but it’s important to keep in mind that they are often considered a type of predatory lending that takes advantage of people in poor financial situations. Customers should exercise caution and care before dealing with a pawnshop.References:Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (2016). CFPB Takes Action Against Pawn Companies for Deceiving Consumers About Loan Costs.Dempsey, B. (2016). Pawnshop 101: What you need to know.Gonsalves, R. What Pawn Brokers Need to Know About the Military Lending Act (MLA) (n.d.) Rules of trade for pawn shops and pawnbrokers.last_img read more

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Exciting New Prospects for Lighting Your Future Set

first_imgIn the wake of the multiple announcements at this year’s IBC, let’s look at some of the newest and craziest lights about to hit the market.It’s a great time to be a filmmaker. Lights are getting lighter, cheaper, and brighter. They can be placed and powered in ways never before imagined. Here’s a few in review.ARRI OrbiterARRI is the undisputed king of cinema lighting. Between its SkyPanel LEDs and its M series HMIs, ARRI fixtures do most of the heavy illumination on professional film sets. While not cheap, they dominate the rental market because of their reliability and durability.Never ones to rest on their own laurels, ARRI introduced a totally new platform called the Orbiter. It’s a RGB LED spotlight with an internal ballast in a form factor that looks more like a generator than a light. This strange, chunky fixture is said to be as bright as a Tungsten 2K, but is actually fully RGB. It offers color effects, remote control, and a variety of detachable light modifiers ranging from super focused spotlight to soft spacelight. Shipping in early 2020, it’ll be around $7000 as a base price.Hudson SpiderThe brainchild of DP Tim Hudson, these multi-armed, parabolic folding arrays give a soft, focused light in places others can’t, such as boomed over a ballroom or strapped to a moving car. They have become a favorite “hero” light on several Marvel films, and other big Hollywood productions.If something is stopping them from becoming more widely adopted, it’s the $7400 price tag. Hudson just introduced the Mozzie, a smaller, more stripped down version — for less than half the price — that can be handheld as a follow fill or bounced into a 6” umbrella for a huge specular source, all powered from a single V-mount.Intellytech LiteCloth MegaLarge, foldable LED blankets have been on the market for some time now, but they’ve been outside the budget of most filmmakers. Then, Intellytech showed off their Mega. This 3’ x 4.5’ light is powered by mains or two V-mount batteries with a frame and a grid, all for less than $2000.It’s such a large, soft source that it doesn’t really need to be modified at all. Just point it at your subject and you have soft, bright light, right out of the box. This is great for high-end interviews that want that “MasterClass” aesthetic, but only have twenty minutes to spare.Digital Sputnik VoyagerA high end approach to the tube form factor, the Voyager is a two or four foot fixture that can be full RGB, but each LED in the array can be controlled independently. That means you can animate different colors or effects into the lights control, even when filming fire or the ocean. Then the light plays back that pattered of color and illumination as an effect. The Voyager really takes RGB to the next level. It’s almost a light projector rather than just a source of illumination.If that’s not enough, it’s also waterproof and the internal blast has its own rechargeable battery.Cover image by laplandr.Want more on lighting tips and gear? Check these out.Tips for Building DIY Lighting Setups for Under $100A Cheap Trick for Lighting a Daylight Interior Car SceneNature’s Lighting: A Guide on Shooting With or Against the SunFollow Fill: The Simple Solution to Lighting a Difficult SceneLighting in a Pinch: Five Tricks Using Your Mobile Phonelast_img read more

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10 months agoMan City midfielder Sterling: Liverpool ideal for Salah

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man City midfielder Sterling: Liverpool ideal for Salahby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester City midfielder Raheem Sterling isn’t surprised by the success of Mohamed Salah at Liverpool.Sterling says former club Liverpool is the ideal stage for the Egyptian.Speaking with 360 Sport, Sterling said: “I’m not surprised (by how well Salah’s done).“He’s gone to Liverpool and it’s clicked for him.”Every player has a moment when they are good, very good and then it clicks. He’s been exceptional.”But it’s about how you maintain it – and he’s maintained that perfectly and that’s a credit to him.” last_img read more

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Regional Heads of Correctional Services Encouraged to Work More Closely

first_img Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, has called on heads of correctional services in the Caribbean to work more closely to transform the delivery of service and the lives of inmates. “You are meeting at a time when we need to be working towards one aim, speaking with one voice and setting goals and co-opting partners on the journey to one destiny – peaceful, progressive and prosperous societies,” Mr. Spencer said. Addressing the Association of Caribbean Heads of Corrections and Prison Services (ACHCPS) Conference 2018 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Monday (June 11), Mr. Spencer said it is through collaboration that the nations can learn from each other and improve service delivery. Story Highlights Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, has called on heads of correctional services in the Caribbean to work more closely to transform the delivery of service and the lives of inmates.Addressing the Association of Caribbean Heads of Corrections and Prison Services (ACHCPS) Conference 2018 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Monday (June 11), Mr. Spencer said it is through collaboration that the nations can learn from each other and improve service delivery.“You are meeting at a time when we need to be working towards one aim, speaking with one voice and setting goals and co-opting partners on the journey to one destiny – peaceful, progressive and prosperous societies,” Mr. Spencer said.“Globally, we continue to see the theme of cooperation and collaboration being essential to successfully confronting and overcoming existing challenges and emerging threats. Though we are many islands separated by land and sea, there should be no distance in sharing resources, knowledge and best practices,” he added.Mr. Spencer argued that transformation on all levels, whether within structure of their organisations or in the lives of inmates, requires good leaders, and encouraged the members of ACHCPS to be integral in the process.“Transformation requires leaders who are innovators, leaders who inspire and leaders who understand the need for social and economic inclusion of inmates and wards,” the State Minister said.“They are not necessarily bad for being bad’s sake, but made poor life choices and need to be given the chance to reform their thinking, and the tools to make better decisions,” he added.Mr. Spencer highlighted some of the achievements of some of the correctional service departments across the Caribbean region, which included the work of Cayman’s Department of Community Rehabilitation, where they expanded the gender-specific services they offer to female offenders, and the establishment of the Female Empowerment Services Project; the partnership between Jamaica and the Organization of American States with the project, ‘A New Path: Promoting a Healthy Environment and Productive Alternatives for Juvenile Remandees and Offenders’; and the ‘Agricultural Self-Sufficiency Programme’, where all correctional institutions in Jamaica, except the Horizon Adult Remand Centre, are engaged in agricultural production.The four-day conference will bring together delegates from 22 member countries across the region, representatives from the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) and guests from the Netherlands, United States and Namibia.Some of the topics to be discussed include Leadership essentials for transforming prisons and correctional services; Radicalisation in prisons; and Building intelligence: opportunities and challenges of drone technology for Caribbean-based correctional facilities.The conference is being held under the theme ‘Transforming Prisons and Correctional Services for Regional Development’.last_img read more