Twiddle Debuts New Song “Moments” At The State Theatre [Full Audio]

first_imgLast Wednesday, Twiddle made their way up North to the State Theatre in Portland, ME. With Thanksgiving on everyone’s mind, the band debuted a sentimental new song called “Moments,” written by Mihali Savoulidis. Fortunately, taperchris was on hand to capture the full audio from this exciting performance. Listen below for the new song and more from this great night of music!last_img

The Latest: Mexico sees near-record daily coronavirus deaths

first_imgMEXICO CITY — Mexico reported a near-record 1,707 confirmed coronavirus deaths Wednesday, as the country runs out of vaccines.,The Health Department reported Mexico’s COVID-19 deaths now total 161,240, and confirmed infections rose by 12,153 to nearly 1.89 million. Estimates based on excess-death statistics suggest the real death toll is over 195,000.,Mexico approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine Tuesday, but has not yet signed a purchase contract and does not have a firm date for its first delivery. The government had hoped to get 400,000 doses by the end of February.,Mexico has received about 766,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and has administered about 686,000 shots, with much of the remainder set aside for second doses. The next Pfizer shipment is not expected until mid-February.,Meanwhile, the government website set up to register people for vaccines when they do arrive was overwhelmed and inoperable for a second straight day.,___,THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:,Spain surpasses 60,000 confirmed virus deaths. CDC: Schools can safely reopen without teacher shots; data indicates social distancing and wearing masks help prevent virus spread. Dr. Fauci suggests watching Super Bowl at home with household to avoid spreading coronavirus. Japan to enforce mandatory coronavirus orders with fines. British officials say Oxford study backs up their decision to delay second vaccine shot for up to 12 weeks. World Health Organization investigators visit Chinese virus lab that’s subject of speculation about coronavirus origins.,Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak,___,HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:,TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas health department says a more contagious variant of the coronavirus first identified in Great Britain has arrived in the state.,The health department reported Wednesday evening that a case of the variant had been identified in Ellis County in northwestern Kansas. The department said officials are conducting an investigation to determine how the patient contracted the virus and whether other people were exposed. It did not release details about the patient.,Health department head and Dr. Lee Norman said the public health advice about avoiding large gatherings, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing has not changed.,The arrival of the variant comes with Kansas seeing an improvement in its COVID-19 case numbers. According to state health department data, Kansas averaged 914 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases a day for the seven days ending Wednesday, the first time the rolling seven-day average was below 1,000 since Oct. 28.,___,OKLAHOMA CITY — About 11,500 doses of the coronavirus vaccine will be shipped to pharmacies across Oklahoma next week, state health officials said.,Deputy state health commissioner Keith Reed said the shipment is part of a plan by President Joe Biden’s administration to distribute 1 million doses to some 6,500 pharmacies nationwide. The pharmacies signed on to the federal distribution program and the state is not involved in allocation.,“We anticipate there’s probably going to be around 75 total pharmacies that will receive some level of vaccine inventory,” Reed said. “They’re going to have limited vaccine … maybe 100 doses or 200 doses,” for the week.,The health department reported an additional 52 Oklahoma deaths due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, and 2,119 coronavirus cases for 3,654 deaths and 394,283 cases since the pandemic began.,Interim Health Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye said virus testing at Oklahoma State University may have also found the first case of a variant of the virus, but that the testing was not performed under standard research protocols.,“Yes, it has been identified, but they are doing further studies now to see … the extent and if it’s really there,” Frye said. He did not say which variant.,___,TORONTO — Canada’s most populous province of Ontario will reopen all schools for in class learning this month despite the presence of new coronavirus variants and a high number of infections in Toronto and its suburbs.,The majority of schools will reopen Monday while those in Toronto and its suburbs will resume in-person learning on Feb 16. There are no plans to vaccinate teachers.,Education Minister Stephen Lecce says returning kids to school safely is crucial for their development and mental health. All students in Ontario began in January with online learning as part of a provincial lockdown. The Ontario government previously said that all students currently learning online would be able to return to classrooms by Feb. 10.,___,SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco has taken a dramatic step in its effort to get kids back in public schools, suing its own school district to try to force classrooms to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.,The lawsuit is the first of its kind in California and possibly the country, as school systems come under increasing pressure from parents and politicians to end online learning. With support from Mayor London Breed, City Attorney Dennis Herrera on Wednesday sued the San Francisco Board of Education and the San Francisco Unified School District.,Teachers unions in many large school districts, including San Francisco, say they won’t go back to classrooms until they are vaccinated.,“Not a single San Francisco public school student has set foot in their classroom in 347 days,” said City Attorney Dennis Herrera said at a news conference, calling it shameful and also unlawful. “More than 54,000 San Francisco schoolchildren are suffering. They are being turned into Zoom-bies by online school. Enough is enough.”,___,PORTLAND, Ore. — A judge has ordered all inmates in the Oregon prison system to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccinations — a move that should make prisoners immediately eligible for inoculation.,The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the preliminary injunction issued Tuesday orders all Oregon Department of Corrections inmates be offered a vaccine as part of phase 1A, group 2, of Oregon’s COVID-19 vaccination plan — putting prison inmates in the same category as people living in nursing homes and other congregate care settings.,The order should make prisoners eligible for vaccines now, but it’s not clear if they’ll move ahead of teachers or the elderly. But given that the Oregon Health Authority dictates where vaccines are shipped, the state has the ability to redirect doses for prisons. The order will allow adults in custody to “stand in the same line” as others in congregate living facilities with a high risk of COVID-19 infection, Chavez said.,___,LONDON — People up and down the U.K. took to their doorstep to honor Captain Tom Moore with a national clap, a day after the 100-year-old died after testing positive for COVID-19.,The British World War II veteran walked into the hearts of the nation during the first coronavirus lockdown last April when he shuffled up and down his garden to raise an astonishing 33 million pounds ($40 million) for health care workers.,Prime Minister Boris Johnson had earlier urged the public to join in the clap “to show our appreciation for him and all that he stood for and believed in.”,Captain Tom’s family said they were “incredibly touched” by the gesture and took part outside their home in the village of Marston Moretaine in Bedfordshire.,___,ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey says it has detected two cases of the COVID-19 variant that was first found in South Africa and one case of the Brazilian variant.,Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Wednesday that all three patients with the South Africa and Brazil variants are being kept in isolation in hospitals, along with people they had been in contact with. He did not provide further information on the patients.,Koca also raised to 196 the number of people who have been infected with the variant which was first detected in southeast England.,Turkey had temporarily suspended flights from Britain, Denmark, South Africa and Brazil in a bid to prevent the spread of the variants, which researchers believe to be more infections.,___,LONDON — Researchers from Oxford University say AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine does more than protect people from falling seriously ill, it also appears to reduce transmission of the virus.,The study released on Wednesday suggested a single dose of the AstraZeneca formula provides a high level of protection for 12 weeks.,The preliminary findings from Oxford University, a co-developer of the vaccine, could vindicate the British government’s controversial strategy of delaying the second shot so that more people can get a first dose. Up to now, the recommended time between the first and second dose has been four weeks.,Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, dismissed deliberately delaying second shots. He says the U.S. will “go by the science” and data from the clinical trials. The doses of the Pifzer and Moderna vaccines used in the U.S. are to be given three and four weeks apart.,Britain is using vaccines by AstraZeneca and Pfizer. AstraZeneca has also been authorized by the 27-nation European Union.,Pfizer has not endorsed the British government’s decision to lengthen the time between doses.,___,SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California is joining with the federal government to open two new vaccination centers as test areas for President Joseph Biden’s effort to create 100 mass vaccination sites nationwide in 100 days.,Gov. Gavin Newsom says the sites at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum and California State University, Los Angeles, will be jointly run with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.,The move comes as California’s most deadly pandemic surge eases but as the state struggles with vaccine shortages in a race to vaccinate the most vulnerable. Newsom pitched the new sites as part of the larger effort to target communities that might otherwise be left behind.,California reported 13,134 confirmed cases on Tuesday. The state has registered nearly 42,000 total deaths, second behind New York with 44,000 confirmed deaths.,___,MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaragua’s government says it has approved Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.,The government outlet El 19 Digital says, “Nicaragua is advancing in its negotiations with Russia to supply” the vaccine. It was the first vaccine approved in Nicaragua, which still awaits its first doses.,The government had said in January it had initiated efforts to acquire vaccines from various laboratories around the world and hoped to vaccinate 3.7 million people in an initial stage.,The government of President Daniel Ortega has been criticized for not implementing stricter health measures to slow the spread of the virus. Nicaragua has 170 confirmed deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.,___,MADRID — The coronavirus pandemic has crushed Spain’s key tourism industry, with visitors dropping from 84 million to 19 million last year.,The decrease snapped a seven-year trend of annual records. The National Statistics Institute says income from tourism plunged to just 20 billion euros ($24 billion) in 2020, a 79% decrease.,It was estimated that tourism represented some 11% of Spain’s 1.1 trillion-euro GDP before the pandemic. It has long ranked among the top three tourism destinations, along with France and the United States.,Authorities hope Spain’s vaccination program will boost confidence among travelers.,Spain aims for 30% to 40% of its population vaccinated in the second quarter and 70% during the summer.,___,WASHINGTON — The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says schools can safely reopen even if teachers are not vaccinated for the coronavirus.,As some teachers’ unions balk at resuming in-person instruction before teachers are inoculated, Dr. Rochelle Walensky says, “Vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools.” Walensky cited CDC data showing that social distancing and wearing a mask significantly reduce the spread of the virus in school settings.,White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients called on Congress to pass additional funding to ensure schools have the resources necessary to support reopening.,President Joe Biden has pledged to ensure nearly all K-8 schools will reopen for in-person instruction in the first 100 days of his administration.,Teachers are prioritized as “essential workers” under the CDC’s vaccination plans, though many have yet to receive doses as the nation continues to face a supply shortage of the vaccine.,___,MELBOURNE — All competition at six Australian Open tuneup events scheduled for Thursday was called off after a worker at one of the tournaments’ Melbourne quarantine hotels tested positive for COVID-19. Players preparing for the year’s first Grand Slam tournament must isolate at their hotels until they test negative for the illness caused by the coronavirus. The Australian Open is scheduled to begin Monday.,Any players, coaches or officials who quarantined at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Melbourne were deemed to be casual contacts of the 26-year-old infected man and required to remain in their hotels until they test negative.,The political leader of Victoria state called a late-night news conference to announce the case and urge anyone with symptoms in Melbourne to get tested. Daniel Andrews says he doesn’t expect any disruptions to the Australian Open.,___,TOKYO — Japan enacted legislation allowing officials to enforce coronavirus measures by punishing violators of mandatory orders with fines.,This comes as the country struggles to slow the latest wave of infections amid growing uncertainty about the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine considered key to holding the Olympics this summer.,The legislation was passed by the parliament and enacted into law the day after Prime Minister Yoshihide extended an ongoing non-binding state of emergency in Tokyo and nine other urban areas by one month until March 7.,Under the revised laws that take effect next week, restaurants, bars and other business owners that defy mandatory orders for shorter service hours or closures can be fined up to 300,000 yen ($2,860). Fines of up to 500,000 yen ($4,760) can be imposed on patients who refuse to be hospitalized, and up to 300,000 ($2,860) to those who refuse to cooperate with health authorities in contact tracing and other surveys.,Daily new cases have declined since January, but serious cases are still putting pressure on hospitals, experts say. The health ministry reports Japan had 393,836 confirmed cases and 5,912 confirmed deaths on Tuesday.,___,WASHINGTON — When it comes to Super Bowl parties during this pandemic year, Dr. Anthony Fauci’s says to “just lay low and cool it.”,President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser says during TV interviews Wednesday that now isn’t the time to invite people over for watch parties because of the possibility that they’re infected with the coronavirus and could sicken others.,He says big events like Sunday’s game in Tampa, Florida, between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are always a cause for concern. Fauci says the best thing people can do is watch the game on TV at home with the people in your household.,The NFL has capped the game attendance at 22,000 because of the pandemic and citywide coronavirus mandates.last_img read more

Winter Hay Shortage

first_imgSome Georgia cattlemen face a critical shortage this winter. Scarce hay supplies causeproblems now and far into the future.”There is definitely a hay shortage in Georgia this winter,” said RobertStewart, an animal scientist with the University of Georgia Extension Service. “Andother problems associated with the extreme cold weather have made the situation even worsefor many cattle producers.”Stewart said 1995 produced normal hay yields in Georgia, which should have been enoughto carry the state’s beef cattle through a normal winter.”But the weather this winter has been far from average,” he said.In cold weather, cattle rely on feed to keep them warm. Digestion produces much of thebody heat that keeps them warm.Like humans, cattle like to feel full, especially when it’s cold. Stewart said a cowneeds about 25 pounds of dry feed every day to maintain her weight.Hay is the main feed for Georgia cattle. It makes up 70 percent to 100 percent of acow’s diet.Other feed sources include cotton seed, peanut hulls, commercial feed, broilerlitter, corn, oats and grazing. These are added to hay and provide fiber, protein, energyand micronutrients.If cattle farmers run out of hay, they must look to other sources to balance their feedplan.Quality Georgia hay will sell for about $40 per ton at harvest. With short supplies,though, it’s bringing $60 to $90 per ton now. So many farmers have turned to their wintergrazing to keep their cows fed and happy.But a frigid December slowed the growth of winter grazing crops like oats and rye.”That forced many cattlemen to start feeding hay until the weather warmed upenough for winter grazing crops to grow,” Stewart said.Continued cold has kept winter grazing crops from growing as they should. And farmerswho started feeding hay early have had to keep feeding hay.Until the weather warms to 45 degrees at night, winter grazing can’t grow. Most grazingcrops won’t come out of dormancy for another 30 to 45 days in north Georgia and 60 to 90days in south Georgia.”That’s a long time to keep feeding hay,” Stewart said.He tells farmers to apply nitrogen to encourage their winter grazing crops to grow.Those who haven’t applied nitrogen in the past 60 days should consider topdressing onepound of nitrogen for each remaining expected grazing day per acre.When the crop grows to eight inches tall, Stewart said, farmers can safely startlimited grazing. But he warns them against overgrazing.”That could significantly increase regrowth time and put farmers back into thesame situation,” he said.When farmers face feed shortages, their normal reaction is to sell some of theircattle. That may be a good final option, Stewart said. But farmers should look for otherfeed strategies first.Cattle prices are low now. If farmers sell their cows they could drive prices evenlower. “That just makes it harder for producers to financially justify high feedcosts,” he said.Pregnant or lactating cows need more feed to maintain their body weight and fill theircalves’ nutritional needs. Poor nutrition now can mean low weaning weights for calves thisfall.It can mean low conception rates this season for cows and heifers, too. And that canresult in fewer calves born in 1997.Cattle famers shouldn’t panic. But knowing how feed problems now can affect cattleproduction over the next two years is important.”The most urgent requirement for cattle farmers is to fill up those cows,” hesaid. “Even at inflated prices, good-quality hay is still the most economical feedsource for cattle.”Georgia farmers in the pinch,” he said, “will just need to ration itcarefully with other feed sources to make it last.”last_img read more

North Georgia Drought

first_imgIn May 2016, most of Georgia suffered from a lack of rainfall, while record-setting rain fell in Savannah, Georgia. Drought conditions expanded statewide, and severe drought returned to the northwest corner of Georgia by the end of last month.In the dry areas of the state, pastures, livestock and summer row crops suffered due to this lack of rainfall. Some farmers were waiting for rain to finish planting their dryland crops, and many corn farmers relied on irrigation to keep their crops healthy during the month.In central Georgia and the coast, where wet conditions occurred, some fungal diseases were observed.According to National Weather Service stations, the highest monthly total rainfall was 8.99 inches in Savannah, 6.01 inches above normal. The lowest monthly total rainfall was 0.78 inches in Albany, Georgia, 1.91 inches below normal.Atlanta received 1.25 inches of rainfall, 2.42 inches below normal. Athens, Georgia, received 2.49 inches, 0.51 inches below normal.Columbus, Georgia, received 2.51 inches, 0.68 inches below normal.Macon, Georgia, received 1.96 inches, 0.76 inches below normal. Augusta, Georgia, received 5.71 inches, 3.06 inches above normal.Alma, Georgia, received 3.34 inches, 0.87 inches above normal. Brunswick, Georgia, received 1.68 inches, 0.18 inches below normal.Valdosta, Georgia, received 3.45 inches, 0.92 inches above normal.Savannah received most of its monthly rainfall in the middle of the month. The Savannah weather service station set a new daily record on May 17, recording 2.29 inches of rain, breaking the old record of 1.62 inches set in 1980. Augusta broke a daily record on May 29, receiving 2.28 inches, breaking the old record of 2.08 inches set in 2001.The highest single-day rainfall recorded by Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network volunteers was a total of 8.65 inches, recorded south of Savannah in Chatham County, Georgia, on the morning of May 18. This total was followed by 7.59 inches, which was recorded on Skidaway Island, also in Chatham County.Many other stations in that area received more than 5 inches of rain on May 18. The highest monthly rainfall totals were 14.34 inches, recorded in Newington, Georgia, in Screven County; 12.7 inches recorded near Marlow, Georgia, in Effingham County; and 10.15 inches recorded by a Savannah observer with the highest daily amount.On the other end of the spectrum, one network volunteer in southwest Georgia’s Grady County reported that he had received only 0.73 inches for the whole month.Temperatures at most locations were near normal in May. In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 71.1 degrees Fahrenheit, 1.0 degrees above normal.Athens: 70.3 degrees F, 0.3 degrees above normal.Columbus: 72.5 degrees F, 0.5 degrees below normal.Macon: 71.8 degrees F, 0.1 degrees below normal.Savannah: 74.0 degrees F, 0.7 degrees above normal.Brunswick: 74.9 degrees F, 0.4 degrees above normal.Alma: 73.0 degrees F, 0.7 degrees below normal.Augusta: 70.7 degrees F, 0.4 degrees below normal.Albany: 74.5 degrees F, 0 degrees above normal.Valdosta: 73.9 degrees F, 0.1 degrees above normal.Rome, Georgia: 69.0 degrees F, 0.8 degrees above normal. Brunswick tied a 1973 record low temperature of 50 degrees F on May 6, and tied a 2012 record for high nighttime low temperature with 73 degrees F on May 2.Climatologists are predicting that the summer will bring warmer-than-normal conditions. Dry conditions or drought may continue in northwest Georgia in June, although there are no trends determined for the summer period overall.Cooler-than-normal water in the equatorial Pacific Ocean means that El Nino is almost gone and neutral conditions should be declared before a likely swing to La Nina later in summer. The Atlantic tropical season began with the development of Tropical Storm Bonnie in late May, and activity is expected to be normal to above-average this year due to La Nina conditions.For more information, visit the Climate and Agriculture in the South East blog at blog.extension.uga.edu/climate, or visit our new website at gaclimate.org. Please feel free to email your weather and climate impacts on agriculture, to be shared on the blog, to pknox@uga.edu.last_img read more

Vermont PSB approves CVPS’ $350,000 renewable spending plans

first_imgThe Vermont Public Service Board has approved spending on a series of renewable energy projects and studies proposed by Central Vermont Public Service. The CVPS proposals, filed with the PSB in July, include seven renewable projects and studies at a total cost of about $350,000.  The board approved them in a decision received late Friday. The three studies are intended to help CVPS expand its popular Cow Power program, learn about the potential for algae as an energy source, and possibly expand production at an existing Rutland County hydroelectric facility.Studies focus on manure, algae and waterA $10,000 Essex Partnership study will evaluate a new Cow Power model of collecting methane gas from a group of smaller farms and using it to generate electricity at a central facility.A second study is under way by Algepower Inc., which has developed Algeponics™, a patented photobioreactor, an enclosed farm system for growing algae, which could be used as a fuel or food source.  The first prototype has been linked to a CVPS Cow Power™ digester on the Blue Spruce Farm in Bridport. CVPS’s $50,000 grant to Algepower, now approved by the PSB, will help fund development and operation of the pilot prototype.The third study, at a cost of $25,000, will examine the potential to increase generation at CVPS’s Carver Falls hydroelectric station in Poultney.  The plant has peak generation of 1.9 megawatts, and has produced an average of 7,340,000 kilowatt-hours of energy annually over the past decade.“CVPS was the first utility in the world to put wind-generated power on the grid and the first to develop a customer-driven, manure-based energy product,” said CVPS spokesman Steve Costello.  “These studies will help us remain on the cutting edge of new generation potential, and support ideas with tremendous potential to benefit Vermont.”Funding approved for four projectsIn addition to the three grants, the PSB approved CVPS requests to allocate funds to several existing renewable projects.  They include:Arnold Falls Hydroelectric Facility Crest Control Installation in St. Johnsbury ($140,000)Southern Loop Combined Heat and Power Development Fund contribution ($50,000)Solar plug-in hybrid vehicle charging station in Rutland Town ($40,000)Wind metering tower for renewable education site in Rutland Town ($16,000).“We have among the cleanest energy supplies in the nation,” Costello said.  “These projects and grants will help us maintain that clean portfolio in the years ahead.”last_img read more

Pump up your payments revenue

first_img 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Invisible payments, new competitors, and a shifting consumer mindset are threatening payments revenue, which is made up of interchange, interest income, overdraft and other fees.Because of this, preserving—and even growing—payments-related revenue is a top priority for high-performing financial institutions.While payments revenue may not be as high among credit unions as the nation’s major banks, one fact is certain: credit card programs are typically the dominant revenue engine inside a cooperative’s payments programs. At close to 2.5%, they generate the highest return on assets across U.S. retail financial products.Lost income is not the sole worry for credit union leaders strategizing for the future of payments. Just as important is lost data. continue reading »last_img read more

Berger pushes SBA for updated PPP guidance

first_img continue reading » NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger Tuesday urged the Small Business Administration (SBA) to release updated guidance to help paycheck protection program (PPP) lenders and borrowers implement changes enacted by the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act – H.R. 7010.President Donald Trump last week signed into law legislation to add flexibility to how PPP funds are used, including extending deadlines for using the loans and rehiring workers. Access NAFCU’s newly updated version of its PPP FAQs noting these changesIn the letter to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza, Berger specifically asked the SBA for clarification on whether the lowered requirement of loan proceeds to be used for payroll costs applies to all loans whose forgiveness applications have not yet been approved.Berger also noted guidance should cover whether borrowers who have already applied for forgiveness may reapply to “alleviate any disparity among borrowers.” ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Amsterdam must fix up apartments

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionI just read the Nov. 19 article about residents from Puerto Rico making Amsterdam their new home after being displaced by the hurricane.While Amsterdam is, I am certain, in better circumstances than Puerto Rico to provide basic human needs and a better quality of life, I can’t help but feel sad for these newcomers. Many of the apartments in Amsterdam would not even pass code inspection. If you’re fortunate enough to get into the “projects” of Amsterdam, then you are set. I laugh writing that. I come from south Florida. I have seen projects. I never imagined people would fight to get in them instead of out. No one should have to live in poorly maintained apartments. It just seems the overwhelming amount of slumlord-owned properties that are going to take further advantage of these unknowing new citizens of Amsterdam. They’re already vulnerable from the losses ripped from them by the storm. I think it’s horrendous that the city of Amsterdam will allow these families, or anyone, to live in and pay rent to a landlord who doesn’t meet code enforcement standards. The fact that Montgomery County Social Services helps pay rent to these landlords is more mind-blowing. They send an inspector to make sure applicants, seeking help, aren’t being fraudulent, but aren’t concerned with the fraud the landlord is committing.If an apartment isn’t up to code, I’m talking bigger things — electrical, smoke detectors, right amount of exits, gas appliances etc. — then rent should be with held until repairs are made. Why does the county pay the rent on these thrown-together apartments?I welcome my new neighbors. I just hope they don’t have to settled for housing that barely gets its taxes paid, let alone the proper care and repairs.Deborah PiellucciAmsterdam More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusThree seniors who started as seventh-graders providing veteran experience for Amsterdam golfEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

Xinjiang residents protest online against virus lockdown

first_img“Why can’t prefectures with no cases remove the lockdown? Why do you need to lock down the whole of Xinjiang?” read one comment on Weibo, which received thousands of likes.”Doors have been sealed, this has brought huge inconvenience to workers and people’s lives. Prices of daily items have risen… many things I buy are expired.”Little information has been released by the authorities about the Xinjiang cluster.Other local governments in China have provided information on patients’ movements in granular detail.Photos circulating on Weibo and WeChat also purportedly showed people chained to community gates with handcuffs, reportedly as a punishment for leaving their homes.Some residents also wrote that they were forced by authorities to take Chinese medicine daily, and were required to film themselves doing so.One video from Saturday purportedly showed dozens of high-rise residents in Urumqi yelling from their windows in despair.Stranded migrant workers, university students, business travellers and tourists have also complained about not being able to leave Xinjiang.”I have even taken three nucleic acid tests… but community workers won’t let me leave,” one user wrote on a message board run by the state-run People’s Daily.At a press conference last Thursday, local health officials in Xinjiang said that the epidemic situation remains “complicated and severe”.Around half of Xinjiang’s more than 21 million people are ethnic Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims, many of whom complain of decades of political and religious oppression by China’s ruling Communist Party, which the government denies.Activists have accused the Chinese government of incarcerating about one million Uighurs and other Turkic people in Xinjiang camps. Beijing has described them as vocational training centers to counter Islamic radicalism. Residents in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region have complained on social media about the harsh coronavirus lockdown measures in the sensitive region after a local outbreak.China — where the disease first emerged — had largely brought domestic transmission under control through lockdowns, travel restrictions and testing, but sporadic regional outbreaks have emerged.A new cluster in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi in mid-July prompted fresh restrictions. A total of 902 cases have been officially reported in the outbreak. Officials said earlier this month that they had “effectively contained” the spread of the Urumqi cluster, and there have been no new cases reported in the last eight days.But hundreds of local residents flooded local social media forums in recent days to complain about harsh conditions, including many being forced to stay home.After some of these comments were removed — China’s internet is heavily censored — users tried to flood local forums on the Twitter-like Weibo platform in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.Social media users shared photos of front doors sealed with steel crowbars, and locks installed by community workers.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Coast’s property market set for 2% growth: report

first_imgHerron Todd White property valuers have tipped two per cent growth on the Gold Coast.A LEADING property valuer has predicted the growth of the Gold Coast’s booming property market to stabilise this year, with the rate of investment tipped to decline. Herron Todd White’s latest Month in Review Report forecasted a reduction in international and interstate investment in 2018, due to rising house prices and measures targeting overseas ownership. More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa20 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoRising house prices and legislation are pushing investors out of the market. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)“At a high and simplistic level, the majority of recent sales activity is heavily in favour of owner-occupiers as investors are being impacted by loan and lending issues for both resident and overseas buyers,” the report states. “The historical ‘sell our house in Sydney for $X million and buy a waterfront property on the Gold Coast, plus a boat and have $300,000 plus in the bank’ is probably no longer a reality as Gold Coast prices have increased dramatically.” However, the report said the current rate of interstate migration, rising rents, low vacancy rates and strong tourism numbers should be enough to prop up the local market enough to offset a large decline. Infrastructure like the G-Link train at Helensvale station is tipped to influence the 2018 property market. Picture John GassThe report also forecast that infrastructure projects including the extension of the light rail, the Jade and Spirit high-rise developments, Queen Street Village in Southport and Coomera Town Centre will have a strong influence in 2018.“While the pace of growth will be nothing like we have seen over the past two to three years, the Gold Coast will still be considered a relatively strong performer when compared to some other major markets in Australia that seem set to continue a gradual decline over the first half of the year. Our prediction is flat to maybe 2 per cent growth over the first six months before a decline late in 2018 or early 2019.”center_img 2018 is forecast to favour owner occupiers. Credit: Nearmaplast_img read more