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Vermont utilities warn of increase in unsafe digging and tree trimming

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Green Mountain Power (GMP), Burlington Electric Department, Vermont Electric Co-op and Washington Electric Co-op are joining together in response to an increase in unsafe digging and tree trimming near live power lines. Incidents have prompted the companies to remind Vermonters always to dig safe and never to perform work, even routine yard maintenance, around power lines. Coming into contact with electrical lines—whether they’re buried or above ground—is extremely dangerous and can be lethal.GMP is alarmed to report that the company has received a growing number of reports of Vermonters entering unsafe proximity to its power lines.“Whether you are working around your home or working in construction, please survey your space before you begin work,” says Mary Powell, GMP CEO and President. “If you’re going to be digging, be sure to call Dig Safe at 811 in advance to identify any underground lines. If you must perform work in close proximity to power lines, call GMP first to be sure it is safe. Our top priority is keeping customers and employees safe,” she added.Many people make false assumptions about electrical safety. Some think that power lines are insulated from contact or may even mistake them for phone lines. Work gloves and rubber boots offer no protection against contact with a power line. “At Burlington Electric, safety is our number one value,” stated Neale Lunderville, Burlington Electric Department General Manager. “We work hard every day to ensure the safety of our lineworkers and our customers and to prevent serious injury or fatality as a result of contacting power lines. We urge all Burlingtonians and Vermonters who are cutting trees or digging to assume nothing and to contact their utility to verify safe tree-cutting distances and to call Dig Safe at 811 prior to digging.”“Power lines should not be taken for granted. We want everyone to be safe and aware of the dangers that can come from accidental contacts,” said Patty Richards, Washington Electric Co-op General Manager.  “This is no joke and lives can be put at risk..  Call dig safe and let your utility mark underground lines and please pay attention to overhead wires.  It is for your safety and costs nothing to have lines marked.”   Vermont Emergency Management Director Erica Bornemann stressed the need for greater public awareness of electric safety, stating: “After storms, Vermonters should heed warnings and stay away from downed power lines. That caution should also be exercised around any power line. Stay clear and don’t touch anything that may come into contact with lines, either, as currents can run through tree branches, tools, and other objects.”“Space, and lots of it, is the only protection from live lines,” Powell noted. “Please stay 50 feet away from overhead and underground power lines, as currents can jump or arc through the air. Don’t touch anything that may come into contact with lines, either, as currents can run through objects. Plan your work carefully, stay safe and always call Dig Safe at 811 and your local power company to report downed or damaged lines.”Here is some important safety information at the job site:• Keep all vehicles and heavy machinery – cranes, bucket and dump trucks, backhoes, front-end loaders and cement pumpers – out of the danger zone around power lines.• If a machine’s boom or bucket gets into the danger zone, or comes into contact with a power line, anyone touching the machine – or even standing nearby – is at risk.• Designate at least one employee to observe and ensure that the minimum danger zone clearance around power lines is maintained, especially when raising dump trucks beds, booms and cranes.• Always have a safety meeting at the site before work begins each day. Be sure all subcontractors on the job are aware of safety issues and adhere to site safety rules.• Overhead power lines are NOT insulated – if your body, tools, equipment or vehicle come into contact with a power line, the results can be deadly.Always call your local electric company before working near overhead power lines. It’s free.Source: BED 9.26.2017VBM vermontbiz.comlast_img read more

What not refinancing can cost a member?

first_imgThe other day the Wall Street Journal published an interesting article entitled “The Steep Cost of Not Refinancing.” There’s lots of memberlicious nuggets here to take away. The entire article can be found here.The premise of the article is that by not refinancing a mortgage loan when interest rates drop can cost a home owner tens of thousands of dollars in savings over the life of the loan.The article quotes a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research that states as of the end of 2010 nearly one in five American homeowners had not taken advantage of lower interest rates. And it states that the present day dollars a member foregoes is about $11,000. That’s a lot of money!Since then, I’m sure many have as rates were entering a low point at that time, but let’s assume that there’s still 20% of Americans who haven’t refinanced. What could that mean for Credit Unions wanting to be memberlicious?Well, let’s say we have a 10,000 member Credit Union. We know that about 60% of Americans are homeowners so in our pretend example, we’ve got 6,000 who own their home. Translate the 20% who didn’t refinance and you’ve got 1,200 members or 12% of the membership who could benefit from a Credit Union low cost refinance. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

The Book Bench

first_imgThe New Yorker:In the News: Out on a Limn, Pronoun PsychologyThe composer Philip Glass will publish a memoir with Norton.Remember the uproar over the critic Michiko Kakutani’s (over)use of the word “limn”? It’s back.Which of your favorite songs have expanded your vocabulary?The writer Sam Kean explains the weirdly smutty cover of the Chinese version of his book.On the heels of Grantland, The Classical.Roger Ebert tantalizes readers with an excerpt of his forthcoming memoir, “Life Itself.”The psychologist James Pennebaker says the way we use pronouns reveals much about us.Read the whole story: The New Yorker More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Daewoo scores USD 1.24 billion LNG order

first_imgDaewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) of South Korea has been awarded a US1.24 billion (KRW1.365 trillion) deal to build six LNG tankers for an unnamed European company.DSME expects to deliver the LNG tankers by March 31, 2019, it said in a filling to the stock exchange.Majority of this year’s newbuild orders have been won by South Korea’s shipbuilders, confirming the country’s dominance in the global LNG shipbuilding industry.[mappress mapid=”16242″]LNG World News Staff; Image: DSMElast_img read more

Ventura Harbor Dredging Progresses Well

first_imgFor the first time in several years, a major dredging effort is underway in the Ventura Harbor, and is expected to remove about 80 percent of the accumulated sand from the Harbor entrance and sand trap.About 800,000 cubic yards of sand material will be removed. The dredging efforts are managed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers using $6 million in federal funds plus additional monies. Manson Construction Company is doing the work with the 26-inch hydraulic dredge, HR Morris.The effort is focused on the Main Channel entrance to the Harbor as well as the sand trap, which was completely full at the start of the dredging operation in February. This dredging scheme will conclude in early March. Dredging is essential to remove sand buildup and keep the Ventura Harbor open and safe for vessels.The last time Ventura Harbor was fully dredged was in 2008.Each year, about 600,000 cubic yards of sand moves down the coast in Ventura, accumulating at the Ventura Harbor entrance and potentially making the Harbor impassable for commercial and recreational powerboats and sailboats.[mappress mapid=”20053″]last_img read more

Aspiring judges are quizzed on race

first_imgApplicants for judicial office are facing aggressive questioning about their attitudes to race, an approach which has in some cases caused offence, the Gazette has learned. One white male barrister was asked if he was ‘racist’ as an opening question, while another was quizzed about why he lived in an area with so few people from ethnic minority groups. The questions were posed in separate judicial competitions, and the Gazette understands that other applicants have faced similar questions. Both barristers, one of whom was successful in his application, are understood to have found the questioning unnecessary and offensive, although neither made an official complaint to the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC), which is responsible for the selection process. A JAC spokesman said: ‘We have a statutory duty of confidentiality and do not comment publicly on individual ap­plications.’ However, he said interviews for judicial appointment were recorded so that any complaints could be investigated if a candidate felt they had not been treated fairly. ‘If a candidate complains to us, we investigate and respond to them directly. Anyone who is not satisfied may refer the complaint to Sir John Brigstocke, the independent Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman,’ he said. The spokesman said the selection process had been externally ‘equality proofed’ to ensure it did not favour any group, and members of the interview panels were trained to interview objectively. ‘All candidates are judged against the same five qualities and abilities. One of these is “an ability to deal fairly”, but race is not mentioned,’ he said.last_img read more

The future after Brexit

first_imgAs we head towards the 23 June, we face a daily bombardment of facts and opinion – from informative and insightful narrative to heavily biased analysis based on questionable assumptions. Yet within this onslaught of facts, figures and soundbites, one fundamental question remains frustratingly unanswered – if the nation chooses to sever direct ties with the Union, what realistic future relationship with the third largest population in the world do we intend to pursue?Vote Leave thinks it is entirely possible – and easy – to negotiate a ‘friendlier’ relationship with the EU; one based on free trade, with all the benefits of EU membership and none of the costs. If this pans out, gloomy predictions from prominent British officials and leading global institutions may, indeed, prove to be over-egged. But how likely is this? A new relationship, once defined, will need to be ratified by all 27 remaining nations – an already challenging feat potentially made even more difficult by the wave of discontent currently sweeping across the Union. Negotiating a new relationship with the UK is unlikely to be at the top of many nations’ agenda. Furthermore, the temptation for Brussels to send a clear message to the growing number of dissenting voices within the remaining EU nations will be strong.Redefining our relationship is likely to be a long and arduous process and this has profound implications for our industry. Lack of foresight generates uncertainty, uncertainty distorts visibility, dents confidence and discourages investment – the lifeblood of our industry. With growth slowing and capacity looking set to come back on stream over the next 12 months in any case, a small shift in market sentiment could effect a marked change in the balance between demand and supply. A decision to delay even a few major schemes could affect market dynamics, generating a far more competitive tendering environment.If the nation chooses to sever direct ties with the Union, what realistic future relationship with the third largest population in the world do we intend to pursue?Pressure on input costs, conversely, may increase. Near-term, sterling, already down by between 5% and 10% against both the euro and the dollar, would probably depreciate further following an exit vote, raising the cost of imported building materials – 60% of which come from the EU. The near-term outlook for wages is less transparent. Migrant labour forms an essential component of the UK construction workforce, accounting for up to 50% of total employment on some Central London sites. If free movement rights are quickly revoked, labour rates may come under increased short term pressure. Longer-term, changes to immigration policy could also have serious implications for our industry. The Vote Leave campaigners are seeking to address this one with a scoring system for people seeking to come to the UK. This one will inevitably need to be resolved early if the UK economy is to remain in some form of equilibrium, but I sense this would be possible, as the desire to do so would be strong.Polls are narrowing but the ‘In’ camp consistently comes out on top, albeit by a narrowing margin. A swift reversion to business as usual is the most likely outcome for the construction sector if the country decides to remain in the EU. This is the scenario assumed within our central tender price projection. Currently, we expect demand to remain across the principal Central London sectors. As a consequence, we predict tender prices will rise by 4.5% this year, with a reduced 3% increase expected in 2017. Our projection allows for some distortion in market dynamics due to the referendum, but with the potential for a bow-wave of delayed decisions being made simultaneously following a vote to remain in the EU.There is a risk that the effect of these decisions coming on stream could be more prominent than we anticipate. If this proves to be the case, the tendering environment may become more challenging in 2017 and we may see commentators increasing their predictions of tender price inflation.What is certain is that predicting the outcome of the referendum, let alone its consequences, is proving too difficult for even the most experienced of future-gazers. My advice would be to remain as nimble as possible, so you are ready to respond to what the economy throws our industry’s way. Whatever it may be.James Clark, partner at Core Fivelast_img read more

Two men arrested for drug possession

first_img Cash and tik were also found in the house. An imitation firearm, tik, cash and a police scanner were confiscated. A 34-year-old man was arrested after he was found in possession of drugs and an imitation firearm in Heideveld on Thursday August 15.Metro police officers, who were on foot patrol in the area, chased after a suspect who quickly ran away after spotting them.He ran into a house, but the officers caught up with him.He was searched and the officers found tik, cash and a police scanner that the man had been listening to using earphones.The man was arrested and taken to Manenberg police station.At the same house, another man was arrested for possession of eight bankies of tik.  An imitation firearm, tik, cash and a police scanner were confiscated.center_img 1 of 2last_img read more

Blackstone’s v Archbold: Solicitors and barristers back opposing sides

first_imgThe battle over what legal text should be used for criminal cases has taken a new turn after barristers and solicitors expressed different preferences.Both the Criminal Bar Association and the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association have surveyed members asking which text they prefer – Blackstone’s Criminal Practice or Archbold Criminal Pleading, Evidence and Practice.Although barristers overwhelmingly backed Archbold (75%), solicitors opted in favour of Blackstone’s (55%) – adding another twist to the already long running debate.In July last year, the judiciary confirmed that Blackstone’s had replaced Archbold as the standard text in criminal courts. But some practitioners, particularly those who were used to Archbold, claimed the decision had caused ‘inconsistency and uncertainty’.Both the CBA and LCCSA decided to survey their members to get a sense of whether any change was needed.CBA chair Angela Rafferty said last week: ‘Many of our members have expressed concern that the change of official text was brought in quite suddenly and with little thought for those who use these books every day.’The CBA said it would pass on the results of the survey to the judiciary.last_img read more

Law Society hits out at regulator’s ‘demolition’ of client protections

first_imgPaul PhilipCiting schemes that ‘offer a 15% return in a year from investing in car parking spaces, hotel rooms or housing estates in Bulgaria that don’t exist’, he said such schemes can channel hundreds of millions of pounds through the client account. Just one scheme that goes bad could bankrupt the compensation fund, he warned, amid fears that law firm clients are relying on the fund as a fallback for investing in such risky ventures.He said: ‘By changing our eligibility criteria, we will be able to focus better on the people most in need of our support, those who have been placed in genuine financial hardship by the dishonest actions of solicitors.’Speaking to the media last Thursday, Philip admitted the proposals do constitute a reduction in consumer protection but stressed it was necessary to stave off threats to the compensation fund.In the same consultation, the SRA also revives a proposal previously rejected by the Legal Services Board to cut minimum professional indemnity insurance cover from £2m to £500,000. Firms doing conveyancing work would need £1m minimum cover for each claim.The SRA says more than half of firms take out more than the minimum cover presently required and that 98% of PII claims against law firms are valued at less than £500,000.There is no guarantee, however, that cutting the minimum cover would lead to significant falls in premium rates.Philip added: ‘Ten years of data shows our current one-size-fits-all arrangements are too rigid. Our proposals will help firms – particularly small ones – make sure they are not paying more than they need to protect themselves and their clients.’The SRA plans to maintain a six-year run-off period for firms closing down, with a £3m cap for those needing conveyancing services cover and £1.5m for other firms. The reform is intended to make it easier for firms to close properly and reduce the risk that solicitors delay retirement unnecessarily.The Law Society’s Blacklaws said Chancery Lane agrees that insurance standards need to be reviewed, but added:  ’We need to get the balance right between protecting consumers, protecting solicitors and promoting a competitive insurance industry. Premiums already reflect levels of risk in the work a firm undertakes, and cost is front-loaded into the first £500,000 of cover, so the idea that the current system is unfairly ‘one size fits all’ is nonsense.’Solicitors and their clients are protected by gold standard insurance, which is appropriate given the gravity of many of the issues we deal with.”The Society points out that the SRA has provided no evidence to show its proposals will result in lower costs for solicitors or clients. Blacklaws added: ’Brokers have told the Law Society these proposals are unlikely to result in lower premiums, so it’s hard to see how clients could possibly benefit from any savings being passed on, but it’s easy to see how they might suffer.’It’s baffling that the SRA is proposing further demolition of client protections, on top of that already on the table if proposals to allow solicitors to advise clients without the security of a law firm go ahead. No other profession in the UK offers their clients such comprehensive or robust protection and this is one of the distinctions that underpin public trust in the legal sector, and solicitors in particular. Let’s keep it that way.’ The consultation lasts until 15 June. The Law Society has voiced dismay over the ’demolition’ of client protections proposed by the regulator in its new consultation on client redress.Millions of people would be prevented from claiming against the compensation fund under the proposals, published last Friday. The Solicitors Regulation Authority has also revived plans to slash minimum professional indemnity insurance cover.In a statement, the Society’s vice president Christina Blacklaws said plans to cut client protections are ‘utterly misguided’ and would hurt solicitors and clients alike. Chancery Lane has also highlighted the absence of evidence that cutting PII cover will reduce insurance premiums for solicitors.The SRA’s blueprint would effectively see the fund transformed into a ‘hardship’ pool for those wronged clients who are most in need. The maximum payment that could be made from the fund – which replaces money lost through dishonesty – would fall from £2m to £500,000. Eligibility would also be stripped from applicants with net financial assets of over £250,000, excluding roughly 5% of the population from claiming.Speaking at the Law Society’s annual Risk and Compliance conference on 16 March, SRA chief executive Paul Philip revealed that the regulator is deeply concerned about the potential of ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes fronted by law firms to devastate the client redress regime.#*#*Show Fullscreen*#*#last_img read more