Historic Commission Seeks Compromise on Demolition Rules

first_imgMap shows Ocean City’s local Historic District outlined in red, and the State and National Registers of Historic Places outlined in black.The Historic Preservation Commission agreed Tuesday on a recommended compromise on when owners in Ocean City’s Historic District should be allowed to demolish an old home and build new.A current law requires owners who have been denied a demolition permit to list their historic home for sale for six months — part of an effort to make sure they make a good-faith effort to preserve or sell historic structures before demolishing them.The commission had suggested strengthening the ordinance to make the required marketing period 12 months. They agreed Tuesday to a six-month period, as long as two of the months fall in the calendar summer, when the properties would be most visible to potential buyers.Only City Council has the power to change ordinances in Ocean City, and commission representatives will make the recommendation to a City Council subcommittee (which had suggested the compromise).The commission has been working for years on an updated ordinance including many minor “housekeeping” changes, and the demolition provisions are the last sticking points.The proposed new ordinance would require owners to get two appraisals before listing the property. The commission is recommending the listing price be the average of the two appraisals.Commission Chairman John Ball invited public comment only on the proposed changes.But because City Council members had attended the last Historic Preservation Commission meeting and suggested that a smaller Historic District might be more effective, some members of the public came to comment on the district map.District resident Mark Crego (300 block of Ocean Avenue) said the city spent $60,000 to have an expert assess historic properties that were added to the state and federal registers of historic places in 2003. The experts did not add some blocks that are included in the local Historic District.“How about releasing the people who didn’t make the cut?” Crego asked.“We need to find out, ‘Does the city want a Historic District?’ ” said Helen McSweeney, a resident of the 400 block of Central Avenue. “I live there because it’s a beautiful place.”“Whether City Council really wants the district is for them to decide,” Ball said at the outset of the meeting.It remains unclear how serious City Council is about changing the Historic District boundaries. Council members did not share a proposed map with the full Historic Preservation Commission and asked Ball and Vice Chairman Jeff Sutherland not to share it.Councilman Michael Allegretto said the proposed map does not touch the state or federal districts and eliminates some of the areas on the periphery.He said the idea could potentially be part of a discussion at a yet-to-be-scheduled City Council workshop on the topic.Read more:“Historic? Or Just Old? Ocean City Considers Changes to Historic District““How to Demolish History in Ocean City: New Debate on Rules“__________Sign up for OCNJ Daily’s free newsletter and breaking news alerts“Like” us on Facebooklast_img read more

Letters

first_imgThese are interesting times for those involved in the baking industry today. British Baker is reporting on some challenging issues and is clearly working for a response from officials, which industry can work with.There are many products using high quantities of fat. People should be encouraged to moderate consumption. Reducing fat levels/quality of fat is a wholly inadequate solution. These products are supposed to be a “treat” not just “ordinary”.Regarding salt: it is difficult for bakers to come to agreement on this issue. Ian Barrett’s letter (BB, 23 October) makes some interesting points. However, his argument is fundamentally flawed. We are talking about salt levels in the finished product. Using Baker’s Percentages, many a recipe is formulated using salt at 2% on flour. Personally, I have been adding salt at 1.8% for over 10 years. I am sympathetic to trying to get this down to 1.5%, but I believe in long fermentation; I like the toughening effect of the sodium ions on the gluten in the dough; it helps to achieve full hydration; control of fermentation is implicit; and finally, yes, flavour is better. But most bread of today needs high salt to overcome lack of flavour. If you consult the work of Professor Raymond Calvel, it is obvious that salt levels in bread dough have increased significantly since the emergence of “no-time” dough.Salt levels and ’bad’ fat are part of a big picture; so too are all the hidden substances that never get as far as the label. My challenge to industry is: declare these! If the Food Standards Agency starts to get tough on this as well, today’s bread industry will really have to change.Andy Smith, bakery lecturer, Newcastle College and bakery consultantlast_img read more

Memories are made of this

first_imgNoted neuroscientist Eric Kandel ’52 looked to his audience to illustrate his lecture on the molecular basis of memory.“If you remember anything about this lecture, it’s because genes in your brain will be altered,” said the Columbia University professor, who shared the 2000 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his studies on memory. “If you remember this tomorrow, or the next day, a week later, you will have a different brain than when you walked into this lecture.”Kandel’s standing-room-only talk in Science Center D on Monday (Feb. 8) was organized by the Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child and sponsored by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Medical School.“Memory, as you know, makes us who we are,” Kandel said. “It’s the glue that binds our mental life together. Without the unifying force of memory, we would be broken into as many fragments as there are moments in the day.”Kandel described what researchers have learned in recent decades about the molecular underpinnings of memory. Among other things, he said, neuroscientists have found that short-term memory — the ability to recall things for minutes or hours — is fundamentally different from long-term memory, which holds information for weeks, months, even a lifetime.“Long-term memory differs from short-term memory in requiring the synthesis of new proteins,” Kandel said, adding that there’s a high threshold for information to be entered into long-term memory.“Something really has to be important to be remembered,” he said.Long-term memory stimulates protein syntheses, Kandel said, by altering gene expression. While the genes themselves remain unchanged, their activity levels are tweaked by the molecules involved in the creation of long-term memory.“Many of us are accustomed, naively, to thinking that genes are the determinants of our behavior,” he said. “We are not accustomed to thinking that genes are also the servants of the mind.”The genes affected, he said, lead the brain’s 100 billion neurons to grow new synapses, or connections with other neurons. A typical neuron, he said, connects to about 1,200 others. But neurons that are subject to repeated stimuli have been found to have much denser networks, with up to 2,800 synapses.The brain is especially susceptible to forming such new connections early in life, he said, when its structure is highly malleable, or plastic.“This is why almost all great musicians, all great basketball players, all great anything, all get started very early in life,” Kandel said.But Kandel’s host, Jack Shonkoff, director of Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child and a faculty member at the Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, said the young brain’s plasticity also can be detrimental to children.“Significant trauma, significant stress, may have some adverse effect on these circuits that makes it more difficult for children to learn,” Shonkoff said.Kandel said better understanding of how the biology of the brain relates to individual behaviors and how complex behaviors develop in complex sociobiology “is really the great challenge of the 21st century.”He later elaborated on that challenge in response to an audience question, alluding to the daunting work still to be done at neuroscience’s latest frontier: unraveling organisms’ “connectomes,” the complete diagrams of neural circuitry.“There are a lot of cells up there,” he said. “Each one of them connects to 1,000 other cells, so you’ve got more synapses than there are stars in the universe. When you finish counting those stars in the universe, I will be ready for the connectome.”last_img read more

Open enrollment ends Nov. 14

first_imgOpen enrollment, the annual period when Harvard employees can make changes to their benefits, began Oct. 31.Employees have until Nov. 14 to review and make needed changes to their medical, dental, and vision coverage, or open a flexible spending account (FSA) in which money can be set aside on a pretax basis to cover certain health or dependent-care costs. (Visit HARVie for more information or to make changes, which will be effective Jan. 1, 2013.)“This is an annual opportunity for faculty and staff to review and select benefits that best meet their needs for the coming year,” said Marilyn Hausammann, vice president for Harvard Human Resources.While health care plan design, coverage, and providers will be unchanged, some changes are planned for 2013, including the introduction of a global benefits plan for Harvard employees working abroad.The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will also mean some changes to all medical plans next year. Starting on Jan. 1, generic prescription birth control will be fully covered, without co-payments, under federal law. Free preventive care was implemented across all plans in 2012.In addition, as a result of health care reform, annual contributions to health FSAs beginning in 2013 may not exceed $2,500 — a reduction from the previous maximum contribution of $5,000. (Dependent-care FSA contribution limits will not be affected by the change.)  Employees must re-enroll each year to renew a health or dependent-care FSA.As always, employees may change their benefits at any time of year if they experience a qualified life event, such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child. However, as of Jan. 1, the enrollment period to make such changes is being shortened from 60 days after the qualifying event to 30 days, a time frame that meets Internal Revenue Service regulations. Similarly, new employees will have 30 days to enroll in Harvard’s benefits plans.Federal law also now requires that Harvard list the total annual value of its medical coverage (Harvard’s contribution plus the employee’s contribution) on employees’ annual W-2 tax forms for informational purposes.Building on the work of the University Benefits Committee and its 2012 recommendations, the University has sought to manage rising health care and benefits costs.The University will reduce its premium contribution by 2 to 3 percentage points for those non-union staff and faculty with a full-time equivalent (FTE) salary of greater than $70,000. This will lead to after-inflation increases in the employee share of premiums for this group of between $11 and $15 per month for an individual and between $30 and $38 for a family, dependent upon salary level and plan. Employees with an annual FTE salary of less than $70,000 and unionized staff will not experience a reduction in premium contribution. This represents almost 60 percent of employees.“Harvard, like all employers, continues to grapple with significantly rising health care costs,” said Hausammann. “Our goal is to ensure any changes are introduced in a way that is fair to all employees, and, where we can, protect those at the lowest end of the salary scale from increased costs.”According to Hausammann, health care costs account for a very significant percentage of overall benefits costs. (Harvard’s employee benefits costs have more than doubled in the past decade.)“Harvard has undertaken many administrative reforms over the past five years to curb the rate of growth in our health care costs — we have consolidated health plans, moved to self-insurance, and ‘carved out’ pharmacy benefits from our health plans to improve their management. These changes have resulted in millions of dollars of savings for faculty and staff. However, given ongoing economic pressures, we must continue to find ways to manage health care and other rapidly increasing benefits costs,” said Hausammann.Hausammann said that affordability for employees and the particular demands on low-wage workers, in addition to the quality of coverage and care, are always top of mind when changes are made.“We regularly review our plans, benchmark them against those of our peers, and make adjustments to ensure our benefits remain competitive with other employers, as well as a good value to [employees].”Harvard continues to pay the majority of health insurance premiums for employees — up to 85 percent in some cases — depending on salary level and provider. “Because of Harvard’s careful management of our plans, costs, and providers, our very significant financial subsidy, and our co-pay reimbursement program, we believe employee health benefits remain affordable for faculty and staff even with the changes we’ll see in 2013,” said Hausammann.last_img read more

2017 Saint Mary’s class council reviews

first_imgFirst-Year Class CouncilAs brand new members of class council, first-years Margaret Hemmert and Morgan Greene said they are still working on getting the hang of things but are excited to continue working with and learning from others to make their class as happy and comfortable as possible.“Right now, we’re focused on building community among the first years,” Hemmert said. “All of us first years are still in the process of adjusting to college and being away from home, and one of our main goals is to make that transition easier.”Hemmert said that the events so far this year have been successful and that the First-Year Class Council is really focused on having a good time with their events in order to bring their class together.“We’re planning fun events throughout the year to bring the first-years together to relax, have fun and meet each other,” Hemmert said. “We had our first event in November, where we passed out Klondike bars and made bracelets together. It was a really simple idea, but everyone enjoyed it and we had a great turnout.”Hemmert said she is excited to continue building relationships within the first-year class by organizing more activities the class can participate in together.“We’re already planning more events for next semester and look forward to strengthening the first-year community even more,” Hemmert said. Tags: 2017 student government, 2017 Student Government Insider, Class Council, First-Year Class Council, junior class council, Saint Mary’s cookbook, senior class council, senior dads weekend, sophomore class council, Student government, Student Government Association Senior Class CouncilSenior Class Council representatives Sarah Connaughton, Delaney Gilbert and Gabbie Holland have focused on raising money for the class by selling items and hosting events.“Regarding fundraising, we have done great,” Connaughton said. “Seniors have made money off of Senior Dads’ Weekend, [Saint Mary’s] monogram sticker sales, The Avenue coordinate necklaces and we are having a Christmas bazaar on Thursday.”The seniors are pleased with their efforts, they said, as they have been been focusing on finishing up raising money for Senior Week, which will take place in May, and offer bonding opportunities to graduating seniors. They also hope to organize more fundraising efforts next semester.“We are very happy with fundraising, especially since one of our main objectives is to raise money for senior week,” Connaughton said. “Our events have also been successful, and there is much more to come next semester.”center_img Junior Class CouncilJunior class council representatives Sophie Johnson and Sofie Scott focused on one project in particular this fall: making and selling a Saint Mary’s cookbook.“This semester we have focused on selling a Saint Mary’s cookbook to fundraise for our senior week, filled with recipes from Saint Mary’s women,” Johnson said.They collected recipes over the summer and  have been selling cookbooks throughout the fall to provide the community with a useful and practical resource. Johnson said the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and has indicated the success of this initiative.“We have been very successful with sales among current students and alumnae,” she said. “A lot of people have given positive feedback to the fundraiser and we hope to continue sales throughout the rest of the year.”Sophomore Class CouncilSophomore class council representatives Michelle Lester and Kassandra Acosta have found this year to be very packed but are happy to have accomplished as much as they have so far.Lester and Acosta said the planning of Sophomore Parents Weekend was a success, and they were pleased with how it turned out.“It was based around a tailgate theme at the Saint Mary’s Inn, and we watched the Notre Dame football game and had tons of food,” Lester said.The Sophomore Class Council just hosted their first all-class event and achieved its goal of making time with the class fun and festive, the representatives aid.“Last week on Thursday, we had our first class event,” Acosta said. “We had 20 dozen chicken strips and mozzarella sticks, gingerbread house making, crafts and mason jar hot chocolate. We also played bingo and gave away presents.”Lester said the event was a success and they look forward to doing similar events throughout the duration of the year to continue strengthening the bonds of their class. She said the council has more ideas to provide sophomores with fun activities, so they can keep having fun together and get to know each other even more.“The girls loved our event, and we had a great turn out,” Lester said. “We have some other ideas in mind for next semester, and we can’t wait to continue to bring the Class of 2020 Belles together.”last_img read more

GSD Professor

first_imgWilliam “Bill” Branch, a professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences and a peanut breeder with the University of Georgia, has been named to the Georgia Seed Development Professorship in Peanut Breeding and Genetics.Since joining the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in 1978, Branch has worked to develop new peanut varieties to help with the battle against Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV), a disease that was ravaging peanut fields across the Southeast.The Georgia Seed Development Professorship in Peanut Breeding and Genetics was established with support from Georgia Seed Development (GSD) to enhance the field of plant breeding, genetics, and genomics programs through professorships and research programs at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES).Since the beginning of his career at UGA, Branch has developed more than 20 new peanut varieties with the consistent goal of increased yield and grade as well as resistance characteristics for the farmer, and better shelling characteristics and enhanced flavor and nutrition for the consumer.Early in the fight against TSWV, Branch developed the Georgia Green variety, a cross between Southern Runner and Sunbelt Runner, that helped set the peanut industry back on track. To improve upon Georgia Green, Branch released Georgia-06G, which is the predominant variety grown in Georgia today.“Peanut breeding is a long-term program that takes a lot of patience,” Branch said. “Today, we have genetic markers available to assist with peanut breeding and help speed up the process. These tools help breeders make selections based on disease resistance for new varieties.”Branch encourages the next generation to look for career opportunities in peanut breeding. “This is exactly what I wanted to do,” he said. “Individuals need to view peanut breeding as a long-term career and have patience when developing the next variety.”Branch can be found in his greenhouse crossing a future line or out in the field, tracking each variety’s growth and watching for potential issues. His ultimate goal is to help peanut farmers make a profit by providing an increased yield and grade variety leading to a higher dollar value per acre while satisfying industry and consumer demands.GSD is a nonprofit, self-supporting organization that provides economic support for the development of new varieties which provides new business opportunities that help keep agriculture as Georgia’s number one industry. It was created in 1959 by the Georgia General Assembly to lead the development of commercial plant materials in the state by promoting varieties developed and released by UGA researchers and was designated as a public, nonprofit corporation by the Georgia Legislature in 2008, allowing the organization to expand its scope.last_img read more

Crush Friday in Abingdon

first_imgLast year 54% of Americans left a total of 662 million vacation days unused. Don’t be one of those people. It’s time to take a well-deserved Friday off – and crush it.How will you crush Friday? Bike West VirginiaBike one of the most famous trails in VirginiaAbingdon is the trailhead for the famous Virginia Creeper Trail, a former railroad line that used to carry coal and lumber down from the mountains of SW Virginia. Now it’s a popular biking and recreation trail that travels 34 miles through beautiful mountain scenery, over dozens of trestle bridges.Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shop can outfit you with a bike, helmet, and water bottle. Best of all? They offer a shuttle package that will drop you off at Whitetop Station, the highest point on the trail. You’ll coast downhill for 17 miles through Jefferson National Forest to Damascus, VA. From there, you can pick up the shuttle back to Abingdon, or bike another 17 miles through rolling countryside.While you’re on the trail, stop by Abingdon Vineyard & Winery, a 50 acre farm winery located along the South Holston River, located just a short distance off the trail between Damascus and Abingdon.Bouldering and beyond There are two prime climbing areas within an hour of Abingdon. Hidden Valley Lake was recently reopened to the public, featuring nearly 500 routes, a combination of sport and traditional lines, including treasures like Tea Kettle Junction, loaded with 40 routes, almost entirely traditional climbs, including short-but-sweet cracks, cozy chimneys, and plenty of roofs and arêtes.East of Abingdon is Grayson Highlands State Park, one of the premier bouldering destinations in Virginia. With nearly 1,000 problems scattered throughout the park, there are enough routes to suit all kinds of climbers. The lofty elevation of the park’s bouldering areas, many more than 5,000 feet, also make Grayson Highlands a prime climbing destination during the summer. While you’re there, hike the Rhododendron trail to get up close and personal with the park’s famous wild ponies (look but DON’T touch, they might be cute, but they are wild).Afterwards, head to Wolf Hills Brewing for live music, craft beer, and food truck cuisine from Toni’s Hawaiian Tacos. Try the Wolf’s Den IPA or Martha Washington ESB (the first beer to be served at the Martha Washington Inn post-Prohibition), some of the dozen or more beers that pay homage to Abingdon’s 250-year history.Barter TheatreBarter Theatre’s surprising origin storyBe sure to catch a play at Barter Theatre, the oldest professional theatre company in the country. Don’t be fooled by the velvet seats and sconces, this theatre is welcoming to all, no dress code required. Throw on some jeans and stop by the concessions stand for a glass of wine or local beer to take with you in to the show.At intermission, be sure to check out the fascinating historical photos on the balcony level: the theatre was founded during the Great Depression, when the actors literally bartered theatre tickets for food.Head back to work Monday feeling more creative, more productive, and ready to crush the week ahead.last_img read more

List of direct air connections with emitting markets 2019 winter – 2020

first_imgMore attached. All Croatian tourism workers will unquestionably agree that the key to further “tourist success” of our country, whether we are talking about extending the season or increasing average earnings from tourism, is adequate investment in the development of tourism infrastructure, content and offer, in order to optimize money ”which, according to all research, is crucial for the choice of destination, ie further positive recommendations of satisfied guests. Side dish: Overview of direct air connections of the Republic of Croatia – winter 2019 – 2020center_img To this end, the Department for Market Research and Strategic Planning of the Croatian National Tourist Board has prepared an overview of direct flights and direct air connections of Croatian airports from 20 major emitting markets according to information obtained from Dubrovnik, Split, Zagreb, Zadar, Osijek, Pula, Mali Losinj. , Brač and Rijeka.last_img read more

IRS needs more staff to help tax filers

first_img“It cannot answer the phone calls it currently receives, much less the phone calls it can expect to receive in light of tax reform, without adequate funding.”Indeed, the new tax law could prompt a wave of confusion that the IRS is ill-prepared to handle.The agency estimates it needs about $500 million just to change computer programs, update forms, write new regulations and answer questions stemming from the bill.After the 1986 tax reform, agency call volume spiked, and the number of returns that required corrections also ticked up, and it is fair to expect the same now. Though the IRS has tried to improve its phone service recently, even before the tax law passed it anticipated that fewer than half of callers would obtain help from a live person this year.Given the complexity of the new law, many people will have questions that are more than basic.“Taxpayers who want to learn about how the tax law affects them are left searching about 140,000 web pages on IRS.gov or turning to paid professionals,” Olson wrote. Worried that you won’t be able to fill out your returns correctly under the new tax law?Do not take it out on the poor IRS employee who could not answer your tax question, even after you spent a half-hour on hold.Blame the GOP-led Congress, which, in its anti-IRS fervor, has driven the agency into the ground. It has become one of the most reliable traditions in contemporary Washington.Every year, the national taxpayer advocate explains that under-funding the IRS makes the tax filing process unnecessarily miserable for those who follow the law, while rewarding those who flout it.And every year, the Republican-led Congress decides to keep the tax system unnecessarily miserable for the law-abiding and easier on the lawbreakers.“Funding cuts have rendered the IRS unable to provide acceptable levels of taxpayer service, unable to upgrade its technology to improve its efficiency and effectiveness, and unable to maintain compliance programs,” national taxpayer advocate Nina Olson wrote in her annual report to lawmakers. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe following editorial appeared in The Washington Post.Hate the Internal Revenue Service?center_img While the taxpayer advocate argued that the IRS could do more with less, there is no doubt that underfunding is a key driver of the dysfunction.Congress has cut the agency’s budget by some $300 million since 2009, a bit under 3 percent.During that time, lawmakers have saddled the IRS with responsibility to oversee the phase-in of a new health-care law and, now, a major tax overhaul. Can’t the IRS — and the Americans it is supposed to serve — just cope?“On the surface, it appears ‘customers’ (taxpayers) don’t have a choice about seeking another tax agency to work with — there are no competitors to which they can move their ‘business,’” Olson wrote.“In fact, however, there is a competitor, and it is the lure of noncompliance. If the IRS isn’t going to provide you the assistance you need in the manner you need it, then why bother complying with the tax laws?” More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

New fund manager takes PUT into higher league

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