Who is on the board behind the huge Levi’s Stadium tax cut?

first_imgSAN JOSE — Until it delivered a $36 million tax windfall to the San Francisco 49ers last week, most people probably never heard of an assessment appeals board.But as its action showed, the obscure three-member panel wields considerable financial power. It alone can change a county assessor’s professional appraisal of the value of residential and commercial property and, consequently, the amount of property taxes that must be paid.The appeals board is one of three in Santa Clara County whose …last_img read more

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NCGA puts focus on building demand

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest At the recent Commodity Classic in New Orleans, the National Corn Growers Association finalized a new strategic plan that will focus NCGA’s work on a vision of sustainably feeding and fueling a growing world.The new plan sets four major strategic priorities that reflect the concerns heard through listening to farmers and key stakeholders:Increase DemandStrengthen Customer and Consumer TrustEnhance Productivity & Environmental SustainabilityStrive for Organizational ExcellenceIncreasing demand is vital, noted NCGA President Chip Bowling at a news conference held earlier this month.“Most corn farmers are well past the point of prices being below the cost of production, and prices have been there for some time now,” Bowling said. “Facing this dramatic income drop, farmers have begun tightening their belts. We are already seeing the ripple effects of this on rural communities. Implement dealers are selling less equipment. Manufacturers are scaling back production. Agribusinesses have laid off employees.”For NCGA, this means a particular focus on increasing ethanol demand, exploring new uses, increasing livestock exports and pushing for transportation infrastructure that can more efficiently move corn and corn products to market. The target goal within the new plan is competitive market demand for 19 billion bushels of corn by 2025.“Our growers know what’s at stake,” Bowling said. “They’ve worked hard to bring in the three largest crops ever over the past three years, and now we have the opportunity to lead in building demand, enhancing trust, and improving sustainability.”last_img read more

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62 Things We Should Ban to Improve Home Building

first_imgLet’s face it. The state of home building isn’t good. Yes, we have building science and energy codes and green building programs out the wazoo. We have cool new products and home energy raters and even Joe Lstiburek. Despite all this, we still have wild ductopuses, holey air barriers, and insipid insulation installations.And I’ve finally lost my patience. I think the only way to improve the state of home building in America is to ban these things.Wait! Don’t leave yet. I know your blood may be boiling just after reading the title of this article, but please read all the way through. There’s something for everyone here. You may not like the idea of banning batt insulation, but how about blower door tests?This list is progressive. The things further down the list build on the earlier ones.Here we go:(1) Powered attic ventilators – They suck conditioned air from your house and backdraft water heaters.(2) Ventless gas fireplaces – Even the industry has a hard time justifying these things, which are already banned in Canada and other places. RELATED ARTICLESBanish These Details From Your PlansMartin’s Useless Products ListMartin’s Ten Rules of Roof Design (3) Foil-faced bubble wrap – A small step up from insulating paint. Let’s use real insulation.(4) Batt insulation – It’s almost never done right.(5) Flex duct – Kinks and sags and ductopuses. Oh, my!(6) Recirculating range hoods – Would you want a recirculating toilet? That’s what Prof. John Straube compares them to.(7) Smart vents – A poor solution for a bad duct system. Do the ducts right to begin with.(8) Rules of Thumb – Thumbs are great things but shouldn’t be used to size air conditioners.(9) Vented crawl spaces – They’re moisture and mold factories. And they sometimes allow you to breathe dead possum!(10) Vented attics – Too often a place for ducts, powered attic ventilators, and dead bats.(11) Housewrap – It’s never installed well enough to be a great air barrier and installers still haven’t figured out how to flash windows with it.(12) Attached garages – If you like to breathe carbon monoxide and other toxic gases, this is a great way to add those vital nutrients to your lungs.(13) Dormers – Too hard to insulate and air seal.(14) Complex roofs – Likely to cause moisture damage.(15) Electric-resistance heat – It may be 100% efficient… but you can do better!(16) Recessed can lights – They’re a problem when they’re put in the building enclosure, especially vaulted ceilings.(17) Panned joist returns – A guaranteed way to suck in that moldy air from the crawl space… and the dead possum particles that come with it.(18) Undercut doors for return air from bedrooms – They’re just not going to let all the air get back to the main return.(19) Dryer vents terminating near air conditioner condenser units – Blowing lint into those fins is a good way to kill the efficiency of your AC.(20) High flow range hoods – You really don’t want your house to suck that bad, do you?(21) Excess wood – Less room for insulation, more thermal bridging, and it’s just a waste of money and resources.(22) Zoning that requires less than 12 units per acre – More density is better for location efficiency.(23) Unbalanced ventilation – Like that unbalanced cousin of yours, you just don’t want it in your house.(24) Thermal bridging – Would you leave cow-sized gaps in your cattle pen?(25) Airtightness higher than 1 ach50 – Air-sealing gives you the most bang for your buck in making homes energy efficient. You know this is where we’re heading, right?(26) Carpet, vinyl, and other offgassing products – “If there is a pile of manure in a space, do not try to remove the odor by ventilation. Remove the pile of manure.” Max von Pettenkofer said that in 1858, and it applies here, too.(27) 2×4 walls – Eventually all walls will have to be at least 12 inches thick.(28) Ceiling fans – People don’t turn them off when they’re out of the room anyway.(29) Manual J load calculations – Sophisticated HVAC contractors have figured out how to get rule-of-thumb results from computer programs. 96 occupants. Single-pane windows instead of low-e. Worst-case orientation. It’s easy to add load when you need to justify that oversized AC and furnace.(30) Combustion appliances – Long after our caveman ancestors discovered fire, we’re still polluting our caves with combustion products.(31) Bonus rooms – Nobody uses that room anyway. It’s too uncomfortable.(32) Attic kneewalls – One of several reasons bonus rooms are so uncomfortable. Rarely done right.(33) Energy modeling – See Manual J above.(34) Storm doors – They’re not a great investment for saving energy.(35) Thermostats – Too many people set them incorrectly anyway, sometimes at the suggestion of their helpful HVAC service company.(36) Rim and band joists insulated with anything other than spray foam – It’s just not going to work.(37) Spray foam insulation – It smells. It shrinks. Some greenie weenies don’t like it.(38) Rim and band joists – Since there’s now no way to insulate, they must be banned. Ban the band!(39) HERS ratings -Wildly imprecise. Didn’t you see my article on the Stockton study?(40) HERS raters and energy modelers – Why should we pay for something so imprecise?(41) Cantilevers – We’ll never get to 1 ach50 and no thermal bridging without eliminating cantilevers.(42) Homes without advanced framing – See excess wood above.(43) Stick building – We might as well just go all the way and admit that stick building is the root of so many problems with home building.(44) HVAC contractors – The industry is broken. It’s time to start over.(45) Home builders – Ditto (what I said about HVAC contractors).(46) Windows – One of the biggest liabilities for heat loss/gain and moisture problems.(47) Skylights – A particularly bad kind of window that deserves to be singled out.(48) Site-built homes – The only way we’ll ever get good houses is to build them in factories in China.(49) Blower door testing – We should use that money for air sealing instead.(50) Single-family homes – Too inefficient.(51) Tiny houses – A fad for millennials who don’t know they’re just expensive trailers.(52) Mansions and McMansions – Just as no one needs more than 640 kB of memory in their computer, no one needs more than 500 square feet person in their home.(53) Ugly houses – As Joe Lstiburek said, “Ugliness is not sustainable.”(54) Energy Star New Homes Version 3 – Builders abandoned it in 2012 anyway.(55) LEED – Can we really support a program that requires all-glass houses!?(56) Passive House – A boutique program for architects who think they can do physics.(57) Know-it-all bloggers – Someone’s always got to come behind them to dispel the myths they create when they try to dispel myths.(58) Stack effect – Too controversial.(59) Psychrometrics – Too complicated. Have you seen that chart!?(60) Rain and snow – The cause of so many problems with houses.(61) Hot and cold weather – A terrible waste of energy.(62) Occupants – The number one reason high-performance homes never reach their full potential!OK, that’s it… for now. Clearly we have some issues in the world of home building. And as you should have been able to figure out by the time you got to the bottom of the list, I don’t really think we should ban all these things.The root of the problem isn’t really using the wrong products or even doing things the wrong way. It really boils down to motivation. Builders are motivated to build to code when they know they’ll have to pass inspections. They’re motivated to build energy-efficient houses when there’s demand for them. They’re motivated to build houses without comfort or moisture or IAQ problems when they’ve had too many callbacks to fix those problems.Of the 62 items on this list, there’s only one I would definitely like to see banned: ventless gas fireplaces. I’d like to see less of some of the others or better ways of doing them, but I think the real problem is getting home builders and other stake holders — including home buyers — motivated properly.And the good news is, as Joe Lstiburek likes to say, the gap between stupid and hurt is narrowing. Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, building science consultant, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard.last_img read more

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After Effects Quick Tip: Creating a Viewfinder

first_imgLearn how to design and animate a live-action viewfinder UI for your videos in After Effects.If you’re a videographer, then you know that it is unrealistic to capture a shot including your camera’s user interface. The best way to create a camera viewfinder onscreen is in post-production. However, recreating your camera’s viewfinder can be daunting, especially when you look at your camera’s UI and see all of the elements of a professional display.This After Effects tutorial will show you how to create the UI elements of your camera’s viewfinder, how to animate specific parameters, and how to add camera movement to a still photo. After a quick watch, you should be able to tackle any type of user interface.Download Photography HUD Free Project FileFollow along with the tutorial above by downloading the free Photography HUD project file. Simply click the download button below.DOWNLOAD PHOTOGRAPHY HUD PROJECT FILEStep-by-Step Process for Creating a ViewfinderAnalyze your camera’s UI and look at all of the elements you need. If you don’t have your camera on hand, do a quick search for “camera interface.”In After Effects, take each element one at a time and create the necessary shapes.Once all of your elements (shapes and text) are ready, arrange each graphic into the correct position to make your viewfinder.Animate graphics as you see fit — for example: auto focus points, exposure controls, and depth of field.(Optional) Add a camera shake effect to the position parameter to your video. Alt-click the stop watch next to position and type in “wiggle(.5,30).”Photography Viewfinder HUDs in RocketstockIf you are in a hurry and need viewfinder graphics ASAP, check out Info Plates, an exclusive Photography HUD After Effects template on our sister site Rocketstock. In addition to a traditional photography HUD, Info Plates has modern photography and video camera HUDs. Here’s a quick demo of Info Plates in-action. Know any post-production UI tips? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

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Three killed on suspicion of witchcraft

first_imgThree persons — a couple and 77-year-old woman — were allegedly killed on suspicion of witchcraft in the Gunupur police station area of Odisha’s Rayagada district.All the three — Gopal Sabar, his wife Laxmi Sabar and Jakili Sabar — residents of Ukumbaguda village, had been missing since February 23. The couple’s daughter, Sabita Sabar, had filed an FIR with the police saying that her parents and the aged woman were murdered by some villagers who accused them to be practitioners of witchcraft.On receiving the information, a police team led by Gunupur Sub-Divisional Police Officer Rajkishor Dash reached the spot along with a scientific team and a sniffer dog. The police have detained four persons in connection with the incident.Mr Dash said initial probe hints that the three were beaten to death and their bodies burnt on February 23 night. Their charred remains were thrown in a pond.last_img read more

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PSC gives 2019 SEA Games hosting green light

first_imgPractice makes perfect for PH booter Belgira Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Ramirez said he was invited to the luncheon in the presence of some cabinet members where Go, who represented President Rodrigo Duterte, and Cayetano inquired about the status of 2019 Manila Games.“I was asked if there’s still a chance to push through and I told them that I have no problem with it (hosting),” said Ramirez.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingIn a board meeting on Wednesday, Ramirez said the PSC board, which is also composed of commissioners Ramon Fernandez, Charles Maxey, Arnold Agustin and Celia Kiram, gave the go-signal for the hosting.“We were very upbeat and happy that there is a big hope of holding the 2019 SEA Games,” said the PSC chief. Barring any major obstacle, the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines will most likely push through as planned.Presidential assistant Christopher Lawrence Go and Department of Foreign Affairs Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano breathed life into the country’s hosting of the biennial sportsfest in a meeting with Philippine Sports Commission chair Butch Ramirez on Tuesday.ADVERTISEMENT NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Ramirez said he asked Fernandez to reconcile with Cojuangco in the spirit of unity and cooperation as the PSC board forms a partnership with the POC in the hosting.Ramirez said Fernandez has thrown his full support and even offered Cebu as a venue for equestrian.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his sidecenter_img LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ View comments Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ MOST READ “The POC welcomes the government support for the hosting and will defer to Secretary Cayetano to announce it. The POC sees the support as a unifying force for Philippine sports,” said POC president Peping Cojuangco.Ramirez, however, added there’s a few more concerns that has to be settled as Sen. Cayetano tries to discuss the positive development with the Philippine Olympic Committee.A reliable source said Cayetano would be named chair of the local organizing committee, replacing Senator Migz Zubiri.The government initially declined to host the 2019 Games, citing the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi City.POC president Jose Cojuangco Jr. appealed to Duterte to reconsider the decision before the deadline on Aug. 18 during the SEAG Federation Council meeting in Kuala Lumpur.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

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