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    How Mishustin Rose to the Top: Old Ties, Savvy and a Knack for Systems – The Moscow Times - January 27, 2020 by admin

    Mikhail Mishustin was struggling. Drenched in sweat and tripping over himself, he wasnt a natural ice hockey player.

    I dont know whether hed played before, but it was clearly very hard for him, Dimitri Elkin, CEO of Twelve Seas Investment Company, said of the man just named Russias new prime minister. Hes not the most athletic guy; hes a bit on the heavy side. But he just kept going, and I was like: Wow, this guy has some willpower.

    The year was 2009. Like Elkin, Mishustin, now 53, was a managing partner at the Moscow-based investment group UFG Asset Management. Two years earlier, Mishustin had also begun organizing exhibition hockey games that were attended by some of Russias most powerful people.

    The games were a precursor to a more formalized league that President Vladimir Putin would create in 2011: the Night Hockey League. In ensuing years, it would become a fraternity for Russias elite, like golf in the U.S. As political analyst Andrei Kolesnikov told AFP last week, the league has become like a masonic lodge.

    I have no doubt that him being there being one of the boys was a factor in him getting where he is now, said Elkin. Mikhail is really good at knowing who the right people are.

    When Putin appointed Mishustin to head the Russian government earlier this month, after setting into motion what appears to be a succession plan with a raft of proposed changes to the Constitution, the move came as a surprise. Having spent the past decade serving as Russias tax chief without voicing any greater political ambitions, Mishustin was quickly labeled a technocratic placeholder.

    If Mishustin has aims beyond the role of prime minister, they have been difficult to tease out. But interviews with nearly two dozen of his acquaintances, business associates, former classmates and colleagues paint a more nuanced picture: one of an ambitious figure who knows how to work the system and has always put himself in position to climb up the next rung on the ladder.

    As the dust has settled in recent days, some political analysts are wondering if the little-known systems engineer might be in the running to be the successor to the man who has ruled Russia for the past two decades.

    Mishustin is certainly not a placeholder prime minister, but a fully-fledged member of the cast of successors for the role of president, Alexander Baunov of the Carnegie Moscow Center wrote on Facebook. His relative obscurity should not exclude him. Vladimir Putin himself was a little-known official until the moment [Boris] Yeltsin appointed him to three high posts one after another.

    Born and raised just outside the Russian capital, Mishustin completed a degree in systems engineering at Moscow State Technological University in 1989. Former classmates remember him as gregarious, someone around whom social life would orbit.

    He had many friends and always liked being in a group, said Andrei Morozov, a Moscow-based IT consultant who graduated the same year.

    After staying on to complete a graduate degree in 1992, Mishustin found work with the International Computer Club. Formed by a group of Soviet scientists in 1986 with the approval of the KGB, the non-profit organization was the first to bring Western technology to the Soviet Union. When the Iron Curtain fell in 1991, the floodgates opened.

    Basically, it was a marketing operation designed to get Western computer companies to invest in Russia which they did to very good effect, said Esther Dyson, a Swiss-born American investor who worked with the group at the time.

    The main way the International Computer Club did this was by bringing professionals together through an annual three-day conference called Russkiy Den, or Russia Day, held around the national holiday in mid-June. Originally hosted in Moscow, it moved to the Black Sea resort of Sochi in the late 90s, running annually until 2015.

    Photos from early gatherings show what looks like a typical industry convention anywhere at the time: waitresses in skimpy outfits, tables stacked with bottles, men singing karaoke.

    The conference brought together around 150 leaders of Russias burgeoning tech industry. Key players included Arkady Volozh, the billionaire founder of Yandex; Anatoly Karachinsky, the founder of the IBS group, Russias largest computer company; and Olga Dergunova, current Deputy President at state bank VTB, among others.

    In addition to top business leaders, the conference attracted high-placed government officials.

    It was a democratic space, said Yegor Yakovlev, founder of Tvigle, Russias first online streaming service. We dont really have that anymore.

    In the early 90s, Mishustin became close with one high-placed government official in particular: Boris Fyodorov, Russias first finance minister.

    Its no secret that he was tight with Boris Fyodorov, that he was his guy, said Sergei Aleksashenko, who served as Fyodorovs deputy at the Finance Ministry from 1993 to 1994.

    In 1998, Fyodorov, who by then had become Russias tax chief, handed Mishustin his first role in government as his aide in charge of information systems.

    Although Mishustin left the private sector for the public sector, he continued attending Russkiy Den until 2012, according to the International Computer Clubs website, and was a keynote speaker in later years. He also invited more government officials, say regular attendees.

    It was an opportunity to talk openly behind closed doors about what was affecting the industry, said Rustem Khayretdinov, deputy general director of InfoWatch, who attended the conferences regularly. Problems like the over-reaching of the siloviki officials with ties to law enforcement.

    But if Fyodorov was an openly liberal reformer, those who knew Mishustin in those years said he never discussed his politics.

    We didnt talk politics back then, said George Pachikov, founder and CEO of Cortona3D and a friend of Mishustins from the time. We had defeated the main enemy, the communists, and we firmly believed we were on the path toward joining Europe and becoming part of civilization.

    Pachikov and Mishustin had grown close through another social group: GP Club, named using Pachikovs initials. A more informal gathering of the IT community whos who, the group met on Thursday evenings in an office in central Moscow and at members houses on special occasions.

    The group still retains a Facebook page, featuring photos of its events. Mishustin, who has written several songs for popular Russian singer Grigory Leps, is pictured singing, dancing, playing the piano and draping his arms around friends.

    It was a small group of progressive like-minded thinkers, said Marat Guriyev, former director of government relations for Samsung in Russia, and a member of the club.

    Guriyev, who served for four years in Boris Yelstins presidential administration, described Mishustin as one of the groups leaders and arguably the smartest of our crew.

    The mentality of the club was liberal, pro-Western, pro-open internet, Guriyev added. That was the spirit of the time. Those were the days of freedom.

    In 2008, Mishustins key connection Fyodorov brought him into another new world: finance. He offered Mishustin a role at UFG Asset Management, a financial firm he had co-founded with Charles Ryan, an American investor.

    Mishustin didnt immediately fit in. He would curse like a sailor, one former colleague at the firm recalled, asking to remain anonymous. And, according to Elkin, he sometimes wore a black shirt with a black suit, sticking out among the conventional investors. Still, he played a key role.

    He was quite helpful in making various introductions to Russian oligarchs, Elkin said. He was more of a political figure.

    In 2008, Fyodorov, who was now living in London, died from a sudden stroke, but Mishustin was already forging out on his own.

    A year earlier he had launched a hockey tournament that included members of the political establishment, including Sergei Naryshkin, now the director of Russias Foreign Intelligence Service. Mishustin continued organizing the competition after he moved to UFG Asset Management in 2008, and the firm became its official sponsor the next year.

    With each year, the exhibition hockey games attracted increasingly more powerful people. One game, in 2010, included Russias Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

    That year Mishustin was named Russias tax chief, stepping into his mentors shoes. With several years in finance under his belt, he was counted as one of the top three richest Russian officials.

    Over the following decade, Mishustin won plaudits for his transformation of Russias tax system. Last year, the Financial Times published a glowing review of his work with the headline: Russias role in producing the taxman of the future.

    Mishustin also started to fashion himself after a Putin-era Russian official by aligning himself with the Orthodox Church. In recent years he has gotten involved with his own local branch in the Moscow suburbs, where many members of Russias business and political establishments are based. Last week, BBC Russian reported that, in 2017, the church presented Mishustin with the Patriarchal medal for church construction.

    BBC Russian also reported, however, that the money for the work was donated in his sisters name and that she owns up to 1 billion rubles ($16.1 million) in real estate. Critics like opposition leader Alexei Navalny have seized on what they have taken to be hidden wealth, as they say is the case with many Putin officials.

    Some of Mishustins early moves as prime minister have also riled Russian liberals.

    Last week, he ordered that salaries of police officers in Moscow and St. Petersburg who maintain order during street protests should be doubled.

    Effective manager, updated government? Navalny ally Lyubov Sobol wrote on Twitter. Actually just the same thievery, that hates its own people and despises laws.

    In interviews with The Moscow Times, members of Russias IT and business communities welcomed Mishustins appointment. Pointing to his stance in the 90s and early aughts, as well as his work as tax chief reforming an inefficient system, they hope he can do the same with a bigger platform.

    The Mishustin of the 90s may no longer exist, however, as his career arc has in some ways hewed to Russias development since the fall of the Soviet Union. If the zeitgeist of that time was an openness to the West, Mishustin might only have embodied that spirit as it was the status quo.

    He didnt have an internal doctrine to speak of, Ilya Ponamoryov, an entrepreneur turned exiled former opposition State Duma deputy, who was a member of GP Club, said by phone from Kiev.

    And as Russia has grown increasingly isolationist, even developing a so-called sovereign internet that could cut its networks off from the rest of the world, observers may very well wonder what the prime minister, who has not laid out his political views since his appointment, now believes.

    A clue could lie in what a former colleague at UFG, who asked not to be named, underscored: that Mishustin is a systems engineer in all senses of the phrase.

    Everything else about him is derived from this: He understands systems and how to work in them, the former colleague said.

    For now, Mishustins main mandate will be to spur Russias sputtering economy. Described by former colleagues in interviews with The Moscow Times as a tough guy who can be a strict manager when needed, a government source recently told the Financial Times that Mishustin has already axed unwanted officials from the previous government without even giving them time to collect their belongings.

    That toughness has left old acquaintances curious as to how Mishustin will approach his new role.

    One the one hand, hes very loyal, said Elkin. On the other hand, hes not a lapdog. Its an interesting contradiction.

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    How Mishustin Rose to the Top: Old Ties, Savvy and a Knack for Systems - The Moscow Times

    How Churches and Schools in Zambia are Fulfilling the Gospel Commission – Adventist Review - January 27, 2020 by admin

    January 25, 2020

    By: Dustin Comm, Maranatha Volunteers International

    The New Testament in the Bible is filled with stories of the apostle Paul and other missionaries traveling by foot, by boat, and any other means of transportation necessary to spread the gospel to the world.

    Today, in the Shimukuni district of Zambia, Eddie Himoonde lives out this tradition while pastoring 55 Seventh-day Adventist congregations, spread out over nearly 125 miles, with no transportation.

    Sometimes I take maybe a week or two weeks just walking to the furthest church because I dont have a car, I dont have a motorbike I walk, Himoonde says. And sometimes members come and pick me up on their motorcycle. They cycle me to that church. But if no ones having even a bicycle in that area, then I have to walk through, sleep on the way, wake up in the morning, and continue moving until I reach to that church.

    Because his territory is vast and he has so many congregations to care for, Himoonde only sees each group once a year. When he visits, he focuses on training the members to carry out the work without him.

    The 11,260 members in Himoondes territory love to worship together and praise God, but with limited resources available, most do not have a church building.

    Some of them are still worshiping under trees. Some of them just cut the grass and make some shelter around, and they begin to worship from there because they love their Lord, Himoonde says.

    Many church members there are passionate about spreading the gospel but are often hindered by the lack of a church building.

    [This is] the challenge that I face when such incidences happen where we evangelize, maybe a public campaign, and people give themselves [to God], Himoonde says. But when they come to the actual church, they find that actually where we are worshiping is not conducive. There are no seats. They are worshiping under the tree or maybe on the grass.

    Last year, Maranatha Volunteers International, a non-profit organization that works in conjunction with the Seventh-day Adventist Church to provide structures for worship and education around the world, began building churches in Zambia for the second time, after having worked in the country from 2009 to 2015. Recently, Maranatha constructed several churches in Himoondes district, and the members are grateful.

    Lilian Naluminoz is a church member at the Lwendge Seventh-day Adventist Church. She has been active in spreading the gospel to her neighbors. This structure will even change many lives of people, because what they were crying for has now come, Naluminoz says. God has answered our prayers through you. And I think next time [you visit], we shall have more members than we have right now.

    Having a proper structure in this area is evangelism on its own, Himoonde says. Because like now [what] we are doing here at Lwendge, Maranatha is giving us this structure, it becomes easier for me even to evangelize because just the structure on itself will be preaching to the people around here. Already, people are coming and seeing what is happening. They just heard the noise here, the works that are going on. People are asking, What is happening there? What is happening there? Then they believe that now we are worshiping a true God because they have given us a structure. And then the people will just come on their own.

    It might look simple in their eyes, but it is big in this community, Himoonde says. Because it has never happened before. The people have never seen such a structure here. You see, even the houses around [here], there are no iron sheets. You just use the grass and stuff. So when they see just this simple structure, it's not as simple as it may look. It is big. It will go a long way.

    Evangelism in Zambia is also strong through Adventist education. In the fourth-largest city of Kabwe lies the only Adventist school in the province, where 65 percent of the 550 students or their families are not church members. Every day, students are taught about Jesus and a God who loves them, and families are eager to have their children enrolled because of the high quality of the education.

    But the draw is more than academic; there is a level of care and direction students receive at Kabwe that is unmatched in the area. Mawuse Michello is the school chaplain and provides spiritual direction not only to students and staff but for parents as well.

    We do works like counseling for both staff members and pupils, Michello says. And even parents when they do see fit. We do talk to parents when they come to get reports for their children, and they do visit our office as well just to help them understand that we need a balance between the homeschooling and the actual space that we have here, between the teacher and the child.

    Yet, even with a great program and support staff, the school is limited in how widely they can share their mission. They have outgrown their capacity classrooms are crowded, and the school cannot accept new students.

    Parents, they really want to take their children at Kabwe Adventist School, says parent Chileshe Steward. But there is no space and the staff they have restricted themselves in growing their number. They have put a control measure there. They dont just accept anyone because of their space.

    In 2018, Maranatha Volunteers International agreed to build a new elementary campus for the Kabwe school, which will give more space for current students and provide more children with the opportunity for Adventist education. Construction began in 2019, with 132 volunteers helping to construct eight buildings, including an administrative office and bathrooms. When the final structure was complete, volunteers participated in a dedication ceremony, cutting a ribbon for each building and offering prayer for the students who would come through their doors in the future.

    This school, it is God Himself that is building it, says school manager Peter Moyo. But He cannot come from heaven to come and mold bricks. But through His agents, Hes able to do that. So the coming of Maranatha International, its not a human dream. No, God Himself puts things in place. He has got a plan for everything, and at every moment, He puts things in place. And they just fit in.

    This new campus will do more than expand the school. It has the potential to bring unknown numbers of students to God for years to come. Michello realizes that this new campus is a gift of eternal proportions.

    When you go into the new campus, you see the new buildings that are coming up, it actually gives you hope that we have more space and more doors that are open to allow pupils to come through, Michello says. And the beauty of it is, for every child that will go through, theyll have an opportunity to meet Christ in the classroom. So the more blocks you have, the more opportunities for Christ you have to expose Him to the community at large.

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    How Churches and Schools in Zambia are Fulfilling the Gospel Commission - Adventist Review

    Indiana union reps plead guilty to beating McHenry County-based ironworkers over church job site – Northwest Herald - January 25, 2020 by admin

    A pair of Indiana union representatives have pleaded guilty to beating a group of McHenry County-based ironworkers at a church in 2016.

    Former Ironworkers Union Local 395 President and business agent Jeffrey Veach and his fellow business agent, Thomas Williamson Sr., accepted plea deals Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in the Hammond division.

    Each man pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy to commit extortion, the charges of which stemmed from a January 2016 attack that broke the jaw of an employee of the union-based company D5 Iron Works, court records show.

    Sometime before the confrontation, Veach and Williamson learned that D5 was completing a construction job for a Baptist church in Dyer, Indiana, federal plea agreements show. According to Veach and Williamsons plea agreements, the church site was within Local 395s territory, but D5 did not have a labor contract with the union.

    On the morning of Jan. 7, 2016, Veach and Williamson visited the church in an attempt to persuade the D5 owner to either sign up with Local 395 or stop work on the job, records show.

    When the owner refused, Williamson called the man profanities, grabbed his jacket and threatened to take things back to old school, plea documents show.

    Williamson and Veach later returned to the job site with more union members that afternoon and struck several D5 employees with loose pieces of hardwood, kicked and punched them.

    One D5 worker was hospitalized as a result of the attack and required several surgeries for a broken jaw, according to the plea deal.

    Both Williamson and Veach face between two and 4 years in prison. The U.S. probation office must complete individual pre-sentence investigations into the backgrounds and current circumstances of both men before a sentencing hearing is set.

    Neither mans attorney could be reached for comment Friday.

    A related federal lawsuit has been on hold since June awaiting the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

    According to the 20-count civil complaint, Local 395 employees wore steel-toed boots and shouted This is union work! This is 395s work! This is 395s territory and Dont come back! at D5 employees during the attack.

    Robert Hanlon, the attorney representing D5 Iron Workers in the lawsuit, could not be reached for comment Friday on how Veach and Williamsons guilty pleas might affect the federal lawsuit.

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    Indiana union reps plead guilty to beating McHenry County-based ironworkers over church job site - Northwest Herald

    Roadwork could snarl traffic on bridges near Trumps rally in Wildwood – - January 25, 2020 by admin

    Those lucky enough to score tickets to President Trumps Tuesday night rally in Wildwood will face traffic, just based on the sheer numbers of people attending, and one bridge construction project in a key location that may likely slow things down.

    Those numbers are the 7,400 people the Wildwoods Convention Center holds, a claim from Congressman Jeff Van Drew who Trump is coming to stump for that 100,000 tickets had been issued, and possibly thousands of protesters who are planning to demonstrate. But only three bridges carry traffic on and off the barrier islands that make up the Wildwoods.

    The George Redding Bridge that carries Route 47-Rio Grande Avenue is under construction as part of Cape May Countys Rio Grande Avenue Gateway project, which has temporarily reduced the bridge from four to two lanes one in each direction, said Robert Church, county engineer. Route 47 is the most direct route between the Garden State Parkway and the convention center.

    Construction work takes place between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. but as of late Thursday, officials have not been asked to stop the project for the rally, Church said. The rally starts at 7 p.m. and convention center doors open at 3 p.m. The city expects there will be an overflow area nearby with screens for viewing outside and rally-goers are already talking about plans to arrive at least by Monday if not earlier.

    Originally we had intended on changing the traffic patterns on Jan. 28 for the next phase of the project, but were asked to delay this until Jan. 29, due to the Presidents visit, so that there would no confusion with the new traffic patterns leading up to the event, Church said.

    Route 47, which is normally two lanes in each direction, connects the Garden State Parkway and the Wildwoods. Sinkholes closed a small section of Route 47 located west of the Parkway and Route 9 which is an area that isnt used by most people traveling to Wildwood from other parts of the state.

    Headed into Wildwood, those two lanes will merge into one at the top of the bridge. Drivers leaving the rally will also have to funnel into one lane on Rio Grande at Arctic Avenue until the top of the George Redding Bridge about a half-mile distance when it opens back up to two lanes headed west, Church said.

    The project, which began in 2019, includes elevating a portion of the roadway above flood level and widening it, Church said.

    Drivers thinking about taking a short cut through North Wildwood and into Stone Harbor and Avalon to leave will also face a closed bridge. The Ingrams Thorofare Bridge will be closed from 7 p.m. through 5 a.m. due to ongoing construction between Jan. 28 and Jan. 29, Avalon police said in a Facebook post. Avalon Boulevard also will be closed during those hours.

    For the trip to the rally on the Garden State Parkway or Route 9, it should be smooth sailing as far as encountering any construction.

    Im not aware of any additional closures around the time of the event on any NJDOT-maintained roads, said Steve Shapiro, a DOT spokesman.

    Once supporters arrive, parking may not be an easy task. All the parking lots surrounding the convention center are not going to be available, said Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron. Drivers may have to go at least two or three blocks away. Some commercial establishments that are typically closed for the off-season and a sizable parking lot may reopen just for the rally parking.

    Larry Higgs may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @commutinglarry. Find on Facebook.

    Have a tip? Tell us. Get the latest updates right in your inbox. Subscribe to NJ.coms newsletters

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    Roadwork could snarl traffic on bridges near Trumps rally in Wildwood -

    Peconic Estuary Program proposes wetland construction in Aquebogue to improve health of Meetinghouse Creek – RiverheadLOCAL - January 25, 2020 by admin

    Peconic Estuary Program has devised a preliminary plan to construct a 1.2-acre wetland to filter road runoff entering Meetinghouse Creek in Aquebogue.

    Meetinghouse Creek has been identified as an impaired water body with low dissolved oxygen levels, Peconic Estuary Program program coordinator Sarah Schaefer told the Riverhead Town Board at its work session Thursday morning. Its impairment is the result of past agricultural practices and road runoff. Currently, a 24-inch drainage pipe discharges road runoff collected by drainage structures on Church Lane onto a 2.6-acre town-owned parcel on the south side of Main Road in Aquebogue at the headwaters of Meetinghouse Creek.

    To improve the creeks water quality and its ability to support marine life, PEP is proposing to create a new 1.2-acre wetland on the town property. Wetlands already exist on the site but they are choked by phragmites and are not functioning to adequately filter stormwater runoff before it enters Meetinghouse Creek, Schaefer said.

    Peconic Estuary Program paid for a watershed management plan for Meetinghouse Creek that was completed in 2006, Schaefer said. In 2017, PEP funded a conceptual design plan, which it presented to the town board Thursday.

    The plan is to build a meandering wetland that will provide sufficient transit time to filter out sediment and physical structures to filter out trash before runoff passes under an berm and enters the Meetinghouse Creek system.

    PEP will pay the estimated $154,000 in engineering design costs for the new wetland construction, Schaefer said.

    Construction costs will run an estimated $530,000, according to the presentation. PEP and the town would apply for state grant funding for the actual construction, she said. The project stands a good chance of being funded, according to Schaefer.

    The towns role in the wetland construction and its potential responsibility for the cost of the project will have to be worked out, Schaefer said after her presentation to the board. An operation and maintenance plan will be developed by the engineering firm. The towns share of the project cost could be in-kind services associated with maintenance, she said. The terms of a grant usually address that, she said.

    The firm hired to undertake the project will obtain all necessary permits, including permits from the Army Corps of Engineers, the N.Y. State Department of Environmental Conservation, the N.Y. State Department of Transportation and the Town of Riverhead.

    Construction is anticipated to take place in 2023.

    The Peconic Estuary Program is a cooperative effort between the state, Suffolk County, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the scientific community, and the citizens of the Peconic Estuary watershed, according to the State DEC.

    The Peconic Estuary is the body of water between the two forks of eastern Long Island, comprising more than 100 distinct bays, harbors, embayments and tributaries, including Flanders Bay, Great Peconic Bay, Little Peconic Bay, Shelter Island Sound, and Gardiners Bay. It was designated an estuary of national significance by the EPA in 1992.

    PEP is responsible for creating and implementing a comprehensive management plan to protect the Peconic Estuary. Its first Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) was formally approved by the EPA administrator in 2001.

    The CCMP promotes a holistic approach to improving and maintaining the estuary. Priority management topics include Brown Tide, nutrients, habitat and living resources, pathogens, toxic pollutants, and critical lands protection, according to the PEP website.

    The Peconic Estuary Program is working to update the 2001 CCMP to address the most current threats.

    This story is free to read thanks in part to the generous support of readers like you. Keep local news free. Become a member today.

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    Peconic Estuary Program proposes wetland construction in Aquebogue to improve health of Meetinghouse Creek - RiverheadLOCAL

    Salt Lake City braces for traffic problems as five skyscrapers rise amid a wave of downtown construction – Salt Lake Tribune - January 25, 2020 by admin

    If you drive in the heart of Salt Lake City, the downtown building boom is about to get very real.

    City crews, meanwhile, will also embark on several major street repairs as part of a $87 million road reconstruction bond approved in November including upgrades to 200 South from downtown eastward to the University of Utah.

    Fourteen cranes over the city on six different projects, said Dee Brewer, executive director of the Downtown Alliance, an arm of the Salt Lake Chamber. There are lots of moving parts here."

    Traffic planners with Salt Lake City and business leaders at the chamber are focused on detailed and constantly evolving plans to manage the intermittent lane closures and spates of heavy truck traffic along many of the citys go-to thoroughfares.

    Pedestrians, bicyclists, e-scooter riders and other street travelers will also be dealing with covered sidewalks, fencing and temporary diversions for safety reasons.

    Some congestion and inconvenience will be inevitable in light of the unprecedented surge in commercial development in Salt Lake City as the states population continues to grow and downtown gains new residents.

    The important thing for people to know is that were aware of it and were coordinating it, said the citys transportation director, Jon Larsen.

    Dozens of city experts, developers, construction managers and officials with the Utah Transit Authority are meeting regularly on ways to minimize bottlenecks and set up alternate UTA bus routes around construction sites.

    There are plans for traffic signs to help drivers cope and for regular updates online. Officials are also offering early advice to the nearly 200,000 drivers who flow in and out of the city each day. Theyll need to be patient and, at times, creative.

    Key messages are: Use TRAX and FrontRunner more often, plan alternative routes and parking spots well ahead of time, and stay up-to-date via various media outlets.

    There are worries, nonetheless, that hassles of navigating cramped downtown streets could lead some to steer elsewhere.

    We want the millions of people that visit, shop, dine, play and work downtown to continue to enjoy the vibrancy, art and experiences that can only be found downtown, said Brewer.

    The alliance is in something of a lead role, officials said, with a full-time construction ombudsmen on staff to coordinate among building site managers, the citys experts and businesses and residents near construction sites.

    The business group is also adding a construction and development page at its website,

    Officials at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are already warning motorists and pedestrians to expect occasional lane closures westbound on North Temple between State Street and West Temple, as drilling between now and February presages what will be four years of work overhauling the 126-year-old temple.

    Throughout this entire project, we will do all we can to limit traffic or other disruptions, a spokesman with the churchs Public Affairs Department said.

    We want to be good neighbors, church spokesman Daniel Woodruff wrote via email. Our community wants to be part of this project and while this may be uncomfortable for some of us at times, we will do all we can to limit and communicate about disruptions.

    Parts of West Temple and South Temple near that project will be closed temporarily for utility work, as will some of the sidewalks around Temple Square, Woodruff said.

    Church officials also plan to set up several viewing areas around Temple Square where the public can observe construction.

    But between that project and another high-rise development going up one block west in what is known as The West Quarter at 300 West and 200 South, congestion could get hairy on those blocks at times, forcing drivers onto adjacent east-west streets sporadically over the next three years, officials said.

    For a sense of magnitude when thinking of the skyscraper construction, Larsen pointed to the week after Thanksgiving, when what seemed like an unending parade of mixers poured tons and tons of concrete for a new office tower known as 95 State at City Creek, just west of Harmons Grocery City Creek.

    It was insane, he said of the impressive scale. There were just hundreds of concrete trucks flowing through there in like a 36-hour period.

    Multiply that several-fold and you get a picture of potential traffic peaks from now until mid-2023 or beyond.

    95 State at City Creek, being built by City Creek Reserve, a real estate development firm owned by the LDS Church, is one of three skyscrapers now being pursued within a three-block stretch of State Street between South Temple and 300 South with potential to aggravate future headaches on that north-south route through downtown.

    As if thats not enough, at least two more residential skyscrapers both potentially exceeding 25 stories are in the early planning stages in the same general neighborhood.

    Though neither of those towers has a firm construction schedule yet, either or both could conceivably start within the next three year, judging from city documents.

    Though the new decades downtown building rush is unprecedented, officials say theyve seen the transportation piece coming.

    Using information that developers are required to submit to obtain their demolition and building permits, Larsen said, traffic managers are coordinating street signals and staggering any closures, limiting them to one lane at a time.

    Theyre also spreading truck hauling over the citys chief routes for getting excavated materials, equipment and building supplies in and out of the downtown area.

    The city will bar any lane closures during peak holiday shopping and downtown sightseeing between Thanksgiving and New Years Day.

    Thanks to early LDS Church leader Brigham Young and other urban planners, Salt Lake Citys latticed street network provides a variety of alternative routes to most city locales. Theres mass transit to boot.

    We have a really good street grid, Larsen said. We have the best multimodal network and the best well-connected street grid in the state. So theres a lot of options for people to still get around.

    In downtowns looming tsunami of orange barriers, patience and advance planning will come in handy, too.

    Correction: 10:40 a.m., Jan. 23, 2020 A massive concrete pour in downtown Salt Lake City in early December was for the skyscraper project called 95 State at City Creek. A prior version of this story incorrectly attributed that to another project.

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    Salt Lake City braces for traffic problems as five skyscrapers rise amid a wave of downtown construction - Salt Lake Tribune

    Who’s building where in Acadiana? Here are the building permits issued Jan. 13-17 – The Advocate - January 25, 2020 by admin

    New commercial

    RESTAURANT: 5301 Johnston St., Lafayette: Burger King, owner; David Ruiz, applicant; Innovative Building Solutions LLC, contractor; $1,220,719.

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    BAR/LOUNGE: 944 E. Simcoe St., Lafayette; Good Ole Daq's & More, owner; Jonathan Dugas, applicant; self, contractor; $20,000.

    APARTMENTS: 200 Oak Crest Drive, Building E, Lafayette; University Place Apartments, owner; description, new bathrooms, relocating kitchens; The Thrasher Group Inc., applicant; Castle Row Construction LLC, contractor; $100,000.

    RESTAURANT: 2312 Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette; Deano's Pizza, owner; description, renovations; CM Miciotto & Son Inc., applicant and contractor; $87,000.

    CHURCH: 2426 La. 93, Carencro; Vatican Baptist Church, owner; description, parking lot expansion; Chad Thibodeaux, applicant; self, contractor; $5,000.

    RECREATION: 443 Jefferson St., Lafayette; Lafayette Natural History Museum, owner; CM Miciotto & Son Inc., applicant and contractor; $20,000.

    OTHER: 1113 Lee Ave., Lafayette; First Baptist Church, owner and applicant; description, accessory building; Jared Richard, contractor; $5,000.

    144 Gable Crest Drive, Lafayette; Shivers Brothers Construction; $198,000.

    146 Gable Crest Drive, Lafayette; Shivers Brothers Construction; $198,000.

    100 Steeplestone Lane, Lafayette; Tommy Pullig LLC; $513,000.

    142 Gable Crest Drive, Lafayette; Shivers Brothers Construction; $198,000.

    227 Gable Crest Drive, Lafayette; Shivers Brothers Construction; $261,000.

    122 Rena Drive, Lafayette; Breezeway LLC; $162,000.

    122 Rena Drive C, Lafayette; Breezeway LLC; $162,000.

    609 Greyford Drive, Lafayette Parish; Colony Homes LLC; $459,000.

    108 Waterhouse Road, Lafayette Parish; Magnolia Construction & Roof LLC; $315,000.

    129 Gentle Crescent Lane, Lafayette; DSLD LLC; $193,500.

    1113 Eleventh St., Lafayette; Lemoine Disaster Recovery LLC; $193,000.

    415 Biltmore Way, Lafayette; Laviolette General Contracting Inc.; $598,500.

    201 Sparrowhawk St., Broussard; DSLD LLC; $220,500.

    302 Stanwell Ave., Lafayette Parish; DSLD LLC; $207,000.

    215 San Domingo Drive, Youngsville; Triple D Homes LLC; $247,500.

    118 Gentle Crescent Lane, Lafayette;DSLD LLC; $198,000.

    119 Gentle Crescent Lane, Lafayette;DSLD LLC; $171,000.

    104 Hatfield Drive, Lafayette Parish;DSLD LLC; $193,500.

    405 Ambergris Lane, Broussard; Platinum Homes Inc.; $369,592.

    110 Carriage Lakes Drive, Broussard; Bon Maison Builders LLC; $334,373.

    306 Channel Drive, Broussard; DP Construction LLC; $267,565.

    607 Easy Rock Landing, Broussard; Hart Homes LLC; $227,232.

    103 Lillian St., Broussard; DSLD Homes LLC; $211,561.

    808 Deer Meadow, Broussard; DSLD Homes LLC; $257,255.

    1010 Deer Meadow, Broussard; DSLD Homes LLC; $289,917.

    1012 Deer Meadow, Broussard; DSLD Homes LLC; $257,255.

    1100 Deer Meadow, Broussard; DSLD Homes LLC; $208,426.

    112 Chloe St., Broussard; DSLD Homes LLC; $202,818.

    230 Whispering Meadows, Broussard; AM Design Inc.; $225,417.

    Lafayette native and longtime entrepreneur Ruth Ann Menutis has vowed to scale back on her frenetic business pace.

    b1Bankis acquiring Houma-based Pedestal Bankin a $211 million deal that will make it the third-largest bank headquartered in Louisiana and a

    With 2019s Acadiana housing sales inching out last year to become our latest record-setting year in both the reported number of home sales an

    The LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center has selectedJames P. Roy Sr., a senior partner and managing member of Domengeaux Wright Roy & Edwards L

    Shoppers Value, which filed for bankruptcy restructuring in late 2019, plans to close its Jones Creek grocery store after more than four years

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    Who's building where in Acadiana? Here are the building permits issued Jan. 13-17 - The Advocate

    Rebuilding of Church Lost in 9/11 Attacks to Resume – Construction Equipment Guide - January 25, 2020 by admin

    Construction company Skanska U.S.A. halted work on the church in December 2017 when the archdiocese ran out of money to complete the project. The half-finished church has been covered in white tarp since then.

    NEW YORK (AP) Two years after a lack of funds halted construction of a marble-clad Greek Orthodox church at New York's World Trade Center site, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Greek Orthodox officials announced plans to resume construction with the goal of finishing the rebuilding by the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

    The completed St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, will welcome visitors from all faiths while also replacing an Orthodox church that was buried in the rubble of the trade center's south tower.

    "This house of worship will serve as a reminder that our collective faith is something we can always count on to move past our painful memories and build a better tomorrow," Cuomo said in a statement.

    Archbishop Elpidophoros, the head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, pledged that the rebuilt church will be "open to all women and men of goodwill who wish to honor the memory of all who perished on Sept. 11."

    The cost estimate of the church just south of the rebuilt trade center's memorial pools has ballooned from $20 million when the design was announced in 2013 to $80 million, of which $40 million remains to be raised, said the Rev. Alex Karloutsos, vicar general of the archdiocese.

    Construction company Skanska U.S.A. halted work on the church in December 2017 when the archdiocese ran out of money to complete the project. The half-finished church has been covered in white tarp since then.

    Karloutsos said archdiocesan officials expect construction to resume by early March.

    "We have a full understanding of the cost and we have a construction manager named," he said. "We're going to be very transparent and accountable."

    The design for the church by Calatrava, also the architect responsible for the trade center's bird-shaped Oculus train hall, features a central dome flanked by towers like the two Byzantine shrines that inspired it, the Hagia Sophia and the Church of the Holy Savior in Chora. The concrete structure will be sheathed in marble, and its dome will be lighted from the inside at night.

    Officials with the archdiocese have acknowledged financial mismanagement during the tenure of the previous archbishop, Demetrios, who recently retired last year at age 91.

    The new archbishop, Elpidophoros, said last June when he was installed as the first new leader in 20 years for the 1.5-million Greek Orthodox worshipers in the United States that completing the St. Nicholas shrine at the World Trade Center was his top priority.

    Elpidophoros and Cuomo said an independent 13-member board called Friends of St. Nicholas will lead the fundraising effort to complete construction. The board will be chaired by Greek-American businessman Dennis Mehiel, former chairman of New York's Battery Park City Authority.

    Elpidophoros led a ceremony at the shuttered construction site on Dec. 6, St. Nicholas' feast day, calling the rebuilding of the church "the single most important public affirmation of our Orthodox faith in our American nation" since the late Archbishop Iakovos marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Alabama in 1965.

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    Rebuilding of Church Lost in 9/11 Attacks to Resume - Construction Equipment Guide

    New Organ Will Be Centerpiece Of Congregational Church Renovation – Cape Cod Chronicle - January 25, 2020 by admin

    Through its long history, Chatham has been known by many monikers, and now it may be acquiring a new one.

    Without doubt, Chatham will be the organ town, says the Rev. Joseph Marchio, pastor, director of music and organist at the First Congregational Church of Chatham.

    The church, celebrating its tercentennial this year, is joining St. Christophers Episcopal Church and the First United Methodist Church in upgrading their organs. The Congregational organ will be what Marchio calls a world-class instrument.

    One blustery cold morning last week Marchio led a visitor on a tour of the church at 650 Main St., which is undergoing a renovation. Since November, Marchio and administrative assistant Mary Lou Foley have been using offices at the Methodist church up the street until the renovations are complete, scheduled for Sept. 1. The congregation moved its weekly services to St. Martins Lodge Hall. To provide music during the church services, the church has rented a digital organ.

    The $700,000 upgrade to the organ is very much tied in with the churchs $2.5 million renovation. Renovations include improving handicap access and installing a new elevator that will run from the basement up three floors to the churchs attic and be large enough to hold a gurney in an emergency.

    The entire project, known as Vision 2020, is all about improving the accessibility, functionality and hospitality of the church, Marchio says.

    In the sanctuary, the northern wall will be pushed out 24 feet and a room will be created behind the sanctuary. The organ cabinetthat is the place where the organ pipes are housedwill be pushed back several feet into a recessed chamber, adding much-needed space to the chancel. Previously, the chancel was crowded as the organs console, the choir, the minister and more shared space there. Yet when the project is complete, when you sit in a pew in the sanctuary very little will look different.

    The churchs organ was built in 1972 and donated by Robert Harned, a local physician who was then the choir director.

    The organ served us well until recently when it was showing its age, says Cam Koblish, a member of the capital campaign committee who is overseeing the overall construction project. Marty Koblish, Cams wife, is, along with Bob Hessler, co-chairing the capital campaign. Parts like leather seals and valves start to show age.

    The 48-year-old organ, built in Saint Hyacinthe, Quebec by the firm of Casavant Freres, had 1,200 pipes which were housed behind the chancel. In the front, known as the faade, 18 large metal pipes were visible while the rest were hidden behind a latticed screen. In 2007 the church acquired a new electrified consolethat is the key and footboard portion of the organ. The console can be moved around to various places for worship and concerts.

    The new organ will have 1,550 pipes. Of these, about 850 will be reconditioned while the remainder will be new. Added will be stops such as an oboe, three or four flutes and a herald trumpet.

    The bride comes down the aisle, she wants the trumpet tune, Marchio says. The trumpet will also be used for festive hymns and concerts.

    Now, heres how Chatham will become an organ town. While the new Dobson Pipe Organ that will be installed at St. Christophers is of French design, Marchio says, and the organ installed at the Methodist church a few years ago is of German design, the new organ at this church will be a little English cathedral organ.

    No two organs are alike, and any given church will choose the one that sounds best in its sanctuary, says Marchio, who worked summers during high school and college with an organ builder.

    In the Protestant tradition, hymn singing is fundamental, Marchio adds. The organ needed at this church is one to accompany the human voice. It will do more than great justice.

    Down in the churchs fellowship hall, the construction crew is taking a coffee break. Along the side of the room the organ pipes that will not be reconditioned are standing in racks against a wall. Pipes range from the size of a pencil to 16 feet. Marchio picks one up and blows into it, creating a sound somewhat like a trumpeting elephant, startling everyone in the room.

    Each pipe has a price tag as they will be sold as a part of the fundraising effort for the new organ. If additional funds can be raised, the organ can eventually have 1,800 pipes and even more stops.

    People who are into history and want a little piece of ithow fun to have an organ pipe from a church thats going to be 300 years old, Marty Koblish says. She suggests the pipes could be blown at the towns annual noise parade during First Night celebrations.

    In another commemorative effort, Forest Beach Design has designed a custom charm or pendant in sterling silver and 14-karat gold that shows the exterior of the church. The charm and the organ pipes will be sold through the church.

    When the organ is completed this summer, Marchio will travel up to Saint Hyacinthe, about 50 miles from Montreal, and test-play the organ. When the pipes finally arrive in Chatham, it will take about five weeks to unpack, install and voice them.

    For information on donating to the Vision 2020 project and the organ, visit

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    New Organ Will Be Centerpiece Of Congregational Church Renovation - Cape Cod Chronicle

    RUSSIA The largest church in the Orthodox world will rise on the Urals – AsiaNews - January 25, 2020 by admin

    It will be able to host up to 40 thousand faithful and will be dedicated to Sofia Divine -Wisdom. Its construction was commissioned by Fr. Ilja Nozdin, spiritual father of the same patriarch of Moscow Kirill (Gundjaev). It will be financed by some spiritual sons of the starets Sergij Romanov. The church already attracts many Chinese. It is an Orthodox outpost on the outskirts of Asia. It will rise in the area where the family of Tsar Nicholas II was killed. It could become the largest pilgrimage destination in all of Russia.

    Moscow (AsiaNews) - The largest Christian (or at least Orthodox) church in the world will be built in the territory of the female monastery dedicated to the icon of the Mother of God "Bread Dispenser", capable of gathering almost 40,000 faithful.

    The starets of the monastery, the skhiigumen Sergij (Romanov - see photo 1), announced the project to the website. He is an almost legendary and rather mysterious character, with an (apparently) criminal past, with links to many Russian public figures: the Duma deputy Natalja Poklonskaja (ex-Crimean prosecutor), the hockey champion Pavel Datsjuk, the singer Aleksandr Novikov and others, including several entrepreneurs and oligarchs, all ready to finance the grandiose project.

    Zhanna Rjabtseva revealed some details of the building plan. Ryabtseva is president of the regional parliament in Sverdlovsk, the Ekaterinburg area, and also a parishioner of Father Sergij. He states that the idea of the super-church was approved directly by another famous Igumen, father Ilja (Nozdrin), spiritual father of the same patriarch of Moscow Kirill (Gundjaev). The church will be dedicated to Sofia, Divine Wisdom and will reach 77 meters in height, with a dome of 22 meters in height and 33 meters in diameter (the vaults of St. Peter's in Rome are 45 meters high, even if the Michelangelo dome reaches 133 meters).

    The entire complex will be arranged in three large naves and will contain two churches, a lower one of 11 thousand square meters for 20 thousand people, and an upper of 6.5 thousand square meters for over 18 thousand faithful (photos 2 and 3). According to Rjabtseva the construction of the stylobate, the overall base, will begin this year and the foundations will be extended over 100x100 meters. The completion date, according to his words "are in the hands of God, but it will be a great popular event". When asked who the financiers of the project are, the only answer was that "they will be some of Father Sergij's spiritual children."

    Again according to Rjabtseva, many Chinese would also be interested in the construction, fascinated by the events that led the members of the imperial family of Nicholas II to conclude their earthly journey on the Urals, and would have asked to receive baptism in these places, while now Chinese converts must go to other parts, such as the Diveevo monastery (founded by St. Seraphim of Sarov) or to the Lavra della the Holy Trinity of Saint Sergius, to reach the sources of the great Russian spirituality; over a thousand baptisms of Chinese per day are expected in the new church. " In this way, the church of St. Sophia would become the main Orthodox outpost on the outskirts of Asia.

    An entrepreneur interviewed, but under anonymity, explained that the fundraising had already been underway for the past couple of years, and that it took only a year and a half to determine the land on which to build the church, three and a half hectares of countryside owned by the Krekov family, whose members were initially unwilling to divest. President Rjabtseva then managed to convince them to sell it to the diocese of Ekaterinburg, for a sum that remained reserved, presumably close to 5 million euros. The Krekovs reject all request for interviews, declaring only that "our silence was one of the conditions of the agreement".

    Even the diocese has so far not commented on the project, but has promised to convene journalists on the matter shortly. In the circles of the Muscovite Patriarchate there is no precise information on the future "super-cathedral", but for some time now it has been discussing various devotional and architectural initiatives to honor the memory of the tsar-martyr and his family in the Ekaterinburg area.

    On the site of the assassination of Nicholas II, the so-called "Ipat'ev house", the large church "on Blood" has already been raised, of over 3 thousand square meters for a capacity of about 2 thousand faithful. The other major churches of Russia are the patriarchal cathedral of the Holy Savoir in Moscow, planned for 10 thousand faithful, and that of St. Isaac in St. Petersburg for over 11 thousand, even if it currently is still being used as a museum, despite the Churches request it be returned. The great Ural church could become the largest pilgrimage destination in all of Russia.

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    RUSSIA The largest church in the Orthodox world will rise on the Urals - AsiaNews

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