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    Contractor paid over $130K for work on collapsed building – The Selma TimesJournal – Selma Times-Journal - May 16, 2020 by admin

    The front faade of an aged and historic structure on Water Avenue, beside the Selma Interpretive Center, collapsed recently, despite the city having paid an unlicensed contractor more than $130,000 to work on the structure, according to financial documents provided to the Selma City Council by Selma Mayor Darrio Melton.

    Contractors taking on jobs over $50,000 must be licensed with the Alabama Licensing Board for General Contractors (ALBGC) and, according to ALBGC Investigator Rusty Mascari, the contractor paid for the work on Water Avenue has been called before the board on two occasions for working on projects without a license.

    In April 2018, the unlicensed contractor was paid $88,000 for the demolition of the structure at 1119 Water Ave in two payments one for $38,000 on April 13, 2018 and another for $50,000 later in the month.

    Additionally, the contractor was paid an additional $50,000 in July 2018 for stabilizing the front faade on the building.

    According to the ALCGCs website, it is against the law for an entity to be hired for such work without a license and any contract becomes null and void if undertaken by an unlicensed business, which means that the city will have no recourse if the work is done improperly.

    According to Mascari, the contractor that took on the Water Avenue project has never been licensed with the board and the city can be fined up to $5,000 for each instance in which his services were utilized.

    Additionally, commercial properties being demolished are required to file a notice with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) at least 10 days before demolition work begins so that an asbestos inspection can take place.

    According to ADEMs Don Barrion, no such notice has been received by the department regarding the property on Water Avenue.

    Selma City Council President Corey Bowie said any jobs of $50,000 or more are supposed to be brought before the council and bid out, though the council voted in 2017 to require all payments of $5,000 or more to come before the council.

    In October 2018, a year after that vote, the council voted to require that all payments come before the council for approval.

    Though Bowie does not recall the council signing off on any of the contractors projects, Councilwoman Miah Jackson said that at least one job was bid out and the contractor was awarded the job.

    Jackson said that the council asked Selma Planning and Development Department Director Henry Thompson if the contractor had all of the appropriate paperwork, such as the proper licenses and insurance, and was assured that he did.

    Afterward, Jackson contacted the ALBGC to verify that the contractor had the proper licenses and was told that he did not Jackson then informed the council and Thompson that the contractor did not have the proper licenses

    But the work on Water Avenue is only a glimpse at the work that this unlicensed contractor has been hired to perform over the years, which comes close to $400,000 between November 2016 and November 2018.

    The following payments, dictated in the citys general ledger, do not represent all of the payments the contractor received over the two-year period:

    In December 2016, the contractor received two payments of $4,850 $9,700 total to clean and repair bike areas. The same month, the contractor was paid $2,125 for painting city hall and the mayors office;

    In January 2017, the contractor was paid $5,000 for fixing a leak at Memorial Stadium;

    In February 2017, the contractor received two payments of $5,500 only two weeks apart for installing oversized doors with locks at the Selma Welcome Center. That same month, the contractor was paid $2,250 to install a cabinet, sink and faucets and paint walls, as well as $2,500 to paint two offices;

    In April 2017, the contractor received two payments of $8,950, each for welcome center equipment, and $3,180 to replace a thermostat at city hall;

    In August 2017, the contractor received another $5,000 for welcome center repairs and services, bringing the total received for work at the Selma Welcome Center to at least $24,000; On August 30, 2017, the contract received at least two payments for HVAC repair work at the Selma Interpretive Center, one for $5,750 and another for $11,500. A month later, $13,000 was paid for emergency repairs at the Selma Interpretive Center;

    Other significant payments made to the contractor include $13,175 in July 2018 for unspecified building repairs, $10,000 for rook work at the Selma Welcome Center in August 2018 and, one month later, $33,600 for a roof on the Selma Welcome Center.

    City representatives have since stated that the contractor is no longer being employed by the city.

    The mayors office could not be reached for comment.

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    State reports 73,000 unemployment claims in final week before new portal went live – The Southern - May 16, 2020 by admin

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    The COVID-19 pandemic continues to drive unemployment higher in Illinois.

    SPRINGFIELD The U.S. saw nearly 3 million more unemployment claims the week ending May 9, including another 72,993 in Illinois, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

    The 2.98 million claims nationwide in the week pushed the jobless claims in the first two months of the novel coronavirus pandemic to more than 36 million. The unprecedented number of claims made for a national unemployment rate of 15.7% the week ending May 2.

    In Illinois, the number of new claims on the week was 1,483 fewer than the week prior. The number of new claims each week has gone down since a peak of 201,041 during the week of April 4. The Illinois Department of Employment Security said in a news release it has now processed 1,076,461 claims for regular unemployment benefits from March 1 through May 9.

    Continued claims reached 756,441 in the state last week, which was the final period before contractors and self-employed persons were able to file for special federal pandemic unemployment assistance in Illinois.

    While the number of initial claims for regular benefits has plateaued in the last two weeks, IDES will experience an increase in overall claims processed when the federal pandemic unemployment assistance claims data becomes available Thursday, May 21, according to the departments news release.

    Gov. J.B. Pritzker said this week more than 50,000 applications had been filed through the states new pandemic unemployment assistance system since Monday.

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    State reports 73,000 unemployment claims in final week before new portal went live - The Southern

    Global Building Finishing Contractors Market Expected to reach highest CAGR by 2025: APi, Performance Contracting, Cleveland Construction, Irex Corp… - May 16, 2020 by admin

    A research report on the Global Building Finishing Contractors Market offers a detailed analysis about the market share, size, trends, and growth prospects. In addition, the report contains market volume with an accurate estimation offered in the report. The data offered in this report is gathered based on the latest industry news, trends, as well as opportunities. Moreover, the report comprises a complete market analysis and provider landscape with the help of SWOT analysis of the major service providers. This research report provides an extensive evaluation of the Building Finishing Contractors Market. The Global Building Finishing Contractors Market report is designed through the detailed qualitative insights, verifiable projections, and historical data about the Building Finishing Contractors Market size.

    This study covers following key players:APiPerformance ContractingCleveland ConstructionIrex Corp Of Lancaster

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    Market segment by Type, the product can be split into Drywall And Insulation ContractorsPainting And Wall Covering ContractorsFlooring ContractorsTile And Terrazzo ContractorsFinish Carpentry ContractorsOthers

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    Moreover, the Building Finishing Contractors Market report introduced the market through several factors such as classifications, definitions, market overview, product specifications, cost structures, manufacturing processes, raw materials, and applications. It also includes the major market conditions across the globe such as the product profit, price, production, capacity, demand, supply, as well as market growth structure. In addition, this report offers significant data through the SWOT analysis, investment return data, and investment feasibility analysis. The Building Finishing Contractors Market study also sheds light on the highly lucrative market opportunities that influences the growth of the global market. Moreover, the study offers a complete analysis of the market size, segmentation, and market share. Additionally, the Building Finishing Contractors report contains market dynamics such as market restraints, growth drivers, opportunities, service providers, stakeholders, investors, key market players, profile assessment, and challenges of the global market.

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    Global Building Finishing Contractors Market Expected to reach highest CAGR by 2025: APi, Performance Contracting, Cleveland Construction, Irex Corp...

    Business owners frustrated by waiver process – News – Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice - May 16, 2020 by admin

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    Chris Baranowski, owner of Rolling Paws Mobile Grooming Spa stands for a portrait in Wilkes-Barre Twp. Friday, May 15, 2020. Sean McKeag / Staff Photographer

    SEAN MCKEAG / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Chris Baranowski, owner of Rolling Paws, a mobile dog grooming business, applied three times for an exemption from Gov. Tom Wolfs coronavirus shutdown order.

    Chris Baranowski comes in contact with virtually no humans during her workday just dogs so she cant understand why she wasnt granted a waiver to continue to operate her business during the coronavirus shutdown.

    She doesnt have an office or storefront people visit that could be contaminated. As a mobile dog groomer, she comes to them in a pickup truck pulling her grooming trailer. Its just her and the dog inside.

    Ive been curbside the four years Ive been open. I have no human contact unless the person is eldery. I go in, grab the dog or meet the person at the doorway and take the dog back to the enclosed trailer. I take the dog back to the door and go to my next appointment, Baranowski, 36, said.

    Baranowskis truck, which hasnt stopped from the moment she started Rolling Paws Mobile Grooming Spa four years ago, has been idle for nearly two months outside her Wilkes-Barre Twp. home. She applied for an exemption three times, but her requests for a waiver were denied each time.

    Rolling Paws is one of hundreds of businesses in Luzerne County that were denied an exemption to continue to operate during the coronavirus shutdown.

    Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to shutter during the lockdown. However, last Friday he announced 6,060 exemptions statewide out of 42,000 requests.

    Many of the businesses in Luzerne County denied exemptions are construction companies, real estate firms, salons, and vaping shops.

    Most are small, locally owned businesses, but even a national chain, like the Barnes and Noble book store, was denied an exemption.

    The owner of a Back Mountain-based plumbing, heating and excavating business said his company is on the list of businesses denied an exemption despite getting conflicting advice from the state.

    While he believed his industry was exempt from the beginning, Sean McGrath, owner of R.N. Fitch and Sons in Dallas, said he applied for an exemption to be on the safe side and because someone in the industry told him he might need proof of the exemption to apply for assistance.

    After not hearing anything from the state, he filled out the online exemption form again.

    The first response he got from the state was an email saying he didnt even need an exemption and could continue work. Then, he got an email days later, saying he must close down.

    Its just very confusing. My assumption is you have two different people reading it and one person made a judgement call, McGrath said. In defense of the state, they had so many requests, there was a lot of confusion.

    With the conflicting response, McGrath said hes limiting his work to emergency calls and is forced to pass on a lot of work that is now going to other contractors, some who ended up on last weeks exempt list despite being the same exact type of business.

    Whats unfortunate is some people are following the rules and some people arent following the rules. We did our best to exercise good judgement. We are trying to do all the right things, McGrath said.

    The document listing all the companies denied exemptions even gets confusing, as it notes that businesses are permitted to continue life-sustaining activity regardless of whether it obtained or was denied an exemption.

    Efforts to reach officials with the state Department of Economic and Community Development, which processed the exemption requests, were not successful Friday.

    Baranowski thinks dog grooming should have been an exception because it could be life-sustaining to the animal.

    We see them every four to six weeks. Their hair gets matted. Their nails get long. We clean their ears. We prevent a lot of underlying health issues, Baranowski said. A vet might not see them for a year.

    She didnt think the lockdown has been fair to small business owners, while big box stores like Walmart and Home Depot filled with hundreds of people at a time were allowed to remain open.

    I have no livelihood. They took it from me. My business, beside my family, is my life. Those dogs I take care of are like my own, Baranowski said.

    Contact the writer:

    570-821-2055, @cvbobkal

    Local businesses that were denied an exemption

    1Singular Sensation Dog Grooming

    A) Mericle Construction, Inc. (Mericle) For The Benefit Of Wren Manufacturing, Inc.

    A. Pickett Construction, Inc. / Pickett Facilities Maintenance

    Action Contracting & Electrical Company LLC

    Action Real Estate Affordable Parts And Service

    Aggressive Realty & Rentals LLC

    Ahlborn Enterprises

    Al Dunn Masonry

    All 4 Paws

    All State Traffic Control Of Pa, Inc.

    All Vinyl Sunrooms Inc.

    All-in Custom Vapes

    All-in Custom Vapes Nanticoke

    All-in Custom Vapes Wilkes-barre

    Allure Salon Group, LLC

    Alluring Vapors

    American Asphalt Paving Company

    American Eagle

    American Pie Title & Tag LLC

    Apt Distributing Co.

    Arena Supplements

    Arthur Funk & Sons

    Ashton Enterprise Construction LLC

    A Team-Construction

    Au Salon

    Avenue Auto Tags LLC

    B&D Technology LLC

    Baby To Be 3d

    Back Mountain Floral

    Back Mountain Tobacco Inc

    Baer & Evans Surveyors


    Barnes & Noble

    Barrys Floral Shop

    Bathtime Boutique

    Beach Fence Company

    Bedrock Gardens Landscape Supply And Materials

    Beulah Construction LLC

    Bob Lasota Construction

    Bordentown Driver Training School LLC

    DBA Smith & Solomon Commercial Driver Training

    Borton Lawson

    Brackney Leather

    Brenda Reimold, LLC

    Brokers Realty Group Limited Dba


    Bubbles And Biscuits Pet Grooming Salon

    Byras Fence Company

    Caddie Labars Inc

    Canine Castle

    Canine Designs

    Caramelle Di Capelli Studio

    Carmens Flowers And Gifts

    Cartridge World Edwardsville

    Centurion Abstract, Inc.

    Commiso Flooring LLC

    Commonwealth Home Inspections

    Complete Fitness Equipment

    Concrete Alternatives

    Conrad Barbershop And Marilyn Klem Beauty Shop

    Conversionworx Media

    Corcoran Printing

    Creative Interior Imagery

    Croughns Cuts

    D&N Furniture Inc

    Dangola Contracting

    Dave Ferrey Construction

    David R. Balent Construction Co.

    Debbies Beauty Salon


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    Business owners frustrated by waiver process - News - Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice

    Crews return Monday to cut road ditches – The Robesonian - May 16, 2020 by admin

    May 15, 2020

    RALEIGH With North Carolinas revenue drop for the current fiscal year predicted to be upwards of 15%, the state treasurer is calling on local governments to pinch pennies, even more so than before, and calling for residents to help.

    Were all working together, but were in different boats, Dale Folwell said Friday. Lumberton may be a little different than Laurinburg, Shallotte may be a little different than Charlotte each of these communities has a unique situation going on but its important to know that the only way were going to get through this is by challenging assumptions.

    The first assumption is that as much as people have been looking at the pennies and the paper clips, theyre going to have to be even better than that.

    Although he is the keeper of the purse for the state he doesnt have an exact figure on just how much of a revenue loss the state could experience because of COVID-19s hit to the economy, Folwell said. But, all the predictions from experts are more than 15%. With that loss in mind, he sees rural and border counties, like Robeson County, most at risk.

    It seems now, and Im not talking about the medical virus Im talking about the economic virus, it seems like this creates economic inequality to lower income parts of North Carolina, and thats our number one concern, the treasurer said.

    He worries about local governments that rely on state property tax when considering their new budgets, Folwell said.

    Im very concerned about the collections of water and sewer bills, he said. Im very concerned about the ability to collect property taxes. This is a very serious problem.

    Folwell cited the recently signed Senate Bill 704, which alleviates stress on drivers by giving an extension on drivers license renewals and registrations to August.

    When you renew the tag on your car, the biggest expense on that is not the tag, he said. Theres the property expense for the city, the county and the volunteer fire department.

    With local government budget deadline of July 1, crafters of local government budgets are preparing for the unknown, Folwell said. And he is too.

    As the state treasurer Im not only concerned about the state budgets, but Im also concerned about the local county and city budgets, he said.

    Red Springs Manager David Ashburn said he has a budget ready to be presented to the Board of Commissioners.

    We have already built into it some revenue projections that are decreased because of a potential estimated decrease in sales tax, and then the property tax is the big unknown because although they (state lawmakers) may not excuse it, they might postpone it, Ashburn said.

    The town is already dealing with a loss in revenue from utility fees collection because the town cannot turn off unpaid utilities through through May.

    We have a lot of people that arent paying their bills, so thats heavily affecting revenue in this fiscal year, Ashburn said.

    The town is having to build its budget based on potential loss, he said.

    Money that could come in this fiscal year could come in next fiscal year, or not, Ashburn said. Theres a lot of unknown that no one really knows.

    Because of the unknowns Rowland Town Clerk David Townsend suggested his Board of Commissioners approve the budget to meet the July 1 deadline and later in the year approve an alternate budget that adjusts to changes in the states economy.

    The operating budget for the current fiscal year was $1,449,490. Townsend said that 35% of the towns total budget relies on state taxes.

    The biggest variable is how much we lose from six different state taxes we receive back from Raleigh, Townsend said.

    A recent bill passed in the General Assembly appropriated $150 million for local governments. Folwell said Robeson County has received just under $2.4 million of that money.

    Four billion dollars from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act was given to the state, he said. About half of that is left.

    Where we stand today, we have $2 billion left from the CARES Act money, he said. We have over $2 billion left from the unappropriated budget from the year were in right now. We have nearly a billion and a half dollars in the rainy day fund, he said. Were in pretty good shape compared to other states our size.

    His latest goal in Raleigh is to relax COVID-19 restrictions on federal monies going out to local governments, the treasurer said.

    The strings attached to this money are too tight and we need to push the ability to use this money down to the local county commissioners and city council people, he said.

    In the meantime he asking residents who can to support their local government.

    If they have the economic means to do something, the quicker they can do, the healthier their local governments are gonna be, Folwell said.

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    NC treasurer urges local leaders to pinch pennies

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    Crews return Monday to cut road ditches - The Robesonian

    R.I. AGs office: 19 contractors charged with failure to comply with orders involving substandard or unfinished construction work – - February 26, 2020 by admin

    Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that seven contractors are facing felony charges and 10 more were arraigned on misdemeanor charges in Providence District Court for failing to comply with a final order from the Contractors' Registration and Licensing Board (CLRB). Two additional contractors reached agreements with CLRB as a result of this effort.

    The charges here are serious; were not talking about cases where folks are dissatisfied with their paint color. These are hardworking Rhode Islanders who paid a lot of money for contractors to make improvements to their homes and were left high and dry, said Neronha in a statement. The defendants were given multiple opportunities to resolve their situations. Some took advantage of that opportunity. Others didnt. Those who didnt will now be held accountable, and this Office will pursue restitution to the homeowners and any fines owed.

    All contractors in the state are required to register with the CLRB, a part of the Department of Business Regulation (DBR). When a complaint is filed against a contractor, the board determines whether the contractor is properly licensed with CLRB and whether the contractor performed work according to industry standards. Final orders are entered only after every effort is made to reach a resolution between the contractor and the complainant. Failure to comply can be prosecuted as a felony in Rhode Island if the amount of the money judgement combined with the CLRB fines is over $5,000, per the final order. Cases involving less than $5,000 constitute misdemeanors.

    The CRLB works hard to ensure that homeowners who have suffered damages as a result of negligent work performed by contractors receive some form of justice. I am confident that these recent prosecutionsa direct result of interagency cooperation between our department and the Attorney Generals Officewill serve as a powerful deterrent to any contractors who believe they will not be held accountable for wronging Rhode Island homeowners, said Liz Tanner, director, DBR, in a statement.

    The defendants charged yesterday with a felony violation are:

    Paul Arruda, Paul Arruda Corporation

    Defendant did not pay a sub-contractor, despite being paid himself in full by the homeowner. The homeowner has a lien on his home as a result.

    Kevin Chaisty, KSC Construction

    Homeowner contracted with KSC to remove and replace siding. Homeowner paid $8000 to the defendant, who failed to start the work on time. He still has not returned the deposit, despite his assurances that he would.

    Felony warrants have been issued for:

    Anthony Arena, Northwest Construction and Maintenance

    After entering into a contractual agreement to perform work on the homeowners basement, the defendant cashed the checks provided by the homeowner and did not perform any of the work. The amount totaled over $10,000.00.

    Robert Darling, Saintz Construction Co.

    Homeowner paid nearly $30,000 and the defendant did not complete the project or return any funds. The work performed was not up to industry standards.

    Rodolfo Hernandez, Statewide Construction Company

    Defendant failed to complete any of the contracted work. The homeowner suffered $40,000 in damages and became homeless as a result.

    Jose Jimenez, J&J Landscaping

    Homeowner and J&J entered into a contract to replace existing driveway. The work performed would not meet industry standards and the company willfully failed to complete the project.

    Richard Wilson, Custom Quality Home Services

    Homeowner contracted with defendants company to construct an exterior fence. After the homeowner paid $15,000, the defendant failed to perform any work.

    Eight contractors were arraigned on Feb. 19 on misdemeanor charges:

    Nicholas Chamberlain, CAS Drywall

    Ana Paulino Contreras, Paulino Construction

    John Cronin Cronin Construction

    Joshua Cruz, Eden Improvements

    Joshua Gomes Building Concepts

    Derek Penta Capital Home Improvements

    Jose Reis J Reis Painting

    Luis Rodrigues Lincoln Construction

    Two contractors were arrested yesterday on bench warrants for failing to appear in court on February 19 for misdemeanor violations:

    Zachary Brown, ZD Brown Construction

    Joseph Grilo, A Touch of Class

    Richard Bourque, Jr., Richard Bourque Enterprises, is scheduled to appear for arraignment on Feb. 26. There is a remaining warrant out for James Porter, J. Porter Concrete & Stone.

    Im thankful for the work of our investigative team and to DBR for their partnership in this enforcement effort, Neronha said in a statement. Like any business in our state, contractors need to play by the rules. When they dont, we will take action on behalf of Rhode Island consumers.

    Assistant Attorney General Meghan McDonough and Investigator John Rabbitt investigated and prosecuted these cases on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General. The cases were referred to the Office of the Attorney General by the Department of Business Regulation.

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    R.I. AGs office: 19 contractors charged with failure to comply with orders involving substandard or unfinished construction work -

    Get Inspired at the Home & Gourmet Expo on Feb. 22 & 23 in Paso Robles Paso Robles Press – Paso Robles Press - February 26, 2020 by admin

    The Inspired Home, Garden, and Gourmet Expo of Paso Robles will be gathering local businesses in SLO County for an inspirational two-day event Feb. 22 and 23.

    Over the last three years, the legislature has passed many housing measures including reforms designed to prioritize quality jobs, transportation and affordable housing to fight income inequality. The workers building our homes are essential in reducing income inequality and Inspired Expo aims to support these workers and their families. This year, hundreds of local home improvement businesses will exhibit at the show Feb. 22nd and 23 at the Paso Robles Event Center as they showcase the positive influence their industry has been making on SLO Countys economy these past few years.

    Local homeowners are looking for ways to reduce their home project budget without cutting corners or sacrificing quality. The Inspired Expo can help them do just that, by delivering more than 100 home improvement vendors to the Paso Robles Event Center over two days in February.

    Instead of driving from one end of town to another, hours of DIY research, and visits to showrooms, homeowners can visit the Inspired Expo to meet every professional on their list including general contractors, landscapers, painting contractors, landscape designers and experts in flooring, kitchen and bath, cabinets, counter tops, tile, granite, appliances, solar energy, synthetic turf, HVAC, garage doors, windows, furniture, mattresses, and much more all from around San Luis Obispo County.

    Local wineries will be hosting $5 wine tastings with all proceeds benefiting The Wellness Kitchen & Resource Center, a Templeton-based nonprofit that provides restorative nutrient-rich food, education, and resources to individuals with critical or chronic conditions.

    This two-day event also includes gourmet food tasting, SLO Countys Best Chef Showdown, and hundreds of home improvement exhibitors.

    EnjoySLO will be hosting the SLO County Best Chef Showdown at the Inspired Expos, which will gather four of SLO Countys best chefs in a head-to-head competition. Three industry professionals will be judging in a blind setting. The winner receives the title of Chef Showdown Champion and will claim a $1,000 cash prize!

    The Peoples Choice winner will receive a gorgeous hand-forged gyuto knife made by Bruno Medieros of Medieros Knives. The competition begins at 12 p.m. and the last two standing chefs will compete with a mystery box starting at 2 p.m. Winners will be announced Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

    The community is encouraged to visit this inspirational two-day event at the Paso Robles Event Center on Feb. 22nd and 23. Admission and parking are free.

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    Get Inspired at the Home & Gourmet Expo on Feb. 22 & 23 in Paso Robles Paso Robles Press - Paso Robles Press

    Megan Boswell claims her mother took Evelyn to Mendota, Va., has since told authorities where to find missing toddler – 8News - February 26, 2020 by admin

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    Megan Boswell claims her mother took Evelyn to Mendota, Va., has since told authorities where to find missing toddler - 8News

    Outer Banks icon getting an off-season face lift ahead of its 145th birthday – - February 26, 2020 by admin

    A crew from ICC Commonwealth working on the roof and lens room exterior of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla in Feburary 2020. [photo courtesy Meghan Agresto]

    The iconic Currituck Beach Light Station, which celebrates the 145th anniversary of the beacons lighting on December 1, is in the process of receiving an off-season face lift.

    Part of the roof at the top of the 162-foot tall tower is currently being repaired by the same company that moved the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in 1999.

    International Chimney, which is now known as ICC Commonwealth, will have two people working here for about a month to disassemble the lighthouse roof cornice, said Light Station site manager Meghan Agresto.

    The cornice is the ornamental molding hanging along the bottom edge of the roof of the lens room, which houses the original first order Fresnel lens that shines a beam of light for three seconds that can be spotted up to 18 miles away.

    They are also working a bit on the lantern glass, making sure no disparate metal is touching in the frame around the lantern glass, Agresto said. And they will be sealing and painting the lower cast iron belt courses.

    The cornice pieces will then be recast and put back into place later this spring.

    Back at ground level, local contractors The Martin Boys are removing rotted wood from both the Keepers House and the Little Keepers House.

    They replaced part of the front decking of the Little Keepers House and all of the decking of the southwest porch on the Keepers House, along with some girders, Agresto said.

    The Martin Boys also have used some of the wood siding left over the renovations of the buildings in the 1980s that had been stored under the the porch of the Little Keepers House to replace siding and construct four new window sills.

    Interestingly enough, it turns out that the weight/rope sash system that existed in the Keepers House still exists, Agresto said.

    The Currituck Beach Light Station is owned by Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc., which began restoring the site in 1980 after it had been abandoned by the Coast Guard four decades earlier.

    The last brick-and-mortar lighthouse built in North Carolina, which contains one million bricks and weight 9 million pounds, will reopen to the public for the climbing season on March 14.

    More information can be found at the Currituck Beach Light Station official website and Facebook page.

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    Robotic hard hat: automation does the tedious survey work at construction sites – The Boston Globe - February 26, 2020 by admin

    Oliver can also handle another dull task: spray-painting lines on the ground as it rolls along, to indicate the exact placement of walls, water pipes or wiring. With its autonomous guidance system, the robot can independently scan or tag a construction site without human assistance, perhaps at night when itll have the place to itself.

    RCML designed Oliver in partnership with Beverly-based Windover Construction. Both companies were assisted by Autodesk, which makes 3-D design software for the construction industry and runs a technology center in the Seaport District where architects and construction companies can learn and develop new building techniques.

    At Autodesk, RCML chief executive Lana Graf encountered engineers from Windover working on new construction techniques. From them she learned of the need for a cheaper, more efficient way to run 3-D scans.

    "They would not have found each other if they hadnt both been here, said Rick Rundell, who runs Autodesks technology centers.

    These days, architects build virtual structures inside a computer long before construction workers break ground. Autodesk makes software that can simulate every detail of a building, down to the placement of light switches and sprinkler nozzles.

    But construction workers are only human; how to make sure that sprinkler nozzle is the right location, that corner angle is set to just the right degree? Since the 1990s, contractors have been using laser scanners to generate 3-D images of the building as they erect it. These images of the real building can be overlaid on the architects virtual building to identify discrepancies before they throw the whole thing out of whack.

    Its measureable and accurate up to one millimeter, said Scott Diaz, director of business development for the construction industry at FARO Technologies, a Florida company that makes the 3-D laser scanner used by Oliver. "Youre now able to bring the real world onto your desktop.

    Such scans must be done regularly, floor by floor, to catch errors before they get out of hand. Thats where Oliver comes in. Its named for MIT graduate Oliver Smoot, who in a famous stunt in 1958 laid his body end-over-end across the Massachusetts Avenue bridge to measure the length of the river crossing in "Smoots.

    Oliver features a laser scanner mounted about 5 feet high that can rotate 360 degrees. At the front and rear of the robot, LIDAR detectors use a separate laser system to detect landmarks and avoid obstacles, so Oliver can find its own way through the area. The robot stops and scans multiple locations, storing the captured data in the same kind of SD memory card used in digital cameras.

    Its scanner beams millions of laser dots and the reflected light builds out a 3-D map. It can also repeat the process using a digital camera that records the color of every object for additional realism. When loaded into a computer, the result is an almost photo-like image of the mapped area, that can be compared with the digital blueprints.

    Once programmed, Oliver can navigate the construction site on its own, running its scans at night when workers are off duty and having them ready for architects the next morning. With its large rubber tires, Oliver can climb stairs or a ramp, so it can scan multiple floors.

    In addition, Olivers chassis contains room for a can of paint, and a spray nozzle. Guided by its map of the area, the robot can show workers where to install walls, doorways, cables, and ducts. The prototype holds just one can of paint, but future versions could carry multiple colors - perhaps white for walls, black for doorways, red for electric wires, and blue for water pipes.

    Spawned by graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, RCML makes software that lets robots from different manufacturers work with each other. For instance, its software helps manage robots on the assembly lines of carmaker Tesla. But RCML also creates robotic hardware, such as a machine for stacking donut baskets that they designed for fast food chain Dunkin Donuts.

    Graf has come to believe that theres huge potential in putting robots to work in the building trades. I was literally seeing so many inefficiencies in the construction industry, she said. "We would like to reduce waste out of construction, and we would like to make it eco-friendly.

    Windover vice president Amr Raafat does not expect that Oliver will eliminate jobs. Instead the robot will free up highly-paid technical staff, who have plenty of other work to do.

    For now, Oliver is just a prototype thats been tested at three Windover construction sites. But Graf hopes to make such robots a common sight on building projects worldwide. Others have had the same idea. One of the Boston areas best known robot makers. Boston Dynamics, which has generated worldwide attention with its four-legged Spot robots, is working with FARO to develop a walking laser scanner that could scamper around a construction site like a Labrador retriever.

    Hiawatha Bray can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeTechLab.

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    Robotic hard hat: automation does the tedious survey work at construction sites - The Boston Globe

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