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    Gloversville resident receives a special salute – The Daily Gazette - August 30, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    GLOVERSVILLE -- While Ambrose Anderson is one of the men who made the 'Greatest Generation' just that, for the longest time, he received hardly any recognition for his deeds.

    "All I did was what they told me to do," Anderson said.

    Years ago, on a blood-soaked beach, the Gloversville native dodged bullets while delivering ammunition to frontline troops. Some of the guys around him weren't so fortunate.

    He saw many things he wishes he hadn't, and the World War II veteran still has vivid memories of the time he spent both in and out of battle as a member of the all-Black 8th Marine Ammunition Company.

    Very few of those memories are the good kind.

    "I could tell you stuff you don't want to know," Anderson said. "I remember getting on the train when I went into the service and going to the back. From that day on ..."

    Anderson was talking about the racism he endured during his military stint that began at the segregated Camp Montford Point in Jacksonville, N.C., and continued after his departure when finding a job and making ends meet was difficult, and recognition of his gallantry under fire was next to none.

    "He went right back to being a second class citizen," said Clifton Park resident Mark Yingling, who advocates for World War II veterans.

    "The way they treated us [in the service], I came back bitter," said Anderson, who began his two-year military hitch in 1943 after he was drafted at the age of 18. "Things got better, but we are still not there. The United States is not there yet."

    But change is coming, and it can be seen in events like Friday's where the man known to his friends as "Cowboy" had a very special and significant 95th birthday. Following a parade of vehicles filled with waving well-wishers that traversed up and down Forest Street, state Senator Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, presented Anderson with the New York State Liberty Medal, the Senate's highest honor for service and valor. .

    "As we commemorate your birthday, we do more than that. We salute your service," Tedisco said to Anderson, adding later on. "Because of you, we get to love so many freedoms."

    "It's overdue," Yingling said. "He won't say it, but I will. It's overdue."

    Anderson enjoyed another noteworthy day in 2012 when he and the other surviving members of the Montford Point Marines were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

    "I didn't know if I'd ever come home," Anderson said of his military service, before continuing "I would do it again."

    Anderson was part of the allied invasion force's second-day wave at Iwo Jima in mid-January of 1945.

    "I knew I was in a war when I saw Marines floating in the ocean, and when I hit the beach and saw a Marine get his leg blown off," Anderson said. "A corpsman was working on him, and I remember him yelling, 'I'll never play football again."

    Anderson remained on Iwo Jima until the island was secured.

    "I didn't see the flag," Anderson said in reference to the famous photo of the flag raising ceremony. "But I was there."

    While on a battleship sailing to Iwo Jima, Andersons ship was attacked by Japanese kamikaze pilots. The corporal crawled into a hole and started feeding a gunner machine gun ammunition.

    "We were all scared," said Anderson, who was a football and basketball standout at Gloversville High School before his military career "It was bad. We just did what we had to do."

    After Iwo Jima, Anderson served in the occupation of Japan at Sasebo.

    "Any time we hear of an Iwo guy or any World War II veteran having a birthday, we try to do something," said Yingling, who orchestrated Friday's festivities.

    Anderson has six children, including four with his second wife, Betty, whom he was with for 47 years until her passing in 2004. The Forest Hill Towers resident worked as a mechanic for Ryder and retired in 1986.

    Reach Jim Schiltz at[emailprotected]or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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    Gloversville resident receives a special salute - The Daily Gazette

    Planning Board Recap: August 2020 – The Ithaca Voice - August 30, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    ITHACA, N.Y. Going into these meetings, one can often tell which site plan reviews will be thornier than others - usually the bigger and higher-profile, the more debate they generate. However, that's not always true. Sometimes, a poorly-sited restaurant generates more debate than a multi-story building downtown. It depends on how controversial it is, or what kind of curveballs they and the other stakeholders are throwing.

    Thanks to the DOT, the seemingly routine procedure of a final site plan approval turned into one of those quagmires this month, though eventually, the project in question did get the permissions needed to move forward. Several other projects were also discussed, including one other final site plan approval, for the new Byrne Dairy on the South Meadow Street Corridor. Grab your coffee or tea, because this month is one of those lengthy write-ups.

    As is customary for these recaps, for those who like to read along, the 254-page Planning Board agenda is here.

    First up were the lot subdivision reviews - these are when property lots in the city, technically known as parcels, seek legal reconfiguration, either to be split up, reshaped or consolidated. This month, there was only one on the agenda, which is a subdivision of the Chain Works District property (formerly Morse Chain/Emerson Power Transmission) at 620 South Aurora Street.

    About 0.9 acres of the 96-acre parcel will be subdivided and held by Emerson Power, in an area off of South Cayuga Street with underground storage tanks and for which there are no redevelopment plans. Emerson is legally required to remediate all the land to pre-established standards, which in this case, is the more stringent 24-hour exposure standard since the Chain Works District will have residential uses. The remaining 95 or so acres would then be sold to the development group led by Dave Lubin, so that they could begin work on the Chain Works District itself - the first phase involves remedial work and conversion of four uncontaminated buildings into a mix of industrial uses, commercial uses, and 60 apartments.

    Board member C.J. Randall excused herself from the review due to her company having previously done work for the project. Sarah Snyder of law firm Harris Beach PLLC walked the board through review. There was one comment from a South Hill resident in opposition to work on the site citing topography, which the board flatly disagreed with because the remediation needs to be done, and the steeper portions of the site aren't being developed. Apart from a brief legal tweak to add clarity for the trail easements, the board had no further comment and voted unanimously in favor.

    For the uninitiated, Site Plan Review (SPR) is where the review of new building proposals happens. In the interest of not pushing ten pages of material, if you want a description of the steps in the project approval process, the "Site Plan Review Primer" is here.

    During SPR, the Planning Board looks at sketch plans, declares itself lead agency for state environmental quality review (SEQR), conducts a review and declares negative (adverse effects mitigated) or positive (potential harmful impacts, needs an Environmental Impact Statement), while concurrently performing design review for projects in certain neighborhoods for aesthetic impacts. Once those are all good and finished, they vote on preliminary site plan approval and, after reviewing a few final details and remaining paperwork, final site plan approval.

    At the top of the SPR agenda this month was the City Harbor project, proposed by Lambrou Real Estate, Edger Enterprises and businesswoman Elizabeth Classen on the site of the former Johnson's Boatyard at 101 Pier Road.

    As previously detailed, the two-phase project consists of a restaurant, waterfront promenade and marina, and 156 market-rate apartments. A 60,000 square-foot medical office building for Guthrie Clinic is part of the project. Phase one would also rebuild Pier Road to include sidewalks, street trees, a fire engine turnaround, and new and improving parking areas. While the project team plans to partner with the city to rebuild the golf course clubhouse in phase two, almost all improvements in phase one are on private property, with the exception of some of the greenspace and reconfigured parking areas.

    This was to be City Harbor's final meeting. Preliminary approval was granted in May, but final approval, on the agenda for this month, is contingent on relatively minor things like proof of legal easements, material samples, and the submission of additional drawings for the sake of complete documentation.

    Given the talk about the DOT's recent proposal to ease traffic congestion on the West End as a stipulation before signing off on City Harbor and Carpenter Park, the project does come back with a contingency that says they have to prove they have financing available to take other means to ease congestion if the DOT plan doesn't happen, and that this "Plan B" option is doable and will be before the board for discussion. This isn't as big of a concern for City Harbor because it's not as impacted as it's neighbors on Carpenter Park, whose plan actually puts a new access break into Route 13 from the northwest side. But the bigger issue is that parts of the plan, namely $500,000 in pedestrian travel and sidewalk improvements on Route 13, would not happen if DOT doesn't sign off because they don't get their couplet.

    That proved to be a major concern during the hour-long discussion. According to David Herrick of the engineering firm T.G. Miller, while the DOT is asking to do the couplet further down 13, they're out of the developer's control, and the project team is concerned about what happens if the DOT's couplet is rejected, putting their plans into jeopardy, and holding up their project and other nearby proposals for what could be years. The DOT couplet was proposed at the figurative "eleventh hour", and while City Harbor is happy to fund the approved work at Willow and Dey Streets, they were clearly anxious about being subject to the whims of the state. Board Chair Robert Lewis was sympathetic, calling the whole DOT regulatory and review process "byzantine".

    "It's a pretty big hammer, what DOT issued. They're not going to permit the improvements to Route 13 proposed by this project, which are mitigations committed in Part 3 (of environmental review). It's very difficult for the developer because they can't build those improvements until the DOT is satisfied the city will look at (these couplets)," said city Senior Planner Lisa Nicholas.

    Other board members also expressed consternation with the DOT, though they wanted City Harbor's Route 13 improvements addressed one way or another. It's just rather unfortunate that, even if approved, those can't happen until 2023 due to the DOT's schedule of work. "I think it's unfortunate they're holding these projects hostage. I feel uncomfortable removing conditions from Part 3 (of the environmental review), and I want them to start building as soon as possible...can we put the condition in as something needed for a certificate of occupancy?" Asked board member Emily Petrina.

    "Tell us what would make you feel comfortable, put our feet to the us figure out how to move these things along and how to do this. I'm pleading," said developer Costa Lambrou.

    "I don't think we can put the toothpaste back into the tube, but every development will face this situation and we have to get a handle on it. The Planning Board can be a force in recommendations to the Common Council, whether a waterfront transportation study or the couplet," said Nicholas.

    "Nobody's saying leave the condition in as written. A few are saying strike it, a few are saying to move to a condition to a certificate of occupancy to move it down the road and give time, I'm hearing one person say to blow it up into a bigger transportation study, and I'm hearing a request for reassurance on the bond. I'm not sure what will work and what won't," said Chair Lewis.

    Planner Nicholas was convinced a waterfront district transportation study would have to be done, but there's no formal proposal or money for that at the present time. Plus, since DOT has wanted this for a while and it has these projects before them, they can do what they want and twist some arms (though member Garrick Blalock expressed significant annoyance that a project in Lansing would not be subject to this, but send its commuters down 13). Nicholas recommended that the board state something to Common Council to commit to some kind of transportation study as part of the couplet review.

    The consensus with the rather scattershot viewpoints is that the board didn't want to hold this project up because all this is happening so late in review, but it does want the transportation study to be done. The issues with the conditions agreed to in the preliminary approvals stem from an unpleasant juxtaposition of timing, state meddling, and concerns from the board and developer. The board wants those Route 13 pedestrian improvements, but didn't want the developer hanging on DOT's plans, which DOT may not approve even if the city wants it and the developer is willing and financially capable. The city and the Syracuse office of the NYS DOT have different ideas on the traffic situation in the city's West End neighborhood.

    Going around, Blalock voted to strike the Route 13 improvements condition as phrased, citing the willingness of the developer and the plan to back it up with a bond if developer were somehow unable to do it. "I rigorously reject to holding any permit hostage to Common Council or DOT," he added. Randall voted to strike it, Petrina agreed, Vice-Chair McKenzie Rounds agreed, board member Mitch Glass voted to strike, though with reservation, and board member Elisabete Godden wanted a rewording but liked the $500,000 commitment if they couldn't build due to DOT (the board acknowledged the developers may have to pay more if costs go up in the future). A majority were for removing the condition, with support for a bond in that amount to finance the work if/when it's approved by DOT.

    "Okay, I feel like we put one condition to bed, but there's a lot left to this resolution here," said Lewis. At the suggestion of Herrick and Nicholas, the board also struck a condition about emergency access, because city fire chief Tom Parsons said that if Willow Street were blocked due to a train, in that very rare case they could use the existing waterfront trail for temporary access.

    In the end, the board struck the two conditions and granted unanimous final approval, removing some of the tethers that DOT has on the project, but acknowledging that much more would need to be done regarding the traffic in the city's West End. The board decided after further discussion at the end of the meeting to encourage a "holistic" push for a thorough waterfront traffic study, but decouple it from individual projects, since it was a much broader look at both the waterfront, and to some extent impacts from the rest of the city and surrounding commuter towns.

    If this all sounds confusing to you folks, don't worry - it sounded confusing to the board too. "Sh*t was complicated today," Lewis quipped at the end of the meeting.

    Next up on the list for this month's site plan reviews was the 12-story Asteri Ithaca Green Street Garage redevelopment at 120 East Green Street. The Asteri proposal by The Vecino Group includes a 217-unit low-moderate income apartment building with commercial space on the lower levels, and an expanded publicly-accessible garage next door, which will grow to seven floors with an additional 241 parking spaces (350 total).

    As noted by city planners, the lower three floors of the U-shaped building will house amenities, a 49,000 square-foot conference center and a small amount of retail space. The Cinemapolis Plaza will keep its current public pedestrian passage between the Commons and Green Street, with lighting, signage, art, and landscaping improvements. Initial plans called for Cinemapolis to relocate for part of the construction period, but the latest construction plan lets them stay in their theater with only a few short offline periods. The Vecino Group and their partners are also requesting consideration of a City Hall Plaza next door on the small parking lot between the project site and City Hall. That plaza would feature a large outdoor gathering spot with paving, lighting, landscaping, and furnishings while retaining a few off-street parking spaces.

    No votes on Asteri were scheduled for last night's meeting, just an update on the latest revisions. Landscape architect Kate Chesebrough of Whitham Planning and Design led the presentation. Among the changes were a change at the board's suggestion from fiber cement panels to metal on the lower floors, shorter mechanical screenings on the roof to make the building look a little shorter, and new drawings for lighting and proposed areas for art murals. The project is planning a trip to the Board of Zoning Appeals in October.

    Several members expressed concern with First Ward councilor Cynthia Brock's letter, who stressed that the city made its decision in favor of the Conference Center portion just as the COVID situation was getting out of hand in March. Members weren't sure what could be done with the space if the conference center, intended for a 2023 opening, couldn't be used as intended for some time. On the aesthetic side, Mitch Glass hoped to make the facades a little less bland, to which Blalock agreed.

    "The conference center decision isn't ours. I've never been a conference center booster. But it's not our decision to make, it's council's," said Lewis. "The thing they passed has a conference center. That's where we are...I'm excited to get into the design changes and materials, there's more to dig into."

    The board liked the changes so far and looked forward to further discussion of the project next month. The board may host a special second meeting at the end of September to discuss the project once environmental review is complete.

    Developer Jeff Rimland's 13-story proposal on the eastern end of the garage came back to the board to continue its public hearing and go through Design Review on the architecture and aesthetics. Unlike earlier incarnations, the latest design for the mixed-use building proposed for 215 East State Street no longer builds into the Rothschild Building and displaces the shops and shop-owners along the Commons, but went back to the initial proposal which builds atop a rebuilt eastern third of the garage.

    Rimland's proposal rebuilds the eastern third of the garage with two levels of public parking (about 130 spaces), one ground-level private parking area for the building's occupants (34 spaces) and 10 floors of residential with approximately 200 apartments. A residential lobby would front Green Street, as well as an access hallway between the shops lining the Commons. As with Asteri, the board was going into this meeting with a continuation of Part 3 of the Full Environmental Assessment Forms (FEAF) on the agenda. For this, Chair Lewis excused himself due to potential conflicts of interest, letting Jones take the reins as Planning Board Vice-Chair.

    On the agenda last night was the potential completion of environmental review, with the Planning Board potentially issuing its Declaration of Environmental Significance, and writing up its recommendation to the separate Board of Zoning Appeals to allow for rear yard and floor count variances. This was also the only Board of Zoning Appeals Recommendation scheduled to be discussed this month, so there won't be a separate section for BZA recs in this month's roundup.

    Project engineer James Trasher of CHA Inc. and architect John Abisch of BSB Design walked the board through the latest updates. Some of the street trees were removed due to underground utilities, and replaced with shallower bushes and flowering plants. The project will also follow the Ithaca Green Building Policy guidelines, including air-source heat pumps, LED lighting, low-water fixtures, and photovoltaic capacity, though it won't be built with arrays. Board member Randall noted the plants around the transformer would likely get crushed (snow banks), though she appreciated the effort. All in all, the discussion was focused on details, and fairly uneventful.

    By unanimous vote, the board closed the environmental review and passed a unanimous negative declaration, meaning all impacts are effectively mitigated. Some minor design changes are still in the works before September, but with SEQR complete, the project appears to be on the easy path to approval, pending BZA.

    That could be a bit tricky. The rear yard setback is to maintain the continuous building wall on Green Street and that will be accepted easily enough, but the building is 14 floors and 156 feet, taller than the 12 floors/140 feet allowed on the site, and the BZA is typically averse to height variances. But the Planning Board sought to emphasize in their recommendation in favor the housing in a location the city wants housing, the connectivity to the Commons, and that a lot of the height variance comes from the existing garage and from the "top floor" roof terrace, which isn't a fully built-out floor. With a hopefully favorable result from the BZA, the project will be back before the Planning Board next month.

    Next up on the agenda, Byrne Dairy's proposed renovation of the former Denny's restaurant at 323-25 Elmira Road into their new large-format convenience store and gas station. Byrne Dairy would replace the existing flat roof with a peaked roof, and install new exterior finishes on all sides of the building. The new fuel canopy would be built on part of the existing parking lot, and fitted out with six gas pumps. Byrne Dairy would reuse the existing curb cuts, but because of the new gas station, the parking area would be reduced from about 60 spaces to 30, Along with the structural improvements are the usual complement of landscaping, lighting, signage, bike racks and a new sidewalk connecting the front of the building to the existing sidewalk along Elmira Road. You can read more about the plans for the article earlier this month here.

    As a renovation of an existing structure, the review process has so far been smooth; in fact, after only a couple of months, the project was already up for Preliminary and Final Site Plan Approval, which would be perfect for its fall 2020 construction timeline. Coming into the meeting, Byrne Dairy added a six-foot cedar privacy fence at the rear, and submitted a signage package to meet city regulations. City forester Jeanne Grace asked to remove the plan for pear trees, which will be replaced with hawthorns, and some red maples were moved.

    "This is a great reuse of an existing space. I wonder if, given the city's emphasis on reducing vehicular use, we want to address the use of fuel pumps. I don't know if we just want to like, say that somewhere," said board member Rounds. Chair Lewis suggested it be added as a "whereas" in the resolution, acknowledging that the city wasn't interested in promoting gas pumps but would accept it in a high traffic area by a local business for a structure being reused.

    The board agreed to the additional wording with unanimous consent. The negative declaration on the environmental review passed unanimously, and since the project seemed "pretty well baked" per Lewis, the board decided to vote on preliminary and final site plan approval. After planner Nicholas asked to add a condition for a legal easement for city maintenance, the project received its unanimous approval.

    Last but not least for site plan reviews, Arnot Realty's mixed-use plan for the 400 Block of West State/MLK Jr. Street. Plans submitted by Arnot call for a mixed-use five-story building. The new 114,000 square-foot structure would house 129 apartments and 5,500 square feet of ground-level retail, to be split for up to three tenants. The ground level would host about 50 covered parking spaces to be accessed from Seneca Street, as well as a landscaped plaza, bike parking, new and wider sidewalks, and other site improvements. Existing shade trees along Corn Street would remain, and a pedestrian sidewalk bump-out is being considered for the corner of North Corn and West State, to slow traffic and improve pedestrian visibility. The corner building that houses Mama Goose would have its facade saved and incorporated into the new building, but otherwise, all existing structures would be replaced by the new development. You can read more about the project here, or visit the developer's brand new project website here.

    The track for this project will be a little lengthier, as it has to take a trip to the Board of Zoning Appeals before final site plan approval can be granted. The project site is in both the CBD-52 and the B-2d Zoning Districts and will require a 2-foot variance for height in the B-2d zone. The variance will allow for the floor heights to align across the two zones given the 12-foot ground floor height requirement in the CBD-52 district - otherwise, the floor plate would have a two-foot jump in the middle of the building.

    Last night was a chance for Arnot's team to give an update on the project, listen in on the Public Hearing for the proposal, and respond to the board as they continued with Part 2 of the Full Environmental Assessment Form, one of the earlier steps within the SEQR environmental review process.

    Architect Eric Colbert walked the board through the latest designs, and had some bad news. While they hope to save the facade of the existing corner building, the facade is in very poor shape, and may be beyond stabilization in the event of major construction work. In that case, they would build new brick walls matching the original design. Horizontal canopies would also be added to the original building, per the board's suggestion from the last meeting, added interest to the West Seneca Street facade, and safety bollards were added to the access driveway off North Corn Street. The Public Hearing was opened and closed shortly thereafter, since there were no public comments given for discussion.

    Generally, board members were positive about the proposal, though they were not without some reservations. Board member Jones suggested striping or raised sidewalk for pedestrian safety along West Seneca Street, and asked whether there would be affordable units, and her colleague Glass made it clear that some inclusion of affordable units would play into his vote, and he also questioned why the developers would talk about the Mama Goose Building's facade issues. Glass stated concerns that Arnot's team was potentially trying to lead the board on since the design in the renders didn't match the existing historic building on the corner (the facade was much more minimal), and that it seemed like the destruction of the facade was already baked in. Lewis expressed concerns that the project emphasized studios and "junior one-bedrooms" over larger, more family-friendly units.

    "It is our 100% goal to reuse the brick facade structure," said Arnot Realty's Peter Dugo. "The purpose of showing those photos is to show that, despite our best efforts, it may be unsalvageable. Those renderings don't show (the facade) off as much as real-life does, but it is planned to maintain the intricate details that currently exist." The project team also seemed reluctant to commit to firm numbers of affordable units for their project.

    As planned, Design Review and SEQR part 3 is planned for next month, and likely more debate about affordability and the historic portions of the structure will be coming.

    Last on the SPR agenda and the new project before the board this month is Cornell's plan to replace the existing two-lane bridge structure over Hoy Road, reconstruct and repair the bridge abutments, install means restriction and associated surveillance equipment, reconstruct and improve the approach roads, sidewalks and pedestrian crossing, install new lighting, and replace the stairs, railing and retaining walls that ascend from Hoy Road at the bridge to the Crescent Parking Lot. The university is planning for a temporary pedestrian bridge to be installed during construction, and a 1.1-mile vehicular detour will be established. If you want to read more about the proposal itself, the Voice has you covered here.

    Given that this is replacement rather than a totally new build, and that it's an infrastructure project on Cornell's campus, the review process for the reconstructed bridge and adjacent spaces will likely be smooth and uneventful. At last night's meeting alone, the board was expecting a project presentation, Declaration of itself as Lead Agency to conduct the SEQR, and host a Public Hearing about the project.

    Being a project manager for Cornell and stating that her co-workers presenting the project, board member Goddard recused herself from the review. Cornell's Tammi Aiken walked the board through the plans. The bridge last had major renovation work in 1977, and DOT has flagged the bridge twice for long-term (non-emergency) structural issues in the past couple of years, necessitating the need for rehabilitation before the situation gets worse. Aiken stated that 2022 remains the target date, though depending on the university's financial situation in this COVID-era, it may be pushed back to 2023.

    The Declaration of Lead Agency was passed unanimously, the public hearing opened and closed with no public comments written or spoken, and the project continuing to cruise forward. Most of the board had little additional comment, except Blalock, who seemed to show a strong familiarity with the bridge and stairway, with recommendations for railings, building materials, and asking if there was something the could do about the traffic confusion at Hoy Road and Route 366. The board finished their discussions for the night and the project will be back before the members next month.

    As the meeting wrapped up, and as touched on earlier, the board discussed adding a second September meeting for the 29th, after their usual meeting planned for the 22nd. Board members were actually somewhat excited, which would be used for non-Site Plan Review matters, as is the tradition for months where there's a free Tuesday after the regular meeting on the fourth Tuesday of the month. The board agreed to have the meeting, but wouldn't focus on project review material, entertaining the idea that Asteri may continue review at that meeting since it's behind schedule, but otherwise not keen on further SPR additions. Topics may include fleshing out a funding application for a waterfront traffic study, and asking the city's Economic Development Director, Tom Knipe, to come in and talk more about the conference center situation.

    To end things on a positive note, here's the bright spot to close out this piece. Planner Nicholas noted that all Planning Department staff that had been furloughed due to the COVID crisis have returned to work.

    Now that they're back to work, it seems likely they'll be kept busy into the fall.

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    Planning Board Recap: August 2020 - The Ithaca Voice

    Glimpse of the Past: Recent Minneopa hillside work reveals 1909 stabilization project – Mankato Free Press - August 16, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The Free Press

    MANKATO A lot of work had to be done over the past two years on a hillside on the waterfalls side of Minneopa State Park. Rain and more rain saturated the soil and caused the hillside to slump in the area above Union Pacific railroad tracks and below Minneopa Cemetery.

    In March 2019, mud slid over a retaining wall of the hill and stopped near the railroad tracks. Union Pacific called in a geohazard mitigation crew that stabilized the hillside.

    Tim Pulis, editor of the Minneopa Messenger, described the history of the affected area in the July issue of the newsletter for Minneopa State Park:

    The problem with the hillside began 115 years ago, in 1905. But lets start the story in 1869. That was the year the railroad started being built west of Mankato, heading toward Lake Crystal and beyond.

    In those days, the railroad often took the path of least resistance and this happened near Minneopa Park. The track curved around a huge hill.

    This lasted for more than 30 years. Since trains had to slow down to make the curve and since time equals money, the decision to straighten the tracks was made.

    Two things had to be done to accomplish this. One was to build a new stone tunnel for Minneopa Creek to flow through so the train could pass over it. The second was to cut back the hill below the cemetery. Both of these projects would be time consuming and expensive.

    In 1905, work on the large arch tunnel over Minneopa Creek began. The arch is 450 feet in length and 40 feet high. James McClure, of St. Paul, was in charge. The stone was quarried in Mankato.

    If you have ever been inside this tunnel, you marvel at its construction. The arch keystone on the north side has the date 1905 engraved on it.

    To give some historical context, this was the year that Minneopa became a state park. Lots of dignitaries, including the governor, came to check out the area.

    Much of Pulis research took place at Blue Earth County Historical Society. Heres what he found in the societys archives:

    While the arch was being constructed, work was being done to remove dirt from the hillside below the cemetery. At that time, the hill likely went all the way south past current Blue Earth County Road 69.

    An estimated 175,000 cubic yards of dirt were removed. This work was being done by Winston Brothers, who set up a railroad camp at Minneopa Park to accommodate the workers.

    One tragic story regarding the project was published in a local newspaper in 1906 the gruesome death of Gust Anderson.

    After the stone arch was completed, dirt was needed to back fill over it and bring it up to the level of the railroad tracks. Dirt from the cemetery dig was loaded on railroad dump cars. Large elevating graders were used to move the dirt to a conveyor belt.

    As Anderson helped back the train of dump cars a few hundred feet east to the dumpsite, he grabbed for the iron brake on the front car. His hand slipped and he fell in front of the train. Two loaded cars passed over his body.

    When the construction crews work was done, they broke camp and left for the Twin Cities.

    A November 1906 newspaper article said the new, better-aligned track was being used by trains running from St. Peter to Minneopa and beyond.

    The track was busy. Passenger trains arrived at Minneopa daily at 7:55 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. from the Mankato station. Trains left Minneopa for Mankato at 6:42 a.m., 12:22 p.m., 4:33 p.m. and 6:50 p.m. daily.

    1908 proved to be an amazingly wet and was dubbed The Year of the Frog. So many frogs gathered on the railroad tracks near Lake Crystal that trains were unable to gain traction and had to stop until tracks were cleared.

    The amount of water flowing over Minneopa Falls was more than most people of that time could recall seeing in the creek.

    As for the hillside below the cemetery, there had been only one season for vegetation to grow there and help stabilize the ground. A massive amount of dirt came down on the railroad tracks, as well as some headstones from the cemetery.

    A large force of men again set up camp at Minneopa and, with the aid of a large steam shovel, worked to remove the earth that had slid down over the tracks at the cemetery cut.

    It would take weeks for crews to clear the tracks and build a retaining wall.

    The recent stabilization project made apparent how extensive that 1908 project had been. When overgrowth was removed from the hillside in 2019, several retaining walls and a huge amount of rip-rap were revealed.

    We are making critical coverage of the coronavirus available for free. Please consider subscribing so we can continue to bring you the latest news and information on this developing story.

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    Glimpse of the Past: Recent Minneopa hillside work reveals 1909 stabilization project - Mankato Free Press

    Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs BC man $16000 – Coast Mountain News - August 16, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    A dispute between two neighbours in Campbell River in which one intended to upset, offend and cause stress, has resulted in more than $16,000 in damages, according to a recent decision in B.C. provincial court.

    Judge Catherine Crockett made her decision July 31, against Reno Pellegrin in his dispute with John and Sherri Wheeldon which lasted more than six years, primarily involving a concrete retaining wall between two neighbouring properties.

    In 2008, the Wheeldons constructed a sports court at the back of their lot, and a concrete retaining wall between their property and the Pellegrins. Due to a miscalculation of the property line and the fact the concrete spread, part of the wall ended up on the Pellegrin property.

    In her decision, Crockett noted the error was inadvertent, not intentional.

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    She also explained Pellegrin testified that despite the wall being on his land, it was also to his benefit, as it effectively shored up his yard, which is higher than the Wheeldons property.

    Around 2013 to 2014, the cordial relationship between the neighbours broke down. In April 2014, Pellegrin dumped approximately 20 pounds of dog feces on the Pellegrin/Wheeldon property line.

    Crockett said it is clear the retaining wall constitutes an ongoing trespass. On Dec. 15, 2015, Pellegrin took the position he was entitled to remove the wall, and partially took it down with a jackhammer. He estimated he removed 14 inches from the top.

    Mr. Pellegrin submits that spraypainting the word Remove on the wall in May and June of 2015 was a form of warning, as was his letter of June 9, 2014, she wrote.

    In the decision, Crockett reviewed videos of Pellegrin taking down the wall. Some of the statements she heard from Pellegrin on the videos include: Hope you and yours have a merry merry Xmas . This is what happens when you dont get along with your neighbours . Call the cops about every little thing. Call bylaws and animal control about every little thing. Heres what happens.

    She said Pellegrin created a dangerous situation with concrete falling to the ground, jackhammering at the level of peoples faces and causing the fence to fall.

    The evidence also establishes, quite clearly, that Mr. Pellegrins actions were motivated by malice in short, this was a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act.

    Crockett added while the law does permit a person to remove a trespass or nuisance in certain circumstances, this is not the case.

    There was no urgency to the situation. The wall caused him no harm. In fact, as he testified, the wall benefited him, she wrote. His jackhammering of the wall was anything but a proportionate response to the trespass. There was nothing approaching exceptional circumstances to justify his action.

    Due to trespassing, Crockett awarded $2 in favour of Pellegrin against the Wheeldons: $1 for walking onto Pellegrins property on various dates and another dollar for the ongoing trespass of the retaining wall.

    She awarded $16,801 to the Wheeldons which included $6,300 to replace the retaining wall, $6,000 in general damages and $2,500 in general, aggravated and punitive damages for various repeated nuisances and trespasses.

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    Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs BC man $16000 - Coast Mountain News

    Man who took jackhammer to neighbour’s retaining wall ordered to pay damages – Vancouver Sun - August 16, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    In her ruling on the case, provincial court Judge Catherine Crockett found there was no evidence to back up Pellegrins claims.

    The judge found that the dumping of the dog feces occurred outside a legal time limit to award damages for such an action.

    The Wheeldons asked Pellegrin to clean up the doggie mess and when he refused to do so, they contacted the city of Campbell River, which told them there was nothing to be done.

    But a bylaw officer issued a ticket to Pellegrin for an unsightly yard.

    A decision by the Wheeldons to build a fence led to further problems. Pellegrin ripped out the preparatory lines and stakes at least twice, prompting the Wheeldons to call police. No charges were laid.

    Sherri Wheeldon testified that Pellegrin made a lewd gesture toward her in June 2014, the first of what she said was a series of lewd gestures and comments.

    Pellegrin accused John Wheeldon of assaulting him by either throwing a rock at him or lifting it in a threatening manner, but the judge concluded no assault had been proven.

    In December 2015, Pellegrin used the jackhammer to remove part of the wall, believing he was entitled to do so, but the judge disagreed with him and found his actions were motivated by malice.

    In short, this was a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act, said the judge. Mr. Pellegrins comments towards Mrs. Wheeldon during the jackhammering made clear his purpose: to get back at the Wheeldons for perceived slights against him by them. It had nothing to do with any negative effect on his property.

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    Man who took jackhammer to neighbour's retaining wall ordered to pay damages - Vancouver Sun

    Paris District Road Report for the Week of August 17, 2020 – KSST - August 16, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Paris Heres a look at work planned in the district during the week of Aug. 17, 2020. These schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions, equipment failure or other unforeseen issues. Motorists are advised to remain alert and pay special attention to all signs, barricades and traffic controls, and reduce their speed as they approach and travel throughwork zones. They should also avoid distractions such as cell phones, eating, drinking, or car audio or navigation systems.

    Sherman Area (Fannin, Grayson Counties)Contacts: Sherman Area Office (903) 892-6529; Grayson Co. Maintenance (903) 893-8831; Fannin Co. Maintenance (903) 583-7566.US 75, Grayson County: from FM 1417 to SH 91 (Texoma Parkway). Watch for shoulder closures and lane shifts on northbound and southbound US 75 between Center Street and FM 1417 as crews work on building new main lanes and the new South Travis Street Bridge. Watch for lane closures on the frontage roads between FM 1417 and Washington Street as crews workon building detours and installing drainage structures. The northbound exit ramp for Houston and Lamar is currently closed, and exiting traffic is requested to use the Park Avenue exit ramp.The southbound exit ramp for Park Avenue is currently closed and exiting traffic is requested to use the Houston/Lamar Street exit. The northbound frontage road from South Travis Sreet to near Park Avenue is scheduled to be closed beginning Sept. 1 for crews to work on building theremaining portion of the retaining wall along US 75. The estimated closure time is two months, and traffic is requested to use the US 75 mainlanes during this closure. A reduced speed limit of 60 mph has been set for this construction project.The US 75 pedestrian bridge near Pecan Street in Sherman is closed to pedestrian traffic. The east side over the frontage road has been removed. The remaining pedestrian bridge will be removed later. Pedestrians wishing to cross US 75 are advised to cross at the Houston Streetsignalized intersection.The following roadways in Grayson County will receive a seal coat treatment in the upcoming weeks: US 377 from SH 56 to the Denton County line; FM 922 from the Cooke County line to US 377; SH 56 from Colbert Street in Sherman to the Fannin County line; and FM 406 from SH289 to FM 84. During this time, daytime lane closures will be present as crews work to seal the roadway.FM 1417, Grayson County: from US 82 to SH 56. Watch for lane shifts and shoulder closures between US 82 and SH 56 while crews are working to construct a portion of the new Sand Creek bridge. Watch for occasional daytime lane closures as crews are performing utility work.A reduced speed limit of 45 mph has been set for this construction project.

    FM 1417, Grayson County: at the OB Groner / West Travis Street intersection. Watch for occasional lane closures as crews work on installing flashing beacons at the intersection.SH 289, Grayson County: from FM 120 in Pottsboro north to the end of State Maintenance.Watch for daytime lane closures as crews perform pavement repairs and overlay the roadway.FM 691, Grayson County: from FM 131/Loy Lake Road to US 75. Watch for occasional lane closures as workers perform final touch ups on the project. The intersection of FM 691 with FM 131/Loy Lake Road has been converted to a signalized intersection.FM 121, Grayson County: from Jim Jones Road to FM 3356. Watch for daytime lane closures as crews work to widen the roadway to provide a detour section. Watch for lane shifts and narrow lanes near the FM 3356 intersection as crews have moved traffic to the detour section.The ultimate roadway will be a five-lane section when the project is finished.US 377, Grayson County: Willis Bridge at the Oklahoma State line. Watch for occasional lane closures on the existing bridge as workers pour concrete for the new bridge structure.US 75 Ramp Reversal in Denison, Grayson County: on the southbound US 75 main lanes and frontage road between Spur 503 and FM 691. Watch for a lane closure on the southbound US 75 frontage road as well as the westbound Spur 503 ramp while construction crews work onbuilding the new southbound US 75 entrance ramp. A new traffic pattern has been implemented where westbound Spur 503 will be shifted to the southbound US 75 frontage road and will travel through the FM 691 intersection and then enter southbound US 75 using the on-ramp after FM 691.

    The new FM 691 exit ramp is now open to access FM 691.US 75 Slope Repair at Randell Lake Road, on the southbound US 75 frontage road between SH 91 and Randell Lake Road, Grayson County: The southbound frontage road and Randell Lake exit ramp have been reopened to traffic as this project is now complete.US 75 debris pickup, Grayson County: from Collin County line to Oklahoma State line. Watch for mobile lane closures as workers pick up debris from the roadway every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the daytime.US 82 & US 69, Grayson County: from FM 131 to FM 1897 on US 82, and from SH 56 to US 75 on US 69. Watch for temporary daytime lane closures and shoulder closures as workers install safety treatments on fixed objects.US 82, Grayson County: in Sherman from FM 1417 West to FM 1417 East. Watch for nighttime and daytime lane closures as workers repair the concrete pavement.SH 289, Grayson County: between FM 120 and US 82. Watch for daytime lane closures as workers perform pavement repairs.US 69, Grayson County: between SH 56 and SH 11. Watch for daytime lane closures as maintenance crews work on performing base repairs.

    US 69, Grayson County: between FM 697 and SH 11. Watch for daytime lane closures as workers perform erosion repairs at the Bois DArc bridge structure.FM 1753, Grayson and Fannin County: from FM 1897 to SH 78. Watch for temporary one-lane closures as workers rehab and widen the roadway. FM 1753 has been reopened to through traffic between FM 1752 and FM 2645 as crews completed the bridge repairs.The following roadways in Fannin County will receive a seal coat treatment in the upcoming weeks: SH 56 from the Grayson County line to SH 121; Spur 311 from SH 56 to SH 121; FM 1396 from SH 56 to FM 2029; FM 273 from FM 2029 to FM 100; FM 100 from FM 273 to FM 79; and FM 79 from FM 100 to the Lamar County line. During this time, daytime lane closures willbe present as crews work to seal the roadway.FM 898, Fannin County: from the Grayson County line to SH 121. Watch for temporary one-lane closures as workers rehab and widen the roadway.FM 2815, Fannin County: from FM 1629 to SH 11. Watch for temporary one-lane closures as workers rehab and widen the roadway.FM 1743, Fannin County: from SH 56 to FM 1550. Watch for temporary one-lane closures as workers rehab and widen the roadway.US 82, Fannin County: from SH 121 to the Lamar County Line. Watch for slow moving construction equipment as crews work on widening US 82 from a two-lane roadway to a four-lane divided section. Westbound US 82 traffic has been shifted to the new pavement on the eastern end of the project between the Fannin and Lamar County line and County Road 2975.Eastbound traffic will remain in their current lane, while crews begin working on the inside lane to work on completing the crossovers and turn lanes. Drivers who frequent this roadway are advised that all driveways, county roads and farm-to-market roads approaching the newwestbound main lanes on US 82 will have a full stop before crossing over to the median. The SH 121 and US 82 frontage road intersections have been converted to a signalized intersection.The on-ramp to westbound US 82 from SH 78 has been closed while crews work on building the new westbound main lanes. Beginning Aug. 20, the westbound exit ramp for SH 121 will be closed as crews work on building the new mainlanes in this area. Exiting traffic for SH 121 is requested to use the SH 78 exit and continue along the frontage road to SH 121.County Road 2250, Fannin County: at Coffee Mill Creek. County Road 2250 is closed for crews to remove the existing bridge and build a new bridge. Traffic on CR 2250 will need to use an alternate route during construction.County Road 3530, Fannin Count: at Wafer Creek. County Road 3530 is closed for crews to remove the existing bridge and build a new culvert. Traffic on CR 3530 will need to use an alternate route during construction.County Road 4250, Fannin County: at Freeman Creek. County Road 4250 is closed for crews to remove the existing bridge and build a new bridge. Traffic on CR 4250 will need to use an alternate route during construction.

    FM 896, Fannin County: from SH 78 to Business SH 121: Watch for daytime lane closures as crews work to blade level the roadway.

    Sulphur Springs Area (Hopkins, Franklin Counties):Contacts: Sulphur Springs Area Office (903) 885-9514; Franklin Co. Maintenance (903) 537-4976; Hopkins Co. Maintenance (903) 885-4031.SH 11, Hopkins County: From SH 19 to White Oak Creek. Watch for lane closures and short traffic delays as crews perform surfacing operations.SH 19, Hopkins County: From Loop 301 to Delta County Line. Watch for crews installing erosion control devices preparing for safety enhancement work.IH 30, Hopkins & Franklin Counties: From Titus County Line to Hunt County Line. Watch for lane closures and short traffic delays as crews upgrade metal beam guard fence.

    Paris Area (Delta, Lamar, Red River Counties)Contacts: Paris Area Office (903) 784-1357; Delta Co. Maintenance (903) 395-2139; Lamar Co.Maintenance (903) 785-4468; Red River Co. Maintenance (903) 427-3561.FM 1507, Lamar County from Church Street to South Collegiate Drive. Watch for temporary lane closures while crews mill existing pavement and place new hot mix.FM 1507, Lamar County from South Collegiate Drive to LP 286.This roadway is closed while crews rehabilitate and re-surface the existing roadway.Loop 286, Lamar County from US 82 West to Dawn Drive. Watch for lane closures while crews perform concrete pavement repair.US 82 (Loop 286), Lamar County Watch for workers as crews perform signal upgrade work.An all-way stop condition will be in place during various phases of this work.SH 37, Red River County from US 271 (Bogata) to Franklin County Line. Watch for daytime lane closures as crews mill existing pavement and place new hot mix.US 82, Red River County from FM 1159 to Bowie County Line. Traffic is shifted to the south side of existing roadway between FM 44 and FM 1699 while crews perform pavement widening work on the north side.FM 195, Red River County from FM 410 North to SH 37. Watch for temporary lane closures while crews upgrade metal beam guard fence and complete cross culvert extensions at two locations.

    SH 37, Red River County from the Texas-Oklahoma state line south to the Red River-Franklin County line. Watch for temporary traffic signals at bridge locations while crews upgrade bridge rail from Clarksville to Bogata.Watch for workers while crews perform seal coat operations on various roadways: Lamar County FM 79, & FM 195; Red River County FM 195.

    Greenville Area (Hunt, Rains Counties)Contacts: Greenville Area Office (903) 455-2363; Hunt Co. Maintenance (903)455-2303; Rains Co.Maintenance (903) 473-2682.

    SH 66, Hunt County: from near FM 6 to near FM 2642. A project to widen the pavement, install continuous left-turn lanes, and safety-treat fixed objects is underway. The contractor is finalizing project clean up. Please be aware of lane closures, and watch for work zones and workers in this area.FM 2194, Hunt County: between Merit and FM 903. This project will widen the shoulders and apply safety treatments to fixed objects. The contractor is currently working on watering, seeding, ditch work and placing signs. Please be careful when traveling in this area.SPUR 264, Hunt County: in Quinlan. Sidewalk improvement project. The contractor is currently seeding and watering, sidewalk construction is complete. Please be careful when traveling in the area and watch out for workers.FM 1566, Hunt County: from FM 272 near Celeste to State Highway 34. The contractor is constructing cross culverts on this roadway. Detours are required to complete this work. Please be careful when traveling in this area and watch out for workers.Hunt County mowing contractors are working at various locations in Hunt County.Hunt County maintenance crews are patching on SH 224 and performing ditch work at various locations in the county; watch for lane closures, work zones and workers along this roadway.Please be careful when traveling in these areas, watch out for workers and maintain a safe distance from these work crews.Rains County maintenance crews are applying hot-mix pavement on SH 276; watch for lane closures, work zones and workers along this roadway. Please be careful when traveling in these areas, watch out for workers and maintain a safe distance from these work crews.Debris and litter operations are ongoing throughout multiple parts of the county. Please be careful when traveling, and watch out for workers. | TxDOT on Facebook | TxDOT on Twitter

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    Paris District Road Report for the Week of August 17, 2020 - KSST

    Biker and passenger injured in early morning crash near Five Points – Journal & Courier - August 16, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Lafayette Police Department(Photo: File)

    LAFAYETTE, Ind. Motorcyclist Pablo Chavez and passenger,Gabriella Toyne, were injured early Thursday as Chavez sped away from an officer who tried to stop him for a traffic violation, Lafayette police said.

    A patrol officerreported a motorcycle ran a stop sign near Five Pointsabout 1:15 a.m. Thursday. The motorcyclist sped away when the officer turned on the emergency lights to stop the bike, police said.

    The officer chosenot to pursue the bike,shutting off the lights, and doubling back to see if the biker might show up again, police said.

    The officer found the wrecked motorcycleat aconcrete retaining wall on Main Street near Asher Street. They found Chavez, 33, and Toyne, 25, injured at the crash site, police said.

    Chavez suffered minor scrapes and cuts, but Toyne suffered serious internal injuries and several broken bones, police said.

    Both were hospitalized for treatment.

    Toyne was in serious but stable condition Thursday, police said.

    Chavez will be arrested when he's released from the hospital, police said.

    He is suspected of driving while intoxicated resulting in serious bodily injury, resisting law enforcement with a vehicle resulting in serious bodily injury and reckless driving with serious bodily injury, police said.

    Main Street near Five Points wasclosed for about two hours while officers investigated the crash, according to alerts published by Lafayette police early Thursday.

    Reach Ron Wilkins at 765-420-5231 or at Follow on Twitter: @RonWilkins2.

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    Biker and passenger injured in early morning crash near Five Points - Journal & Courier

    Im worried that my neighbours extension will damage our retaining wall. What can I do? – The Irish Times - August 16, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    I share an elevated boundary with my neighbour who subsequently applied for planning permission to extend and excavate part of my retaining walls and earthen support verges.

    In lodging a planning observation, I anticipated the planner might have addressed some protections or inserted conditions cognisant of my rights of support, or at the very least cautioned against interference citing the risk of collapse with any disturbances to be made good. I was shocked to find that these potential concerns were ignored. Subsequently, many irregularities have surfaced, which I believe should render the entire grant void.

    How successful might this approach be with An Bord Pleanla, and what exhibits should I include as a lay person?

    It is understandable that you are concerned as you believe that part of your retaining walls and earthen support verges will be removed. However, the planning process deals with planning-related matters only and may not address such details. Details of structural issues are generally a matter for the applicant and his/her engineer or building surveyor, and boundary issues are a matter for the applicant and his/her neighbour.

    I assume that there is a wall along your boundary. It is likely therefore that the legal boundary runs along the centre of this wall. Its not clear if the support structures you refer to are on your side of the boundary or if they are on your neighbours side, but you refer to them as yours as they provide support to your shared boundary wall. If they are on your neighbours side, he/she would be entitled to remove them but is obliged to replace them with an equally stable support structure.

    The details should be formally agreed in advance and when completed, would require certification by a chartered building surveyor or engineer. If the support structures are on your side, your neighbours proposed development would be encroaching on your property. The planning application form requests the applicant to state that he/she is the owner of the entire subject property, and if not, to provide evidence of consent of the owner of other property included in the application.

    The planning process does not seek to verify the ownership information provided. It appears that your neighbour did not get your consent to encroach on to your property. Irrespective of the outcome of the planning application, whether at planning authority stage or on appeal to Bord Pleanla, your neighbour cannot encroach on, or interfere with your property without your consent. Your neighbour should bear the cost involved in relation to the boundary, irrespective of which side the support structures are located, as he/she has instigated the development.

    An appeal to Bord Pleanla must be within the four-week time limit. I suggest that you engage a chartered planning and development surveyor or planning consultant and provide them with the relevant information, required for appeal.

    These include the planning file reference number; addresses of both properties; name of planning authority; copy of acknowledgement of receipt of your submission to the planning authority; a plan outlining the existing situation with the legal boundary clearly marked and also indicating the support walls and earth bank; a plan indicating the extent of your neighbours proposal, also with the location of the legal boundary clearly marked; a written statement outlining your case and, if relevant, confirming if the information concerning ownership in the original application is incorrect; and photographs, preferably from an elevated position.

    It is difficult to predict the outcome. However, as outlined above, you have overriding rights in relation to your boundary supports and/or encroachment. While it is possible to make a third-party submission yourself, I advise that you engage professional assistance as there may be other aspects that will strengthen your case.

    Patrick Shine is a chartered geomatics surveyor, a chartered civil engineer and a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland

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    Im worried that my neighbours extension will damage our retaining wall. What can I do? - The Irish Times

    Gamekeeper Restaurant Has Reopened After a Summer of Renovations and Improvements – High Country Press - August 16, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    By Nathan Ham

    The Gamekeeper Restaurant will officially reopen on Wednesday night with a new deck, additional outdoor seating, and a beautiful new rock retaining wall to add to the rugged look that so many customers have become accustomed to over the year.

    Owners Ken and Wendy Gordon are excited to reopen and see their favorite customers and hopefully some new guests that want to venture out and try the unique food offerings at The Gamekeeper.

    All the wonderful things we have wanted to do for 20 years, we finally did them, Ken said. It never seemed to be the right month and when it was the right month, it was always wet and rainy.

    The downtime from the COVID-19 pandemic allowed crews to come in and be able to work through the spring and early summer to get the new looks completed.

    We rebuilt the deck and the entrance and we have handicap accessibility to the front door, which is something we have wanted for a long time, explained Ken. We have extended outdoor seating as well by extending our retaining well and adding patio space outside.

    The rock retaining wall was put together by Nova Sky Construction and was done mostly by repurposing large stones that were already on the property and just needed to be put into place. The outdoor seating has been expanded to 10 tables.

    With the newly expanded seating outside, it will be a lovely place to watch the sunset, said Ken.

    Inside you will notice a fresh coat of paint as well as newly refinished floors. The menu will include a lot of The Gamekeeper favorites, including the mixed game grills and chocolate martinis. Michael Vinson, the new matre d who found his way to the High Country from Pinehurst, has a vast knowledge of wine and will be happy to match a wine selection to your meal of choice.

    Reservations by phone are required for each day. The Gamekeeper will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 5-9 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 828-963-7400.




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    Gamekeeper Restaurant Has Reopened After a Summer of Renovations and Improvements - High Country Press

    Over $3 million in damages due to flood that hit Staunton – The News Leader - August 16, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Waters rise at the intersection of Lewis and Pump streets by Gloria's Pupuseria on Aug. 8, 2020 when a flash flood hit downtown Staunton.(Photo: Submitted/John and Gloria Gerber)

    STAUNTON - The City of Staunton saw damage to 164 public, residential and commercial properties totaling $3.1 million in damages.

    The city has submitted the preliminary damage assessment to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, a release said.

    The property damage totals werebased on reports from city staff, commercial property owners and residential property owners that have been received since Saturday, the release said. The city is continuing to get damage reports from property owners for damage to private properties. Reports can still be made by calling 540-332-3960 or

    Any additional information received from private property owners in the comingdays will be submitted by the city to VDEM in a follow-up report, the release said.

    The city sent the following breakdown of the assessment:

    We appreciate the speed and diligence with which private property owners have contacted us with the necessary details regarding residential and commercial damages, Staunton Fire Chief Scott Garber said in a release. Their cooperation during what is a very challenging time has made it possible for us to compile a comprehensive and accurate preliminary report for VDEM.

    The city is awaiting eligibility for assistance from the state for both city and private property owners and a possible referral of the assessment for federal assistance from to theFederal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).

    See footage from Saturday night's flooding in downtown Staunton. Staunton News Leader

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    More: Exactly 17 years to the day, Staunton sees another devastating flood

    More: Convicted sex offender remains behind bars awaiting sentencing

    More: Coronavirus Thursday update: Augusta County School Board meeting, area case updates, more

    A car is submerged in floodwaters during Saturday night's flood in downtown Staunton. Staunton News Leader

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    You can reach reporter Laura her@peterslaura.

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    Over $3 million in damages due to flood that hit Staunton - The News Leader

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