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    Flatlands Library Closes For One Year While Roof is Replaced – BKLYNER - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The Flatlands Library in June 2018 (Image: Google Maps)

    Starting today, the Brooklyn Public Librarys Flatlands branch will be closed for one year while the buildings roof is replaced.

    A short notice published on the Brooklyn Public Librarys website says the branch, located at 2065 Flatbush Avenue and Avenue P, will close today for a scheduled roof replacement and will reopen Winter 2022.

    The Flatlands branch has already been mostly closed for long stretches of the pandemic, though the return bookdrop was occasionally operational in recent months. Many branches across the borough remain fully closed, while 39 other locations currently offer lobby service, in which patrons have access to branch lobbies for quick transactions.

    A spokesperson for Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) said the roof project would cost $2 million and will be paid for with city capital funding.

    The current roof leaks, and has long outlived its lifecycle, the spokesperson said.

    An old post on the library systems capital projects tracker pinned the project cost at $4.1 million, with funding provided by the City Council and former mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, but the spokesperson said that information was no longer accurate.

    The previous cost estimate, the spokesperson explained, included repair work on HVAC, fire safety, and building management systems that BPL will instead complete with existing resources. No private donations will be used to fund the project.

    The renovation, which will be managed by the citys Department of Design and Construction, had been placed on hold during the pandemic, the spokesperson said, but the citys budget office is now allowing work to begin.

    BPL also said the new roof will not be a green roof akin to the one installed on a Windsor Terrace library in 2017.

    This is the second long-term closure for the Flatlands branch in recent years; in 2019, the building was closed for four months to accommodate the construction of a new conference room. The 6,000-square-foot Flatlands branch building was built in 1955, and was previously renovated in 1985 and 1987.

    An email about the closure from local Council Member Farah Louis said that branch staff will continue virtual programs, attend community board meetings, and conduct virtual outreach to schools and community organizations. It also said materials on hold that are not picked up at the close of business today would be available for pick up at the Mill Basin branch at 2385 Ralph Avenue.

    Louis email said BPL would not station one of its mobile bookmobile trucks at the site, and directed residents instead to the Mill Basin, Clarendon, and Paerdegat branches, which currently offer pickup and return services.

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    Flatlands Library Closes For One Year While Roof is Replaced - BKLYNER

    You Need to Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes When Choosing a Roofer – - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Do you need a roof repair or replacement? The cost of a roof replacement doesnt come cheap. It pays to do some research before choosing a company to do the work on your roof.

    The local paper and the Internet are saturated with roofing companies, and it can be quite daunting trying to choose one. A good percentage of those portraying themselves to be roofing contractors are actually rogue traders.

    Rogue traders usually dont have public liability insurance, are inexperienced, and lack the skills to do the job properly. So how do you know who is trustworthy and who isnt?

    Heres what you need to do to sort out the wheat from the chaff

    1. Failing to do some research about the reputation of the roofing company

    It would be best to do some research before choosing a residential roofer to work on your property.

    Pay particular attention to the following:

    Business address: a legitimate roofing company will have a physical location. Although some companies use a PO Box, you should ask them for the actual address. Roofers who go door-to-door looking for work are usually rogue traders.

    Read reviews from previous customers: one of the best ways to find out how a roofing company will treat you is to read what previous customers have to say about them. A lot of local roofing companies will proudly show testimonials and reviews from happy customers. Social media pages, Google Business, Yellow Pages, Yelp, Thompson Local, and other third-party sources are also good for reading reviews.

    2. Hiring a roofer who doesnt have insurance

    If a roofing contractor accidentally falls off your roof, you could be liable if the company does not have insurance.

    A reputable roofing company will have at least the following:

    workers compensation: if a contractor gets accidentally injured while on the job, the workers compensation will provide them with an income.

    Public liability insurance: if your property was accidentally damaged in any way by a roofing contractor, you could claim damages from their insurance company.

    Not checking the credentials of a roofing company could cost you dearly. Always make sure you know that you are hiring a legitimate, insured company to do the work on your roof.

    3. Failing to Get a Written Quote

    If a roofer doesnt want to provide you with a written quote, that should set off alarm bells. If you dont have a written quote with all of the specific details of the job, you wont be able to hold them accountable if they didnt complete the job to your expectations.

    Make sure you get all of the specific details of the job, such as the cost of materials and labour. You want a complete breakdown of the costs, and you want to know their procedures if something were to change (in writing). By having a breakdown of the costs, you know exactly where your money will be spent, and it will help you in your decision-making process when choosing a roofing company.

    4. Not Getting a Warranty

    Not getting a warranty after spending a large amount of money on your roof is a major failure. A legitimate roofing company should at least offer you a manufacturers warranty on the materials used on your roof. Professional roofers are proud of their reputation, and theyre more than happy to provide you with a warranty and back it up.

    A lot of the roofing companies registered with the Roofing Association offer 10 year warranties on roof replacements.

    5. Choosing a roofing company based on price

    The biggest mistake you can make is to choose a roofing company simply because they offered you the lowest price. Sure, the price can be a deciding factor when comparing quotes, but it shouldnt be the only factor to consider.

    Your final decision should be based on the reputation of the company and the quality of work.


    Always take your time when it comes to choosing a roofing company. If your still not sure how to find a trustworthy roofer in your area or how much you should pay, visit

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    You Need to Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes When Choosing a Roofer -

    Le Roy voters approve 1 of 2 capital projects | Top Story | – The Daily News Online - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    LE ROY Residents of the Le Roy Central School District approved one of two proposed capital projects on Wednesday.

    A $12.1 million asset preservation project involving work at all school buildings was approved with a vote of 583 in favor and 347 against.

    A second proposition, a $4.2 million project that included a multi-use turf field at the existing soccer field, failed with 566 votes against the project and 362 votes for the project.

    Proposition one, with a cost of $12,131,596, will include work at a half-dozen district buildings and Woodward Memorial Library. The project has an average annual tax increase of 83 cents on a home with a STAR exemption and an assessed value of $100,000.

    The project budget estimates 88 percent of the projects cost would be covered by state building aid, with an additional 8 percent drawn from a capital reserve fund and 4 percent from taxpayers.

    In a projected timeline for the project, the district would design the project between now and May, seeking approval this summer from the state Department of Education. Bids for work would be solicited and award in the fall, with work commencing before the end of the year. Construction would continue until August 2022

    The project work includes:

    Wolcott Street Elementary School: Convert heating controls to electronic and Lapp parking lot replacement.

    Wolcott Building: Reconstruct building parapet, roof replacement, precast window sill reconstruction, replace exterior windows, rooftop unit replacement, boiler room dewatering, and stair tread replacements.

    Lapp Building: Repair water leak in tunnel between building and Woodward Memorial Library.

    Trigon Building: Toilet room renovation, locker room/storage renovations, refinish gym floor, remove gym divider partition, auditorium entrance door replacements, auditorium entrance stair repairs, and replace auditorium house lights with LED.

    Junior-Senior High School: Roofing replacements, auditorium house and theatrical lightning replacement, and relocate existing generator.

    Woodward Memorial Library: Entrance stair repairs.

    Bus Garage: Additional emergency generator.

    Proposition two, at a cost of $4,188,967, would have included the turf field, new field lights to support a new field layout, relocation of the scoreboard, storage shed and team dugouts, and new bleachers.

    Wednesdays vote followed an October 2020 vote in which voters also rejected two propositions. The first proposition, which featured work throughout the district and a multi-use turf at the existing soccer field, was defeated by four votes, 409-405. The second proposition, which included a turf field to be placed inside the track was defeated overwhelmingly, 582-230.

    The two propositions, in October, had a total cost of $18,927,500, compared to the revised propositions total of $16,320,563.

    The revised proposals represented a decrease of $2,606,937, or 13.8 percent.

    In presenting the project a second time, the district made changes to both propositions, including removing the multi-purpose turf field inside of the track and lights at the stadium.

    Projects costs were also lowered due to a more consistent market with the pandemic, lower interest rates and a decrease in the Construction Cost Index from last spring, which district officials said lowered estimated costs in the revised propositions.

    The changes lowered the average annual tax increase to taxpayers by nearly $10. In October, proposition one would have cost taxpayers with the STAR exemption $10.81 a year on a house assessed at $100,000. The approved proposition will cost 83 cents on a $100,000 home with the STAR exemption.

    Had both propositions been approved, a taxpayer with the STAR exemption would have faced an average annual tax increase of $6.26 on a $100,000 home.

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    Le Roy voters approve 1 of 2 capital projects | Top Story | - The Daily News Online

    Iowa State continuing with gateway bridge into Jack Trice Stadium, thanks to ‘generous support’ – The Gazette - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    IOWA CITY Under a revised plan to use only private giving and not athletics department revenue Iowa State University this month is seeking Board of Regents approval to forge ahead with buiding a $10 million quarter-mile-long elevated walkway into Jack Trice Stadium.

    Iowa State initiated the gateway bridge project one year ago just before COVID-19 shut down the campuses and prompted regents to enact a moratorium on new construction across its public universities from Sept. 23, 2020, to June 30, 2022.

    Where last years proposal noted the $8 million to $12 million gateway to Iowa State project would come from ISU athletics revenue and donations, a revised proposal made public Wednesday indicates the $10 million budget will be funded via generous support of private giving.

    ISU Athletics Director Jamie Pollard clarified in a recent video message that change occurred after two donors in the fall committed $5 million each to see this project completed.

    The goal of the bridge over South University Boulevard connecting Gate 2 on the east side of Jack Trice with a new RV parking space is to create safer pedestrian access to the football stadium and enhance game day parking opportunities.

    This is a critical project to the future development of the area between Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum, Pollard said in his video message. Its a gateway to Iowa State University. Its a gateway to the new RV parking that will begin to be ready in the fall of 22.

    But it will also show a tangible sign that our athletics department is moving forward.


    Iowa State Athletics despite a $25 million deficit this budget year from COVID-related losses is plowing ahead with a $90 million sports performance center adjacent its 61,500-seat football venue that includes new plaza, locker rooms, meeting spaces, an academic center and nutrition facility.

    Although COVID has slowed down a lot of things in our world, the one thing that didnt slow down is the construction on the sports performance center, Pollard said, promising the project will open this spring and be fully complete come fall.

    Other planned renovations for Hilton Coliseum and related venues arent as imminent and must wait until ISU Athletics has a better sense of what the fall 2021 football season will bring.

    For now, the department is focusing on the projects it has funding for like the gateway bridge, designed to include two towers constructed with building materials that reflect the architecture of the adjacent ISU Athletics Complex and the Iowa State Center, according to regent documents.

    The project will involve ticketing upgrades and lighting. And Iowa State is planning another $10 million in parking lots including one connected via the gateway bridge featuring 300 dedicated RV stalls with electrical hookups for donors who love to have RVs at Cyclone games, Pollard said.

    In that the regents construction moratorium only bars expanding its campuses square footage, University of Northern Iowa next week will seek board permission to start planning a $7 million to $8 million replacement of its UNI-Dome fabric roof.

    The project to be funded by gifts, general and athletic department funds would replace the center portion of the UNI-Domes roof and install additional safety lines and anchor points.

    UNI reports needing the upgrades after hiring roofing consultants last winter who found the center portion of the fabric roof which allows natural light into the dome had begun deteriorating and was nearing the end of its useful life, according to regent documents.

    That portion which accounts for about one-quarter of the entire roof will need to be replaced by 2024, per the consultant.


    When the UNI-Dome was built in 1976, its air-supported fabric roof system made it the first indoor stadium in the nation with a full-size, air-supported fabric roof system.

    The domes outer roof in 1999 was replaced with hard metal, and its center portion was traded for better-quality fabric.

    Hail damage forced UNI in 2010 to replace the outer metal portion with its current PVC white roof, which is under warranty through 2040. Although UNI made minor repairs last year to the roofs center, its replacement will maintain the translucent light originally provided into the UNI-Dome.

    The UNI-Dome is one of the focal points of the University of Northern Iowas campus, according to a request for regents approval. The structure provides an indoor event space for collegiate athletics, high school state football playoffs, marching band practice, intramural sports, kinesiology classes, summer camps and large events for the public.

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    Iowa State continuing with gateway bridge into Jack Trice Stadium, thanks to 'generous support' - The Gazette

    With old Scaife Hall demolished, construction begins on its replacement – CMU The Tartan Online - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Encased in a cage of lattice aluminum strips, Scaife Halls appearance was unique. A partially-underground lecture hall with a curved roof, referred to by many as the Pringle, or the chip, protruded from the buildings rectangular frame. To some, Scaife was a rare example of a building that was as ugly to look at as it was to look out from. To those with a soft spot for mid-century modern quirk, the building had charm.

    When Alan M. Scaife Hall opened in the fall of 1962, it boasted several modern features. It had air conditioning. The basement housed Carnegie Techs nuclear engineering lab. The top floor held a newly constructed version of the schools already famed computation center. Scaife Hall came as part of a $29 million, 10-year development program that resulted in other campus fixtures like Hunt Library and Skibo Gymnasium.

    At the buildings October 1962 dedication, former Mellon Institute President Edward Weidlein expressed excitement in the buildings outstanding modern facilities. In a comment to The Tartan, then-University President John Warner said that the building will enable Carnegie to keep pace with the enormous advances and changes taking place in engineering and the sciences.

    Though Scaife Hall may have been revolutionary in 1962, and perhaps also a mid-century architectural gem, by 2018, the engineering department had outgrown it. A replacement building was announced by University President Farnam Janahian in his 2018 inaugural address, funded partially by a $30 million grant from the Allegheny Foundation, a subsidiary of Scaife Foundations. In his address, Jahanian aired that because of this new facility, much like the original, Carnegie Mellon will be better able to compete for the best students and faculty, driving Pittsburghs reputation as a hub for innovation. The buildings total cost is expected to be $75 million.

    The project is now well underway. Old Scaife Halls demolition is complete, and construction has officially begun on what is called New Scaife Hall.

    The new building promises to be as groundbreaking as its predecessor was in 1962 a university release touts technology-rich labs; modern, flexible classrooms; and spaces that facilitate formal and informal collaborations. The new facility will be twice as large, spilling two stories down into Junction Hollow. The university hopes that New Scaife will encourage the development of novel areas of research, and foster the College of Engineerings culture of Advanced Collaboration (a phrase the university trademarked in 2019).

    Construction of New Scaife is expected to fully conclude in March of 2023 according to Jennifer McDowell, the universitys director of design and construction. In a written response to The Tartan, McDowell stated that the building is set to have classrooms ready for instruction by the Fall semester of 2023.

    Expanding the facilitys footprint two-fold in the same location requires some creativity. The biggest physical challenge is the hillside dropping into Junction Hollow, McDowell said, as the new buildings design requires the installation of a number of earth-retaining structures to allow the bulk excavation to begin. Current mockups of the building have it partitioned roughly in three, with a large rectangular cornerstone overhanging the drop off, a portal entrance that almost connects to Porter Hall, and a courtyard. Like its predecessor, the building will shade the sun with aluminum fins, but this time, no cage.

    One challenge in getting this facility built is its close proximity to both Roberts Hall and Porter Hall. We must coordinate the new retaining structure adjacent to Roberts Hall and its existing retaining structure, which needs to remain in place, McDowell said. She also added that As always, we need to limit the disruption for our campus community.

    Regarding construction during the COVID-19 pandemic, McDowell stated that all Contractors are required to have procedures and working rules in place to limit exposure between workers on site, in addition to members of our campus community. She says that the university and its contractors are fully complying with all laws and regulations, including Governor Wolfs guidelines and the City of Pittsburgh PLI External Guidelines for Construction.

    McDowell, cutting through the nostalgia, said that While the chip was an interesting feature of old Scaife, it was not a particularly efficient space for teaching and learning needs. Still, she says, there is much excitement for honoring and restoring the Scaife site as a significant campus entry and a destination for all of campus.

    A live view of the Scaife construction site can be seen at the College of Engineerings official stream.

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    With old Scaife Hall demolished, construction begins on its replacement - CMU The Tartan Online

    Should You Shovel Your Roof, And If So, When? – - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Over the weekend, the building we work in and broadcast from suffered some damage from a collapsed ceiling. No one was in the room where the damage took place, so we're beyond happy to report no injuries.

    As you might imagine, the topic of roof-shoveling was a pretty hot one yesterday around here. Lots of questions, including when to do it, why to do it, should you do it all, and how to do it without being buried in an avalanche of snow and ice were among the many discussions.

    Being old enough to clearly remember the winter of 1978-79, I recall making a bunch of money (to a high school sophomore) over that winter by going around our neighborhood with my buddies and shoveling off the roof of every neighbor who wanted it done. There was no shortage of customers.

    Fast forward to today, and many people in the Rockford area (and now the rest of the country, based upon the weather activity of the last few days) are wondering whether or not they need to get their roof cleared off to avoid a collapse.

    I did some extensive searching for answers about roof-shoveling, and from what I can see, most of the experts out there recommend against doing it for a variety of reasons.

    A piece at Syracuse.comfeatures advice from aprofessor of structural engineering and mechanics at Syracuse University, Eric Lui. Lui points out that while you may be tempted to shovel off that accumulated snow from your roof, don't do it. "It's dangerous, and you may cause more damage than the snow will."

    Lui said a roof built according to state building codes should be able to withstand the weight of any snow that could accumulate on it.

    Another website,, talked to the Bend, Oregon Fire Department about the need to get snow off of your roof. The Bend FD says that you should have the snow removed from your roof, but you shouldn't do it yourself. They recommend having a professional with experience in rooftop snow removal. It's not just the weight of the snow, says Bend FD:

    Deep snow on a roof can bury a gas appliance flue, causing the exhaust to enter the home. This condition can introduce carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless poisonous gas in the building.

    Finally, I ended up at the Boston Globe, and their "Handyman on Call" advice column. There were a lot of words spilled on the page, but the bottom line, according to the Globe's handyman expert, is a definitive no on the subject of roof shoveling.

    Never, never use a roof rake or try to shovel snow off a slanted roof. It will do no good, will not cure ice dams, is extremely hazardous, and can harm asphalt shingles, and in your case, slate shingles. And it will take away snow that is a natural insulator as long as it stays on your house.

    I don't know if these bits of advice are pointing you in one direction or another, but it does seem to be quite clear that you should consult with an expert or two before venturing up on the roof to do it yourself.

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    Should You Shovel Your Roof, And If So, When? -

    County files suit against companies that operated at airports – Evening Observer - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Chautauqua County has filed suit in state Supreme Court against companies that previously operated out of the countys two airports. File Photo

    Chautauqua County has filed three lawsuits against the companies that operated out of the county airports.

    In State Supreme Court, the county filed a lawsuit against Jamestown Aviation, LLC, one against Dunkirk Aviation Sales and Services, Inc. and one against Dunkirk Aviation Management, LLC. All three were filed Jan. 28.


    In the lawsuit against Jamestown Aviation, the county notes it had a lease agreement with them relating to real property at the Jamestown Airport. The defendant terminated the lease on Jan. 31, 2020. The county alleges the following damage at the property:

    Building J FBO Office Water damaged ceiling tiles and stained carpets; several lights and lens covers missing and/or damaged beyond repair; rotted threshold on door in back office; cracked window on the ramp side of the Fixed Based Operation office (was covered by dirty stickers); and dirty and chipped paint.

    Hanger J FBO Hangar Hangar door and man doors have fully deteriorated and must be replaced and light bulbs need replacement.

    Hangar L (hangar space) Hangar doors need repair and servicing; chipping and peeling interior paint; rust at base of structural steel columns; block walls are contaminated with mold and mildew; all exterior man doors have fully deteriorated and are not compliant with state fire codes, and must be replaced; and interior doors to the shop and office need new hardware.

    Hangar L (shop/office) Extensive amount of paint is chipped and peeling; block walls are deteriorating due to mold and mildew; exterior doors are inoperable due to rust and omitted maintenance and are in violation of state fire code; restrooms need new fixtures; other plumbing issues; and heating ducts are rusted and gas supply line has been modified in violation of building codes.

    In the suit, the county seeks judgment in an amount to be determined upon the trial of the lawsuit.

    On the Jamestown Aviations website, the company writes, After serving the community since 2000, Jamestown Aviation has decided it is time to let someone else provide FBO flight support at the Jamestown Airport. As of January 31st, 2020 we have officially closed our doors. We have immensely enjoyed serving our loyal customers and hope that you will continue to visit us at Chautauqua Aircraft Sales, Inc. & Dunkirk Avionics LLC where services will continue uninterrupted. The phone number listed on the website is not in service.


    In the lawsuit against Dunkirk Aviation Sales & Services, Inc., the county notes it had a lease agreement with them relating to real property at the Dunkirk Airport. The county alleges the defendant wrongfully terminated the lease agreement as of Oct. 31, 2017 in breach of the terms and conditions, which require the defendant to be responsible for all the repairs and maintenance of the least premises.

    When the county returned Oct. 31, 2017, it alleged the following issues:

    Hangar No. 1 Exit sign is missing; main electrical distribution panel is not labeled and has no evidence/record of required inspections/service; exterior paint is peeling; hangar door electrical/mechanical controls work intermittently and require manual operation to remain engaged; hangar door binds and occasionally hangs up; and the hangar is not currently suitable for lease/revenue generation due to unreliable condition of the bi-folding doors.

    Hangar No. 2 Hangar door electrical/mechanical controls work intermittently and require manual operation to remain engaged; hangar door binds and occasionally hangs up; the hangar is not currently suitable for lease/revenue generation due to unreliable condition of the bi-folding doors; and the exterior paint is peeling.

    Hangar No. 4 Exterior lighting is not functioning, and the hangar door seal is worn, allowing moisture intrusion.

    Hangar No. 5 Roof leaks in several areas; insulation is water-logged and deteriorated; and the exterior asphalt shingle siding and roofing is loose and presents hazards to nearby aircraft.

    Hangar No. 6 Interior lighting is out in areas; the exterior metal sheathing is damaged at building corner(s); the hangar doors drive train is worn causing frequent door jamming and malfunction; and the leaking drive train oil indicates neglected maintenance and failing function.

    FBO Office building Insulation has separated from interior walls due to moisture intrusion (leaks); rust is forming along wall-floor joint; and the heating units are inoperable and beyond economic repair.

    The county also notes Dunkirk Aviation Sales and Services remains the owner of an underground fuel system and tanks that are still located on the leased premises. The defendant was responsible, as the registered owner of its remaining fuel system and tanks, for the permanent closing of the facility, including the potential removal of underground storage tanks, as may be required by applicable state and federal law, the county wrote in the lawsuit.

    Because Dunkirk Aviation Sales and Services failed to permanently close the fuel system and tanks, the county was required to, at a cost of $53,306.

    The county states it seeks judgment against the defendant in an amount to be determined upon the trial of the action.

    A company official with Dunkirk Aviation Sales and Services was reached by phone and said they have not yet received the lawsuit and declined further comment. On the Dunkirk Aviation Sales and Services website, it states, As of October 31st, 2017 we have officially closed our doors. We have immensely enjoyed serving our loyal customers and helping people experience the joy of flight. We hope that you will visit us at the Jamestown Airport (KJHW) where service provided by Dunkirk Avionics LLC, Jamestown Aviation Company LLC, and Chautauqua Aircraft Sales & Services, Inc. will continue uninterrupted.


    In its lawsuit against Dunkirk Aviation Management LLC, the county notes it had a lease agreement with them as the tenant relating to hangar space. The lease was terminated on Feb. 1, 2018.

    The county alleges that according to the lease, Dunkirk Aviation Management was responsible for the taxes, however the defendant had outstanding real property taxes and assessments.

    The county also states that Dunkirk Aviation Management was responsible for repairs and maintenance of the hangar building.

    After the lease ended, the county noted there were damaged or missing windowpanes, inoperable hangar bay lights, and inoperable hangar heating units, which the defendant was allegedly responsible to repair or replace.

    The county states it seeks judgment against the defendant in an amount to be determined upon the trial of the action.

    Dunkirk Aviation Management does not have a separate website or phone number listed.

    County Attorney Stephen Abdella confirmed the three individual lawsuits, but declined further comment.

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    County files suit against companies that operated at airports - Evening Observer

    Dealing with rain, ice on snow-covered roofs – Yahoo News - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    National Review

    On February 15, Iran-backed Shia militia groups in Iraq fired a barrage of missiles a minimum of 14 at an American base in Erbil, Iraq. One contractor was killed and five were wounded; one American soldier was wounded. That no American was killed was a matter of luck, it seems. The U.S. reaction has so far been verbal only. Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement, saying We are outraged by todays rocket attack in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. . . . I have reached out to Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani to discuss the incident and to pledge our support for all efforts to investigate and hold accountable those responsible. Those accountable are sitting in Tehran, and this is a key test of the Biden administration: If the United States reacts with words alone, the Biden administration will show the Iranians that such attacks are cost-free. The only lesson that Irans leaders will learn from such a response is that the Biden administrations desire to return to nuclear diplomacy will permit Iran to put American lives at risk whenever it wishes. If the U.S. reaction is to strike at the Iraqi Shia group that claimed the attack, it will once again play Tehrans game. Iran is pleased to allow those proxies to absorb American strikes while it acts with impunity. An Iraqi Shiite group calling itself Saraya Awliya al-Dam, which means Guardians of Blood Brigade, said it conducted the attack. Which Iran-backed militia actually carried out the attack is largely irrelevant because Iran controls them all. Proof can be found in the way such militia attacks appear to have been called off by Iran in October. Back then, Iran seemed to fear that if an American were killed and then-President Trump reacted against Iran strongly, Trump might gain popularity and win reelection. Attacks by Iranian-backed Shia groups in the pre-election period did not fall off because they ran out of ammunition or decided to take vacations; there is no other explanation except decisions made in Tehran. In November, December, and January (especially around January 3, the one-year anniversary of the American killing of Quds force head Qasem Soleimani), the U.S. government expected the attacks might recommence. What followed was a successful effort to deter Iran, especially after the one Iranian-backed attack in this period: the rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy in December. While American forces and diplomats in Iraq took great precautions to prevent injuries if attacked, the United States delivered clear messages to Iran both verbally and through the deployment of military force. The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz was kept on station in the region after starting to return home, and there were regular B-52 flights over the Persian Gulf. It is in this context that Trump tweeted on December 23, two days after an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over. The messages were clear: If an Iranian proxy killed an American, the U.S. reaction would not target the proxy but would target Iran. What exactly that meant was kept ambiguous; Iran had to calculate risks. And the Iranian regime did so. From the election to the inauguration there was one attack, and after that December attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the Iranian proxies desisted. And to repeat, there is only one logical explanation for this: Tehran got the message and instructed them to desist. This background explains why the attack on Americans in Erbil is so important. Iran understood the messages from the United States prior to January 20, but what is the message now? Will we hold accountable those responsible, as Blinken said, or will we instead allow Iran to hide behind proxies it controls? If we do the latter, the message to Iran is that such attacks are acceptable and we can expect more of them. These are efforts to kill Americans, and by killing or wounding American servicemembers and contractors to drive the United States from Iraq. The Biden administration should instead adopt a policy of deterrence, warning Iran that it will be held accountable directly. That messaging, plus a clear willingness to carry through if need be, has worked. It did not reduce attacks to zero, but it significantly depressed their size and frequency because those must have been the orders from Tehran. Those orders can be sent to the Iraqi Shia militias once again. It all depends on what Tehran hears from Washington. If an American is killed by an Iranian-supported militia and the United States responds, does that mean the end of diplomacy or a wider war? It does not. The United States has a multitude of military options, some of which would clearly signal to Iran that we have no wish to escalate into a larger conflict but that we insist the Iranian regime stop trying to kill Americans or else. Thats the message the Biden administration should be sending this week.

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    Dealing with rain, ice on snow-covered roofs - Yahoo News

    Tenant who sawed rafters out of roof and removed a fitted kitchen put couple through a ‘living hell’, Cork court hears – - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    A 67-year-old man was remanded in custody until April 16 for putting a couple through a living hell by seriously damaging their Ballinspittle house when he was renting it.

    The couple described the living hell they were put through by the cruel behaviour of tenant, Denis OConnor from Hillside, Cappagh, Kinsale, County Cork.

    As well as causing an estimated 16,000 in criminal damage by sawing rafters out of the roof and other acts of destruction, he refused to pay rent for 16 months he was in the house.

    The owner of the house, Audrey OMahony, said the financial strain due to the lack of rental income from the Ballinspittle house made it hard to meet their own mortgage repayments forcing them to cut back on groceries, clothing and heating. She said stress ultimately led to her collapse on one day and being rushed by ambulance to hospital.

    Judge Sean Donnabhin said he had huge sympathy for Ms OMahony.

    Noting that defendant Denis OConnor had so far come up with 2,500 compensation, the judge warned him he was facing a jail term if he could not come up with further compensation.

    Sentencing was adjourned until April 16 and the accused was remanded in custody until then.

    Ms OMahony testified at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that she believed OConnor cut the rafters on the roof of their Ballinspittle house in an effort to make the property unsellable so they would be forced to sell it to him at a reduced price.

    She said the 67-year-old put herself and her husband and family through a never-ending nightmare by what he did from the time he began renting their house from them in 2015.

    I believe that it was Denis OConnors intention to get permanent possession of our house without paying us and that he is not the least bit sorry for what he has put us through. His actions against us are inexcusable, cruel and downright wrong, she said.

    He pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to the house by removing roof rafters and damaging floors and various fittings at the OMahonys property at Duneen, Ballinvredig, Ballinspittle, Co Cork between December 5 2015 and July 23 2018. He also admitted the theft of a fitted kitchen worth 1,000 which he removed from the property to replace with his own kitchen, which he in turn removed when he left, leaving the house without a functioning kitchen.

    Garda Cormac Dineen told how the OMahonys moved from the single story cottage in Ballinspittle to their new home in Clonakilty and put the house up for rent and OConnor, a handyman, began renting the property in 2015 and agreed to carry out some minor repair works with their consent.

    However, the OMahonys gave him no permission to carry out some of the works that he did, including the removal of 27 roof rafters to use to put a V-shaped roof on a portable building and taking up a hall floor and other actions which left the OMahonys with a bill for damage totalling 16,000.

    Garda Dineen confirmed OConnor has no previous convictions and defence barrister, Donal OSullivan BL said his client was remorseful. But Judge Sean Donnabhin queried this as he had observed OConnor shaking his head during the evidence against him.

    Ms OMahony told the court OConnor stopped paying rent in April 2017 and told them things were going to get nasty.

    See the article here:
    Tenant who sawed rafters out of roof and removed a fitted kitchen put couple through a 'living hell', Cork court hears -

    No more ‘rats, cats and bats’: Mulberry’s GEM Theater sparkles again after $2 million renovation – The Ledger - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    MULBERRY You can still smell the newness of the seats, drywall and flooring of Mulberrys GEM theater.

    The buildinghas undergone a top-to-bottom restoration the past three yearsthanks to City Manager Rick Johnson and a $2 million grant to be repaid through the towns Community Redevelopment Agency.

    There were termites and roaches going up the wall, Johnson said.And a hole in the roof ... water was just pouring in and we immediately put anewroof on it.

    Johnsonsaid that "rats, cats and bats" had taken over the theater area ofhistoricbuilding. He didnt even want to discuss the rat infestation of a downstairs bathroom after it was closed off and the water evaporated, allowing the vermin to crawl up through empty sewer pipes.Workers fromA-C-T Environmental & Infrastructure, based in Bartow, had to don hazmat suits to clean out the entire building.

    Previously: Project to transform downtown Mulberry a real Gem

    Trending now: Bartow's famous 'house with the tree in it' will soon lose the tree

    Instead,Johnsonpointed out the lovely new blue seats that replaced the old yellow ones, the newcarpet and a floorspacein front of the stage that allows for dining, an orchestra or even dancing something other Polk County historic theaters dont offer.All the upstairs offices, which house several union locals, have been renovated, as well.Rodda Construction, he said, came in 10%under budget and on time.

    From 1947 to 1956,Mulberrys GEM theater was the place to be for a Friday night film or Saturday matinee in atownknown for phosphate andBadcock Furniture.The Arnold family owned the theater and, back then, the towns patrons could view movies like CreatureFromthe Black Lagoon and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

    But, eventually,television and a drive-in movie theater in SouthLakeland drew the crowds away andthe theaterbuildingbecame office space for theInternational Chemical Workers Union, along with two other unions associated with thephosphate industry.Year after year, the theaters auditoriumspace was neglected until it was simply unusable.

    Related: Polk Museum of Art kicks up its heels with 230 works by famed Moulin Rouge artist

    And then Johnson came to townas city managerin 2012 and saw the buildings potential as ashowplacefor Mulberrys 3,327 residents, where they could catch a double feature of westerns on a Saturday afternoon or a Murder Mystery dinner theater on aFriday evening, where the visitingLakelandImperial Symphony Orchestra could playor Mulberrys students couldgather for performances.He began asking the unionin 2013 if the city could have it or buy it. They finally relented in 2017, giving the building to the city in exchange foruse of the upstairs andtheir offices being renovated.

    Johnson said he is hoping the Mulberry High Schoolbandsbooster club will run a concession stand, with proceeds going to help them.

    Bob Macey, an arts and community leader, is thrilled with the theaters overhaul.

    It honestly feels right now like weve crossed the threshold, Macey said in a video produced for the theaters grand opening scheduled for Thursday.This is something that is really going to bring out the communityand change it for the good.

    In fact, Mulberryis experiencingsomething ofa renaissance. Johnson said all of the sidewalks downtown are going to be redonewith money left over from the construction.The cultural center by city hall is hosting thismontha Highwaymanexhibit, with 20paintings doneby the icons of Floridalandscapes. In addition, the Mulberry Public Library now has a coffee shop. And the towns barbecue festival is scheduled to take place on March 13 possibly the first one in the state in a year, thanks to COVID-19.

    In case you missed it: Beloved Mulberry High staff member Maria Hernandez dies from COVID-19

    Finally,Mulberry High Schoolis in the middle of a massive$46 million transformation, building a new modern building on the old baseball field and then tearing down everything that was built in the 1950s. The only current structures that will remain are two classroom buildings and the auditorium, which were built about 15 years ago.

    While the GEM is ready for business, there are still two things yet to be completed.Johnson wantsthe GEM lettersalong the buildings exteriorbig enough to see from the intersection of State Road60 and State Road 37, the towns main crossroads. He is also hoping to lease out a 1,000 square-foot space in the building to an ice-cream shop something that would support the theater and downtown.

    Ledger reporter Kimberly C. Moore can be reached atkmoore@theledger.comor 863-802-7514. Follow her on Twitter at @KMooreTheLedger.

    GEM Theater Grand Openingand Highwayman Exhibit Opening

    Thursday,11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

    118 NW 1stAve.,Mulberry

    Continue reading here:
    No more 'rats, cats and bats': Mulberry's GEM Theater sparkles again after $2 million renovation - The Ledger

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