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    Category: Tile Work

    Joint Ditch Authority approves redetermination of benefits on JD13 – The Globe - December 8, 2019 by admin

    The decision came during the third continuation of a public hearing initially sparked when property owners requested improvements to the ditch system. The redetermination of benefits does not mean the improvements will be made.

    Ditch viewers hired by the joint ditch authority conduct the redetermination of benefits by evaluating the parcels deemed to benefit from the ditch system. Their work then leads to a reevaluation of how much landowners on the system are taxed.

    Redetermination brings it into current day values, said Nobles County Ditch Systems Coordinator Brad Harberts, noting that benefits have not been examined since the systems were constructed a century ago.

    A hearing on improvements to JD13 is now scheduled for April 9. Thats also the date landowners will meet to continue discussion on proposed improvements to JD9, which is also located in eastern Nobles and western Jackson counties.

    Landowners on both systems are seeking improvements to include increasing tile diameter to improve capacity of the system.

    Some of the tile is cracked a lot of it is 100 years old, Harberts said. Over the years, private tile has been hooked on, and everything is over capacity.

    Next Friday, the Nobles and Jackson joint ditch authority will meet yet again, this time for the continuation of a hearing on Judicial Ditch 24.

    Meanwhile, Nobles County has hired viewers to work on redetermination of benefits on six smaller ditch systems County Ditches 2, 4, 5, 6, 30 and the Bigelow branch channel, said Harberts.

    Once the viewing has been done on those, then well need to go to a public hearing, he added.

    A lot of the work of the viewers is done in the late fall through early spring, before crops impede the view of the landscape.

    They physically go out and drive the landscape and see what way the water breaks, Harberts said.

    CD30 is the youngest of the ditch systems to go through a redetermination of benefits. It was constructed in 1970. The rest are all about 100 years old.

    As redetermination of benefits take place on some systems, Harberts said other ditch systems are slated for clean-out this winter. Nobles County received nearly $54,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for damages to ditch systems from flooding.

    Harberts said the FEMA money will target sediment removal on County Ditch 4 and Judicial Ditches 8, 9, 11B, 12 and 76.

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    Joint Ditch Authority approves redetermination of benefits on JD13 - The Globe

    Teacher Experiences Of Restraint And Seclusion – NPR - December 8, 2019 by admin

    Earlier this year, an NPR investigation with WAMU and Oregon Public Broadcasting found deep problems in how school districts report restraint and seclusion. Following that investigation, NPR reached out to educators about their experiences with these practices.

    Brent McGinn spent a year early in his career working with students who could sometimes hurt themselves.

    The special education teacher recalls a student who would sometimes hit his head on the tile floor, full force. When that happened, McGinn faced a tough decision. "If I put a pad between that kid and the tile, it's going to soften it, but it's not going to stop him from full-force hitting his head into something," he says. "Whereas restraint would."

    Restraint and seclusion in schools can mean anything from holding or using restraints on a student to isolating them in a separate room or space. According to federal guidance, these methods are meant to be a last resort, when students are believed to be a danger to themselves or others. These practices are most often used on students with disabilities or special needs.

    In situations where students or staff are in danger, McGinn says, "restraints and seclusion can be a useful tool to keep people safe."

    But that can leave educators in a tough spot. Many told NPR that using restraint and seclusion is one of the worst parts of their job; they say these methods can be mentally and physically painful for both them and their students.

    "I would lock myself in the bathroom at work and cry, and I know that I wasn't the only one," says D, who spent a year working as a teaching assistant at a private school for students with autism. (D uses they/them pronouns. We aren't using their full name, or identifying where they worked, because they fear retaliation from their former employer.)

    But McGinn, who currently works in Phoenix, says if teachers don't have the option to use restraint and seclusion, "you're backing them into a corner."

    Parents with children who have been secluded or restrained have said the experience was traumatic. But that isn't always the case one Oregon elementary schooler said he once had an aide whose restraint techniques helped him calm down.

    Still, a 2009 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog, found hundreds of cases of alleged abuse and even death when restraint and seclusion were used on school children.

    I would lock myself in the bathroom at work and cry, and I know that I wasn't the only one.

    D, a former teaching assistant at a school for students with autism

    Many states prohibit the use of seclusion or restraint as punishment or discipline. And though there are federal guidelines around the use of these methods in schools, there are no federal laws. Past efforts to restrict the use of restraints and ban the use of seclusion nationwide have failed in Congress.

    The definitions vary in different states and school districts, as do the rules around how educators can use these methods. In Massachusetts, for example, prone restraint holding a student face-down on the ground is only allowed in very specific situations. Other states ban the practice altogether. Arkansas puts limits on the size of seclusion rooms, while Oklahoma advises, but does not require, that students be permitted bathroom breaks and water during seclusion.

    Some states also rely on a student's past behavior to determine the practices they use. Records like individualized education programs (IEPs) and behavior intervention plans (BIPs) sometimes spell out if and when restraint or seclusion may be used on a particular child.

    "I just never felt fully comfortable or prepared"

    D says they avoided restraining students as much as possible, though other educators in their school did regularly use restraint.

    There's a tension within me of knowing that if I am to restrain a student, then I'm essentially putting forth a situation that's going to create trauma for that student.

    Ben Travis, a social and emotional learning specialist

    "Even though I received the training for [restraint], I just never felt fully comfortable or prepared to do that," they tell NPR. They say restraint crossed a physical boundary that they weren't comfortable with. "It just seems strange to be so imposing on somebody else's body."

    Ben Travis, a social and emotional learning specialist in Fort Worth, Texas, says, "There's a tension within me of knowing that if I am to restrain a student, then I'm essentially putting forth a situation that's going to create trauma for that student." He says the decision to restrain students is not always as clear-cut as some training or school officials make it out to be.

    Travis says he also doesn't believe in leaving students in isolation for extended periods of time he says he doesn't see it as an effective tool and he doesn't want to create, or recreate, trauma for them.

    "I haven't seen that create good results," he says, either in student behavior or their relationships with educators.

    "Most students don't respond well to ... getting grabbed," says A, who works as a teaching assistant at a private school. (We aren't using his full name, or identifying where he works, because he fears retaliation from his employer.) A works with young adults on the autism spectrum who are mostly nonverbal, and says he tries to avoid secluding his students.

    "I know they don't want to go into the room," he says, "so I'll do anything else."

    It takes a toll

    I've been punched in the face more times than I could remember. I've been hit in the head with chairs.

    A, a teaching assistant at a private school

    Educators tell NPR that restraint and seclusion can take a physical and emotional toll on them.

    "It's a rare day where you don't get hurt at all," A says.

    "I've been punched in the face more times than I could remember. I've been hit in the head with chairs."

    Many educators say their restraint and seclusion training which is often provided by schools focuses on de-escalation, in order to avoid situations where someone could get hurt.

    David Roy, a dean at a public charter school in Ohio, says it's important to remember that student behavior is a form of communication: "You should do everything you can to try to de-escalate the situation before you escalate it by having to put someone in a restrictive hold, or seclude them in a different part of the building."

    Roy says his school only allows a small number of certified staff, including administrators, to seclude or restrain students. And in his opinion, it's safer and more productive that way.

    "We want teachers to focus on the instruction side of things. And we don't want to have a large number of people who can run the risk of doing it wrong," Roy says. "It can be really upsetting if you have to put a child into the hold."

    K taught English as a second language at an elementary school in the Midwest last year. (We aren't using her full name, or identifying where she works, because she fears retaliation from her school district.) She says she wishes more staff in her school had been trained so they knew how to de-escalate situations, and when, exactly, restraint or seclusion was really warranted.

    K says sometimes administrators and other teachers would call her in to use these methods not as a last resort, but as a way to gain control of chaotic situations.

    "A lot of times, it was used ... as a management tool," K says, when teachers were "overwhelmed in the moment." She says she wasn't always comfortable using restraint or seclusion in situations when they could have been avoided.

    Reporting troubles

    Many educators are also responsible for documenting incidents of restraint and seclusion, and they say that recordkeeping isn't always straightforward.

    Most of the teachers who spoke to NPR say they tried to note every instance of seclusion and restraint through official school channels. They say the documentation protected them from possible lawsuits or other misunderstandings, and it helped them keep track of student behavior so they could learn what did and didn't work.

    In Texas, a statute allows parents to ask that their child's special education classroom include video equipment, making some of that documentation automatic. "That, at least, gives another set of eyes that can be present," says Ben Travis, in Forth Worth. "And that's, in my opinion, positive."

    But sometimes, documentation falls through the cracks.

    In most states, schools are required to tell parents when a child is restrained or secluded, but that doesn't always happen. Parents in one Washington state school district said school officials rarely notified them when their children had been restrained.

    A, the private school teaching assistant, says he is "in crisis" restraining or secluding students for hours every day. And while major incidents involving many adults are documented, sometimes routine restraints involving one or two adults holding a student aren't noted.

    Even when there are enough staff and resources available, whether or not to report incidents isn't always an easy call.

    K, who taught English as a second language, says her school only required that she report a seclusion when a student was left alone in a room with the door held shut by an adult. (Many states have similar policies.) She didn't have to report the times when students were left alone and the door wasn't held shut. K says she would write down these instances for her own records.

    Similarly, A says he and his colleagues don't often document seclusions unless the door to the room is closed. He says that enables the school to report lower numbers of seclusions than they otherwise would.

    Reporting troubles don't just happen on the local level. A recent analysis from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that several districts underreport cases of restraint and seclusion to the U.S. Department of Education.

    Federal officials now say there is no way of knowing how often these methods are used in schools.

    It's also hard to know the price teachers pay.

    "When you're done, it's exhausting," D says. "It's sad."

    "It takes a toll on us," says A. "There's no one to really talk to."

    And he says that isn't good for students either.

    "If your mental health isn't OK, how can you be of maximum service with students that really need your help?"

    Nicole Cohen edited this story.

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    Teacher Experiences Of Restraint And Seclusion - NPR

    New book goes behind closed doors to explore ‘The Restrooms of Cleveland’ – - December 8, 2019 by admin

    Arabella Proffer

    CLEVELAND, Ohio Not a week goes by when someone doesnt ask Cleveland artist Arabella Proffer to come look at their restroom.

    No, shes not getting into bathroom design or doubling as a plumber.

    Word has gotten out that the Cleveland painter undertook an unusual new project: documenting the most interesting restrooms of Cleveland.

    Her new book, aptly titled The Restrooms of Cleveland will be released this week. Proffer will celebrate the launch with a party at Judds City Tavern, 10323 Madison Avenue, from 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5.

    Arabella Proffer

    Proffer, a pop-surrealist graduate of the California Institute of the Arts

    who has shown in Germany, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Santa Fe and Buffalo in the last year, never intended for her project to become a book.

    I was at 78th Street Studios about three years ago and just started posting photos from all these really un-remodeled 60s bathrooms. I shared them on Instagram and got a good response to started sharing more and more.

    People took notice.

    All of these people who dont even live in Cleveland were like you should do a book, and I was like haha. I had not intention of doing anything with it.

    Arabella Proffer: Hotz Cafe

    A friend changed her mind.

    In 2017, Dott Schneider was doing a story about my Gurls drawings for Scene magazine, about a show I had in Germany. During the interview, she said lets go and look at bathrooms. In the piece, she wrote that I was going to be doing a book about bathrooms. I said I guess I have to follow up now.

    The result is a full-color 9-by-6 , 83-page photo book of non-stop in your face thrills of interior design and restrooms stuck in time.

    More than 400 pictures document 80 of Clevelands most interesting toilets. They include bars, theaters, warehouses, grocery stores, dental offices, auto garages, utility buildings, private clubs, pinball arcades, museums, schools, breweries, retirement homes, churches, furniture stores and coffee shops.

    Once word got out, the bathroom invitations started coming. I was even invited into a few private homes, she says.

    Arabella Proffer: LCC

    I could have kept going and going, this could have been a 300-page Taschen-style book.

    Does Proffer have a favorite restroom?

    The tile work at Stone Mad is pretty amazing. And Lorain Community College has these restrooms that look like those at the Palm Springs Art Museum.

    Arabella Proffer: Mahall's

    Judds will be serving specialty cocktails at the party, and Proffer plans to get a toilet roll shaped cake, too. Bonus: Judds restrooms are actually in the book.

    The mens is very cool, its covered in comic book pages, she says. The womens room has lots of tchotchkes.

    Arabella Proffer

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    New book goes behind closed doors to explore 'The Restrooms of Cleveland' -

    Phoebe Toland and Dick Notkin – Artists Share a Life – Keypennews - December 8, 2019 by admin

    Artists Dick Notkin and Phoebe Toland moved to the Key Peninsula five years ago from Helena, Montana. They sat down one afternoon last month to talk about their work and about what it is like for two busy artists to share a life.

    We really understand the artistic need to create and so we are very supportive, and we arent jealous of each others studio time. And we understand that if your passion is to be an artist, it is a full-time job, Notkin said.

    The couple first crossed paths when Toland was in graduate school at the University of Montana and Notkin was teaching, but they were in different departments and were barely aware of each other. It wasnt until years later that they were re-introduced by a mutual friend. I didnt even recognize him, said Toland.

    They moved here largely to be closer to Tolands sister, sculptor Tip Toland, and her husband. Tips career was taking off, and we realized that if we didnt move closer, we wouldnt see them very often, Toland said. They were also ready to leave the brutal winters and summers that increasingly brought the threat of forest fires.

    They found a house that fit their requirements: It had to have enough studio space for both of them and be a walkable distance from Tip. The brown shag carpet throughout, they think, kept the place on the market for a few years, but that was easily removed. They converted the multi-car garage and lower floor of the house into studio spaces.

    If an artist cant say what they feel in their art, then what the hell is the point?

    The two have much in common. Both knew they would be artists from early childhood. They were raised in urban areas but have spent adulthood in rural locations. Their art is deeply influenced by the world that surrounds them. And, Notkin said, We are both left-handed Scorpios.

    But as they talked about their work, the differences became apparent. Toland is primarily a painter and printmaker, and also creates wood and paper sculptures that sometimes hearken back to her combined graduate degree in painting and theater arts. Her images are often abstract. Notkin works in clay. His work is tightly controlled and detailed, with a high degree of craftsmanship.

    All my work is so intuitive. I have no idea what it will become until that last moment. Dick needs to know right off the bat what he will be completing, Toland said.

    Toland came from a creative family. Her father was a writer for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin and then wrote books and plays; her mother was talented in needlecraft and quilting. My sister Tip was gifted in terms of drawing people, but I was more interested in design, more abstract pictures. We had our own very separate means of expression, she said.

    After undergraduate work at the Rochester Institute of Technology and graduate school in Montana, Toland returned to the east coast where she worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for several years. It was there that I fell in love with paper, she said. She turns paper into both sculptures and multidimensional collages that incorporate woodblock prints. You have to like the whole process if you dont like all the steps you probably wont do it because it is all so labor intensive, she said.

    Although I am an abstract artist, all my work has a thematic basis, she said. Toland tends to work in series, and is currently focused on gardens. The pieces are a way of expressing my love of gardens and gardening but they also stand in for the earth and feeling of concern and apprehension of climate change.

    Toland acknowledges a sense of crowdedness, a bit of foreboding apparent in much of her recent work, especially in the last few years. Her other works were influenced by the development taking place where she lived in Helena. Another installation was inspired by her father and Notkins, who both died in the same year.

    Notkin, though he has lived in expansive spaces all of his adult life, said his work is not affected by where his studio is located. From the time he was a student his work has expressed his feelings about war, technology and the environment. I work out of a political landscape. If an artist cant say what they feel in their art, then what the hell is the point? he said. His father, of Jewish descent, fought in WWII, and though he was proud to have fought against Hitler, he also described that time as the worst in his life. Notkin came of age in the years of the Vietnam War. Friends served, and of those who survived, he said, most came back damaged. I think my opposition to war continues to be justified, he said.

    Notkin knew from the time he was in kindergarten that he wanted to be an artist. He went to the Kansas City Art Institute to study painting, but after he was introduced to clay in a sculpture class, he knew he had found his medium. He loved the detail he saw in the extensive ceramics collection at the Kansas City Art Museum and in the pieces he saw at home as he grew up his father was an immigration lawyer and his many Chinese clients gave him artwork as gifts.

    Notkin is perhaps best known for his unglazed ceramic teapots inspired by16th century Chinese Yixing wares. He is a master and innovator in the slip-casting technique, which uses molds and liquid clay, allowing him to work in series, adding highly detailed images that make each pot unique. He has created more than 350 pots, most of which are in private and public collections.

    Notkins tiles serve as another avenue for expressing his alarm. He creates each from clay, using finely detailed images such as skulls, dice, buildings, ears and barbed wire. Each original tile takes about four days, depending on the detail, he said. Then he creates a press mold that allows him to create copies. He now has hundreds of tile molds to draw from. Some tiles are glazed in color. Others are fired in sawdust, which causes the value of the tile to vary from light to dark. The tiles are then sorted and stored by color and value to be used to create murals. Two well-known murals, both using hundreds of tiles, are a portrait of George W. Bush titled All Nations Have Their Moment of Foolishness and The Gift, an image of the Hiroshima bomb.

    Notkins work has been shown all over the world and is in collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He has received many awards for his work and was featured in a PBS Craft in America Landscape documentary.

    Both Notkin and Toland continue to work full tilt. Notkins father once asked how he was planning for retirement. He replied, I dont have any extra money to put away. And besides, what will I do? Pick up some hobby like maybe ceramic art?

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    Phoebe Toland and Dick Notkin - Artists Share a Life - Keypennews

    The Best SharePoint Web Parts of 2020 – 1redDrop - December 8, 2019 by admin

    If you are looking to create the perfect website or share and access information from any device, then SharePoint is the best solution. Representing the ever-growing SAAS (Software as a Service) market, SharePoint has been proven unstoppable because of its scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. This collaborative system will not only automate your workflow processes but also empower your professional team to work as a cohesive unit.

    According to, SharePoint has a lot more to offer than its basic features. After all, its main goal is to free users from limitations that come with sharing tools. Thanks to its constant evolution, an array of new SharePoint features have been introduced. If you are specific with your requirements, you will enjoy the best SharePoint web parts of 2020. They include:

    New tile web part

    Promoting better visibility, the new tiles web part on SharePoint makes it easy to view all of your selected content. Whether it is a blog post or an announcement, you can find them all in one area. Thus, you will not have to spend hours looking for the information that you want to find. The news layout, as well as the type of news that you want to read, can be configured to suit preferences. Want to select specific news items? The property filter will work wonders.

    Quick links web part

    This web part is designed for the sole purpose of defining menu items, personal links and the customization of your SharePoint presentation. Even better is the fact that it can be used with SharePoint versions of 2010, 203 and 2016. While the web part embraces new advancements, it also modifies previous SharePoint versions.

    Tiles web part

    In comparison to the new tile web part that is all about better visibility, the tile web part focuses on good navigation. It makes it easy to include everything you want in a single homepage without having to create multiple pages. Even with all the information that is included on the homepage, the tile web part ensures that navigation remains easy. In other words, it promotes better functionality. states that this web part can customize your page, configure its tiles, have a backdrop and still maintain its flawlessness.

    Chart web part

    Your presentation can be more appealing ad distinctive if you incorporate the use of charts. Just as the name suggests, the chart web part will let you represent your data using an array of charts. These include pie charts, donut charts, horizontal charts, vertical charts and much more. Using a convenient filter option, you can type in the name of the chart that you want to use and get started. Needless to say, charts will elevate your page by adding great visualization elements.

    Image menu carousel web part

    They say that a picture speaks a thousand words and SharePoints image menu carousel is the true representation of that. While SharePoint already contains a picture library, this new web part will go the extra mile to display the title of the image and offer a short description. It also allows you to choose the number of images that you want to display, the rotation speed and the number of words that can be displayed alongside every image.

    Hero web part

    If you want to add a compelling design element to your page, Hero is the perfect web part for you. Here, there are no limitations whatsoever. This web part enables you to display multiple items on your page. It makes it easy to draw attention to every element on the page because of the use of links, text captions, colors, and images. If you want your page to stand out, the background color or image option will do.

    List search web part

    The list search web part will read your SharePoint collection of lists. No matter where your list is located, this web part will locate, identify and read it. In instances where you want to include the number of lists in your page, click on this web part and they will be displayed. Additionally, this list search option also comes with sorting and filtering options.There you go! The best SharePoint web parts that will be useful in 2020 and beyond! Microsoft has shared a sneak peek of these web parts as they are intended to elevate your experience with SharePoint. These web parts are the beginning of software revolution like no other. They will create reliability and deliver an enhanced hybrid experience. No matter what you want to do, these web parts can be customized according to your needs. For more information, consult

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    The Best SharePoint Web Parts of 2020 - 1redDrop

    8 design ideas that defined the decade – Business of Home - December 8, 2019 by admin
    Redmond Senior Center estimated to re-open in two and a half to three years – Redmond Reporter - December 8, 2019 by admin

    The Redmond parks and recreation department updated the city council on the status of the Redmond Senior Center (RSC) at its Dec. 3 regular meeting.

    In January, council adopted the facilities strategic management plan that identified RSCs mid-life improvements. The city identified RSC in the six-year capital investment program (CIP) for renovation and set aside $15 million for this work. Mid-life repairs and maintenance included the exterior envelope and mechanical systems.

    In May, two stucco panels fell off the back exterior corner of the building, near the loading dock. The city contracted a structural engineering firm (KPG) in June for further assessment and inspectors confirmed extensive structural damage to the exterior walls and substantial impact on both the lateral and gravity systems. This evaluation and at the recommendation of the consultant (Swenson Say Faget), the city closed and vacated the RSC on Sept. 5 to allow for the ongoing investigation of the building interior, exterior and roof.

    RSC programs

    Carrie Hite, Redmond parks and recreation director, updated council on the centers activity relocations and the next steps.

    The timeline of the relocations began in September, right after the closure. Parks staff relocated programs, rentals and events to alternate locations with the goal to mitigate the impact customers and visitors, according to Hite. Senior activities are being held at City Hall in various rooms, the Redmond Community Center at Marymoor Village (RCCMV), the Old Fire House Teen Center, the Public Safety Building, the art studio at Grass Lawn Park and St. Jude Catholic Church. The city has been able to continue most of the services for seniors at these various locations. The lunch program is held every Thursday at City Hall Bytes Cafe. Seniors are also encouraged to visit Bellevue and Kirklands food programs every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

    Come January 2020, Hite said staff will start transporting seniors from City Hall to RCCMV. The parks and recreation department continues to communicate and update seniors every Wednesday via snail mail, email and fliers that are located at every program relocation.

    Building findings and repairs

    In October, the citys construction team contracted with HDR Engineering, Inc. to further evaluate the internal and external integrity of the building, roof, roof structure and framing and sheathing integrity. HDRs work also included a cost estimate for renovations and a recommendation based on their experience and expertise. A final report was submitted to the city on Nov. 25.

    HDRs investigation found extensive water damage in the exterior walls of the building. The damage was from outdated and poor construction. The damage was not evident without multiple investigation openings cut into the tile, stucco, roof and interior walls. According to Eric Dawson, senior engineer for the city, the roof and interior wall structures were not damaged. The water intrusion came from wall penetrations (windows, vents, doors, trims) and caused damage to the structural stud walls and plywood sheathing behind the stucco and tile.

    The consultant determined that the building should no be occupied until all structural repairs can be made to the entire building. At this point, partial repairs to the building are not an option. The consultant also determined the cost of the structural repairs combined with the cost of the renovation that is already programmed in the 2014-24 CIP. Dawson said the cost of the structural repairs is about $4 million to $5 million. Combined with the CIP renovation project, the total will be about $20 million to repair the building. The estimated cost to demolish and rebuild a new center is about $21 million.

    Possible options

    The council was left with three possible options to consider.

    The first option is to allocate additional funds and continue with the improvement plan, including structural integrity. This would be the renovation project of the current building. Option two is to allocate additional funds, demolish and rebuild. Several options are under the demolish and rebuild option like finding a senior center that is similar to RSC (same square footage and spot, except out of the critical area), or look at the community centers report that the council adopted last year or look into a senior/community center with partnership opportunities. The last option is to demolish the center and absorb the programs in the current facilities. Hite said its estimated the center will re-open in two and a half years if renovated and three years if the center is demolished and rebuilt.

    Many of the councilmembers including Hank Myers, Steve Fields, and Angela Birney agreed with the rebuild option for the center.

    Next steps

    Parks staff will be working with a senior advisory committee and the recreation community stakeholder group to explore options to move forward. Staff will schedule another update with council in the first quarter of the new year to discuss policy direction for the RSC.

    For more information, go to the council meeting agenda item online at

    Exterior of the facility. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo

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    Redmond Senior Center estimated to re-open in two and a half to three years - Redmond Reporter

    The road less traveled for homeownership: A converted, one-of-a-kind school bus – Seattle Times - December 8, 2019 by admin

    For now, Nick and Francesca Drez are happy in their home in the Denver area. But if they decide to relocate, theyre all set. All they have to do is drive the whole home down the road.

    Launched in the 1970s as part of the hippie culture, the skoolie movement today is growing, encompassing smart, custom-crafted little homes that have handsome finishes and high-tech features enabling them to provide the comforts of home, the joys of mobility and the economies of living partially or totally off grid. With their full metal frame, robust structure, large tires and height above the ground, skoolies are regarded by many to be sturdier and safer than typical RVs.

    Their home is on wheels but its not a trailer. Nor is it a standard motor home or recreational vehicle (RV), which generally are predesigned for camping or other occupancy.

    Rather, its a tiny, one-of-a-kind house that once was a school bus. Homes like this are called skoolies, and there are many of them around the country, especially in western states.

    The Drezes, both 27 and married for three years, had been living in a 1,400-square-foot townhouse in the Chicago area, but it never felt right. For one thing, the kitchen and one bedroom were all we used, Francesca Drez says.

    After being in the house two years, many of their belongings remained in boxes, unneeded. For another thing, traditional homeownership was too expensive, with mortgage, utilities, homeowners association fees and other costs. And, perhaps the most important factor, the couple dreamed of traveling and of doing so before they were older and, as Francesca Drez says, would not have as much energy to do things. We wanted to make our own path now, she says.

    The Drezes learned of skoolies while watching a documentary on Netflix about a couple traveling the United States in their converted school bus. They were sold on the idea. They started searching for people to help build a school bus conversion for them and found Luke and Rachel Davis.

    The Davises not only lived in a school bus that they had converted into an appealing home, but also had chronicled their satisfying mobile life at and @midwestwanderers on Instagram. They also had started a business in Hendersonville, North Carolina, called, that provides customized bus conversion services.

    The stars really lined up, Francesca Drez says. Luke and Rachel were from Illinois, near us, which lent a sense of camaraderie, and the Davises own bus included features appealing to the Drezes, such as a beautiful coffered ceiling, a raised roof one of the few the Drezes found and an open layout, which the Drezes needed because they have three dogs.

    Francesca and Nick zeroed in on a 20-year-old school bus with 168,000 miles on it that they saw online and that helped to evaluate.

    Located in Greensboro, North Carolina, it was a 38-foot-long Blue Bird bus with a flat nose yielding about an extra four square feet of usable space that a dog-nose bus doesnt have and a Cummins diesel engine, the holy grail of engines for skoolies, Nick Drez says. The engine and all the mechanicals were in excellent condition.

    So, too, was the metal body, and coming from central North Carolina it had none of the rust that often plagues vehicles from coastal areas that are awash in salty sea air. With a new alternator and tires, new oil filter, oil change and fluids, it was good to go.

    Using a SoFi personal loan, the Drezes bought the bus in June 2018 for $5,000. began the $55,000 gut-and-build months later. The total cost was much cheaper than a house, an RV or an RV mortgage, Nick Drez says. In late January 2019, the Drezes moved in, choosing to do some of the finish work and build-out themselves over time. They sold their townhouse several months later and are on their way to paying off their loan, slashing monthly living expenses to about $800, fuel and food included, Nick Drez calculates.

    The Davises opened in December 2017. Rachel Davis says, We were expecting two to three builds in 2018, but demand has been high. The company quickly booked through 2019 and is booked for most of 2020. The schedule includes about four full builds a year each taking five or six months plus many roof raises, numerous solar energy systems and dozens of parts fabrications for DIY customers. The four-person crew brings skills in metal fabrication and welding; plumbing, electrical, solar, gas and HVAC work; woodworking; design; bus sourcing; and evaluation.

    School buses range in length from 16 to 40 feet; has converted buses 27 to 40 feet long. The average price of a used bus is $4,000 to $10,000, Rachel Davis says, depending on the size, mileage, engine, transmission and body condition. customers have run the gamut from middle-aged couples, to owners with small and large pets, to families with as many as five children. The Davises share their own 220-square-foot bus with their two small children.

    About half of our customers bring a bus, Rachel Davis says, and weve shopped on behalf of others. Some customers hand over all design and construction to, reviewing the work via online updates every step of the way. Others want to do some of the work themselves.

    Nick and Francesca Drez developed the design for their 220-square-foot bus interior using tape to outline the space on their townhouse floor and working with computer-aided design programs such as SketchUp and RoomSketcher. We did a million different designs, Francesca Drez says, in the process determining what are our necessities.

    Their skoolie features a 10-foot couch that pulls out to a bed, standard-size kitchen cabinets and drawers, a small wood-burning stove, a propane-fueled oven and four burners, a side-by-side refrigerator-freezer, recessed LED lighting, a step-up shower and a composting toilet. Wood panels from the Blue Ridge Mountains run across the raised, almost eight-foot-high coffered ceiling, and white-painted shiplap covers the walls. The flooring is waterproof vinyl. Nick and Francesca finished the shower room with sheet-stone tile flooring and subway-style wall tiles.

    An extra seven feet of space behind the brown barn door contains the couples bedroom. The Drezes chose to leave this area unfinished, because they want to complete it themselves. Their temporary bedroom setup includes a full-size bed and eight-cube dresser. They hope to complete the space with a closet, a couch that opens to a bed and possibly a desk/office area.

    Their skoolie could go totally off grid, Nick Drez says. Most of our systems can run on gas and electricity, he says, but the five solar collectors produce enough watts to power the buss needs for three to four days without sun. The only energy sucker is the refrigerator, and its not even that much. The Drezes have a portable generator as backup.

    To live in a skoolie requires extreme downsizing. Even with their buss generous undercarriage storage and other pockets of space, the Drezes pared down to the essentials and what they loved. Frequent trips to the laundromat make a tiny wardrobe possible. Theres an intention with everything, a purpose, Francesca Drez says, and that makes it a lot easier for us. Nick Drez adds, the freedom is very well worth the trade-off.

    Having lived in the skoolie since January, Francesca Drez says it has become truly a home. And after moving every week or two from one park or campground to another, the Drezes lucked out; they landed a spot with no hookups in an RV park that they rent on an affordable monthly basis and can leave and come back to. Though they are stationary now, they plan to travel the country in the future, which, they say, their new home makes possible.

    In Washington, D.C., Maggie Doctors has been less successful in finding a place to park a skoolie. She moved back to the area six years ago and bought a Tenleytown yoga business, Haute Bodhi Hot Yoga & Pilates, in 2016. She and her fianc want to reduce living expenses and have the option of living off grid, yet own a home. Buying a skoolie looked like the solution. Doctors searched online for a skoolie and found one in Georgia that she almost bought. It was perfect, she says.

    But Doctors passed it up because she couldnt locate a parking spot in the metro area. She says she hopes to find a property owner with space to rent such as a big driveway or unused farmland. Until we meet the right person, she says, we cant move forward with buying a skoolie. Still, she says, one way or the other Im going to end up with one of those things.

    View original post here:
    The road less traveled for homeownership: A converted, one-of-a-kind school bus - Seattle Times

    Naenae – The changing face of a working-class paradise – - December 8, 2019 by admin

    Fast-food joints, bargain stores and empty shops greet visitors to Naenae's hub and main shopping area, Hillary Court.

    Behind wire fencing across the road is the closed Naenae Olympic swimming pool - once a vote of confidence for a thriving suburb, it has become a symbol of its decline.

    The working-class stronghold at the north-eastern end of Lower Hutt was designed around community - a post-war suburban paradise for families to enjoy a hard-won peace.

    READ MORE:* No timetable but mayor wants new Naenae Pool as soon as possible* Lower Hutt's new mayor has an Olympic sized problem to deal with* Hutt council faces dilemma with huge bill to fix Naenae Pool


    Naenae's Olympic pool was closed earlier this year because it was earthquake prone. The facility was responsible for bringing foot traffic into the area and nearby businesses have reported an downturn in trading as a result of its closure.

    The rows of concrete tile-topped state houses are still there but the suburb has ground to a halt.

    The decades-long decline of Naenae has continued to the backdrop of a regionwide housing boom. As new people and new money scamble for a slice of the previously unfancied area, the old residents and economy are still being left behind.

    Over time Naenae has lost many of the amenities that made it a functioning community. Banks, post offices supermarkets and the community hall have all disappeared and, more recently, the earthquake-prone pool which was closed in April this year.


    Like the pool, Naenae's community hall was shut becuase it was earthquake prone.

    The pool was responsible for bringing thousands of people into the area and within weeks of its closure nearby shops reported a downturn in trade leading to closures. Some shops claimed pool users had accounted for up to 80 per cent of their business.

    Despite the downwards spiral of Naenae's shopping area the housing market has gone through the roof.

    Professionals Real Estate principal John Ross says interest in the suburb is unprecedented.

    When he started selling houses 39 years ago a former state house in Naenae would sell for as little as $25,000. Three-bedroom homes were now going for between $500,000 and $600,000.

    The property market was so competitive houses were being sold within 48 hours with as many as 15 offers on the table, he said.

    Ross said about 25 per cent of houses he sold in Lower Hutt were to buyers from outside the city and the large, sunny sections in Naenae offered better value for money than houses of equivalent prices elsewhere.


    A nearly empty Hillary Court on a sunny afternoon.

    Jessie Algar is a masters student in environmental studies who grew up in Naenae. She said the housing boom was attracting a larger proportion of middle-class buyers to Naenae. This element often worked and socialised outside of the suburb which risked becoming a dormitory.

    With about 47 per cent of the suburb's houses in the state housing network and recent changes to the district plan encouraging higher-density housing, she said Naenae ran little risk of becoming fully gentrified, however it was possible the new wave of private home owners could disproportionately influence revitalisation decisions in the suburb.


    Tony White has worked at Naenae Mowers for 30 years. He says the job losses following the economic reforms in the 1980s resulted in people starting to move away and the closure of many local shops.

    Tony White has worked in the local lawn mower repair shop for 30 years and said the people brought to Naenae by the housing boom had made little impact on the local economy.

    "Sadly they don't really shop in the Naenae shopping area. They shop in Lower Hutt [and] Petone."

    The continued closure of amenities and shops meant locals hadn't come to Hillary Court for their daily shopping for years. It was hard to know what could be done to reverse the trend, he said.

    Eddie Forster, a teacher at Rata Street School and Naenae resident of 24 years said many of the newcomers were not sending their kids to local schools either.

    Naenae's population was more than 50 per cent European, however Rata Street's roll was about 50 per cent Mori and 20 per cent Polynesian.

    "I think they can afford to buy here but have decided, for whatever reason, to send their kids elsewhere for their schooling."


    Teacher Eddie Forster says the role at the local school doesn't reflect the local community. He says many of the people now buying their houses in Naenae are choosing not to send their kids to the local schools.

    Algar said the council needed to ensure it consulted with all stakeholders - including disempowered groups - to ensure revitalisation efforts served all the community.

    She believed projects around the pool, community hall and Hillary Court meant Naenae "was on the up". As long as all parties were included there was no reason why the suburb could not become a prosperous mixed-income suburb.

    With discussions around what to do with the pool ongoing, Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry said the feedback he had received from the community was they felt they had been failed by previous councils over a number of years to stimulate activity in Naenae.

    The Hutt City Council was working towards bringing back the swimming facility as quickly as possible while engaging in a robust conversation with the community about its needs, he said.

    TE ARA

    The large former state house sections, once used to grow vegetables, have become sought-after real estate as buyers from outside the Lower Hutt get priced out of other regions.

    White grew up in Naenae in the 1950s and 1960s and has the same rose-tinted recollections as many New Zealanders from that era - kids making their own fun on the streets and in the eastern hills, cart building, bike races, and community gatherings.

    "Everybody new each other and we all just got on," he said.

    Horses, sheep, chooks and vege gardens were kept in many of the generous state housing sections, and a "humming" Hillary Court boasted banks, a post office, jewellery shops, grocers and a picture theatre.

    A proudly working-class area, he said families did not have a lot of money but employment from nearby industry brought stability.

    He said things changed for Naenae in the 1980s following the economic reforms of the fourth Labour government.

    As the major employers closed one by one people began to move away and the shops that once supported the community began to close.

    Cameron Burnell/FAIRFAX NZ

    Urban historian Ben Schrader says Naenae was built around community engagement and remains a prime example of New Zealand's 20th century urban design.

    Urban historian Ben Schrader said the neo-liberal policies of the 1980s impacted Naenae in the same way it affected other New Zealand working-class communities.

    The removal of tariffs on imported goods and subsidies for local manufacturers meant many large employers that supported areas like Naenae were forced to downsize or close.

    "That's when you started to see higher rates of unemployment and the social problems that come with it."

    Looking around Hillary court now, White says while the buildings are the same the shops and the vibe are completely different.

    "It's all just food shops and ... that's it really. People aren't smiling, they look downcast."


    Some businesses have been hit hard by a dearth of foot traffic that was generated by the pool.

    Naenae holds a special place in New Zealand's urban history.

    In the early 20th century the standard of housing was poor. Indoor plumbing and electricity were not yet the norm and, fearing the development of urban slums, the first Labour government launched an extensive state housing programme to house the country's working people in the 1930s.

    Naenae was identified as the spot for one of New Zealand's first fully planned suburbs. Planning began in the 1930s and early 1940s and building took off after World War II.

    Schrader says from the outset Naenae was designed to be different. The grid-like layout of traditional suburbs was rejected in favour of curving streets that encouraged walking and engagement with the surroundings and other people. Twenty-five per cent of the area was set aside for reserves and recreational areas.


    Schrader says the modernist architect Ernst Plischke based Naenae's Hillary Court, which includes the clocktower and former post office (pictured), on Venice's San Marco Square.

    Ernst Plischke, a modernist architect who had fled Nazi occupied Austria, designed Hillary Court to be the hub of the community.

    "Hillary Court, believe it or not, was based on San Marco Square in Venice."

    The area was also purposefully placed close to major employers in the Hutt - many residents worked at the Ford, General Motors, Todd Motors and Phillips factories.

    The railway line was even shifted from the western side of the valley to the east to service places like Naenae, Taita and Epuni.

    "They had this progressive idea to develop a sense of community - a place where people could work, live and socialise," Schrader said.

    Naenae was the county's best example of a the "garden city" concept and had enormous historical value.

    "It's an important area in terms of New Zealand's 20th century urban design [and for] its history as a state housing suburb. "

    The country's firstmodern suburb had a huge influence on the suburban developments that came after it .

    "They all looked to Naenae."

    Schrader said with the government again involving itself in house building - modern urban planners would do well to take some cues from Naenae.

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    Naenae - The changing face of a working-class paradise -

    Google Home Max bundles for $188, Acer Chromebooks, more in todays best deals – 9to5Google - December 5, 2019 by admin

    Google Home Max bundles highlight todays 9to5Toys Lunch Break, along with deals on Chromebook and top-rated Tile trackers. Hit the jump for all that and more.

    Walmart is offering Google Home Max and Home Mini speakers bundled together for$188. As a comparison, Home Max typically goes for $299 but dropped to $199 for Black Friday. Home Mini originally sold for $49 and dropped to $19 during the holidays. Todays deal offers around $325 worth of value. These two speakers are arguably the best way to bring Assistant to your smart home setup. The high-end Max offers booming sound, while the Mini speaker can go just about anywhere. Learn more in our hands-on review.

    Best Buy offers the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 1.1GHz/4GB/32GB in Obsidian Black for $219. Usually selling for $289, todays offer saves you over 25% and drops the price to match our previous mention for the all-time low. For comparison, Best Buy currently offers the Sparky Silver version for $329 right now.

    Featuring a 2-in-1 design, this Chromebook can easily convert between a typical laptop and tablet thanks to its folding form-factor. It weighs just over three-pounds and sports upwards of ten hours of battery life per charge. In terms of I/O, youre looking at dual USB-C and two USB-A ports, as well as a headphone jack and more.

    Amazon is currently offering a four-pack ofTile Pro Trackers with Replaceable Battery for $69. Normally selling for $100, todays price cut saves you 31%, beats our previous mention by $10, and marks a new Amazon all-time low.

    Tile Pro makes it easy to locate a misplaced backpack, set of keys, or even a TV remote. It sportsa rugged form-factoras well as a 300-foot range and one-year of battery life. A replaceable battery also enters the mix, allowing you to take advantage of the Pro trackers for years to come. With Apples AirTag still missing in action, todays deal is a chance to score a sizable discount on the reigning item finder champion.

    Amazon currently offers thePhilips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 LED Smart Bulb with Bluetooth for $42. Good for a 15% discount, todays offer is still one of the first new price cuts weve seen and marks a new all-time low. Featuring the same multicolor lighting Philips Hue is known for,the latest brands bulb brings Bluetooth connectivity into the mix alongside the usual inclusion of Zigbee. This allows the LED lightto work without a hub, making it an easy to recommend option for those just beginning their smart home journeys. Learn more in our announcement coverage. .

    AnkerDirect via Amazon is offering itsNebula Prizm II 1080p Projector for $150. Thats $65 off the typical rate there and one of the best prices we have ever seen. At such an incredible price, its hard to believe that this projector delivers a full 1080p picture. Additionally, its capable of creating up to a 120-inch screen which is what I have currently and it makes a 65-inch TV look minuscule in comparison. With a 30,000-hour lamp life, this projector is ready to entertain you for a mind-blowing 20 years when using it for four hours each day. Inputs include HDMI and USB.

    9to5Google also keeps tabs on all the best trade-in deals on Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, iPhone, and more every month. Be sure to check out this months best trade-in deals when you decide its time to upgrade your device. Or simply head over to our trade-in partner directly if you want to recycle, trade, or sell your used devices for cash and support 9to5Google along the way!

    Subscribe to the 9to5Toys YouTube Channel for all of the latest videos, reviews, and more!

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    Google Home Max bundles for $188, Acer Chromebooks, more in todays best deals - 9to5Google

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