Penza: Humboldt State softball has all the parts for another national title run

first_imgArcata >> Just how much depth does the Humboldt State softball team have?The Jacks can graduate the California Collegiate Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year (Katie Obbema), the entire left side of their infield that started a combined six seasons (Julie Pena and Cyndi Chavez), an all-conference catcher (Darian Harris) and still be ranked as one of the best teams in the nation entering the 2017 season.Of course, as head coach Shelli Sarchett says, HSU’s ranking in early-February doesn’t …last_img read more

Zuma’s challenge to the United Nations

first_img25 September 2013South African President Jacob Zuma threw down a stark challenge to world leaders in New York on Tuesday, saying that global development and security were “two sides of the same coin” as he called for action to reform the United Nations Security Council.Addressing the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Zuma said that, nearly 70 years after its establishment, the UN Security Council “still remains undemocratic, unrepresentative and unfair to developing nations and small states, and disenfranchises the majority of the member states of the United Nations, who form the majority in this General Assembly”.There had been too much talk about reforming the council – a key UN organ charged with the maintenance of international peace and security – with no action, Zuma said.Africa, along with the rest of the developing world, could not “remain beholden indefinitely to the will of an unrepresentative minority on most important issues of international peace and security.“We would like to challenge the Assembly today: let us set ourselves the target to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations in 2015 with a reformed, more inclusive, democratic and representative UN Security Council.”At the same time, Zuma criticised developed countries for their tendency, following the global economic meltdown prompted by the financial crisis of 2008-09, to “renegotiate the rules of the game”.He singled out the tendency of developed countries to introduce new issues as prerequisites for partnerships with developing countries – particularly the issue of clean technology and the green economy – which served in fact as “huge non-tariff barriers”.Developing the green economy was of course important, Zuma said, but had to be encouraged and promoted in a way that did not unfairly restrain economic development in Africa and the developing world. The international playing field had to be equalised, which meant that any post-2015 development agenda “must be based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities”.Zuma also called on developed countries not to abdicate their historical responsibility, and commitments made, to invest in the development of Africa and the developing South, saying that this was “of primary importance as a source of much-needed sustainable development and stability in the world”.The developed North “should stand ready to meet their commitment to contribute 0.7% of their gross national income towards official development assistance,” Zuma said.“The tendency to attempt to delegate some of these historical responsibilities to new emerging economies in the South is unacceptable and unworkable, as such emerging nations have their own historical challenges and backlogs to deal with.”SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Sue, Baby, Sue! Mapping the Legal Repercussions of the BP Spill

first_imgTags:#NYT#Real World#web During the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, we kept you current on how all parties were employing social media. We followed that up with tools to track the aftermath of the spill. Now, we would like to present you with a new way to watch the ripples that are still spreading from the Deepwater Horizon: lawsuits. The Environmental Law Institute‘s Ocean Program has launched a comprehensive and sophisticated database of every lawsuit related to the spill, replete with interactive maps. The count so far is 473 cases! Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting curt hopkins Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market “This database attempts to track the ongoing litigation so people can see the types of cases that have been triggered, when and where the parties have filed, and what cases have been closed or consolidated.”A user can search by type of case (environmental, labor, RICO, etc.), date of filing, or, by clicking the map, they can search by state or administrative area. An advanced search form allows the user to find specific docket numbers or all the cases filed in a specific court. Links from the search results lead the user to the PACER.GOV database (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). To go further, users must register with a credit card, since some actions are assessed a small fee. If data’s your bag, and you wish to order or explore it yourself, you can download an Excel spreadsheet of the entire database. In fact, it’s worth it just to survey the kinds of fall out that the spill has expressed. Lawsuits have been filed against Transocean, BP and Halliburton by seafood restaurants going out of business, Mexican states getting hit with crippling clean-up costs, personal injury suits, fisheries going under, fishermen going out of business and more. Related Posts last_img read more

Green Home Appraisal Woes

first_imgPassive solar designs that include generous amounts of insulation can save homeowners a great deal of money in operating costs over the life of the house. But getting banks to approve loans that reflect somewhat higher construction costs can be a struggle, sometimes forcing builders to dial back their plans and deliver a less efficient house.This dilemma was at the heart of a question from a green builder and the topic of this week’s Q&A Spotlight.Danny Kelly was trying to build a house that would qualify for a Gold or Emerald rating from the National Green Building Standard. It included upgraded insulation, high performance HVAC, a solar water heater, tight building envelope, and passive solar design — in other words, all the features you’d like to see in a house.The rub was the appraiser who valued the house for loan purposes. “The appraiser and the bank said they do not give any extra ‘credit’ for green features,” Kelly wrote. “One of the comps they used was over 25 years old, so not even on par with a code house from an energy code perspective… [The] bank does not seem interested in helping much either.”The trouble with finding ‘comps’In setting the value of a house for loan purposes, real estate appraisers conduct field inspections and also must find sales of similar houses in the same area. Those are called comparables, or comps. RELATED MULTIMEDIA Seeing Red on a Green Property Appraisal — Part 1Seeing Red on a Green Property Appraisal — Part 2Seeing Red on a Green Property Appraisal — Part 3Green Building Appraisal and Financing IssuesWhen Green Poses an Appraisal ProblemGetting a Grip on Green-Home Appraisals and InsuranceA Step Toward Fairer Green Home Valuations One Broker’s Take on the Selling Power of GreenMarketing High-Performance Homes Appraisers make adjustments in value based on the age, size, and condition of houses in the same area that have sold recently. It’s part number-crunching and part intuition.“Despite my strong personal feelings, most appraisers’ hands are tied by comparable sales in your area,” writes GreenCountryHomes, a licensed appraiser. “No green comps, no chance for a realistic appraisal.”GreenCountry says an “educated appraiser” gave him a $25,000 green adjustment on a $340,000 property last year, only to have it disallowed by the bank review appraiser.Because comps in the community were so limited, GreenCountry’s $315,000 appraisal was cut to $285,000 by the bank review appraiser and the buyers walked because they thought they were overpaying by $55,000.“Green building, in many markets, is like the $1,000 bath faucet,” GreenCountry says. “The appraiser gives you no extra value for the more expensive faucet that does the same job as the $75 faucet. They have no comparables to justify the market paying more.”Lower appraisal, lower standardsGBA advisor and builder Michael Chandler detailed the shortcomings of this system in a GBA post last year.In his case, a customer was approved for a $400,000 home. Despite having a suitable lot and a design that fit his customer’s budget, the bank appraiser would not approve the actual cost of construction.Because the owners couldn’t come up with any more cash, they had to drop the passive solar and solar hot water features, along with the spray foam insulation that Chandler had recommended. The owners could add a Jacuzzi or a home theater, Chandler complained, but not features that would improve energy efficiency.“Part of the problem is that the appraisers get their data from a [Multiple Listing Service] that doesn’t necessarily show them what green features are included in the homes that have been sold,” Chandler wrote.In a GBA column earlier this year, Richard Defendorf said that rules on finding comparables for appraisals can be a real problem.“In some markets, a dearth of appraisers familiar with green construction — or perhaps even more critically, a scarcity of nearby listings with comparable green features — can frustrate prospective homebuyers and homeowners who wish to refinance,” Defendorf wrote.So how does this problem get fixed?“Find another bank,” says Robert Riversong. “Often local savings & loan institutions are both more in tune with the community and more open to different approaches.”Riversong says he had a client who successfully won a construction loan and a mortgage from an S&L for a super-insulated house even though it was built of rough-sawn lumber with a frost-protected foundation, no central heat and no flush toilet.That’s the power of a local bank that isn’t hamstrung by rigid national policy.David Meiland suggested consulting RESNET, the Residential Energy Services Network, and two offices in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.In the long term, it will take more than the understanding of local banks to fix this problem. Changing appraisal rules to allow more realistic adjustments for utility savings, and educating real estate agents on the value of green buildings also would help.That won’t happen overnight.center_img VIDEO: How To Sell Green Homes RELATED ARTICLES last_img read more