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‘PCMC is plundering us with pay-and-park’

Residents of the Twin Cities oppose being charged an hour even for short parking stops; demand better facilities

Citizens in the Twin Cities claim to face several problems due to the payment and public parking policy recently implemented on July 1, thanks to the complete lack of parking spaces generally available in commercial and residential areas for visitors.

They say parking for just 10 to 15 minutes also incurs a parking fee for an entire hour, with only paper receipts given to them. Now they think the civic body is looting them in the name of this ploy.

In addition, citizens demanded that instead of paying and parking, Municipal Corporation of Pimpri-Chinchwad (PCMC) is expected to develop several parking complexes like the city of Pune for busy streets, adding that residential areas should be exempted in the program anyway.

For example, Sushma Kale, pharmacist and resident of Nigdi-Pradhikaran, shared: “We are not opposed to pay-and-park. But in the name of this stratagem, the municipal administration plundered the population.

This is unacceptable. Around Akurdi station there were several government offices, colleges and shopping complexes. Many times, local citizens go there several times a day for various reasons and only have to park their vehicle for a few minutes. Yet, they are billed every time.

Another resident, Shashank Kulkarni, said: “Public institutions and some hospitals do not allow vehicles to be parked on their premises. Outside, I pay Rs 5 for 10 minutes. This is not true. The same thing happens when I just have to withdraw money or deposit a check at an ATM. We shouldn’t have to pay for such trivial parking lots. ”

Resident Kirti Salunke echoed, “Behind the Nigdi bus stop there are several health facilities and a few pathology labs. There is always a rush here. At those times, I just had to give a urine sample for the test, and parked for barely 10 minutes, but paid Rs 5. In the evening, when it was time to pick up the report, I Had to pay Rs 10 again to park my four wheeler for only five minutes spent inside.

People have also asked that the city administration may be able to implement such a rule on highways or markets, but residential areas should be exempted. Here, residents said, parking complexes are expected to be developed, where they will pay charges. Moreover, they added that citizens already pay huge taxes, including a road tax to PCMC – so why pay parking fees again, they asked.

Public transport has been a major problem in Pimpri-Chinchwad for a few years now, with automatic rickshaws without meters; a huge population of two-wheelers populate these roads.

Tushar Shinde, organizer of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Citizens Forum, commented: “We are not totally against payment and parking. But PCMC needs to be vigilant about this system, such as implementing digital payments to maintain transparency. For limited-time parking for routine work, the fee should be revised. Citizens should not have to be so confused.

But firm on their policy, PCMC Joint Municipal Engineer Shrikant Savane said, “The PCMC has collected Rs 88,900 from payment and parking to date in one week. We have introduced this program to discipline traffic and the fees are very minimal. ”

The implementation of PCMC’s payment and parking policy began on July 1 of this year, according to which citizens must cough to park their vehicles on the roads every hour. This facility is available on 13 major routes, under flyovers, and at a total of 450 locations across the Twin Cities. PCMC had previously appointed a private agency to implement the same. According to the price indicated, two-wheelers and automatic rickshaws have to pay Rs 5 per hour, four-wheelers and tempos Rs 10, minibuses Rs 25 and private trucks and buses Rs 100 per hour.

Both Nationalist Congress Party (PCN) and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have opposed the payment and parking system in recent days and sent a letter to the PCMC commissioner to shut it down.


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Alternative solutions | The Argonaut Newsweekly

The proposal to place temporary shelters in the MDR raises the concern of local businesses

By Andres de Ocampo

Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Janet Zaldua offered two alternative solutions to Mike Bonin’s proposal: a task force on the homeless and take a percentage of the transitional occupancy tax that Marina del Rey pays LA County as an unincorporated area and allocates funding to other initiatives for the homelessness crisis. Commercial images courtesy of Marina del Rey Convention and Visitors Bureau

A motion to build temporary single-occupancy housing for the homeless in the parking lot of the fishing village of Marina del Rey worries local tourism and hospitality businesses.

District 11 board member Mike Bonin drafted the motion in March and writes that “tackling the homelessness crisis requires a wide range of solutions,” and despite initiatives such as Project Roomkey, Project Homekey and more so, homelessness continues to increase and, “much more needs to be done. Different interventions need to be tried and more locations need to be identified.

Bonin described four county-owned parking lots and an RV park in the proposal for “tiny detached houses or secure camping” and temporary “secure parking”. The fishing village parking lot, a short walk from tourist attractions like restaurants and party boat rentals, has prompted many businesses to speak up.

A letter from the CEO of the Marina del Rey Convention and Tourism Bureau (MDR CVB), Janet Zaldua, was written to Supervisor Janice Hahn, District 4, outlining and expressing the concerns of local businesses in Marina del Rey, in particular in the fishing village.

Zaldua, whose job it is to bring visitors to Marina del Rey, said MDR CVB is “a destination marketing organization. We promote Marina del Rey for tourism and serve as the voice of tourism and hospitality in Marina de Rey.

Although the proposal is in a “feasibility study” phase and it is not clear what warrants the study and what other requirements are needed for the temporary accommodation site in the fishing village, Zaldua said : “We don’t think it’s appropriate or possible to bring homeless pallets to a tourist attraction… Just for party boats and to access the water alone, a minimum of 200,000 people come here for it .

According to Zaldua, Supervisor Hahn responded to the CVB letter and Zaldua stated that, “[Supervisor Hahn] recognize the [CVB’s] concerns and supports a feasibility study. This is a very complex issue and it is a balance between finding support for the homeless and considering the needs of business owners.

Zaldua believes placing the temporary housing site in the fishing village parking lot could deter tourism and families from visiting Marina del Rey, thereby affecting businesses recovering from the pandemic.

“The marina is 800 acres and a lot of it is water,” she said. “We have very few open public spaces and most of them are used to access the beach. Many lots are always full of families.

Zaldua expanded on his position in the letter to Supervisor Hahn, stating: “Building homeless housing in a small tourist destination surrounded by tourist attractions where homeless support services are not available nearby is one solution. poorly thought out for business. sector and the homeless population in need of assistance.

“Areas of Los Angeles County that are close to medical and mental health facilities, substance abuse rehabilitation centers, and other support services should be identified first as a more convenient location to house the homeless population. shelter. “

Although Zaldua and Marina del Rey companies oppose Bonin’s proposal, they are “sympathetic about this issue and want to be included in the dialogue,” Zaldua said. “We are not against temporary housing,” she said. “We say that placing temporary accommodation in the middle of a tourist attraction is not very feasible…

“You also have to consider the needs of business owners, the family businesses that have been here forever, that is their livelihood.”

Zaldua offered two alternative solutions to Bonin’s proposal, one of them being a ‘homeless task force’, which would be made up of local businesses and tenants to facilitate dialogue between the community of Marina. del Rey. A task force previously existed in 2014, according to Zaldua, and was led by the local sheriff’s post in Marina del Rey under the command of Captain Reginald Gautt.

Another alternative to the fishing village temporary housing site, Zaldua said, would be to levy a percentage of the transitional occupancy tax that Marina del Rey pays to LA County as an unincorporated area, and to the allocate funding to other initiatives for the homelessness crisis.

Ahead of the pandemic, in a 2019 MDR CVB annual report, the economic impact of Marina del Rey tourism reached $ 398.2 million and paid LA County $ 11.7 million as part of the tax of transitional occupation. Since then, MDR CVB has reported that hotel occupancy rates have fallen by 50% due to Covid-19 and that the transitional occupancy tax payment has dropped sharply to $ 4 million.

Many attractions in and around Fisherman’s Village are struggling to recover from the pandemic, with business just starting to return to normal before the pandemic.

Stefano Baccianella, owner of Italian restaurant Sapori in the fishing village, which is next to the proposed parking site, said the pandemic was a struggle for everyone, including his restaurant.

“My business survived because I worked 14 hours a day [with my daughter], “he said.” I worked everyday with one guy in the kitchen and now the [county] gonna do this to us?

Baccianella is hoping for an alternative solution, but is not fully confident that LA County is listening to the concerns of local businesses.

“We can fight whatever we want [as local businesses]”He said,” but when the county decides something, they do it and they don’t listen to us… that’s my fear. If that should happen, I’m leaving. You start to lose money. It will crush all business.

Baccianella worries that “people will start to hear from the marina” and that customers and tourists will choose to go elsewhere, like Newport Beach or San Diego, to eat, plan vacations, or go out on the weekends.

Combined with being heard by local elected officials and having a say in alternatives to Bonin’s proposal, Baccianella said there needs to be more understanding for local businesses.

“There are no businessmen,” he said of local elected officials. “They don’t know what it means to run a business. They send emails, but they don’t come and watch or sit here for a day to see how to run a business, or how we pay the rent or pay our bills.

Jennifer Kirkley-Vaughan, co-owner of Pro SUP Shop which is located across the marina from Mother’s Beach, said her business was fortunate enough to remain open during the pandemic, but is still feeling the effects nationwide business closures.

“Obviously the tourism not being here in Marina del Rey has affected our business,” she said. “We turned more to local businesses [during the pandemic], but the whole community of Marina del Rey was suffering.

Kirkley-Vaughan said that while it is important to have compassion for the homeless crisis and find potential solutions to help, she would like the community of Marina del Rey to have a seat at the table for alternatives and does not consider Bonin’s proposal to be practical.

“Why would you want to put these pallets of homeless housing right in the middle of a bustling tourist community where families visit? ” she asked. “It just doesn’t seem like we have the right infrastructure like roads, hospitals, mental health facilities and rehabilitation centers to make this a good solution.

“Especially after the tough year this community has had,” she continued, “Now that tourism is coming back… Then placing pallets of homeless people in Fisherman’s Village, it could deter tourism and this town is so dependent on tourism.”

Kirkley-Vaughan is concerned that if the temporary shelters are built in the fishing village there could be an influx of homeless people into the marina, which she says could affect the marina’s business even to the point of shut down small businesses.

To those with opposing views on the MDR CVB and Bonin’s proposal, Kirkley-Vaughan said, “We can want our business, [employees and other businesses] do well and have compassion to find a solution, but not wanting [that solution] here. We are not saying that we do not want to help, but we are saying that we have to find a solution that will help everyone.

Zaldua said she had grown closer to many local businesses in Marina del Rey during the pandemic and saw the “human side and the pain” that local businesses have suffered.

“To shame people by saying, ‘You don’t want it in your backyard because you don’t want it for your business’ is an unfair argument,” she said.

“[These business owners] feel like they’re going to lose everything they’ve worked for their whole life. That’s when all the walls come down. Some of these people, during the pandemic, did not know what to do. “
Board member Mike Bonin was unavailable for comment.

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Boise’s New Elementary School Gets a Name, Faster Schedule, and Three-Story Design

The Boise School District has announced that it will be opening the new elementary school in Boise’s Barber Valley earlier than planned. He also announced a name for the school, along with revealed design details.

“We were able to move this school forward to the fall of 2023, which we are delighted with,” said Brian Walker, Director of the Boise Schools Area. “I know that members of the community are eagerly awaiting the opening of this school. “

The date is one year earlier than the previously expected district.

The school will be renamed Dallas Harris Elementary. Harris was a large landowner and rancher in the area, and his descendants developed the Harris Ranch subdivisions. Harris died in 1999.

The Harris family donated a total of three acres for the school site. As part of the deal, the family stipulated that the school is named after a family member.

[Boise Schools auctions property near Murgoitio site; Developer hopes to build ‘wellness-focused‘ housing]

“We had a memorandum of understanding with the Harris family and the Harris partnership where one of the things that was agreed upon was to name the school after a family member,” Walker said. “That family member is Dallas Harris.”

The Boise school board approved the name on Monday evening.

Dallas Harris Elementary could accommodate up to 500 students from kindergarten through sixth grade. The district will follow a process to draw new boundaries for the school. Students in the Barber Valley area currently attend Riverside Elementary School. The process will end in the spring of 2022, according to Walker.

Walker said details like the school’s mascot and the school’s colors will come later once a principal is in place for the school.

[Harris Ranch family seeking to trade Barber Valley land for SW Boise’s Murgoitio park site]

Safety concerns

The school was originally located on a smaller site and the students would have crossed a public street to reach a green space in the village for school activities. But security concerns prompted a change of course.

“There were too many safety concerns,” Walker said. “The Harris family graciously donated an additional 0.7 acre, which allowed us to put the school on one site.”

The additional land will allow a small playground adjacent to the school, protected by a security fence. Buses and parents will load and unload in adjacent streets. Parking for the school will be in a nearby parking garage.

[The future of Boise’s Harris Ranch: park, school, apartments and maybe that elusive restaurant]

Three-story school

Site plan showing the ground floor of the school. Via CSHAQ

The school will be unique to Boise, spanning a total of three floors.

“As you can see, we have a three story building. The urban nature of this site, and we really wanted to keep some space for the students to play, led to a three story option, ”said project architect Ariel Mieling. “It’s also a good solution because it allows the second and third floors to be dedicated to student learning, with more public facilities on the first floor. “

The first floor will include a gymnasium, multimedia center (library) and administrative offices, with classrooms for kindergarten and special education. The other classrooms will be located on the second and third floors.

The third floor will also include an outdoor terrace which could be used as a learning space.

“This allows everyone who is engaged in the school to be engaged and outdoors with fresh air during their school day,” said project architect Kelly Mabry.

You can see the full video presentation here.


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Windansea weddings are popular with couples, not so much with some beach goers

On a recent sunny Saturday – in fact several recent sunny Saturdays – weddings at the foot of the stairs at Neptune Place mingled with hundreds of beachgoers in Windansea de La Jolla.

Public weddings can provide a memorable experience for couples, even if they don’t provide a lot of amenities. Windansea, mainly a surf beach, offers only 16 parking spaces, plus street parking, and no public facilities such as water fountains, toilets or showers.

They also caused some dissatisfaction among other beach visitors. In a letter to the editor published on July 1 in the La Jolla Light, Jeff Saywitz wrote: “These weddings are not usually reserved for local residents and create a major nuisance for beach goers who are forced to leave the popular and public area. … La Jolla has the Wedding Bowl at Cuvier Park for this purpose, and all weddings should be diverted there. … I’m all for love and weddings, but there is a time and a place, and summer rush hour in an already crowded Windansea is not the place.

Over the next few weeks more emails arrived, one saying that beachgoers were “driven out” from “a fairly prime beach location in the summer”.

the Light On July 10, a couple said “I want it”. About 75 chairs and an arch were set up about 50 feet from the bottom of the stairs at Neptune Place, with hundreds of beach visitors surrounding the ceremony.

A wedding taking place on July 10 on Windansea Beach is seen from the base of the stairs at Neptune Place.

(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

This particular event was coordinated by Socal Vows, a San Diego-based wedding planning company specializing in small beach weddings. Its most elaborate package includes up to 75 chairs, an officiant, two hours with a photographer, music, a decorative arch, site fees and more for $ 3,595. Other packages cost less if there are fewer guests.

Ken Hoelscher, president of Socal Vows, said his weddings made up “about 70/30” percent between out-of-town visitors and people from Southern California. The places of La Jolla account for about half of the weddings.

“La Jolla, especially Windansea and the Wedding Bowl, is a popular place because it has a reputation,” Hoelscher said. “Seven out of 10 aren’t local, and when they come to San Diego, what do they know? They know La Jolla and Coronado. Everyone is talking about La Jolla and Coronado.

But the permit to host beach weddings in La Jolla, being in the city of San Diego, is cheaper than many other areas, including Coronado.

According to San Diego Beach regulations, a permit from the Parks and Recreation Department is required for any wedding ceremony at any park or beach in the city. The city issues permits one year in advance for designated wedding venues at Balboa Park and coastal parks and beaches.

Department of Parks and Recreation spokesperson Tim Graham said, “Only one permit is issued per day, per location. We also allow any day of the week. The permit fee is $ 177.16 for up to four hours of use and for up to 50 people ”in Windansea.

The only La Jolla beach sites that allow more than 50 people are Calumet Park and La Jolla Shores.

When Hoelscher was asked about the July 10 wedding in Windansea, which appeared to have over 50 people, he said “we had more guests” and “we had extra chairs so we set them up”.

By comparison, Hoelscher said, the beaches in the city of San Diego are “a pretty good deal,” adding that the permit for a beach wedding in Del Mar costs $ 1,500 and state beaches cost more than $ 1,500. $ 500.

The license limits include only amplified battery-powered sound, which “limits the volume”, no alcohol and no food.

Although the conventional “wedding season” is from late spring to early fall, the weather and the San Diego permit system allow weddings year round, and Hoelscher said Socal Vows offers just that. .

“We facilitate everything, we get the permits,” he said. Organizers are arriving at the scene a few hours earlier to alert beach goers that there will be a wedding there, he said.

“We give it as much time as possible, and once we’ve set up the chairs and the arches, people usually don’t want to get in the way, so they’re really accommodating,” Hoelscher said. “We try to be sensitive to people who are already there, and most people don’t spend hours in one place.”

He added that in his experience, beach goers in La Jolla tend to be more supportive and friendly towards weddings, compared to those in other communities.

As for the crowds, most couples “don’t think about it” when planning their beach wedding, Hoelscher said.

“They are so into the event. … But it can be hundreds of people, and most of the time they laugh at it. They don’t seem to care, ”he said. “It’s always fun because when this bride goes down the [beach access] stairs, everything stops. I see a lot of… women nudge their boyfriends and they want to.

Sometimes, however, there are times of apprehension. “Some couples book a location and then go and check it out and ask if all of these people are going to be there,” Hoelscher said. “We have to remind them that this is a public beach and that they cannot own the whole beach. We have had couples who asked on the wedding day if the surfers were going to be there. We have to say yes to them and that they did not get a permit for the ocean.

Weddings at Windansea will likely be a familiar sight throughout the fall. Hoelscher said “there will be a wedding there every weekend, whether it’s us or someone else.” ◆


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Pandemic, real estate prices are forcing charter schools to delay openings

Five new Las Vegas charter schools were scheduled to open in August. Now only two will.

The other three – Sage Collegiate Public Charter School, Eagle Charter Schools of Nevada, and Las Vegas Collegiate Charter School – have delayed their openings until fall 2022.

Schools, all of which plan to serve students throughout the Las Vegas Valley, struggle to find a facility or land within their budget in a competitive real estate market.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also significantly affected several schools that initially planned to open for the next school year, said Rebecca Feiden, executive director of the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority.

“It includes everything from community outreach to supply chains and facilities,” she said via email. “SPCSA looks forward to working with the governing bodies and principals of these approved schools to ensure a successful launch in fall 2022.”

Sage Collegiate received state approval in June to extend its opening date to August 2022 due to low enrollment numbers and a delay in securing a first-year facility.

Sandra Kinne, senior founder and executive director of the small independent school, said postponing the opening date was the most prudent and financially sound decision.

“We thought it was better to postpone to really focus on finalizing a really solid setup for the opening rather than trying to scramble to meet even the minimum sign-up goals,” Kinne said. . “It was not an easy decision.”

It “really stinks” for families who were excited about school and planned for their kids to start in August, she admitted.

Long waiting lists

With three schools no longer opening this year, two new ones remain: TEACH Las Vegas and CIVICA Nevada Career & Collegiate Academy.

The state legislature authorized the creation of public charter schools in 1997. Since then, the number of campuses has grown rapidly and many schools have long waiting lists.

Today, the state’s charter authority oversees 67 school campuses – about 80% of which are in southern Nevada – and more than 53,000 students.

Over the past five years, the state has approved zero to five new charter schools per year. There is no limit on the number of new schools the charter board can approve, although legislation passed in 2019 is required to have a growth management plan.

New schools proposed must show how they meet an academic or demographic need. Many of the new applicants to the school, and those approved by the state, aim to serve areas of high poverty.

New schools are licensed to operate in one or more zip codes and must find a facility within those boundaries, unless they seek state permission to survey neighboring areas.

Finding land to build on or a facility to rent or buy that fits the budget of a start-up charter school can be a challenge.

Petra Latch, president of Commercial Alliance Las Vegas, the commercial arm of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, said it doesn’t surprise her that new charter schools are having problems building or finding a facility.

Latch said school officials would be better off working with local municipalities to see if they have any properties available for redevelopment.

Seeking to open a school without having already identified a site is putting the “cart before the horse,” said Latch, an assessor.

“The market in which you compete for land is not good for a school,” she said.

Charter schools often require a joint venture where schools need someone to build a facility and then lease it with an option to buy, Latch said.

“It’s the most common way to do these things,” she said, noting that schools are expensive to build and require a large initial investment.

New charter schools, however, have a choice of different types of buildings – such as old office buildings, churches, retail stores, and commercial areas – although some facilities may require a special use permit to be used. like schools.

Church buildings are a popular option, Latch said, because they tend to be easier to convert into schools as many already have classrooms and parking lots.

As for downtown and downtown Las Vegas in particular, there will be no vacant lots available unless it is a site demolished or assembled from smaller plots, Latch said. Plus, she said, the plots tend to be smaller and probably aren’t big enough for a school.

Construction costs are also on the rise and unpredictable, she said.

Here’s a look at the obstacles faced by three new Las Vegas charter schools that caused them to push back their opening dates:

Collegiate sage

Sage Collegiate applied to the state in 2019, but its application for a new school was denied. The charter authority expressed concerns about the academic, organizational and financial plans offered by the school, and the lack of evidence of local community engagement.

After submitting a revised application, the school was approved in November.

It plans to serve up to 168 kindergarten to grade two students in its first year and gradually expand through college.

With less than two months to go before school starts in August, however, Sage Collegiate was within 50 percent of its first-year enrollment goal.

Sage Collegiate’s board of directors approved a user agreement in May with the Lied Memorial Boys & Girls Club for the 2021-22 school year. But the school is now looking for another establishment since it will finally not open this fall.

The school was granted the building space just a month before a state enrollment audit, Kinne, the school’s executive director, told the Review-Journal. “One month was not enough to get us the enrollment numbers where they needed to be.

“We understand that families do not want to go to school without an address,” he added.

There were also not as many community events and opportunities to engage with potential families beyond social media, Kinne said.

Sage Collegiate executives are now considering a “different set of options” for its first school year, such as seeking state permission to open with more students and grade levels, Kinne said.

But first, “you absolutely have to find a facility,” she said. “It has become the number one priority”.

Securing land or a building is difficult because the school does not have a credit history or the capital to immediately build a new facility, Kinne said, and construction and renovation costs have increased during the pandemic.

Another challenge: Sage Collegiate doesn’t need as much building space in its first year as it does later, like sixth year.

Despite the hurdles, Sage Collegiate remains committed to serving students in its three approved zip codes – 89107, 89108 and 89146, Kinne said.

That’s because there’s a need, she said, noting that 60% of the existing campuses in those zip codes are one or two star schools. And there is only one other charter school in this region and it uses a hybrid model with in-person and online classes.

Las Vegas College

Las Vegas Collegiate is pushing back its opening date for the second time due to the pandemic and issues with facilities, Feiden told the charter authority’s board of directors in May, calling the situation unprecedented.

In December 2019, the board of trustees approved the new elementary school for Las Vegas’ Historic Westside. It was initially scheduled to open last August.

Last year, the school was granted a facility on West Bartlet Avenue, but is now back in search of premises after postponing its opening due to uncertainties surrounding the pandemic.

In January, the chartered authority’s board approved a request by the school to expand its search to less than 1.5 miles beyond its approved zip code. But it didn’t work.

The school’s founder and executive director, Bianté Gainous, told the chartered authority’s board in May that the school had exhausted all available options in its approved 89106 zip code or within a 1½ radius. miles in time to open this fall.

“Registration was certainly not a challenge for us,” said Gainous, noting that there were many families interested.

Gainous said the school wants to serve low-income communities and must expect challenges in finding a building in its approved area.

The school looked at options such as churches, old retail stores, a former pavilion, business and corporate centers, a school that has closed, and a boys and girls club.

Gainous said school leaders wanted to keep fighting to open the school. “Unfortunately, this is the time when we are in a rush.”

In June, the board approved another request from the school – this time, to allow it to search for a facility up to 4 miles from its approved zip code.

Las Vegas Collegiate officials did not respond to a request for comment from the Review-Journal.

Eagle Charter Schools

The charter authority’s board of directors voted in January to approve Eagle Charter Schools of Nevada, which originally planned to open a campus in August.

But in February, Nick Fleege, a member of the school’s training committee, told the board that the school intended to seek permission to extend its opening date to 2022.

“I think we have recognized the short track” between an approval in January and the need to have a fully ready school facility by August, he said.

In March, the board approved the school’s request to postpone its opening. The school plans to initially serve students from Kindergarten to Grade 5 and then expand through Grade 8.

Fleege said in an email that postponing the school was a “simple decision based primarily on when the charter is approved coupled with the amount of time it takes to secure a facility.”

“While Eagle is extremely eager and enthusiastic to serve students, the team recognizes that seizing the opportunity to defer to 2022 is the responsible and measured approach that will give us the opportunity to secure and improve a more secure facility. appropriate, ”he said.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at [email protected] or 702-387-2921. To pursue
@julieswootton on Twitter.



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Dog friendly parks classified in the national survey. Why is Fresno in the niche? – GVwire

Fresno has landed in the Top 50 of a new list of the best dog park cities in the United States. But, digging a little deeper into the investigation, we discover that the news is not all “legs”.

According to a report from the LawnStarter lawn care website, Fresno ranked No. 36 on the “Best of” list of 97 cities with dog parks across the country.

That puts Fresno near the middle of the pack overall, with a score of 57.3 based on factors such as number of dog parks per 100,000 population, average dog park quality scores and climatic factors. local.

Unsurprisingly, California cities have conducted the climate metric survey, with San Diego, Anaheim, San Francisco and Sacramento among the Top 15. While not “off the chain,” Fresno’s climate rating suitable for dogs ranked No. 18. on the list.

But the city’s dog park quality rank earned it a bit of a scolding, with Fresno squeaking a single spot from the bottom at No. 96 – just ahead of Laredo, TX.

How do other cities in California and the United States rank?

The best quality dog ​​parks were in Buffalo, NY, which ranked first, and Corpus Christi, TX, at second place in that metric.

Most of the dog parks in both cities have extensive facilities offering picturesque views near beautiful beaches for the enjoyment of pet parents. However, the top ranking for the quality of their parks could be due to design and cleanliness. Several parks in Buffalo offer gravel trails on the ground, while another dog park offers a clay base area to help keep Fido clean.

San Francisco and Oakland ranked among the top dog park cities, ranking 1st and 2nd, respectively. Other towns in the valley ranked at the top of the overall list include Sacramento which lands in 15th place, Bakersfield which lands at No.22 and Stockton at No.27.

Yet several Southern California cities like San Diego and Chula Vista, which were high on the list for their enviable year-round climate, also scored poorly in terms of quality and access.

How did Fresno end up in 36th place?

These cities across the United States were rated by weighted metrics, such as the average monthly rainfall a city receives, the average monthly percentage of sunshine, the average number of very cold days, and the average number of very cold days. hot. Fresno’s overall score of 57.3 was based on its climate rating of 18, accessibility rating of 35, and rating of 96 for dog park quality, placing the city with an overall position of 36 out of 97 U.S. cities. .

For the most part, dog parks or neighborhood parks around Fresno appear to be free and accessible to the public. There are over 10 dog friendly parks to choose from and only the Dr. James W. Thornton Dog Park at the local Valley Animal Center requires membership.

Membership-based park

The paid membership park offers a whole list of amenities that a normal park would not offer, such as: a key card for parking, separate runs for dogs under 25 pounds and over 26 pounds, a 2000 gallon canine paddling pool especially for dogs, several water points that are filled with fresh water daily, a canine agility course with a variety of obstacles, toys of all kinds and bag dispensers for doggies throughout the park.

“Our membership-based Dr. James W. Thornton Dog Park is different from other Central Valley Dog Parks,” said Alisia Sanchez, Marketing Director of Valley Animal Center. The dog park gives pet owners the opportunity to exercise and socialize their pets any day of the week between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and they feel safe knowing that all members canines have met the same requirements, and it truly is a fun time for all parties involved to see their pets run so freely, and it brings so much joy to pet owners.

Photo provided by Valley Animal Center

To join the membership-based fee park, canine applicants must be at least six months old, provide up-to-date vaccination records, be sterilized and pass a temperament test. Parents of animals must sign a liability waiver and confirm their understanding of the park rules.

The monthly fee for the Valley Animal Center Dog Park is $ 10, while the annual fee is $ 100.

Dog parks in Fresno open to the public

Facilities at the Fresno Public Dog Park include a fenced area at Woodward Park providing space for small and large dogs as well as a ‘first meet’ place to test your pooch’s temper with other doggos. They also have several walking or running trails, perfect for taking your puppy with you on a leash.

If you may be looking for more open spaces to take your dog, Basin AH1 Dog Park also offers a large open space with plenty of shaded areas for your dogs to run around and rest in during the hot summer months. .

How can Fresno improve the quality of its dog parks?

Fresno’s, Parks, After School, Recreation and Community Services Department says it is planning improvements and improvements to local dog parks. The city has applied for grants to renovate two existing dog parks and build two new ones.

There is currently a plan to relocate the dog park located at Roeding Park within the park to increase accessibility to shading and parking. We welcome all feedback and ideas from the community as we explore ways to create interactive park spaces for everyone to enjoy, ”said Sontaya Rose, city communications director.

Cinnamon Grooms, founder and CEO of nonprofit Tiny Paws Fresno, said she would be happy to see some additional amenities added to parks around Fresno. His organization holds events to get small dogs to play together while teaching them etiquette and behavioral skills.

She attended city council meetings to discuss changes to the Roeding Park Dog Park, where she was actively involved in sharing ideas on how to improve Fresno’s facilities.

“I think there should be more to offer and I would love to see more agility classes to keep dogs active and maybe small sprinklers to keep dogs cool,” Grooms said.

Find your dog park

For a list of all public dog parks in Fresno, click here.


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Meet Your UB Colleague: Jim Scripp – UB Now: News and Views from UB Teachers and Staff

You may not know Jim Scripp, but you know his work. It’s all around UB.

As Senior Field Supervisor, Scripp leads a team of around three dozen staff responsible for ensuring that the campus is maintained and looking its best – mown lawns, pruned plants, mulched flower beds, emptied trash cans, parking lots. paved and repaired, and in the winter, roads and paths plowed and salted.

It never ends. Between the North and South campuses, maintenance includes 600 acres of lawns, 33 acres of athletic fields, 38 miles of road, 46 miles of walkway, 8,000 trees and 16,000 parking spaces.

“Just about anything you would consider doing in your home, we do it here,” Scripp says. “It’s just on a larger scale.”

Scripp, 54, began his career at UB in 1987 as a cleaner. After a few years he moved on to grounds maintenance, where he rose through the ranks to supervisor about five years ago. Scripp prefers to stay behind the scenes, but if you’re on campus early enough, you might see him driving his truck inspecting the grounds.

“I go out at 6 am, walk around the neighborhoods on campus and watch what’s going on,” Scripp says. “I have several lists in my truck and I always write down the things that need to be done. “

Mondays, for example, can be unpredictable, depending on what the weekend may have brought. Rain or a phone call about a fallen tree branch can disrupt the schedule for the rest of the week.

“We have a schedule for mowing the grass and a lot is based on what Mother Nature gives us,” Scripp says. “If the grass grows, that’s pretty much what we do on a daily basis. Once things start to slow down, as they do now, we start pruning and mulching the trees and flower beds, pruning the plant material. We plant a lot of flowers, whether in flower beds or flower pots. “

Scripp enjoys working outdoors, but not so much in the winter. Staying one step ahead of the elements can be stressful. He’s spent more than a few winter nights on the couch in his office, so he’s on campus ready for an impending storm.

“Jim and the entire Lands Department work incredibly hard,” says Stacey M. Modicamore, Assistant Director of Facilities Operations.

“They work tirelessly throughout the year to ensure that our campuses are beautiful during the warmer months and that they can navigate safely by car or on foot in the winter,” explains Modicamore. “University facilities regularly receive positive feedback regarding our lands department and all of their beautification efforts.”

Scripp gives credit to its staff, but recognizes that it has high expectations. He treats UB like his own home and asks them to do the same.

“When I quit a job, I want to be proud of it,” Scripp says, “and I want everyone to be proud of it too.”

Your coworkers shine a light on employees who have an interesting story to tell, a hobby to share, and those who work behind the scenes to keep UB moving every day. Do you know someone who would make an interesting profile? Forward suggestions to Jay rey.


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Commentary: EarthTalk by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss

Has there been a backlash against the installation of solar panels on rooftops or the development of large solar farms across the United States?

Incentives such as the solar investment tax credit and the increased affordability of the cost of installing solar panels over the past decade have given renewable solar power the potential to become an energy source. more common. The growing advantage of solar power has amplified its share of total US electricity production from just 0.1% in 2010 to 2.3% in 2020.

The expansion of solar beyond rooftop panels, however, is generating debate. Farmers and other landowners who agree to large-scale solar leasing on their property frequently face resistance from surrounding landlords who question whether the development of a solar power plant or a “farm” will decrease the value of the property. their homes, ruin the scenic views or be detrimental. to wildlife or the environment. Organized groups like Citizens for Responsible Solar, based in Virginia, are also mobilizing against the development of solar panels on rural or agricultural lands. They argue that thousands of acres of land must be cleared for solar panels to produce the equivalent amount of energy of a coal, nuclear or natural gas power plant, and the resulting deforestation will contribute to global warming. Instead, the group encourages the installation of solar panels only on roofs, contaminated land, parking lots and zoned industrial sites.



Environmentalists have also raised concerns over the large number of birds being killed in large-scale solar PV installations. In an attempt to combat the deaths, researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois last year secured a $ 1.3 million contract from the Department of Energy to collect data on what is going on. when birds fly, perch or collide with solar panels.

“There is speculation about how solar energy infrastructure affects bird populations, but we need more data to scientifically understand what is going on,” says Yuki Hamada, senior scientist at Argonne in the project.


One theory is the “lake effect,” which proposes that birds mistake the reflective blue expanse of solar panels for bodies of water and crash into them. According to the Audubon Society, waterfowl in particular are in danger of this fatal effect because some species cannot take off from the ground; they require a running start at the surface of the water. Concentrated “tower” solar power plants, including Tonopah, Nevada Crescent Dunes and California’s Ivanpah in the Mojave Desert, have also come under scrutiny due to bird deaths. These factories use heliostats, or mirrors, to focus sunlight on a receiver filled with molten salt located at the top of a collector tower that converts heat into steam. The steam then powers a turbine to produce clean electricity. Unfortunately, the extremely hot beams of light passing through the mirrors to the tower incinerated passing birds, as well as bats and insects.

There is also the issue of disposal after a lifespan of about 20 to 30 years of a solar panel. The International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that solar panel waste could total nearly 80 million metric tonnes by 2050, and effective regulations on recycling or reuse are imperative.

Encouraging approaches include Washington State’s PV Module Stewardship and Takeback Program, which requires solar panel manufacturers to provide the public with a convenient and environmentally friendly way to recycle all panels purchased after July 2017.

EarthTalk is written by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss. Send your questions to [email protected]


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Energy Tech: Electric vehicles and decentralized energy storage systems

The adoption of electronic vehicles (EVs) is an important part of the transition to a low-carbon energy future, but the rapid adoption of EVs will lead to drastic changes in the demand for electricity, potentially leading to a voltage imbalance. and the need to strengthen the network. However, the VE itself can provide part of the solution. With vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, batteries in electric vehicles become a storage device when parked.

In November 2020, the British Prime Minister published a ten point plan for a “green industrial revolution”, which includes a ban on the sale of gasoline and diesel cars by 2030. This is in line with the objective of the UK to achieve Net Zero Greenhouse Gas. (GHG) by 2050, as foreseen in the Climate Change Act of 2008. Electronic vehicles (EVs) will be an important part of the transition to a low-carbon energy future, with expected sales of EVs in the world to reach up to 58% of all vehicle sales by 2040. In the UK, a 2018 forecast from National Grid indicates that there will be 36 million electric vehicles on the roads by 2040.

The switch to electric vehicles is welcome. However, the rapid growth and expansion of electric vehicles can bring their own problems. While faster adoption of electric vehicles will help slow climate change by limiting vehicle emissions, the rapid adoption of electric vehicles will lead to drastic changes in demand for electricity, potentially resulting in voltage imbalance and the need to strengthen the network. In addition, the renewable sources often powering electric vehicles, such as wind and solar power, are intermittent in nature and are not always available “on demand”. To ensure constant availability of electricity, either “dirty” production (eg from natural gas), or extended batteries or other storage facilities are needed.

Electric vehicles as portable energy storage

However, the EV itself can provide part of the solution. Vehicle use is highest in the peak travel hours segments, with cars unused in parking lots or garages for most of the day. Remarkably, over 90% of cars are parked at some point. With vehicle-to-grid technology (V2G), batteries in electric vehicles become a potential storage device when parked. The energy stored in a charged EV battery can be used to balance the grid, storing energy when there is a surplus and selling energy back to the grid when there is a greater demand. A white paper published by Nissan, Imperial College London and E.ON estimates that successful V2G technology can save up to £ 885million per year.

To achieve this, artificial intelligence and machine learning are essential. Reinforcement learning (RL) algorithms can be used to study the needs and characteristics of each electric vehicle, providing a routing service to maximize energy savings during a given trip and gathering data. averages on the energy used during a given period. This will provide the information needed by the EV owner to understand how much energy, on average, he can store and possibly resell in the grid, without affecting his daily needs.

Externally, AI can analyze broader market trends and use this data to predict future market loads and plan load cycles to minimize possible spikes, enabling the integration of EVs into the grid. It can also use price signal algorithms to avoid charging at peak times or at certain locations, creating dynamic charging rate at all times based on available data and demand. Electric vehicle owners could access the change in price signals through a real-time app, allowing EV owners to safely sell or buy electricity in a decentralized manner through their smartphones, potentially using smart phones. blockchain-enabled wallets, where transactions could be automated through smart contracts. . Not only will individual consumers be able to enjoy their own electric vehicles, but they will also be able to contribute to the country’s renewable energy capacity and capacity.

This will help integrate renewables into the grid, ultimately reducing the need for high-consuming power plants, especially backup stations that sell dirtier energy to suppliers due to lack of supply, while limiting the need for energy. negative impact of EVs on electrical capacity. This is because the electric vehicle fleet can become a “virtual power station”, discharging the accumulated energy accumulated in the network when it is not needed to drive.

Dominion Energy in Virginia, USA, put the principle into practice, using electric school buses that are recharged into the grid after school runs, serving as storage and making room for further integration of renewables. . Although still at the experimental stage, it should make it possible to store and supply electricity to more than 15,000 homes. Closer to home in the UK, Octopus Energy is testing the UK’s first V2G system, stating that a smart energy system could save up to £ 40 billion by 2050.

Using technology to create microgrids

Another problem with the widespread adoption of electric vehicles is the pressure exerted by the additional demand for electricity on existing national grids. Installing the infrastructure needed to charge a country’s electric vehicle fleet will be very expensive and will likely lead to bottlenecks in transmission and distribution networks. Smart technology, enabling usage patterns to be established via data collected from the Internet of Things, could enable electricity produced from rooftop solar panels and stored in electric vehicle batteries to d ” be sold to other local “prosumers”, thus meeting the local demand for recharging electric vehicles. [This will be examined further in a separate article in this series]

What is there for investors?

With the push to adopt electric vehicles, especially in Europe, there are many opportunities for investors, including the design, planning, construction, operation and maintenance of electric vehicle infrastructure. This extends to the production of the electric vehicles themselves, charging infrastructure, battery storage technology and investments in smart meter applications, as well as the e-commerce that surrounds the technology.

In the UK, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) are considering including infrastructure requirements for electric vehicles in England in residential and non-residential buildings, as well as ‘a Road to Zero strategy that will guarantee extended charging points all over England. This emphasizes the opportunity for those working in the infrastructure sector. The success of V2G and two-way charging will also increase the demand for charging infrastructure. The use of EVs as storage will increase the capacity and demand for renewable energy, thus opening up new investment opportunities, or partnership possibilities, for players in the wind or solar sectors.

Legal and practical obstacles

It will not be easy, however. As noted above, the increasing adoption of electric vehicles will put pressure on the capacity of existing electricity grids. The same applies to technical and cloud infrastructures to support the IT functionalities necessary for the efficient operation of the system. Any blockchain infrastructure must also be flexible to the dynamism of the electricity grid, the production of new renewable sources and the quantities of electric vehicles on the road, in the short term.

Cyber ​​security presents a risk to be managed – recently $ 31 million was stolen from Ethereum cryptocurrency due to loopholes in the code. Smart contracts and blockchain-based programs are currently in their infancy and the legal issues they pose are still being identified. The technology behind V2G and smart grid integration requires the collection of personal data on location, preferences, distances traveled and, along with GDPR restrictions on how personal data can be used, there are issues. of broader confidentiality.

Licensing regimes around the supply of electricity to electric vehicles as well as the implications of consumers selling their energy also need to be addressed. In the UK it is a criminal offense to supply electricity without an applicable license or exemption under Section 4 of the Electricity Act 1989. Although Ofgem has confirmed that the supply of electricity to an EV is not a “supply of premises” under the Electricity Act 1989 s4 (1) (c) and 64 (1), Ofgem stated that the supply of electricity to a charging point is a “food”. This could create a licensing requirement for EV owners wishing to resell excess power into the grid, complicating the V2G process and making it more expensive. Greater clarity from Ofgem may therefore be needed to understand the implications of V2G for consumers, and legislative / regulatory change may be required.

On a practical level, there are risks associated with the interoperability of several functionalities, such as the network, the e-commerce network, the charging points and the electric vehicles themselves. Some market leaders are trying to establish market standards in the hope of facilitating the interoperability of data transmission, such as OCPP (Open Charge Point Protocol). However, further developments may be needed to fill in the gaps within the industry at large. As similar projects are developed and accepted over time, V2G technology may be more widely available. Additionally, the V2G system has been correlated with battery degradation. At the current price of EV batteries, EV owners will not benefit financially from the V2G method. Therefore, until battery prices drop, the implementation of V2G is more likely to be an ancillary service.

Conclusion

Electric vehicles and technology could decentralize and revolutionize the way we store and access our energy, enabling widespread adoption of electric vehicles. However, as with all innovations, new practical and legal risks will need to be identified and mitigated to turn the possible into reality.


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Oonee and ULURP – Perfect together? – Streetsblog New York City

It seems the only way New York City can get secure, free public parking for bicycles is for communities, council members, or city planners to demand such amenities when granting lucrative rezonings to private developers. .

In a little-noticed footnote to a rezoning proposal unanimously approved last week by a Brooklyn community council, a development company called Totem pledged to include a free bicycle parking station with more than 100 seats for the public in its new building on Atlantic Avenue near Franklin Avenue C and the shuttle stations.

Render: Oonee
Render: Oonee

This is the second time Totem has won a zoning change following the promise of public bicycle parking built into the plan (among other community amenities including a high percentage of units below market rate).

“If you’re coming to the neighborhood looking for a zoning change, ideally you want to include amenities – and private developers should do whatever they can to encourage cycling,” said Tucker Reed, director of Totem. “Bicycle parking is one of those amenities because it’s so important. I stole several bikes. And if that’s your way of getting around, getting your bike stolen is a big deal.

Reed also added bicycle parking to its development at Sunset Park, which was approved in March. In this building, council member Carlos Menchaca pleaded for reserved bicycle parking for delivery people, in addition to other members of the public.

New York has long failed to create large, secure, European-style bicycle parking at major destinations or near public transportation. Indeed, the builders of the new $ 1.6 billion Moynihan Train Hall (looking at you, Gov. Cuomo) missed a great opportunity to seamlessly include bicycle parking (the kind you see in stations in Holland). And the city didn’t make such a request when it approved a rezoning to create a 1,415-story tower next to Grand Central a few years ago (point of information – there isn’t even benches on this square!). Yes, developer SL Green offered $ 200 million in upgrades, but creating hundreds of secure bicycle parking spots would have added less than a million to the development company’s costs. The problem: None of the players in the city’s Uniform Land Use Review process requested it. And there are dozens of zoning change requests every year.

“The cost of these things is minimal – like a rounding error,” said Shabazz Stuart, the founder of Oonee, who creates the bicycle parking spaces in the two Totem buildings. “It’s literally nothing. I use two four-letter words in all my discussions with the city: “free” and “easy”. We can create free bicycle parking spaces, you just have to ask for it in ULURP. It is a model that the city should adopt at all levels.

Each of these rezoning requests “could incorporate secure public bicycle parking spaces at the request of advocates, communities and elected officials,” added Stuart.

Totem's proposal to rezone land on Atlantic Avenue for residential development was unanimously approved by a Brooklyn community council, in part because of the secure parking for bikes on-site.  Photo: Totem
Totem’s proposal to rezone land on Atlantic Avenue for residential development was unanimously approved by a Brooklyn community council, in part because of the secure parking for bikes on-site. Photo: Totem

Reed said he hopes developers will see the benefits of including secure parking for bicycles as part of their neighborhood amenity package, but such things take time in a dying culture.

“It’s a matter of awareness,” he said. “The development process carries so much risk – political, financial, construction – that most developers take a cookie-cutter approach until consumers ask for things. As more people cycle, more community councils and council members may demand that the buildings themselves become more bicycle-friendly.

Certainly someone has to do something in the absence of action from the city. It may not seem so crucial in a city where cyclists have made a habit of locking their bikes at the nearest parking sign, but the lack of secure parking for bikes remains a huge obstacle for many cyclists. A Transportation Alternatives said the parking shortage – London has 7,500 secure bicycle spaces while New York has virtually none – is the second most common reason people choose not to ride. bike.

The lack of bicycle parking is also hurting local businesses, the group showed.

Obviously, using the ULURP process to secure bicycle parking is not the only way to achieve this important policy goal, but it can clearly help achieve the goal in new buildings. Stuart is still working on several ways to bring free parking for bicycles to New York City, including responding if the city is looking for proposals for curbside facilities and larger facilities like bus shelters. These facilities would be part of the same network as public bike stations in private buildings, Stuart said.



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