What will it take?So how will we get to a higher level of code enforcement?The current political climate, particularly the rise of the radical right, is pushing the country towards less rather than more government. I’m reminded of a few months I spend as one of the very few liberal and environmental leading members of the Georgia governor’s energy policy council in 2006. One discussion focused on budgeting for energy code training and enforcement. There was a lot of pushback from the group, one heavily weighted towards utilities and large corporations. My argument was that we already had the rules, we just needed to enforce them better – not much different from putting more cops on the street to make people safer.I did manage to persuade the group that it was the right thing to do, although most of the final plan still remains to be implemented. I do have hopes that code enforcement, along with increased consumer demand for better and more efficient homes will lead us on a path to better buildings.I am afraid, however, that along with drugs, drinking and driving, speeding, and paying people off the books, energy code enforcement will take a back seat to other pressing issues for many years to come. The code is getting more stringentThe 2009 IECC is a good start toward higher performing buildings, and the 2012 code will be even better, but neither will be any good if builders don’t abide by them. As I discussed in an earlier post, Georgia has implemented some good amendments to the 2009 code, including required blower door and duct testing for all new homes.The problem is that enforcement is moving slowly. The 2012 code, significantly more stringent than the current one, should be in place in a few years. If the industry can’t meet the current code almost two years into the process, how are they going to meet the new, tougher code? I’ve been on a bit of a rant lately about the poor state of energy code enforcement and its effect on building performance. The rules are there, but not enough people are following them. This misbehavior leads to excessive energy use, providing support to the energy and utility industries, and does nothing to reduce our dependence of foreign oil.That got me thinking about other rules and laws that don’t get followed and the resulting consequences. The first thing that comes to mind is illegal drugs. They are against the law, but lots of people use them and only few get caught. Buying those drugs tends to support crime and violence, but the risk of getting caught is low enough to keep people buying.Many people also pay employees and subcontractors off the books – supporting tax evasion and illegal immigration. A few get caught, but like drugs and energy codes, the risk/reward relationship is one that leads many to flout the rules. Other examples include speeding and drunk driving – when the rules are enforced, fewer people break them.
Congratulations to the winners of their respective divisions in the 2012 New South Wales Touch Association (NSWTA) Vawdon Cup finals. Men’s Open Penrith Panthers 7 defeated Parramatta Eels 6 (drop-off)Women’s Open Eastern Suburbs Roosters 7 defeated Wollongong Devils 5Mixed Open Eastern Suburbs Roosters 6 defeated Wests Magpies 4Men’s Division OneHornsby Lions 6 defeated Wollongong Devils 1Women’s Division OneCentral Coast Dolphins 5 defeated Northern Suburbs Bears 4Men’s Division TwoEastern Suburbs Roosters 8 defeated Wests Magpies 6Women’s Division TwoLiverpool Lightning 2 defeated Hills Hornets 2Men’s Division ThreeRyde Eastwood Hawks 8 defeated Penrith Panthers 4Men’s Masters (played on the 19th October)Balmain Tigers 9 defeated Penrith Panthers 0Men’s Seniors (played on the 19th October)Wests Magpies 6 defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 5Related LinksVawdon Cup Results
The programme initially received assistance through JEEP Story Highlights Students eating healthier as a result of an initiative by the Swallowfield Church The group from the Swallowfield, St. Andrew, prepares locally grown fruits as snacks for the students Students from several schools in the Corporate Area are eating healthier as a result of an initiative by the Swallowfield Church of God of Prophecy, through its Institute for Mobilisation, Partnership and Action for Community Transformation (IMPACT) Limited.Through the initiative, a group from the Swallowfield community in St. Andrew, carefully prepares and packages locally grown fruits as snacks for the students of New Providence and St. Francis Primary and Liberty and St. Peter and Paul Preparatory schools.The programme initially received assistance through the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) as part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ contribution to the National School Feeding Programme. It has since become an income earner for several persons in the community who are employed for up to 20 hours per week to prepare the snacks.In an interview with JIS News, Pastor at the church and Programme Co-ordinator, Melonia Waugh, informs that the initiative is aimed at ensuring that children have daily intake of nutritious snacks in their diets.“We source the fruits presently from the market, which is four fruits per plate -melon, orange, papaya, apple or mango…We use only Jamaican fruits that are in season,” she says.She adds that the healthy snacks are properly packaged in plastic containers and labelled before being sold for $40 each. She notes that even though other schools are on board the abovementioned four are the most consistent in ordering the products.Pastor Waugh says members of the Swallowfield community are appreciative of project as it creates employment for them.“The community is excited about this too…I must say that there is a young lady who will take like 40 fruits in the mornings and she will sell to the community children as well,” she says.She informs that through the programme six persons are currently employed and are excited about their job.For Shanecia Hussey, who is a direct beneficiary of the initiative, the money earned from the programme assists with paying for her evening classes. She says the project means a lot, especially since she was unemployed before it began.Another beneficiary, Kacian Thomas, informs that through the initiative, she has been exposed to various forms of making fruit cups, fruit plates and natural juices.She too is expressing gratitude to the organisers of the programme to which she has been employed since last year.In the meantime, Pastor Waugh informs that there are plans to expand the project. She is also encouraging other stakeholders to come on board and support the initiative to ensure its sustainability.Earlier this year, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Roger Clarke, called for more local foods to be used in schools. He said the greater utilisation of cultivated crops, particularly fruits and vegetables, would provide a healthy alternative to bag drinks.Noting that bag drinks could potentially “give children diabetes” before they are fully developed, Mr. Clarke said he is advocating the introduction of more fruit and vegetable juices into the school nutrition programmes.“We want more use of our otaheite apple, cucumber, melon and mango…all the fruits that we have with fantastic flavours that sometimes go to waste. We want to incorporate those into the school feeding programme, instead of some imported items,” he asserted.The Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) which initially supported the project is one of the Government’s strategic responses to unemployment among Jamaicans, particularly those in lower socio-economic groups, persons with special needs, as well as those with low skill levels. The brainchild of Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, JEEP has yielded jobs for approximately 37,000 persons since its inception in March 2012.
OTTAWA — Global Affairs Canada has issued a travel advisory for Canadians in Britain, warning them of possible violence in the wake of today’s latest twist in the country’s Brexit drama.The department issued the updated advisory as British politicians rejected the latest attempt to coalesce around a path out of the European Union.In the advisory, officials warn of “acts of violence” and confrontations between demonstrators and security forces around the parliamentary buildings and near Westminster Abbey in London.Canadians are urged to avoid areas where demonstrations take place and nearby subway stations.The department continues to recommend Canadians visiting the United Kingdom exercise a “high degree of caution” due to the threat of terrorism.U.K. parliamentarians today rejected for the third time British Prime Minister Teresa May’s plan for Brexit setting the stage for the country to crash out of the European Union next month without a replacement deal in place.The Canadian Press
LANSING, Mich. — The Latest on the Michigan Legislature’s consideration of minimum wage and paid sick leave bills (all times local):12:35 p.m.Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette says it is constitutional for Michigan’s Legislature to pass bills initiated as ballot drives and subsequently amend them in the same legislative session.Schuette’s opinion was made public Tuesday as the GOP-controlled House prepared to vote to significantly scale back minimum wage and paid sick leave laws that legislators passed in September so they would be easier to change now. Organizers of the ballot initiatives say the strategy is unconstitutional, and legal challenges are likely if Gov. Rick Snyder signs the bills.In his opinion dated Monday, Schuette says the state constitution imposes restrictions on lawmakers’ ability to amend voter-approved laws, but it has no “express limitations on amending a legislatively enacted initiated law.” He says Michigan courts have said legislatively enacted initiatives should be treated similarly to ordinary legislation.___10 a.m.Bills to scale back Michigan’s new minimum wage hike and mandatory paid sick leave law are advancing in the Republican-led Legislature.A House panel backed the legislation on party lines Tuesday. The full House may approve the bills later Tuesday before they move to Gov. Rick Snyder, who has not said where he stands.To prevent the ballot initiatives from going to electorate, where they would be much harder to change if voters had passed them, GOP lawmakers approved them in September so they could alter them now with majority votes.The business community supports delaying the boost in the minimum wage until at least 2030 and limiting paid sick time requirements to employers with 50 or more workers. Opponents say the move is illegal and an insult to voters.The Associated Press
Companies in this story: (TSX:SU)The Canadian Press CALGARY — Suncor Energy Inc. is planning to grow production by about 10 per cent, even after Alberta’s mandatory production curtailments.The company says it expects average upstream production of 780,000 to 820,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up from about 730,000 boepd this year.Suncor says its guidance assumes the curtailments are in place for three months before falling to 30 per cent of initial levels for the remainder of 2019, in line with the provincial announcement.The production guidance came as Suncor says it is planning between $4.9 billion and $5.6 billion in capital spending next year, roughly in line with this year.The Alberta government has announced a mandatory cut to oil production which amounts to 8.7 per cent of overall output in a bid to reduce a glut of oil and help boost low prices.Western Canadian crude had been trading at a steep discount to the North American benchmark prices, however that gap has narrowed since the Alberta announcement.
‘What a fantastic community we have!! It’s amazing the amount of people willing to donate time, money or even a friendly text to see how I and my family are doing. I was totally dumbfounded when I heard how many people and how much money had been donated on the “gofundme” page. And others donated in person at FSJ Bottle Drop. I also had some friends buy and reinstall my furnace blower for free when it broke down. Also my friends Ken Griffin and Chris Dallow flew down to see me for a few days. It was especially nice to see old friends visit. They even took my wife Jenna out for some shopping and a bite to eat. It was nice for her to get away from the hospital and relax a bit. All of my siblings came to visit while I was in hospital either in Prince George or Vancouver. It was good to see them, next time I promise to be in better condition. Looks like we will be flying home this Friday hopefully. I will need more time to continue to recover and get healthier but every day I’m improving every day. Soon I will be able to start my battle with CLL. This will take about a year if everything goes as planned, then Lord willing I’ll be cancer free! Thank you again to our amazing community!’ Eric StutzmanStutzman is building his strength and waiting to return home in time for the Christmas holidays. The last week of the Stutzmans stay in Vancouver General Hospital saw Jenna Stutzman, Eric’s wife being admitted into the hospital for complications to her Diabetes.“Eric continues to improve but has to be on the feeding tube until he can sustain 2500 calories- we are hoping it will be removed within the next 24 to 48 hours and then they are saying they will have to send him home because there are no beds in our hospital here,” said Karen Stutzman, Eric’s Mother, “It will be about two more days before Jenna is ready for release as well. They expect to come home together. However, it will be difficult for them to take care of each other because they are both so weak. Continued prayers are appreciated!”With the Stutzman’s three children remaining in FSJ during this time the Phoenix Club Volunteers provided gifts for the family to help provide Christmas Spirit.“Phoenix volunteers sent gifts- not knowing for sure who they were buying for-and did a fine job. I am preparing Christmas dinner,” Karen Stutzman goes on to say “Jenna and her daughter Tanisha will be the only other two living at the house besides Eric-their daughter Kylee lives in town & will come for Christmas.”The decision for Stutzman’s release is based on his ability to sustain 2500 calories and once home Stutzman will still require help. Correction to the story; Eric Stutzman is not the sole provider for the family, his wife Jenna Stutzman is employed.FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – It has been a long road for Eric Stutzman and his medical journey yet the road home is now in his future.A message from Eric Stutzman to the community; “Eric and Jenna are still in Vancouver General Hospital they hope to be released before the end of the week. If anyone would offer to do some simple supper’s they basically eat anything. Eric’s food will have to be puréed once it arrives. I understand the doctor has set up for a nurse to drop by and check up on them.” said Karen StutzmanMid-November Stutzman after a mini-stroke at work went to the Hospital and after many tests, it was determined that Stutzman has Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia, which is cancer of the bone marrow. Due to complications, such as H1N1 influenza, a bacterial infection and pneumonia, Stutzman was airlifted from FSJ Hospital to Prince George and then to Vancouver General Hospital. Once there the Doctors discovered Stutzman had a bad gallbladder which was then removed.Stutzman who has worked for FSJ Bottle Depot for over 25 years, the three children remained in Fort St. John during this medical situation and their youngest, son Ethan – five years old has been staying with his sisters.
CALGARY, A.B. – A research report by AltaCorp Capital shows the number of companies actively drilling in Canada has declined by 40 percent since the oil price crash of late 2014.The analysis cites industry data which shows only 26 drilling contractors have been working so far in 2019, 17 fewer than observed in 2014.It says consolidation is the biggest reason companies have disappeared, with seven companies holding about 17 percent of market share being purchased over the period, including CanElson Drilling in 2015, Savanna Drilling in 2017 and Trinidad Drilling in 2018. It says insolvency removed four companies, although the market share held by those firms was just one percent. Two companies which together held about one percent of market share in 2014 are simply inactive, they have rigs but aren’t operating them.One company left the Canadian market and the fate of four other missing names isn’t known. There is just one new entrant on the 2019 list.The report says the Canadian drilling market would benefit from more consolidation given recent declines in drilling activity but says acquisitions are unlikely given high debt levels in the larger players and the relatively unattractive assets available.“Ultimately, we expect that rig transfers out of Canada, smaller one-off asset sales and gradual atrophy of older and less relevant rigs, will be the primary drivers of further Canadian industry concentration over the near-to-mid-term,” the report concludes.
For more information on #shiftintowinter; CLICK HERE DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Argo Road Maintenence Road Contractor is reminding drivers to slow down as the snow has arrived.Tweeted on Thursday, September 26th, 2019, Argo posted, slow down and adjust your driving speeds according to the weather conditions.Argo’s twitter feed has posted shoulder gravelling has started along the John Hart Hwy (BCHwy 97S) near Fabric Road today and tomorrow. Traffic will be single lane and to expect minor delays.
The humble chaiwala has lost his pride of place. Even the familiar Gorkha has been fired; along with him are gone his night howls of ‘hoshiar raho’. It is because Prime Minister Modi gave a clarion call to every citizen to become a chowkidar to protect our nation. Yes, he has done a great service in reminding us of our duty, albeit it is through protecting our democracy. For this, we need to choose the right chowkidar-in-chief, who would honour the very principles of democracy; and is committed to making us happy and changing our lowly position in the World Happiness Report Index. Also Read – A special kind of bondThe World Happiness Report of the UN looked at six key variables – well-being, income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support, and generosity. India stands at 140 among 156 countries in the survey of 2018, down by seven notches over the previous year. Finland is the happiest for the second year in a row, while Denmark has been consistently in the top five for the past five years. Are we really as unhappy as the survey says? Let us have a look at each of the parameters. Also Read – Insider threat managementFirstly, well-being. Our philosophy, Yoga, and Upanishads emphasise well-being and happiness as a state of complete physical, social, mental, and spiritual well-being and harmony with nature. But, the increasing stress of modern day life has robbed us of our mental peace and happiness. Studies have reported that extended families have more ‘life satisfaction’ than nuclear families which is a norm now. They further indicate that by 2025, over 38 million years of healthy life will be lost to mental illness in our country. Further, there is a total change in our cultural values. Leaders telling lies on oath, rendering ethics and values of no consequence, is so common. Alongside globalisation, religion too has become commercialised – profit and wealth being the primary objectives. In contrast, until recent times immediate well-being was not considered as important as the ultimate well-being. Religion is no longer a solace since the culture of rationality and truth-seeking has been replaced with blind faith, rituals and bigotry. Jesus was killed because he talked about taking business out of the temple, whereas Buddha called into question all the Hindu Gods and rituals, yet, no harm was caused to him. Instead, those who opposed him became his monks when they were convinced in months-long debates. It is not our culture to kill people with blind faith in our beliefs, like what the cow-vigilantes are doing with the blessings of the Party and governments. This change is a serious cause of social tension and unhappiness in the country. Happiness is elusive when we think of income too. Right to equality and equal distribution of wealth is only on paper; governments are pro-rich. The GDP growth of 7 per cent, being claimed by the government, is dubbed by many experts as manipulated. Doubting the figure, because not enough jobs are being created, former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan even seeks to check its veracity by an impartial body. Total employment actually shrank by millions and the rate of unemployment is a whopping 16 per cent. And, whatever wealth is generated, the distribution is skewed. As per Oxfam survey in 2018, richest 1 per cent Indians cornered 73 per cent of Rs 20.9 lakh crores of wealth generated, while the rise is only 1 per cent for the poorest half of 67 crore Indians. Previous year’s survey showed the richest 1 per cent held 58 per cent of the country’s total wealth. Now, regarding freedom. We have freedom of the press, but the publishers are either induced or coerced into toeing the line of the government. We have freedom of religion, but there are communal tensions caused by bigots. There is freedom to choose professions; but the choice and opportunities are dwindling, with corruption inhibiting them further. One has the freedom to contest elections, but without money-power, it is beyond one’s dream. More than anything else, freedoms of thought and expression are stifled with government action; and freedom of privacy is intruded by snooping into every computer. There is also a great trust deficit. The promise of cooperative federalism is a farce; there is a mockery of democracy – no debates, no press conferences; only witch-hunting opposition with abuse of institutions; there is the only autocracy. Election promises are made only to be broken; election-time sops are only to please the voters. In the absence of a choice, one has to vote only for the better among the worst, who, once elected, would be on sale for voting in Parliament or Assembly. There is also mutual suspicion among people, like in the Big Brother regime. Now for health and social support. Easily available liquor every hundred yards, made so by the government of AP, etc., has proved to be a health hazard. Globalisation, and absence of character building in education, cause great stress and tensions, and there is a telling effect on life-expectancy; and even premature deaths through suicides. Food adulteration is another cause. Private medical treatment is very expensive and government hospitals, mostly, are not comfortable and conducive places. There is social support in terms of myriad welfare schemes, but corruption sabotages the very intentions. And, NGOs, mostly, work for their gains. Overall, for the chowkidars, there has been an increase in negative emotions – anxiety, sadness, anger and worry, distrust and insecurity. Thus, the survey has rightly placed India among the unhappiest countries. But, instead of sulking, it would be prudent to find ways to cheer us up. Happiness is variously defined. Psychologists consider it as ‘a mental or emotional state of well being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy’. Sociologists say it is the degree to which an individual judges the overall quality of his life-as-a-whole positively, and refer it as subjective well-being (SWB) or life satisfaction. But quantifying it is difficult. A breakthrough, however, was made by Bhutan by calculating their country’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) and they evolved a single digit Index as a measuring tool for policy-making and to create policy incentives for the government, NGOs and businesses of Bhutan to increase GNH. Good governance, sustainable socio-economic development, cultural preservation and environment conservation are the four pillars that support the nine domains – psychological well-being, health, education, time use, cultural diversity and resilience, good governance, community vitality, ecological diversity and resilience, and living standards, and 33 indicators, which help in reaching the GNH Index. UN also passed a resolution in 2011 in support of this novel concept. While East European countries with no freedoms are low in happiness than poorest democracies, Denmark stands out as an example of happiness and well-being – free from corruption, thrust on health care, gender equality and voluntary work; and they proved the efficacy of cycling in environment protection, fuel saving, accidents, etc. As against the fact that 40 per cent Danes get involved in volunteer activities that generate a feeling of oneness of society, and accountability to each other for common growth, volunteerism is lacking in us. No serious efforts are ever made by us to bring such cohesion. Instead of emulating these examples, the government in power spends crores of rupees in advertising about their bounties and achievements. Any national newspaper of 26- 28 pages would generally have nearly half devoted to full page, half or quarter to advertisements from different government departments, although this does not pay any dividends. There are not even proper mechanisms to assess people’s satisfaction with government projects and schemes. The present systems of vigilance and anti-corruption are grossly inadequate since they only manage statistical targets, and whatever action is taken by them gets riddled in dilatory departmental or legal processes. It is imperative that effective feedback mechanisms are in place for real-time check and corrective action. In the past, apart from using elaborate spying systems and overt feedback mechanisms, benevolent kings themselves used to move incognito to check the well-being of their subjects. It is worthwhile, therefore, to divert the money spent on advertisements for this task since the dividends for the good and sincere work done, and the goodwill generated, are enormous. In a democracy, people’s satisfaction is paramount, like customer satisfaction in commercial establishments. The customer care departments vie with each other to please their customers, while sales departments aggressively advertise their products to lure potential customers. Take for example a pharmaceutical company. Whenever a new product is launched, their salesmen and qualified pharmaceutical degree holders interact with doctors who prescribe them to their patients and get feedback about how much better this new drug is working. Yet, not satisfied, they employ talented engineers and others to get independent feedback from the doctors who are handsomely compensated for the time invested. Similar is the case with sales of vehicles, and so on. It is time that chowkidars become inimitable and assertive, to set things right in our democracy. Revered Hanuman never knew his strength until he was reminded of it. Kumbhkaran had to be awakened from his deep sleep to show his power. For their own well-being and life satisfaction, for effective delivery and improvement in government policies, people should demand a comprehensive model based on Bhutanese and Danish experiences, and also for effective feedback mechanisms, with their participation. Lokpal has to be made proactive and given a pivotal role in this task. Ultimately, the happiness of a nation is the aggregate of the happiness of society and of individuals. For this, a real democrat should be chosen as the chowkidar-in-chief of India. (Dr. N Dilip Kumar is a retired IPS officer and a former member of Public Grievances Commission, Delhi. The views expressed are strictly personal)