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Navitas to audit Shawnee’s facilities in search of potential energy savings

first_imgShawnee has decided to enter a contract with Navitas to perform an investment grade facility audit.Performance contracting is a process where construction projects are funded by guaranteed savings on energy, operations and maintenance, according to a July 9 city memo.As part of the State of Kansas Facility Conservation Improvement Program, an investment grade facility audit consists of a detailed analysis of all city facilities and utility accounts, a cost/savings analysis of potential energy savings opportunities, a project proposal, a financing plan and implementation and savings verification plans.The Shawnee council unanimously agreed in a 5-0 vote earlier this month to enter into this agreement with Navitas. Council members Justin Adrian, Lindsey Constance and Mickey Sandifer were absent for the vote.The city memo indicated that the process will take several months. Following completion of the investment grade audit, city staff would decide “the best way to move forward,” with either performance contracting or tackling individual projects to be funded by the city (either the facilities and equipment budget or the capital improvement funds).If the Shawnee council decides against proceeding with a construction contract with Navitas, the audit may cost between $40,000 and $60,000.last_img read more

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Judicial candidates may not personally solicit contributions

first_img May 15, 2015 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Judicial candidates may not personally solicit contributions Senior EditorThe ban in Florida’s judicial canons on judicial candidates personally soliciting for campaign contributions has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision.“A state may assure its people that judges will apply the law without fear or favor — and without having personally asked anyone for money. We affirm the judgment of the Florida Supreme Court,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court’s majority.The opinion in Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, case no. 13-1499, was released April 29.The case stemmed from a 2009 judicial candidacy by Lanell Williams-Yulee, who filed early for a Hillsborough County judgeship. At the time, she was the only person who submitted papers, which allowed her campaign to begin raising funds. Eventually, the incumbent for that judgeship also filed and ultimately won reelection.Yulee sent out a personally signed letter to prospective donors requesting campaign donations. Florida Judicial Canon 7C(1) requires that judges and judicial candidates create a committee to seek contributions and prohibits personal solicitations.Yulee was prosecuted by the Bar after the election for violating Bar Rule 4-8.2(b), which requires lawyers who are judicial candidates to follow Florida’s Code of Judicial Conduct. (The Judicial Qualifications Commission can only prosecute judges.) She acknowledged that she misread the canon, thinking it did not apply until she had an announced opponent. But she also argued the First Amendment allowed the personal solicitation. The Florida Supreme Court rejected that argument in upholding a public reprimand for Yulee, who then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.Because the Bar prosecuted the grievance case, it was named as the respondent. Oral arguments were heard January 15, in which Tallahassee attorney Barry Richard represented the Bar. The case has national significance because 39 states have judicial elections and 30 of those have a contribution restriction similar to Florida’s.Chief Justice Roberts rejected claims by the Bar and some amici that the court should apply the looser “closer scrutiny” standard instead of the “strict scrutiny” standard for state regulation of the First Amendment, saying that Canon 7C(1) met the strict scrutiny standard. (Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not concur with using the strict scrutiny standard.) He also said regulations on judicial candidate fundraising can be different than those for the legislative and executive branches, because judges perform a different role and are expected to fairly apply the law.“The concept of public confidence in judicial integrity does not easily reduce to precise definition, nor does it lend itself to proof by documentary record. But no one denies that it is genuine and compelling,” Roberts wrote. “In short, it is the regrettable but unavoidable appearance that judges who personally ask for money may diminish their integrity that prompted the Supreme Court of Florida and most other states to sever the direct link between judicial candidates and campaign contributors. As the Supreme Court of Oregon explained, ‘the spectacle of lawyers or potential litigants directly handing over money to judicial candidates should be avoided if the public is to have faith in the impartiality of its judiciary.’ In re Fadeley, 310 Ore. 548, 565, 802 P. 2d 31, 41 (1990).”Roberts also addressed claims that the direct solicitation prohibition was essentially meaningless since judicial candidates could easily find out who had contributed and even write thank you notes to contributors.“It is always somewhat counterintuitive to argue that a law violates the First Amendment by abridging too little speech,” Roberts wrote. “. . . . The solicitation ban aims squarely at the conduct most likely to undermine public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary: personal requests for money by judges and judicial candidates. The Canon applies evenhandedly to all judges and judicial candidates, regardless of their viewpoint or chosen means of solicitation. And unlike some laws that we have found impermissibly under inclusive, Canon 7C(1) is not riddled with exceptions.. . . Indeed, the Canon contains zero exceptions to its ban on personal solicitation.”He waved off contentions, including in dissents, that there’s no difference between direct requests for contributions by a judicial candidate and requests from a committee.“The identity of the solicitor matters, as anyone who has encountered a Girl Scout selling cookies outside a grocery store can attest. When the judicial candidate himself asks for money, the stakes are higher for all involved. The candidate has personally invested his time and effort in the fundraising appeal; he has placed his name and reputation behind the request. The solicited individual knows that, and also knows that the solicitor might be in a position to singlehandedly make decisions of great weight: The same person who signed the fundraising letter might one day sign the judgment. This dynamic inevitably creates pressure for the recipient to comply, and it does so in a way that solicitation by a third party does not,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote.Roberts rejected Yulee’s argument that the canon is too broad, noting her counsel conceded that it would be proper to restrict a judge from soliciting contributions from lawyers and litigants in court and that in-person solicitations might properly be restricted, but not the mailed ones that she used. She also argued that recusal and limits on campaign contribution limits offer adequate protections.“A rule requiring judges to recuse themselves from every case in which a lawyer or litigant made a campaign contribution would disable many jurisdictions. And a flood of postelection recusal motions could ‘erode public confidence in judicial impartiality’ and thereby exacerbate the very appearance problem the state is trying to solve,” Roberts argued. “Moreover, the rule that Yulee envisions could create a perverse incentive for litigants to make campaign contributions to judges solely as a means to trigger their later recusal — a form of peremptory strike against a judge that would enable transparent forum shopping.”As for contribution limits, “we have never held that adopting contribution limits precludes a state from pursuing its compelling interests through additional means. And in any event, a state has compelling interests in regulating judicial elections that extend beyond its interests in regulating political elections, because judges are not politicians,” Roberts wrote.While dissents from the opinion argued that some types of direct solicitation would be allowable, Roberts said the majority declined to enter the “swamp” of drawing a line between what kinds of direct solicitations might be permissible and which would not.Roberts concluded with a reference to the Founding Fathers, noting Alexander Hamilton advocated for an appointed judiciary while Thomas Jefferson thought appointing judges was inconsistent with “a government founded on the public will.”“It is not our place to resolve this enduring debate. Our limited task is to apply the Constitution to the question presented in this case. Judicial candidates have a First Amendment right to speak in support of their campaigns. States have a compelling interest in preserving public confidence in their judiciaries. When the state adopts a narrowly tailored restriction like the one at issue here, those principles do not conflict. A state’s decision to elect judges does not compel it to compromise public confidence in their integrity,” Roberts said.His opinion was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor, and Justice Ginsburg partially concurred..In dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia, who was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, said the court did not apply strict scrutiny but “sleight of hand” in arguing Canon 7C(1) was narrowly tailored in restricting First Amendment rights.“Canon 7C(1) does not narrowly target concerns about impartiality or its appearance; it applies even when the person asked for a financial contribution has no chance of ever appearing in the candidate’s court. Florida does not invoke concerns about coercion, presumably because the Canon bans solicitations regardless of whether their object is a lawyer, litigant, or other person vulnerable to judicial pressure. So Canon 7C(1) fails exacting scrutiny and infringes the First Amendment. This case should have been just that straightforward,” Scalia wrote.He also argued that Florida’s reliance on “public confidence in judicial integrity” as a reason for the rule is an “ill-defined interest.”In a separate dissent, Justice Anthony Kennedy agreed with Justice Scalia but said he wanted “to underscore the irony in the Court’s having concluded that the very First Amendment protections judges must enforce should be lessened when a judicial candidate’s own speech is at issue. It is written to underscore, too, the irony in the Court’s having weakened the rigors of the First Amendment in a case concerning elections, a paradigmatic forum for speech and a process intended to protect freedom in so many other manifestations.”He also said the canon fails the strict scrutiny standard.“The candidate who is not wealthy or well-connected cannot ask even a close friend or relative for a bit of financial help, despite the lack of any increased risk of partiality and despite the fact that disclosure laws might be enacted to make the solicitation and support public. This law comes nowhere close to being narrowly tailored,” Kennedy wrote.Roberts in his opinion addressed the Scalia and Kennedy dissents, writing, “A reader of Justice Kennedy’s dissent could be forgiven for concluding that the Court has just upheld a latter-day version of the Alien and Sedition Acts, approving ‘state censorship’ that ‘locks the First Amendment out,’ imposes a ‘gag’ on candidates, and inflicts ‘deadweight’ on a ‘silenced’ public debate.. . . But in reality, Canon 7C(1) leaves judicial candidates free to discuss any issue with any person at any time. Candidates can write letters, give speeches, and put up billboards. They can contact potential supporters in person, on the phone, or online. They can promote their campaigns on radio, television, or other media. They cannot say, ‘Please give me money.’ They can, however, direct their campaign committees to do so. Whatever else may be said of the Canon, it is surely not a ‘wildly disproportionate restriction upon speech [as claimed by Scalia].’”Justice Samuel Alito also dissented, saying the canon was not narrowly tailored.“Indeed, this rule is about as narrowly tailored as a burlap bag. It applies to all solicitations made in the name of a candidate for judicial office — including, as was the case here, a mass mailing. It even applies to an ad in a newspaper. It applies to requests for contributions in any amount, and it applies even if the person solicited is not a lawyer, has never had any interest at stake in any case in the court in question, and has no prospect of ever having any interest at stake in any litigation in that court,” Alito wrote. “If this rule can be characterized as narrowly tailored, then narrow tailoring has no meaning, and strict scrutiny, which is essential to the protection of free speech, is seriously impaired.”Justice Ginsburg wrote a concurring opinion that reiterated her dissent from Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, 536 U.S. 765, 803 (2002), that “exacting scrutiny” should not be applied to state regulations in judicial races. She also said, in a part of her opinion also endorsed by Justice Breyer, that states should have “substantial latitude” in enacting “campaign finance rules geared to judicial elections.”“Disproportionate spending to influence court judgments threatens both the appearance and actuality of judicial independence. Numerous studies report that the money pressure groups spend on judicial elections ‘can affect judicial decision-making across a broad range of cases,’” Ginsburg wrote, citing one of the amicus briefs in the case. Judicial candidates may not personally solicit contributionslast_img read more

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MIJA’s universal technology for oxygen cylinders

first_imgSubscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.last_img

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Egypt to Start Building New Side Channel at Port Said

first_imgA new side channel is about to be built near the Suez Canal to allow smaller vessels in the Mediterranean a twenty-four hour access to East Port Said instead of current eight-hour access, Reuters reports, citing Klaus Holm Laursen, managing director of Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT).The USD 60 million-worth canal is aimed at allowing vessels to enter and exit East Port Said, without hindering the Suez Canal convoys. The project was originally scheduled to be completed by 2012, but it was delayed on several occasions. The dredging operations for the new waterway were launched in January, 2013, according to Inchape Shipping, when SCCT was still in discussions with the port authority and the Ministry of Transport on how best to implement the new side channel. As informed, the construction of the new canal is set to start following the inauguration of the New Suez Canal set for August 6th and is expected to last seven months. The side channel would feature 9.5 km in lenght, 18.5 metres in depth, and 250 metres in width. SCCT plans to assign USD 15 million for the construction project.The first ships have already tested the expanded Suez Canal as the countdown begins for the official opening of the USD 8 billion waterway.Once the two-way highway is completed, Egypt expects that up to 20,000 ships will transit the route on a yearly basis. The expansion project will pave the way for a transit of ships of up to 20 meters in draft, thus increasing the revenue of the canal to up to USD 17 billion a year.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

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… Ummm, not quite

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe now for unlimited access Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGINlast_img read more

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Houston calling for Volga-Dnepr

first_imgThe facility is an expansion of the group’s sales office, first established in 2001 and has been opened to provide local expertise to customers in North and South America.  Executive president, charter cargo operations at Volga-Dnepr Group, Konstantin Vekshin said that Volga-Dnepr will position one of its AN-124-100 freighter aircraft at the gateway. Crews, technical support teams and special loading equipment for unique cargoes will also be based on site. “The base will be staffed by load planning engineers and loadmasters, operations, navigation and ground handling specialists, and provide unique and specialised on-site engineering and delivery solutions to enable the safe and secure transportation of heavy and outsize cargoes,” he added. Aviation director of Houston Airports, Mario Diaz says that developments such as Volga-Dnepr’s operations base is helps foster future growth in cargo operations at the airport. www.volga-dnepr.com  www.airport-houston.comlast_img read more

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D&G COUNCIL RESPONDS TO CANCELLATION OF MOFFAT SHEEP RACE

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInAfter the news released this morning Friday the 11th of August 2017 by The Moffat Promotions Group that they have had to take the decision to cancel the 2017 Moffat Sheep races due to the Dumfries and Galloway Council requesting that the organisers  comply with the Performing Animals Act, 1925, there has been much negativity towards D&G Council.In Response the Council have issued this statement “We have been informed of the decision taken by the Moffat Sheep races to cancel the event on Sunday. This is entirely their decision to take.It is widely recognised that this year’s event has attracted a lot of negative publicity and attention from animal activists. The Council have been working alongside the organisers to ensure their race could go ahead.Our officers have been providing advice and meeting with the organisers for weeks. The organisers are required to place the event on a public register for such events and we have been working with the event organisers on this administrative process. This is not a Council decision. This is the law.We would like to be absolutely clear that this Council has not prevented the event from taking place – this is a choice that the organisers have made themselves.We have been working with the organisers up until the last minute before they made their decision to cancel.The Moffat organisers have the opportunity to change their mind before Sunday so that their event still goes ahead.”Read the original release about the cancelling of the popular event HERElast_img read more

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Aid Bank records profit for financial year

first_img Share 21 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! Tweet LocalNews Aid Bank records profit for financial year by: – December 19, 2012center_img Share Share Chairman of the Board, Mr. Martin CharlesThe Dominica Agricultural Industrial and Development Bank (AID Bank) has recorded profit of EC$1.01 million for its financial year ended 30th June 2012, its chairman has revealed.Chairman of the Board of Directors Martin Charles who addressed the Bank’s 20th annual general meeting at the Fort Young on Wednesday, December 19th hailed the bank’s operations over the past 40 years a major “milestone” and its growth “remarkable”.For the financial year ended June 30th 2012, the bank recorded Total Income of $13.79 million, Net Income of $1.0 million, and Expenditure of $11.34 million.According to the Chairman’s report, eight hundred and twenty-six jobs were created in the economy through the AID Bank and a total of 381 loans were approved at a total value of EC$34.56 million compared with the EC$36.33 million approved in the preceding financial year.Charles noted that over the past 40 years the bank has approved loans of $538.34 million for social and economic development in Dominica.These include over $86.14 million for agriculture, $106.43 million for services, manufacturing and transportation, $81.87 million for tourism, $122.90 million for housing, $93.93 million for students, $39 million for personal lending, $6.50 million for infrastructure and equity investments of $2.13 million.The year in review was the third of the bank’s five year strategic plan for the period 2009 to 2014.“In the face of continued uncertainty in the global environment, the AID Bank continues to make a solid contribution to private sector growth and to roll out new elements of its strategy. “Monthly and annual reports on the implementation of the strategic plan indicate that the objectives and targets of the plan are substantially being achieved,” Mr. Charles noted further.The first two years of the plan was organizational restructuring, improving organizational efficiency, repositioning the bank and expansion of its core activities of lending and mobilizing funds for development of the productive and social sectors of the economy.Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more

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Guyanese woman stabbed to death in New York

first_imgNewsRegional Guyanese woman stabbed to death in New York by: – February 19, 2013 Sharing is caring! Tweet Hazel RobinsonA Guyanese woman was brutally murdered on Sunday, in front of her four-year-old grandson by her husband who nearly sliced her head off, the New York Post reported yesterday.The newspaper described 51-year-old Hazel Robinson as a churchgoing woman and said she was butchered shortly before noon in her family’s Canarsie home by her husband, Ian, who allegedly stabbed her in the neck with a kitchen knife so many times he was left covered in blood.The whole grisly scene unfolded right in front of the couple’s grandson, according to the distraught brother of the victim.“He witnessed everything,” Arthur Laing, 60, said about the grandson. “He did it in front of him. It was gruesome.”The newspaper said that the woman was found partially decapitated and lying on her bedroom floor at her 102nd Street home.Ian Robinson, 58, was promptly taken into custody, sources told the newspaper and the JFK Airport worker was later charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon.Family said that, before yesterday’s attack, the couple had seemed close. They had been married for 12 years.The family said they never saw anything to predict such violence and cops had no record of previous calls for assistance to their home.“She was a very hard-working person, very charitable,” Laing said of his sister. “She took care of her family.”Hazel was one of eight siblings who immigrated to the United States from Guyana years ago, he said.She spent 10 years working at a Salvation Army centre in the Bronx and was very active at the Christian Cultural Center in East New York, her family said.“She was a very quiet person, into her church. She loved the Lord,” said cousin Claire Hodge, 65. “It was shocking when we got the news.”Starbroek News Sharecenter_img Share Share 16 Views   no discussionslast_img read more

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