Archive for Listopad, 2011

Let there be light!

Středa, Listopad 30th, 2011

Let there be light — the chosen Christmas theme for downtown Buckhannon — came to life literally Saturday with an official ceremony that showcased what volunteers have spent many days bringing to fruition.

“This is totally awesome,” exclaimed one young boy who was viewing the downtown light fest.

Otis and Bonnie Rowan of Audra were walking Main Street with hot coffee in hand and said they enjoyed seeing the new lighting downtown.

“We like it,” Otis Rowan said. “It’s a big change this year. It brightens downtown up and makes it more Christmasy.”

Mayor Kenny Davidson, who was enjoying the downtown entertainment and lights with family in tow, said, “I like it and we’ll add to it. If you empower a group of citizens, then they will make this happen.”

Davidson said this is just another example of what a group of people can do when they come together.

He also praised Mary Albaugh, who was the first to volunteer for the Downtown Christmas Committee when he asked for citizens to brainstorm a plan to make downtown more festive in 2011.

Albaugh and the streetscape committee of Create Buckhannon were instrumental in making the lights downtown happen and solicited community support to finance the decorations.

Lois Clemens said Lowe’s of Buckhannon donated colored lights for the tree that stands tall in the corner lot of Main and Spring streets.

A closer look at the tree will reveal handmade decorations from students, including those from Buckhannon Academy, Rock Cave Elementary and Buckhannon-Upshur High School.

There is still more to be done however, and Kevin Campbell, owner of Advanced Power Controls and in charge of the LED lighting, said he hoped to get more done this week in time for Friday’s downtown Christmas Christmas parade.

“We have close to 50,000 lights up and still have another 15,000 to go,” he said.

“Next week we will do city hall and some of the other buildings,” he said. “The weather has been such a problem because there is not much we can do in the pouring rain.”

Pouring snow is another issue, but volunteers did spend some time in a recent snow shower working as the flurries fell around them.

Campbell said there are a few more odds and ends to connect on the first two blocks as well, but another issue is finding a bucket truck with a high enough reach. They have gone as high as they can with the current one.

Dr. Joseph Reed submitted the 2011 theme of “let there be light.”

Prior to the lighting, the audience was treated to a re-enactment of “America’s First Christmas” as Michael George portrayed one of George Washington’s militiamen, and musical entertainment from Rhonda Gunn, Marvin Carr and two impromptu singers — Ryan Carr and Connor Brown.

ProBike aims to be a ‘next level’ bike shop

Úterý, Listopad 29th, 2011

Tucson’s newest bike shop, ProBike Tucson, has opened its doors and though it isn’t completely finished, its owners say their shop is taking it to the “next level.”

ProBike Tucson partner, Chris Gould said it’s all about the presentation. “Think Apple store or jewelry store,” he said.

The shop, which was opened by Gould and partner Karl Schindler features bikes spotlighted in their own display cases with high quality lights.

Gould, who worked as a bicycle sales representative for several manufacturers, said he traveled to hundreds of stores and wanted to recreate some of the best shops he’d seen.

“The physical appearance of our store is quite different,” Gould said. “As a consumer we are hoping your shopping experience is going to be a little bit better. A lot of bike shops tend to be cluttered with stuff so the the presentation component is lacking.”

ProBike Tucson, which is located at 6540 E. Tanque Verde Rd. in a building which used to house a dry cleaners, is just a mile down the road from Miles Ahead Cyclery and Sabino Cycles.

Gould said they didn’t plan on opening the shop in that location, but two other locations fell through. They had even signed a lease at one location before the building went into foreclosure.

Despite the proximity to the other locations — one of which is owned by Gould’s brother — he said it could help the consumer.

“The auto mall is the example that comes to mind,” Gould said.

Because there are three shops, all which have different brands and equipment, Gould said people could go to each of the shops easily and buy whatever product they like the best.

ProBike Tucson is focusing on road, mountain, tri and urban commuter bikes and their bikes will start at about $1,000 and go up.

“We are not going to be at the bottom, bottom,” Gould said. “We want to be able to offer product to entry level enthusiasts who want to spend a little more than a very basic bike.”

They will only sell 29er mountain bikes.

Gould said they hope to be a place where cyclists can hang out.

“We want to try to be more of a destination where you can come by and not necessarily feel like you need to buy something,” he said. “We are going to have an espresso bar and an outdoor patio where if you just feel like stopping by and hanging out, that is totally fine.”

Tim Carolan, who used to work at Arizona Cyclist has come on board to help run the shop and has a fitting space inside the location.

Pro Bike Tucson will sell BMC, Scott, Focus, Ridley and Pinarello bikes.

Gould said they are still putting the finishing touches on the shop, but are open for business. Check them out online on their Facebook page.

2012 Nissan Leaf

Pondělí, Listopad 28th, 2011

Now in its second model year, the 2012 Nissan Leaf was the first battery electric vehicle to be built in volume and sold by a major automaker in many decades. The five-door compact hatchback has a striking look that’s as pioneering and modern as the Toyota Prius hybrid was in its day. The Leaf is easy to drive, provides comfortable space for four and accommodates five when needed, and costs perhaps one-third to one-quarter as much per mile to operate as a gasoline car–assuming you can afford the higher initial cost.

The 2012 Leaf’s design evolves the five-door hatchback form in some striking ways. The taillights are mounted high up and vertically, containing a rib filled with red LED brake lights. The body swells around the rear wheels, and rather than a grille to admit air into the radiator it doesn’t have, the Leaf has a cover in the center of the nose that opens to give access to its charging ports. Leaf fans will be able to distinguish cars with the SL trim level from the SV base model by their small solar panel on the roof spoiler at the top of the tailgate.

Rather than an engine with some number of cylinders and a power output in horsepower, the Leaf is propelled by an electric motor driving the front wheels and rated in kilowatts of output. The motor puts out 80 kw (107 hp), which propels the 3200-pound car from 0 to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds. Top speed is capped at 90 mph. Its steering is numb and the roadholding and handling are competent rather than inspiring, though it all works just fine.

Unlike the car to which it’s often compared, the 2012 Chevrolet Volt, the 2012 Leaf runs solely on battery power–it does not have the Volt’s range-extending gasoline engine. The 24 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack is built into the Leaf’s floor and recharges by plugging it into the electric grid, using either standard 120-Volt power or a charging station that operates at 240 Volts.

Recharging time for a fully depleted pack is 7 to 9 hours with the charging station, and double that on standard power. Part of Leaf purchase includes a visit from a contractor, arranged via your Nissan dealer, to assess what will be necessary to install a 240-Volt charging station in your garage.

Befitting its advanced technology, the Leaf lets owners manage charging, advance cabin heating and cooling, and other vehicle functions from their mobile phones. They can set times for charging, check charge progress, and have the car tell them its estimated range at any given moment.

But it’s that range that is the biggest question hanging over the 2012 Nissan Leaf. The EPA gives the Leaf a range of 73 miles, and Nissan says it’s “up to 100 miles,” but industry analysts are skeptical that the bulk of U.S. buyers will accept a car without at least 200 miles of range.

Most Leafs are expected to be the second or third car in their household, though electric-car drivers report that their “range anxiety” abates within a few weeks, as they get comfortable with and grow confident in their cars. Most owners will recharge overnight, perhaps “topping up” their battery at charging points at work or at retail outlets.

Meanwhile, the 2012 Nissan Leaf is on the market and thousands of U.S. buyers remain on waiting lists as it maker rolls it out to more regions in the U.S. beyond the largely coastal areas it launched in last year. Nissan plans to expand U.S. Leaf sales into several Southeastern states and Illinois this year.

River Walk will sport 1.76 million LED lights for parade

Pátek, Listopad 25th, 2011

There will be 1.76 million new reasons to head to Friday’s Ford Holiday River Parade & Lighting Ceremony that will kick off Paseo del Rio holiday festivities. The LED lights, which were briefly switched on Nov. 17, will be a considerable increase from the usual 85,000 lights.

The energy-efficient lights were approved by the City Council in August and will be used on nearly 200 trees and 19 bridges.

“It’ll be even more exciting this year because it’s the first year they’re going to have LED lights,” grand marshal Patricia Jimenez said.

Featuring some 25 professionally decorated and lighted barges, the 30th annual parade will begin immediately after the new lights are switched on at 7 p.m.

Jimenez, 43, will represent her father’s Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner. A tradition in San Antonio since 1979, the dinner reflects the theme of this year’s parade — “Holiday Traditions.” Floats will be decorated with themes such as “Midnight Mass at San Fernando,” “The H-E-B. Tree Lighting,” “The Lighting of the River Walk” and “Elf Louise.”

Jimenez remembers growing up and helping feed those in need during Thanksgiving.

“It’s the only Thanksgiving I know,” she said. “Our parents showed us that example of giving to the less fortunate and doing our part to give back.”

Preparations for the dinner, which begins at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Convention Center, usually start the Thursday before Thanksgiving with volunteers picking up canned-food-drive donations. Ten thousand pounds of turkey are cooked starting Sunday. Sides are prepared Tuesday and Wednesday. The meal consists of turkey, gravy, stuffing, yams, green beans, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

Recipes for the dinner are patterned after what Raul started; Jimenez’s biggest concern was making a quality meal that was traditional and tasty.

This year Jimenez is grateful for the 4,000 volunteers from throughout the city who help make the dinner possible.

“Me representing the Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner as grand marshal is a testament to the volunteers and donors that make the event a great success each year,” Jimenez said. “I’m representing some great people.”

Teammates From East Coast’s Largest Campground Compete In Christmas Challenge To Benefit Holiday Charity

Čtvrtek, Listopad 24th, 2011

Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Lakes Family Campground, a division of The Jackson Companies, has kicked off its Christmas Challenge. This competition, which runs through Saturday, Nov. 26, has a three-fold focus on recycling, charity and saving money in today’s economy. The Christmas Challenge will enable the campground to raise and donate proceeds to Substitutes for Santa, a local charity that provides a Christmas experience to between 50 and 85 underprivileged children from the Loris and Myrtle Beach communities.

The challenge asks the campground’s teammates to decorate a tree or wreath as best they can without purchasing any decorations and only using items they find in their own offices. The Ocean Lakes Family Campground judges will cast ballots during the week for winners in three categories: Most Festive, Wow! and Most Creative Use of Departmental Supplies. Ocean Lakes’ guests and teammates will vote for the “People’s Choice.” Winners will be announced at The Jackson Companies’ Teammates Awards Breakfast and on the Ocean Lakes Facebook page on Dec. 12.

Christmas Challenge entries will be sold through a silent auction during Thanksgiving week while the campground is nearly full with more than 20,000 guests. All proceeds from the event will be donated to Substitutes for Santa.

In light of the country’s tough economic times, Ocean Lakes’ Marketing department came up with the Christmas Challenge idea a few years ago as a fun way to save money and help the staff get in the holiday spirit.

“We came up with this challenge in 2008 and the teammates loved it; so in hindsight, we thought we should have auctioned them off for charity,” said Barb Krumm, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Ocean Lakes Family Campground. “We brought the Christmas Challenge back in 2011, and the teammate response has been overwhelming. They are already plotting next year’s challenge. This time we planned enough in advance to include our guests’ votes and an auction for charity.”

In the past, there’s been no limit to the teammate’s creativity. The Ocean Lakes Storage and Transport Department previously made a wreath out of a blown camper tire, decorated with flashing tail lights, mangled camper parts and reflectors. Security staff at the 310-acre campground created a wreath with old uniform shirts, handcuffs, reports, confiscated items and a flashing blue light.

The 2011 challenge continues to showcase the teammates’ creativity with departmental supplies including old fluorescent bulbs, orange caution cones, unused toilet plungers, iCare Program dog biscuits and mutt mitts, tools, toilet paper, and garden hose. This year, Security teammates formed the wreath itself out of caution tape. The Accounting Department crafted beautiful angels with halos out of coin wrappers and garland from dollar bill wrappers.

In all, there are 14 departments participating in the 2011 Christmas Challenge. Teammates are hoping to raise $1,000 for Substitutes for Santa, giving 10 underprivileged children a Christmas shopping spree with volunteer Santas.

SECTOR GUIDE: Wheeled toys

Středa, Listopad 23rd, 2011

MV Sports’ Olympic Team GB range is looking to capitalise on the nation’s strong support and Team GB’s medal prospects in cycling.

Focusing on the patriotic Team GB colours of red, white and blue alongside the official British Lion insignia, MV has developed a range of bikes and wheeled toys to appeal to a broad age range.

The older boys offering has been strengthened with a host of new licences, led by Ben 10 and Star Wars. Other additions include The Avengers, which looks set to be the biggest action hero licensing programme of the year.

Power Rangers Samurai will also join MV’s portfolio, along with the new brand from the creators of Ben 10, Generator Rex. Hasbro’s new animated series Transformers Prime also joins and is already proving to be a ratings winner in the UK. A full range of ThunderCats wheeled toys will also be added. MV’s pre-school range is led by Thomas & Friends and a host of new products will be added to the range throughout 2012.

The first in a new line of Bob the Builder products will be the Toolbox Trike, which comes with a removable six-piece tool set.

The Fireman Sam line will also continue with an exciting new addition.

The BAFTA award winning Ben and Holly has been a successful licence for MV. The line will expand with the new patented Magical Light and Sound Tri-Scooter, which comes with a magical wand that remotely activates sounds and lights from the show.

Other new pre-school licences include the highly anticipated Octonauts, Little Charley Bear and Raa Raa the Noisy Lion.

Last, but certainly not least, is the new Rastamouse range of wheeled toys, based on the CBeebies TV series.

Little Tikes is making several new additions to its 3-in-1 Trike range, including a version that incorporates an interactive dashboard from the company’s DiscoverSounds brand. The Little Tikes 3-in-1 Trike grows with the child through three stages – Parent Guided riding, Learning and Independent cycling.

The 3-in-1 Trike with DiscoverSounds Dashboard enables kids to discover the sounds of the road on every ride. Features include lights and sounds such as engine start, revving, police and fire sirens. There are turning signals with LED lights and a real working steering wheel – all designed for driving role play while using the 3-in-1 Trike in its first stage as a parent guided trike. For added play value, the Dashboard can be removed and played with independently.

Another addition is the 3-in-1 Trike with Deluxe Accessories, available in pink or blue. With its padded seat and portable storage bag, kids can learn to pedal, while parents can store snacks and valuables in the zippered pouch.

The original 3-in-1 Trike will also be available in navy blue, in addition to the existing pink/lilac and red/yellow/blue colour ways. Other features include an adjustable shade canopy, four position seat fitting children of all sizes, five-point seat harness, protective safety bar, non-slip pedals and an adjustable, detachable push handle allowing parents one-handed control.

Lighting and Electronics

Úterý, Listopad 22nd, 2011

VESNA’s core lighting and electronics recycling business focuses on recycling fluorescent lamps, ballast, batteries, electronics and mercury, says John McShane, general manager of the electronics recycling group within Veolia ES Technical Solutions.

The division was formed through six acquisitions made around the time McShane joined the division in 2002. “We put together a national footprint of processing facilities to provide recycling services that are convenient to a broad range of commercial and industrial customers,” McShane explains.

Since then the business has grown substantially. In 2010, Veolia recycled enough linear florescent lamps that, if they were laid end to end, they would stretch some 28,000 miles, the equivalent of traveling from New York to Los Angeles 10 times, McShane says.

Veolia ES Technical Solutions has four recycling locations for processing lighting and electronics—Phoenix; Tallahassee, Fla.; Stoughton, Mass.; and Port Washington, Wis.—all of which process lighting into various components for further recycling. Veolia also operates several collection locations throughout the country that feed the recycling plants.

Although there are variations between the equipment used at each facility, all lamp recycling operations use a dry separation process. Each machine is capable of processing 20,000 to 40,000 4-foot lamps per 8-hour shift with an asset recovery rate of approximately 100 percent, the company says. Of total bulb weight, roughly 96 percent is recovered as glass, 2 percent as aluminum, less than 2 percent as phosphor powder and less than 1 percent as mercury. Beyond recycling the aluminum end caps and glass, Veolia ES Technical Solutions recycles the mercury contained within the phosphor powder.

The aluminum end caps are sent for metals recycling, and the glass can be used for a variety of different applications, including fiberglass or as an aggregate in asphalt. The mercury-contaminated phosphor powder is collected and is further processed in Veolia’s retorts. The mercury from the phosphor powder volatilizes in the retort oven under high temperature, and the vapor is captured and condensed or cooled back down into elemental mercury.

“We will use our retorts for all sorts of items that contain mercury,” McShane says. Such items include old thermostats and old mercury switches that are removed from vehicles before they go through a shredder.

“We recover between 15 and 20 metric tons of mercury on an annual basis,” McShane estimates. “The main impetus behind our industry is for people to do the right thing and to work to reclaim mercury wherever we can so it doesn’t get into our environment.”

Medical equipment is another specialty area Veolia is focusing on. Pharmaceutical companies and manufactures of medical equipment have come to Veolia because their products contain biological or hazardous contaminants that other electronics recyclers are not equipped to handle at their facilities.

McShane says, “One of our goals at Veolia is to deliver preferred solutions. I am most proud that we have been able to come up with some very unique recycling processes while still being protective of our employees’ health and safety. We have built a specialized disassembly room with an isolated air handling system, provided our staff with a supplied breathing air system and have conducted additional medical screenings and industrial hygiene monitoring.”

Diodes, conductive thread illuminate textiles

Pondělí, Listopad 21st, 2011

Cheryl Sleboda of Plainfield, inserts light-emitting diodes (LEDs) into her whimsical fabric creations, sews them with conductive thread that resembles wire and buries microchips activated by her voice inside the quilt layers.

I met this fiber artist — she literally lights up when she quilts — during a recent trip to the International Quilt Festival in Houston.

Her profession in the comic book industry influences her fanciful quilt designs.

She has a series of fabric Artist Trading Cards, sized like baseball cards at 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches, that feature a cupcake with a flickering candle, a twinkling spaceship and a tiny zombie with one beaming eye.

These works are possible with a 20mm coin cell battery sewn on the back with conductive thread.

“Zombies are really popular right now,” Sleboda says.

These little guys, such as one she named Bummer, come to life through a hidden light component, a pin switch and conductive fabric layers wrapped around batting.

When you poke the doll with a pin in his sewn-on heart, the pin connects the circuit and illuminates his one eye.

On her website, Sleboda demonstrates the voodoo doll technique in a video and sells a starter LED kit for $15. The kit includes a bonus design for a zombie quiltlet.

“LEDs don’t get hot, so they won’t scorch fabric,” she says.

“Electroluminescent wire is flexible, and it can easily be cut and sewn for interactive textiles.”

Sleboda also works with other “smart materials” such as thermochromic paint that reacts to external stimuli.

Microchips inside some of her quilts are programmed so they light up in specific patterns. One microchip activated by voice flashes its lights more frequently inside the fabric layers when Sleboda talks near it.

“It can also pick up music” and flash in rhythm, Sleboda explains.

Her enthusiasm is as luminous in her smile as the high-tech materials that power her creations.

Other examples of her e-textiles are 8-inch-square renditions of a neon scientist working in his lab, gleaming with electroluminescent wire, and a “Lonely Hearts” robot quilt whose little heart shines via an LED bulb.

Her inspiration comes from cutting-edge fashion students who are incorporating such technology in clothing design to elicit unusual reactions from viewers.

At the Houston show, Sleboda’s larger quilt, “Road to Home,” was part of a special exhibit titled “Tactile Architecture.”

It, however, does not feature lights “because the battery power won’t last” long enough.

“I’m trying to figure out how to enter these types of (luminous) quilts into shows, so I need to come up with another way of powering them for exhibition,” she says.

Super 8 - Ukiah, CA Awarded EPA’s Energy Star Label!

Pátek, Listopad 18th, 2011

Ranking in at least the top 25th percentile of energy efficient hotels in the country, the Super 8’s Energy Star label is truly outside validation for the sustainability efforts it has been implementing over the past several years. With its recent renovation, the hotel has thought of everything to foster an environmentally friendly impact. Given the hotel’s surrounding home – the great redwood forest & Californian wine country – its no wonder why this lodging venue has chosen to help preserve its community. From a 100% organic breakfast to an electric vehicle charging station, the Super 8’s commitment to sustainability goes far beyond reducing energy consumption.

“Due to the increasing climate change and energy crises the need for environment friendly hotels have increased,” the hotel’s management explains, “we maintain our stand, not just because we have to, but because we feel responsible for creating a place where all things are found in their original, base, unaltered form. A Green hotel is not just fashion, but it’s the need of the hour that can help retain and extend the beauty of the place where it is situated. Super 8 Ukiah makes every effort to make it a perfect example of a friendly co-existence where neither nature nor our guests are disturbed due to the other’s presence.”

Super 8 Ukiah conducts efficient waste disposal, energy and water saving strategies, recycling throughout the property, purchasing habits, and many designated eco-initiatives. In addition to this they have linen reuse program for stay over guests and other recycling programs. All rooms are cleaned with eco-friendly chemicals provided by Ecolab and all our lighting, laundry equipment, ice machines, printers are energy star compliant and our pool utilizes a Salinization solution to eliminate harmful chemicals.

Some of the other practices that are rigorously followed include programmable timers and occupational sensors for light systems, use of old news papers for cleaning, double panned Low E windows, employee carpooling, proper disposal of fluorescent light bulbs, and further precautions to assure energy efficiency.

“The accomplishment of becoming an Energy Star Labeled property should not be underestimated” stated Scott Parisi, President of EcoGreenHotel “The average hotel in the country is rated a 50 out of the possible 100 score derived from the Energy Star Benchmarking. The Super 8 achieved a score over the minimum 75 needed to be Energy Star Labeled.”

EcoGreenHotel salutes the Super 8 – Ukiah for its achievement and is proud to be associated with this establishment’s sustainability endeavors!

EcoGreenHotel supports and provides sustainable solutions to the hospitality industry ranging from individual boutique hotels to a broad spectrum of brand properties. Our clients range from individual owners and investors to management companies nationwide. EcoGreenHotel supports hotels to identify energy efficient strategies that reduce a property’s energy usage and overall environmental impact.

As owner’s agents and through our vendor neutral approach, we find the right technologies, products and solutions to deliver the best quality and value for all our clients. We specialize in identifying and taking advantage of incentives, grants, rebates and loan programs that are available through federal, state and local agencies.

Cyclist is ‘left for dead’ after he is knocked off bike

Čtvrtek, Listopad 17th, 2011

James Fleckney, of Home Farm Way, Westoning, was cycling home from work at around 5pm last Thursday on the A5120 road between Dunstable Rugby Club and Chalgrave Manor Golf Club when he hit by a car,

He was thrown off his bike and landed in a ditch on the side of the road, while the motorist drove off.

After coming round he then managed to make way back onto the side of the road and flag down a car for help.

He was taken to the Luton & Dunstable Hospital were medics feared he had ruptured his spleen and would need to undergo surgery.

Miraculously, he just came away with torn tissue in his leg, and cuts and bruises, but he is now on crutches and is only just thinking about returning to work.

31-year-old James, who is a PE teacher at Manshead Upper School in Dunstable, said: “I was just cycling home from work and I was just struck, I heard a noise and felt myself going through the air. I ended up in a ditch and realised I had been struck by a car,

“I looked up and I remember seeing this dark car driving up the hill. I didn’t even see any break lights or anything, it just seems that they kept going without even stopping to see if I was okay.”

“I was wearing a high-vis jacket and had lights on my bike, so there is no way they couldn’t have seen me. And the wing mirror fell of the car, so they knew they had hit someone, but they just kept driving.”

Several members of the public stopped to help, with one calling the emergency services and the other staying with James until the paramedics arrived. An off-duty police officer, who was driving by at the time, also stopped to help.

The keen cyclist, whose 800 bike is now written off, added: “I do feel like I have lost my faith in humanity, I can’t believe that somebody could just drive off without even checking if I was okay.

“They just left me for dead. I have three children and they could have been left without a dad. I feel really angry and just want this person caught.

“There must be somebody who saw it and who knows the person. I’m sure they would have gone home and told a close friend or partner.

“I just want some closure now, this person should take responsibility for what they have done.”

James is hopeful he can return to work next week, but will be on desk duties and will have to rely on lifts.

His wife Kelly, 30, said: “Somebody who stopped to help actually called me to tell me what happened. I was so worried, that night I got no sleep because the doctors thought he may need an operation.

“I just can’t believe anybody could be so heartless to just drive and leave him at the side of the road. I’m so grateful to the people that did stop.”