Daily Archives: December 26, 2013

Unfortunately, what happens in LA never stays in LA

Beverly Hills bathroom suite

Malibu bathroom suite

Race is on to out-luxury your movie industry friends. No doubt your fellow Democrats and Obama will be wowed when they arrive for the next fundraiser.

If you thought Southern California mansions could hardly get more outlandish, consider the latest must-have feature: A moat encircling the property.

Other exclusive amenities include dental chairs, botox stations and wine “cellars” that somehow made their way into the kitchen. It’s all part of growing competition among designers, architects and developers for the attention of ultra-wealthy buyers.

Moats are making their biggest splash since medieval times.

For clients, [designer Steve Hermann] has transformed closets into the equivalent of luxurious showrooms, wrapping every surface in hand-stitched leather.

“They become like actual display rooms,” Hermann said. “Guests will come over and you’ll show off your closets.”

Extravagant features enable spec builders hemmed in by lot size and regulations to push the asking price per square foot, Hermann said. “You are limited by how much you can build.”

Because of building height restrictions in Malibu, for example, luxury builders will often put basements in homes to increase the living space. Then it’s up to local architects such as Doug Burdge to come up with ideas on how best to use the square footage.

Burdge has designed homes along Malibu’s celebrity-row beaches with Italian-style wellness suites where hairdressers, fitness trainers and masseuses can come to the homeowner out of sight of the paparazzi. Light wells and garden rooms make the stylized spaces feel anything but subterranean.

For car collectors, Burdge creates a garage space that resembles a paneled and carpeted showroom.

For the bejeweled, his designs have included walk-in safes where the owner’s valuables are displayed on shelves. “The safe room can be small,” he said, “yet it creates a nice amenity that can be used for important papers or other things.”

What’s mind-blowing to local luxury home buyers, however, may seem somewhat provincial to what’s being built elsewhere.

Kenneth Bordewick, who heads a design group bearing his name and is chief executive of Beverly Hills Luxury Interiors, has created such distinct spaces as a $17-million hand-carved bathroom and a poker room complete with a jewel-inlaid table.

If this hasn’t spread east to Greenwich yet, give it til the end of next year; we’re a bi-coastal (and bi-polar) community now.

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You never listen to me!

This rat jumped ship years ago

This rat jumped ship years ago

The new year will see the demise of still more of the few remaining liberal talk radio shows.

2014 will mark the beginning of a massive change for liberal talk radio across the country. In New York, WWRL 1600 AM will flip to Spanish-language music and talk, throwing Ed Schultz, Thom Hartmann, Randi Rhodes, and Alan Colmes off the air. In Los Angeles, KTLK 1150 will be dumping Stephanie Miller, Rhodes, Bill Press and David Cruz off the air in favor of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. In San Francisco, KNEW 960 will leave Miller, Hartmann, and Mike Malloy without a radio home in the market.

Only government-sponsored NPR remains in many major markets.

UPDATE: Since I had never heard of Randi Rhodes I Googled her and came up with this acknowledgement of her irrelevancy on the Daily Kos:

I heard today that Randi Rhodes, noted progressive radio talk show talent, will be going off the air soon.
I know that many here will have never heard of her, others have a passing aquaintence [sic], and others hold a strong dislike. But I know also that there must be others here who feel as I do that the voice of Randi Rhodes is a vital force of the progressive movement.

Apparently not.

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Selfish, maybe; futile? We folded like a wet hanky

Not to be built

Not to be built

A reader inquires about the identity of the Bill Effros who’s providing so much information here on the ongoing MISA fiasco and asks,

Is this the same Mr. Effros whose pursued the selfish and futile litigation over the GHS fields’ lights for years? Became so personally obsessed with the football team playing 3 or 5 night games annually on the GHS site that the town was obliged to obtain an injunction prohibiting him from disrupting town meetings on the topic?

Yes he is, but if you want to know the result of that “futile” litigation, he sets it out here. What the hell was the town thinking to agree to this?

Chris,

The “Stadium Lights Settlement” proposed by the Town of Greenwich and accepted, without modification, by neighbors, is quite specific. In essence, neighbors dropped 3 lawsuits blocking installation of the light poles, in return for stipulations by the Town of Greenwich that the entire property could not ever be rezoned from R-12 and R-20, and that all restrictions placed on the entire property, since it was assembled as a High School, would be strictly enforced, in perpetuity, with the exception of the use of the Stadium Lights and walkway lights which could be used on 3 Friday nights a year, for regular season home varsity football games.

The high school is in a “dark zone”. It cannot be used at night. It must remain dark, even when the 3 permitted football games are played.

When Town attorneys presented this Settlement to Stamford Superior Court, the Judge was incredulous, and refused to believe The Town was prepared to give up so much, to get so little; notwithstanding assurances from Town Attorneys they had authority to sign the Stipulations and Court Ordered Judgments.

I’m not sure, but I think I might have soiled my pants when I learned from my attorneys The Judge had not accepted The Settlement as presented, and had instructed Town Attorneys he would not accept the Settlement until the ramifications were explained, in detail, by The TOG Legal Department, in Executive Session, to The Board of Education; The Selectmen; The Superintendent of Greenwich Public Schools; The Planning and Zoning Commission; The Wetlands Commission; and The Representative Town Meeting; and voted on by those town agencies in recorded votes.

Town Attorneys returned to Court on 3 occasions to request a waiver of the “vote” requirement. The Judge refused, and threatened to send out marshals to round up Board members who had not yet voted on the Settlement. He would not authorize the Settlement until Town Attorneys could prove all parties to the various suits understood and approved it in recorded votes.

It took 6 months before all the required votes were taken. The Judge told me and my attorneys to go into an antechamber where the Town Attorney would tell me and my attorneys exactly what he had told Town Agencies, to ensure we all had the same understanding of the implications of the Settlement, before he handed down 3 Stipulations and Court Ordered Judgments on July 22, 2003.

I have remembered that judge in my prayers, every night since.

Bill Effros

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Hell, Greenwich homeowners consider such a puny loss a profit

Can you spot Reese's piece?

Can you spot Reese’s piece?

Reese Witherspoon sells her California bungalow for “a major loss”: $4.9 million, on an original purchase price of $5.8. Sheesh, that’s less than $900,000 – chump change here in our own fair city.

The actress does have something in common with many Greenwich home sellers, however: after paying $5.8 for the place in 2008, she listed it last year for $10. I wonder if a local Greenwich firm is now operating out west?

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Deadly fauna in the waters off Tod’s

The custodian/chief teller/president of our local savings bank emailed me this picture and claims it is actually a genuiwine Portugee Man’o War, even though it looks more like an early morning escapee from the Grass Island sewage plant. We’ll find out because, being Italian, he’ll probably try to eat it. Assuming he can tell the difference between the two (and he’s a Byram native, so that’s up in the air), I’m sure he’ll provide an update.

Until then, it’s probably wise to avoid swimming at the Point this weekend.

Nessie of Old Greenwich

Nessie of Old Greenwich

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But Al Gore promises they’ll be melted free by 2017

 

Any day now, any day

Any day now, any day

Cruise ship trapped in Antarctic ice.

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Ah, Hollywood: home of liberals, nanny-scolds, and tax accountants to make certain the few pay the least

Weinstein-Obama connection

Weinstein-Obama connection

Selling film tax credits to the wealthy; it’s the latest thing.

[Ric] Reitz is one of Hollywood’s new financiers. Just about every major movie filmed on location gets a tax incentive, and Reitz is part of an expanding web of brokers, tax attorneys, financial planners and consultants who help filmmakers exploit the patchwork of state programs to attract film and TV production.

In his case, he takes the tax credits given to Hollywood studios for location filming and sells them to wealthy Georgians looking to shave their tax bills — doctors, pro athletes, seafood suppliers, beer distributors and the like.

“I’ve got a giant state of people who are potential buyers,” he said. “It’s the funniest people who are hiding under stones.”

….

Although tax credits have been blamed for loss of production in California, they have been a boon for Hollywood’s financial consultants.

Burbank-based Entertainment Partners, a big payroll-services provider, says it has handled the transfer of more than $200 million in tax credits for 100-plus projects since 2011. Most of the buyers are Fortune 100 companies.

Entertainment Partners has doubled to more than 800 employees in the last eight years, opening offices in Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Utah and Alabama. Most of the employees work in Burbank, where a team of 18 workers advises companies on how to apply for, sell or monetize their credits. The company employed just one person to do that in 2006.

Shuck and jive, but make damn sure the middle class pays for your beneficence.

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The spin cycle seems to be slowing

Just kidding!

Would we lie to you?

The fellow who promised “the most transparent administration in history”, whose party’s majority leader vowed to “drain the swamp that is Washington, to let sunshine disinfect Congress”, isn’t doing so well according to the citizens he rules, who think he’s leading a corrupt, closed government and that the problem has worsened in the five years of his administration. 

More than three-fourths of Americans are worried about government corruption, and 52 percent of those surveyed believe it has worsened in the past five years, according to a new survey released today.

The worries about government corruption span the ideological spectrum, with 68 percent of Democrats expressing a high level of concern, along with 75 percent of Independents and 88 percent of Republicans.

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Redundant signage, department of

 

I knew that

I knew that

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The Big Dig

What sink hole? This was part of the plan all along, trust us.

What sink hole? This was part of the plan all along; trust us.

Bill Effros, a/k/a Lovable Whack Job, has a lengthy comment posted in the comments section about MISA and our impending doom. I’d hate to see it buried there, so I’m reposting it here.

You have visualized correctly, however that was not the calculation used by BOE in order to propose putting the bottom of the foundation 15 feet above sea level.

The architects claim they were told the building itself could be 45 feet above ground level, that they had to wind up with 750 on-site parking spaces, and that they had to bring in the project for $15 million.

Their original proposal called for building a new auditorium 45 feet high over a 2 level parking garage. There were only 2 flies in this ointment. First, it boosted the projected cost above $25 million. And second, the acoustic engineers told BOE the acoustics in the new auditorium would be no better than the acoustics in the old auditorium unless the interior dimension from the top of the stage to the bottom of the ceiling was at least 67 feet.

So, the parking garage was eliminated, and a 70 foot high building was proposed that would extend only 45 feet above ground level, and 25 feet below ground level.

That was when someone pointed out that this 70 foot high auditorium had been designed without any foundation to hold it up. The architects went back to their drawing boards, and returned with a 15 foot high mechanical section, under the stage, that would house massive elevator machinery capable of raising and lowering an entire 170 member chorus; in addition to giant sump pumps and electrical generating equipment needed to get rid of the water that would inevitably flood into the huge underground chamber, now extending 40 feet below ground level.

Site Plans for the western side of the MISA Auditorium show a ground level ranging from 40 to 45 feet. That meant the piles for the foundation would be driven directly into the Long Island Sound seabed–a dicey proposal from an engineering standpoint, and one sure to raise the building cost to unacceptable levels.

This problem was solved by producing site plans in which the ground level was changed from 40-45 feet to 50-55 feet. Now the base of the building would start 15 feet above sea level, and the piles could be driven into the solid rock below.

Yes, of course, the building would extend 55-60 feet above the actual ground level, but who would notice? What could they do? It would be too late.

Enter the PCBs.

In 2011, without approval for the changed architectural plans, BOE started digging, only to discover the 10 feet of fill, added to the 40-45 foot ground level in the fields behind the high school, contained massive quantities of PCBs and other known carcinogens.

Construction stopped and testing began. “The soil borings will be completed using a Geoprobe direct-push drilling machine” according to a BOE press release. Samples were collected, some to a depth of 45 feet without ever hitting rock. Those samples went no deeper only because the testing equipment was incapable of going deeper.

While the MISA site plan indicated rock below the surface, in fact, in many locations, there was no rock at all–just solid peat topped off with PCB contaminated fly ash and top soil, sitting on the Long Island Sound seabed. There was nothing to build the foundation on.

The Toxic Substances Control Act Administrator’s conditional approval letter of Dec. 3, 2012 requires, among other things, 5 foot thick solid reinforced concrete encapsulation of PCBs not removed from the GHS site. This encapsulation must be compliant with EPA regulations, and must completely contain all PCBs left under the MISA foundation, so that not a single PCB molecule can ever escape either into ground water or surface water. Monitoring equipment must be installed, and maintained, in perpetuity, to ensure PCB encapsulation compliance, forever. These terms are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency in the form of a “Perpetual Deed Restriction” which requires disclosure of the encapsulated PCBs every time any neighboring property is transferred or mortgaged. (Mortgages are not offered by many lending institutions to properties adjacent to PCB storage facilities.)

BOE told us the “Coffer Dam” would do the trick. It has not.

BOE has always known it is at least impractical, probably impossible, and certainly astronomically expensive, to build MISA as shown in the plans presented to The Planning and Zoning Commission, PZBA, BET, Selectmen, RTM, EPA, The Army Corps of Engineers, CT-DEEP, IWWA, The Conservation Commission, The Press, and the public.

BOE never had any intention to build MISA as shown in those plans; they intended only to use the plans to get final approvals. Then they intended to build almost all of the building above ground, through a series of work-order changes that would have more than doubled the approved cost, and resulted in the largest building in the Town of Greenwich, located on property zoned “residential”, without adequate parking, 3 times as high as permitted pursuant to stipulations contained in court orders, and rented out as a commercial facility to generate revenue.

The discovery of PCBs changed everything, and BOE has been backed into trying to build MISA, from a point 15 feet above sea level, according to plans everyone knows cannot possibly work.

The only real question is how much more money TOG taxpayers will have to spend to unwind this situation..

Bill Effros
Bill@Effros.com

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ObamaCare: an income redistribution plan that has nothing to do with lowering healthcare costs

 

Navajo code talker calls in his application for ObamaCare

Navajo code talker calls in his application for ObamaCare

HotAir.com has a succinct summary.

“The ACA was not designed to reduce costs or, the law’s name notwithstanding, to make health insurance coverage affordable for the vast majority of Americans,” says health care consultant Kip Piper, a former government and insurance industry official. “The law uses taxpayer dollars to lower costs for the low-income uninsured but it also increases costs overall and shifts costs within the marketplace.”

Lots of discussion on the new taxes that will hit the middle class beginning next week, but I love this little digression, just because it so neatly sums up what’s happening here in America:

” Ike Brannon still can’t get enrolled, as he explains at The Weekly Standard:”

What I like is that I can access the D.C. exchange in twenty different languages, including Apache, Navajo, and Irish. Which is great because I see so many Irish here who have a heck of a time assimilating, what with the fact that they only speak Irish and not the King’s English. (You can also receive notices in American Sign Language—l’d make a joke here but I might offend the deaf. But I guess since they can’t read and need American Sign Language I might as well let one rip. But I’ll refrain nevertheless.)

Maybe we should blame the federal government for this, but last time I looked (and at one point it was my job to do so) a government entity was only responsible for providing assistance in a foreign language if there was a significant number of people who spoke that language and had no facility with English. Of course, we can all quibble about what “significant” means in this context, but does anyone believe that it is at all conceivable that there are even ten people in the District who speak only Apache and need to buy their own health insurance? I would bet my entire net wealth that the number is, in fact, lower than that, if not zero. Ditto for Navajo and Irish. If there’s anyone in D.C. shopping for health insurance who speaks only German or French and no English I’d be shocked as well.

But while the exchange doesn’t work, at least we can get our messages telling us our application has been “disposed of” in the language of our choice, although to be honest I do not know at all what this message means and English is my mother tongue. Does it mean that I have insurance? I doubt that since I never got to select a plan. Or that I’ve been approved to buy a plan? if so why won’t it let me do so.

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VA hospital: we honor all religions, so we’re banning Christmas Carols

Eeek, a whiff of God!

Eeek, a whiff of God!

High school choir prohibited from singing Christmas carols for VA patients.

A group of high school students from Augusta’s Alleluia Community School were prevented from singing traditional holiday songs that honor and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ to veterans by the medical center last week.

The school principal, Dan Funsch, told the newspaper that he was disappointed that the Veterans Affairs hospital’s “spiritual care” grants holiday exemption only to secular characters that make up the 12 Days of Christmas.

“This is not a religious proselytizing, evangelistic issue,” Funsch explained, arguing that Christmas songs are broadcast during the holidays on area radio stations and in local retail outlets. “The song Joy to the World is as much a part of the holiday spirit as the Christmas tree.”

The principal noted that the peculiar part of the policy is its recent enforcement.

The hospital spokesman could not provide an accurate date of when the ban began, but Funsch stated his students were welcomed with open arms in 2011 and 2012.

“We regret any inconvenience or misunderstanding that this (policy) creates,” Rothwell said. “VA policy is welcoming but respectful of all faiths and the protection of each veteran’s right to religious freedom and protection from unwelcomed religious material, to their individual beliefs.”

You will recall that it was this same Veterans Administration that refused to report the increasing violent threats by Dr. Nidal Hassan, the Ft. Hood shooter, out of worry it would offend his religious sensibilities. Similarly, Obama’s Justice Department declined requests from survivors and family members of the slain to categorize the Fort Hood shooting as act of terrorism, or motivated by militant Islamic religious convictions

What a country.

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Who the hell pays £100 for a 16 lb turkey, Whole Foods shoppers visiting from the US?

Can you spot the turkey?

Can you spot the turkey?

Thieves steal eight turkeys retailing, if not worth, £100 each.

Burglars made off with an unusual but seasonal haul when they stole free-range turkeys from a farm. They took eight oven-ready birds, worth around £800, from a large chiller at a farm in Ocle Pychard, Herefordshire.

West Mercia police said the raid happened between midnight on Saturday and 6am on Sunday at the property off the A417 between Leominster and Newtown crossroads. It is believed the thieves got to the chiller in one of the barns by entering through a gate at the rear of the yard.

A police spokesman said: “The eight turkeys that have been stolen were each packed in their own individual box ready for cooking at Christmas. The turkeys were all KellyBronze birds and each box was labelled with this name.

“Six of the turkeys weighed 8kg and the other two weighed 9kg, prepared as part of the KellyBronze range. The total value of the stolen turkeys is thought to be as much as £800.

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What about that other guy who’s been spouting nonsense for five years?

 

Latest ObamaCare enrollee

Latest ObamaCare enrollee

“Translator” who signed gibberish at Obama speech admitted to psychiatric hospital.

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And Merry Christmas to you, Abu

Okay, she may not have luscious melons now, but if you will make do with a small boy until she ripens, Allah will bless and reward you in just a very few years.

Okay, she may not have luscious melons now, but if you will make do with a small boy or a camel until she ripens, Allah will bless and reward you in just a very few years.

Muslim cleric: “Saying Merry Christmas” to anyone is  a worse sin than adultery, alcohol, murder, or taking just one 8-year-old wife”. I added the bit about pre-pubescent girlfriends, but ol’ Abu is definitely not basking in the holiday spirit.

Abu Musaab Wajdi Akkari: You cannot say: “Merry Christmas.” Not even if an alien came and said it to you – you cannot even say it to him, and say: “He’s just an alien. I’m never going to see him again. He’s not going to tell anyone.”

No “Merry Christmas” – not from a Muslim and not from a non-Muslim. It’s not part of our religion – period! It is the concept that God was born on the 25th of December. That’s as polytheistic and heretic as you can get.

When you say: “Merry Christmas,” you are saying: “Congratulations on your false religion,” “Congratulations on your false understanding of life.” You are congratulating them on the most evil of polytheism and heresy.

As Ibn Qayyim said, this is worse than fornication, drinking alcohol, and killing someone, because you are approving of the biggest crime ever committed by the children of Adam – polytheism.

Of course, just because Muslims don’t want to say Merry Christmas to us doesn’t mean we can’t say it to them: three terrorists droned to death last night in Pakistan.  کرسمَس مبارک, baby.

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There’s still time to invite a bow hunter to your property

here's looking or you, kid

Here’s looking for you, kid

In Greenwich, archery season for deer extends through January 31st, and you might want to take advantage of that. A fatal tick-borne virus is spreading.

Marilyn Ruth Snow visited her local hospital on Nov. 9 with a tiny, stubborn tick embedded in her shoulder blade.

Two days later, the active and healthy 73-year-old, a Rockland area watercolor artist better known as Lyn, would speak her last coherent words with her family.

“After that she became delirious and she was in and out of consciousness,” said her daughter Susie Whittington. “Then she was gone.”

Snow, of South Thomaston, died last Wednesday at Maine Medical Center in Portland. The next day, test results confirmed the rare Powassan virus in her body, making Snow Maine’s first documented case of the often deadly tick-borne disease in nearly a decade.

Nationally, just 50 cases of the Powassan virus have been reported over the past 10 years.

Snow’s family wants others to be aware of the disease, a viral infection first recognized in the town of Powassan, Ontario, in 1958. The virus can cause fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion and seizures and may also lead to brain swelling, a devastating complication that kills 10 percent of those who develop it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Snow was among the 10 percent.

About half of those who survive the infection suffer permanent neurological symptoms such as memory problems, facial tics and blurred vision. There is no vaccine or treatment other than keeping patients comfortable and hydrated during hospitalization.

Snow, who walked 3 miles a day and never smoked nor drank caffeine, rapidly slipped away, her daughter said. She was put on a ventilator within 12 hours of arriving at Maine Medical Center and remained at the hospital for five weeks, enduring septic shock and other complications, Whittington said.

“It was horrific,” Whittington said. “I watched her get sick before my eyes as we had these specialists watching her like hawks. She had amazing care but there was nothing that could be done.”

Snow also received antibiotics for Lyme disease, a bacterial infection similarly spread through the bite of an infected tick. Lyme disease’s telltale bull’s-eye rash had appeared on her shoulder blade and she had been bitten another time in late October, but Snow’s health providers soon suspected a virus, Whittington said.

Because the antibiotic treatment can interfere with Lyme test results, Snow’s family doesn’t know if she contracted both Lyme and Powassan.

“It is much more deadly than Lyme, and people need to be aware of that,” Whittington said. “We want people to protect themselves.”

Powassan is distinct from the much more common Lyme disease in several ways. In addition to being caused by a virus rather than a bacterium, Powassan spreads in two strains, through the bite of both the deer tick, Lyme’s preferred host; and the woodchuck tick.

Both strains cause the same symptoms in humans.

Maine last recorded Powassan in humans between 1999 and 2004, when the state documented four cases of the virus, Lubelczyk said. Powassan also has been detected in Maine deer and moose, though the virus doesn’t appear to sicken the animals, he said.

In tick-dense areas of Maine along the midcoast to York County, an estimated 50 percent to 70 percent of adult deer ticks are infected with Lyme. But researchers lack data on how many ticks carry Powassan, he said.

“We know that it’s around,” Lubelczyk said. “Now why it would suddenly decide to pop up this year as opposed to last year or the year before, we don’t really know.”

He expects Maine hasn’t seen the last of the virus.

“I suspect, although I don’t know, that we’ll probably see more of it as the years go by, especially since it’s now appearing in deer ticks,” Lubelczyk said. “In potential areas, it’s really kind of a game-changer, as far as tick-borne diseases go.”

Public health officials believe Powassan is more common in Maine than the documented cases suggest. Some patients never get diagnosed or tested, preventing the Maine CDC from ever learning of the illness, said Director Sheila Pinette.

Unlike Lyme, Powassan isn’t “reportable,” meaning health providers aren’t required to notify the CDC of Powassan cases, she said. Maine CDC is working to change that, she said.

“We really believe that the numbers are low,” she said. “We feel there’s a lot of underreporting.”

Some people infected with the virus don’t experience symptoms, according to the U.S. CDC. The incubation period, or time from the tick bite to the beginning of illness, ranges from about a week to a month.

“It’s not commonly part of the battery of tests that [doctors] would order, but we’re encouraging physicians, for patients complaining of fatigue, fever, and meningitislike symptoms, that they order this test,” Pinette said.

While ticks need 24 hours to transmit Lyme, “with Powassan we’re not certain how long the tick needs to be attached to transmit the disease,” she said.

Whittington, who lives in the Kennebec County town of Mount Vernon on 12 acres of designated deer yard, urged Mainers to check themselves for ticks after time in the outdoors. Every time.

“Living in Maine is such a gift … We don’t have poisonous snakes, we don’t have poisonous bugs, but we do have ticks,” she said.

 One more death this year, and a second case, in Minnesota, where the tick had never been reported before.

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Here in Greenwich, our green tsar Denise Savgeau must be licking her chops

Our good, your land: perfect together.

Our good, your land: perfect together.

New Jersey is taking beachfront property without compensation to homeowners in order to build 18′-high dunes.

Many New Jersey Shore towns battered by superstorm Sandy are moving to seize private land to accommodate a network of protective coastal dunes, using their powers of eminent domain in a way officials say they never have before.

Many of the homeowners who are holding out have two main issues: They want financial compensation, and they don’t want to lose their ocean views. The dunes could be 18 feet tall or higher. Some fear signing the easements invites commercial development, though the state says that won’t happen.

“I can’t get past the point the government wants to take my property. You can’t take people’s property without compensation,” said Arlene “Barrie” Callahan, who owns a Cape Cod-style home in Long Beach Township. “If they’re taking half the yard maybe they should pay half the taxes? That would at least be something.”

Many New Jersey towns have suggested that homeowners who haven’t agreed to give up their land could get less than $1,000 in exchange, but officials say homeowners are in effect also being compensated with the protection provided by the new dune structures.

Under eminent domain, the government can take private property for public use, as long as it provides compensation. Generally, the Jersey towns are seeking to take just strips of land from parcels, enough to make room for dunes.

Legal experts and state and town officials say New Jersey’s proposed use of eminent domain to build protective dunes is unusual and likely unprecedented, though the proceeding has been used routinely for other types of projects deemed to be in the public’s benefit, such as roads. Across the U.S., a few towns are considering eminent domain to fight banks from moving on underwater mortgages, but that has sparked legal and political battles.

New Jersey’s move is constitutional but raises questions, including whether owners are being compensated fairly, said Ilya Somin, a professor at George Mason University and an expert on eminent domain. He added that government officials often try to under-compensate owners and that measuring how much land is worth is tricky. Often for emotional reasons, many land owners tend to overstate their property’s value.

“In the narrow boundaries of the law, it is permissible,” he said. “Whether it is actually desirable for the government to condemn land, I don’t know.”

Public officials, naturally, are unsympathetic to their citizens’ complaints.

“Everybody knows the dunes are coming. Period. End of story. You can be a good neighbor, get in line. Or you can fight it. One or the other,” said [Toms River Mayor] Mr. Mancini.

Does a state have the constitutional authority to seize homeowners’ property for the general good without compensating those who are losing their land? I think not, but I’m not a liberal jurist: this past July, New Jersey’s Supreme Court ruled that no compensation was due, and liberal courts across the nation simply love, and follow, the property (non) rights decisions of their brethren in the Garden State. If this  land grab survives federal scrutiny, look for the global warmists and Greenwich-haters to close in on us here. Can you imagine the glee with which the Hartford loonies would impose this on Greenwich? Aided and betted by our own Diane Fox, Katie Blankley and Denise Savageu, of course, who would love to see our town waterfront sealed off from its owners. If they can take that land without paying for it, you know they’ll do it. Or try to, anyway: beware.

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We’d do it, but we’re in Hawaii

Go away, I'm busy

Hey, I’m busy

Obama urges Americans to help out at soup kitchens while he’s away.

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There goes a great comedy source

Great advice, but still ...

Whose idea was it to hire Jared for this campaign?

McDonald’s shuts down its employee website after latest blowup.

  • The same website that told employees to apply for food stamps, pawn their things and find second jobs was at it again this week, telling staff not to eat deep-fried food and choose ‘healthier options
  • McResource Line has now been listed as ‘temporarily unavailable for upgrades’
  • Embarrassingly, McDonald’s admitted the take-down was due to the site containing ‘outdated information’ that ‘created unwarranted scrutiny’

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