Daily Archives: February 26, 2015

Another $100 million up in smoke

Anybody home?

Anybody home?

RBS moving out of Stamford, along with UBS.

RBS executives told reporters in the United Kingdom that the bank is reviewing the need for its Stamford operation, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal, part of its plan to “significantly” scale back its U.S. investment banking operations. RBS maintains a large office and trading floor in Stamford it built with $100 million in state assistance, consolidating operations there in 2010 from its former RBS Greenwich Capital building on Greenwich Harbor and from New York City.

The reporter for this story claims that the abandoned building will be a gift to Stamford from Connecticut taxpayers, but given the source of Connecticut’s funding, it’s really a gift from Greenwich to Stamford and from Stamford to itself. When UBS flees, just ahead of RBS, Stamford will have 1,600,000 sq.ft. of  additional vacant office space to fill, built with our tax dollars. Such a deal.


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Billionaire Nancy Pelosi bewails the lack of funds for her fellow congressmen: “they’re living paycheck to paycheck”

The average net worth of Congress is about $1 million, the senate, $14 million. Of course, this is the same lady who said of the federal budget, “the cupboards are bare; there’s not a nickel left to cut”, so she obviously has a different view of money than the rest of us.


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That’s more than guns!

C. diff infections attacking 500,000, killing 29,000 Americans per year – caused by antibiotics. Let’s see if Obumski uses his executive power to ban them.

Fighting C. diff. costs hospitals up to $4.8 billion each year, CDC says.


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This ought to be of interest to lawyers and real estate brokers, among others

Don't try this at home!

Don’t try this at home!

Supreme Court rules, 6-3, that dental board can’t regulate teeth whitening

The high court ruled Wednesday that a North Carolina state dental board cannot exclude nondentists from offering teeth whitening services.

In a 6-3 vote, the justices said the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners violated anti-trust laws by pushing out their competition, which often provides the same service at a lower cost at malls and spas.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his majority opinion that board members — who were involved in their own private dental practices — were “confusing their own interests with the state’s policy goals.”

The case was brought forward by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in 2010, after the board sent cease-and-desist letters to malls where nondentists operated teeth-whitening kiosks in 2006, the Associated Press reported.

“These actions had the intended result,” Kennedy wrote. “Nondentists ceased offering teeth-whitening services in North Carolina.”

Consumers were forced to have their teeth whitened by dentists, who often charge between $300 and $700 for over-the-counter kits.

The FTC said board members could not decide who whitens teeth because they had a financial investment in the market. The board acted as more of a trade association than a state board.

Justice Samuel Alito dissented in the Supreme Court ruling, warning that the decision “is likely to have far-reaching effects on the states’ regulation of professions” because many boards are composed of working professionals.

Since this case was heard by the court, I’ve read several horror stories about non-professionals ruining patients’ teeth, but regardless, how many “professional” boards around the country are run by members of the profession they regulate? Certainly lawyers and real estate brokers, probably barbers, accountants and interior decorators too. As Drudge would say, “Developing ….”


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Readers, don’t let this happen to you

It's the sort of thing that just ruins a home's resale value

It’s the sort of thing that just ruins a home’s resale value

Oregon: House stolen right off its foundation.

A 1,200 square foot Oregon home disappeared from its foundation, and no one has any idea where it is.

Klamath County Sheriff Frank Skrah confirmed the incident at a press conference on Tuesday. So far, there do not seem to be any leads as to the house’s location or how it seemingly vanished overnight.

“We had a complete home stolen. This isn’t a motor home, this isn’t a mobile home and this is a ‘home,'” Skrah said, according to local NBC affiliate KOBI.



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What kind of sick perverts would invite this lady to a foursome?

Even if paper bags were mandatory, would you, could you ...?

Even if paper bags were mandatory, would you, could you …?

PA cow arrested for drunk driving after she drives her toddler to an orgy.

There’s drunken driving, drunken driving with her young son in the car, taking said child to an orgy, and taking her clothes off in front of another young boy at the home where the alleged orgy was to be held.

Pennsylvania mother Heather Young, 34, faces a slew of charges after police found her shouting in the hallway of an apartment complex in the wee hours of Tuesday, authorities said.

Responding to a call of a domestic fight, officers in Chartiers Township were told Young had driven drunk to a home where she intended to engage in a sexual foursome, KDKA-TV reported.

But an argument erupted after Young and another woman began shouting at each other because Young started to strip in front of the other woman’s child, a witness told the cops.


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I had no idea they could be transplanted, let alone that someone might want to

Whoa, doggie!

Whoa, doggie!

Man wakes up to discover that someone has stolen his testicles.

Police in Russia are tracking a gang – apparently including a doctor – who drugged a TV soap actor and removed his testicles.

Dmitry Nikolaev, 30, had a drink with a ‘young blonde woman’ who approached him at a bar after he finished a performance at a small Moscow theatre.

Flirting with him, she invited him to a sauna, and though he was married, he agreed to go with her.

‘They kissed and had some more beer and after that the actor remembers nothing,’ said a police source.

He woke up next day at a bus stop, feeling acute pain, and with blood on his trousers.

[Police] fear a gang seeking to sell human organs on the black market [was responsible].

That takes balls.


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Mike Finkbeiner o tannenbaums on last night’s P& Z session

No boats, no house, no nothing, and no compensation

No boats, no house, no nothing, and no compensation

He addresses the Audi decision (discussed in an earlier post,) but also criticizes a ruling that essentially renders an entire property useless. It’s an exercise in eminent domain, without compensation.

….Ole’s is an historic boatyard, built out over public trust land (meaning it has water under the docks.)

If you remove the water dependent boatyard use, the state says you must remove the docks and allow the banks to revert to nature. Residential docks are limited to 100 sq.ft. Ole’s has 1000’s.

But the Town zone is residential single family.  But there is not enough actual land to make a decent lot.

Therefore, in the end, it’s abandon the historic use and lose the land, the history, the water access and a usable lot.

Zoning by itself fails when there is no effective plan in place to guide and decide the Commission.

But bravo to Heller and Alban for insisting that the duck must both waddle and quack. Now back to the drawing board.

Mike Finkbeiner lives in Greenwich . He is a professional forester and licensed sand surveyor at the company he founded, EarthImage.net


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Dang, there goes Obama’s Job Corp program for the Middle East

Obama: "Terrorism springs from lack of opportunity and poverty"

Obama: “Terrorism springs from lack of opportunity and poverty”

“Jihadi John” identified 

The British Islamic State militant known as “Jihadi John” was identified Thursday as Mohammed Emwazi by a report in The Washington Post.

“Jihadi John” has appeared masked, but speaking with his British accent, in ISIS hostage-beheading videos, leading some who knew him before he left for Syria in 2012 to identify him to the newspaper.

The Guardian confirmed Emwazi’s identity as “Jihadi John,” and two US government sources confirmed the same to Reuters.

Emwazi, 27, was reportedly born in Kuwait. He was from a “well-to-do” family, lived in London, and was described as polite and stylish. He is also educated, with a degree in computer programming, according to the Post.

Emwazi occasionally prayed at a mosque and was known to adhere to his faith while he lived in London, but it wasn’t until he planned a post-college graduation safari trip to Tanzania that he started to radicalize, sources said.

So: No hardscrabble existence, no deprivation, a full education and access to well paying jobs. Is there anything Obama understands about Islamic terrorism and its roots? Either he doesn’t, which is scary, or he does and is deliberately lying to the American public, which is even scarier.



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This should excite the neighborhood

Bob Luckey for Greenwich Time

Bob Luckey for Greenwich Time

CL&P wants to build a new substation on Railroad Avenue

Eversource, the energy company formerly known as Connecticut Light and Power, will host an open house at Greenwich Town Hall on Tuesday to present plans for a new power substation on Railroad Avenue.

“Building a new substation is not something we do frequently,” Eversource spokesman Frank Poirot said. “It happens when customer demand for electricity continues to grow, and we’ve been marking that trend in Greenwich in particular for years now.”

The current bulk substation, in Cos Cob, was built in 1964, when there was less demand for energy in American’s daily lives. Eversource anticipates the need will exceed its capacity at some point in 2017, Poirot said this week.

The energy company filed a municipal consultation earlier this month, outlining a multiyear plan to bring a new substation into town at 290 Railroad Ave., a building the company has owned since the 1970s. That location is home to Pet Pantry, a pet store, which recently bought the old Baang property on East Putnam Avenue for $2.7 million.

The first step of that process is the open house, which will be held in the Town Hall Meeting Room from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, where representatives from Eversource will explain plans for the project and invite questions from the public.

Poirot said if it’s approved, construction would likely begin as soon as August 2016, kicking off a process he said is estimated to cost $104 million.

The property has been owned by the utility for decades: one of my after-school jobs in high school was working for Jack Cohen, owner of Pet Pantry, and when we moved here from Mason Street in 1971, Jack got, I think, a 30-year-lease in what was already an old building. At the time, Jack told me CL&P didn’t foresee an immediate use for the property – hence the long lease, but was holding on to it for the time they’d need it. That time has come, apparently.

There should be no argument about the need for this new capacity, and the location, surrounded by other commercial buildings and the railroad tracks, with no immediate residences nearby should, in a rational world, raise no objection, but it’s Greenwich, so I foresee a lengthy battle, just because.


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