Daily Postcard: Peach colored sunrise Thursday in White Rock. Photo by Nancy Ann Hibbs
Daily Postcard: Peach colored sunrise Thursday in White Rock. Photo by Nancy Ann Hibbs
Los Alamos County CDD employee David Martinez tests out the new Skype tool his department will roll out in March. Martinez and his colleagues will use Skype to conduct re-inspections for residents and contractors. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.comBY KIRSTEN LASKEYLos Alamos Daily Postkirsten@ladailypost.comAttending an International Code Council’s national conference last year in Nevada gave Los Alamos County Chief Building Official Michael Arellano an idea: Why not use Skype to re-inspect buildings and homes?After going through the training at the conference, Arellano said, “I wanted to bring that to Los Alamos as a way to help contractors and citizens on certain re-inspections receive faster inspections and not have to wait.”The plan is to implement the program March 1.The re-inspection can be conducted on any device, Arellano said, such as a phone, tablet or computer. However, there are some qualifications that need to be met, for instance:The customer needs to have 4G connectivity;The customer needs to have all the tools necessary for the inspection such as a tape measure or ladder;The customer needs to be at least 18 years old; andDuring the inspection, the customer needs to start with the street view, show the property’s address, follow the inspector’s instructions and take notes of any corrections.Once the inspection is completed, the inspector will inform the customer whether the inspection passed, failed or partially failed.The inspector will then update the permitting system with the results.There is a narrow scope of what can qualify for Skype inspection, he added. Only re-inspections will be done via Skype and Arellano said the inspector needs to be comfortable with doing the inspection online. They don’t want to miss any life saving issues, he explained.Arellano added only re-inspections qualify for Skype because they are simpler, and the building inspectors already know what to look for since they have previously been to the site.Some types of inspections that allow for the inspection to be done via Skype include framing inspections as well as evaluating floor plates to ensure they are properly anchored.Not only should Skype make the inspections quicker and timelier, but Arellano said the program should cut down on fuel emissions because inspectors don’t need to drive to check out different properties.He added his department is always looking at ways to improve and provide better service.“We are trying to figure out innovative ways to provide better service for our citizens and our contractors,” Arellano said, adding, “We’re always open to do something new and exciting.”The Community Development Department (CDD) has a proven track record of innovation. Arellano pointed out the CDD is the first building department in the state to be accredited; it is the first in the state to use drones for roof inspections and now it is first in the state to utilize Skype.Arellano said his staff is eager to use Skype for inspections.“I have a really great staff … who are willing to try something new,” he said. “I appreciate the great staff I have here that are always willing to try new and innovative things.”But the real benefactors will be the CDD’s customers, Arellano said.“I see it as more of a value and asset to contractors and homeowners out there,” he said.
STATE News:SANTA FE – An emergency declaration requested by the mayor of Gallup and authorized by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has been extended through noon, Thursday, May 7, per the mayor’s request.The action is intended to continue the aggressive physical distancing in the community and thus mitigate transmission of COVID-19. In response to an emergency request from Gallup Mayor Louis Bonaguidi, the governor at 12 p.m. on Friday, May 1, invoked the state’s Riot Control Act, authorizing her to enact further temporary restrictions to mitigate the uninhibited spread of COVID-19 in that city. An emergency declaration made under the act is in effect until noon the third day after it becomes effective.Mayor Bonaguidi on Sunday requested an emergency declaration be extended rather than allowed to expire Monday; the governor granted the request and has formalized the extension order. The mayor’s letter is attached to this news release. The governor’s order is also attached to the news release.The emergency declaration closes all roads into Gallup, limited business hours, restricted how many individuals could travel in a car at once and directed Gallup residents to remain at home except for emergency outings. Upon the mayor’s request, the hours of business closures will be amended from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.“Only through the extension of the invocation of your authority under the Riot Control Act can our community impose the measures necessary to stem transmission of COVID-19,” wrote Mayor Bonaguidi.Gallup city police and McKinley County sheriff’s department have partnered with New Mexico State Police and Department of Transportation to enforce the emergency order and road closures. The New Mexico National Guard has also provided support to this effort in a non-law enforcement capacity.The Riot Control Act authorizes the governor to, for the temporary existence of a state of emergency, prohibit persons being on public streets and the use of certain streets and highways, among other broad emergency restrictions.Because of the extreme heightened risk of transmission in the northwestern region of the state, McKinley County – along with neighboring San Juan and Cibola counties – remain subject to the Secretary of Health’s public health order of April 11.Moderate easings incorporated in the modified public health order effective Friday, May 1, do not apply in those counties.McKinley County as of Sunday afternoon had reported 1,144 positive cases of COVID-19, the most positive cases in the entire state, outstripping even far more populous counties.
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Norwegian shipowner Farstad Shipping has appointed Brett Silich as the new managing director of its Australian organisation.This follows Farstad’s plans to consolidate the Australian offices and locating the head office to Perth.Silich will replace Wayne Aitken, who has headed local Farstad Shipping operations for more than four years.Silich has previously worked in senior positions at Maersk Supply Service, Subsea7 and been CEO at Velocious.“Farstad Shipping has a long history and is one of the leading and most innovative supply vessel companies in the industry,” Silich said.“I look forward to participating in the further development of the company and cementing its 19-year history in the region through first class customer support and flawless operations.”Farstad Shipping CEO, Karl-Johan Bakken, said: “It is a significant that Brett has accepted the position as managing director. With broad experience from similar positions in business and industry, he will be a natural fit. We are preparing Farstad Shipping for the future, and Brett will be an important contributor to our ongoing development.“We express gratitude to Mr Aitken, who leaves on good terms having lifted the business to another level in recent years.”Silich should start his new role on December 12, 2016.
The Co-operative Group is planning a new campaign to promote its legal services to food shoppers in its 3,000 supermarkets nationwide. The news came as the group, which aims to be one of the first alternative business structures, told the Gazette that it believes ‘the die is cast’ for legal services reform, no matter which party is in government after the next election. The advertising campaign will see the Co-op’s legal services division promoted for nine weeks in an initiative that will include the use of in-store radio and animated till screen displays. The group aims to increase awareness of Co-op Legal Services by 5%, matching the success of a similar campaign run last year. Co-operative Legal Services managing director Eddie Ryan said the division had increased the number of solicitors and Institute of Legal Executives staff it employs by a third over the past 12 months, and is continuing to recruit. It currently employs 37 solicitors. Ryan said he was confident that legal services reforms would be implemented, regardless of who wins the election. Last November, Conservative shadow justice minister Henry Bellingham raised doubts by suggesting that ABSs would be ‘one more assault on the high-street solicitor’, with big names able to cherry pick more lucrative work. Ryan said: ‘Having looked at the excellent work the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Legal Services Board have done thus far, I can’t see the legal services reforms not happening… Ultimately, we want to be one of the first ABSs. But we have not yet made any hard and fast decision on which areas to expand yet.’ Jonathan Gulliford, sales and marketing director of Co-operative Legal Services, said: ‘The die is cast on ABSs. If there is a change of government, changing direction on legal services reforms will not be high on its agenda.’
THE LATVIAN government is to introduce a bill in November to split the national railways into five business units, following the passing of legislation in April enabling the partial privatisation of the LDZ network. Following studies of rail restructuring in Sweden, Germany and Great Britain, Latvian transport minister Uldis Petersons favours privatisation of train operations and the retention of infrastructure under state control. British consultancy Gibb Rail has been selected to assist with the transition process.The new legislation will convert LDZ into five units, responsible for infrastructure, freight, passengers, rolling stock and property. These will be given two years to become established, after which the first private operators are expected to begin running in 2002. LDZ freight traffic recovered strongly last year, up from 29 million tonnes in 1995 to 41 million tonnes, with transit traffic to and from the Russian Federation seen as a major potential market. o
SWITZERLAND: Five months after the celebrations to mark the breakthrough of the eastern running tunnel of the 57 km Gotthard base tunnel, the western bore was finally completed on March 23.The second breakthrough was not marked by the same kind of public ceremony as the first event on October 19, but around 350 guests including representatives from the local cantons of Uri, Ticino and Graubünden joined promoter Alptransit Gotthard AG for the celebrations. ‘This is another milestone in the construction of the longest railway tunnel in the world’, said Alptransit Chairman Renzo Simoni.Construction of the base tunnel between Ersfeld and Bodio began in 2001. Over the past decade more than 152 km of tunnel has been excavated, including the two running tunnels, access adits and shafts. Over 28 million tonnes of rock has been removed from the workings, of which more than half has been excavated using tunnel boring machines.Over the next few months, the remaining construction plant will be dismantled and the second bore cleared out ready for the installation of railway systems, including track, overhead electrification, train control and safety equipment. Installation work and tracklaying have already started at the southern end of the base tunnel. Alptransit Gotthard expects to hand over the completed tunnels to SBB ready for operation in May 2016.
Walter Presents has acquired its first African drama – Sakho and Mangane – for UK distribution from Lagardère Studios Distribution.Sakho and Mangane is an 8-part detective series set in Dakar, Senegal. Produced by Keewu for Canal + International the series stars Issaka Sawadogo, Yann Gael, Fatou Elise Ba and Christiane Dumont. When Commander Sakho is thrown together with new cop Mangane, two very different worlds collide which make for some interesting investigations.The platform has also secured French thriller Philharmonia for UK and Australia from Lagardère Studios Distribution too.Philharmonia is a 6-part French series set in Paris produced by Merlin Productions and France 2. Hélène Barizet takes over the Philharmonia, the national orchestra left in turmoil after the sudden death of its previous conductor. But the orchestra has cultivated a damning reputation and has become ominously nicknamed ‘the maestro killer.’ Suffice to say Helene’s unorthodox approach immediately sets the cat amongst the pigeons with very dangerous consequences. Created by Marine Gacem the series stars Marie-Sophie Ferdane, Lina El Arabi and Laurent Bateau.Co-founder and curator Walter Iuzzolino says:“Walter Presents was set up to find hidden drama gems from around the world and we’re proud to be championing our very first African series. Sakho and Mangane is a thriller of contrasts with an unlikely but likeable cop duo at its heart. A crime procedural set in Senegal is a rare treat and I’m hoping it will be the first of many more African series we can acquire. Philharmonia is a deliciously rich thriller set in the seemingly classy world of classical music. However, look beyond the orchestra pit and a dirty world of back-stabbing, jealousy and bloody vendettas is revealed. This is an utterly addictive thriller with a sound-track to die for.”No transmission dates have been confirmed yet but we’ll bring you the details as soon as we know them.