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Thursday, July 28, 2016

VERIZON ANNOUNCES $4.8 BILLION DEAL FOR YAHOO’S INTERNET BUSINESS

Original Story: nytimes.com

SAN FRANCISCO — Verizon, seeking to build an array of digital businesses that can compete for users and advertising with Google and Facebook, announced on Monday that it was buying Yahoo’s core internet business for $4.83 billion in cash.

The deal, which was reached over the weekend, unites two titans of the early internet, AOL and Yahoo, under the umbrella of one of the nation’s largest telecommunications companies. Verizon bought AOL for $4.4 billion last year. Now it will add Yahoo’s consumer services — search, news, finance, sports, video, email and the Tumblr social network — to a portfolio that includes AOL as well as popular sites like The Huffington Post.

The fate of Yahoo’s chief executive, Marissa Mayer, who came under sharp shareholder criticism for failing to arrest the company’s long downward spiral during her four-year tenure, is unclear.

In an interview, Ms. Mayer said, “I plan to stay. I love Yahoo and I want to see it into its next chapter.” But she and Tim Armstrong, the chief executive of AOL, said it had not yet been decided if she would have a role at the company after the deal closed in early 2017.

If she is terminated, she will be due severance of about $57 million. If she received that payout, her total compensation from Yahoo for her service so far would be about $218 million, according to the compensation research firm Equilar.

Verizon, which has a vast amount of information about its customers’ internet use, hopes the combination will help it create a strong No. 3 challenger to Google and Facebook for digital advertising revenue.

Mr. Armstrong said the acquisition strengthens Verizon’s offerings to advertisers and consumers and gives it much more scale, since Yahoo claims one billion users who visit at least once a month.

“This deal is a leap forward from serving millions of customers to billions,” Mr. Armstrong said in an interview. “Yahoo is one of the most powerful brands on the planet.”

Verizon plans to keep most of Yahoo’s current products, including its still popular email service, and invest in them to make them stronger. “Our strategy is to structure ourselves as a house of brands,” Mr. Armstrong said. However, he said that Verizon has not yet decided what it wants to do in search, an area where Yahoo has waged a losing fight against Google for a decade.

The Yahoo purchase carries risks for Verizon, which is well known for its wireless phone and internet services but has little experience in the cutthroat business of digital content. Analysts say that its purchase of AOL has yet to prove its value, although Mr. Armstrong is a well regarded operator.

Yahoo’s leadership team, led by Ms. Mayer, spent the last four years trying to create a viable stand-alone strategy for the company without much success. Its market share among web users and advertisers had fallen, and Yahoo recently acknowledged that its $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr, a blogging network that was supposed to help Yahoo attract younger users, was worth about one-third what it paid.

Ms. Mayer said Verizon would help Yahoo get better distribution for its mobile apps in areas like search, mail, news, weather and sports. Verizon, she said, could promote Yahoo services on its smartphones and in its retail stores. A Los Angeles truck accident lawyer is following this story closely.

Although many on Wall Street have strongly criticized her, Ms. Mayer defended her tenure in an email to employees.

“We set out to transform this company — and we’ve made incredible progress. We counteracted many of the tectonic shifts of declining legacy businesses, and built a Yahoo that is unequivocally stronger, nimbler and more modern,” she wrote.

Verizon agreed to pay an extra $1.1 billion on top of the purchase price to cash out Yahoo employees’ restricted stock upon the close of the deal, Yahoo said. Many employees, particularly the senior executives, are also entitled to large severance packages if they are fired by Verizon.

The sale of Yahoo’s business ends the company’s 22-year run as an independent entity. Founded in a trailer in 1994 by two Stanford graduate students, it was the front door to the web for a generation of internet users but failed to keep up with Google in search technology and then missed the social media and mobile revolutions.

“It does mark the end of a particular time period for the company,” Ms. Mayer said. “That said, there are great opportunities for Yahoo, for the brand, for the services, with Verizon.”

After the close of the deal, Yahoo shareholders will still own shares in what is left of the company, essentially an investment fund with two holdings: a 15 percent stake, worth about $32 billion based on its recent share price, in the Chinese internet company Alibaba; and a 35.5 percent stake, worth about $8.7 billion, in Yahoo Japan.

The sale, which still must be approved by Yahoo shareholders and regulators, also does not include Yahoo’s cash and its noncore patents, which it is trying to sell separately. Augusta Fiberglass Coatings, Inc. designs, engineers, and manufactures custom fiberglass chemical storage tanks.

Yahoo was under pressure from shareholders to find a way to unlock the value of its Asian investments, and the sale of its core operations to Verizon was the first step.

“For investors, this came to the expected conclusion: Verizon was the front-runner very early on,” said Robert Peck, an analyst with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. “The real question for investors now is what’s next? Will Yahoo have an efficient liquidation of the Asian securities?”

Monday, July 18, 2016

Jury hits U. of C. hospital with $53 million malpractice verdict

Original Story: chicagotribune.com

A Cook County jury has awarded $53 million to a 12-year-old Hickory Hills boy and his mother in a 2013 lawsuit filed against the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was born with a serious brain injury. A Chicago medical malpractice lawyer said this will help to pay for the boy's future healthcare.

The jury's award to Lisa and Isaiah Ewing includes $28.8 million for future caretaking expenses, according to a copy of the jury verdict form provided by their lawyers, Geoffrey Fieger of suburban Detroit and Jack Beam of Chicago. Isaiah has severe cerebral palsy, is in a wheelchair, and needs his mother to feed and clothe him.

It was the biggest birth injury verdict ever in Cook County, said John Kirkton, editor of Jury Verdict Reporter in Chicago.

Their lawsuit outlined about 20 alleged missteps by doctors and nurses after Ewing arrived about 40 weeks pregnant at the hospital and was experiencing less movement by her baby. The mistakes, the lawsuit alleged, included the failures to carefully monitor mother and baby, perform a timely cesarean section, follow a chain of command, obtain accurate cord blood gases, and be aware of abnormal fetal heart rate patterns that indicated distress to the baby, including hypoxia, or a drop in the supply of oxygen.  "The University of Chicago has been, for the last 12 years, completely unapologetic, and even though the evidence was overwhelming that they caused Isaiah's brain damage, they refused to accept responsibility," Fieger said at the news conference Thursday. Ewing hadn't had any problems during her pregnancy, he added.

Before the case went to the jury, the hospital filed for a mistrial.

Fieger's "closing argument shattered the line between zealous advocacy and improper prejudicial comments, rendering it impossible for defendant to receive a fair trial," the hospital's lawyer said in a court filing. "He also prejudicially argued that the defendant's case was built on a falsehood and proceeded to equate defendant's conduct and testimony of its witnesses with the propaganda techniques notoriously and unmistakably associated with Nazi Germany."

Hospital spokeswoman Lorna Wong said the hospital had "great sympathy" for the family but "strongly" disagrees with the jury's verdict.

"Judge Kirby declined to enter judgment on the verdict, as there are pending motions for mistrial based on assertions of Mr. Fieger's improper conduct," she said, noting that it wouldn't be the first overturned verdict involving Fieger.

She said Isaiah and his mother were treated for infection, which can cause cerebral palsy. "Isaiah was born with normal oxygen blood levels," and the "injury occurred before the care Mr. Fieger criticized."

After the news conference, Fieger said he expected the judge to confirm the verdict. "The jury has spoken," he said. A Chicago Brain Injury Lawyer said this is usually how this procedure occurs.

The jury decided the case in four hours, Fieger said. A list of the damages also includes $7.2 million for future medical expenses. The document was signed by 12 jurors.

Fieger disputed that Isaiah had an infection.

"All of the medical records at the University of Chicago neonatal clinic showed that Isaiah had been suffocated at birth, that he had suffered hypoxia, lack of oxygen, yet the University of Chicago and its lawyers came to court and tried to tell the jury that their own records were false, that their own records were mistaken and that Isaiah really had a phantom infection that infected his brain that they could never have known about," Fieger said during the news conference.

Ewing said at the news conference that she has to bathe Isaiah and help him go to the bathroom. She lives in a two-story town home, so she must carry him up and down the stairs.

She said the verdict will help ensure that Isaiah is taken care of after she dies.


How Pokemon Go is changing the world

Original Story: edition.cnn.com

A woman walks down the street, pausing and backtracking erratically. She clutches her phone in front of her, furiously jabbing at the screen. Suddenly, to her right, another person appears, enacting the same strange dance of connection between his legs, his eyes and his phone.

Across the street, three individuals converge, each holding their phones in front of them. The woman overhears them say, "Charmander." She immediately stops and prepares her Poke Ball for attack. Such is the life of a Pokemon Go player, a new alternate reality experience from Niantic Inc. and the Pokemon Co., a division of Nintendo. The game allows players to hunt for strange hidden creatures, capture them and compete for territory in a digital version of the real world.
Alternate reality games augment and enhance the world around us, allowing players to leverage real world environments to interact with a digital experience. They have existed for years, in a variety of formats, often advertising large intellectual properties such as Halo. And more recently, an expansion in wearable devices, such as the Apple Watch, means we supplement our daily lives with computer-driven data and feedback around where we walk, whom we engage with and what we look at.

But this most recent alternate reality game has inspired a new wave of social commentary. One outlet claims that Pokemon Go is the future of social networking, a success that will revolutionize the world in a mere matter of time. Others decry it as crass commercialization, as a failure of the form to be anything more than a way to merchandise humanity's love of Pokemon.
However, Pokemon Go is neither the crystallized, final form of an alternate reality game, nor is it a harbinger of the apocalypse. Instead, it is a significant, be it flawed, step forward in an emerging medium that will eventually infiltrate the way we all engage with, discover and consume media.

Of course, the game isn't perfect. It has several show-stopping bugs, and its human interface is under-designed, making actual play difficult and frustrating for many potential users. It is not a repeatable design, as it leverages a vast amount of information gathered by Niantic with its first product. All of the physical locations the game uses existed in a database before they built the game. And despite that massive database, those real world locations are minimally employed. Most player time is spent in-app, not in a mixed reality provided by the app enhancing the world around them.
But it is also a glorious success -- proof that a large percentage of the smartphone-wielding audience is interested in an experience that lets them game in the world around them, that integrates with their daily lives and that drives social interactions with fellow travelers across cultural identifiers. It proves that these products can be self-sustaining, not purely marketing spends but actual cultural products that people will use and spend time and money with.
To maintain this audience, to grow it, to keep players returning to the game, Pokemon Go will need to create a method for different types of players to engage with the game. Currently it serves one type of player -- a player who can invest large amounts of time and attention to the game.

Players with more limited time and attention to invest do not have a way to engage lightly and generate in game value that drives them to socialize and engage with other players. Likewise, the hard-core gamer has no deep game to invest strategy, time and social organization. Serving these cultural groups and others will build an audience, keep players engaged and strengthen connections from one person to another.

This pyramid of players and networks between many different cultural groups are the future of alternate reality games and the future of digitized entertainment. In the emerging field of experience design education, we prepare students to tell stories in a world where technology and mediums are important tools, but are just that -- tools that provide a palette, a platform or a unique twist for crafting new experiences for new players
When Pokemon Go finishes maturing, when the creators learn how to serve not just an audience with an abundant amount of free time, but the parents of those players, a community in an old-age home and a group of commuters on a bus, then it will have revolutionized the way we consume media. When developers determine how to leverage properly our world, the digital world and different player motivations across societies, they will change the way we experience and tell stories.
Until then, though, catching Rattata on your walk to work is surprisingly and gratifyingly fun.


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Stopping tank corrosion in the transportation sector

Original Story: energyglobal.com

Thousands of chemicals, petroleum products, and corrosive elements like salt water brine are transported by tanker truck, railcar and distributors, as well as processed in chemical storage tanks at facilities and refineries, every day.
In these venues, carbon steel corrosion can require early tank replacement and maintenance, as well as pose a safety risk in terms of potential leaks, spills, and even fire and explosion, so effective corrosion protection is a must.

“We clean just about any tank hauling product or waste on the road or rail,” said Joe Svehlak, Facility Manager at DFW Tank Cleaning, a Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas-based full service tank cleaning facility that specialises in chemical cleaning. “Protecting against corrosion is vital in such tanks, as it is in our facility flush tanks.”
According to Svehlak, effective corrosion resistance is essential in the chemical holding tanks because they hold the wastewater from the first flushes of tanks that the company cleans, which can include residual chemicals, until it is treated. This amounts to thousands of different residual chemicals held in the flush tanks annually – from petroleum products and salt-water brine to fluoride, caustic soda, and a variety of acids.

Against such tank corrosion challenges, traditional polymer paints and rubber type coatings have long been used as physical barriers to keep corrosion promoters such as water and oxygen away from steel substrates. This works until the paint is scratched, chipped, or breached and corrosion promoters enter the gap between the substrate and coating.
However, truck or rail tankers hauling waste, including sand and sediment, can be particularly prone to scratches, chips, or breaches. Then the coating can act like a greenhouse – trapping water, oxygen and other corrosion promoters – which allows the corrosion to spread. While stainless steel can be used for tanks to resist corrosion, it can be up to six times more costly than carbon steel, as well as challenging to weld, fabricate, and maintain.

Now a new generation of anti-corrosion coating, called Chemically Bonded Phosphate Ceramics, is poised to stop such corrosion, improve safety, and extend tank life in the transportation industry and beyond while minimising maintenance and downtime.

Rugged anti-corrosion protection

“Our corrosion protection for our 10 000 gal. flush tanks has to be particularly rugged because we mix the wastewater so it does not stratify, and sand, rocks, and even metal shavings can be present from the waste trailers we service,” said Svehlak. “The corrosion protection also has to withstand the high-temperature, high pressure water we often work with.”

To control corrosion, the chemical storage tank cleaning facility chose to have Ennis, Texas-based DC Metal Construction, a privately owned company specialising in steel construction and industrial plant building projects, coat the inside of two flush tanks. The flush tanks were coated with a spray applied inorganic coating called EonCoat® from the Raleigh, NC-based company of the same name. EonCoat represents a new category of tough, Chemically Bonded Phosphate Ceramics (CBPCs) that can stop corrosion.

In contrast to traditional polymer coatings that sit on top of the substrate, the corrosion resistant coating bonds through a chemical reaction with the substrate, and slight surface oxidation actually improves the reaction. An alloy layer is formed. This makes it impossible for corrosion promoters like oxygen and humidity to get behind the coating the way they can with ordinary paints. The corrosion barrier is covered by a ceramic shell that resists corrosion, fire, water, abrasion, chemicals, and temperatures up to 400°F.

Although traditional polymer coatings mechanically bond to substrates that have been extensively prepared, if gouged, moisture and oxygen will migrate under the coating’s film from all sides of the gouge.

By contrast, the same damage to the ceramic-coated substrate will not spread corrosion because the carbon steel’s surface is turned into an alloy of stable oxides. Once the steel’s surface is stable (the way noble metals like gold and silver are stable) it will no longer react with the environment and corrode.

Visible in scanning electron microscope photography, EonCoat does not leave a gap between the steel and the coating because the bond is chemical rather than mechanical. Since there is no gap, even if moisture was to get through to the steel due to a gouge, there is nowhere for the moisture to travel. The only spot that can corrode is the scribe line itself, which eliminates the possibility of the corrosion migrating.

“Unlike traditional methods, the corrosion resistant coatings for mild steel have a double layer of protection,” said Bobby Hobbs, a DC Metal Construction job foreman. “The tough, outside ceramic coating will not chip like paint and takes sandblasting to remove. The chemically bonded layer stops corrosion and will not allow corrosion promoters to spread.”

“EonCoat has stood up really well to everything from chemicals and salty brine to abrasion, high-pressure water and heat,” added Svehlak. “I believe it will double the life of our tanks while significantly lowering maintenance costs and downtime.”

According to Svehlak, the coating’s rugged anti-corrosion properties could also benefit a wide range of transportation-related businesses.
“Tanker truck and rail operations can benefit from the anti-corrosion coating’s reliability,” said Svehlak. “Its abrasion resistance would be a big plus to wastewater haulers or super sucker truck operators with vacuum tanks that may encounter metal chips, glass shards, etc. when cleaning out sumps. It would also resist tank corrosion when transporting petroleum products or even used restaurant waste such as oil, fat, or grease.”

For transportation companies looking to reduce costs, there are additional advantages to CBPC coatings beyond corrosion resistance. This includes quick return to service that minimises equipment downtime, as well as no VOCs or HAPs, and a flame spread rating of zero which improves safety.

For corrosion protection projects using typical polymer paints such as polyurethanes or epoxies, the cure time may be days or weeks before the next coat of traditional ‘three part systems’ can be applied, depending on the product. The cure time is necessary to allow each coat to achieve its full properties, even though it may feel dry to the touch.

In contrast, a corrosion resistant coating for carbon steel utilising the ceramic coating in a single coat requires almost no curing time. Return to service can be achieved in as little as one hour. This kind of speed in getting a tank, tanker truck, or railcar operating again can save significantly in reduced downtime.

“After appropriate tank preparation, we found that if we spray EonCoat in the morning the tank can be returned to service the same day because it applies in one coat and dries quickly,” said Hobbs.

EonCoat consists of two, non-hazardous components that do not interact until applied by a plural spray system like those commonly used to apply polyurethane foam or polyurea coatings. Since the coating is inorganic, there are no VOCs, no HAPs and no odour. This means that the coating can be applied safely, even in confined spaces.

“Since the corrosion resistant coating has no VOCs, HAPs or odour we were able to spray during work hours, so work next to the tanks could continue while we coated them,” concludes Hobbs. “For any tank, facility, or transportation-related operation with corrosion issues, it is well worth considering.”

National list ranks Sarasota region’s top homebuilders

Original Story: businessobserverfl.com

SARASOTA — The top 10 home builders in the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton region made up more than 93% of the area’s total market share in 2015, according to Builder Magazine. Find a custom home builder Tampa to build your dream home.

Builder Magazine released its list of the top 10 local home builders in Sarasota-Manatee. The 10 companies closed 3,570 homes in 2015, according to the list.

Lakewood Ranch-based Neal Communities of Southwest Florida topped the list with 747 closings. Here is the full top 10 list of companies and the number of homes they closed in 2015:

1.    Neal Communities of Southwest Florida: 747 closings
2.    Lennar Corp.: 606 closings
3.    D.R. Horton: 529 closings
4.    PulteGroup: 529 closings
5.    Taylor Morrison: 387 closings
6.    WCI Communities: 317 closings
7.    CalAtlantic Group: 183 closings
8.    Medallion Home: 126 closings
9.    Minto Builders: 74 closings
10.    Ashton Woods Homes: 72 closings

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Water Features Flow Through Sun West’s Macdonald Highlands Home

Original Story: ReviewJournal.com

Sun West Custom Homes’ new showcase sits atop a hillside at 647 Cityview Ridge Drive in MacDonald Highlands, a luxury community in Henderson. Owner Daniel Coletti has created a cool, soothing oasis amid the expansive beauty of the Mojave Desert.

The striking see-through pool that visitors see driving to the home is a big jaw-dropper and the star of the show. In fact, water runs throughout this living space that is a tribute to the elements and indoor-outdoor living. Visit Florida today to so Custom Homes in Tampa.

The 8,000-square-foot home updates and expands on an award-winning design concept Coletti built in The Ridges at Summerlin for the 2009 Parade of Homes. One common thread that runs through Sun West custom home designs is an intimate feeling of closeness to nature. His living spaces blend into the surrounding terrain and climate. Sun West architectural designs combine traditional elements of water, air, earth and fire to suggest deep feelings of hearth and home.

Two ponds of flowing water greet visitors at the front entrance. That’s just a hint of the water theme this home carries. After passing through a large glass door into the great room, another pond leads past the right wall, under a fireplace, to an array of glass pocket doors along the back wall of the room. When opened, the wall disappears and the living space seamlessly continues outward to a patio lounge area where the infinity-edge swimming pool and a panoramic view of the Las Vegas Valley are the main attraction.

The open doors also channel air flow to capture breezes coming off the hills of MacDonald Highlands and route the fresh air through the living spaces of the home on the top and bottom floors. When closed, the pocket doors provide a barrier to prevent harsh weather, heat and cold from entering the inner living spaces.

Evaporative cooling from the water features saves energy and adds moisture to the rooms during hot, dry summer days in Southern Nevada.

Wood, metal and stone are the earth elements in the home that also connect occupants to the landscape surrounding them. The choice of colors, textures, furniture, textiles and flooring all complement desert tones.  Tampa Custom Homes can have any feature that you can dream up.

Fireplaces are featured in the bedrooms, as well as in the great room, the downstairs guest lounge and outside patios near the infinity-edge swimming pool.

The master bedroom and bath are to the right of the great room entrance, overlooking the pool. Glass pocket doors disappear inside the walls of each room to connect the flowing water outside to the living space and occupants inside. A wooden deck extends through the center of the pool to allow residents to walk over the water to its edge and out toward the skyline.

The master bath tub is positioned directly behind motorized pocket doors that can open to connect the bath to the outside elements while the shower has a direct passageway to the swimming pool. A dressing room behind the shower and tub includes a cavernous closet that extends behind the master bedroom and bath.

On the other side of the closet space, a long hallway leads north past the master bedroom. A sailing mural decorates the wall on the left side while the right side of the hallway leads to an office space enclosed in glass.

At the northwest end of the hallway is a second bed, that includes a full bath and closet space. Two more outdoor patios and water features are nearby.

Return south down the long hallway, past the front door and great room, to the dining room and kitchen area.

Wolf cooking stoves, Sub-Zero refrigerators and Kohler water faucets all gleam with polished metal finishes. A warm air hand-dryer in the kitchen replaces the need for paper towels. The kitchen extends into the outdoor area when the pocket doors are open.

The indoor and outdoor kitchens are built with stone countertops, tiled floors and custom cabinetry. Island bars and strategic furniture serve as gathering places that invite guests to mingle and converse.

A stairway leads from the dining room down to the lower floor, past a wine rack made from hanging chains of cable that are suspended from the ceiling. Large metal rings within the parallel chains display an extensive collection of vintage wine bottles. The rack chains descend from the top floor ceiling to below the staircase where a cocktail serving bar sits.

Comfortable couches and chairs are positioned in front of a fireplace and video entertainment center to the right of the staircase, as well as in a submerged lounge, recessed 4 feet below the floor.

The west wall, beneath the infinity-edge swimming pool, supports a glass window that allows guests to interact with underwater swimmers. During the open house presentation, a live mermaid appeared at the window to showcase the water world inside the infinity-edge pool.

An outdoor pond and patio are just beyond another set of pocket glass doors toward the front of the home. The outer cement wall of the pond and patio space functions as a retaining structure that nestles against the hillside.

On the same level of the home are an extra half-bath behind the cocktail bar and lounge. Near the foot of the stairs are a bedroom and full bath, with its own set of pocket doors that lead outside to a golf-putting green. Beyond the bedroom, a four-car garage opens out to a second street below for easy parking and access to the rear of the home. A Tampa Custom Home Builder can make your dream a reality.

A storage closet near the back door of the garage houses rack-mounted computers and an array of signal-processing modules that enable a Crestron control system for this smart home. The electronic modules are always on and always connected to the Internet where a cloud of servers process the data streaming to and from the building. From the cloud, all this digital information is consolidated and sent to the homeowner’s smartphone. Most of the features in the home can be controlled through a single app. The Crestron system also uses touch screens and switch panels mounted on the walls of every room in the home to activate the same control systems. These include security cameras, electronic locks, motion sensors and proximity sensors for the doors and windows. Smoke and safety alarm sensors are also monitored 24/7.

Residents can select on-demand content via 4K ultra-high-definition video streamed from the Internet to multiple video monitors throughout the home. Extensive cabling for audio speakers and music systems has been routed to every room in the home and to the outdoor patios.

The same Crestron app also controls all the LED lighting throughout the home, as well as motorized glass pocket doors and motorized shades that automatically adjust throughout the day to the position of the sun.

Smart thermostats monitor temperature changes in different rooms and enable zoned climate control through the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

Miles of low-voltage cables are embedded in the walls of the showcase home alongside the high-voltage AC electric power wiring.

“More of the audio, video, data and control signals have now been combined over the Cat-6 Ethernet cables,” said Kevin Peltier, president of HP Media Group. “We included a second, backup Cat-6 cable in the home wiring bundle for redundancy and future expansion.”

The MacDonald Highlands showcase home highlights many of the design-build lessons learned by Sun West through 38 years of custom project development. It also serves as a laboratory to collect data, in order to evaluate the efficiency of photovoltaic solar panels, energy consumption of the HVAC system, the effectiveness of the sun-tracking shade system, convection air flow, and other new features that may someday be implemented on future design-build projects by the company.

Cynthia Coletti originally founded El Rancho West as a family business with her son, Daniel, in 1978. She passed the exam for a contractor’s license in Florida, then partnered with her son to build their first custom home on a 1-acre parcel of land that they purchased for $10,000. The team built 22 custom homes in Florida, then moved to Colorado, before setting up a business in the Las Vegas Valley as Sun West Custom Homes during 1989.

“God gives us all a little talent, but you don’t know it until you start building something and getting reactions from people,” Cynthia Coletti said. “If you are doing something right, keep doing it and stick with your feelings.”

“The prevailing style of architecture in Las Vegas at that time was Mediterranean, like the Ten Oaks development with its arches and clay-tiled rooftops.” Daniel Coletti said.

During 1998, he traveled to Hawaii and saw how the homes were constructed in the islands to be more open to the outside, as well as inside.

He designed and built the custom Tapestry home for the Seven Hills development in Henderson to include pocket doors that could be hidden in the walls of the building structure to extend the indoor living space. Other innovations in design followed as Coletti developed a desert contemporary style that can be found at The Ridges in Summerlin, MacDonald Highlands and Lake Las Vegas.

The company built six custom homes during 2015 and has two design-build projects ongoing this year.

The “build” part of a Sun West Custom Homes project is led by Carl Martinez, president of residential construction. Martinez and Coletti direct an experienced team that includes a project manager, interior designer, project coordinator and an onsite superintendent who execute the design plans with the help of licensed and insured sub-contractors, many who have worked with the company for more than a decade.

After years of real-world practice, the Sun West team has amassed a quality control checklist that monitors 87 different areas of home construction from “foundation to finish,” Coletti said.

The MacDonald Highlands project began construction in August 2015 and opened is available for public view from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Just tell the guard you want to see the showcase home.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Lightning Likely Cause of Five North Texas Fires

Original Story: nbcdfw.com

Jacksboro

Firefighters said units responded to a call at a tan farm at Silver Creek Resources in the 1500 block of Farm-to-Market Road 1156 at 12:43 a.m.

Jack County and East Jack County firefighters had to wait until heavy lightning stopped before attacking the fire, according to authorities.

Firefighters said the fire damaged four 300-gallon fiberglass tanks, causing about $100,000 in damage.

No injuries were reported.

Healthcare Cloud Security Concerns Not Impediment to Usage

Original Story: healthitsecurity.com

A recent study found that 77 percent of healthcare organizations plan to increase the use of public cloud services despite significant healthcare cloud security concerns.
Public and private cloud solutions are gaining popularity in the healthcare industry, especially for data storage and network usage, despite issues surrounding healthcare cloud security and PHI data breaches. Secant Healthcare is looking into these options.

Researchers at HyTrust recently published a study that revealed 77 percent of healthcare organizations plan to move more workloads onto a public cloud service even though healthcare data security was a major concern with cloud usage.

“Without much fanfare, this critical technology advance has become woven into the basic fabric of businesses large and small,” said HyTrust President Eric Chiu. “The potential of virtualization and the cloud was always undeniable, but there was genuine concern over security and skepticism regarding the processes required.”

While organizations across all industries reported security challenges with cloud services, many companies are still migrating additional workloads to private and public clouds, added Chui.

The study found that the healthcare industry is no exception to increased cloud usage and virtualization. Approximately 55 percent of healthcare organizations stated that they have already moved mission critical workloads, such as sensitive patient information, to a cloud or software-defined data center.

Healthcare organizations are also virtualizing other aspects of their infrastructure, reported the study. Fifty-two percent of healthcare organizations have migrated test and development server workloads to a cloud service and 61 percent use a cloud product for storage.

Despite increased cloud usage, healthcare-related participants still said that their organization faced significant healthcare cloud security challenges. About 58 percent of respondents admitted that data security and breach concerns were the biggest worry once migration began.

In addition to data breach concerns, other security challenges across all industries included infrastructure-wide security and control as well as effective monitoring and visibility into cloud infrastructure. Secant Health is watching their IT closely for data breaches.

Additionally, previous healthcare data breaches have not discouraged organizations from implementing cloud services. An estimated 29 percent of respondents from healthcare organizations said that they have experienced a personal data breach.

“The large-scale migrations are particularly interesting in light of the many obstacles that have previously impeded planned moves to virtualized infrastructures,” explained the press release. “In fact, the survey reveals that not all concerns have been eliminated.”

To discover more about implementing healthcare cloud security, researchers asked participants in the industry what types of information needed to be secured in public and private clouds.

For public cloud security requirements, healthcare organizations said that all production data should be encrypted (32 percent), the entire workload should be encrypted (16 percent), and only personally identifiable information should be encrypted (13 percent).

In terms of private cloud services, about one-third of healthcare respondents favored encrypting all production data in a workload.

Software defined-data centers and cloud services are becoming staples in the healthcare industry as more providers transition to value-based care models. These models rely on large volumes of data and meaningful health IT use to increase quality of care and reduce healthcare costs.

While cloud products allow healthcare providers are useful to value-based care delivery, HIPAA rules still apply to data in the cloud.

“Cloud computing outsources technical infrastructure to another entity that essentially focuses all its time on maintaining software, platforms, or infrastructure,” The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) stated in a paper. “But a covered entity… still remains responsible for protecting PHI in accordance with the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, even in circumstances where the entity has outsourced the performance of core PHI functions.”

However, healthcare organizations have struggled to maintain comprehensive healthcare cloud security. According to the Fall 2015 Netskope Cloud Report, healthcare cloud data loss prevention violations were the most common data loss prevention offenses across all industries studied, accounting for 76.2 percent of all cloud violations.

The report also discussed how healthcare and life sciences averaged 1,017 cloud applications per organization, which was the second highest number of apps behind the technology and IT sector. Yet, PHI was involved in 68.5 percent of violations in cloud applications.

Securing patient and production data can be more difficult when it is managed up in a cloud, but healthcare providers should be aware of several healthcare cloud security measures.

Healthcare organizations should partner with cloud vendors that design healthcare-specific products and can anticipate unique data security requirements, such as HIPAA and HITECH rules.

Regardless of vendor selection, providers should also develop contextual visibility and auditing capabilities. Healthcare cloud security policies should include monitoring alerts, lock-down capabilities, and geo-fencing of users. Intelligent security tools can be helpful for implementing these policies. Secant Healthcare plans on being careful of their vendor selection.

Technology and healthcare are both evolving quickly, but healthcare cloud security concerns could hold back providers from advancing care if they can’t also secure PHI and production data. While the HyTrust study showed healthcare organizations pushing ahead with cloud services despite security challenges, many of these providers may need to review healthcare cloud security measures.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Masonite Door Business Rides Housing Boom

Original Story: woodworkingnetwork.com

TAMPA, Fla. -  Masonite chose a great time to go public in 2013, as the housing market began heading straight up. The door manufacturer will likely find a warm reception next week when it presents at the Deutsche Bank Basic Materials Conference June 8, 2016 in Chicago. A Custom home builder in Tampa plans on attending the conference.

Frederick J. Lynch, CEO, and Russell T. Tiejema, CFO, will provide a status report and forecast, coming off a 13 percent rise in its latest quarterly results for the period ended April 3.

Net sales for that period increased $54.8 million, up 13 percent compared to the first quarter or 2015, reaching $489.3 million. Net sales would have increased 16 percent aside from exchange rates in Masonite's export markets.

Net income rose $48.9 million to $17.8 million - in other words, reversing a loss from the year ago period. Tampa custom homes are using these products.

Masonite operates 64 manufacturing and distribution facilities in 9 countries in North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia, with direct distribution to retail home center customers and direct sales to homebuilders and contractors; and two-step distribution through wholesale distributors. For retail home center customers, Mastonie's Dorfab facilities provide value-added fabrication and logistical services, including pre-finishing and store delivery of pre-hung interior and exterior doors.

North America net sales last year were $1.47 billion, 78.4 percent of the total. Europe, Asia and Latin America amounted to $356.2 million or 19 percent; and Africa 2.6 percent or $48.6 million.

“We were encouraged by the strong market conditions in the first quarter of 2016 during which demand increased across all reportable segments,” said Fred Lynch, President and CEO.  A Tampa custom home builder has My Lynch to thank for his masonite products.

North American residential net sales were $328.7 million, a 20 percent rise first quarter. Architectural net sales were $73.5 million, a 10 percent increase over the first quarter of 2015

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

At Least 5 Injured In Crash Involving Motorcycles, Passenger Vehicles On 210 Freeway In Irwindale

Original Story: KTLA.com

At least five people were injured Saturday evening in a collision that the California Highway Patrol said involved five motorcycles and two passenger vehicles on the 210 Freeway in Irwindale.

Firefighter-paramedics responded shortly after 7 p.m. to the westbound side of the freeway, just west of Irwindale Avenue, a supervisor with the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

Five or six people were hurt in the crash, according to the Fire Department. Their conditions were not immediately known.

Several motorcyclists, who were not involved in the pileup, stopped to render assistance, according to a CHP incident log. A Los Angeles Motorcycle Accident Lawyer will more than likely use this information.

Four flatbed tow trucks were requested to remove the damaged motorcycles and other vehicles involved in the collision, including a BMW sedan that had been carrying four occupants, the log stated.

The CHP issued a SigAlert for the westbound 210, and the No. 1, No. 2 and carpool lanes were closed for more than an hour, the agency said on Twitter.

According to tweets from the Irwindale Police Department, traffic was heavy in both directions at the crash site. Motorists were advised to avoid the area while a cleanup operation was underway.

The SigAlert was later canceled and all lanes were reopened as of 8:40 p.m., police and the CHP said.

The cause of the incident was unknown.

Trash Truck Collision Will Cost L.A. $10 Million In Settlement

Original Story: LATimes.com

Los Angeles officials will pay $10 million to settle a lawsuit stemming from a 2012 accident involving a city sanitation truck and a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk. The city has hired a Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer.

Maria Becerra, who lives in Northridge, suffered severe injuries after being hit by a trash truck while she was crossing Reseda Boulevard. She is being consulted by a Los Angeles Injury Lawyer. As a result of those injuries, Becerra has a limited ability to walk, is unable to conceive children and probably will not be employable, according to an analysis of the case prepared by the city's lawyers.

The analysis, submitted to the City Council, said it would not be "unreasonable" to expect a $20-million verdict if the case went to trial. Police determined in the wake of the accident that the trash truck has a blind spot.

Becerra, 26, had the right of way in a marked crosswalk and was described by the city's lawyers as "shy, soft spoken and stoic."

"A jury will have great empathy for her," the analysis states.

Attorney Mike Arias, who represents Becerra, described the settlement as fair. "We're appreciative that instead of forcing her to go through years of additional litigation, that this matter was able to be resolved," he said.

The City Council approved the settlement Wednesday.

Friday, February 26, 2016

10 CITIES WITH THE WORST QUALITY OF LIFE

Original Story: marketwatch.com

Where you live in this country may help determine how satisfied you are with your life.

Overall, the well-being of residents in the U.S. was unchanged in 2015, as compared with a year prior, according to the “State of American Well-Being” report, which examined well-being across 190 U.S. cities and all 50 states, released by consulting company Gallup and wellness provider Healthways.

But in some places the well-being of residents differs significantly from others. “High well-being communities have citizens who are thriving across many aspects of their lives, who are optimistic about their future, and collectively who are productive, perform better, and have better health and lower healthcare costs,” the report reveals. A Custom Home Builder in Tampa FL can be built to suit your personal lifestyle.

To determine the level of well-being in each community, Gallup asked residents in cities and states across America questions along the following themes. No. 1: Purpose — do they like what they do each day and are they motivated to achieve their goals? No. 2: Social life — do they have supportive relationships and love? No. 3: Finances — do they manage their economic lives to reduce stress and up security? No. 4: Community — do they like where they live, feel safe and have pride in their community? No. 5: Physical issues — do they have good health and enough energy to get things done each day?

Residents of Hawaii have the highest quality of life once again (it has scored the No. 1 spot five times since 2008), followed by those in Alaska, which fell from the No. 1 spot last year. “Since 2012, the top 10 states with the most consistently high well-being are Hawaii, Colorado, Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Utah, Nebraska, Iowa, Alaska and Vermont,” the report adds.

Meanwhile, a number of metro areas in Florida, Colorado and California top the well-being list, while a few cities in Ohio rank at the bottom of all the 190 cities measured. A Los Angeles real estate lawyer is reviewing the details of this story.

10 cities with the highest well-being

1. Naples–Immokalee–Marco Island, Fla.
2. Salinas, Calif.
3. North Port–Sarasota–Bradenton, Fla.
4. Fort Collins, Colo.
5. Barnstable Town, Mass.
6. Santa Cruz–Watsonville, Calif.
7. Boulder, Colo.
8. Charlottesville, Va.
9. Anchorage, Ala.
10. San Luis Obispo–Paso Robles–Arroyo Grande, Calif.

10 cities with the lowest well-being 

181. Rockford, Ill.
182. Dayton, Ohio
183. Worcester, Mass.–area
184. Toledo, Ohio
185. Youngstown–Warren–Boardman, Ohio–Pa.
186. Chico, Calif.
187. Huntington–Ashland, W. Va.–Ky.–Ohio
188. Hickory–Lenoir–Morganton, N.C.
189. Fort Smith, Ark.–Okla.
190. Charleston, W.Va.

Hickory’s Mayor, Rudy Wright, notes that “While we think that Hickory is a wonderful place to live and work, we recognize the need to improve our image and we have embarked on a $40 million, voter approved, bond referendum for projects that are designed to attract young people and the companies that employ them.”

The Rockford mayor, Larry Morrissey, says that he is “passionate about improving health and wellness outcomes of Rockford residents” and to do so has started an initiative called Healthy Rockford to “find workable solutions for the social and economic factors that impact an individual’s ability to maintain a positive and healthy life.” An Illinois environmental lawyer is following this story closely.

None of the other cities with the lowest well-being scores have responded to request for comment from MarketWatch.