Saturday, October 01, 2005

Study: Sun's Changes to Blame for Part of Global Warming
Somebody tell Al Gore about this...

Increased output from the Sun might be to blame for 10 to 30 percent of global warming that has been measured in the past 20 years, according to a new report. Increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases still play a role, the scientists say. But climate models of global warming should be corrected to better account for changes in solar activity, according to Nicola Scafetta and Bruce West of Duke University.

New Orleans returnees face health risks--Contaminated water, mold among problems

Contaminated water, mold and the dusty sediment left behind when the city was pumped dry are some of the key health threats facing residents, according to Dr. Frederick Cerise, the head of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - News - Cemetery Plots Are Orlando's Newest Land Rush
A little irony noted by Nancy Levy in this headline and the subhead, which reads, "Plots Selling Faster Than Downtown Condos."

SOUTH FLORIDA: Condo ombudsman opens office in Broward County
From Fred Pilot by way of Patrick's HOA News comes this story about Virgil Rizzo setting up shop in condo-heavy Broward County, Florida. Are there any hanging chads involved?

Florida's condominium ombudsman now has an office in South Florida, home to more condos than any other area in the state. And for the first time, Virgil Rizzo also has a Broward County phone number, 954-202-3234, so callers no longer have to call Tallahassee to reach him, something many owners were reluctant to do.
Citizens tout neighborhood bill of rights
Nancy Levy sent this piece along, and it makes for fascinating reading.

A proposed “neighborhood bill of rights” is getting a warm reception from Santa Fe residents fed up with what they say are unanticipated developments, unwarranted infill and “rogue commerce” in their neighborhoods . The Public Works Committee on Monday endorsed the proposal after a dozen people, many of them officers in local neighborhood associations, spoke in favor of it... This resolution, sponsored by four of the eight councilors, says each neighborhood has a right to: Determine its own character and quality of life. Be a safe, healthy place to live and raise families. Have an equitable share of city services and capital improvements. Have adequate notice and timely information on decisions affecting it. Have input into city decisions affecting it. Have the city protect residents’ fiscal and “emotional” investments. The resolution would direct city staff to ensure neighborhoods and developers get equal consideration in the development-review process, to assist neighborhoods in developing plans, to determine their character and needs, and to enforce all sections of city code that protect residents against hazards and nuisances.

Monster Mold Threatens Health in the South
This is a huge problem in the best of conditions. Imagine it in the aftermath of two monster hurricanes.

Mold now forms an interior version of kudzu in the soggy South, posing health dangers that will make many homes tear-downs and will force schools and hospitals to do expensive repairs. It's a problem that any homeowner who has ever had a flooded basement or a leaky roof has faced. But the magnitude of this problem leaves many storm victims prey to unscrupulous or incompetent remediators. Home test kits for mold, for example, are worthless, experts say.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Existing home sales rise in August

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sales of existing U.S. homes rose 2 percent in August to the second highest level on record, a trade group said on Monday. Sales of previously owned homes increased to a seasonally adjusted 7.29 million unit annual rate last month from July's downwardly revised 7.15 million unit pace, the National Association of Realtors said. That figure includes both single-family homes and condominiums.

Ruckus over tape recordings disrupt homeowners association
Nancy Levy sent this slice of HOA life, about a man who was arrested for having the temerity to audiotape an HOA meeting. To those folks who keep asking me how an HOA is any different than a normal city, I reply: show me one guy who got arrested for taping a city council meeting. Why on earth any municipal police department would do the bidding of these HOA mucky-mucks I'll never know. Read the justification given for this ridiculous policy and then tell me we don't need major reform of this institution.

Feel free to take notes at Phoenix Pointe South Mountain Residential Association meetings, but be advised that recording them could have consequences. It did for board member Mike Harris, who says he was arrested. At the association's July 11 meeting, board members took the unusual step of calling Pointe South Mountain Resort security after one of their own ­ Harris. A board member for the past two years, Harris was removed from the premises after he refused to turn off his tape recorder just before the meeting began. The security in turn dispatched a Phoenix police officer who asked Harris to turn off the tape recorder. Still refusing to shut it off, Harris said he was placed under arrest and handcuffed...Association board vice president Jane Karkosky said she objects to being tape recorded out of fear that board members will have to spend time reviewing tapes of lengthy meetings and be weighed down by minutiae.

Fire Marshal's Office Completes Investigation Of Downtown Condo
Interesting situation, sent on by Nancy Levy. The article has links to previous items on the matter...

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The State Fire Marshall's Office completed its investigation into fire suppression water lines at The Grande condominiums in downtown Orlando.The investigation report found no reason to believe the underground water lines at the property were compromised during the building process. They also found that allegedly forged documents were not intentionally doctored to pass fire inspections. A former city inspector is currently suing the city of Orlando claiming she was fired for blowing the whistle on questionable fire inspections at the condos.