Malfunctioning automobile exhaust blamed for first major wildfire of season

first_imgToa55/iStockBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A malfunctioning automobile exhaust appears to be the cause of the massive Apple Fire that has scorched 26,450 acres in Riverside County, California, and was only 5% contained as of Monday morning.The blaze, which has destroyed at least one home and two outbuildings, began shortly before 5 p.m. local time on Friday in the Cherry Valley area.No injuries have been reported, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.Based on eyewitness accounts and supporting evidence, officials said they determined the cause of the fire to be a malfunctioning diesel-fueled car that had emitted burning carbon from its exhaust system.Over 8,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes, which posed a particular challenge for families seeking a safe place to stay amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.“We had a lot of trouble finding a place to stay last night, because of so many people being evacuated at the same time,” Ket Sengchan told ABC News about evacuating with her young daughter. “Me and the baby kinda stayed in the car last night. I should be at home. I shouldn’t have to be running the streets looking for somewhere to sleep.”Nearly 2,600 homes were affected by the evacuation orders, fire officials said, adding they do not have a time frame for repopulating evacuated areas, according to ABC News Los Angeles station KABC-TV.People at the evacuation center are subject to COVID-19 testing before entering, according to fire department spokesperson Fernando Herrera.The American Red Cross was also assisting evacuees by temporarily housing them in hotels.California Office of Emergency Services said the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved a request from the Cal OES director and Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday for a Fire Management Assistance Grant for the Apple Fire. Officials said the approval “will ensure the availability of vital resources” for Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.More than 2,200 firefighters were deployed to battle the flames both in the air and on the ground and crews dropped 19,000 gallons of flame retardant from helicopters on Saturday to help create containment lines and protect personnel on the ground, KABC reported. The northern and eastern edges of the fire are in steep, rugged hillsides not accessible to firefighting vehicles, officials said.The National Weather Service said that the Southwest part of California has been elevated to critical fire weather conditions “due to hot temperatures, very low humidities, and locally gusty winds.” Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

A time for courage in lending

first_img2020 has proven to be a time that we need courage to push through. Some of the definitions of courage in the dictionary are “the ability to do something that frightens one”. Another one is “strength in the face of pain or grief”. Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. listed six attributes of courage in a Psychology Today article as: Feeling fear yet choosing to act, following your heart, persevering in the face of adversity, standing up for what is right, expanding your horizons by letting go of the familiar, and facing suffering with dignity and faith.I grew up in Fulton, Missouri, the home of a memorial to Winston Churchill, as he gave his famous “Iron Curtain Speech” in my hometown at Westminster College on March 5, 1946.  Many folks in that area hold Churchill in a place of honor and I thought a quote from the British Bulldog would be appropriate here. “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it has been said, it is the quality which guarantees all others.”I want to bring some thoughts on courage to you before bringing up the idea that it takes courage, perhaps more now than before, for the lender today. Let’s face it, there is a part in each of us as we attempt to preserve the CU’s assets, we seek to hunker down and let the problems of the world, whether they be COVID, economic shutdowns, riots, or unrest, pass by and allow things to “normalize” before getting back into the full swing of lending.  Staying in the foxhole could have devastating impacts, like we saw when we shut down large sections of the economy.  There are also other devastating impacts that are in a recent meme I saw with a man with his head buried in the sand like an ostrich.  The caption read, “when you have your head in the sand, you expose the rest of your body.”Borrowers and PortfolioCourage is needed to understand the current business condition of your borrowers.  Today, this is pretty darn near impossible. How do past risk ratings apply when we have a situation that has impacted the entire world? How do you see what impact a shutdown and possible bounce back will have on your members? What if you make a mistake in your assessment on a borrower? Do not worry about that last one; you will miss seeing some of the risks. But do not let that stop you from the need to take as realistic of a view of your borrowers and portfolio as possible.  It requires looking at more than just historic financials as the first two quarters of 2020 are probably not very valid markers for future performance.What help do your borrowers need at this point?  As a lender, you are one of their most trusted financial advisors. You may see road signs that they do not see and can help them to preserve their equity and build capital in troubled times. This requires being genuinely interested in their business.  A constant study of the economy and the world around them is also necessary as we look for things that may impact their business.  Remember, your job is to inform and bring up the issues, but the business owner is the one who has to make the decision of what to do.Lending InfrastructureAlong with your portfolio, it takes courage to look at your present lending infrastructure — staff, technology, training, tools, etc. Here you need to see what the strengths and weaknesses of your department really are. In times of crisis, weaknesses tend to stick out like a sore thumb. Some questions to consider are:Do you have an established education or training program for your staff?Do you have the right analytical tools to help you assess risk?Is your reporting at an accuracy and timeliness level where you need it?What experience does your staff have with working through a recession and the problems that come with a paradigm shift in how credit is viewed?How will you handle complex problem loan workouts that involve more than good skip tracing and calls and emails?How much time will all this new work take?What resources can you tap into to help fill in the gaps in your department?–Can you get good new volume with participations? Utilize third parties to help with serious problem loan workouts?  Find outside professional credit folks to help with underwriting?  Have any new classes or training programs for your team?These are hard questions and it takes courage to find the right answers. Many of them may not be what you really want to hear. It is always easier to enjoy a life of ease, but it is the stresses that help you grow. True leadership requires you face the situation as it is now and chart a course to navigate through the problems. Not answering these questions in these tough times is a form of self-delusion. Many times, the first step of courage is finally being honest with ourselves.Lending OpportunitiesThe next area where courage is needed is with your new lending opportunities. Loans are an important source of capital to fund economic growth in your community. If all the faucets are shut off, then pretty soon growth will evaporate like water from a pool that is not constantly filled. As we begin to emerge from the crisis, many of your fellow lenders may elect to stay on the sidelines. There will be tremendous opportunity to expand and establish new relationships that are ignored by the lender who is cowering in fear.Courage requires action even though you do not have perfect knowledge of the situation. We do this in underwriting every day, but now things are a bit hazier. It takes courage to admit what factors you do not understand that will impact the borrower’s chances of financial success. Perhaps this is a time to help mitigate risk by using more government guarantees on your loans. Maybe sharing the risk through a participation is in order. You must continue to find ways to seek out good loan requests and produce new credits in this time. The borrowers and communities that you serve are depending on you.Courage is needed as you look in the mirror. As a lender and as a person, you need to understand your own strengths and weaknesses, likes and avoidances, as you understand how to lead and manage the most difficult follower—yourself. Do you tend to see some clients through rose-colored glasses or always see the worst in a borrower? It is time to look realistically. Are there gaps in your knowledge that you have pushed aside?  It is time to begin to set aside time to fill those gaps. Do you avoid the most unpleasant tasks?  It is time to tackle them.Courage is what we need today to begin to master the impacts that the 2020 worldwide tragedies have had on our portfolio, staff, communities, and ourselves. It is time to take the first step in moving forward, charting a course for future success, and acting upon it. 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Phil Love Phil leads Pactola, a CUSO devoted to commercial and agricultural lending, participation management, credit administration support, lender education, and third-party loan review services.  He has over 35 years in the … Web: https://pactola.com Detailslast_img read more

Money to burn

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This suburb has seen a double digit jump in median price in five years

first_img21 Seligan St, Albany Creek. Photo: realestate.com.auThis part of Brisbane’s north has seen its median house price jump 22.6 per cent inthe last five years, amid growing interest from families in the middle ring.The latest CoreLogic Market Trends report showed that Albany Creek has seen strong growth that’s pushed its median house price to $581,000.According to realestate.com.au data, in the last month homes sold in the suburb had teetered just above and below that level.The area, which is dominated by larger houses, has a median price for three-bedroom homes of $490,000, and $605,000 for four-bedroom ones, according to REA.More from newsFor under $10m you can buy a luxurious home with a two-lane bowling alley5 Apr 2017Military and railway history come together on bush block24 Apr 2019A recent auction at 21 Seligan St over the weekend, saw a three-bedroom home sell under the hammer for $576,000, well above comparable properties.The charms of the 607sq m block included the fact that the home had been renovated with the potential for dual living. It also had a full side access double lockup garage and a large powered shed.According to Harcourts Solutions at The Gap which marketed the property, the home had 44 inspections from potential buyers, two of whom registered to bid for the auction.Other three-bedroom homes sold in the suburb this month included 9 Bevlin Court which sold for $535,000 on March 10, 8 Strathford Ave that sold for $572,500 on March 6, and 27 Kingfisher St that fetched $515,000 on the same day.Larger homes have been fetching more including 14 Daniel Drive, a four-bedder that went for $605,000 mid-month.last_img read more

Luiz: Europa League win a success

first_img Press Association Chelsea have become accustomed to silverware in the 10-year ownership of Roman Abramovich, but earlier this season suffered the ignominy of becoming the first holders to exit the Champions League at the group stages. But for the second year running Chelsea are the last British team standing in European competition and face Basle, conquerors of Tottenham, in the Europa League semi-final first leg in Switzerland next week. For now the focus is on Wednesday’s match with Fulham, with securing a place in the Barclays Premier League top four the main agenda. Chelsea sit fourth, behind Arsenal, but the Craven Cottage clash is their game in-hand on Tottenham and victory would see the Blues move three points clear of fifth-placed Spurs, who next play on Sunday. The still-to-be-confirmed meeting with Tottenham – rearranged due to the City semi-final – could conceivably be a play-off for the Champions League. Chelsea belatedly showed their potential at Wembley in a second-half resurgence and will need to be on top form in the remaining weeks of the season to achieve their goals. The Wembley fightback, after defeat in Moscow to Rubin Kazan, also showed how Chelsea must add depth to their squad to challenge across all competitions next term. Luiz was focused on the present, rather than the future, though. “This is Chelsea,” Luiz said. “When Chelsea want to play football they’re just so good. “We have a difficult competition. This season we want to win everything. Now we cannot win the league, but we can stay in the best position and we can win another European title. Work for that.” David Luiz believes Chelsea’s season will still be a success if they qualify for next season’s Champions League and win the Europa League.center_img The Blues have seen seven trophy opportunities slip by this term after Sunday’s 2-1 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City saw them relinquish their hold on the trophy. “If you win the Europa League and stay to play Champions League next year of course it’s a success,” Luiz said. “Some big teams in Europe don’t win titles this year, so of course it’s a success.” last_img read more

Miami-Dade prison officer accused of kidnapping, raping woman he supervised on house arrest

first_imgA Miami-Dade prison officer is behind bars for allegedly kidnapping and raping a woman he was supervising on house arrest.Yulian Gonzalez, an 11-year employee of the Miami-Dade Department of Corrections, was arrested Friday following an investigation.The 36-year-old appeared before a judge Saturday who denied bond and issued stay away order for the victim meaning he is banned from any and all contact.He is charged with four counts of armed sexual battery and four counts of armed kidnapping.Prosecutors say Gonzalez would force the woman to have sex with him by threatening to put her back in jail.Miami-Dade Department of Corrections director told CBS Miami that the department is committed to maintaining public trust and that they are taking the allegations seriously.No other information is available at this time.last_img read more

DeAndre Jordan’s 22 points, 27 rebounds lead Clippers past Dallas

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error DALLAS >> DeAndre Jordan is settling in for a month without All-Star partner Blake Griffin, so the Clippers center will take any night when his job can be a little easier.Like, for example, a game without Mavericks center Tyson Chandler guarding him in the post.Jordan had 22 points and a career-high 27 rebounds, and Los Angeles won without Griffin, beating Dallas 115-98 Monday night after the Mavericks lost Chandler and Monta Ellis to injuries in the first four minutes.With Dallas’ interior defense and rebounding gutted by the loss of Chandler, Jordan led the way as the Clippers stopped a season-high four-game losing streak. Chris Paul finished with 25 points and 13 assists. Charlie Villanueva tried to keep Dallas in the game by scoring 13 points in the last five minutes of the first quarter, and finished with a season-high 26.But the Mavericks, already missing point guard Rajon Rondo with an orbital bone fracture, just couldn’t keep up without their leading scorer in Ellis and primary rim protector in Chandler.The best illustration of the struggle came early in the fourth quarter, when guard Devin Harris tried to keep Jordan from scoring by grabbing him and throwing him to the ground as the shot went in. Jordan, who also had three blocks, missed the free throw, but the Clippers still had their biggest lead to that point at 98-80.“He looked like Wilt Chamberlain out there playing in 1963 — really, he did,” Carlisle said. “He played great and we didn’t have any good answers.”Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 points for Dallas, while Chandler Parsons had 16 points and a season-high 12 rebounds.Before the Mavericks were scrambling to replace Chandler and Ellis, the talk was about how the Clippers could hang on to their playoff spot in the difficult Western Conference without Griffin.Coach Doc Rivers was at least somewhat relieved that the timetable on Griffin was what he expected, and that one of those weeks will be the All-Star break.Rivers said the contributions will have to come from everywhere, and he got what was looking for a night after the Clippers were blown out in Oklahoma City in their first game without Griffin.Jamal Crawford scored 18, while J.J. Redick was 3 of 4 from 3-point range and had 15 points after missing three games with back spasms. Matt Barnes had 12 points and seven rebounds, and Paul added six rebounds.“I thought J.J. just to start the game gave us a lift,” Rivers said. “But it was a team win. All kinds of lineups.”center_img “You never want to see somebody get hurt,” Jordan said. “At this point, we just need as many wins as we can get. We’ve just got to be able to take advantage of everything. Keep working on us. Don’t worry about other people.”Chandler injured his left ankle just 39 seconds in when he was fouled on a layup attempt by Spencer Hawes and went to the locker room about a minute later. Ellis joined him there with 8:03 left in the first quarter after hurting his left hip.Dallas coach Rick Carlisle didn’t have an update on either player after the game.The Dallas injuries came on a night that started with news that Griffin would be out three to four weeks after surgery earlier in the day for a staph infection in his right elbow.“We’ve just got to be persistent, and we’ve just got to find a way,” Carlisle said. “That’s what it comes down to.”last_img read more

Tour de Impossible? Pakistan hosts ‘world’s toughest cycle race’

first_imgFive ambulances were on standby in case of emergencies in the final stage, he said, adding: “A majority of the cyclists made it but the support staff needed ambulances.”– ‘Breathless’ – The winner of the event, Najeeb Ullah — a Pakistani from a hilltop village in the southwestern province of Balochistan who won three of the four stages — told AFP that breathing was a “problem” for him in the final climb.“I had to face a lot of difficulties while reaching the finishing line,” located at the Khunjerab Pass, the border between Pakistan and China, he said.Especially since altitude was not the only obstacle: On the final day, fierce winds drove snowflakes into the cyclists’ faces, forcing some already struggling to catch their breath to dismount.“Our entire training is reduced to nothing when we reach the final stage,” lamented Abdullah Aslam, a participant who could not finish the race.“I could barely pedal and was feeling breathless,” he admitted.Aslam, a runner from Islamabad, had already had to dismount and walk to the finish on the second day.“The road was so steep that a majority of the cyclists had to get off their cycles because even a normal vehicle (two-wheel drive) faces issues,” he recalled.Organisers said in some sections the competitors faced a gradient of 20 percent, an angle rarely seen in such competitions in around the world.At each stage organisers wearing construction helmets scrutinised the surrounding mountains, peering closely for any sign of the rockfalls that periodically smash on to the road — a potential peril to the cyclists below.The threat of danger was in stark contrast with the joyful welcome the cyclists received in villages along the route, with residents playing traditional instruments to cheer them on.“On each mountain, each town, there were welcome signs,” said Ramon Antelo, a Spanish diplomat based in Pakistan, who called the race his “best cycling experience” and now hopes to pull together a team to compete next year.He added: “A race like this is not in any other place. In Europe, Mont Blanc — you cannot ride it by bike.”Share on: WhatsApp Some 88 cyclists, including two teams from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka as well as solo participants from Spain and Switzerland, took part in Pakistan’s Tour de KhunjerabKhunjerab , Pakistan | AFP |  Finishing nearly 5,000 metres above sea level after hundreds of kilometres winding past blackened glaciers and snow-capped peaks: a new Pakistani race presents a world-class challenge for cyclists — climbing towards the “Roof of the World”.The Tour de Khunjerab — its name a homage to its more famous French counterpart, which began on Saturday — is still many years away from being another Big Loop, but with a solid claim to being the highest cycling race in the world, it has a lot to offer a certain type of athlete.In the last week of June, some 88 cyclists, including two teams from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka as well as solo participants from Spain and Switzerland, took part in its second edition.Less than half completed it within the allotted time.The four stages — three ranging from 68 to 94 kilometres (42 to 58 miles) plus a shorter time trial — are much shorter than many other cycling events.But there is one fundamental difference: the Pakistani Tour starts at 1,500 metres above sea level, and never stops climbing.The final day of this year’s event sums up the challenge.Starting at 2,800 metres — higher than the Iseran Pass, the summit of the Tour de France — it ends at 4,700 metres, just over 100 metres short of Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain.The Khunjerab Tour must become “an attraction… for the most daring and adventurous cyclists in the world”, said Usman Ahmed, the top official for the northern Gilgit region, home to some of the planet’s tallest peaks and where the race was held.The cyclists’ tyres swallow up the asphalt of the Karakoram Highway, one of the highest paved roads in the world.Named after the Karakoram mountain range — just one of the ranges in Gilgit — the road passes through an extraordinary landscape.Soaring, jagged peaks contrast with vertiginous ravines, glaciers driving a chill wind, and tumbling aquamarine rivers. Landslides are common.Guardrails are a flimsy suggestion of protection from steep falls of hundreds of feet.“There is no place in the world that offers all these things,” said Ahmed.“No doubt it is the toughest cycle race in the world. We are aiming to make it our trademark,” said Haroon General, president of the Pakistan Cycling Federation.“The most difficult part of the race is the final stage where cyclists face shortage of oxygen and there is risk of heart issues… At such an altitude a person falls down (faints) after running for 200 metres, but our cyclists travelled for almost 59 kilometres,” he said.last_img read more

Former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel Loses Reinstatement Bid

first_imgFormer Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s chances of being reinstated were reduced this week, following a federal judge’s ruling.U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ruled on Tuesday that Israel’s due-process rights were not violated when the Florida Senate refused to reinstate him after he was suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis.Israel’s lawsuit named Senate President Bill Galvano and DeSantis as defendants.In dismissing the case this week, Walker wrote in his 81-page ruling, “This court understands why plaintiff, believing the blame for numerous brutal murders has been unfairly and undeservedly laid at his feet, might feel wronged. He believes he was scapegoated and then railroaded, without a fair chance to defend himself.”He continued, “But the issue in this case is not whether defendants made the right decision in removing plaintiff from office, and this court is not a forum to re-litigate the merits of plaintiff’s suspension and removal.”Gov. DeSantis removed Israel from the position in January 2019, alleging incompetence in the former sheriff’s handling of mass shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport the year before that.The judge added that Israel, “does not have standing to bring this suit against defendant DeSantis.”In addition, the state Senate has the authority to remove or reinstate elected officials who the governor has suspended.Although he showed empathy for Israel, Walker said the issue before the court was not whether the process “was perfect or could have been fairer or more robust, nor whether it conformed to Florida law.” The “sole issue” is “whether the process plaintiff alleges he received satisfies the requirements of due process clause,” the judge wrote.“Due process does not guarantee a perfect process, nor any particular process, and plaintiff cannot use the due process clause to force the Florida Senate to provide him a more exhaustive procedure just because he believes it would have been better to do so,” Walker wrote.Walker also gave Israel’s lawyer, Benedict Kuehne, until May 15 to amend the complaint, cautioning he may not “replead around facts he knows to exist.”The Senate’s lawyers have argued that the Senate is shielded from being held liable for legislative acts.Kuehne told Walker during a hearing in March that the legislative immunity does not apply in this case, because the Senate was essentially acting as a court rather than as a legislative body that was deciding on political or policy-related matters. He added that the state’s Constitution requires that the removal of an elected official be based on “evidentiary consideration.”Meanwhile, Israel’s lawyer argues that the Senate changed its rules after a special master, who was appointed by Galvano, held a trial and concluded at that time that DeSantis’ lawyers failed to present adequate evidence justifying Israel’s suspension. Special Master Dudley Goodlette recommended that Israel be reinstated.Last October, the Senate Rules Committee considered Goodlette’s report and heard testimony from the public, including two parents of children who died in the Parkland school massacre. Days before the meeting, the committee accepted testimony that had not been submitted during the June trial. The committee supported removing Israel from office. In a 25-15 vote on Oct. 23, the Republican-dominated full Senate stripped Israel from office.Kuehne says his client was denied a “meaningful” opportunity to be heard following the trial, as is required by the due-process clause of the 14th Amendment.Walker agreed last Tuesday that Galvano is not entitled to have legislative immunity from the lawsuit. However, the judge also found that the due-process clause “does not require a suspended official to receive a process amounting to a full-blown civil trial” before the Senate can remove the official from office.Sheriff Israel had several months’ notice of the charges against him, the opportunity to subpoena witnesses, take depositions and cross-examine witnesses, and present substantial documentary evidence, Walker wrote.“Plaintiff seeks to use the due process clause to transform the Florida Senate’s removal proceedings into an appeal from the special master hearing, with the Florida Senate being bound to the record before the special master and serving the limited role of reviewing his conclusion according to a narrow set of delineated rules; but the due process clause imposes no such restrictions,” the judge said.Walker concluded that taking “the facts alleged in the complaint and as supplemented by the voluminous attachments to the complaint — in the light most favorable to plaintiff, it does not state a due process claim.”last_img read more

Curfew extended in West Palm Beach

first_imgCommissioners in West Palm Beach have extended the declaration of a state of emergency due to the ongoing protest in the city.Mayor Keith James originally enacted the declaration on Sunday after protest against the death of George Floyd turned into riots.The order includes a curfew for residents between the hours of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.With no clear end to the protest insight, the order has been extended until city leaders believe it should be discontinued.last_img