first_imgCharlie Kelly flags up the fun he had at the Glenswilly Cul Camp. ALL PICS BY GERALDINE DIVERGLENSWILLY GAA CUL CAMP – PICTURE SPECIAL was last modified: July 12th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Cul CampdonegalGlenswilly GAAlast_img

Cementing peace in the DRC

first_imgA UN Stabilisation Mission in DRC soldier on Goma hill. It remains to be seen whether the force can ensure peace in the eastern DRC after the defeat of M23.(Image: Guy Oliver, Irin Photo)MEDIA CONTACTS• A MaswanganyeMinister-counsellorM ConradieCounsellorSouth African Embassy, Kinshasa, DRC+243 81 556 6586• Stephanie WoltersProgramme managerConflict Prevention and Risk Analysis DivisionInstitute of Security Studies, Pretoria+27 12 346 9500/2RELATED ARTICLES• Stateless Zim residents gain citizenship • Kilimo Salama farmers’ safety• Africa rising• Piracy decline gives Somalis hope • Africa’s turn to save the worldIrin NewsWith the predominantly Tutsi rebel group M23 routed and vowing to disarm, attention is shifting to how to cement and extend peace across eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and ease the decades-long suffering and deprivation of millions of civilians.Since 25 October, Congolese troops, backed by a new UN intervention brigade, have driven M23 fighters from their fortified strongholds in North Kivu Province, in a series of surprisingly successful operations.The triumph has raised hopes of better times ahead for one of the world’s most turbulent regions. Civilians in the area reportedly welcomed the M23’s defeat. A jubilant Martin Kobler, head of the UN Stabilisation Mission in the DRC, was filmed shaking hands with smiling residents in “liberated” villages.But observers caution that the military triumph is only a first step towards stability in a region long plagued by lawlessness and bad governance, beset by ethnic and political tensions, and awash with weapons.“The M23 is only one of many armed groups operating in the eastern DRC,” said Stephanie Wolters, an analyst at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria. “There are many others that have long rendered the lives of the population in these parts a living nightmare, and that still need to be tackled politically and militarily.”Military muscleExperts say the reorganised FARDC, as DRC’s national army is known, and the newly offensive UN force must continue to work in tandem if the cycle of violence in eastern DRC is to be broken.M23 is just the latest in a series of ethnic-Tutsi led militias that have operated in the hills close to the borders with Rwanda and Uganda. As many as 45 other rebel groups are currently operating across the region, where the DRC government has little control.Militant groups have been accused of gross human rights violations, including executions, using rape as a weapon of war and conscripting children. Government forces have also been blamed for atrocities. The violence and instability have hampered efforts to extend basic services, including health care, and to alleviate poverty.DRC President Joseph Kabila shook up the command of the army after security forces put up no meaningful resistance as M23 gunmen seized Goma, the capital of North Kivu, in November last year. Having humiliated the government and the UN, whose peacekeepers proved equally powerless, the rebels withdrew a few weeks later.Military analyst Darren Olivier said the new FARDC commander in North Kivu has cracked down on ill-discipline, raised morale and turned his troops into a capable force. The troops were well prepared and supplied for their assault on the M23, he said.“This has interesting implications for the potential of FARDC to eventually be able to maintain a monopoly of force in the eastern DRC,” Olivier wrote in the African Defense Review.“In just four days, M23 has been dislodged from every one of the strongholds it once held,” Olivier said. “This surprisingly rapid reversal of fortunes for the group was unprecedented only weeks ago when most experts predicted that it would take significant effort to remove M23 from towns like Kibumba, Rumangabo and Rutshuru.“Despite M23′s claims that its withdrawals were intentional, the group relinquished heavily-fortified positions all over North Kivu that it had only recently reinforced after the fighting in August. While M23 is not yet fully defeated, there is little doubt that it has suffered a crushing military loss.”South African troopsCreating such a monopoly should prove easier with the support of the UN Force Intervention Brigade, the 3 000-strong unit deployed earlier this year in a demonstration of the international community’s determination to break the cycle of violence in eastern DRC. Unusually for UN missions, the brigade is mandated to carry out targeted offensive operations to help government forces eliminate armed groups.According to Olivier, the UN force played a crucial role in the battle against the M23 by allowing government troops to fight simultaneously on three fronts, dividing and weakening the rebels as they tried to defend their fortified redoubts north of Goma.Wolters of the ISS said the M23 defeat and the impact of the UN brigade (made up of troops from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi) sends a strong message to other armed groups.“It may prompt them to consider the advantages of a negotiated solution over a drawn-out military campaign. If it really wants peace, Kinshasa will then have to react quickly to capitalize on this and to engage in robust negotiations that can bring a real end to the violence,” Wolters said.Negotiations and reformsHow Kinshasa deals with the M23 may indicate how willing it is to make concessions to other rebel groups in the name of a national reconciliation programme.Under a multilateral framework agreement signed under UN and African Union auspices in March, the DRC is committed to a far-reaching reform programme designed to tackle the root causes of instability and rebellion.“The M23 is only one of many armed groups operating in the eastern DRC. There are many others that have long rendered the lives of the population in these parts a living nightmare, and that still need to be tackled politically and militarily.”As well as pledges on reconciliation and democratization, the government promised action to overhaul its security forces, consolidate state authority in the east and prevent armed groups from destabilizing neighbouring countries. The plan includes detailed benchmarks at national, regional and international levels to measure progress.However, peace talks with the M23 in the Ugandan capital Kampala had dragged on for months and were already stalled when the military push changed the facts on the ground.Russ Feingold, the US special envoy to the region, said on 6 November that a still unsigned agreement between the government and the M23 contains detailed provisions for disarming and demobilising the rebels and for protecting them from other armed groups.French permanent representative to the UN Gerard Araud said DRC negotiators were reluctant to sign “a sort of agreement between equals” after the rebellion had been crushed.The DRC parliament also has yet to pass a national amnesty programme. Western diplomats are pushing strongly for those accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity, including several M23 commanders, to be excluded from the amnesty and held accountable.Feingold contrasted this approach with the failed peace agreement of 23 March 2009, from which the M23 movement took its name. While the 2009 deal “did give that kind of amnesty to people who committed major crimes… there’s no impunity in this, this time,” Feingold said. “The goal here is to make sure this can’t happen again.”He said a successful conclusion to the Kampala talks could open the way for substantive talks between countries in the region. “Without that, this is not likely to be a successful effort to get at the root causes.”The violence in eastern DRC has left over one million people displacedYet there is concern that success against the M23 could leave Kinshasa feeling less compelled to meet its obligations under the framework agreement and deliver on its reform pledges, which include the establishment of the special courts.With the M23 defeated, Kabila could “shake off some of the pressure on him to carry out national reforms and would be buoyed by the popularity such a victory would certainly bring,” said Jason Stearns, a former UN expert on DRC.Concerned neighboursWhile the enhanced capabilities of FARDC and UN were important in defeating the M23, some analysts argue that the rout also reflects a Rwandan decision to withdraw support for the rebels in the face of intense pressure from the international community.There is speculation that Rwanda has secured assurances that the next target of military action in DRC will be the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which includes ethnic Hutus who fled Rwanda after the 1994 genocide.“They should have done this some years ago. I hope that this time they will tackle the FDLR. They have to,” said Rwanda’s UN Ambassador Eugene Gasana.If Kigali feels short-changed, analysts warn that it could reactivate the M23 or arm another ethnic Tutsi-led proxy force in DRC in order to protect its security and economic interests.France’s UN representative Araud said on 7 November that FDLR was “on the front line” of the rebel movements to be tackled next. Diplomats have named the Allied Democratic Forces, an Islamist group opposed to the Ugandan government, as an additional priority.Rwanda has accused DRC forces of collaborating with the FDLR, something that Kinshasa denies. UN experts have in turn accused Rwanda of supporting the M23, a charge rejected by the government in Kigali.On the groundSome observers warn that the ethnic Tutsi communities in Kivu will remain fertile ground for future rebellions unless they are given more social and political representation, and unless long-standing land and citizenship issues are addressed.A strong DDR – disarmament, demobilization and reintegration – programme for armed groups, including repatriation for foreign fighters, is vital in Kivu and elsewhere, DRC scholar Christoph Vogel said.Last week, Oxfam expressed concern that the space left by defeated M23 forces could simply be seized by other rebels.In the short term, the government and UN are keen to restore civilian control in the areas previously held by M23. In a gesture of goodwill, the provincial authorities reportedly vowed not to collect any taxes until next year.“It is up to the government to take responsibility and bring development to the economy as well as to the administration,” Kohler said while touring former rebel strongholds.Source: Irin humanitarian news and analysis, a service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations.last_img read more

The Mash Up radio host learns from listeners

first_imgPoets and musicians collaborate on The Mash Up, a weekly SAfm radio show. Between them and the audience, they teach the host and listeners about South Africa’s musical history.Naledi Moleo, host of The Mash Up, says the first show was broadcast on 13 August 2016. It was nominated for Best Music show in the 2017 Liberty Radio Awards in April. (Image supplied)Melissa JavanTo learn about South African music from the listeners and the artists in studio is one of the benefits of hosting The Mash Up radio show on SA FM Radio, says Naledi Moleo.“Songs like Jikijela by Letta Mbulu and Naughty Little Flea by Miriam Makeba are songs we would never have sourced and played had it not been for the listeners and artists who have requested real South African classics,” she adds.The Mash Up, explains Moleo, is a weekly hour-long show broadcast on Saturdays. It features live poetry and music by renowned and upcoming South African poets and musicians. “Each week, The Mash Up will bring together a poet and a musician. Through interviews, live poetry and music performances, they collaborate by ‘mashing up’ their respective crafts.”The artists may also give a selection of their favourite South African songs. “The listeners will be introduced to artists from different backgrounds, ages and genres. The show is about nation building and celebrating the extraordinary talent from South Africa.“The listeners love it. I get excited especially when listeners SMS us, giving us names of musicians and poets that we should have on the show,” says Moleo.How it startedShe realised there was a major opportunity to create a platform for South African poets, says Moleo. “Poetry has the power to either make really difficult conversations more palatable or raise our awareness of injustices. More than anything, poetry can also just uplift and renew us.“I believe that South Africans really need that in this day and age. We are bombarded with so much bad news and pressure that it is necessary to reflect. I too am in need of therapy that the live music and poetry offer at the end of every long week.”It is just magical, she says, to watch two artists who have never collaborated forced to make it work live on air — they have no prior preparation. “They always come into the studio feeling completely nervous and leave on cloud nine because they are so proud of themselves.“South Africa has always been a country that enjoys music and poetry. Think of how we sing with every major event. Think of the praise poetry and official events and even traditional weddings. The Mash Up is just a reflection of how South Africans have always expressed themselves. As a talk radio host all I really am interested in is hearing those different forms of self-expression.”The collaborationsMoleo says the musicians are usually the underdogs in the industry. “Artists like Nono Nkoane, Msaki and Tribute Birdie Mboweni are immensely talented and underrated. We think it’s important to celebrate their work.“Every now and then we will also have some of the legends of the music industry. Maestros such as Lex Futshane, Vusi Mahlasela and Pops Mohamed have also graced our studio and it’s wonderful because we get to celebrate their wonderful work and share with a younger listener who perhaps hasn’t had the opportunity to interact with their work.”One of the collaborations was Tshepo Molefe and Sabelo Mthembu.#TheMashUp with @naledimoleo brings you poet @tshepomolefe942 and musician @sabelomthembu. Expect an hour of awesome live poetry and music— SAfmRadio ? (@SAfmRadio) June 24, 2017#TheMashUp thanks so much to our guests this evening the phenomenal @sabelomthembu and wordsmith @tshepomolefe942 @naledimoleo— SAfmRadio ? (@SAfmRadio) June 24, 2017Molefe has been writing poetry for two years. “It began when I was still a student at [the University of the Witwatersrand] and I entered a poetry competition called DFL Lover + Another. There, I met a poet who goes by the name NoLiFE [or Nobody Lives ForEver] and he introduced me to a platform called Cuddle Sessions. This in turn introduced me to the Joburg poetry scene. I haven’t looked back.”According to Molefe his poetry ranges from social issues, such as alcohol abuse and miscarriage from a father’s perspective, to political commentary to his own struggles and the problems he has with his family.He describes his experience on The Mash Up as amazing.Molefe believes collaborations such as these build a better and more versatile network between artists. “What I mean by ‘more versatile network between artists’ is often we get caught up our own artistic spaces, for instance I would normally stay in and interact with my poetry circles, and not know of other creative spaces that are out there.“Such spaces would include soul singers and instrumentalists. The Mash Up kind of collaborations opens doors for artists in different fields to first know that they exist and if they would someday want to work on a joint project, provided that they like each other’s work.”Musician Mthembu agrees: “I truly enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the vibe between the poet and I was great. It was the first time I collaborated with a poet.“There was an instant gel of styles.”He says collaborations teach him that artists need each other to grow. “Working together we have the capacity to achieve more as a people.”Mthembu has been in the music industry for about 10 years. “I did backing vocals for Louise Carver for about five years before releasing my solo project.”He says although he started singing in church when he was five years old, singing was not a first career choice growing up. “I enjoyed doing it very much though. It was only after participating on South Africa’s Idols in 2007 that I decided to pursue it more aggressively.Besides Carver, he has contributed backing vocals on various artists’ projects. He calls his music “Afrosoul with a touch of jazz and classical music”.You can listen to the podcasts of The Mash Up here.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa materiallast_img read more

Charities benefit from the 2019 Poultry Prom

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Matt ReeseEach year, the Ohio Poultry Association Annual Industry Celebration Banquet has a theme and the 34th installment of the event was no exception. This year, guests were asked to don formal dress as if they were back in their high school days and attending the prom. Guests dressed in their finest (or in many cases their formerly formal finest from yesteryear).The 2019 Poultry Prom featured a court of volunteers vying for the title of prom king and queen by collecting the most in cash donations from attendees. One of those volunteers — dressed in a tuxedo and looking the part of Prom King — was Ohio Poultry Association president Josh Moore.“We are raising funds for any of our Ohio Poultry Association charities we work with. We do a lot of work with charities here in Ohio. We try to find areas where we can help the community and work on the development of young leaders through programs like 4-H and FFA. Food banks in Ohio are very important to us and one of the biggest charities is the Children’s Hospital in Columbus,” Moore said. “Our PJs and Eggs event is a big one. We do that in Columbus. We partner with local diners that are usually open for breakfast and lunch. One night a year, though, they will open their doors for us and we have breakfast for dinner that evening. We ask for everyone participating to bring in pajamas. Those pajamas are then gathered and distributed to the Children’s Hospital, which is a very big need. The amount of children who go through there that do not even have the pajamas they need is staggering and we try to support that as much as we can. We also try to have a farmer at each location to answer the questions anyone may have about how our industry works.”Last October PJs and Eggs included 11 participating Columbus restaurants. Since 2012, PJs and Eggs has raised more than $9,423 in monetary contributions for Nationwide Children’s Hospital and donated 7,313 pairs of pajamas.Hinda Mitchell with Inspire PR group was crowned the Prom Queen as the top fundraiser and Scott Michalak with Trillium Farms was named the Prom King for his fundraising efforts.At the 2019 Poultry Prom more than $2,800 was raised for this and other OPA charities. Despite his best efforts and black-tie attire, Moore did not get the Prom King title as the top fundraiser, though. Hinda Mitchell with Inspire PR group was crowned the Prom Queen as the top fundraiser and Scott Michalak with Trillium Farms was named the Prom King for his fundraising efforts.The real winners of the night, however, were the charities that benefitted and the actual award winners recognized at the event.Tom Stoller from Van Wert was recognized with the Golden Egg Award, the OPA’s top honor, for his commitment to advancing the mission and values of the state’s egg, chicken and turkey farmers. Stoller grew up on his family’s fourth-generation commercial layer operation that has transformed since the 1920s from a small hatchery into one of the nation’s leading table egg producers.Tom Stoller received the Golden Egg Award, presented by Jim Chakeres and Josh Moore.Since joining the business in 1991, his life has been committed to the advancement of the farm, ensuring that it is as ethical, sustainable and efficient as possible. Stoller has served as president of the Ohio Poultry Association and as member of the American Egg Board.The OPA Good Egg Award was presented to Cindy Kirkland from Dublin for her role in countless culinary projects and campaigns. Kirkland helped extensively with the recent multi-state, OPA-led campaign called Dish on Eggs that shared state-specific brunch, appetizer and dessert recipes from some of the leading egg-producing states in the U.S. during the busy holiday season. In the effort, Kirkland leveraged her extensive culinary expertise to create, test andThe OPA Good Egg Award was presented to Cindy Kirklandphotograph all 25 recipes, working within tight deadlines while delivering an exceptional finished product. Kirkland also leads the planning and preparation behind the Ohio Agricultural Council’s Hall of Fame Breakfast and OPA’s culinary competitions at the Ohio State Fair. She also often works behind the scenes to prepare materials for OPA’s TV cooking demonstrations.The OPA Meritorious Service Award was presented to Dr. Keith Honegger of Bluffton, Ind. Honegger has served as a prominent veterinarian in the poultry industry for more than 40 years.During his career, Dr.The OPA Meritorious Service Award was presented to Dr. Keith Honegger.Honegger has worked with Central Soya, Intervet, Lohmann Animal Health and Elanco. For the last five years, Dr. Honegger has worked as a poultry technical consultant at Elanco. In this role, he develops effective vaccination schedules and provides veterinary support to commercial layer and broiler companies in disease diagnosis, serological testing, and vaccine application training.The Industry Partner Award was presented to the Ohio Pork Council that has worked side-by-side with OPA on an array of projects throughout the years because of their shared visions of advancing and growing Ohio agriculture. The two associations worked together on the Issue 2 campaign, the establishment of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board and most recently, OPA has worked with the Ohio Pork Council, along with other Ohio livestock commodity organizations to lead statewide efforts on water quality. ThisMelissa Bell represented the Ohio Pork Council and received the Industry Partner has included participating in frequent meetings with state regulatory officials and local environmental organizations to craft strategies for assuring Ohio’s water quality, and developing workable, scalable solutions to reduce nutrient runoff. They also worked closely to share the proactive efforts about what Ohio’s livestock farmers are doing on their farms to protect Ohio’s river, lakes and waterways.last_img read more

Social News Site Reddit Reports 200%+ Growth in 2010

first_imgTags:#news#NYT#web Social news site Reddit posted year-end numbers this afternoon including January and December page view stats that climbed from 250 million pageviews to more than 3X that number, 829 million.Former ReadWriteWeb writer Frederic Lardinois wrote up the numbers on his personal blog Newsgrange (we miss you, Frederic!) and said he did not believe that Digg’s troubles this year were the cause of Reddit’s growth. But I think it’s hard to believe that wasn’t a major factor. Digg has long been the much bigger social news site but has slowed to a crawl after users grew unsatisfied with changes made by management seeking to make the site more democratic, more personalized and more mainstream. The resulting exodus couldn’t help but have contributed at least some growth to Reddit, a site that’s very similar in function if very different in tone. Either way, the moral of the story may be that social news, voted on by users in aggregate, is not dead.The tension between the two sites has been intense all year. In late August, a redesign of Digg faltered and was widely criticized. On August 30th, Digg users angry about changes to Digg voted every Reddit story to the front page and filled entirely with Reddit-imported content. On the next day, it was reported that Digg CEO Kevin Rose would step down from the company’s helm and be replaced by’s Matt Williams.Meanwhile, things at Reddit tend to have a very different tone and that was evident in the year-end round up. Reddit users pride themselves in their generosity towards the rest of the world. The site raised almost a million dollars for Haiti and other global crises this year. It also began a new program wherein users can donate their activity data on the site to independent researchers, something which thousands chose to do and which we wrote about enthusiastically in October as a potential model for all other social sites.While comparisons with Digg are hard to avoid (Digg was bigger, is far more juvenile, into cults of personality, swamped with spam-for-hire sleaze-bags, antagonistic towards women, unsuccessful in building niche communities and without an attractive mobile site) it’s only fair to acknowledge that building sites like these is much harder than it might appear. Yahoo’s Digg copy-cat site Buzz, for example, was heralded as the game-ending giant entry into this market when it was launched two and a half years ago but the December announcement of its pending closure warranted less than a sniffle compared to the uproar about Yahoo saying it was closing social bookmarking service Delicious.For reference, the 800 million monthly pageviews Reddit saw in December is the same number that was seeing in 2006 when AOL decided to turn it into a social news Digg-competitor. That effort angered Netscape news portal users, who revolted until the social news effort was moved to, itself just a memory now.Meanwhile, Reddit keeps getting better and much, much bigger. Or, if this was as they say on Reddit too long didn’t read, here’s how the team summarizes the news: “2010 was a great year for reddit, and 2011’s gonna be so awesome it’ll make 2010 look like 2009.” Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketcenter_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… marshall kirkpatrick Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

What’s More Important, Air-Sealing or Insulation?

first_imgWhat about a flash-and-batt approach?Brown wonders also about a technique called “flash and batt,” which is the application of a thin layer of polyurethane foam on the back side of the exterior sheathing followed by more conventional cavity insulation. The foam provides the air seal, and cavity insulation such as cellulose or fiberglass isn’t as expensive as filling the bays with foam.But she’s unsure whether open- or closed-cell polyurethane should be used.“In a flash-and-batt job in Zone 5 you must use closed-cell foam to get away from interior side vapor retarders, and for the assembly to meet code the foam needs be at least 40% of the total center cavity R-value for roofs, or 28% for walls,” replies Dorsett.If Brown used less foam than that, a “smart” vapor retarder, such as CertainTeed’s MemBrain, would be a good idea, he adds, and “far safer” than using polyethylene as a vapor retarder. If you have to choose one, go with air-sealingTo GBA senior editor Martin Holladay, Brown’s query about air sealing or insulation is almost like asking which of the two she should do incorrectly.“But if we boil your question down to its essence — ‘What’s more important, air sealing or R-value?’ — the answer is clear,” he adds. “Air sealing always comes first. So find a contractor who understands the need to pay attention to airtightness.“Ideally, you need to keep looking for a contractor who understands the issues we’re talking about, and who cares enough to do a good job,” Holladay says. “If you can’t find that person, then none of these discussions matters.”As to Brown’s comment that builders she’s spoken with all say their houses “can pass a blower door test,” Holladay suggests asking what they typically get for a result. A result of 1 or less air changes per hour at 50 pascals of pressure (ach50) is very good, he says, while 1 to 2 is good, and more than 3 is “not very impressive.”Don’t wait until the house is finished before testing with a blower door, says Lucy Foxworth, and consider requiring the builder meet a specific air-tightness level. If the house doesn’t reach that standard, require the builder to go back and plug the holes.Two tests — one after framing when doors and windows have been installed, and another after the drywall is up — would give Brown a chance to do something if the results were below par.“You could require a meeting with the builder and the major subs to emphasize your energy goals in building the house. Emphasize the need for air sealing and your concern that it be done right. Offer them a free meal at good restaurant and give them a small stipend to make your point,” Foxworth says. “Put signs up for the subcontractors at the building site: ‘If you put a hole in the building envelope, you must seal around the hole.’”Foxworth recommends two companies that sell high-quality air-sealing supplies, The Small Planet Workshop and 475 High Performance Building Supply. Find the right builderIn addition to suggesting a few insulation specifics, David Meiland recommends that Brown find the right builder, for without that much the project won’t go smoothly.“Really, it shouldn’t cost much more to do a much better job, but you have to find the people who have already done it at least once,” Meiland writes. “If your builder is saying ‘What?’ about this stuff then you have an uphill battle.”Judging by what Brown has learned so far, that’s not going to be easy.“Most [contractors] I talk with,” Brown says, “when I say ‘air sealing’ just refer me to the drywall, or say that is what the Tyvek (building wrap) or vapor barrier is for.”She’s talked with ten builders (and has yet to sign a contract), and all of them say they’ll do whatever it is Brown wants, but they “seem to find many excuses and reasons to talk me out of any sort of insulation other than fiberglass batts.“I just get more depressed at this,” she continues. “They all say that they can pass a blower door test.” Green Building Advisor reader Ani Brown is getting ready to build a new house, and like most people in her position Brown will have to make some important choices on how to make the most of a limited construction budget.Her immediate concern is insulation and air-sealing, two related details that will have a lot to do with how comfortable and durable the new house will be.Brown has talked to many builders, most of whom are offering a “standard” insulation package consisting of fiberglass batts in the wall, and no separate air-control layer other than drywall or plugging holes discovered in blower-door testing.Brown recognizes batt insulation can be difficult to install correctly, suggesting that spray-in insulation might be a better choice.“But, one can argue that no matter what the product is (batt or spray); if it is installed incorrectly it will be a problem,” she writes in a Q&A post at GBA. “One can also argue that it is not the type of insulation that is being used that is of importance, but the ability to control air flow in an assembly. Meaning that if proper controls are put in place to control air flow, it does not matter as much what insulation material is used or if it is installed properly as long as it meets the required R-values of the code.” RELATED ARTICLES In a perfect world, a new house would include insulation that is installed correctly as well as effective air-sealing. “But,” Brown adds, “if additional money is not available for both, what would be best to spend money on? Better installed insulation like a spray product or better air flow controls?”The same concern was the focus of a Q&A Spotlight in 2010 and makes a return appearance here.center_img Building a tight house shouldn’t be too hardEchoing Holladay’s comments that an airtightness result of 3 ach50 is “not very impressive,” Dana Dorsett says that result isn’t even good enough to meet the 2012 International Residential Code.“Unless the design is some junior architect’s framing nightmare of a gazillion bump-outs, set-backs, and dormers, if they’re paying any attention at all to air sealing issues, 3 ach50 would be a cakewalk— more of a stripe painted on the floor than a hurdle to clear,” Dorsett says “Over 3 is an indication that they’re either clueless or careless (which is unfortunately not uncommon).”In fact, he adds, with 4×8 sheet goods on both sides of a framed wall, “There’s no excuse for performing worse than 3. It’s almost idiot-proof.”“And yet,” he adds, “the more idiot-proof you make something, the more creative the idiots become.”Dorsett suggests air-sealing the structural sheathing to the framing as best for a primary air barrier, because the sheathing is less likely to be compromised over time than an interior barrier, and it has fewer penetrations to seal in the first place. Still, he says, when using fiber cavity insulation, don’t forget to air seal the gypsum board as well, and make sure to add a bead of caulk under the bottom plates of exterior walls. Our expert’s opinionHere’s how GBA technical director Peter Yost sees it:Hands down, air sealing, in all climates in all buildings, is priority one, given its impact on indoor air quality and energy performance. It also is really hard to correct air sealing defects after the insulation goes in, so sequencing is another reason for air sealing priority (unless of course your primary air barrier employs the airtight drywall approach — ADA).Others have suggested a combination of “carrot-and-stick” to get the air barrier done right; I would add that requiring an open cavity blower-door test with a performance threshold connected to final payment is a good way to get what you expect and when correcting deficiencies is still possible. Take a look at this GBA blog: High Performance Scopes of Work.Be careful about assumptions regarding the inherent airtightness of spray foam installations; while quality issues rear their ugly heads with any type of insulation, spray foam has its own special and critical issues. Take a look at this blog on foam-in-place insulation that I just wrote for BuildingGreen.Finally, a great industry reference document on hybrid insulation systems (sometimes called flash-and-batt or flash-and-fill) can be downloaded from the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance website: “Spray Polyurethane Foam for Hybrid Insulation Systems.” (AY-146 is Part 1 for Climate Zones 1 – 3, and AY-147 is Part 2 for Climate Zones 4 – 7.) Air Leaks or Thermal Loss: What’s Worse?Green Basics: Air BarriersQuestions and Answers About Air BarriersAirtight Wall and Roof SheathingVapor Retarders and Vapor BarriersForget Vapor Diffusion — Stop the Air Leaks!Green Basics: Insulation ChoicesInstalling Fiberglass RightFrom Fine Homebuilding magazine: Why Flash and Batt Makes Senselast_img read more

Anxiety fear and grief normal at this stage for van attack witnesses

first_imgTORONTO – Konstantin Goulich had only travelled steps from his apartment building before he saw the first dead body.The second one lay a block or two to the south. Nearby lay a third, draped like the others in an orange blanket that only drew attention to the horror that had just transformed countless lives.The bustling but peaceful streets Goulich had planned to stroll on a balmy, sunny April day had become a grisly crime scene in the wake of a deadly rampage allegedly carried out by a 25-year-old man behind the wheel of a rented van.While Goulich was not among the 10 people killed or the 16 others injured that day, he said he’s struggled to come to grips with the “terrible” sights he saw.“I’m definitely not getting much sleep, that’s for sure,” Goulich said. “On the first night I couldn’t sleep at all. I just had the image of the person under the blanket.”Stories like Goulich’s will be common as the events of April 23 truly sink in, experts said, adding the witnesses to the violence that took place on Yonge Street should be considered victims of the attack in their own right.Dr. Katy Kamkar, clinical psychologist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, said the carnage that resulted from Alek Minassian’s alleged rampage would be genuinely traumatic for everyday residents to take in.The sights and sounds that filled the streets that day not only lodge in people’s minds but also tear at their belief systems, she said, adding such events can leave people questioning fundamental pillars of their life such as the safety of their society and the foundations of their faith.In the immediate aftermath of such developments, Kamkar said it’s entirely normal for witnesses to struggle with the new information they’ve been forced to take in.Symptoms such as sleeplessness, anxiety, recurring mood swings, fear and grief are all normal at this early stage, Kamkar said, adding there is no single appropriate way to process such “horrific images.”“It’s important to expect all those and also not to be afraid of the symptoms, she said.Coping mechanisms may vary, Kamkar said, adding what works for one person may have an entirely different effect for another.Many mourners have congregated at the site of the attack in the days since it happened, and revisiting the scene proved unhelpful for one witness.Mandana Kanani was sitting outside her dry cleaning shop across the street when she saw the van speed along the sidewalk and run over a fire hydrant before continuing southbound, leaving four bodies in its wake.Since then, she said it’s been hard to shake the images and the sense of guilt she felt for being unable to help.“I was obliged to go to that side (of the street) and I felt really bad walking over there,” she said.But one person’s struggle can be another’s salvation.Dainis Cevers admitted to being in a state of shock after finding himself behind the van Minassian was allegedly driving and witnessing one pedestrian being hurled at least five metres through the air.Days later, Cevers returned to the scene after paying tribute at a makeshift memorial that sprang up since the attack.While there, he said he connected with the family of one of the victims. The exchange they had, he said, allowed him to commiserated and share his perspective on what happened.“It was good to meet them,” he said. “I was explaining that this could happen to anyone. There’s nothing to be done. It could happen to me, to anyone.”Such closure has not yet come to Mario Martella, who saw the body of an elderly woman lying just outside the neighbourhood hair salon he owns.“It’s terrible, terrible. It will remain in my mind for I don’t know how long,” he said. “But you can’t think about it.”Dr. Sylvain Roy, president of the Ontario Psychological Association, said that approach may not be best for everyone.He said that while the symptoms many people exhibit in the days after a traumatic event dissipate in most cases, some people see them intensify until they interfere with daily functioning.“Whoever witnesses directly will probably be impacted for life in one way, shape or another,” he said. “Some of these individuals will need to talk to somebody. The idea of connecting with family and friends, but also accessing professional help if needed, I think that’s going to be something we need to focus on.”Kamkar agreed, saying people with escalating symptoms may find themselves on the road to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or other psychological conditions without the right interventions.Both urged people needing help to reach out to the community supports in their area.In the meantime, Kamkar said witnesses struggling to come to terms with Monday’s traumatic events may want to concentrate on slowly re-establishing a normal routine.“Focus on setting goals, setting activities,” she said, adding they could be as simple as going for a 10-minute walk or making one phone call to a friend or loved one “Any kind of routine that helps us to go one step forward.”— With files from Peter Goffin and Liam Caseylast_img read more