first_img CORONAVIRUS UPDATE FROM BUSINESS INSIDERBY AYLIN WOODWARD OF BUSINESS INSIDERA novel coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China, has killed at least 2,700 people and infected more than 80,000 others.Coronaviruses are zoonotic diseases, meaning they jump from animals to humans.The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan may have been the starting point of this outbreak. It was shuttered January 1.At many wet markets, meat, poultry, and seafood are sold alongside live animals for consumption.On February 24, China’s top legislature banned the buying, selling, and eating of wildlife. CORONAVIRUS INFORMATIONAL UPDATE FROM CNNFears about the continued spread of the coronavirus have taken a devastating toll on global markets. In the US, a stock market sell-off erased more than $2 trillion in wealth in a matter of days and sent the Dow plummeting 1,191 points yesterday, marking the biggest one-day drop in the index’s history. Asia Pacific markets, like Japan’s Nikkei and South Korea’s Kospi, have also steadily fallen. Experts say the virus, which has infected more than 83,000 and killed at least 2,800 worldwide, is ushering in an economic pandemic. Meanwhile, the coronavirus has reached sub-Saharan Africa, with the first reported case in Lagos, Nigeria. Lithuania, Belarus and New Zealand have also reported their first cases. In the US, California announced it is monitoring some 8,400 people for the virus. President Trump is trying to temper fears of a major US outbreak. “It’s going to disappear,” he said during a White House news conference. “One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.” Even as health officials warn the spread of the virus is all but inevitable, developments suggest the U.S. is underprepared for the threat. Diagnostic kits sent to local health providers aren’t working, and the CDC’s testing criteria meant an infected patient in California wasn’t screened for the coronavirus for days. Most cases are mild, which is good and bad news: A full recovery is common, but because the symptoms aren’t severe, those infected may be unknowingly spreading the virus. REUTERS FOOTNOTE: The above informational articles wasn’t derived from any DEBUNK social media outlet.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare The stock market had one of its worst days since the financial crisis amid fears the economic fallout could be worse than previously expected. The S&P 500 index entered correction territory yesterday when it dropped 12% from a recent peak, and shares are projected to fall further when markets reopen this morning. THE WALL STREET JOURNAL CORONAVIRUS UPDATE FROM REUTERS AND THE WALL STREET JOURNALcenter_img bullet  CORONAVIRUS  UPDATE FROM NEW YORK TIMES bullet THE LATEST: The World Health Organization now says the coronavirus has “pandemic potential.” The first case in sub-Saharan Africa was reported in Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country. In Asia, Japan is taking the drastic step of closing all schools for a month even though that country is not seeing a spike in cases. The northern California case continues to puzzle officials; the patient was apparently not tested for the virus for four days because she didn’t meet the narrow CDC testing criteria, having not recently traveled abroad. The state is now working to retrace her steps and contacts. NY TIMESlast_img read more

Counties Fight Big Box Stores On Property Tax Appeals

first_imgCounties Fight Big Box Stores On Property Tax AppealsFebruary 6, 2019, By Erica INDIANAPOLIS—For years, Elise Nieshalla has served as an at-large council member for Boone County, where she oversees one of the fastest-growing regions in Indiana.But 2018 ended with a series of challenges, shifting the perspectives of her and fellow county leaders. And it all started with a popular grocery storefront at the heart of Whitestown.When Boone County assessors priced the real value of the Meijer grocery store at $14 million, the company came back with a new argument, noting that its properties elsewhere in the state — particularly those in economically distressed communities — were valued at a lower price.Meijer, then, set an ultimatum with Boone County: After the Midwest retail chain received an $11.5 million assessment, the company entered into a lawsuit with the county. A third party appraised the property at $14 million. Meijer then demanded their Whitestown property’s worth by lowered to almost 50 percent less than the appraisal.Under the original assessment, Boone County taxes the property at $61 per square foot each year. If Meijer succeeds in its appeal, that annual rate would drop to $49 per square foot.After several hearings in late December 2018, both parties were told it could take up to a year for a final opinion from the Indiana Tax Court, Nieshalla said.Across the state, county assessors and their communities are facing similar challenges from some of the country’s most popular grocery stores, retail outlets, and pharmacies.In particular, Meijer’s case with Boone County exemplifies what a growing number of assessors are referring to as a “dark box store tax loophole,” a process by which retailers will insist properties valued at higher rates should be assessed at rates equal to their lowest-valued, or “dark,” establishments.This argument assumes properties like the Whitestown Meijer should be assessed without considering factors like daily business traffic.“Our focus is to keep prices as low as possible for our customers,” Meijer officials said in a statement about the Whitestown appeal. “One of the ways to do that is by making sure we pay a fair and equitable amount of property tax.”The company declined to discuss the appeal further.For those like Nieshalla, this argument is problematic. She and those against the theory argue it unfairly permits large corporations to pay less in property taxes on their most active establishment, which ultimately yields more profit for the company while leaving other groups — like homeowners and competing businesses — to pay additional property taxes.Many of the property taxes paid by big-box retailers fund emergency responders, like firefighters and local police, who often respond to retail locations to handle theft reports. In 2017, Nieshalla said, the Whitestown Police Department responded to 158 service calls at the Whitestown Meijer.“They are not a dark store as far as their use of public dollars,” Nieshalla said.This trend is nothing new if one considers the long if a recent, history of appeals in Indiana’s Tax Court and similar chambers around the country. The track record includes appeals dating back to 2012 within Indiana with states like Wisconsin and Texas reporting numerous appeals in the last decade.Appeals proliferated in the state after the Indiana Board of Tax of Review ruled in 2014 that a separate Meijer, located off East 96th Street in Marion County, should have received an assessment at $30 per square foot instead of the $83-per-square-foot rate assigned by the county.In Indiana alone, there are more than 300 pending appeals that involve big box store retailers. The cases span more than 15 counties, touching all corners of the state.Nieshalla said Boone County declined Meijer’s offer to settle, fearing the number of appeals with other companies would increase.“We knew other big box stores would be waiting at our doorstep,” she said about the decision.Now, leaders in the Association of Indiana Counties say they hope to end the ordeal once and for all this legislative session.County leaders are seeking a legislative fix that would set a state-level precedent for what constitutes a viable property value comparison, potentially putting a stop to costly county appeals and providing taxpayers with “taxing fairness,” according to a document provided by AIC.“We maintain that the value of a property to the current user and for the current user is a fair and equitable basis for taxation, rather than skipping to the value of the property to a future buyer purchasing it as a vacant building,” the document reads.Some lawmakers have already answered the AIC’s call.In the Senate, Sens. Brian Buchanan, R-Lebanon, and Phillip Boots, R-Crawfordsville, filed a bill to address various property tax matters, including several provisions to solve the concerns voiced by the AIC.Their bill — Senate Bill 623— would introduce protections for county leaders, empowering them to adopt ordinances that could reimburse assessors’ legal fees in appeals that are “uncommon and infrequent in the normal course of defending appeals.”Additionally, SB 623 would prevent companies who appeal property assessments from using second-generation properties in sales comparisons. In other words, if the company owns an inactive property — like a vacant grocery store that it rents out to seasonal tenants or holiday retailers — it could not compare that property’s assessed value with active establishments, or first-generation properties.Buchanan said the bill would only impact new big box store appeals, not the hundreds that are already filed or pending before the state tax board.“When a commercial retailer chooses to appeal, and that’s their right, the counties are often forced to settle,” Buchanan said. “We’ll protect their right to appeal, but we’re also working hard to find a solution everyone can live with.”Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect a correction in the amount of Meijer’s assessment. It is $11.5 million, not $14 million. The description of Elise Nieshalla’s position has been corrected.FOOTNOTE: Erica Irish is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more


first_imgFootnote: City-County Observer Comment Policy. Be kind to people. Personal attacks or harassment will not be tolerated and shall be removed from our site.We understand that sometimes people don’t always agree and discussions may become a little heated.  The use of offensive language and insults against commenters shall not be tolerated and will be removed from our site.Any comments posted in this column do not represent the views or opinions of the City-County Observer, our media partners or advertise.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Todays “Readers Poll’ question is: What type of renovation should the county do to the jail?If you would like to advertise in the CCO please contact us at City-County [email protected] We hope that today’s “READERS FORUM” will provoke honest and open dialogue concerning issues that we, as responsible citizens of this community, need to address in a rational and responsible way.WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND TODAY?last_img read more

Cargo shipments of Botox and cheese replace passengers for starving airlines

first_imgCoronavirus: Cargo shipments of Botox and cheese replace passengers for starving airlines Search quotes, news & videoslast_img

Jamaica U-15s aiming high for 2019 CWI tourney

first_imgJAMAICA will be hoping for a better finish in the CWI Regional U-15 Tournament when they compete in this year’s competition, set for April 11-21 in Antigua and Barbuda.The team departs the island tomorrow.Jamaica hosted the competition in 2018 and finished in third place with Jordan Johnson earning honours as the top bowler with nine wickets.His performance, along with that of then captain Sanjay Williams, earned them a selection to the CWI U-15 team, who toured the United Kingdom that summer.Jamaica last won the Regional U-15 tournament in 2011 under captain Ramaal Lewis, who now plies his trade as a contracted member of Senior Men’s Regional champions – Guyana Jaguars.This year’s squad features 12 new players who have replaced members of last year’s squad who have matriculated to the U-17 level.Now captain, Jordan Johnson, and Adrian Weir are the only two members of the 2018 squad who have returned.Coach Phillip Service said the new talent excites him.“It’s great that as a nation we are able to consistently produce good young talent. Continuity and succession planning are key to our future competitiveness across the region,” he said.“These young men are eager to grow, develop and excel. Last year’s third-place finish serves as an inspiration to them; in fact, they are intent on surpassing that achievement.“We just want to see them play smart cricket and stick to the plan for each game. There are some key performance targets that we will use to measure our success. On our return, we can carefully plot the next phase of the way forward.”Jamaica will join Barbados, Guyana, Leeward Islands, Trinidad & Tobago and the Windward Islands in a round-robin format, where each team will face the other once. The team to accumulate the most points at the end of the five rounds will be crowned champions.Coach Philip Service and manager Laurence Garriques are in charge of the 16-member delegation that includes squad members Jordan Johnson, Adrian Weir, Steven Wedderburn, Michael Clarke, Julani Sinclair, Kenardo Cameron, Odel Samuels, Xavi Williams, Kev’Aundre Virgo, Damar Freeburn, Lindale Anderson, Tamarie Redwood, Marlon Williams and Reon Edwards.last_img read more

NFL star Ziggy Ansah set to host third Football Camp in Accra

first_imgGhana’s NFL star Ezekiel ”Ziggy” Ansah is set to host his third annual Football camp this month in Accra.The camp which seeks to discover and nurture talents will see hundreds of senior high school students from all over the country participate.  The participants will be taken through a number of techniques and skills in playing American football.The camp has been scheduled for Saturday, 29 June 2019 and will take place at the University of Ghana Main Field. According to the organizers, the main purpose of hosting the event annually is to promote healthy living, physical education, teamwork and demonstrating the discipline to work hard towards one’s goals.The former Detroit Lions Pro Bowl pass rusher, who joined the Seattle Seahawks on a one-year contract, is confident this year’s football camp will be greater than the previous years. “This is one thing that I have really been passionate about. Growing up I never had anybody coming down [to Ghana] to do a football camp for me. But it’s something I learnt in the states, it has been great so far. I am looking forward to making it even bigger and better than previous years,” Ziggy said.Throughout the years the defensive end player has given back to society and continues to reach out more to deprived people through the Ezekiel Ansah Foundation, a non-for profit organization that strongly believes that with the right support and opportunity, they can steer youth on the right path and help them realize that they are, in fact, the answer to their own success.To participate, in the 3rd Ezekiel Ansah Football Camp register at www.eafghana.orgPROFILE of EZEKIEL NANA ANSAH Ezekiel Nana Ansah is a Ghanaian who played American Football for the Detroit Lions and is currently signed to play for the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL). He is the youngest of five children. Edward Richmond Ansah, his father, worked for a petroleum company and Elizabeth, his mother a nurse. Ezekiel grew up playing soccer and was introduced to the game of basketball by his brother. He developed his basketball interests and abilities at junior high school at the Golden Sunbeam Montessori School and played on the school’s basketball team, leading them to win several trophies. During his years in senior high school at the Presbyterian Boys’ Senior Secondary School (PRESEC), he participated actively on the school’s basketball team as well as track and field. He moved to the United States of America and attended the Brigham Young University (BYU), after high school and studied Actuarial Science, major in statistics. He tried out for the BYU Cougars men’s basketball team and he was not successful. He then spent a season running track (100 and 200 meters) and competing in the triple jump. He had no knowledge of American Football when he arrived in BYU but with the urging of his friend he eventually took interest and tried out for the BYU Cougars Football team. With hard work, he impressed the coach, Bronco Mendenhall, who saw so much potential in him and gave Ezekiel an opportunity to join the team. He played very well during his last two years at BYU. Ansah was drafted by the Detroit Lions with the fifth overall pick, of the 2013 NFL Draft. On May 10, 2013, the Detroit Lions signed him to a fully guaranteed four-year, $18.59 million contract with a signing bonus of $11.90 million. After six years at Detroit, he moved to join Seattle Seahawks on May 2019, signing a one-year, $9 million deal. —last_img read more

How Cells Build Hard Parts

first_imgYou have rocks in your head, and it’s a good thing, or you would die of starvation and imbalance.  Living things have need of inorganic structures for various functions.  Can you name the mineral structures in your body?  The answer is: bone, dentin, enamel and otoliths.  The last three are specific to your head.  Dentin and enamel help us chew our food, and otoliths help us know which way is up (see 10/10/2003 headline).  Vertebrates have bones and teeth, birds lay eggshells of calcium carbonate, and many marine and terrestrial animals build mineral shells.  Scientists and engineers are drawn to the skill organisms exhibit in the construction of hard parts (called biomineralization), and they want to imitate it.  We’ve drawn attention to the amazing capabilities of the conch shell (see 06/26/2003 headline) and diatoms (see 07/21/2004 headline).  Two recent articles in science journals discuss the human fascination with biomineralization.    A book review in Science last week1 opens with praise for the lowly diatom:The abilities to design and construct inorganic materials with specified atomic structure, size, shape, orientation, and number of defects and to integrate these architectures into functioning devices form the foundation for advances in technologies that rely on the devices’ electrical, optical, magnetic, and chemical outputs.  However, assembly methods that allow simultaneous control of these features at lengths from the nanometer scale to the macroscale continue to elude scientists and engineers….    What if there were constructors that could sequester inorganic ions from water, accumulate and concentrate them to produce architectures controlled over length scales from nanometers to tens of centimeters, and do all of this in a matter of hours at ambient temperatures?  Such constructors are not inventions of science fiction novels but rather single-cell plants called diatoms…. Biomineralization processes can form structures that are the envy of all of us who strive to understand molecular mechanisms of the assembly of inorganic materials.The book Mark E. Davis is reviewing is Biomineralization by the Mineralogical Society of America and Geochemical Society, 2003.  He was especially impressed by the complexity of the molecular mechanisms organisms use to build their hard parts, mechanisms that show mastery of molecular biology, protein chemistry, nucleation thermodynamics, and crystal growth.  Some organisms build minerals inside cells, outside cells, or between cells.  Davis found one example particularly attractive to the materials scientist:Nacre, the mother-of-pearl layer found on the inner surface of shells, has a fracture toughness approximately 3000 times that of the synthetic analogue aragonite (calcium carbonate).  Nacre is composed of thin (circa 30 nm) layers of a protein-polysaccharide intercalated between 0.5 micrometer-thick layers of aragonite tablets.  The weak interface between the organic and inorganic layers is thought to dissipate the energy of crack propagation and thus strengthen the composite structure. This sophisticated architecture provides clues as to how man-made structures could be improved.How could such capabilities evolve?  “The evolution of mineralized tissues has been enigmatic for more than a century,” says a team of three Penn State scientists writing in PNAS2 on the subject.  Feeling that comparative genetics could help solve the enigma, they undertook a search for homologous genes and proteins between disparate groups.  “Mineralized tissue is a critical innovation in vertebrate evolution,” they begin, “offering the basis for various adaptive phenotypes: body armor for protection, teeth for predation, and endoskeleton for locomotion.”  Certain “primitive” fish have dentin-like body armor covered with an enameloid substance that the team believes evolved into fish scales.  Their previous work suggested that mammalian teeth and agnathan body armor are homologous.  This time, they examined the genome of a teleost fish and failed to find any homologous proteins for mammalian tooth enamel.  Though dentin in teeth seems homologous with body armor that formed on skin collagen of fish, their analyses “suggest that mammalian enamel is distinct from fish enameloid.”  Instead, they believe “Their similar nature as a hard structural overlay on exoskeleton and teeth is because of convergent evolution.”1Mark E. Davis, “How Life Makes Hard Stuff,” Science, Vol 305, Issue 5683, 480, 23 July 2004, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1099773].2Kawasaki, Suzuki and Weiss, “Genetic basis for the evolution of vertebrate mineralized tissue,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 10.1073/pnas.0404279101, published online July 22, 2004.These two articles illustrate the disparity between hard science and soft, mushy, slippery Darwinian scientism.  It goes like this: (1) The organism excels at an engineering feat.  (2) It must have evolved, but we don’t know how.  To the extent the organism elicits admiration, the Darwinian explanation elicits disgust.   The PNAS article is a useless hodgepodge of storytelling, attempting to force uncooperative facts into a predetermined plot.  In one place, they “calibrate” their Darwinian tree based on Darwinian assumptions.  When that produces anomalous results in another part of the tree, they simply adjust the rate of evolution on that branch.  When another branch has trouble, they rearrange the branches and invoke the magic trick of “convergent evolution” to explain similarities that did not appear to have a common ancestor.  All through, there are wiggle words like must have, might have, quite possible, suggests, possible, co-opted, although there is no direct fossil evidence to date… may not have, probably, assumed to etc.  The data are only secondary props in this tweakfest to keep Charlie as the national idol.  Do they ever explain how multiple genes produced multiple proteins by accident that work biomineralization wonders?  No; it is all an exercise in reassuring the reader that the Darwin Party is not really lost.  For baloney detectors who are not intimidated by the bluffing of technical jargon or prestigious journals, it makes no sense.  Try this howler for fun:Together these facts make it likely that the developmental mechanism of mammalian tissue mineralization was elaborated during bony fish evolution in actinopterygians or sarcopterygians.  Although the genetic tools of tissue mineralization are totally unknown for chondrichthyans, it is quite possible that they have developed their own tools through independent gene duplications and functional selection histories.What a total whitewash; do you see what they did?  They just swept a huge problem under the rug.  When the data were missing or contrary, they ascribed it to evolution anyway.  They personified fish, turning them into materials engineers and tool inventors.  And that ending phrase, “independent … functional selection histories,” should be framed as a classic euphemism for Darwinian dogma. (Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more