Obama to announce lower FHA premiums in speech today

first_imgPresident Barack Obama has announced a plan to make homeownership more affordable by reducing Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance premiums and expand responsible lending to creditworthy borrowers.The release comes as Obama is expected to address housing issues in Arizona today at Central High School in Phoenix. Bob Ramirez, chairman of Mountain West Credit Union Association has accepted an invitation to attend the meeting.  Ramirez also is president/CEO of Vantage West CU of Phoenix and Tuscon.The Credit Union National Association sent a letter Tuesday, along with a number of other housing and financial trade organizations, requesting the lower premiums. The letter was sent to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.“We believe it is now time for FHA to enable more households to access homeownership by reducing mortgage insurance premiums while still maintaining fiscal prudence and continuing the trajectory toward full replenishment of the fund,” the letter reads. continue reading » 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

READY FOR THE ‘NEW NORMAL’? | No more quarantine by May 16 in ‘low-risk’…

first_imgFor his part, National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. cited a World Health Organization (WHO) advisory. The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Iloilo city and province, and Bacolod City would be until May 15 only, and so, too, is the general community quarantine in the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, and Negros Occidental. * Iloilo province – 18 Here’s the breakdown of Western Visayas’ 97 COVID-17 cases as of May 12: * Negros Occidental – two The President, however, warned, “We cannot afford a second or third wave (of infections) na mangyari.” But according to the President, “COVID -19 (remains) very lethal. The easing up of restrictions hindi ibig sabihin wala na ang COVID…Dahan-dahan lang para hindi tayo madapa.” He, however, emphasized that the threat of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, still exists thus “new normal” measures must be in place. “Hindi pa po tayo pupuwedeng bumalik sa normal na bago dumating ang COVID-19 habang walang bakuna, habang walang gamot sa COVID-19,” he said. “Kinakailangan pong mag-ingat pa rin tayo. Mayroon pa rin pong banta, hindi lang ganoon katindi.” “The provinces and cities under the low risk category are in containment preparation phase which means empowering communities in enforcing minimum health standards and making investments to meet health capacity targets,” according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a virtual press conference yesterday hours after the President’s nationwide address. * Capiz – five As of yesterday, Western Visayas’ confirmed COVID-19 cases stood at 97, with 10 deaths, data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed. * repatriates – 27 (Aklan, one; Antique, three; Guimaras, two; Iloilo province, four; Negros Occidental, five; Bacolod City, two, and Iloilo City, 10) * Bacolod City – nine “According to WHO, any plans to ease quarantine restrictions should be carried out gradually and in a phased manner, hinay-hinay lang po to prevent a resurgence of infections,” Galvez said.The government cannot extend the ECQ period, he said, because its resources were very limited. * Aklan – six MANILA – Western Visayas should prepare for a “new normal” by May 16 when the community quarantine across the region would have been lifted. President Rodrigo Duterte, in an address to the nation yesterday morning, appealed to the people to continue wearing facemasks and observe social distancing. * Guimaras – zero Various business, private and government offices in Region 6 are expected to resume operations on May 18, even if gradually. They are seen to impose strict health safety measures on employees and clients such as the wearing of facemasks in their premises, social distancing, and constant disinfection of their work areas. The national government’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has deemed Region 6 to be a “low-risk” area for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections. * Iloilo City – 16 “It has to balance health and economy,” stressed Galvez.Other provinces where the community quarantine would be lifted by May 16 were Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Marinduque, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Palawan, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, Sorsogon, Biliran, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Western Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Magindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.Other cities classified as low risk, on the other hand, were Dagupan City, Puerto Princesa City, Legazpi City, Naga City, Ormoc City, Tacloban City, Cagayan de Oro City, General Santos City, and Cotabato City./PN * Antique – 14last_img read more

Nicklaus: McIlroy Will Need to Improve to Become Dominant

first_imgIn recent years Nicklaus has developed a strong friendship with McIlroy, who often practises at the 76-year-old American’s Bears Club in Jupiter, Florida.“Rory is one of those young men who has got a tremendous amount of talent,” Nicklaus said.“He has won and played on his talent to this point. If he wishes to dominate and go forward then he’s got to improve.”Nicklaus warned that standing still at the top of the game means only one thing – quickly being passed. And he believes the UK’s leading player is now approaching the prime of his career.“He has to work hard, he’s got to focus on what he is trying to do and it is up to him. Certainly he has all the tools to be able to do it – it is just whether he has the desire and the willingness to give up some other things.“And that’s his call. I mean, whatever Rory does, he has established himself as one of the great players that has ever played the game.“Whether he wants to be the greatest player to have played the game, that’s his determination and it’s his decision whether he wants to make that effort to try to do that.”The 2017 season is likely to be a pivotal year in McIlroy’s life with his wedding to fiancee Erica Stoll rumoured to be scheduled for the weeks following April’s Masters.Nicklaus famously combined a successful family life, bringing up five children, with collecting a record number of majors and an astonishing 118 tournament victories worldwide.“It’s just management of time,” Nicklaus said. “When you are young and single and just one dimensional you pretty much can do things at your leisure.“Once you start getting married, having a family, other business interests, then you’ve got to learn how to manage your time and use it efficiently. He’ll learn that.”McIlroy has won two US PGA Championships as well as the 2011 US Open and 2014 Open. Next April he will arrive at Augusta seeking, for the third time, to complete a career grand slam.“I think he will win the Masters [some day],” said the man who donned the famous Green Jacket on a record six occasions.“He certainly has the type of game that would do well at Augusta and he has done well before – he just hasn’t finished it.”And Nicklaus says McIlroy should not be put off by the hype that will accompany his continued attempts to land the one major to have eluded him.“The media are going to focus on this because he hasn’t won it,” Nicklaus added. “He’ll win it. He’s a good player.”Although Nicklaus says he feels McIlroy needs to improve, the American veteran refuses to be drawn on specifics.“I always felt like I was climbing a mountain and trying to get to the top of it,” he said.“And once I got to the top I was probably close to my mid-forties. And then I thought, maybe it’s time to take a slide down the other side. But as you’re playing and working at it you have to keep climbing and trying to get better.”One could apply this analysis to his views on the game in general. For decades he has been heavily involved in the business side with his course design company. Nicklaus also hosts his memorial event on the PGA Tour.“I think tournament golf is very healthy,” Nicklaus said. “Anything stagnates at one point or another and has to figure out how to reboot and move forward.“And I think they’ve done a pretty good job of it. I think we are now moving back in the right direction.”But he hates the fact that golfers can routinely propel the golf ball more than 300 yards off the tee. “It is the most ridiculous thing in the game,” he said.“I mean, who cares how far it goes as long as it is relative to the other person. If a golf ball goes 20% shorter it is not much different to what it was 20 years ago.“Some of the biggest problems we have are the cost of the game, the amount of time it takes to play, the difficulty of the game. All those things are things that can be addressed with one fell swoop with the golf ball.“We can play the game faster, play the game cheaper, play the game a little less difficult. It takes less land, it takes less water, takes less chemicals – all kinds of things that help us.”And he has no time for the leading golf officials who celebrate the fact that the likes of McIlroy can generate gasps of awe from watching galleries through their prodigious hitting.“When I belted it 280 yards they thought that was pretty good too,” Nicklaus said. “Before me, when [Ben] Hogan hit it 250 yards, they thought that was pretty good.“I think the fans get used to what they are looking at. I don’t see a change in the golf ball soon but I think common sense says you should do it.”It’s also clear that Nicklaus believes fans will see more McIlroy majors in the coming years, especially if the Northern Irishman is able to make the most of his vast potential.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Golf’s most prolific major winner, Jack Nicklaus, has said that Rory McIlroy must improve if he is to dominate the sport.McIlroy goes into 2017 with only Jason Day above him in the world rankings and with four major titles to his name.Nicklaus believes the 27-year-old from Northern Ireland now has to decide whether he wants to try to become the sport’s greatest player.Speaking to BBC Sport, the 18-time major champion was also optimistic about golf’s future but renewed his call for a cut in the distance the ball travels.last_img read more

A proud Jamaican – Mayhew satisfied following history-making Youth Olympics bobsled run

first_img “Overall, I am satisfied with my performance here. I have gained a lot of experience now, and I hope that I can continue with bobsled along with the other things that I want to do,” added the aspiring pilot. Mayhew, a student of Charlemont High in St Catherine, had a decent push-off in his first run, registering a start time of 5.67 seconds. He was solid throughout, even if he did not generate the speeds he would have liked, topping off at 106.2 km/h (the slowest among the competitors) and having a brush with Turn 13 before crossing the line in 58.85 seconds. This was 1.92 seconds slower than Ivanov, who was the leader at that stage of the competition. His second run was slightly better as he again got a good push-off time 5.67 seconds (10th best) and improved his top speed to 107.5 km/h to end the course in 58.62 seconds. “I know I can do better I have done better before, so I know I can. So, hopefully, I can continue in the sport and improve and always represent my country and make everyone proud,” Mayhew added. The Jamaican has been a hit with the crowd and the international media in Norway since his arrival and it was no different on the course yesterday. “I am glad that I got the opportunity to compete here. I received a lot of support from everyone here. Everyone was cheering for me and it was an extraordinary feeling. I think it was a factor which helped me to get my fastest push time,” he shared. “The competition was close, especially for the top guys. It was good for me. I did my best push time today, so it was a good feeling that I improved that. My overall track time wasn’t a personal best or the best that I could have done, but it was enough to cross the finish line and finish 13th, so I am satisfied,” Mayhew said. His coach, Harry Nelson, is the man behind his development from a teenager who had little interest in competing in sport, to one of the best young Monobob athletes on the planet after a year of training. Nelson was overwhelmed with the youngster’s efforts. “It’s an overwhelming feeling,” Nelson told The Sunday Gleaner. “Seeing the support we as Jamaicans got and that even though we didn’t get the best time of the series, I am very proud of him. It was a proud moment to see him complete the track,” Nelson said. “And to get his personal best start time of 5.67 seconds is also a very good accomplishment for him. The pair will return to the island on Wednesday. Jamaican youngster Daniel Mayhew says he is extremely proud following his 13th-place finish in the Monobob competition at the Winter Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway yesterday. The 17-year-old, who is the first Jamaican participant at the Winter Youth Olympic Games, registered times of 58.85 and 58.62 seconds in his two runs for a combined time of 1:57.47 which placed him 13th in the 15-man field taking part in the event. The gold medal was won by Germany’s Jonas Jannusch, who recorded a time of 1:54.29, with the silver medal going to Russia’s Maksim Ivanov, 1:54.22, Norway’s Kristian Olsen (1:54.53) took the bronze medal. Speaking to The Sunday Gleaner shortly after his run yesterday, Mayhew, who was remarkably only introduced to the bobsleigh event just under a year ago, said he would have loved to finish in the top three, but is very proud to have represented his country so well and against the odds. “I am a little sad that I didn’t get a medal, but I really feel good in myself and proud that I was able to come here and compete at the Youth Olympics and make everyone proud,” said Mayhew. SATISFIEDlast_img read more

SCI welcomes Beck

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Seed Consultants, welcomes Brandon Beck as a new area seedsman covering Northwest Indiana. Brandon holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Ball State University and has been working with farmers in Northwest Indiana for the last seven years.“Brandon is focused on servicing the needs of his customers and has a strong passion for the seed industry,” said Brian George, Regional Sales Manager for SCI.last_img

A Tale of Two Houses

first_imgAs difficult as it is to meet the requirements for Passivhaus certification, builders and designers have a great deal of leeway in how they approach it. There are just a few big hurdles to clear, including limits on how much energy the building can use and how airtight the building envelope must be.Exactly how a builder accomplishes this is not spelled out. As long as the building meets the standard, it can win certification, either from the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) or its European counterpart, the Passivhaus Institut (PHI).At the North American Passive House Network conference last month in Portland, Maine, two designers with very different outlooks detailed their Passivhaus projects, demonstrating that many roads can lead to the same destination.One of them, Andrew Michler, took the unusual step of avoiding foam insulation in the house he designed in the mountains of Colorado: none under the slab, none in the walls, none in the roof.The other, New Mexico architect Vahid Mojarrab, chose components made with rigid foam as a way of achieving Passivhaus performance economically and reliably.Is one better than the other? It all depends on how you look at it. In New Mexico, the aim is to compete in a spec marketIf Michler had the luxury of working on a guest house on his own property, and the time to feel his way through some of the building details, Vahid Mojarrab faced a completely different set of challenges: How to build to the Passivhaus standard with a labor pool familiar only with conventional techniques, and do so quickly and efficiently enough to stay competitive on price.Mojarrab knows the production housing market well. He’s built more than 1,200 houses in Colorado, New Mexico, and California but was first introduced to the Passivhaus standard five years ago in a training program in Champaign, Illinois. “It just made sense to me to be able to take advantage of the airtightness and some of the basic science to achieve a high-performance building,” he said by telephone a week after the Portland conference. “When I came back to Santa Fe, we started investigating how we could incorporate that.“Obviously, the real estate market was in a downturn, so it was really hard to be able to go into the market with something so different and ask more money for it when people where looking around with really depreciated real estate all around the country, especially in our area.”Mojarrab’s plan was to stick as closely as possible to familiar building practices so crews wouldn’t have to learn an entirely new way of construction. He had two other advantages: an investor named Bob Schneck who was wanted to collaborate with Mojarrab to advance Passivhaus building in the region, and energy modeler and “Passivhaus optimizer” Graham Irwin of Essential Habitat in California. The answer: Cellulose, mineral wool, and a crawl spaceMichler’s two-story, 1,200-square-foot house in Masonville, Colorado, is built with 2×4 structural walls insulated with mineral wool batts, taped plywood sheathing, and 14-inch-deep Larsen trusses insulated with cellulose and Roxul Drainboard, a rigid mineral wool insulation.Exterior above-grade walls are rated at R-65 to R-85, depending on how thick they are. Their unusual depth made it impossible for Michler to find an insulation contractor willing to dense-pack them with cellulose. He ended up doing it himself, using weed mat to contain the cellulose between truss cavities, and OSB shelves to divide wall cavities into spaces no more than 7 feet tall to reduce settling.The roof, framed with I-joists, is insulated with a combination of mineral wool batts and cellulose to R-75 (see the section drawing for more details).Michler built the house over a crawl space. The concrete stem walls are insulated on both the inside and outside with Roxul Drainboard to R-40, and the floor consists of 16-inch-deep I-joists insulated with blown-in cellulose to R-58. OSB provides the air barrier.“A lot of people gave me hell for having a crawl space,” Michler said, because it raised concerns about moisture and mold. Although the crawl space will have to be monitored, the design looks viable in the relatively dry climate where he lives.Other details:The windows are triple-glazed Intus units with a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.51 and a U-factor of 0.14.Whole-house ventilation is provided by an Air Pohoda heat-recovery ventilator connected to an earth tube.A 2-kW photovoltaic array (off-grid).Domestic hot water from a solar-electric preheater tank and a 92% AFUE Noritz on-demand propane heater.Heat comes from domestic hot water system, which feeds both a radiant loop in a wall separating the living room from the bathroom in the middle of the house, and a heat coil in the supply side of the heat-recovery ventilator. The HRV runs continuously, drawing 30 watts of electricity to move 62 cfm.A phase-change material called BioPCmat M51 is installed on two walls to help even out spikes caused by solar heat gain.The blower door test measured air-tightness at 0.45 air changes per hour at a pressure difference of 50 pascals (ach50). Michler built the house for $220 per square foot. Time running out to make the right choicesWhat troubled Michler was “the legacy of toxicity” that foam insulation represented. He objects to its high embodied energy, the global warming potential of its blowing agents, and the extremely slow payback of using large amounts of it in a building. Spray polyurethane foam has more than 100 times the greenhouse gas potential as cellulose, he told a conference panel; expanded polystyrene has as much as 18 times the embodied energy as cellulose.“What are the chemical impacts of what we’re doing right now?” he asked.“The industry has kind of baffled us with bullsh**, the foam industry,” he said by telephone, “where they can kind of say, ‘We’ve done this better,’ while totally ignoring all the other science and other issues with their product and then call it green because it’s less damaging. The whole idea with Cradle to Cradle is that you don’t create products that are less damaging; you create products that are more beneficial.“If we’re looking at turning around the ship, so to speak, we don’t have 60 years; we don’t have 15 years. We really have to start talking about the impact of our building sector at this moment,” he continued. “In that sense, I don’t see the race as a marathon, as we often talk about it for payback periods, but as a sprint from start line to finish line.” Start with typical local practice and work with thatBecause of building requirements in Santa Fe, builders were already used to adding a layer of rigid foam insulation on exterior walls. “What we did,” Mojarrab said, “was to take that detail and just bumped it up.”Instead of adding 2 inches of EPS, they added 10 inches of EPS in the form of a panel faced on one side with OSB — half of a structural insulated panel. The 2×6 exterior walls were air-sealed by taping the Zip panels before the SIPs went up, creating an air barrier where it would stay protected from plumbers, electricians, and other subs. With blown-in cellulose in cavities, and the 10 inches of EPS over the sheathing, total wall R-values are 61.“It has to be taped; it has to be taken care of a little bit,” he said of the Zip wall system. “The construction approach has to adjust a little bit, but it wasn’t really a drastic measure. Nobody looked at our details and said, ‘We cannot build this. Oh, it’s so expensive.’”Mojarrab placed 4 inches of EPS insulation beneath the slab. In the roof, he used another 10-inch thick, one-sided SIP in addition to blown-in cellulose in the I-joist framing for a total R-value of 97.Mojarrab’s VolksHouse 1.0 (meaning “People’s House”) came in 6.5% below normal construction costs and was appraised for 35% more than similarly sized houses in the same area.Some of the construction details:Domestic hot water: Solar thermal with an electric backup and an 80-gallon tank.Heating and cooling: A Mitsubishi Mr. Slim ducted minisplit heat pump rated at 8,100 Btu/hour for cooling and 10,900 Btu/hour for heating.Whole-house ventilation: UltimateAir energy-recovery ventilator.Windows: Optiwin. Southern exposure, solar heat gain coefficient of 0.63 and a U-factor of 0.11; east, north and west elevations, solar heat gain coefficient of 0.53 and a U-factor of 0.11.The blower door test measured air tightness at 0.3 ach50.Mojarrab built the 1,700-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-story house for $165 per square foot. It is certified by PHI and also won a New Mexico “Emerald” rating, which Mojarrab says is similar to a LEED-Platinum rating. For Michler, a first-ever Passivhaus designMichler has been living off the grid in the mountains outside of Fort Collins, Colorado, for 20 years. He’s done lots of retrofit work, and built a few houses, but about five years ago, during a construction dry spell, he veered into consulting and writing. He hopes to publish a coffee table book on high-performance building sometime next year.A few years ago, Michler interviewed William McDonough, an influential architect and writer who published a book called Cradle to Cradle in 2002 in which he advocates benign, waste-free design. The interview was pivotal for Michler. When he began designing a guest house for his Colorado property, one of the most important considerations became the selection of the materials that would go into it.Foam insulation manufactured with petrochemicals wasn’t on his list. Although it’s commonly used in many parts of a high-performance house, Michler decided he didn’t want it. “McDonough makes a fantastic case that we really need to look at what a resource is, in general, and not just think about attributes but think about the long stretch,” Michler said by phone a week after the conference. Foam was an important building componentMojarrab’s decision to make rigid foam insulation integral to his design was an easy one. “The reason that we used the EPS for the performance of the building was that it was an easy way to get the performance very quickly,” he said. “We are dealing with production housing, so the people who are building the houses are not very sophisticated. They just put this stuff together.”Using the half-SIPs on exterior walls was very familiar to the crews he worked with. “It’s the detail they are used to,” he said. “They’re not unfamiliar with it, so it can be executed again and again with great success.”Mojarrab continues to tinker with his designs and reduced the amount of rigid foam insulation in subsequent designs. But he thinks it will be difficult to eliminate foam entirely, especially beneath the slab and in the roof assembly.“As we are proceeding, we are really refining our walls,” he said. “I can’t argue with Michler or anyone else when they say that foam doesn’t have any place in their buildings, but at the same time I feel like I’d rather use it for insulation than burn it in my car. It’s available to us. Our builders get it. It makes a better building. Why not use it until we come up with a better solution?”Then, too, there are the pressures of the production housing market in which Mojarrab is working. “What we try to do in all of our projects is to optimize it, to make every dollar count,” he said. “That’s production building. Every dollar counts in overall construction costs.”last_img read more