• NXP Semiconductors N.V. — the world’s largest supplier of in-vehicle networking semiconductors — today introduces the UJA1018, a compact integrated solution that supports cost-efficient and flexible LED ambient lighting applications in vehicles. The UJA1018 is designed for LIN networks (Local Interconnect Networks) and is the first ASSP (Application Specific Standard Product) for ambient lighting with Node Position Detection.

    This enables LIN addresses of LED modules to be individually programmed after being installed in the car, rather than during module manufacturing. Ambient LED lighting is increasingly popular in the automotive industry. Car manufacturers are using it as a differentiator to enhance the driving experience. It also enables OEMs to emphasize their car brand via the color and styling of the interior lighting, while car dealers can offer consumers the option of customizing the lighting settings.

    Whereas interior LED modules are currently programmed during the module manufacturing process, with NXP’s new Node Position Detection method, based on an integrated LIN switch, all LED modules can be individually configured even after being mounted in the car. This offers new levels of flexibility while drastically reducing manufacturing logistics and costs.

    The UJA1018 integrates all analog functions to create a compact ambient lighting solution, including LIN transceiver, LIN switch for Node Position Detection, voltage regulator for microcontroller and drivers for 3-color LED. In addition, the compact HVSON package enables the creation of small form factor modules. The UJA1018 fulfills the robustness requirements from the OEMs and also meets the SAE J2602 and LIN conformance.

    “With the UJA1018 and its unique Node Position Detection technology based on LIN switch, NXP enables car OEMs to offer personalized ambient lighting solutions to end consumers. At the same time it saves system costs and simplifies logistics for both OEMs and Tier1 suppliers,” says Toni Versluijs, general manager of In-Vehicle Networking, NXP Semiconductors. “This underpins our leadership position as the de-facto In-Vehicle Network solution provider and our commitment to connect the car in present and in future.”

    Dr. Herbert Wambsganb, head of development at HELLA Interior Lighting Systems commented: “The UJA1018 enables HELLA to introduce a very compact LED ambient lighting solution that fits every interior location. The Node Position Detection by means of the integrated LIN switch allows configuration of each ambient lighting module once mounted in the car. Thus, all modules in the car can be kept the same which allows a high level of reuse and greatly simplifies the logistics.”

    LED lighting is well accepted by the broadcast TV, motion pictures and videography industry sectors for lighting effects and set lighting, mainly because of its flexibility. A single light source can generate a great variety of colors. Additionally, continuous cost/performance improvements driven by technological advancements are driving the LED lighting fixture market from a niche-only solution to a general use solution.

    Another benefit, directly related to the use of lighting in studios and sets, is the consumption of less electrical power consumption for not only because LEDs use less energy, but also less air conditioning is required since heat generated by an LED bulb is negligible. Also, television broadcasters and film studios are proud to publicize that they are good corporate citizens by incorporating LEDs in their operations and thereby embracing “Green Technology.”

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  • Unboxing the Q, I couldn’t help feeling that Google is trying to out-Apple Apple in its packaging and presentation. You get the same minimalist approach, only in black instead of white. Here’s the box, once you remove the sleeve.

    After you open the black seals (a second one is on the back of the box), you see the flat bottom of a Magic 8 Ball-sized black sphere–and nothing else.

    As with Apple’s products, the rest of the box’s contents are concealed until you lift a cardboard tab. But there isn’t much more to find–just a charging cable and a quick-start guide on a single cardboard square.

    The guide explains your cabling options (the Q connects to analog or digital audio systems, or to a TV via a Mini HDMI cable), directs you to download the Nexus Q app from the Google Play store, and provides a URL to visit for additional help. Honestly, it makes Apple’s printed manuals look like War and Peace–but I’m not sure less is more in this case. I wound up seeking guidance by clicking through much of the FAQs on the Nexus website.

    Anyway, I also snapped a photo showing the ports on the back of the Nexus Q.

    Note, by the way, that the Nexus Q doesn’t come with AV or ethernet cables (the ethernet hookup is for those users who prefer a wired network to Wi-Fi for media streaming). You must bring your own. That’s pretty cheesy for a gizmo that Google expects to sell for $299–and don’t forget, it doesn’t come with a remote control, either.

    I’m also disappointed that the Nexus Q doesn’t support 5GHz Wi-Fi–at this point, I believe that a streaming-media product should support dual-band 802.11n wireless, because in neighborhoods with multiple 2.4GHz networks, you really need the additional bandwidth of the 5GHz spectrum.

    At a full 2 pounds, the Nexus Q is surprisingly heavy for its 4-inch diameter. And when you lift it from the box, you realize that it’s not a one-piece sphere: The top half or so is a swiveling dome. The Nexus Q site says that swiveling lets you raise or lower the audio volume on whatever the Q is streaming without having to use the phone or tablet app; tapping the dome can mute audio (this is something I’ll test).

    I connected the Nexus Q to my HDTV using a Mini HDMI cable, to a HomePlug AV powerline switch using an ethernet cable, and to a power strip with the one cable that did come in the package. Immediately, the edge of the Q’s swiveling section lit up in blue–the specs say that the device has 32 perimeter RGB LEDs, and apparently they can change colors and pulsate based on the music you play (looking forward to seeing that!).

    A single LED in the middle of the dome also lit up, looking like a blue dot (it’s a mute indicator). My TV, meanwhile, displayed a black screen; at the top, “welcome” in several languages cycled through, and the URL of the support site appeared in smaller letters at the bottom.

    When I positioned the Nexus Q right in front of the display, a blue outline similar to the shape defined by the Q’s LED lighting appeared in the middle of the display. Here’s what it looked like.

    Although I found the blue lights interesting as a design statement, I also found them somewhat distracting, even without a TV show on the big screen. I’m going to look into whether users can turn off the lights, among other things. Stay tuned.

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  • A new art exhibition explores the origins of human life through abstract sculptures and paintings. Artist Dong Hee Lee’s new solo exhibition, “The Story of Life,” runs through July 1 at the Yegam Art Space at 196-50 Northern Blvd. in Flushing.

    The pieces that attach to walls, hang from the ceiling, or stretch across the floor, are inspired by the human creation process, as the egg and sperm join into a zygote and begin the earliest stages of development. A hanging collection of gelatinous orbs evokes eggs or the division of cells, while an orderly stream of wall-mounted pieces brings sperm to mind.

    The pieces are color-coded, with black structures reflecting masculine reproductive cells and white representing feminine ones. Lights and shadows play a part in the show, notably in an LED light series that explores the development of the human embryo.

    Originally from Korea, Lee earned her bachelor’s degree in fine art from Long Island University in 2009 and completed her fine art master’s degree there in May. Her work has appeared throughout New York City, including solo shows at the LIU Sculpture Gallery in 2010 and the SAL Gallery in Brookville, NY last year.

    “The Story of Life” reflects a shift from Lee’s early work, which focused on what she called “our contemporary culture of death.” Exploring themes of violence, pain, and self-destruction, these early works were in part aimed at making audiences face uncomfortable ideas about dark subjects.

    But in recent projects, Lee came to believe that showing audiences disturbing imagery created more of the alienation and suffering that she wanted to critique, and decided it was time for a change in focus.

    “Now I am more interested in portraying the infinite potential of the beginning of life—a time and space before the restrictions, boundaries, and pressures when society determines who we are,” said Lee. “I want to create artwork that evokes life before identity, the open future that exists before one enters the world.”

    But she emphasized that creation also comes out of a complex and sometimes brutal process of competition and survival, which can occasionally veer into dark territory. In the exhibition, Lee tries to evoke what she calls “the drama and beauty of our invisible origins.”

    Lee uses hot glue as her primary material, which allows her to create the abstract organic forms of webs, clusters, globes and pouches.

    “I create spheres out of a matrix of hundreds of interconnected rings of hot glue, extruded from a hot glue gun,” said Lee. “Sculpting with hot glue is extremely versatile, as I can work on a delicate scale or across large areas by building up accumulations of small units or covering extensive forms with the glue mesh.”

    Lee described the Yegam Art Space as an ideal location to showcase her work, in particular finding that the space’s high ceiling and huge window allows her to better connect with her audience.

    “There are many possibilities for developing my material technique in new directions, and exploring new concepts and methods in future projects,” said Lee.

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  • power Integrations has announced a reference design kit for a 150W, 48V power supply for LED streetlights and other industrial / infrastructure lighting systems. The driver circuit is more than 93% efficient at 230VAC input and above 91% at 110VAC. The design delivers a system power factor of greater than 0.97, THD of less than 10%, and easily meets EN61000-3-2 C. Designs can be scaled from 75W to 400W, using the same platform, simply by choosing different HiperPFS (PFC) and HiperLCS (LLC) family members and sizing power components appropriately.

    The company’s RDK-292 reference design kit requires fewer than 125 components to implement the driver’s PFC, LLC and standby power supply circuits, resulting in low BOM cost and exceptional reliability. The design utilizes a combination of Power Integrations’ highly-integrated HiperPFS power-factor-correction IC and the HiperLCS resonant converter IC, which together save up to 35 components compared with conventional LLC solutions. HiperLCS also permits the use of smaller magnetics and output filter capacitors than typical LLC designs. The design incorporates a Qspeed merged PIN-Schottky diode as well, boosting CCM PFC efficiency by delivering greatly reduced diode recovery losses when compared with conventional ultra-fast silicon PFC diodes.

    For installations with remote lighting-control systems, the design implements highly-efficient standby power-supply functionality based on Power Integrations’ LinkSwitch-TN ICs. The addition of a CAPZero(tm) X-capacitor discharge IC delivers further power savings, reducing no-load consumption to around 800mW at 264VAC input.

    Andrew Smith, product marketing manager, Power Integrations, said: “LED lighting can deliver significant cost savings for municipalities and commercial/industrial enterprises, but these savings cannot be fully realized without efficient, reliable, low-cost driver circuits. Power Integrations offers a full range of products – showcased in RDK-292 – to give designers of high-power LED lighting systems a strong competitive edge.”

    The groundbreaking technology centers support demand for Cree products and services throughout China and demonstrate Cree’s commitment to accelerate broader market adoption of LED lighting. TEMPO Services provide LED lighting manufacturers a comprehensive suite of evaluation services for LED luminaires – ensuring customers have information needed to design and market quality LED products.

    “Cree delivers our customers end-to-end development support and the opening of our new technology centers in Shenzhen and Shanghai is further evidence of our commitment to their success,” said Tang Guoqing, senior advisor, Cree Hong Kong Limited. “TEMPO Services can give manufacturers competitive advantages by helping them avoid costly design mistakes and by providing access to a broad range of test environments that are, in many cases, cost-prohibitive for them to build and operate.”

    Effective LED luminaire thermal design is essential to ensure reliability and optimum performance. TEMPO Thermal Simulation predicts the thermal behavior of LED-based fixtures, including junction temperature, heat sink temperature, temperature profile and airflow profile. TEMPO SPOT gives customers access to complex, costly equipment to measure the photometric performance of luminaires and replacement lamps. Every TEMPO Service delivers an accurate, easy-to-understand TEMPO report that includes all testing results and relevant performance data.

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  • We are fortunate to live in a country that offers us a multitude of natural resources yet to be harnessed for their entire potential. Arguably, the most important of these, with reference to the present atrocious energy crisis and the intensifying effects of climate change, are the renewable sources of energy. It is imperative that not only the government but also private entrepreneurs take the initiative of harnessing renewable energy sources.

    The aim should not only be to close the ever widening gap between energy production and need in the country, but also to introduce a new market for sustainable ways of increasing consumption through low emissions development. The Pakistan Council for Renewable Energy (PCRET) has already undertaken some groundbreaking work in this regard by researching the potential of renewable sources of energy for commercial and personal use through localised design and development principles.

    In the last few years, PCRET has designed and developed 10 solar dryers for drying of dates, a solar hybrid system for dehydration of apricot on commercial scale and more than 500 solar cookers handed over to NGOs for dissemination and popularisation.

    A commendable initiative taken by the CDA is giving a local manufacturer the approval to install solar-powered lampposts along the strip of Jinnah Avenue in Blue Area, Islamabad, with no cost to the city exchequer. The manufacture, installation and maintenance costs are to be borne by the providing company, which will recover its project cost by renting out advertising space on the lampposts.

    The Karachi administrator has also announced that the city will utilise solar power for lighting in public places. Solar PV technology, coupled with LED lights, has a high potential for saving significant amounts of energy and reducing the burden on the environment by reducing carbon emissions and slowing the rate of deforestation associated with fuel wood usage in rural areas.

    While these products can help urban users cut down on their energy bills and ensure sustainable and cheap energy sources, among the vast off-grid rural populations, these products can transform the way people live by providing them with street lighting for security, commercial activity and linking them to the world through electronic media. Although the government has a key role to play in facilitating the development of such a market for renewable energy products, local private entrepreneurs have an excellent opportunity to harness what are already common and commercially viable products in a number of developing countries.

    Solar-powered lights, heating systems and cooling units offer viable alternatives to current fossil fuel burning equipment for household energy needs. Importing assembly kits and setting up a small-scale assembly plant for these products in secondary towns and cities offers the potential for becoming a successful social enterprise, utilising the triple bottom line goals philosophy by targeting the planet, people and profits. A number of NGOs are already working in numerous regions across the country to help create awareness and build capacity for replication of energy efficient and sustainable sources of lighting, heating and cooking technologies.

    As countries across the world introduce policies to encourage these developments, we must step up to introduce and encourage these products, which can offer relief and an improved quality of life to millions across the country.

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  • To help expand the company’s extensive product development program, MaxLite has appointed Jim Wang to Product Marketing Manager. MaxLite, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of the award-winning MaxLED line of innovative LED luminaires and lamps using state-of-the-art LED technology, also announces that Mr. Wang will report directly to Pat Treadway, MaxLite’s Director of Product Marketing.

    “Jim comes to MaxLite with a deep lighting background and extensive product marketing expertise,” said Mr. Treadway. “He provides a broad experience and knowledge in lighting design and research and development, as well as a strong understanding of the types of lighting that are needed for a wide range of key market segments and applications.”

    In his new role, Mr. Wang will oversee a variety of product categories including: LED Outdoor Lighting such as wall packs, security, flood and area lights, and garage and canopy fixtures; high bay LED and linear fluorescent fixtures; HighMax high output CFL lamps and fixtures; induction fixtures; and ballasts, transformers, sockets and controls used for fluorescent products. Working closely with MaxLite’s R&D, marketing, engineering, product development, design and sales teams, Mr. Wang will help introduce new products to market.

    Most recently, he served as Product Manager for Simkar, a manufacturer of fluorescent and HID luminaires, and as Commercial Design and Marketing Specialist for Hadco, a manufacturer of high-end outdoor and landscape lighting. In addition, he was Industrial Market Manager for Holophane, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Hubbell Lighting, Marketing Program Industrial Designer for Cooper Lighting, Industrial Designer, Development Engineer, and Product Planner for IBM Office Products Division.

    Mr. Wang received nearly 40 patents and more than a dozen industry honors including the Thomas J. Watson, Jr. IBM Design Excellence Award, six ID Magazine Awards for Design Excellence, two IF Good Design awards from Hannover Fair, and three IBM Invention Achievement Awards.

    His educational experience includes an MFA in Optical Kinetic Sculpture from the University of Kentucky and a BFA in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois.

    Inheriting global manufacturing and marketing expertise that dates back to 1955, MaxLite was one of the first movers into LED technology in the industry. Committed to energy efficiency as an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year in 2009, MaxLite established the MaxLED brand, an extensive line of indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures featuring innovative LED luminaires and lamps using the latest state-of-the-art LED technology, ranging from the award-winning Flat Panel collection, to the best-selling outdoor lineup, Plug-and-Play light bars and lamps.

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  • City representatives earlier this month blocked a $155,000 funding request for an outdoor public art project at the transportation center, saying the money would be better spent cleaning up South State Street.

    Director of Economic Development Laure Aubuchon said she will fight for the StamfordLights project, which failed to garner enough votes for final approval and was sent back to the Board of Representatives Fiscal Committee for further review. The capital appropriation is a matching fund request, which would be used along with a $155,000 grant already awarded to Stamford by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.

    The state grant was one of several conferred to Connecticut municipalities through the CDECD’s $1 million City Canvases initiative, which seeks to enhance public spaces through large-scale works of art. Mayor Michael Pavia’s administration has decided to use the funding to illuminate Stamford’s transportation center with environmentally friendly LED lighting, Aubuchon said.

    “We thought about what a great project to do something around the train station, as it is the gateway to Stamford,” she said. “To illuminate the train station, rather than putting in something static, would be much more dramatic.”

    Aubuchon’s office received five responses to a request for proposals from lighting and electrical companies, and has winnowed the pool of candidates to three. The project’s designer will be selected in about a week, she said.

    Aubuchon said the transportation art project will be a permanent light show that catches the eye but doesn’t distract drivers on nearby 1-95.

    “It’s not just static lights against a wall, which would be boring,” Aubuchon said. “They involve color and movement. It will be very tastefully done. We want everyone to be proud of it in Stamford.”

    The matching appropriation request passed easily through the Board of Finance and Board of Representatives Fiscal committee this spring, but was stopped just short of final approval during the full Board of Representatives meeting May 7.

    City Rep. Mary Uva, R-1, opposed the funding, which she said should be used to clean up the streets surrounding Stamford’s transportation center.

    “I think the idea of lighting and art at the train station is a wonderful idea,” Uva said. “But it’s $150,000 out of a precious capital budget. South State Street is blighted, dilapidated mess. It is strewn with trash, weeds, broken fencing along the Metro North property and I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to get attention to this problem.”

    Aubuchon said she understands city representatives’ complaints over South State Street. Capital funding has not been appropriated for the road because it will likely be ripped up during the construction of a new parking garage, she said.

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  • NEXT Lighting will be launching the company and announcing its breakthrough linear replacement lamp NEXTLamp(TM) at LIGHTFAIR 2012 in Las Vegas, NV May 9th - 11th. The release of the NEXTLamp 4-foot replacement lamp is timed to coincide with the U.S. ban of energy-wasting T-12 fluorescent lamps on July 14, 2012. With over 500 million T-12 lamps still installed in the U.S., NEXT Lighting has made this conversion market its initial focus.

    With its distinctive form factor, NEXTLamp provides a mercury-free lighting solution that is dimmable, quiet, and flicker-free, delivering an overall more pleasing lighting experience. NEXT Lighting’s proprietary thermal and optical management system results in category-leading system efficacy, while enabling the LEDs to operate at a low temperature for extended life and stable color maintenance. With its unique ability to shape light distribution, the NEXTLamp is able to excel at some of the most challenging applications for linear lighting.

    The NEXTLamp has been subjected to thorough product characterization at accredited ISO 17025 NVLAP laboratories, demonstrating substantial outperformance of the best T-8 fluorescent lamps. NEXTLamp’s extremely high system and fixture efficacy enables an energy-saving drop-in replacement in the ubiquitous fluorescent fixtures. NEXTLamps have received accolades from initial customers, who are enjoying the energy savings and superior light quality provided by the lamp.

    “We have initially focused on the fluorescent replacement lamp market, which many view as the ‘holy grail’ of LED lighting,” said NEXT Lighting’s CEO, Randall Sosnick. “With the forthcoming ban of the T-12 fluorescent lamps, we see a tremendous near-term opportunity for LED technology to establish a foothold in this very large market,” continued Sosnick. “We’ve designed the NEXTLamp to provide compelling value to our customers as they make the transition from this legacy technology,” he concluded.

    NEXT Lighting was founded in 2009 with a vision to develop environmentally friendly solid-state lighting solutions that provide value not achieved with traditional fluorescent lamps.

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  • Federal agencies across the board have embraced Nutanix’s SAN-less platform in an effort to build private cloud infrastructure at 40 percent lower cost than traditional on-premise approaches, without compromising on strict service level and information security governance. Nutanix Complete Cluster empowers government agencies to combat the encroachment of public cloud platforms that fail to deliver Congress mandated controls.

    Nutanix harnesses the same distributed system techniques that power Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix clouds and packages it into an enterprise-friendly, 2U rack-mount enclosure. Private cloud infrastructure is fast becoming an essential requirement for government agencies that face compliance mandates for improved data center efficiency and data protection.

    The compact form factor of the Nutanix Complete Cluster opens up new mobile and remote data center possibilities for defense, education, energy, and healthcare organizations that demand infrastructure in proximity to their end users to improve application speed and end-user experience. Whether supporting the warfighter, providing end-user computing clusters, or deploying critical apps in international locations, the small and scalable 2U footprint of the Nutanix Complete Cluster has experienced adoption within federal government agencies.

    “We were looking for a virtualization solution that was extremely compact, light, energy-efficient, and ready for tactical mobile environments,” said a prominent decision maker from a large branch of the military. “Nutanix helped us minimize our physical server footprint and at the same time deliver better quality of service for our applications.”

    Federal government IT departments are also looking to Nutanix to provide a cost-effective model of scale for virtualizing their datacenters. Nutanix’s revolutionary approach of cutting out costly SAN and converging compute + storage into a single tier of infrastructure saves them 30 to 60 percent on equipment alone.

    “Nutanix Federal has seen very strong adoption of our Complete Cluster as it allows agencies to do a lot more with a lot less. It has equated to several million dollars worth of appliances sold in the last 5 months,” said Jason Langone from Nutanix’s Federal Accounts team. “Many of these agencies are repeat buyers because they start small, and once they experience its innovation, they seamlessly grow the same system or deploy multiple appliances at satellite bases, effectively pushing the cloud to the edge.”

    Nutanix extends the power of Fusion-io to the realm of enterprise virtualization by combining Google-like high performance localized storage and distributed redundancy via high speed Arista 10GbE top-of-rack switches. Nutanix ships with four industry-standard x86 servers bundled with VMware’s hypervisor in a 2U, 85 pound SAN-less server appliance.

    The Nutanix Solution Reseller partner program includes various solution providers to the federal market. “Nutanix was a natural addition for us as a virtualization solution provider to federal agencies we support,” said Joe Brown, President of Accelera. “The Nutanix Complete Cluster is proven to reduce the stringent cost, space, and power requirements placed on the public sector, while meeting performance and reliability demands. We feel strongly that Nutanix is the best and most cost-effective platform to deploy enterprise VDI on. Our Nutanix customers are saving 30 percent just in capex alone over traditional compute and storage architectures.”

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  • Salem Community Child Care learned that when one of its business neighbors, GT Crystal Systems, a high-tech manufacturer, reached into its own pocket to help pay for expensive renovations that allowed the day care center to remain in Shetland Park, a sprawling office complex on the waterfront.

    “I’ve never seen that,” said John Kelly, vice president of Shetland Properties.

    For a day care center that serves many poor children, it was a lifesaver.

    “We just didn’t have funds to rehab a whole new space like that,” said Christin Hatch, executive director of Salem Community Child Care, which serves 200 children at four sites in Salem, including more than 60 at Shetland Park.

    The day care center has been in the office park for about 20 years. GT Crystal Systems has been there even longer. They were next-door neighbors in an office building, although they had separate entrances and seldom rubbed shoulders.

    Last year, GT Crystal Systems completed a $25 million expansion, space it needed to grow sapphire crystals for use in industrial, medical, defense and other fields. The crystals are used in the manufacture of light-emitting diodes, or LED lights, a fast-expanding business with markets all over the world.

    In a subsequent expansion, Crystal Systems was slated to move into space occupied by Salem Community Child Care, which was at the end of its lease.

    In doing so, though, the company and Shetland Park made sure they found a new home for a needy neighbor with few options.

    While it serves a variety of families, the core mission of Salem Community Child Care is caring for children from low-income and working families. It gets state funding to help subsidize those costs, but not to pay for expensive construction.

    “We haven’t had a (state) rate increase in four years,” Hatch said. “We just don’t have the funds available to rehab a whole new space like that. We tried to find space (other places) but weren’t able to find anything.”

    Shetland Park had a large, vacant area on the second floor of the same office building, and GT Crystal Systems made a major donation toward renovations. Neither party wanted to talk about the financial details, but it was in the tens of thousands of dollars, officials confirmed.

    Renovations included a kitchen, two bathrooms, several classrooms and offices.

    “We feel it’s important to support the community where we can,” said David Baer, an attorney for GT Crystal Systems. “This was a good neighbor … (that) provides a great resource for the immediate neighborhood.

    “We knew it would leave a hole in the community, so we were more than inclined to try to support them.”

    Shetland Park is next to The Point, a low-income neighborhood.

    For its part, Shetland Park did the construction, moved the day care at no cost and did not raise the rent.

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