• led light 18.06.2012 No Comments

    AURA is a leading provider of solar appliances to the Indian subcontinent and the world at large. Of recent, the site earmarked an increase in its stocks. Some of the products that are set to expand in terms of their dynamic quality, as well as, availability include the popular DC Fan and the Solar Lantern.

    There is news that the DC Fan now can harness not only the suns’ rays but also the wind current in order to boost productivity. This is a great report for most homeowners who will no longer worry that they have no expensive HVAC equipment to use at home. It will also come devoid of any mobile accessories that normally cause similar equipment to run on high notes. Indeed, all the equipment in stock so far emits low decibels of noise, imperceptible to the ear.

    Another advantage of this new product from the stock pile of AURA is that it will have the capability to run perpetually even after the daytime hours are over. It will not only remove the current from the interior during the midday time but will also adapt to the switch in atmospheric levels in the hot months when early nights become excessively sultry. This is courtesy of the dynamic construction of the DC Fan.

    An additional product that is set to improve the home economy is the Solar lanterns. It will come at a cheap price of about 3, 190 Indian Rupees. The appliance, already in stock will emit a halo of light in three hundred and sixty degrees. This means that the entire place will come to life just like an electric bulb does when it hangs from an aloft position. Because of the LED feature, the appliance will have the ability to produce highly brilliant shimmer replicating that of daytime in both color temperature and brilliance. This brings forward the other assertion from the site that the paraphernalia will reach an efficiency capacity of about 88 percent.

    Word is also out that one will have the ability to amass points upon purchasing several items in the large cannon of the DC Fan and Solar Lantern in stock now. This also applies to the half-a-dozen or so other products in this one-stop-shop online. On the question of reliability, one need not worry because the manufacturer and the wholesaler have guaranteed the products in diverse timelines. The lamp, for example, will have a guarantee period of between twenty-four moths to 60 months producing an admirable level of lighting relying on a natural source, the sun.

    AURA’s products are known for their dynamic quality and compactness. This will be enhanced in coming days by the inclusion of more than six dissimilar shapes ranging from the rectangular to the lamp-style designs of the Solar Lantern. The DC Fan will remain in its convenient round curvature that increases its revolution capabilities. There will be more such products in the future; all enjoying adaptation to existing electrical connectors, thus minimizing the need to buy new ones.


  • led light 11.06.2012 No Comments

    The biblical return of Lazarus from the dead was possibly an easier feat than the revival of Lambretta, once maker of the world’s most popular motor scooters. Global ownership of the rights to the Lambretta name is still under dispute, but that has not stopped Rome-based firm Lambretta Motolife Italia SpA from producing a new range of scooters that pay homage to the original bearers of the brand.

    The first model to arrive in three newly appointed metropolitan New Zealand Lambretta dealerships is the LN125, a $4995 bike so retro in design that it makes any current Vespa model look modern.

    So it’s little wonder that Auckland transport memorabilia dealer, Rick McCay, got quite excited when I pulled up on the LN125 to take some photos of it outside his shop, Airships.

    Rick quickly disappeared inside and began to rummage through his stock, and returned with a prize exhibit - a Lambretta badge lifted from a bike built during the brand’s inaugural Innocenti era.

    The chipped and tarnished chrome of the historic badge pretty much told the tale of a once- mighty motor-scooter company that has had a rough roller-coaster ride though history.

    The story began when Milan- based steel tube maker, Fernando Innocenti, was surveying the bombed ruins of his factory after World War II, and saw a future in building something that would provide affordable mobility.

    Innocenti joined with former Italian Air Force general Corradino D’Ascanio, designer of the first modern helicopter, and the pair work on something inspired by the lightweight Nebraskan-made Cushman scooters used by the United States military during the war.

    However, the pair fell out when Innocenti wanted the scooter to have a tubular steel frame, but D’Ascanio was convinced that a moulded and rolled steel spar structure would work better.

    The latter jumped ship, taking his monocoque design to Enrico Piaggio, who used it to kick-start Vespa. Undaunted, Innocenti then hired leading aeronautical engineers Cesare Pallavicino and Pier Luigi Torre, to finish off his tubular steel-framed scooter, design the engines, and set up the production lines.

    In 1947, the first Lambretta, named after the Lambro River adjacent to the Milan factory, emerged, almost exactly one year after the first Vespa.

    Despite the latter’s head start, Lambrettas initially proved more popular. The D models, built between 1951 and 1957, were reckoned to have outsold the combined sales of all other two-wheeled vehicles made during those years. It’s these popular 1950s-vintage Lambrettas that the design of the LN125 most recalls.

    Penned by Alessandro Tartarini, the strips of LED riding lights (every bike should have them) are the LN125’s only concession to modernity. But what about that front disc brake? Surely that isn’t part of Lambretta’s heritage. It’s entirely fitting, as the 1960 Lambretta TV was the first motorised two- wheeler to use a disc to slow, albeit one without quite the same power to retard momentum as the LN125’s well set-up stopper.

    It would be nice if the rear drum brake of the LN125 offered similar braking performance to the front disc, given that rearward weight bias of scooters places a new emphasis on rear brake performance.


  • led light 04.06.2012 No Comments

    It was shoving the clouds around and sending patches of sunlight and shadow scudding across the kettled, glacial hillock landscape. The willows and aspens that grew in the damp areas were laid out sideways, their new leaves catching every gust. Cattle grazing in the dry pastures kicked up little dust storms with every step they took.

    I haven’t been in wind like that for months and it was nearly as cold as it was the last time I felt a blow like that back in, I dunno, February, maybe? It wasn’t exactly what you could call a pleasant day.

    But it did have one thing going for it.

    These were the clouds I was hoping for when I hit the mountains a week ago, the dark-bottomed, fluffy-topped banks of white and silver that start rolling in every year at just about this time.

    I’d followed the line of clouds east from Airdrie, out through Beiseker and eventually to the rolling hills where the prairie meets the parkland in the area around Big Valley, Morrin and Rowley. It was pretty all the way, the green shoots pushing up in the cultivated fields, the creek valleys full of fragrant saskatoon and chokecherry blossoms.

    The clouds soared over it all, some wispy and drawn, some piled high, a lot with curtains of rain underneath.

    But the wind made photography — especially video — tough. Not only is it hard to hold steady when you and the truck are being rocked by 80 km/h gusts, it’s hard to find many birds and animals willing to brave the blasts.

    I cruised until the light started to fade and got lucky in a few sheltered spots around Elnora, where the dips in the land buffered the wind and light spilled between cracks in the clouds.

    Next morning I got up early and looked at the sky. Same thing, nice clouds, patches of blue. I had a few errands to do, though. But by early afternoon I was done and, dammit, that sky just looked too good to pass up.

    I went back the same way but cut north before Beiseker and followed gravel and dirt roads among the fields. The wind had cut back to just a light breeze and I was able to spend more time shooting.

    Row upon row of big clouds sailed the southern horizon while rain clouds darkened the sky to the west. Buffalo beans shone bright yellow in the sunny pastures and I crawled on my belly to shoot them against the blue and grey sky.

    I shot fencelines leading off to infinity — well, the horizon, anyway — and roads that tapered off to the vanishing point. A wind pump sat on a low rise positioned as if by a photographer. All of it against those dramatic skies.

    Flocks of blackbirds — Brewers and cowbirds mostly — flew among cattle in the pastures, their hooves firmly in soil left soft by a passing shower. Ducks swam on the mirrored ponds and irrigation canals. Kingbirds — the dark eastern ones and the butter-yellow bellied westerns — chattered and flitted.

    A pair of Swainson’s hawks shared a gopher in a pasture near their nest.

    But it was the sky that really made the day. It was every bit as dramatic as the day before — maybe even more so — and with the warmth of the sun, the scent of new leaves and blossoms opening up in every pasture, it was heavenly.


  • led light 28.05.2012 No Comments

    Led by Goldwater, the creative minds at Archie Comics decided to “update” their characters, which hark back to a mid-century era of malt shops and letterman sweaters — when the jalopy chassis and presumed chastity went hand-in-hand. In 2010, Archie Comics entered the current century by introducing Kevin Keller, Riverdale’s “first openly gay character.” The result: headlines and turned heads that culminated in its “Marriage of Kevin Keller!” issue selling out this year.

    To comics fans, none of this is new and surprising after decades of gay characters and relationships from mainstream publishers. But in the wake of President Barack Obama’s newly stated support of gay marriage, current examples of gay romance in comics have stepped into a klieg light of broader cultural resonance.

    Last week, Marvel Comics announced the proposal and same-sex nuptials of Northstar, its first gay superhero, in “Astonishing X-Men” No. 50 (published this week) and No. 51 (it’s a June wedding). And just days before, DC publisher Dan DiDio said at London’s Kapow comic convention that a major DC character would soon become “one of our most prominent gay characters.”

    “It was only natural that when New York legalized gay marriage last year,” says Marvel’s Tom Brevoort, editor of the “Astonishing X-Men” project, “our thoughts would turn to what impact this might have on Northstar and his ongoing relationship with his partner, Kyle. The story grew organically from there — and the zeitgeist at the moment gives it even greater relevance.”

    Is 2012, then, a flashpoint for depicting gay relationships in mainstream comics, or is this just an editorial blip made brighter by the glare of electoral politics?

    Tom Batiuk, an Akron native, Kent State graduate and Medina resident, is an Ohio man through and through. So it struck particularly close to home last year when he read about a parents’ group in the southern part of his state protesting a high school’s “tolerant attitude” toward gays.

    “I still go out to my old high school,” says Batiuk, who was a classroom teacher before launching his syndicated comic strip “Funky Winkerbean” 40 years ago.

    Batiuk knew then that somehow this picketing would make its way into his school-set strip, which has dealt with such non-traditional “funny page” issues as teen suicide and pregnancy, alcoholism and capital punishment. In 2008, Batiuk was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for “Lisa’s Story,” the arc in which one of “Funky’s” main characters battled breast cancer.

    On the comics pages this month, Batiuk’s response to the parents’ protest has played out among “Funky’s” characters at Westview High. Two male students sought to attend the prom together, sparking what the cartoonist characterizes as a generational showdown. King Features says the story arc is now concluding.

    “I’m not trying to proselytize here,” Batiuk says. “I had a viewpoint and I knew which side I came down on. It’s less an issue of [being gay] and more an issue of tolerance and intolerance. And that idea has been in ‘Funky’ from the very beginning.”


  • led light 07.05.2012 No Comments

    Moura Starr International and Baltus are pleased to announce two exciting developments. On April 1, Moura Starr Los Angeles debuted at its stunning new showroom on Beverly Boulevard in the Avenues of Art & Design district. In addition, Moura Starr and Baltus are announcing a dynamic industry partnership, with Moura Starr representing the Baltus line in both their new L.A. location and Moura Starr’s existing flagship in New York City.

    Moura Starr and Baltus cater to some of the most prominent names in the world of design (including notables such as David Phoenix, Campion Platt, Jue & Booth, Martyn Lawrence-Bullard and Jennifer Post), and their collaboration is born from the natural synergy between these two prominent brands that, together, represent the very essence of modern livable luxury.

    Having enjoyed huge success in the rapidly advancing technology industry, current Moura Star owners Don and Daniela Brooks first discovered the brand six years ago. “We never would have dreamed that we would become furniture company owners, but Moura Starr has been a love in our lives, and we are committed to its success,” says Daniela Brooks. With Don as CEO and Daniela running the showroom channel both are actively involved in the success of Moura Starr.

    Solely designed by company founder, Javier Martin Muriel, the Baltus Collection is grounded in beauty, originality and purity of form. Well-known and respected throughout Europe, Baltus has showrooms in Cannes, France; Murcia, Spain; St. Petersburg, Russia; and most recently, Antwerp, Belgium. In addition to Baltus’ new home with Moura Starr in L.A. and NYC, the Baltus flagship showroom can be found in Miami’s vibrant design district. Inspired by the quintessential beauty of the Mediterranean, the artisan crafted Baltus collection is characterized by clean, modern, sophisticated lines, custom details and innovative, luxe finishes.

    Both Moura Starr and Baltus can also be found at the beautiful Allan Knight showroom in Dallas.

    As Moura Starr will now be representing Baltus in Los Angeles it’s natural for Moura Starr to move into the beautiful storefront Baltus currently occupies at 9000 Beverly Boulevard. Here, Moura Starr will continue to offer the sumptuous contemporary upholstery and sleek, timeless proprietary case goods that have defined Moura Starr as a go-to resource for incredible design, unashamed luxury and modern, authentic style.

    Apart from Moura Starr and Baltus, the new location will continue Moura Starr’s representation of several influential European furniture and lighting lines. Having captivated designers and architects in search of unique and original designs for the home, CasaDésus, i4Mariani, Windfall and Serip will continue their long and successful relationship with Moura Starr.

    As of April 1st all these beautiful lines will be available at the Beverly Boulevard location under the esteemed Moura Starr moniker. The combination of these extraordinary brands in one location will provide hundreds of impeccably tailored, iconic collections of case goods, upholstery, accessories, rugs and lighting to create a truly undeniable, relevant resource for those seeking the best in contemporary luxury.


  • led light 02.05.2012 No Comments

    Ford enthusiasts are now one step closer to getting their hands on the Blue Oval’s new Focus ST. The hot hatch has now been given a starting price tag of $24,495, after a $795 destination charge.

    Ford has also attached official power figures to its latest performance offering: the 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected EcoBoost I-4 will sent a grand total of 252 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque to its front wheels. As befitting a performance car, the only available transmission offered is a six-speed manual. Since the Focus ST is appealing to fans of European-style performance, it comes as no surprise that the ST is offered in five-door hatchback form only.

    That $24,495 base price nets buyers things like stiffer suspension unique to the ST, sport seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel, aluminum pedals, 18-inch Y-spoke alloy wheels, a larger rear spoiler, gaping piano-black grille, unique ST badging inside and out, keyless entry with pushbutton start, and Ford’s Sync infotainment system. Two option packages are available on the 2013 Focus ST: ST2 adds a Sony audio system, eight-inch touchscreen, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite and HD radio, and Recaro partial-leather sport seats – all for an additional $2385. Fully kitting out a Focus ST takes the addition of the $4435 ST3 package, which includes all the equipment from the ST2 package as well as HID headlamps with LED running lights and cornering lamps, interior ambient lighting, heated exterior mirrors, a navigation system, a rear armrest, and front overhead console. Equipped with the ST3 packaged, the 2013 Focus ST tops out at $29,425.

    There are six exterior color options for the 2013 Ford Focus ST, including the loud tangerine scream orange shown here that comes with a $495 premium. Tuxedo black, performance blue, race red, oxford white, and ingot silver are all offered at no extra charge. Inside, color options vary depending on what packages are chosen – the standard interior is charcoal-black cloth with grey inserts. Step up to the ST2 package, and the Recaro chairs can be wrapped in either smoke storm (dark grey), charcoal black with performance blue accented, or charcoal black with tangerine scream accented partial two-tone leather. ST3 models receive charcoal black full-leather seats.

    The first 1000 Focus ST buyers who order between now and August 20 will also get a GoPro HD Hero2 Motorsports Edition camera pack when they take delivery of the car. Ford’s engineers took a group of pre-production 2013 Focus STs out for an engineering run and filmed their drive using the GoPro camera – check out the video below.

    Ford has yet to announce when exactly later this year buyers will be able to take delivery of their 2013 Focus STs, but the hot hatch is available to order at Ford dealerships starting today.


  • led light 23.04.2012 No Comments

    While Parker is an alluring stage presence, her appearance is disconcerting at first. A former model best known for her work on the Showtime drama Soul Food, she is a statuesque beauty who conveys little of the jittery frailty of fading flower Blanche. Even under the stark glare of a naked light bulb this woman is a knockout. Instead Parker makes the character a wily fantasist, not so much lost in her reveries as carefully keeping the pieces of her cracked gentility in place. Her dealings with a crudely antagonistic hulk like Stanley suggest she knows her way around guys like him. Or at least thinks she does.

    But if Blanche appears to lack vulnerability for much of the sluggish first act, Parker plays her subsequent unraveling commandingly. That process is enhanced by sharp work in her scenes with potential savior Mitch, which are the production’s finest moments. In an incisively nuanced interpretation by Wood Harris (HBO’s The Wire), Mitch is courtly, kind and not overly confident around women – the opposite of his coarse, swaggering army buddy, Stanley. Without making him less of a man, Harris adopts a slightly hunched posture that suggests he’s uncomfortable in his gangly frame.

    While Mitch can sometimes seem an opportunistic choice for Blanche, there’s a tangible attraction between them here. That makes it all the more distressing when their romance is shattered after Stanley digs up the sordid truth about his sister-in-law. Parker is at her best in the blazing confessional scene in which Mitch confronts Blanche and she boldly answers to the charges about her corrupted past. And watching Harris with his head bowed and his face in his hands as Blanche is led away at the end of the play, Mitch’s loss is as affecting as her disintegration.

    The rapport between the two sisters also is nicely drawn. While Blanche assumes Stella must feel trapped in her shabby home and volatile marriage to a hotheaded brute, Rubin-Vega makes it clear that she chose to walk away from her former world and embrace an earthier existence. Hers is a sultry Stella; the makeup sex she has with Stanley after he slugs her early in the play gets almost feral. The actress finds all the poignancy in the conflict between Stella’s love for her husband and her protectiveness toward Blanche.

    Leaving aside the distraction of the swoons and catcalls from the audience whenever the ripped Underwood removes his shirt, his Stanley is an impulsive, animalistic man in full command of his rude charms and sexual powers. Fiercely territorial, his animosity toward Blanche surfaces the minute she arrives. And while the rape scene is often played ambiguously, its violence here is shocking, as is Stanley’s utter lack of remorse when Blanche is carted off to the psych ward.

    Mann stages that wrenching final scene well, with Blanche running to cower behind a wrought-iron bed like a frightened creature in a cage. The notable difference, however, is the stiff-backed pride with which Parker takes the doctor’s arm and exits, suggesting either that Blanche’s fantasies of a gallant rescuer persist, or more controversially, that she will somehow survive even this humiliation.


  • led light 16.04.2012 No Comments

    San Jacinto may save an estimated $30,000 a year on its electric bill by switching to LED bulbs for streetlights, using a $151,800 federal grant.

    The San Jacinto City Council will be asked Tuesday to authorize a request for proposals from vendors to change out about 300 of 521 streetlights using a federal Department of Energy grant.

    The council also will consider whether to pay for Mayor Andrew Kotyuk to attend a mayors’ conference in Orlando, Fla., in June and hear a workshop presentation on a draft housing plan that is part of the city’s general land use plan.

    Energy savings from LED (light emitting diode) fixtures over low/high pressure sodium bulbs is estimated to be substantial, according to a staff report by Public Works Director Mike Emberton and Street Superintendent Barry Mulcock.

    The city projects the savings in utility bills will cover the investment in new bulbs in five years or less.

    The city will participate in a Southern California Edison energy efficiency program, which offers financial incentives to change.

    The council also will consider whether to spend $2,500 for Kotyuk to attend the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting June 13-16. At the conference, mayors craft policy ideas and attend educational sessions, according to a staff report by City Manager Tim Hults.

    Later in the agenda, the council will hear a presentation from Planning Director Asher Hartel and consultant John Douglas about a revised draft housing plan for the 2008-2014 planning period. They made the same presentation to the city Planning Commission on Thursday.

    Action is not expected on the plan until this summer because environmental review is required, according to Hartel.

    It has taken several years to get to this point because the plan must be reviewed in advance by the state Department of Housing and Community Development to ensure that it complies with state law. The city received the compliance letter earlier this month.

    The housing plan looks at city demographic trends and housing needs. The plan must show how the city, through land use and zoning standards, will accommodate projected growth, and how the city will meet the housing needs of people with special needs, such as the elderly.


  • led light 09.04.2012 No Comments

    We have always been drawn to material combining good and evil, especially if it includes exploring the psychological nature of the characters involved, which is why the likes of Sweeney Todd, Phantom of the Opera and especially Jekyll & Hyde have appealed to us. They all dealt with horrible crimes, were purportedly based on real events, and told of great love stories gone awry.

    Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom told of a real Swedish opera singer Kristina Nilsson who sought out Erik, a deformed masked composer living in the cellars of the Paris Opera to mentor her. He fell in love with her, but let her go in the end into the arms of the man she loved. In Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, there is proof of a real mad barber using a razor and trapdoor to rob and kill customers who ended up in meat pies.

    The real-life Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was hanged to death in October 1, 1788 after living a double life as respectable citizen by day and killer by night. This person became Robert Louis Stevenson’s model for The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

    When given the first, original and darker version of Jekyll & Hyde to work on, its director Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, who is Repertory Philippines’ associate artistic director, realized she wanted to strip down the musical to its barest elements, rethink its epic history and make it real and relatable unlike the monster in the Stevenson story.

    “I wanted him to be a real person who with the potion is simply freed of inhibition, conscience and guilt… I didn’t want an actual physical change but a body adjustment, a change in attitude and in how the character occupies space. There had to be an arrogance about Hyde. Jekyll was not a bad person; he truly believed he had found a solution to make the world a better place to live in. But he never considered what he would do with the evil once he succeeded in separating it.”

    It was obvious that the entire chorus brought onstage as actor, narrator and singer had to be more than excellent, without the help of elaborate sets and special effects. The lead role of Lucy (Kalila Aguilos) dreams of the kind Jekyll, but is attracted by the danger in Hyde. Menchu wanted rawness from Lucy, unlike the educated Emma (Cris Villonco). “I wanted polar opposites. I got that with a Cris and Kalila combination,” explained Menchu.

    Jett Pangan, known as a rock icon being the frontman of Dawn, and Michael Williams, who had done Miss Saigon and King and I in London, alternate as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. They were Menchu’s perfect choices. “Both give very different performances and I directed both very differently. They alternate simply because it would be very hard for anyone of them to do two shows in one day.”

    Junix Inocian as Jekyll’s lawyer and friend Gabriel Utterson joins the ensemble onstage in narrating the entire play.”I don’t think this has ever been done before. Even the set is based on a Victorian surgery theater… When I first saw the set, it was a bit overwhelming. But Menchu’s original idea of telling the story, plus John Batalla’s excellent lighting, really works,” related Junix who is doing the musical for the first time.


  • led light 26.03.2012 No Comments

    Parents and teachers at the Life Force Arts and Technology Academy shouted down charter school leaders on Saturday for deceit and mismanagement they say has led to the school’s demise.

    A dozen parents and faculty members, including the principal, slammed the school’s former management company at a meeting of the board of directors. They alleged questionable spending, suspect leadership and the sly introduction of Scientology study methods.

    The furious group won a small victory Saturday when board members voted to keep the school open until June, when the Pinellas County School District’s 90-day notice of termination comes due.

    But the school that Art of Management leader Hanan Islam pledged she would rescue from bankruptcy remains troubled and deeply in debt. Parents worry the school’s dramatic last days and their children’s sudden move could cause their education to suffer.

    Steve Hayes, a longtime Scientology attorney representing the school’s board, told the group the school’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy is set to end early next month. Without that protection, creditors could aggressively seek repayment of $400,000 in debt. At a meeting Friday, Hayes and school district leaders said they would seek the board’s approval to close the school April 6.

    But the closure would have sent Life Force’s 60 remaining students scrambling to new classrooms with only two weeks’ notice, and just 10 days before the crucial first day of FCAT testing. Shari Encke, a recently hired teacher for exceptional student education, said that was “like guaranteeing their failure.”

    Teachers and volunteers said their devotion to the children trumped their desire for pay. Board chairman Louis Muhammad and members Annie Tyrell and Fatima Talbird voted unanimously to keep the school open.

    Class will stay in session without Islam, the executive director of the Scientology-tied World Literacy Crusade, who ended her management of Life Force this month.

    Muhammad said Islam felt the school would be treated unfairly if she remained involved. But faculty of the school, pointing to its March budget, said her company left a day after receiving its last payment of nearly $7,000.

    “Light was shone on their mismanagement, and now they’re throwing us under the bus,” said Nikki Mathis, a mother of three Life Force students.

    Perhaps the strongest criticism of Islam’s management came in a letter from principal Lenor Johnson, who wrote that decisions by school leaders “were made solely for the personal gain of outside interests.”

    Islam demanded hundreds of books on “study technology,” a methodology devised by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, be purchased from the Church of Scientology at the school’s expense, Johnson wrote. A rewrite of the school’s charter led by Islam cost $18,000, and failed. Her company hired unqualified employees, implemented unapproved techniques in the classroom, held secret meetings with teachers and pressured faculty to write letters supporting her company’s management.