• The lack of safety signs or tags, obstructed exits, improper use of electrical cords and the storage of flammable materials in inappropriate areas were common violations in these buildings.

    The 23-year-old County Courthouse on San Antonio Avenue did not pass inspections due to a missing alarm system tag and combustible material stored in a utility area, according to the document.

    Another county property that ranked unsatisfactory in the report was the MDR Building at 500 E. Overland. Electrical items appeared to be unsafe, the fire protection system was not working and there were issues with an exit, the report shows.

    The 911 Center was also in violation for not having a permit for flammable materials.

    The Plaza Theatre did not pass inspection due to combustible materials found in an exit and improper use of extension cords. The main branch of the El Paso Public Library had problems with the sprinkler and electrical systems, fire extinguisher tags were missing or expired, and the emergency lighting system needed to be tested.

    El Paso Museum of History at 510 N. Stanton did not comply with the fire code after combustible material was found in a utility area, the fire protection system was inoperative and there was a tag missing in the alarm system, the fire report shows.

    The El Paso Police Department property and evidence office at 617 Texas had issues with the sprinkler system, while the Central Regional Command failed inspection because inspectors were not able to look into the fire alarm panel, the report says.

    The fire inspection at City Hall was unsatisfactory because the sprinkler system tags were missing.

    Fire permits at the El Paso Convention and Visitors Bureau were not up to date, extension cords were used instead of permanent electrical wiring, combustible materials were stored in a utility area, and sprinkler system tags were missing.

    The Chamber of Commerce did not have the proper exit sign required, while an assembly permit was missing.

    The Insights Museum at 505 S. Santa Fe St. did not pass the inspection because of problems with the electrical and sprinkler systems.

    The Tillman Building at 222 Campbell, owned by the city but managed by a nonprofit organization, had extension cords used instead of permanent wiring and the electrical junction box was not covered.

    The fire access of the old Federal Courthouse at 511 San Antonio was not the required size. In addition, the five-story-building does not have a sprinkler system.

    The inspection at the new Federal Courthouse on Magoffin Avenue was unsatisfactory because it did not meet requirements for fire department connection signs.

    Other government buildings that failed inspection were the U.S. Post Office at 219 E. Mills for not having the sprinkler or alarm system tags, and the Social Security Administration office at 600 Texas, which required emergency lighting and was missing an alarm system tag.

    The site assessment inspection at the Banamex building, 416 N. Stanton, where the Fire Department headquarters is currently located, was also unsatisfactory. The building is not a city-owned property.

    “Unsafe” electrical items, obstructed exits, and issues with the fire suppression system were found there, according to the report.


  • All Shakespeare plays were once done in outdoor theaters in the daylight, but certain works lend themselves best to being done in the open air. Along with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest is one of them. CalShakes’ opening production of the season, directed by Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone, is as funny, light-hearted, and playful a production of the play as we’ve ever seen, and outshines the one the theater put on just a few years ago.

    The play has all the fun elements of Shakespeare’s lighter works — drunken clowns, magic, a “monster,” love at first sight, and even a bit of flying. And it takes place on an island, home to a wizard named Prospero who was once a wealthy Italian heir, and thus feels appropriate on an outdoor stage. The cast in this version is only six actors, each playing two roles, with the help of three “sprites,” who are actually dancers who aid with some of the actors entrances and exits.

    Moscone has imagined a Prospero (Michael Winters) who is gruff but not unlikeable, human in every sense except that he carries a large staff and has the power to cast spells and silence people at will. Prospero is aided by a spirit named Ariel (played beautifully by the diminutive Erika Chong Shuch, who also served as choreographer), whom he freed from a curse in which a witch had trapped her in a tree. Because of this, she must do Prospero’s bidding for a year, and she helps shipwreck Prospero’s brother, Alonso (local every-king James Carpenter), after Prospero raises a great tempest on the sea in the opening scene.

    We won’t get into the rest of the plot, which is complicated, involving Prospero wanting revenge on his brother, and his daughter Miranda (played by a glowing and earnest Emily Kitchens) falling in love with one of the men aboard Alonso’s boat. There’s also Calaban, a smelly, deformed man who serves as slave to Prospero and causes some trouble. Suffice it to say that the double-casting adds to the confusion if you’re a bottle of wine in and you don’t know the play backwards and forwards. But it’s still a joy to watch, shot through with levity by some well staged slapstick, and with the added delight of Ariel floating on and off stage as though she were actually aloft — we especially loved the visual, in the final act, when she is finally freed and makes her final exit.

    Moscone’s sense of humor and good taste shine through in every scene, and the production is buoyed by a beautiful set from designer Emily Greene — stacks of trunks, jagged boards like the deck of a ship, and piles of books reminding us constantly of Prospero’s journey from duke to dark island warlock. It’s a series of pleasant surprises how Moscone uses the set throughout, having characters enter the stage via trunks and wardrobes, and at least one trunk is magically bottomless, with the auditory illusion of a sloshing sea below. All these elements come together to create a spellbinding night of theater, and an auspicious start to another season of CalShakes.


  • Buying lightbulbs is no longer the simple task that it used to be, new federal regulations are leaving some consumers in the dark.

    Steve Goodman wanted to replace his garage light bulb, but when he went searching for a new one he found that they no longer make the kind he’s been using for the last 25 years. Goodman’s bulbs are among the energy-guzzling bulbs being phased out in favor of more energy-efficient bulbs.

    “Suddenly you have all these fixtures with nothing to put in there that’s gonna fit its like how do you deal with all that,” said Goodman.

    Goodman is not alone in his frustrations, David Brooks owns, Just Bulbs, a light bulb shop on the Upper East Side and CBS2’s Kathryn Brown that new federal regulations that take effect January 1  have some consumers in a panic.

    “They’re hoarding them, they don’t want to change with the law so they’re buying enough for the rest of their lives,” he said

    The regulations state that manufacturers must stop making the traditional, inexpensive incandescent bulbs by Friday, that includes the basic 100-watt bulb. Manufacturers will only be able to make bulbs that meet more stringent energy rules.

    Brooks explained that consumers will see an immediate difference because the more efficient bulbs last about 10-times longer, they also come in a wider variety of colors and shapes.

    “This one’s about nine-dollars and this one’s about two, so the price differential is huge but it would pay for itself in a matter of 3 months of operation,” he said.

    But the learning curve remains frustrating for many consumers.  Most of the newer bulbs will fit into older fixtures but some will not.

    The Goodmans were able to get an adaptor for their’s but said that more transparency and explanation was necessary for consumers to understand the changes.

    “It needs more explanation, give us the real story and give people real alternatives of how to make it work,” Steve Goodman said.

    “In the end its a good thing, but its a pain, it’s definitely a pain,” said Robin Goodman.

    The biggest adjustment for consumers will be how to use the new bulbs. Unlike traditional bulbs, the new ones use more power being turned on than being left on.

    “Most people aren’t getting the full savings because they are turning it on and off all the time,” explained Brooks.

    While political red tape stripped the new law of the funding needed to enforce the regulations most manufacturers say they’ve already invested millions of dollars in the new technology and have already begun to phase the old bulbs out.

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  • If you’re a Kindle fan, but don’t want to bother with physical buttons, Amazon finally has an ebook reader for you. The Kindle Touch 3G adds an impressive array of features to the entry-level Amazon Kindle ($79, 4.5 stars) including an easier shopping experience, the ability to take notes (thanks to the on-screen QWERTY keyboard), and a cool X-Ray feature that lets you delve deeper into your books. The recently renamed Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch retains our Editors’ Choice award for touch-screen ereaders, thanks to B&N’s $40 price drop, ad-free design, and recent speed improvements, but the Kindle Touch runs a close second.

    The Kindle Touch 3G comes in four varieties: Wi-Fi only with ads ($99), Wi-Fi only without ads ($139), Wi-Fi + 3G with ads ($149; the subject of this review), and Wi-Fi + 3G without ads ($189).

    When turned off, the Kindle Touch 3G looks slightly more attractive than the Nook Touch, thanks to its slimmer design and smooth, gray plastic bezel. The Kindle Touch 3G measures 6.8 by 4.7 by 0.4 inches (HWD) and weighs 7.5 ounces. Since it’s slightly larger and heavier than the entry-level Kindle, Amazon offers a different leather case, albeit for the same $34.99. Both cases come with built-in LED lights for reading at night. In the box, Amazon includes a USB cable, but no AC adapter.

    The 6-inch E Ink display still offers 600-by-800-pixel resolution (167 pixels per inch) with 16 shades of gray. Aside from the touch capability, fonts appear as crisp as they do on the non-touch version; they’re slightly lighter on the Kindle Touch 3G, but you’d only notice it with the two devices side by side—I think I prefer the Touch, actually.

    You get three fonts, eight text sizes, and three choices each for line and word spacing. I’d like to see more fonts, though; both the Barnes & Noble Nook Touch and the Sony Reader Wi-Fi ($149, 3.5 stars) have larger, nicer font selections. As with the base Kindle, page turns are quick. The Kindle Touch 3G only does full page refreshes every six page turns; the rest of the time, it employs a caching scheme to fade out the letters and fade in new ones.

    While reading a book on the Kindle Touch 3G, you don’t need to swipe pages. Instead, you can just tap the surface of the touch screen, which I found intuitive. Most of the screen acts as a Next Page button, with the left edge acting as a Previous Page button; this lets you use the device with a single hand. If you tap the area near the top, you’ll bring up the menu and toolbar. Here you can view your library, organize your ebooks, choose an ebook to read, or tap and hold a book for options. The single Home button at the bottom of the Kindle—which looks like a speaker grille in photos, but is actually a hardware button—returns you to the home screen at any point.

    Like other Kindles, the home screen just shows you a text-based list of what’s on your ereader, sorted by when you last read each item. The Nook does it better, with an attractive presentation of what you’re reading now, what’s new on your device, and what your “Nook Friends” may suggest. Some Kindle ebooks are beginning to come with real page numbers that correspond to specific ISBN printings, but many still don’t display page numbers.

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  • led light 12.10.2011 No Comments

    Turn on the Lights
    Thieves tend to bypass well-lit structures, so light up farm offices and tack rooms to keep them safe. Barn Light Electric manufactures a selection of country-style items, including chandeliers, wall sconces and lights, such as their popular Outback gooseneck barn light in 12- to 27-inch shade sizes, dozens of gooseneck styles, five finishes and eight types of glass.

    Motion-detector lights add another dimension to rural security when mounted near entryways and in sensitive areas such as tack rooms and offices.  Brinkmann’s Solar Home Security SL-7 Motion Detector features two 10-watt spotlights, an adjustable, remote solar panel with a 15-foot cord, a 6-volt battery and a shielded motion sensor adjustable from 3 to 75 feet.

    Those seeking an aesthetic package for entryways can appreciate Designers Fountain’s lighting fixtures. Available items include the 2868MD-AG cast- aluminum wall lantern in autumn gold with satin crackled glass and the 7022M-05 black cast-aluminum wall sconce with clear glass, both of which incorporate 180-degree motion detectors.

    When lighting isn’t enough, consider a motion-sensor lighting-and-camera combination. Field Tuff’s AGSAFE300 SecureSafeCam 500-watt halogen security light provides one to five minutes of light per trigger. It also incorporates a 2.0 megapixel camera that shoots images or video up to 30 feet away.

    Wirada Ranch Enterprises carries lights of choice for security systems. Daylight Lighting compact fluorescent bulbs will go strong for 8,000 hours and range from 11 watts (putting out the equivalent of 40 watts of incandescent-bulb light) to 105 watts (emitting 400 watts of incandescent-bulb light).

    Full-scale Security Systems
    When security is vitally important, only a full-fledged farm security system will do. While it’s possible to assemble one piecemeal, buying a readymade system makes more sense.

    Field Tuff’s AgSafe Wireless Camera Monitoring System package includes four cameras, each with its own frequency to minimize interference between cameras, and a 7-inch, full-color monitor with sound. Each infrared camera sees up to 45 feet in total darkness and 750 feet in the light.

    Farm Cameras sells pre-assembled home and barn security systems that they’ll customize to meet specific needs. Their Homestead surveillance package incorporates four cameras and is pre-assembled, pre-wired and pre-programmed for convenience out of the box. The Homestead II package includes six cameras and is pre-configured to accept eight cameras. Both come with a Farm Cameras Quick Guide that allows you to set changes from home or any computer in the world.

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