• After a nearly three-year wait because of politics, construction delays and problems with a state-of-the-art water filtration system, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game moved the first fish — 24,000 cute little Arctic char eggs — into the new hatchery on Wilbur Street late last week.

    “I think everybody is pretty excited to be moving on to the next phase,” hatchery manager Gary George said. “It’s definitely nice to get fish into the facility.”

    It’s taken awhile. The hatchery was originally scheduled to open in the summer of 2009, and the first fish produced in the hatchery were supposed to be released in the spring of 2010.

    In addition to the delays, the cost of the hatchery doubled from the original cost estimate, from approximately $25 million to the most recent estimate of $47.9 million, though that number is expected to increase as a result of changes made to the filtration system.

    The hatchery is still not officially open — contractors are still taking care of some odds and ends with the building, and George said they are still waiting on some more parts to arrive to finish things off — but the water is finally flowing and fish are finally growing.

    “We’re real comfortable with the performance of the water filtration system,” George said. “It’s been working rock solid since early October.”

    On Wednesday morning, George and assistant hatchery manager Travis Hyer gave the News-Miner a glimpse of the hatchery’s first crop of fish.

    After stomping their rubber boots in a disinfectant foot bath to ensure they were not carrying any harmful bacteria, George and Hyer cracked open the door to the incubation room at the Ruth Burnett Sport Fish Hatchery on Wednesday.

    The two men ducked in as quickly as they could, like a parent sneaking into their sleeping child’s room at night. Once inside, they pulled the door shut, trying to avoid letting in light.

    The room was illuminated by only two red fluorescent lights, which cast an eerie glow over the six incubation chambers in the room. Each chamber held 32 sliding trays, stacked in four rows of eight trays each.

    George pulled out one of the trays and carefully peeled a cover off to reveal approximately 3,400 fertilized Arctic char eggs. They were slightly smaller than a pea and slightly larger than a BB. Even in the dim light, a tiny black eye was evident in each one.

    “If you hit them with a bunch of bright light they start moving around a little bit and their energy reserves go to movement instead of growth,” Hyer, a fish culturist, said, explaining the red lights. “You can see those eyes rolling around in their head; you want to avoid that.”

    The whole idea is “to try to replicate the environment they would be living in under gravel,” Hyer said.


  • That’s how Ian MacNaughton, HRM manager for Liteco, describes the company’s new Innovation Idea Gallery, located next door to its current Raddall Avenue location.

    The Innovation Idea Gallery is designed to showcase the latest leading edge electrical products - everything from LED lights to building-wide control systems to alternative electrical heating systems.

    “It’s an experiment because it’s unlike anything else available in this market,” MacNaughton says. “This space allows us to market ourselves as someone who is knowledgeable about innovation and design, and it provides authenticity to our commitment to do just that.”

    The gallery is something MacNaughton has been trying to get off the ground for almost 12 years after seeing similar spaces in Montreal. He says he finally has the right combination of a supportive employer and staff to make the idea work.

    The right staff arrived in October 2010 in the person of Chuck Kline, managing consultant for the Innovation Idea Gallery. Kline says he believes the gallery allows him to target designers, architects and developers that previously wouldn’t have become involved with an electrical supplier, leaving that role to their contractors and/or clients.

    “The Innovation Idea Gallery is an appointment-based space where I can sit down with clients and show them the complete range of electrical products available for their projects, things they may not have even known were available before,” Kline says. “It also allows me to learn what their needs are and maybe suggest custom-made solutions that better fit their needs.”

    As an example, Kline cites the case of a couple looking for pot lighting for their new dream home. Due to the sloping angle of their ceiling, the couple was having a tough time finding pot lights that would cast light on their walls at the correct angles. Kline worked with one of the gallery’s suppliers to design a custom-made pot light to meet their exact specifications.

    “This space allows us to bring the right experts in the marketplace together with the right customers to ensure we think of all the electrical needs that might go into a project,” MacNaughton says. “It’s a unique approach to marketing these kinds of products.”

    Walking into the Innovation Idea Gallery is nothing like your local lighting store or hardware centre. The space was designed by local interior design firm Design 360 and is as attractive as walking into someone’s home. In fact, the central meeting space - with its subdued lighting, video screens and shelving - feels almost exactly like sitting in a posh living room. This space is then surrounded by subtle displays of various different lighting, heating and control systems. There’s even a one-of-a-kind bathroom that showcases electrical innovations for that part of the home as well.

    “This space allows us to actually show what an innovative product can do,” MacNaughton says. “Customers can see it, touch it and use it, instead of having to watch a video or leaf through a catalogue.”


  • As part of the Rossland Energy Diet, FortisBC is helping to brighten the holidays and save residents electricity by providing CFL bulbs and strings of LED holiday lights.

    “FortisBC is welcoming winter with a light bulb and holiday light exchange for all Rossland residents and a contractor meet ‘n greet for Rossland Energy Diet participants,” said Tom Loski, FortisBC’s vice president of customer service.

    “Natural Resources Canada tells us that just changing your holiday lights can make a big difference. ENERGY STAR LEDs use up to 90 per cent less electricity and last 10 times longer. An average home would pay about $27 in energy costs using the old incandescent lights versus only 32 cents for LEDs.”

    The light bulb and holiday light exchange event is scheduled for Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at 6 p.m. at Rossland Miners’ Hall. Residents can exchange five old incandescent bulbs for CFLs (two globes and three twisters). They can also exchange two strings of incandescent holiday lights for two strings of high efficiency LED lights. All lights are available on a first come, first served basis.

    “The energy diet is well underway, with over 200 residential participants who have now completed their home energy assessments and 34 small businesses that have completed a lighting audit. This event is another opportunity for the community to get involved in energy savings, even if they aren’t doing major home or business upgrades,” added Loski.

    For Rossland Energy Diet participants who are already registered, the event will also provide an opportunity to meet and speak informally with local contractors about how to improve the comfort and efficiency of their homes. They can even schedule appointments for work with these contractors to help achieve home energy efficiency goals.

    Some other simple tips to save you energy and money this holiday season:

    Decorative holiday LEDs are cool to the touch, reduce the risk of fire and are available in a variety of colours, shapes and lengths.

    Using a timer will help save electricity. Switch lights on at 7 p.m. during weekdays to avoid the electricity peak and remember to turn holiday lights off if you are leaving home for extended periods of time.

    Buy ENERGY STAR electronics. ENERGY STAR certified electronics – TVs, DVD players, VCRs and cordless phones – use significantly less electricity than their non-certified counterparts.

    TVs, DVD players, computers, printers, radios and many other electronics use energy even when they aren’t turned on. Unplug these items before you go on vacation and enjoy the energy savings.

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  • led light 22.11.2011 No Comments

    Inspection and monitoring are described as the first steps in any integrated approach to pest management. Today, the pest management professional may spend as much or more time searching for, observing and collecting data on activity than in the actual application of pesticides.

    Even a detection device such as the relatively “low-tech” flashlight has had technological advancements over the last few years with the advent of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and different battery types. A wide variety of “high tech” detection devices are now available. These technologies vary in their ease of use and cost, and should be evaluated based on their ability to increase efficiency and enhance profits.

    Flashlights. Pest management is performed most frequently under less than optimal lighting conditions. Most pests live in small, dark areas that are not easily accessible. A reliable, high-performance flashlight is the most basic, and most important, tool a PMP must carry. Selecting a flashlight should be based on the needs of the PMP. Features to consider when making a flashlight selection include:

    Safety requirements for the facilities in which you work must be considered first. Flashlights are available to satisfy most, if not all, hazardous location requirements, although a significant cost is often associated with these safety features.

    Design Type: Flashlights are available as handheld units, head lamps and lantern/spot units. Handheld units are the most commonly used in our industry and come in many different styles and sizes, but are generally tubular in construction. Design features like a squared off head can be considered if the flashlight will be placed frequently on unlevel surfaces. Other design features to consider might include water resistance, ruggedness, size and weight.

    Light Source Type. Incandescent bulbs and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are the two categories of light production available to us. Both choices have positives and negatives that should be weighed.

    UV black light LED lights are available that can be used for finding scorpions or to search for rodent urine trails. The larger, expensive, long-wave UV lights using incandescent UV bulbs are better suited for finding rodent urine, but the flashlight-type LED UV models cost one-fifth as much, and if used with yellow-lensed safety glasses, they can pick up rodent urine trails, especially for those with an experienced eye.

    Battery Type. Disposable and rechargeable batteries are the two major categories from which to select. Cost of battery replacement should be seriously considered when contemplating a flashlight purchase.

    Inspection Mirror. Coupled with a quality flashlight, an extendable hand inspection mirror allows pest professionals to gain visual access to difficult harborage sites. Adapted from mirrors used by HVAC (heating, ventilating and air-conditioning) technicians and auto mechanics, these tools use small mirrors attached to an extendable handle. This tool allows pest professionals to see around and behind fixtures and corners where pests can escape normal inspection. A polished stainless steel mirror is preferred over a glass mirror in food facilities where broken glass is an issue.

    Miscellaneous Tools. Insects may hide inside equipment, appliances, cabinets and other locations. Access to these areas usually requires some type of hand tool to remove screws, bolts or pins. A pest management professional can carry screwdrivers and/or wrenches in a tool pouch or specialized tool pocket on his or her belt. A multi-use tool, such as the Leatherman, has become popular with professionals as an all-in-one tool easily carried in a compact belt pouch.

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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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  • Four City Council members voted last week to move forward with an upgraded design for the Walker Johnston Park shelter.

    The vote was 4-1 in favor of spending an additional $35,086, with Councilman Tom Gayman in opposition.

    The design will incorporate the city’s plans to make the shelter a safe place for park users in case of a tornado or strong winds. The city received a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with the project.

    “There are a number of people using that facility who could benefit from the shelter in the case of a tornado,” Council member Mary Polson said during the Oct. 18 council meeting.

    Gayman said that the plans for the shelter remain too expensive and that alternative options, such as a partnership with the school district, should have been pursued before an outside company was hired.

    “Until our economic environment changes, I just don’t agree with spending that kind of money,” Gayman said.

    The council unanimously passed a funding proposal for upgraded and stronger light poles for banners on sections of Douglas Avenue.

    The new poles will cost the city $44,101.

    Bigger and stronger banners required the stronger poles, David McKay, director of engineering and public works, told the council. Replacing the city’s light pole banners comes following an overall redesign of the city lights along the Douglas Avenue streetscape. In June, the council approved retrofitting the streetscape with LED lights.

    The new banners will be made of aluminum and a reflective sheet with a picture will cover the outside, McKay said. The banners will not be as vulnerable as those the city currently owns, which are subject to ripping and tearing. Further, the reflective surface on the new banners will make them visible at night.

    While the city will still use its current seasonal banners, the new banners will display images focusing on the unique points of Urbandale.

    “This concept isn’t based as much around seasons as the old concept was,” McKay said.

    In another vote, the council approved a voluntary annexation of the Robel Farm at 142nd Street and Waterford Road.

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