SAN DIEGO — Marc C. Graham has been named president and CEO of InstallerEDGE, a supplier of auto parts and supplies specializing in the quick lube industry. InstallerEDGE is headquartered in San Diego, CA with distribution facilities in Charleston, SC, and Vista, CA. AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement“I’m extremely impressed with InstallerEDGE and the great things that Dave Hynan and the team have accomplished,” said Graham. “I look forward to helping to continue to evolve the company into one of the industry’s elite service providers.” Graham, a native of San Diego, is an equity partner in InstallerEDGE. He has more than 35 years of senior management experience in high-volume consumer products and services industries. Prior to joining InstallerEDGE, he served as president/CEO of Synergy Global Business Solutions, a consultancy firm he founded to advise clients on strategic vision, growth strategy, profit improvement and product innovation. He is also president of Ceramic Reinforced Technologies, holder of the patent for Cerflon. From 1999 to 2003, Graham served as president of Jiffy Lube International, and before Jiffy Lube, Graham spent 28 years as an executive in two of the top 10 automotive retailers. An active industry advocate, Graham is on the board of directors of the Automotive Aftermarket Foundation, The Automotive Hall of Fame, Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE) and the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). He currently serves on the AAIA Executive Committee and Audit Committee, and on the board of Cottman Transmission. He received the Retailer of the Year award in 1997, the Automotive Aftermarket Management Education award in 2002 and serves as a faculty advisor to Northwood University. Advertisement_______________________________________ Click here to view the rest of today’s headlines.
STATE News:Restaurants may provide outdoor or patio services where available beginning WednesdaySANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced this afternoon that the state’s emergency public health order will be amended to permit limited outdoor dine-in services for most of the state beginning Wednesday, May 27.Dine-in services inside restaurants and bars remain temporarily prohibited. New Mexico is on target for a June 1 reopening of those services under a limited capacity per fire code occupancy restrictions – however, New Mexico health officials continue to monitor the rate of transmission in the state’s southwestern public health region, which if unchecked could preclude further reopenings in that region. The amended public health order does not apply to the northwestern public health region.Under the amended public health order, which is attached and will be effective Wednesday, May 27, restaurants may offer dine-in service in outdoor seating areas at up to 50 percent of their outdoor area fire code occupancy. The following stipulations apply: No dine-in service may be provided in indoor seating areas.Outdoor dine-in service may only be provided to patrons who are seated. Tables must be placed with at least six feet of distance between one another. No more than six patrons may be seated at any single table. No bar or counter seating is permitted. Bars – defined as food and beverage service establishments that derived more than 50 percent of their revenue in the prior calendar year from the sale of alcoholic beverages – are not included in this provision and may not operate outdoor or patio services at present. Bars may continue to operate for take-out and delivery if permitted under their applicable licenses.“Our priority throughout this public health crisis has been the safety and health and well-being of New Mexicans, and this modification of the emergency public health order aligns with that mandate while providing an opportunity for restaurants to begin preparing for a wider reopening next week,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “We continue to see sustained, consistent progress in our fight against this virus, which is a credit to the New Mexicans who have amended their behavior to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe. I greatly look forward to being able to continue to ease the restrictions imposed on us by this heinous virus – provided that we continue on the right track and New Mexicans take every necessary precaution, whether in an individual capacity or as a business-owner or employee.”“The New Mexico Restaurant Association is happy with the Governor’s decision to allow a soft opening, of outdoor dining, for restaurants on May 27,” said Carol Wight, the association’s chief executive. “We believe this will provide restaurants the opportunity to ease back into the swing of things while taking the time to properly train staff and implement COVID-19 safe procedures effectively, before fully opening to the public on June 1.“At this time we ask our industry partners in Doña Ana County to seriously consider refraining from participation in this soft opening,” Wight added. “The rate of transmission is considerably higher in this area and in order for everyone to be able to safely reopen soon, the NMRA would like restaurants in this area to forgo the May 27 date and work hard to slow the spread for the June 1 reopening of our industry.”COVID-safe practices for restaurants are available here and will be adhered to under any broader reopening that could take place early next week upon the expiration of the current emergency public health order.The emergency public health order mandates compliance with COVID-Safe Practices for Restaurants, which have been updated with an adjustment related to contact tracing. The requirement is as follows:“To support contract tracing, offer all customers who visit the establishment with the opportunity to record their name and phone number or email address, along with the date and time of their visit, and retain such records for no less than four weeks from the date of collection.”All COVID-Safe Practices can be found in “All Together New Mexico: COVID-Safe Practices for Individuals and Employers”, which can be accessed and downloaded at newmexico.gov and cv.nmhelath.org at the link provided here. (The document includes COVID-Safe Practices for salons, spas, and tattoo parlors, although those are not yet permissible, in order to allow these establishments to prepare for what practices will be required upon a later limited re-opening.)The amended public health order – which otherwise remains the same, meaning other close-contact facilities and outdoor recreation facilities must remain closed – will not apply to the northwestern public health region, encompassing the counties of Cibola, McKinley and San Juan. That public health region remains under the May 5, 2020, public health order but is on track to move ahead into broader reopenings beginning June 1.The public health order dated May 15, 2020, can be found here. The amended public health order is attached. It will be executed Wednesday, May 27.
BLM News:WASHINGTON, D.C. — To commemorate President Donald J. Trump’s signing of the Great American Outdoors Act of 2020 into law this week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) join other Department of the Interior agencies in providing free access today, Aug. 5 to public lands nationwide. The signing of this historic conservation law will provide full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and billions of additional dollars to fund infrastructure projects on public lands nationwide. “President Trump has just enacted the most consequential dedicated funding for national parks, wildlife refuges, public recreation facilities and American Indian school infrastructure in U.S. history,” Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said. “I’ve designated Aug. 5 as Great American Outdoors Day and waived entrance fees to celebrate the passage of this historic conservation law.” “President Trump’s signing of the Great American Outdoors Act achieves what past presidents and legislators have sought for decades, but failed to carry across the finish line – permanent, dedicated funding for conservation and recreation projects across the nation, while also funding much-needed repairs to critical facilities and infrastructure in our national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, public lands and at our Bureau of Indian Education schools,” said BLM Deputy Director for Programs and Policy William Perry Pendley. Wednesday, Aug. 5, site-specific standard amenity and day-use fees at BLM recreation sites and areas will be waived. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt also announced that August 4th will be designated “Great American Outdoors Day,” a fee-free day each year moving forward to commemorate the signing of the Act. This fee-free day will join National Get Outdoors Day in June, National Public Lands Day in September and other recognized days as annual fee-free days. The BLM New Mexico sites fee-free today: Wild Rivers Recreation Area Rio Grande Gorge Overlook Rob Jaggers Campground Cave Campground Valley of Fires Recreation Area Haystack Mountain OHV Area Mescalero Sands North Dune OHV Area Dripping Springs La Cueva Aguirre Springs (Currently open for day use only) The Great American Outdoors Act will provide half of all receipts from energy development on federal lands and waters, up to $1.9 billion per year, for five years to address facility and infrastructure needs. At the same time, the legislation permanently funds the LWCF to the tune of $900 million a year to invest in conservation and recreation opportunities across the country. Since its creation in 1964, the LWCF has provided a portion of royalties from offshore oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf to protect, acquire and preserve vulnerable natural and cultural resources— for national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges and other federal lands, as well as local parks, trails and recreation areas—in every state. It has been a tremendous success, but until President Trump acted, a large portion of that funding was diverted by Congress to other priorities and projects. The BLM’s share of infrastructure funds will be $65 million a year for five years. Funding will be used to target long overdue repair needs at administration sites, including fire facilities, visitor centers, recreation sites, dams, bridges and warehouse buildings. BLM-managed public lands offer a wide array of recreational opportunities, including hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, boating, white water rafting, off-highway vehicle driving, rock climbing and more. Americans make approximately 67 million visits annually to BLM-managed lands, supporting approximately 48,000 jobs nationwide and contributing almost $7 billion to the U.S. economy. For more information on recreation opportunities on BLM-managed public lands, visit https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation or www.recreation.gov.
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Louisiana State Senator A.G. Crowe’s vision of making America more competitive and capitalizing on the Gulf of Mexico’s deep-water resources has taken a major step forward –the Louisiana International Gulf Transfer Terminal Regional Center (LIGTT RC) has received approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).This will allow development of the largest transshipment facility in the United States, known as the Louisiana International Gulf Transfer Terminal (LIGTT). The terminal is designed to improve trade and enhance America’s competitiveness amid increased shipping demand. It will achieve this by opening up a new supply chain via the Mississippi River and its tributaries that reaches 32 states and Canada (over 14,500 miles of inland waterways), while generating jobs and reducing environmental concerns related to the transportation industry.The terminal will be located just east of the mouth of the Mississippi River at Mile 0 off Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. Because of its location in deep water (at a minimum of 70 feet), it will be able to accommodate the massive ships known as Post-Panamax vessels that are expected to begin transiting the expanded Panama Canal. It will also be able to handle even larger ships known as Super Post-Panamax vessels currently in operation. The terminal will employ a hub and spoke system for transporting goods to and from America’s heartland, expanding America’s shipping capacity by more than 2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) annually – with the goal of ultimately expanding capacity up to 3.5 million TEUs annually.“This is a major infrastructure opportunity for this country. With this terminal in place, America will be ahead of the curve and able to keep pace with modern international trade, particularly as the Panama Canal undergoes its historic, first-ever expansion,” said Admiral James Milton Loy, former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and former commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. “The Gulf of Mexico provides an ideal location to maximize shipping routes through other ports and inland waterways that until now have been largely untapped.”Similar to the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), which serves as port of call for massive crude oil tankers too big for U.S. inland ports to offload oil, the terminal will be a transfer point for container vessels arriving from Asia and other regions, as well as for U.S. exports headed to foreign destinations. In support of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s goal of ultimately screening 100 percent of all cargo entering the country, the terminal has set its own goal to have all arriving containers electronically screened by DHS. After screening, goods will be delivered to the Midwest and other ports in the Gulf and around the country via specially designed container-carrying vessels. These vessels, equipped with cranes, require just a 9-foot draft and travel upriver through the Mississippi River and its tributaries.A number of federal agencies have expressed interest in eventually having a presence at the facility, including the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Transportation Command, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor. Other interested stakeholders include the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.Economic BenefitsEconomically hard-hit areas in Louisiana and Mississippi stand to benefit from the development and operations of the terminal. In particular, the project has established a target goal of filling approximately 25 percent of its available positions with U.S. military veterans (and/or their spouses). Veterans often face severe unemployment rates and other hardships once they leave the military.“This project is projected to create tens of thousands of new jobs and generate tens of billions in revenue for the next century throughout the interior of the United States, benefitting 32 states and Canada,” said Louisiana State Senator A.G. Crowe, head of the LIGTT Port Authority Commission, which is overseeing the project. “It will add a third major port of entry to America’s heartland to complement the existing East and West Coast ports of entry.”According to the most conservative economic studies, the terminal will generate approximately 180,000 direct and indirect jobs within 32 states, of which 34,000 will be in Louisiana over a multi-year period. This also includes jobs created through a multiplier effect across a broad supply chain, as the terminal is expected to increase demand for U.S.-made concrete, steel and other construction materials.Greater Efficiency, Reduced Environmental ImpactThe terminal will increase America’s shipping efficiency at a time when the expanded Panama Canal is expected to introduce larger ships, which will hold up to four times the number of containers as current vessels. Ports that accept these massive ships require a minimum 50-foot draft to navigate and dock. The new terminal will not require expensive long-term labor-intensive dredging, which is common throughout the industry, because of its location in permanently deep water (70 feet minimum) and its ability to handle the new 18,000 container vessels. The terminal’s flexible design and initial 500-acre site allow for expansion as needed, as demand grows over time.LIGTT’s central and strategic location in the Gulf of Mexico provides critical connections that will help vessels reach hundreds of inland waterway ports and destinations more efficiently and with less environmental impact from carbon emissions. Currently, America’s inland waterways transport just 2 percent of the nation’s containerized cargo. The U.S. Maritime Administration’s goal is to reduce wear and tear on the nation’s highways as well as take some of the strain off the rail systems by utilizing the massive waterways in the U.S.“The need for smart solutions has never been greater as America’s existing infrastructure is strained and cannot sustain the upcoming shipping volume growth,” said John Vickerman, president of Vickerman & Associates, a port and intermodal planning and design firm. “This project represents a major milestone, positioning America to better capitalize on existing resources for transporting goods, while helping to reduce the impact on the environment.”The terminal will increase the reliability and efficiency of the shipping process by enabling some cargo to travel to inland areas by LIGTT’s self-propelled specialized container-carrying vessels, moving along America’s internal waterway systems. It will also reduce the need for ships to idle because they will not have to wait for a berth slot; the terminal will be a world-class green-built facility.Project BackgroundThis critical infrastructure project was envisioned by the LIGTT Port Authority Commission, which was created following the passage of Louisiana State Senate Bill 780, Act 699 – introduced by State Senator A.G. Crowe and signed by Governor Bobby Jindal in 2008. In a rare example of bipartisanship, the bill passed both the state’s House of Representatives and Senate unanimously, with no dissenters.The recent USCIS approval allows the LIGTT Regional Center to operate as an EB-5 immigrant investor capital regional center. EB-5 projects provide foreign nationals with a method of obtaining permanent resident status in return for investing money in critical United States projects that create jobs.The LIGTT Authority will oversee the project, which is being managed by the LIGTT Regional Center and developed by LIGTT Development Partners. The Authority includes the Louisiana secretary of the Department of Economic Development, the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development and the chairmen of the House of Representatives and Senate Committees on Transportation, Highways and Public Works.The project will be capitalized through the EB-5 immigrant investor capital program, along with other traditional forms of investment. The LIGTT Regional Center will adhere to strict guidelines for reporting corporate governance and disclosure information to the government and investors, communicating through quarterly reports to stakeholders, regular media releases and live webinar briefings.Preconstruction work on the terminal began in November 2013.[mappress]Press Release, December 13, 2013
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Face forward, or face back? Finding the best place to stop by the Huangpu river in Shanghai last week was, surprisingly, a much harder decision than whether to succumb to the numerous Chinese street vendors trying to sell me clip on roller skates (an accessory for which I doubt I’ll ever have a particular yearning).Ahead of me, across the river, were the neon lit skyscrapers of the Pudong area – the spectacular, but brash, signature of Shanghai’s emergence as a city of business and glamour, eastern China’s high rise gateway to the West.Behind me, in startling contrast, the road was lined with colonial buildings; a window to a more sedate, seemly architectural past that stubbornly refuses to quite give way to recent generations’ taste for status and ostentatious fluorescent gimmickry.It’s a decision of which Shanghai’s planners – and its public – are also becoming increasingly aware. I spent eight days in the city – my first visit to China – and while there I was told repeatedly by those who have watched the city’s buildings rocket upwards over the last three decades how a fresh level of consideration is now evident in the city’s attitude towards development.Buildings are still going up – the tallest building in China is currently under construction in the city – but there is also an air of restraint that cannot be entirely explained by the government’s attempts to cool the heated real estate market.Part of this is a growing awareness of the value of China’s heritage – for tourism, and for its own culture – that is contributing to a rise in the number of museum schemes and greater care over planning applications on heritage sites. Part of it is also a growing sense that Shanghai – and China more widely – needs to plan its developments with a broader view in mind if it is really to fulfil its domestic and international ambitions.While some developers continue to pile concrete skywards in the hope of turning a quick profit, more and more are starting to think genuinely about the role of sustainability – not just the latest technologies, as has been the case over the last five years, but about building orientation, light pollution, and whole life value.There is also a renewed focus on transport orientated development – ensuring that the buildings that have sprung up are linked properly to infrastructure, and that in turn, China’s main developed areas are able to connect readily with its host of emerging second and third tier cities.For now, this is a shift that is evident in pockets rather than as a dominate trend, but for those familiar with the Chinese construction sector it marks an important change. Over the next few weeks, Building will be looking in depth at the opportunities and challenges this brings western firms turning to a market that is waking up to the fact that it makes very little sense to spend money on solar panels in cities that are often shrouded in fog….
Reuters Huge numbers of Chinese tourists give Egypt tourism some reprieve ReutersEgypt’s tourism is in constant improvement with a growing number of tourists from Western, Arab and Asian states, expecting more Chinese visitors in the coming seasons, Egyptian Tourism Minister Rania al-Mashat said.“We had a leap in tourism in 2017 and a large boom in 2018, when Egypt was visited by renowned foreign figures,” the minister said in an interview with Xinhua in Minya province south of the capital Cairo.Tourism brought Egypt about 13 billion U.S. dollars in revenues in 2010 alone, when some 14.7 million tourists visited the country.After that, the tourism sector has been suffering recession in Egypt over the past few years due to political turmoil and relevant security challenges that resulted from the ouster of two heads of state in 2011 and 2013.It further deteriorated after a plane crash in Sinai killing over 200 people, mostly Russians, in October 2015, and another tragic crash of an EgyptAir flight killing all 66 people on board, including 15 French nationals, in May 2016.“Tourism in Egypt started to recover and overcome the consequences of the Russian plane crash, and many countries started to resume its suspended flights to Egyptian airports,” Mashat said.Rania al-Mashat, Egypt’s Tourism MinisterMoscow has already resumed direct flights to Cairo airport in April 2018 while flights to other Egyptian cities, including the popular Red Sea resorts of Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada, will be resumed “soon,” according to Russian President Vladimir Putin following talks with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in Russia’s Sochi in October 2018.“Many other countries increased their flights to Egyptian airports such as Serbia, which has 11 new flights to Hurghada,” the minister emphasized.On the other hand, Chinese Sichuan Airlines launched a direct flight to Cairo airport for the first time in late October 2018.Egypt’s newly opened Sphinx International AirportEgypt also opened in late January its new Sphinx International Airport, about 12 km away from the Great Pyramids of Giza, linking tourist destinations northern and southern the country via domestic flights.“In the tourism ministry, we have launched a flight promotion program in early November 2018, which urged some cities abroad to open new airlines with Egyptian airports,” the minister explained.Mashat said that her ministry holds regular discussions with tourist companies and travel agents to find out new means of attracting more tourists to the monument-rich most populous Arab country.The tourism ministry keeps an eye on the archeological discoveries announced by the antiquities ministry to add new destinations to Egypt’s tourism map.Last week, Mashat attended the announcement of the discovery of more than 40 mummies in ancient tombs in Minya.“Cultural tourism is very important and unique in Egypt,” Mashat said“Inviting foreign diplomats and media channels to such discoveries is meant to introduce and promote new attractions in Egypt to the world, such as Minya province that was not very well-known despite its attractive sites,” she said.“We have a ‘destination branding’ as part of our promotion program, introducing a variety of tourist destinations in Egypt to foreign visitors in cooperation with the ministry of antiquities,” Mashat added.Grand Egyptian Museum near Cairo is set for a partial opening in 2019The minister said that the upcoming opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum, which will be the biggest in the world to display the artifacts of one civilization, is a key part of the tourism ministry’s promotion plan.“I would like firstly to wish all Chinese people a happy Chinese New Year, and it was the first time in Egypt to light up Cairo’s Saladin Citadel in red in celebration of the Chinese Spring Festival and the Chinese New Year,” the minister said.She continued that the tourism ministry eyes more Chinese tourists to visit Egypt in the near future in the light of the fast-growing relations between the two countries.“We attach importance to Chinese tourists and Egypt has a comprehensive strategic partnership with China,” Mashat said, noting that China was among the first countries visited by Sisi after he came to office.Mashat stressed the fruitful cooperation between her ministry and the Chinese Cultural Center in Cairo in various areas including training and learning from the Chinese expertise.Among the joint activities is that a group of Chinese chefs will visit Egypt next month to teach their Egyptian counterparts how to cook Chinese dishes, according to the minister.She noted that the Chinese people have their own means of social media and her ministry will address through their own channels “to make sure the message will reach every Chinese citizen in different regions.”“We have many other projects of cooperation with the Chinese Cultural Center in Cairo including the promotion of Egyptian tourist destinations in Chinese language,” the minister told Xinhua. Egypt’s Tourism Sector taps into Chinese Market Plane crash in Egypt damaging tourism sector Related
Colin Smyth said, “When I proposed the inclusive park fund it was inspired by a visit to the Usual Place in Dumfries and a meeting there with the Parental Inclusion Network who were developing the project for Catherine Street. I met a family who had a severely disabled son. They told me that often they didn’t take their son to the local park with the rest of their children because the equipment wasn’t accessible for him and he had to sit and watch his brother and sister play. It was truly heart-breaking and just isn’t right. All our parks should be accessible to all. I hope that the council can continue this fund in the long term and have a default position that anytime they replace equipment in a park or build a new park, it is accessible to everyone.” Plans for the park could take a major step forward next week when a report goes before Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee on 5 September. The report recommends awarding £125,000 to Annan Play Park Steering Group to support the development of a park in Annan, from a £500,000 inclusive play park fund set up by the previous Labour administration in their budget. In addition, around £16,5000 is proposed to make a number of improvements in disabled parking and access at the preferred site for the park.Colin Smyth said, “It was great to meet up with the Steering Group to discuss their campaign for a flagship play park in Annan and to see the detailed vision they have for the park. Developing inclusive play parks for all is an issue that I’m really passionate about. That’s why one of the last things I did as a Councillor was propose the establishment of a dedicated £500,000 council fund to help develop inclusive parks. Annan will be one three areas to benefit from that fund in the next year. But we know that to develop a real flagship, inclusive park, local communities will also have to attract external funding and the Annan steering group have been busy not only fundraising themselves but are identifying possible sources of external funding. I would encourage the local community to get behind the work the group are doing and urge volunteers to get involved if they have a spare hour or two to support the group’s work”. The local MSP was commenting after discussing plans for the park with members of the Annan Play Park Steering Group at their recent meeting. In addition to the play park in Annan, the report to the Council’s Communities Committee recommends funding towards groups in Stranraer and Dumfries to support parks. The recommendations have been welcomed by Colin Smyth. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInSouth Scotland MSP Colin Smyth is urging the local community to get behind exciting proposals for a flagship inclusive play park in Annan. The Group were formed in 2015 to raise funds through external funding and fundraising to create (after a public consultation) an inclusive play park suitable for all abilities and ages from 1-101. The next meeting of the Group takes place on 12th September at 6pm in Annan Town Hall for anyone interested in attending. Anyone interested in supporting the Group or being a member can come along to the meeting or e mail the Group email@example.com Annan Play Park Steering Group Secretary Louise Ross said, “There is real momentum building behind our campaign to deliver a flagship play park that the whole community of Annan can be proud of. We have consulted on what people of all ages would like such a park to look like and have some initial outline proposals. We also plan to hold another awareness raising event at the forthcoming Day of the Regions in Annan. The level of support from the community has been tremendous and it’s great to have the backing of MSP Colin Smyth who proposed the council’s inclusive play park fund. But we are always looking for new volunteers to not only help with fundraising but to get involved in the next stages of our campaign.”