August 22, 2016 Governor Wolf Announces Launch of New Open Data Program SHARE TWEET Government That Works, Open Data, Press Release, Results, Transparency Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Wolf launched OpenDataPA to enhance access to valuable information by creating a central repository to share the commonwealth’s data with the general public. Citizens, researchers, media, and developers can now browse through the first-released datasets at data.pa.gov, the home of OpenDataPA.“Since day one of my administration, I have been committed to making state government more open and transparent,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “That’s why I signed an executive order to release agency data to the public in an open, accessible format, and today, am launching OpenDataPA. One of our most valuable and underutilized resources in state government is data. Our goal is to make data available in order to engage citizens, create economic opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs, and develop innovative policy solutions that improve program delivery and streamline operations.”OpenDataPA has three main goals:Accountability – OpenDataPA is the next step toward making Pennsylvania government more open to citizens. With the first datasets released, citizens will be able to track the progress of goals related to Governor Wolf’s three governing objectives — Schools That Teach, Jobs the Pay, Government That Works — in an interactive, simple format.Modernization – A vast improvement over the static agency reports of the past, OpenDataPA will both release newly collected datasets and consolidate datasets from other state agency websites to create a one-stop shop for all of the commonwealth’s open data.Innovation – OpenDataPA strives to be a source of innovation for citizens, entrepreneurs, civic developers, researchers, and policy makers who can manipulate the data we will be releasing to discover economic opportunities, create government applications, and make data-driven decisions.OpenDataPA launches with 12 valuable datasets, including information about job creation, school performance, bridges that are being repaired, and more, that relate to Governor Tom Wolf’s Schools That Teach, Jobs That Pay, and Government That Works priorities. In the coming weeks, we will release a performance dashboard that uses these 12 datasets to track Governor Wolf’s performance goals.Future data releases will go beyond performance metrics and include datasets from agencies and program areas across state government. The Wolf Administration is partnering with stakeholders — including the Office of Open Records, colleges and universities, and cities — to identify and prioritize future datasets for publication. There is also an online suggestion form on data.pa.gov for new datasets.In recent years, governments at the federal, state and local levels have adopted open data initiatives to increase transparency to citizens, spur innovation and economic opportunity, and demonstrate the effectiveness of state policies and programs.By making data easily accessible, the Wolf Administration hopes to encourage citizens to become more familiar with how their government is performing, engage with the state’s developer community, and build tools and resources that ultimately make Pennsylvania an even better place to live and work.To explore this data, visit OpenDataPA’s website, data.pa.gov.You can also read the blog post with answers to common questions about open data. Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
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The Olympics will be held in Brazil this year. Despite the fears of side effects from the dreaded Zika virus, Jamaicans will be not only going to Brazil, they will be glued to television and radio stations during the Games, following in great detail the fortunes of our stars, who are expected to dominate the track and field section of the Games by winning the most gold medals.We didn’t get to be the ‘Sprint Capital’ of the world by chance. A significant reason for our dominance is rooted in the annual competition known as ‘Champs’. This annual ritual ensures that every schoolchild with talent is discovered and nurtured by coaches hoping to ensure that their charge goes on to not only secure points and bragging rights, but hopefully to become a future star who will regale a fawning public with stories about ‘who discovered me’.At my high school in the 60s, Wolmer’s Boys’, every one of the 600 enrolled boys had to enter at least one event in the eliminations for Sports Day. Thus raw and unexpected talent (mainly speed) was discovered and encouraged by House captains with an eye on winning on the day.Sports Day was also used as a trial for ‘Champs’. That same mindset now dominates the methods used to select the participants at ‘Champs’.Unfortunately, as Jamaica becomes more and more successful at sprinting (and now throwing) the quest to be the best seems to become the be all and end all of school. Sports and the financial benefits associated with excellence now trumps excellence at reading, writing and arithmetic.The recent innovation known as the Digicel Grand Prix provides financial benefits to schools and children who compete in weekend events in the months before Champs. This has resulted in our children competing almost on a weekly basis for points, which will add up to produce winners who are well rewarded.Unfortunately, this innovative method of incentives has forgotten that the participants are children, whose immature bodies are now stressed to unforeseen levels, resulting in what seems to me to be unprecedented levels of injuries that may derail the future potential of some of our more talented children.This incentivised desire to win at all costs is having a detrimental effect on our youngsters. Last Saturday’s well supported Gibson/McCook Relays is a case in point. I was shocked to see children running at maximum exertion in relays one or two hours apart, while open-mouthed reporters regaled the successful ones with unabashed praise, as if children performing multiple events in a 12-hour span is normal and should be encouraged.Years ago, the organisers of ‘Champs’ revised the number of events a child could enter after the great Lindy Delapenha, of Wolmer’s and Munro College, entered and did well in either eight or nine events.That limit has been further reduced by the governing body of ‘Champs’, ISSA, who apparently realised that these Games are for children!What I want to highlight in this article is the importance of refuelling after maximum exertion, a medical fact that can reduce the possibility of season-ending injury in children who are performing more than once in a 12-hour period.The three lines of defence after maximum exertion are fluid replacement, carbohydrate replacement and protein replacement.Drinking 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of weight lost in training or competition is strongly recommended. This fluid replacement will help to get the body of the child back in balance, remembering that sweat contains electrolytes (sodium, potassium and magnesium) therefore sports drinks are mandatory.During training and competition, the young athlete is relying mainly on stored carbohydrate fuel in the muscle, liver and blood to energise working muscles. Thus refuelling right after competitions (or exercise) can also decrease the chance of getting an injury. The muscle becomes a sponge ready to soak up and store needed ingredients for the next event.To complete the re-energising of muscles after training or competition, protein should be ingested in addition to the carbohydrate and fluids.A good rule is to eat or drink a healthy snack within 15 to 30 minutes of the event or hard training session and again two hours later. It is now well established that by adding protein to carbohydrate and fluids after competition, the body stores even more energy and recovers better than consuming carbohydrate alone.Athletes will find it hard to eat solid food after a hard workout or competition, so here are some suggestions for recovery fuel with at least 50 grammes of carbohydrate and 10 grammes of protein, necessary for maintaining good competitive health:(1) Eight ounces of orange juice and one small low fat yoghurt; (2) Eight ounces of Gatorade and one Power Bar; (3) eight ounces of apple juice and one peanut butter sandwich; (4) Twelve ounces soy milk and one ripe banana.These combinations are inexpensive and if consumed in the 15 to 30 minute window after competition can minimise the chance of injury while at ‘Champs’ or one of the other multi-event meets.
…residents still without waterManaging Director of the Guyana Water Inc (GWI) Dr Richard Van West-Charles on Friday said that the utility company had been experiencing difficulty supplying water to residents between New Amsterdam and Number 69 Village, which it intends to address.Speaking to reporters in New Amsterdam Town Council on Friday, the GWI Director said nine pump stations and two treatment plants in Berbice have been affected by an unstable supply of power from the Guyana Power and Light (GPL).Those currently being affected are East Canje residents as well as those from Edingburg, Adelphi, Sheet Anchor, Adventure to Number 69 Village, Whim, BlackResidents at the Adelphi Pump Station trying to get water after going days without potable waterBush and areas served by the Manchester pump station.He noted that GWI is experiencing low voltage at its pumping stations in these areas and has been unable to pump water to supply citizens.“The quality of the power coming in from GPL has not been at the optimum level for our infrastructure to respond,” Dr Van West-Charles said.He added that GWI’s assessment shows that the voltage fluctuation, which is way below what is required, is the cause for pumps not to be effectively functioning.The treatment plants situated at New Amsterdam and Rose Hall Town are currently being operated by generators.According to Dr Van West-Charles, the generator in New Amsterdam has been working continuously for the past six days although the generator was not built to be operated for 24 hours continuously.“GWI does not have enough generators to run the nine pump stations situated in the Canje area and on the Corentyne.” He added that GWI’s executive director has been in contact with GPL’s Operations Director, who has indicated that there is a power generation issue at the Cane Field Power Station.A collaborative effort is ongoing between GWI and GPL in an effort to address this challenge.It is expected that the problem will be rectified by mid next week.According to the Director, if this is not forthcoming then the water company will have to make alternative arrangements to get the pump stations powered.Even as the electricity issues are being ironed out, thousands of residents are still without potable water.Guyana Times first reported on Thursday that thousands of residents are without potable water along East Canje, Berbice, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) communities.The shutdown occurred on January 25, 2019.Chairman of the Number 38/Ordinance/Fort Lands Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) Roy Jaffarally had told this publication that persons have tried to get information from him on the situation, but he has no answers about the total shutdown of water supply in two NDC areas affecting residents as far as Palmyra. He added that this is so because the water company is not forthcoming with information on what has happened.The NDC Chairman has expressed concern about sanitation, noting that there could soon be an outbreak of disease because of the lack of water in ten villages.
The move by airlines to adopt 10 -breast seating on Boeing 777s is gaining momentum with British Airways the latest to announce higher density aircraft that will pack in an additional 52 seats.BA is planning to introduce 10-across seating in 2018, a move that will provide passengers with narrower seats and potentially place further strain on toilet facilities.The airline will increase its economy seating on its London-Gatwick-based from 216 to 252 seats on 25 777s as it trims back the business seating by eight to 32 and doubles premium economy to 48.But it will introduce new entertainment systems with bigger screens to help distract passengers from their tight accommodations. The chief executive of BA parent company IAG, Willie Walsh, told investors the move would allow BA to lower the average cost per seat, “charge a lower price and stimulate demand”.A BA spokesman told The Telegraph newspaper that the airline was flying more customers to an expanding network of destinations.”To meet this demand, we are updating our 777 cabins to bring us into line with many of our competitors and allow us to offer even more low fares,” he said. BA is not alone in it move to introduce the more cramped configuration. Cathay Pacific announced earlier this year that it would make a similar move and airlines that already have it include Air Canada, Emirates, Etihad, Air New Zealand, KLM and American Airlines. At this stage, it still operates nine-across seating along with carriers such as Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia and Delta Air Lines.The denser seating is the flip side to the cheap fares consumers are enjoying in many markets. Carriers move to reduce the cost of flying each economy seat by either reducing the seat pitch, essentially the distance between seats, or by adding an extra seat to each row. BA is planning to do this on its Heathrow-based Airbus narrow-body aircraft over the coming months by increasing A320 seating from 168 to 180 and A321 seating from 205 to 218.Seat designers have attempted to offset the reduction in seat pitch by designing slimline seats that are scalloped to maximise leg room and which have seat pans that move forward when the seat is reclined.They are also reducing the width of seats to accommodate the move from the nine-across seating airlines originally adopted for the B777 to the 10-across configuration. A similar situation has occurred with nine -across seating on the Boeing 787, which was designed with an eight-abreast configuration in mind. BA was forced to widen seats on its 787-9s by half an inch after narrower seats on its 787-8s drew complants .On a separate issue, Mr Walsh told the World Travel Market in London that alliances such as oneworld and Star added value today but he was doubtful would exist in 10 years.“I think relationships have changed and you are seeing more deals such as joint ventures. If you go back to my time at Aer Lingus, I didn’t actually take them out of oneworld but I prepared the groundwork for it,’’ website buyingbusinesstravel reported.“What you’ve got to recognise is there’s a cost of being a member and for a small airline that cost can be greater than the revenue and commercial benefit you gain from being in an alliance.”
It looks like a cross between a classic roadside diner and an Airstream travel trailer, but in its day the Michigan Solar House Project was nothing if not cutting edge.MiSo, as it’s called, was created by students at the University of Michigan and one of 18 entries in the 2005 Solar Decathlon competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Like other entries in the biennial contest, the house was the result of intense effort by student designers and their faculty advisers, to say nothing of generous corporate donors.Now, 12 years later, MiSo is for the first time about to become someone’s home. A Michigan couple who first saw the building at a 700-acre botanical garden not far from the University of Michigan campus entered the winning bid in an auction for the building last fall. Preparations are currently underway to move the house 170 miles to Evart, Michigan, where it will be ready for move-in by spring.MiSo will, according to records kept by the Department of Energy, be the fourth member of the Class of 2005 to become a private residence. Many others have been moved to public spaces like college campuses where they are open for public tours or used for ongoing research. RELATED ARTICLES A house intended for mass productionMiSo didn’t win any awards in the 2005 competition —the University of Colorado was the overall winner that year — but its features put it far ahead of any production housing of the day, and still make it an unusually energy efficient building.Students from the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning wanted a design that could be mass-produced with less waste than conventionally built housing, and serve as a prototype for a more energy-conscious way of living, according to a summary of the project. John Beeson, a student and the project manager, said that the team wanted to produce a house where people would actually want to live — not turn off potential homeowners with a design that perhaps seemed like a “neat idea” but ultimately wasn’t livable.The house followed “monocoque” design principles, similar to those for cars and airplanes, in which the external skin of the building supports the weight of the structure. Students chose aluminum for the outside of the building because it lasts a long time and can be recycled.There were a variety of innovative features: enough windows to heat the house passively, photovoltaic panels on the roof, solar thermal panels connected to a radiant-floor distribution system, and an energy-recovery ventilator. It also included what designers called a “solar chimney,” an internal channel between the roof and walls with south-facing glass panels at the base. In the winter, warm air heated by the sun could be directed into the house for heat; in summer, the hot air was vented to the outside, helping to keep the building cool.Batteries in the floor of the house stored excess energy from the solar panels, and the base of each of MiSo’s five modular sections was a trailer to make the building easy to move. In this case, the 660-square-foot solar-powered house will give Lisa and Matt Gunneson their start at what Lisa calls a “simple, self-sufficient kind of life.” Solar Decathlon: The Search for the Best Carbon-Neutral HouseTeam Austria Wins 2013 Solar DecathlonPraise for the Czech Team’s Solar Decathlon EntryUniversity of Maryland Wins the Solar DecathlonVirginia Tech’s Lumenhaus Wins at Solar Decathlon Europe After the competitionThe Solar Decathlon that year was held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. After the event was over, MiSo went back to Michigan, where it spent the next two years in storage at the Willow Run airport in Ypsilanti. It was saved from indefinite incarceration by Harry Giles, a professor of architecture at the university, who won a grant from the National Science Foundation to study energy-efficient modular housing prototypes, according to the Department of Energy.University of Michigan architecture professor Harry Giles (left) in front of the 2005 MiSo house with new owners Lisa and Matt Gunneson.[Photo: Meadowlark Design + Build]Giles used some of the grant to move the house to a spot at the university-managed Matthaei Botanical Gardens a few blocks from the Ann Arbor campus. The location, DOE said, was handy to both university researchers and the general public and Giles used the building to teach another generation of students.That’s where the Gunnesons first saw the house. “We have an emotional connection to the MiSo as Matt and I had our first date at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, and were married there in 2015,” Lisa told an interviewer. “When we heard the solar home was up for auction, we put in a bid.”By then, there had been some changes to the original structure. Flooring had been replaced with tile because of water damage. A rain garden, porous paving stones and gardens had been added to better blend the house with its surroundings. But from the outside the building looked essentially the same. By last year, the botanical garden had decided it was time to put the building up for auction.Giles contacted Doug Selby, the CEO of Meadowlark Design + Build in Ann Arbor, to ask whether he’d be interested in helping the new owners move and refurbish the house. Two designers at Meadowlark — Melissa Kennedy and Jennifer Hinesman — had worked on MiSo in 2005 as students, so there was a lot of internal enthusiasm for getting involved in a project that probably wasn’t going to add much to Meadowlark’s bottom line.“It was quite obvious to us,” Selby said by telephone. “Who the heck is going to do this otherwise?”Inside, the building had suffered some water leaks over the years, so there’s some mold to contend with. In addition, the interior cladding, which appears to be pressed wood panels, should be removed and probably replaced. Insulation needs an upgrade. Its current problems appear to stem from the way in which the five modular sections were re-assembled after the house was returned from Washington.“When they put it back together the first time, they just caulked it, and caulk doesn’t last forever,” Selby said. In all, Selby expects the move and repairs will cost $30,000 to $40,000 on top of the $12,500 the couple paid for MiSo.The building comes with 32 solar panels with a rated capacity of about 6 kilowatts. Selby said at the time MiSo was built, these standard panels, each with a rated capacity of 190 watts, came at a cost of $10 per watt. Now, he said, 280-watt panels are available for about $3 a watt — that’s how far solar technology has come. Buildings with many usesDecathlon entries find a variety of second lives once the competition ends, and program managers keep detailed records of where the buildings end up. In part, that’s to give new Solar Decathlon teams good background information on what’s come before them, said program manager Linda Silverman.The Solar Decathlon dates to 2002, with biennial competitions beginning in 2005, with similar competitions springing up in Europe, China, Africa, and Latin America. Since its inception, some 130 teams here have participated, so there are plenty of second lives for the program to keep track of.According to Silverman, Decathlon entries often become housing for faculty and students or learning labs about energy-efficient building on college campuses. One now houses a park ranger at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve near Stanford University. Another serves as transitional housing for military veterans who have suffered traumatic brain injury; an entry from an Austrian team was designed to float on that country’s Blue Lagoon. Missouri Science and Technology, a frequent participant in the competition, has assembled its entries into a solar village where students and faculty can live.“This is a big endeavor by the schools,” Silverman said. “They tend to have ideas about where they want the houses to go afterwards. But where they end up after the competition, or within a year or two of the competition, could be different in five years.”Student teams not only have to design and build the houses, but figure out how to get them to the competition site, dismantle them after the competition is over, and get them back to campus.The cost of a project for a U.S. team can range from $300,000 to $1.5 million, she said, with the money coming from corporate sponsors as well as the universities themselves.“I think it’s the most unique experience you could possibly have because it’s so intense,” she said. It’s such a real world type of experience, and the students are just so committed.”The 2017 Solar Decathlon takes place on October 5 through 15 in Denver. Thirteen teams — two of them representing overseas universities — will compete. For the first time, each team that successfully builds a house will get at least $100,000 for their efforts; top finishers will get “significantly more.”
Image credit: flickr member nateOneAfter the busy nonprofit year-end giving season comes the often overlooked nonprofit thank you season. Remember to give thanks for donations early and often. Showing constant, authentic appreciation for your donors (new and old) is crucial for retaining supporters.Need to breathe some new life into your donor gratitude plan? Here are ten thank you ideas to inspire you in the new year.1. Always send a thank you (and tax deductible information) within 48 hours of receiving a donation. Many online giving tools such as DonateNow automatically generate a donor receipt, but be sure to tailor or add a thank you message to the receipt. Then, follow up with a more personalized2. Send a birthday card to donors and remind them that they are important to the work your organization accomplishes.3. Have your board members personally call donors to say thanks. I recently did this as a board member for my alma mater’s alumni association. Out of the 25 people I called, only one person had received a thank you phone call from an organization before.4. Ask those who directly benefit from donations to write a handwritten note of thanks. Animal organizations could try letting their clients express their thanks to donors with a special piece of artwork.5. Create a YouTube video to thank donors when you reach a campaign goal. A great example of this are charity: water’s 5th birthday thank you videos.6. Have some exciting news to share? Send a special announcement to donors with images and a big bold note to thank them for making the accomplishment possible.7. Invite donors to a thank you reception. You’ll not only show your appreciation, but you’ll get face time with your donors and have the opportunity to learn more about why they support your organization.8. Many organizations send thank you cards and year-end appeals during the November/December holiday season. Don’t overlook other holidays as occasions to express your love and thanks.9. Dedicate social media shout outs to thank and recognize donors.10. Send donors a top ten list of accomplishments for the year to demonstrate how donations make an impact (and then make it clear that without their support, you wouldn’t have a top ten list).Donors are your organization’s superheroes. Saying thanks and reminding them of their VIP status should be at the top of your to do list in 2014. What are your favorite ways to thank donors? Share your ideas in the comments.
We can’t wait to get #15NTC started—and I hope to see you there! New product testing: We’re looking for nonprofit staff to give us some feedback on a new online fundraising platform we’re working on. If you’re interested in talking to our tech team, please email [email protected] to find out more. To show our appreciation for lending us 60 minutes of your time, we’ll make a donation to your organization! Friday, March 6th at 1:30pm CST: In this session Matthew Mielcarek of Charity Dynamics will join Caryn for a presentation all about online fundraising and digital tools: Your Guide to 2015 Digital Opportunity and Finding Tools to Get You There – #15NTCdigtools (this session will be available to view on demand when the conference is over} Social: Follow us on Twitter @Network4Good and on [email protected] to see where we are and what we’re up to at #15NTC. Breakout sessions: Caryn Stein, VP of Communications and Content, will be presenting two breakout sessions this week: Thursday, March 5th at 10:30am CST: Caryn will join Jamie McDonald, founder of Generosity Inc, to give you inside info on how to launch a successful giving day: The Secret Formula to Successful Giving Days. #15NTCGivingdays This morning five of my colleagues and I are flying to Austin, Texas for the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC)! We’re looking forward to learning, networking, and enjoying all that Austin has to offer. If you will be in Austin, or if you’re attending NTC virtually, we’d love to meet you! Here are some ways to get in touch with the Network for Good team at NTC: If you’re not registered for NTC, you can come to the Science Fair on Wednesday March 4th from 1:30-3:30pm CST at the Austin Convention Center. NTC Science Fair: Come say hi to us at booth 813! Pick up some swag, spin our prize wheel, and learn how Network for Good can help you raise more money online with our software and coaching!