Skinnnerphoto courtesy of John Sirna

Mr. Skinner gave our CBG group a wide ranging talk on the historical aspects of housing and a very good explanation of what has happened with housing size, housing costs and associated building costs over several decades.  We have so many regulations, so many fees, so many restrictions, and not enough folks who have the money to qualify for mortgages that we do not see lower cost housing being readily offered.  What we see being offered in new homes are the special combinations of size, features and locations where builders feel there is a real chance of making numerous sales.  It is still a free market, but only free AFTER the cost of regulators and regulations are satisfied.

We talked about mandatory sprinklers, impact fees, licensing and inspection costs, property costs, restriction on use, septic tank realities, streets and sidewalks.  It all goes into the mix with every municipality and community joining forces to regulate, control and tax developers.  It isn’t all bad, but such tinkering with the free market has consequences which are very hard both to predict or to control once they occur.

The best housing for the money in the “moderate” range would be used homes which are readily available in our market selling way below cost of replacement with new construction.  They may require sweat equity or more cash investment than their purchase price, but may represent huge value compared to new construction which is unlikely to be of moderate cost due to the economic and regulatory forces which were discussed.

Thanks, Joe.

 

20160818 Amy Moredock-9168Photo Courtesy of Steve Atkinson

Kent County has not grown much in the past 100 years and is not expected to have any large growth in the coming years, too.  This may be what we want; continued agricultural activities, lots of open land, low impact roads, no widespread transit system, low population density except in a few towns, etc.  Doesn’t sound all that bad, does it?  Is this what is being planned?  Will the goals be met?  Will lifestyles in Kent County make the majority happy in years to come?  It all sounded fairly positive.

County residents seem to prefer the status quo.  Why would a graying population wish otherwise?  However, can the needs of the younger future citizens be met by the population which in the overall is aging out?  We don’t actually have any experience in that scenario, but must hope for the best.  Will we get a reasonable growth strategy in place which provided sufficient income and stability for Kent’s citizens?  The comprehensive plan is geared for these purposes.

It appears that the now 10 year plan cycle will work better than the old 6 year plan cycle.  You can’t operate without a plan, so this seems a reasoned approach which gives time to make decisions and see them through.

Thank you Amy for your hopeful and factual presentation.

 

 
Photo courtesy of Steve Atkinson

Photo courtesy of Steve Atkinson

We wanted to know about the future of electricity as Delmarva Power sees it.  Renee Stephens is driven on the consumer relations side of the topic and told of the various programs in place to save money and spoke of her perspective on the degree of dedication the workers who do the hard work 24/7 to keep us all with power whenever we need it.

Glen Ankenbrand was, until the day of his talk, Senior Engineer for the Centreville District.  He has been promoted to Chief Engineer for three counties in Delmarva.  He knows all the technical things about delivery of power, line and transformer issues, smart meters, solar power connections, etc.

Here were two very professional people, both with years of experience, both working for a large company that is seemingly distant to all of us, but one that is absolutely crucial for our daily existence here.    Technology and change is evident everywhere and this includes large electric utility companies.  They are planning to move with the future, but must support many legacy installations with every move forward.  Delmarva Power is in the same dance with all other large businesses that own huge infrastructure, must plan on upkeep and still make decisions as technology and consumer habits so rapidly change.

Their talks were informative, but the way they responded to our many questions was open, honest, refreshing and knowledgeable.   Look for announcements on surprise days to save energy.  If you have a smart meter simply cutting your use during those special announced periods will automatically generate savings on your bill.  No need to sign up for anything.  Just cut usage when requested and the savings will be registered.

 

On August 4, 2016, in Kent CBG News, Technology, by David Atlas

Dave Atlas, CBG’s MC and Webmaster led a session in one of our “Week that Was” forums with a practical demonstration of the most useful skills that you should know if you take digital photos.  In future, when we are going to cover a topic on practical things you can learn CBG will use the term “CBG How To” for the event.  We will continue from time to time to have our “Week That Was” which will cover both large and small events. along with news of the world and region, but we will now toss in the occasional “CBG How To” session as good ideas come forward along with a qualified group leader or speaker.

This session on manipulation and printing of digital photos was not the typical session of how to take a picture, but the one you need after you have the photo in your camera.

How to you make the picture look right?  How do you change the size, and shape?  How do you fix a little problem?  Can you have a bit of fun in the process?   How do you make a great photo print out like a great photo?  Why photos saved in a computer often won’t print out as well as expected.  What are you failing to do?  Dave gave some tips, most learned the hard way, by trial and error, for adding text or a date to an image, brightening the image, adding a bit of sharpness or contrast, or making someone’s face look a bit better.   It is all so simple, but it is far easier to learn when it is clearly demonstrated on a large screen.

A few attendees left with increased basic yet valuable skills.  There should be no fear of damaging precious photos in an attempt to make them better.   Now those who attended know how and why.

 
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