Sunday, February 1, 2015

Last Call For Lighting The Big Game

The University of Phoenix Stadium, where the big game is being played, recently upgraded over 780 metal halide fixtures with 44,928 Cree XLamp MK-R LEDs, courtesy of Cree and Ephesus Lighting. And while it sounds like the new setup would draw far more power, it turns out those LED fixtures need a mere 310,000 watts of power to glow, compared to the 1.24 million watts required by the metal halide bulbs.

But power saving isn't the only benefit to the stadium's new energy-efficient lighting. The LED fixtures also produce nearly double the illumination of the old metal halide bulbs, and run at full intensity as soon as they're switched on. If you remember the infamous Super Bowl blackout from a few years ago, it takes almost 20 minutes for metal halide bulbs to warm up and reach their full intensity.

That's pretty awesome.  Even enlightening.

Enjoy the game!

For Whom The Bridge Tolls

As WVXU's Howard Wilkinson points out, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Ohio Gov. John Kasich played Good Cop, Bad Cop with the idea of replacing the crumbling main bridge over the Ohio River, the Brent Spence, with a toll bridge.  Northern Kentucky leaders know that tolls are going to cost us a lot here in NKY, and it's going to cost those leaders their jobs more than likely.

It seems that Ohio’s Republican governor, who is not the shy and retiring type when it comes to speaking his mind, left some noses out of joint Wednesday when he hooked up with Kentucky’s Democratic governor, Steve Beshear, at Covington’s RiverCenter.

Kasich and Beshear said the two states would work on trying to reduce the estimated $2.6 billion price tag for replacing the bridge and re-doing the highway corridor. And they said they would have a 50 percent discount on tolls for daily commuters. Kasich said, too, that Ohio will now split the costs with Kentucky, even though it is Kentucky’s bridge.

This was aimed at convincing state legislators in Frankfort to accept the idea of tolls and move forward with funding for the project – something that the anti-toll legislators from Northern Kentucky have been battling for a long time now.

That's putting it mildly.  Kasich has poached a number of NKY businesses across that bridge into Cincinnati with the promise of big tax incentives, and now Kasich is adding insult to injury by making Norther Kentucky foot the bill for the Brent Spence through tolls.
NKY United, a group opposed to tolls for construction of a Brent Spence Bridge replacement, put something up on its website taking Kasich to task and asking Northern Kentuckians to sign a petition to Kasich demanding he apologize.

“Governor Kasich has personally lobbied to take businesses and jobs from NKY, and yet he stands in the very building that once housed some of these businesses and makes personal attacks against our elected leaders?,” the website said.

Kasich, NKY United said, “should apologize; and if he cannot control himself he should stay out of Kentucky.”

It’s not clear if this means all of Kentucky; or just the northern part. After all, he may want to take his kids down to see the Kentucky Horse Park someday.

At any rate, as of mid-afternoon Friday, there were 2,162 signatures on the petition.

Frank put a link to the petition on his Facebook page.

“I don’t expect Kasich will apologize,’’ Frank said. “I just want to see if some of the legislators downstate might be influenced that tolls are a bad idea.”

So the battle continues, but it's looking more and more like the rest of Ohio and Kentucky have decided that commuters in Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties are the ones who are going to have to pay the lion's share of the $2.6 billion, one trip at a time.

Sunday Long Read: Smacktown, USA

For all my griping about living in Northern Kentucky, it's not a bad place most of the time.  But here in suburbs south of Cincy, there's a real problem here.  Most people think of "Kentucky" and "drugs" and instantly come up with meth, like we're living in the hillbilly version of Breaking Bad over here.

I can tell you meth isn't the real issue here.  We're the nation's new heroin overdose capital, and it's a brutal sight.

Federal and Kentucky officials told The Huffington Post that they knew the move against prescription drugs would have consequences. “We always were concerned about heroin,” said Kevin Sabet, a former senior drug policy official in the Obama administration. “We were always cognizant of the push-down, pop-up problem. But we weren’t about to let these pill mills flourish in the name of worrying about something that hadn’t happened yet. … When crooks are putting on white coats and handing out pills like candy, how could we expect a responsible administration not to act?” 
As heroin use rose, so did overdose deaths. The statistics are overwhelming. In a study released this past fall examining 28 states, the CDC found that heroin deaths doubled between 2010 and 2012. The CDC reported recently that heroin-related overdose deaths jumped 39 percent nationwide between 2012 and 2013, surging to 8,257. In the past decade, Arizona’s heroin deaths rose by more than 90 percent. New York City had 420 heroin overdose deaths in 2013 — the most in a decade. A year ago, Vermont’s governor devoted his entire State of the State speech to heroin’s resurgence. The public began paying attention the following month, when Philip Seymour Hoffman died from an overdose of heroin and other drugs. His death followed that of actor Cory Monteith, who died of an overdose in July 2013 shortly after a 30-day stay at an abstinence-based treatment center. 
In Cincinnati, an entry point for heroin heading to Kentucky, the street dealers beckoning from corners call it “dog” or “pup” or “dog food.” Sometimes they advertise their product by barking at you. Ohio recorded 680 heroin overdose deaths in 2012, up 60 percent over the previous year, with one public health advocate telling a local newspaper that Cincinnati and its suburbs suffered a fatal overdose every other day. Just over the Ohio River the picture is just as bleak. Between 2011 and 2012, heroin deaths increased by 550 percent in Kentucky and have continued to climb steadily. This past December alone, five emergency rooms in Northern Kentucky saved 123 heroin-overdose patients; those ERs saw at least 745 such cases in 2014, 200 more than the previous year. 
For addicts, cravings override all normal rules of behavior. In interviews throughout Northern Kentucky, addicts and their families described the insanity that takes hold. Some addicts shared stories of shooting up behind the wheel while driving down Interstate 75 out of Cincinnati, or pulling over at an early exit, a Kroger parking lot. A mother lamented her stolen heirloom jewelry and the dismantling of the family cabin piece by piece until every inch had been sold off. Addicts stripped so many houses, barns, and churches of copper and fixtures in one Kentucky county that the sheriff formed a task force. Another overdosed on the couch, and his parents thought maybe they should just let him go.

And the bigger problem is the industry that has popped up here for treatment of heroin addiction.  Do read the piece, it's a real eye-opener.  I hope that Gov. Beshear can help do something about this, because it's a growing problem here in the NKY, and people are dying needlessly and stupidly.
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