Healey Demands Answers From Columbia Gas On Safe Restoration of Gas Service

first_imgBOSTON, MA — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today sent a letter to Columbia Gas demanding answers about the company’s plans for the safe and expeditious restoration of gas and fair compensation for affected residents in the Merrimack Valley following the devastating fires and explosions earlier this month.“In the wake of this tragedy, I have heard from many residents and businesses who have suffered significant losses yet remain in the dark about Columbia Gas’ claims process and the plans for restoring gas service,” said AG Healey. “I am demanding information from Columbia Gas about their specific plans because these people need and deserve answers and clarity as they rebuild their lives and communities.”In her letter, AG Healey notes that the failure of the Columbia Gas distribution system resulted in death, serious injury, the loss of homes and small businesses, and disruption of gas services for heating, hot water and cooking for thousands of residents in the company’s Merrimack Valley territory.As the state’s ratepayer advocate and chief law enforcement officer, AG Healey is committed to ensuring that Columbia Gas lays out their plan for implementing the recovery process, including gas restoration and compensation for those affected, and that ratepayers do not bear any of the costs associated with those efforts.The letter requests a meeting with Columbia Gas executives next week to discuss how they plan to implement the recovery effort, specifically:Ensuring that pipes are replaced in a safe manner and that the new pipes will result in a safe gas distribution service going forward.Ensuring the safety of all its Massachusetts territories while working on recovery efforts in its Merrimack Valley territory.Making sure that customers are receiving timely and complete information regarding the company’s restoration plan, including considering a text-messaging or similar real-time communications system (with an opt-out provision) that would reach all affected customers.Developing a plan for paying the electric bills of its customers who are forced to rely on electric space heaters and hot plates.Accommodating customers who choose to make alternative housing arrangements.Clarifying how the company intends to pay customers for losses incurred related to this disaster.Providing the AG’s Office with copies of the company’s internal claims procedure and any claims form it intends to use.Ensuring affected customers can easily obtain alternative heating sources for their homes and, if they choose, permanently transition to energy efficient, clean technologies without any additional costs.Addressing how work will be completed if a property owner is not present to authorize repairs.Clarifying in a written statement its plan to not bill affected customers for any gas service until service is restored.Confirming and ensuring that customers will not pay for any part of this disaster through the regulatory ratemaking process.Earlier this week, AG Healey sent Columbia Gas and NiSource orders to preserve documents for a potential state investigation.AG Healey has also issued two advisories offering guidance and resources in her office to support Merrimack Valley residents and businesses recovering from this tragedy. The AG’s Office issued an advisory about giving wisely to charities and knowing your consumer rights and this week announced a new hotline for residents and business owners with questions and concerns to connect with specialists in the office. The AG’s Office also provided guidance about legal representation and home improvement scams. The AG’s Office has been and will continue to send staff to assist individuals at the claims center in Lawrence.For more information or assistance, contact the Attorney General’s dedicated hotline for Merrimack Valley residents at (617) 573-5370. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Consumers can also obtain guidance and resources at the AG’s dedicated webpage at mass.gov/ago/merrimackvalley.(NOTE: The above press release is from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedAttorney General Files Comments with FERC Urging Caution on Kinder Morgan PipelineIn “Government”Lender To Cancel $1.6 Million In Loans Made To Former ITT Tech Students At Wilmington & Norwood CampusesIn “Government”Attorney General Awards Middlesex Sheriff’s Office A Healthy Summer Youth Jobs GrantIn “Police Log”last_img read more

Human fear of spiders draws scientific focus

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Female comb-footed spider (family Theridiidae), Enoplognatha ovata. Photographed in the wild at DuPage County, Illinois, USA. Size = 15mm. Credit: Bruce Marlin/Wikipedia/CC BY 3.0 , Cognition Some dangerous spider species may have been common during our evolutionary history. A number of species with potent venoms populated Africa before hominoids and have co-existed there for tens of millions of years. A black widow spider bite in the ancestral world even if not fatal could leave one incapacitated for days or weeks.Joshua New, Department of Psychology, Barnard College and colleague Tamsin German, wrote “Spiders at the cocktail party: an ancestral threat that surmounts inattentional blindness,” which has been published in Evolution and Human Behavior. The paper stated that the human visual system may retain ancestral mechanisms uniquely dedicated to the rapid detection of immediate and specific threats, such as spiders and snakes, which persistently recurred throughout evolutionary time. The authors concluded that “Spiders may be one of a very few evolutionarily-persistent threats that are inherently specified for visual detection and uniquely ‘prepared’ to capture attention and awareness irrespective of any foreknowledge, personal importance, or task-relevance.”New and German asked their participants to look at abstract shapes and data on computer screens. Among those images were needles and flies. Results, as reported in the Daily Sun: “Of the 252 people reviewed in the study, most recognized the spiders much quicker than other images known to induce fear, such as flies and needles.” Spider images got more attention; the viewers spotted them and knew what they were. The authors reported that, “Despite their highly marginalized presentation, iconic spiders were nonetheless detected, localized, and identified by a very large proportion of observers.” Their test, said the authors, made use of the “inattentional blindness paradigm” in which an unexpected, peripheral stimulus is presented coincidentally with a central task-relevant display. Last year, Inside Science turned to the spider study which had been published online. Inside Science described how the study was designed: “To see if there is something special about spiders, the researchers showed people a cross shape that flashed in the middle of a screen for an eighth of a second. The participants’ task, as far as they knew, was to judge which of the two bars on the cross was longer. During the first three trials, only the cross appeared. On the fourth trial, another image appeared at the same time. The possible images included a spider, a hypodermic needle, a housefly, and abstract shapes made by rearranging the lines of the spider.” People were asked if they saw anything other than just the cross and, if so, in which part of the screen. They also tried to identify the image by selecting it from a lineup.New’s study reflects a question that scientists have posed before about human reactions to spiders: In 2008, the study “Do infants possess an evolved spider-detection mechanism?” appeared in Cognition. Babies looked at spiders longer than they looked at other images. Authors David Rakison and Jaime Derringer talked about “an evolved predator recognition mechanism that specifies the appearance of recurring threats.”The results, they said, supported the hypothesis that humans “may possess a cognitive mechanism for detecting specific animals that were potentially harmful throughout evolutionary history.”Rakison said in Inside Science that “At least with children, there’s very little conflicting evidence that spiders and snakes have some kind of privileged nature in human visual processing.” More information: Spiders at the cocktail party: an ancestral threat that surmounts inattentional blindness, Evolution and Human Behavior, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2014.08.004 A fear of spiders, arachnophobia, is in our DNA. You don’t learn to freeze at the site of these creatures; you’re born with the fear. Even the sight of hypodermic needles and houseflies does not trigger a similar response. Scientists pin that fear on survival instinct. The theory goes like this: Humans evolved in Africa where being able to spot a spider was of necessity. Spiders found able to custom build webs to trap best food source Explore further Journal information: Evolution and Human Behavior © 2015 Phys.org Citation: Human fear of spiders draws scientific focus (2015, April 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-04-human-spiders-scientific-focus.htmllast_img read more

Govt to seek relaxation from SC over supply of burnt mobil in

first_imgKolkata: The state government will seek some sort of relaxation from the Supreme Court which, on Monday, restrained the government from processing tenders issued by it for the supply of burnt mobil oil to keep herds of elephants away by using fire torches.”We are examining the order of the apex court. A meeting will be conducted consisting of senior officials and legal experts. Our Chief Wildlife Warden is currently in North Bengal. We have been using such fire torches to scare the elephants in order to avoid the jumbos’ conflict with man. Now, if there is a restriction we have to look for alternative means,” state Forest minister Binay Krishna Burman said. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeNK Pandey, the principal chief conservator of forests of the state and the head of forest force said some foreign countries use alternative techniques like taking some heavy lights to scare the pachyderms. “It is difficult for our guards to carry such heavy lights. There are hamlets inside forests, the road is not congenial for taking such lights and it is difficult to have those type of lights here. We have been asked to file an affidavit within two weeks in which we will point out the difficulties,” Pandey said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedA senior Forest official said we are continuously taking awareness drives among people to minimise man animal conflict. “We do not inflict torture on the jumbos by throwing fire torches we only use these to scare them away. When they enter villages and create havoc to farmlands, they flee if shown such torches. There has not been a single case of inflicting torture on elephants by throwing torches,” a senior official of the Forest department said. The bench has also asked the Bengal government to file affidavit stating the name and designation of the person who will be responsible in each forest division in the event of a mishap due to fire. The bench has also directed the Odisha government to file an affidavit in this regard. It may be mentioned that the Centre through Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni, assured the bench that a meeting is scheduled on December 1 for forming a task force or a steering committee to assist the Centre and the states to formulate and implement measures to deal with conflicts with elephants. The bench was hearing a writ petition filed by Prerna Singh Bindra, a well-known conservationist and author, seeking the formation of such a task force in different parts of the country to prevent the elephants from being subjected to violence.last_img read more

15 injured in vantruck collision at East Burdwan

first_imgKolkata: At least 15 persons were injured when a van they were travelling in turned turtle after hitting a truck at Kolsara More of Jamalpur in East Burdwan on Sunday morning.The injured were rushed to Burdwan Medical College and Hospital. It is said seven persons suffered critical injuries. Police said the van was going to Memari along the Jougram-Memari road when it collided with a speeding truck coming from the opposite direction. The van turned turtle due to the impact of the accident. Some local residents heard a loud thud and reached the spot. They rescued the injured passengers from the vehicle, which was partially damaged in the accident. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseLocal resident also said the both the vehicles were running at a high speed. The incident caused a huge traffic jam in the area. After being informed the police rushed to the spot and removed the van from the road. The drivers of both the vehicles received serious injuries. Police have seized both the vehicles. Local residents staged a demonstration protesting against rash driving of the vehicles. The villagers said that they had a long-standing demand for setting up speed-breaker to check accidents but no steps have been taken so far. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata”Accidents have become a regular phenomenon at Kolsara More as the vehicles often ply through the area at a high speed. We had urged the local administration to construct speed-breakers in the area so that the number of accidents can be minimised. But, no steps have been taken so far,” a local resident said. According to preliminary investigation, police suspect the drivers could not control the vehicles as they were moving at a high speed. Police have started a detailed probe in this regard.last_img read more

Young entrepreneur Offers affordable tailoring online

first_imgAiming to give a tech-boost to the traditional tailor-made clothing, a young entrepreneur has set up a new startup D For Darzi that will cater to the poor tailoring community across the Indian subcontinent. Set up by journalist turned entrepreneur Saira Aslam, the startup has already collaborated with renowned beauty expert Blossom Kochhar, while designer and activist Sanjana Jon also promised a future collaboration.After a community event held in Delhi recently, D For Darzi said it will launch its e-commerce website later this month to make custom tailoring affordable and easy to order. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfIt invited public participation from women of all ages, backgrounds and colour to model for it and received response from many small and big cities across India. Aslam recalled how an NGO worker had told her 5-6 years ago about the tailors in the interior areas of Bihar and Bengal where they were paid some 25 paise for the stitching of one blouse. And they used to stitch nearly a hundred blouses a day.”I kept thinking what amount they actually took home. The figure of 25 rupees for stitching a hundred blouses was outrageous and kept haunting me. Even if the figure improved in these past few years, it wouldn’t have improved dramatically. We all know about Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh and the crammed conditions under which many tailors work even in India. Through D For Darzi, we want to identify and partner with this poor tailoring community and improve their standards of living,” she said and invited NGOs and investors for collaboration. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveHayat Rafique, Director-Planning and Operation, said that they are trying to fit into small, medium and large size of clothes. The startup also conducted a photo shoot as a celebration of the natural beauty of women and to encourage them to shed inhibitions around their body type and pose as models.”I thought having community ambassadors for the photo shoot was a great idea as it would ensure participation of women and men from diverse backgrounds. The students and trainers from Blossom Kochhar College of Creative Arts and Design did the make up hair of all participants of the community initiative. I wish D For Darzi that seeks to help the poor tailoring community of the Indian subcontinent, all the best in future,” Kochhar said.last_img read more