All residents accounted for, at least 20 homes damaged, in massive fire at Lake Ohau

Eleven helicopters and seven ground crews are battling a massive fire at Lake Ohau which has devastated the township destroying dozens of houses.

Fire and Emergency incident controller Graeme Still said the fire was burning over approximately 1600 hectares.

Sill flew over the fire ground on Sunday afternoon and estimated at least 20 homes have been damaged or destroyed in Lake Ohau Village.

Still said an Urban Search and Rescue team will be deployed to make a full assessment of the village.

* Holidaymakers flee as fire engulfs homes in Lake Ohau
* Remote Lake Ohau an increasingly popular place

“All residents are accounted for, and we will have crews in the village overnight in case of any flare ups.

“Due to the high winds it has so far been unsafe for residents to return to their homes to assess damage. “I am very mindful of how upsetting it is for the residents. Their safety is our main concern at this time,” Still said.

Charlie O’Mannin/STUFF

Burned countryside near Lake Ohau as helicopters work to contain a blaze that has destroyed many homes.

Crews are working to steer the fire away from other structures and critical infrastructure, including the main power lines servicing Queenstown and Wanaka, he said.

High winds meant the fire had not yet been contained, and he said the situation could change rapidly with any shift in the wind, he said.

Two diggers and a grader were also being used to create firebreaks to help safeguard critical infrastructure.

The fire has devastated the Lake Ohau village.

Bejon Haswell/Stuff

The fire has devastated the Lake Ohau village.

Residents and holidaymakers fled in the middle of the night as the large forest fire bore down on the alpine village in the Waitaki District about 3am on Sunday. The blaze, the biggest of several burning around

Continue Reading

‘Just untenable’: Calls mount for improvements at South Lake Elementary

Parents, teachers and local religious leaders turned out at an elementary school in Montgomery County, Maryland, to call for construction of a new school, which they say is desperately needed.

Parents, teachers and local religious leaders turned out at an elementary school in Montgomery County, Maryland, to call for construction of a new school, which they say is desperately needed.

Members of Action in Montgomery, a community advocacy group, stood outside the building that was riddled with problems, from overcrowding to infrastructure and even rodents, as WTOP reported over the summer.

South Lake has almost 900 students, which is well over the original building capacity, and is home to the most Black and Latino students of any county elementary school. It also has the highest number of children who are participating in free meal programs.

“It’s just untenable to think that a school that’s filled with Black and brown children is going to be passed up,” said Daniel Xisto, pastor at Takoma Park SDA Church, directly to the county council. “They need to be woken up.”

Back in May, county lawmakers voted unanimously to delay South Lake’s new school construction by a year, with a completion date of September 2024, despite Montgomery County Public Schools’ recommendation to prioritize the school in the county’s Capital Improvements Program.

The Montgomery County school board recommended that the council reverse their decision and put the school back on track for a September 2023 completion.

County Council member Craig Rice chaired a session of his Education and Culture Committee last month to revisit the issue. A plan is on the table to rearrange and front-load fiscal year funding to accomplish that goal.

All committee members agreed during their meeting that South Lake needed to be prioritized, including Rice, who said that South Lake “certainly rises

Continue Reading

Salt Lake Temple renovation reaches ‘hardest stage’ with work on foundation underway

SALT LAKE CITY — Temple Square already looks vastly different than it did nine months ago when crews began the massive Salt Lake Temple renovation project.

Gone are the majority of temple add-ons constructed in the 1960s, such as the north side entrance, chapel and sealing room addition, and nearly all objects that were located in the space north and south of the temple. Other buildings, such as the South Visitors’ Center, were demolished in January.

There’s also a large pit surrounding the historic structure after crews created a retaining wall around it as they work to strengthen the temple’s foundation.

“The next stage is probably the hardest, where we work on strengthening the foundation by adding to the foundation,” said Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a video released by the church Sunday.

The story of the temple’s foundation

While crews work on shoring up the building for seismic activity, they also get an up-close view of the temple’s foundation. It’s the first time a majority of the foundation has been visible since additions were constructed more than 50 years ago.

The history of that foundation is about as unique as the temple’s entire construction story — a structure that took 40 years to complete after its 1853 groundbreaking ceremony.

The location of the temple itself was set aside on July 28, 1847, just four days after pioneers reached the Salt Lake Valley. The groundbreaking happened in 1853 with the cornerstones laid on April 6, 1853, as a part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ spring general conference.

A recap of the ceremony was recorded in an edition of the Deseret News published 10 days later. The ceremony included talks, prayers and music as the

Continue Reading

With trees in homes, many in Lake Charles living in questionable conditions a month after Hurricane Laura

“Carefully. Praying we don’t fall through the floor in the bathroom,” Veronica Thomas said.

LAKE CHARLES, La. — It’s been more than a month since Hurricane Laura made landfall in Southwest Louisiana. Many have moved back to homes in pieces as they work to rebuild. 

“It’s actually in the roof,” said Lake Charles resident Veronica Thomas about the tree in her home. “So it’s a big gaping hole, a turbine fell out the house, big gaping hole there. My bedroom was flooded, my bathroom was flooded, the living room was flooded, kitchen was flooded.”

She’s still living there now. 

“Carefully. Praying we don’t fall through the floor in the bathroom,” she said.

Even as she waits to hear from insurance, she’s relieved to see workers taking the tree off her roof one month after the storm. 

“Right now it’s coming out of my pocket, which is not a lot,” she said about the expenses for the work. 

Trees also fell through Doris Lee’s home.   

“Puncturing my house, we have leaks everywhere. I’m not the only one, but it was startling to see something like that,” Lee said. 

The smell of mold fills one of her bedrooms, but she and her family are still living there. 

“We just had to give up two bedrooms and we gave up the front part of the house so we’re fine,” Lee said. 

They’re cleaning up and see progress everyday, while living in these tree filled homes

While some homes are still unlivable, many people have returned home. Now 99 percent of Lake Charles has power restored and drinkable water. They’ve seen progress over the last month, but there is clearly a long way to go. 

Source Article

Continue Reading

How Bruce Kenan sued for a tax bargain on his Skaneateles Lake homes; “a slap in everybody else’s face”

In 2018, Skaneateles town officials raised the property tax assessment on Destiny USA partner Bruce Kenan’s two lakefront mansions to $7 million.

a group of people standing in a room: Bruce Kenan, Pyramid partner, gives a tour of the Destiny USA expansion in 2011.

© Scott Trimble | [email protected]/
Bruce Kenan, Pyramid partner, gives a tour of the Destiny USA expansion in 2011.

Unhappy with that, Kenan went to court and argued that was too high, that they really should be valued at $2.7 million. They settled somewhere in the middle: $4.7 million.

a large tree in a garden: Bruce Kenan's home at 103 W. Lake Street, Skaneateles, is on the market for $8.4 million. N

© N. Scott Trimble | [email protected]/N. Scott Trimble | [email protected]/
Bruce Kenan’s home at 103 W. Lake Street, Skaneateles, is on the market for $8.4 million. N

Then, less than a year later, Kenan put the properties up for sale.


Load Error

Kenan’s asking price? $8.4 million.

That’s three times the amount he argued in court they were worth.

The Kenans are like other wealthy landowners in New York who use their money and lawyers to negotiate more favorable tax bills, town Assessor Michael Maxwell said.

Maxwell said he sees it again and again in Skaneateles and in Lake George, a ritzy Adirondack town where he is also a part-time assessor.

“The whole thing to me is just a slap in everybody else’s face,” Maxwell said.

Kenan’s lawsuit paid off. The assessment reduction could save him and future owners tens of thousands of dollars a year in property taxes.

The town, county, village and school taxes on a $7 million property would cost about $161,000 a year. The taxes on a $5 million property would be $115,000.

Every million dollars that gets knocked off of a lakeside mansion assessment pushes $23,000 onto other taxpayers.

The town agreed to lower Kenan’s assessment at the same time neighboring properties were selling for millions of dollars over their assessed values.

John Mezzalingua, CEO of JMA Wireless, paid $11 million for the property

Continue Reading