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Fitch Rates Pasadena’s Electric System Revenue Bonds ‘AA,’ Outlook Stable

first_img Top of the News Subscribe Fitch Ratings has assigned a AA rating to approximately $120 million in electric revenue refunding bonds issued by the City of Pasadena on behalf of Pasadena Water and Power.The rating is a step below AAA, which characterizes bonds with virtually no chance of a default. AA describes quality companies although presenting a bit higher risk than AAA.Proceeds from the PWP bonds will be used to fund approximately $30 million of the system’s capital needs, refund an estimated $47 million in outstanding 2008 bonds for savings, refinance a $60 million line of credit and pay costs of issuance. Bonds are expected to price via competitive sale on November 7, 2016.In addition, Fitch has also affirmed its ‘AA’ rating on PWP’s outstanding parity bonds: its $186.9 million electric revenue pre-refunding bonds. The rating outlook means the bond is stable, secured by a first lien on net revenues of the Pasadena electric system.Fitch took note of the PWP’s serving a mature service area, its strong financial performance, the utility’s adaptive rate structure, the capacity to adapt to required power supply conversion, its limited capital and low debt, and increasing transfers to the City’s general fund as key drivers for the favorable rating.PWP provides retail electric service to 65,318 customers within the city of Pasadena. The service area is located within the greater Los Angeles region and exhibits strong economic indicators and ongoing in-fill development.Fitch also noted that PWP should maintain strong financial margins and liquidity especially between 2018 and 2022 in order to keep its rating at a comfortable level. During that period, debt servicing and transfer to the city’s general fund are expected to increase, impacting the utility’s financial balance.The majority of PWP’s energy sales are derived from residential, and commercial and industrial customers, which account for 30 percent and 69 percent, respectively.Historical energy sales exhibit an average annual decline over the past five years of 1 percent as a result of industry advances in energy efficiency and Pasadena’s own programs that promote conservation. More Cool Stuff Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * 3 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday First Heatwave Expected Next Week Business News Name (required)  Mail (required) (not be published)  Website center_img Community News faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyPasadena Public WorksPasadena Water and PowerPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS Make a comment Herbeauty7 Most Startling Movie Moments We Didn’t Realize Were InsensitiveHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyHe Is Totally In Love With You If He Does These 7 ThingsHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty15 Countries Where Men Have Difficulties Finding A WifeHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty10 Instagram Girls Women Obsess OverHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty10 Secrets That Eastern Women Swear By To Stay Young LongerHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty9 Of The Best Family Friendly Dog BreedsHerbeautyHerbeauty Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy Government Fitch Rates Pasadena’s Electric System Revenue Bonds ‘AA,’ Outlook Stable Published on Monday, October 24, 2016 | 4:47 pm Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadena Community Newslast_img read more

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The case of the disappearing dishes

first_imgIn the rush between classes, practices, and other time-demanding activities, many students grab meals on the run from Harvard’s dining halls, taking with them reusable plates, cups, and silverware from undergraduate dining halls. Unfortunately, much of that dinnerware — from September to mid-November last year, more than 3,000 plates, 4,600 teaspoons, and 2,800 glasses — goes unreturned and unlocated, creating an environmental and financial impact for the University.Describing it as an “unnecessary sustainability challenge,” a diverse group of engineering students decided to tackle the problem during January’s Wintersession.The six undergraduate and graduate students were taking part in jDesign, a four-day, hands-on workshop, hosted by the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Teaching Labs at SEAS. The workshop’s focus was to harness student energy and creativity to tackle real-world design problems. Harvard’s Office for Sustainability (OFS) and Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) identified this year’s challenge and served as the students’ clients.“One key component to jDesign is having a real client and not just a textbook problem,” said SEAS senior preceptor Daniela Faas. “We were very excited to work with the Office for Sustainability to attack the problem of disappearing dishes.“Because of the complexity of this issue, participants really had to pay attention to the values and culture of Harvard. Real design requires real needs, and real clients and users; jDesign allows us to bring all of those together and have fun with it,” Faas explained.To address the issue of missing dishware, the students first heard from Kelsey Grab, residential program coordinator for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Green Program, OFS, and Crista Martin, director for marketing and communications, HUDS. Grab and Martin stressed the significance of the problem, noting that the dollars spent replacing these reusable resources each year not only increase Harvard’s purchasing footprint, but take money away from HUDS’ food budget. Students also had the chance to visit Harvard’s dining halls and speak with staff members. Faas then broke up the students into two teams and asked them to approach the problem using the four phases of the design process: investigate; ideate; prototype; and test and redesign.SEAS graduate student Andrew Wong from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences said he enjoyed the fact that they were working on a practical and tangible project. “There were a lot of different avenues for pursuing solutions, as was evidenced by the resultin­­­­g work,” said Wong. “I also really enjoyed the opportunity to work with the undergraduate students, something I don’t get to do a lot, but would love to do more of in the future.”Over the next four days, the student teams brainstormed questions, organized their thoughts, and formed problem statements. One group decided that students do not feel accountable for taking dishes or are not aware of the impact, and need to feel connection or motivation for returning dishes. Another group suggested that more comprehensive data on missing dishes is needed to begin to understand the complex issue. The creative process was palpable as the students stuck up dozens of Post-it notes, sketches, and lists of pros and cons around the Teaching Labs’ transparent glass walls.“Having the opportunity to work with these students on an on-campus sustainability issue was incredibly rewarding and inspiring,” said Grab. “The Office for Sustainability aims to help incubate innovation and mobilize students to transform ideas into action. JDesign is the perfect example of how we are using the campus as a ‘Living Lab’ to solve real sustainability challenges.”In order to get groups thinking outside the box and without limitations, jDesign mentors encouraged the students to imagine they had magical powers or were designing something for the Middle Ages. The creative solutions ranged from releasing mice in dorm rooms where dish collections had built up to sending a dog around to collect dishes (in exchange, the students could pet the dish-collecting dog). Though these outlandish suggestions were never destined for reality, they helped push the students’ ideas further, leading to more discussion, and ultimately practical solutions.­­Andrew Wong (left), an applied physics G1 student at SEAS, and Ted Smith, senior chef production manager for Quincy House dining hall, discuss the real-world challenges to dishware tracking inherent in a dining hall environment. Eliza Grinnell/Harvard SEAS Communications“HUDS loves to share real-world challenges and see how our community applies its diverse perspectives to develop viable solutions,” said Martin. “That’s what so remarkable: The solutions are really considered and reflect the unique nuances of Harvard.”On the final day of the workshop, it was evident that the students not only had listened to and absorbed the information from the clients, but had thoughtfully weighed a wide range of possible solutions to arrive at the most beneficial.The first group focused on awareness and accountability by proposing a campaign-style solution. The team suggested feeding a new set of printed dishes into the dining hall rotation as more and more dishes are lost. The new dishes would have statements explaining the environmental and financial impact of each dish, and encouraging students to not be a part of the problem. They noted that this style would encourage dialogue, adding to the sense of community in each House.The second group examined the persona of a “dish thief,” and focused their project around data collection. Their proposal included a QR code — a small grid encoded with data that can be scanned and used as a tagging system for all plates — and a webcam that would incorporate facial recognition. Each time a diner grabbed a plate from their dining hall, the system would scan the plate and take a picture of the student’s face. In the long run, the group’s solution promised more data on where the dishes ended up, thanks to an easy internal audit system, and an opportunity to track habitual offenders and understand their reasons for taking the dishware.After she presented her team’s solution, Dominique Voso ’17 said she thought the program was a great way to learn about engineering design for a problem that she encounters daily.“When the Office for Sustainability and HUDS first explained the dish issue, I was shocked by the sheer number of dishware taken,” explained Voso. “I think that many other students are the same, in that they don’t understand the size and importance of this issue. It was definitely eye-opening to collaborate with these two on-campus departments and try to craft a way to promote sustainability on campus.”last_img read more

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One thing to change: Think more like children

first_img Harvard astronomer Loeb caught up in the thrill of the search Tweaking the universe Related Far-out questions Planck satellite findings bring Big Bang’s aftermath into crisper focus, astrophysicist says The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.center_img This is part of a series called Focal Point, in which we ask a range of Harvard faculty members to answer the same question.Focal PointAbraham “Avi” LoebQuestion: What is one thing wrong with the world that you would change, and why?The one thing I would change about the world is to transform my colleagues in academia to kids all over again, so they would follow the sincere path of learning about the world.We are born innocent and humble, wondering about the world around us and trying to figure it out, initially without even having a language to express our findings. There is no bigger privilege to being alive than this learning experience. As kids, we tolerate mistakes and take risks because these are inseparable from the process of expanding our knowledge base. These aspects make most childhoods exciting and authentic.But somewhere along the way, when some of these same kids join academia and are accorded the privilege of tenure, they lose the traits of childhood innocence and unbounded curiosity. As senior professors, they can get attached to their egos and navigate in directions that maximize awards, honors, and affiliation with prestigious societies or organizations. To enhance their reputations, tenured professors often tend to create “echo chambers” of students and postdocs who study theses with references to their papers and conference contributions. The loud echo amplifies the mentor’s influence in the academic community. “There is no bigger privilege to being alive than this learning experience.” Is there anything wrong in this progression from childhood curiosity to academic fame? By chasing self-interest, we often lose track of the real goal of academic pursuit: learning about the world. This conflict is apparent when the popular view advocated by authority is not aligned with the truth.One inevitably makes mistakes and takes risks when exploring the unknown. Even Albert Einstein argued, toward the end of his career, for the lack of “spooky action at a distance” in quantum mechanics, and against the existence of black holes and gravitational waves. We now know from experiments that those assertions were wrong. But the benefit of science is that we learn by making mistakes. If we will not allow ourselves to venture into the unknown, by assuming that the future will always resemble the past based on our gut feelings, we will never make discoveries.Research can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. By forecasting what we expect to find and using new data to justify prejudice, we will avoid creating new realities. Innovation demands risk-taking, sometimes contrary to our best academic instincts of enhancing our image within our community of scholars. Learning means giving a higher priority to the world around you than to yourself. Without the humble attitude of a child, innovation slows down and the efficiency of the academic pursuit of the truth grinds to a halt. We all become static museum items rather than dynamic innovators.As Galileo reasoned after looking through his telescope, “in the sciences, the authority of a thousand is not worth as much as the humble reasoning of a single individual.” I would add the footnote that sometimes Mother Nature is kinder to innovative ideas than people are. When we study the world, there is a lot to worry about. But at the same time, there is a famous quote by Nachman of Breslov: “The whole world is nothing but a very narrow bridge, and the key is not to be fearful at all.”The fundamental purpose of tenure is to enable individuals to take risks and venture into unexplored territories of knowledge without concern for the security of their jobs. Honors should be merely makeup on the face of academia, but they sometimes become an obsession.Despite the notion that is often advanced by textbooks, our knowledge should be regarded as a small island in a vast ocean of ignorance. The most efficient way to add landmass to this island is by not being afraid of the consequences of originality, by being dedicated to the thrill of finding the truth irrespective of whether it boosts our ego or reputation as tenured professors.We live for such a short period of time on one small planet out of a hundred-quintillion other habitable planets in the observable volume of the Universe. Let us not pretend that we are so special. Let us maintain some cosmic modesty and study the world sincerely, just like kids.— Abraham “Avi” LoebFrank B. Baird Jr. Professor of ScienceChair, Astronomy DepartmentNext week: Lisa Randall explains why pedestrians make cities more collaborative. Harvard researchers see alien potential in mysterious object Something weird this way comeslast_img read more

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15 Best Stories of 2015

first_img2015 was an especially big year for the outdoors. BRO covered everything from record-setting runs to lumbersexuals. There were tragic deaths—and close calls.  Here are the stories that generated the most chatter in 2015. 15. A Crowded Walk in the WoodsWith the Hollywood release of A Walk in the Woods in 2015, even more hikers are expected to hike the Appalachian Trail. Will crowds swamp the A.T. or help save it? BRO looks at the past, present, and future of America’s most iconic footpath.MCBRIDE072903AT-072-998x60014. Won’t Pipe DownA 550-mile pipeline pumping natural gas is planned for West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina, cutting a broad swath through George Washington National Forest and across the Appalachian Trail. Can activists stop another Keystone in our Blue Ridge backyard?Screen-shot-2015-05-26-at-10.16.59-PM-759x50013. Digital DangerSocial media is changing the way we play. Does Strava enhance or erode the outdoor experience? Does paddling porn amplify adventure or push risk-taking too far? Critics and supporters discuss technology on the trail.MG_0042112. Monumental Battle in the Mountain StateThe proposed Birthplace of Rivers National Monument in West Virginia would permanently protect some of its most beloved landscapes, but it sits squarely atop a natural gas oasis. A coalition of outdoor enthusiasts collide with a booming fracking industry over West Virginia’s most treasured wildlands.IMG_1613Samuel-Taylor3456-x-5184_FIX-e144076144784411. The Ragged EdgeWhy do kayakers risk their lives dancing with danger? What propels paddlers to plunge off waterfalls? Blue Ridge boaters share their candid stories from the horizon line.-scott-martin-6193_FIX-e1427458498174-759x50010. Bear attacksIn the summer of 2015, bears attacked hikers in Douthat State Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Bear encounters are becoming more common as urban sprawl encroaches upon wildlife habitat.Screen-Shot-2015-08-10-at-5.39.26-PM-759x5009. Bouldering’s Best-Kept Secrets High Country climbers have traditionally been tight-lipped about their favorite bouldering spots. That’s because access issues and development have threatened their most treasured rock faces. In 2015, new guidebooks and a rapidly growing climbing community have revealed most of the High Country’s best-kept bouldering secrets. Will climbing hotspots be better protected or overused and closed down?B_20071006_0399_FIX2-759x5008. End of the Ocoee?One of the nation’s most popular whitewater rivers could be closed to paddlers. In 2015, TVA announced plans to charge $11 million to continue dam releases for recreation on the Ocoee River. The Ocoee was the site of the 1996 Olympics’ whitewater paddling events, and now its world-class whitewater is currently being held for ransom.TOC-Ocoee-credit-TOM-TOHILL_FIX-759x5006. The Future of ForestsThroughout 2015, all eyes have been on the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest Plan, which will decide the future of the largest forest system in the East. Controversies over logging, recreation, and access have dogged the plan, but in late 2015, a coalition of over 30 outdoor groups joined together to support a comprehensive compromise that includes two new national recreation areas and 109,000 acres of wilderness.MCBRIDE061905CRAGGY-125_FIX5. Rise of the LumbersexualAward-winning author Wiley Cash examines the phenomenon of the lumbersexual—the flannel-wearing, bearded outdoorsy hipster—and its roots in our longing for the past, especially in Appalachia.527676317_FIX-e1427459795412-759x5004. Lessons Before DyingALS is taking Royce Cowan’s body, but not his adventurous outdoor spirit. Five years ago, he was at the top of his game: a gonzo whitewater paddler who had just married the love of his life. Five years later, he cannot move his muscles. Nobody knows what causes ALS, and there is no cure for ALS. His story could easily be yours or mine. Yet he has lived long beyond expectations thanks to healthy living, a dedicated wife, and plentiful outdoor adventure—even as his body fails him.1-IMG_6740_FIX3. Wolf WarsOnly 75 red wolves remain in the wild—all of them in eastern North Carolina. A red wolf recovery program has brought them back from the brink of extinction, but now agencies are considering abandoning the program. Will the howl of the red wolf disappear forever?ThinkstockPhotos-470959230_FIX-750x5002. Jenny Bennett’s death62-year-old hiker and local author Jenny Bennett had been exploring off-trail in the Smokies for decades. Then, in early June, she was reported missing after embarking on one of her favorite off-trail hikes. Her body was eventually found near the Porters Creek Trailhead. What went wrong?Screen-Shot-2015-06-09-at-12.36.04-PM-759x5001. Records (and Rules) Broken on the A.T.: Scott Jurek’s Speed Record (and Jennifer Pharr Davis’s response)Legendary ultrarunner Scott Jurek set a new Appalachian Trail speed record of 46 days, 8 hours, 7 minutes, overcoming a severe quad injury early in the trek and severe flu in the final few weeks. He topped Katahdin only a three hours ahead of the previous record held by Asheville’s Jennifer Pharr Davis, who wrote a powerful and candid response to Jurek’s record in the August issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors. Jurek was fined by Baxter State Park for his post-run celebration atop Katahdin, which also generated controversy among the outdoor community. Less than a month later, Heather “Anish” Anderson set the unsupported A.T. record, completing the trail in 54 days without any crew or assistance along the way.Jurek Sets Out to Break AT Speed RecordScott_Jurek_Ultramarathon_Champion-e1432735870757-700x500Jurek Sets New AT Speed RecordScreen-Shot-2015-07-12-at-5.00.50-PM-759x500Scott Jurek Fined for Khatadin CelebrationLOU_0103A_FIX-759x500Former AT Record Holder Jennifer Pharr Davis Responds to Jurek’s Achievement BRO092908DAVIS-807_FIX-759x500Heather Anish Sets New Unsupported AT RecordScreen-Shot-2015-09-27-at-3.06.50-PM-e1443384795202-759x500last_img read more

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