The Importance Of Replacement Value Coverage

Some people may be carrying homeowners insurance policies that do not provide the level of coverage that they expect. They may believe that if their home and its contents were to be destroyed everything would be replaced and rebuilt without any more additional costs than the cost of their deductible. This is not the case if they only carry a standard Putnam Connecticut homeowners insurance policy that does not include additional replacement value coverage.
Replacement value coverage is an essential addition to any Putnam Connecticut homeowners insurance policy. With this coverage you can be assured that your home will be rebuilt to the same standards of quality and craftsmanship in which it was originally constructed. If disaster strikers, it is important to know that you will not be left with a home that is inferior in any way to the home that was destroyed.
It is also important to include replacement value coverage for your personal property. Basic homeowners insurance often covers just the cash value of items that are destroyed. This takes into account the depreciation of the item. This means, that the money that you receive from an insurance settlement may not actually cover the costs involved in purchasing the items new again and you could be left with a significant gap between the settlement and your actual costs. Replacement coverage will provide enough money to replace the items new so that you can get your life and home back in order again quickly.
Don’t wait until you have suffered a loss before finding out if your homeowners policy provides adequate coverage. The additional costs involved in including replacement value coverage is often well worth the coverage and security it provides.
Visit the Byrnes Agency website for more information.

Which Transit-Fare Increase Seems Fairest?

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority unveiled on Monday four proposals for a scheduled fare increase next March, introducing the possibility of raising the base fare on subways and buses to $2.50 from $2.25 or increasing the cost of a 30-day MetroCard by as much as $21.

Some of the proposals put more burden on travelers who buy their rides one at a time. Others extract more blood from those who buy rides in bulk or spring for an unlimited card. Which do you think is the fairest? Which would you rather see the transit agency implement (which is not necessarily the same question)?

The four proposals are as follows:

1) The base fare remains at $2.25. The cost of a 30-day card rises to $125, up from $104, and a weekly card costs $34, up from $29. In addition, the 7 percent bonus on pay-per-ride MetroCards — which gives a rider an extra $1.40 with each $20 placed on the card — is reduced to 5 percent. The express bus fare remains at $5.50.

(Burden comparison: single ride up 0 percent; fare on $20 card up 2 percent; cost of 30-day unlimited card up 20 percent.)

2) The base fare remains at $2.25. The cost of a 30-day card rises to $119. The cost of a weekly card rises to $32. The bonus on pay-per-ride cards is eliminated altogether. The express bus fare remains $5.50.

(Burden comparison: single ride up 0 percent; fare on $20 card up 7 percent; cost of 30-day unlimited card up 14 percent.)

3) The base fare rises to $2.50. The cost of a 30-day card rises to $109, but the cost of a weekly card remains $29. The bonus is eliminated. The express bus fare rises to $6.

(Burden comparison: single ride up 11 percent; fare on $20 card up 18 percent; cost of 30-day unlimited card up 5 percent.)

4) The base fare rises to $2.50. The cost of a 30-day card rises to $112, and the cost of a weekly card rises to $30. The pay-per-ride bonus is kept intact. The express bus fare rises to $6.

(Burden comparison: single ride up 11 percent; fare on $20 card up 11 percent; cost of 30-day unlimited card up 8 percent.)

The authority will hold public hearings in November, and the authority’s board will vote on a final proposal in December.

“These proposals have been designed to balance our need for revenue with public involvement,” Joseph J. Lhota, the authority’s chairman, said in a statement Monday. “We need to hear from the public. Feedback evaluating the specific alternatives we’ve put forward is particularly useful, but we value all our customers’ input, and we’ll consider changes to our proposals based on what we hear and read.”

Tell us what fare’s fair in the comment box below.

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Guest Post

Please read the following guest post by Lindsay Leveen, a frequent contributor to CRI’s blog. He blogs at In this post, he compares how certain companies are using new technologies to reduce energy costs and usage in its productivity. He believes Mercedes-Benz did things the right way, and AT&T…not so much.

Mercedes is Green – AT&T is Gangrene
by Lindsay Leveen
Most large corporations now have sustainability initiatives and most now issue annual sustainability reports. Also many of these large firms hire high price PR firms to broadcast the message of the firm’s greenness. There is a significant amount of greenwashing going on in press releases. In these releases the firms claim to be green when in fact they are gangrene. I think we all consider BP to be in this category when they claimed to be beyond petroleum and yet caused the largest oil spill in US history. BP has pretty much dropped their Beyond Petroleum and is concentrating on cleaning up the Gulf coast.

In this blog I will analyze two companies and their claims of greening their operations. Both companies are large and both companies chose to use expensive fuel cells to affect their intended greening of their operations.

The first company is Mercedes the high quality auto company. Mercedes chose to change out 72 propane fueled forklift trucks in their plant in Tuscaloosa Alabama to run on hydrogen powered fuel cells. Mercedes teamed with Plug Power and Air Products and Chemicals for the project. I did a mass and heat balance comparing the carbon dioxide emissions of the two alternates available to Mercedes. Their first option was to have bulk propane delivered by truck to their plant and then fill the fuel tanks of the forklifts with this liquid petroleum gas. I used the basis that each forklift uses 15 gallons a day of propane and the plant is in operation 360 days per year.

Air Products produces hydrogen in New Orleans from natural gas and liquefies the hydrogen using electricity. Accounting for the carbon foot print of the natural gas, the electricity, and the diesel fuel to haul the liquid hydrogen from New Orleans to Tuscaloosa, I have estimated that compared with propane Mercedes has lessened its carbon footprint for the 72 forklifts by an approximate total of 1,700 tons per year. No doubt Mercedes will pay much more for the forklifts powered by fuel cells and no doubt they will pay more for the hydrogen fuel than they would pay for propane. Mercedes gets the Green Machine’s nod of approval for this project. Air Products and Plug Power can also rightly claim they enabled Mercedes to lessen its carbon footprint.

AT&T is my example of a company that thought it was greening its operations by installing fuel cells but actually increased its carbon footprint as well as its emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and increased its toxic solid waste. Bloom Energy managed to convince AT&T to become Bloom’s largest non-utility company for the famous Boxes to generate onsite electricity. AT&T uses Fleishman Hillard, a world class PR firm, to positively position AT&T in the press. AT&T and Bloom had joint a press release to announce the event of AT&T installing 17.1 megawatts of Bloom Boxes. This is a very large amount of power generation and at a cost of $9 million per megawatt the whole program required an initial investment of over $150 million. Of course the Federal Government and the state of California paid as much as half of the $150 million in the form of tax credits and grants. The cost of the project is one of my beefs but the dirtiness of the Bloom Boxes is my real concern.

I have previously reported based on the public filing of the permit application in Delaware each megawatt hour of power generated by a Bloom Box emits 884 pounds of CO2. The level of CO2 emissions that the US EPA reports for power purchased from the grid in California for the year 2010 is only 681 pounds per megawatt hour. Hence AT&T will increase emissions from 681 pounds of CO2 to 884 pounds of CO2 for each megawatt hour they use or by some 30%.

Also based on the Delaware application Bloom submitted, one can calculate that the 17.1 megawatts of Bloom boxes will emit 8.2 pounds a day of Volatile Organic Compounds and will require over 3,600 pounds a year of solid toxic waste to be hauled to hazardous waste disposal sites. This is dirty energy that AT&T is now self-generating.

Fleishman Hillard acting on behalf of AT&T and Bloom positioned this project very differently in getting the following into MSN Money: “Bloom Boxes contain stacked fuel cells that convert air and natural gas into electricity through a clean electrochemical process. Use of this power reduces carbon emissions by approximately 50 percent compared to the grid and virtually eliminates all SOx, NOx, and other harmful smog forming particulate emissions.”

Given the degree of greenwashing going on, I think the US needs an Engineering General that places a warning on the Bloom Box that states “WARNING – you can fuel some of the people some of the time but you cannot fuel all of the people all of the time with the contents of this box.” If the Tobacco Industry has the Surgeon General keeping them honest, then the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell industry needs the Engineering General to do likewise.



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At Elite Schools, a Single Test Comes Under Review

Dozens of no-longer-young alumni gathered at the Bronx High School of Science just before the weekend, with not a single Nobelist to be found in the bunch.

The Day

Clyde Haberman offers his take on the news.

The school’s relationship with the Nobel committee has drawn attention in recent days because an alumnus, Dr. Robert J. Lefkowitz of Duke University Medical Center, won a share of this year’s chemistry prize. Dr. Lefkowitz was Bronx Science Class of 1959.

This was the eighth Nobel given to a Science graduate, the previous seven having been in physics. No other high school in the country has produced so many winners. That point was made abundantly plain to members of the Class of 1962 and a small contingent from the Class of 1952 who convened on Friday in the school auditorium (a place where some of them undoubtedly used to serve a form of disciplinary punishment known as detention).

But prizes are only one measure of a school’s worth, and arguably not the most important. Filling the auditorium seats were men and women in their 60s and 70s who did not need a Nobel to validate their lives. They were doctors, lawyers, business executives, professors and at least one wastrel who became a newspaperman.

High school did not necessarily provide the happiest days for all of them. Nonetheless, Bronx Science helped shape what they would become by teaming them up with other teenagers who — then, as now — had to pass an exam to get in.

Doing well on a test hardly proved you were brilliant. Some Science students, then as now, were probably just clever test takers. But the odds were pretty high — once again, then as now — that the admissions process put together some of the city’s brightest and most motivated young people, and allowed that chemistry to take its course.

“Where else is it cool to be smart?” Valerie J. Reidy, the school’s principal, told the alumni. “Where else is it really cool to be a nerd?”

There are, in truth, some other schools, but her point was well-taken. These haven’t been the best of times, though, for nerds anywhere in the city.

One brainy institution, Stuyvesant High School, recently endured a cheating scandal. Of perhaps more lasting consequence, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and other groups filed a racial bias complaint with the United States Education Department. They charge that reliance on a single test for determining who gets into Bronx Science and seven other specialized high schools discriminates against young African-Americans and Latinos. Other factors, like student grades, need to be considered as well, they say.

Mind you, no one seems to suggest that the test somehow has a built-in cultural bias. The Pythagorean theorem is what it is regardless of race or ethnic origin. But black and Hispanic students fare far worse on the exam than Asian-Americans and whites. Their numbers in settings like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science are distressingly low compared with their share of the overall public-school population.

To those who brought the federal complaint, that proved bias. Some commentators have gone as far as to say that the system is rigged in favor of rich families that can dispatch their darlings to costly test-preparation courses beyond the reach of the poor.

Ignored in all this are considerations like student motivation and parental priorities. One Bronx Science senior, whose parents are immigrants from Taiwan, acknowledged having been tutored before the entrance exam. But that’s only because “my parents saved money for it — they didn’t spend it on TVs and stuff like that,” she said.

It would be nice if the field were completely level and such courses didn’t exist, or at least were made available equally to everyone. But the fact remains that parents like those of that young woman made choices about what was important to them.

Pampered rich? Hardly. Today’s Science students were instantly recognizable to the Class of 1962. Ethnicities and skin tones may be different. But the classrooms are chockablock with strivers, just as they were 50 years ago: working-class children, many of them born to immigrant parents driven by a fervent belief that education is the path to better days.

“The complaint is saying that it’s racist to subject black and Latino kids to serious competition,” John McWhorter, a linguist who is African-American, wrote in The Daily News. “The likes of Strom Thurmond would have eaten it up.”

Who knows what the federal Education Department will say. It may conclude that a single test is indeed not the best way to go. But it may also want to think really hard before tinkering with a decades-old formula for working-class New York that has helped produce not only Nobel winners but also, more significantly, tens of thousands of no-less-admirable success stories.


E-mail Clyde Haberman: [email protected]


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Would You Rescue a Moth?

Dear Diary:

On a Manhattan-bound R train two weeks ago, somewhere between Atlantic and DeKalb Avenues, a moth caught my eye. It fluttered aimlessly about the subway car, bouncing off the heads and bodies of unsuspecting straphangers.

While some passengers were too caught up in their morning papers to pay it any mind, others were sent into a minor panic. As a few tried in vain to swat at it, stomp on it or, in one instance, kick at it, the moth continued its flight, seemingly unaware of the attention it was causing.

When the moth finally landed on the floor near my foot, a man with long hair, and arms covered in tattoos, reached down, scooped it up and held it in his fist. What could he be doing? Surely he wasn’t going to snuff out this moth with his bare hands! While the rest of train seemed relieved that the moth problem was resolved, the man continued standing there through several stops, his fist clenched tight the entire time.

Ten minutes later, we arrived at the Cortlandt Street station. The man exited the subway car and I followed him (it happened to be my stop as well). As he walked past a bed of flowers across the street from the World Trade Center, he bent down and opened his hand, and we both watched as the moth flapped its wings and disappeared into the morning air.

As I continued walking to work that day, I couldn’t help but wonder: How many other New Yorkers would do the same thing for a moth?

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