Two weeks ago, world-famous web animator Monty Oum, who worked for an Austin-based production company called Rooster Teeth, passed away unexpectedly after suffering an allergic reaction during a routine medical procedure that left him in a coma. In response, his employer asked that anyone who was looking to pay tribute did so creatively – instead of simply sending flowers or gifts.Charlie Strong and the Texas Longhorns, who are also based in Austin, have obliged. The program put together a tribute ball signed by every player. Alan Abdine, director of business development at Rooster Teeth, thanked the Longhorns on Twitter.Huge thanks to Matt Sims and the @Longhorn_FB team from all of us at @RoosterTeeth for the #MontyOum tribute ball. pic.twitter.com/yXpwi8ngms— Alan Abdine (@abdine) February 17, 2015Very cool. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Oum’s family, friends and coworkers.
YouTube/Colin CowherdOn his show, FOX Sports 1’s Colin Cowherd has been going through the schedules of major college football programs and giving his early projections for the upcoming season. He likes Michigan and USC this fall, but when it comes to the Wisconsin Badgers, his breakdown is not nearly as encouraging.Cowherd’s four biggest factors that play into his prediction are:1. The loss of defensive coordinator Dave Aranda to LSU.2. The graduation of Joel Stave.3. Wisconsin’s schedule: “the toughest schedule I think I’ve seen in the Big Ten in years.”4. The defense is strong in the back, a bit weaker up front.Here is Cowherd’s full breakdown: That is a 6-6 season, with wins over Akron, Georgia State, Nebraska, Illinois, Purdue, and Minnesota, and losses to Alabama, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, and Northwestern. He’s not wrong about the schedule; the Badgers play the four best teams from the 2015 Big Ten season in a row from September 24 to October 22. Yikes.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina regulators have a couple of billion-dollar decisions to make on Friday.The Public Service Commission will determine how much to cut rates for 737,000 South Carolina Electric & Gas customers who have already paid more than $2 billion for a pair of nuclear reactors abandoned during construction, and whether to approve a roughly $15 billion cash and stock bid from Virginia-based Dominion Energy to buy SCE&G’s parent company SCANA Corp.It’s a pivotal point in the unraveling of South Carolina’s nuclear debacle, which started in the summer of 2017 when privately-owned SCANA and its minority partner, state-owned Santee Cooper, gave up on the reactors they had spent a decade planning and building. The main contractor, Westinghouse, went bankrupt as it failed to make good on its promises of cheaper, easier construction methods. Projections of soaring electricity demand never materialized, thanks to energy efficiency and the advent of cheap natural gas.Commissioners have two important judgments on their agenda. First is whether SCE&G executives knew the project was failing and lied so that regulators would approve additional rate hikes to keep customers paying for it. Second is whether Dominion’s offer is good enough for ratepayers, or still leaves them on the hook for too much of the debt for the never-finished reactors.“Let me be blunt. You have a utility that bet the farm and lost. SCE&G poured $5 billion into a project and got nothing for it. By the end of this year, customers will have paid $2.2 billion for absolutely nothing — not a single watt of electricity,” said lawyer Scott Rubin, arguing on behalf of the AARP and its members — many of them consumers on fixed incomes — at the start of three weeks of hearings held by regulators in November.For most of the past 18 months, political leadership in South Carolina told SCE&G and Dominion they weren’t doing enough to ease the ratepayers’ burden. But now Attorney General Alan Wilson and House Speaker Jay Lucas are backing Dominion’s latest offer, which the state’s own consumer advocate and environmental and consumer groups says falls short.Dominion’s latest offer gets rid of the $1,000 rebate checks to SCE&G customers that dominated much of the merger discussion in 2018. Instead, Dominion wants to keep SCE&G rates at the same level set by legislators who passed a temporary 15 per cent rate cut earlier this year that knocks about $22 off the typical monthly bill. In 20 years, SCE&G customers would add $2.3 billion to the $2 billion they already paid for the mothballed project.Most of the consumer advocacy groups are still pushing for more. Watchdogs in the state’s Office of Regulatory Staff want about a 20 per cent rate cut, removing closer to $30 from monthly bills, and eliminating most of the extra charges for the reactors. Consumers and environmental groups want a bigger cut.Dominion Energy said a larger rate cut would force them to walk away from the SCE&G deal, although they made the same threat when lawmakers considered the temporary cut. When that passed, they altered their merger proposal.SCE&G said a significant rate cut without the extra money from the Dominion deal means bankruptcy, although utility executives testified before regulators they could not guarantee that is what they would do.Public Service Commission Chairman Randy Comer said the regulators’ hands remain tied by a law passed in 2007 that greatly reduced their ability to scrutinize rate hikes.The Base Load Review Act allowed the utility to get rate increases to essentially pay in advance for the reactors without risk to its shareholders, and sets a high bar to get that money back. There have been legal challenges, but the law is still in place.“For about the last year, we’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism. Some by people looking for a good sound bite on TV or in the newspaper,” Comer said at the end of the November hearings. “We’ve been unable to respond.”On Friday, the commissioners get to speak as loudly as they want.Jeffrey Collins, The Associated Press
Over the next five years, the City has budgeted $256 million for capital projects.Joy says the City has a current debt capacity available of $76 million, with $14 million available for the debt servicing capacity.“What we have available to us is a $76 million that we could go into debt for which we wouldn’t want to do necessarily. The debt servicing capacity, that we have available to us is $14 million if we wanted to go into debenture to pay for something.”In 2019, the capital budget includes four-laning of 100 street up to Northern Lights College for $5.9 million, $5.5 million for renovations at Centennial Park, $2.8 million for the new RCMP building with more money budgeted for that project in 2020 and 2021. The list of projects in 2019 also includes a fire training centre for $1.5 million and sewage lift station upgrades worth $4 million.Joy says the new RCMP building’s funding will be covered by both the PRA and Municipal debentures if it will be a fully integrated building. He also adds that the lease payments from the RCMP will help cover the debentures.“A big one coming up, obviously, is the RCMP building and if it’s a fully integrated building, with the Provincial side and the Municipal side, will be financed with about 60 percent PRA money and 40 percent will have a debenture issued. The lease payments that we charge to the RCMP will match the debt servicing obligations of the debenture.” FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John presented Council with the draft capital budget for 2019-2023 at a recent Committee of the Whole Meeting.David Joy, General Manager of Corporate Services, presented Council with the draft capital budget.The capital budget covers longterm projects like roads, sidewalks, buildings and machinery. This budget is not funded by property taxes, but other revenue streams including the Peace River Agreement with the Province. Joy also said that the debenture will still have to go to a referendum by explaining to the public that the Provincial portion will not affect the tax rates.This meeting was the first of many public budget meetings that have been scheduled and served as an introduction to the 2019 Capital Budget. Further direction will be provided at future meetings.The deadline for the budget to be finalized is May 15, 2019, with City staff planning to have it finalized and approved by Council sometime in April.