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Staten Island’s Best Dressed: Ladies and gents in festive attire and more – SILive.com

Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- As the holiday party scene dwindles down, memories remain of festive gatherings to celebrate 2020. For this week's Best Dressed, readers submitted their fun photos from family parties at home and local venues like the Hilton Garden Inn, Bloomfield.

Also included in the slideshow below are ladies and gents from the First Central Baptist Church, Tompkinsville.

Submit your "Best Dressed" photos to gsantos@siadvance.com and make sure to identify everyone in the photos.

Courtesy Chris Cicero

Matt Breslauer looking sharp in his red bow tie at the Bay Street Landing's Roarin '20s New Year's Eve Party.

Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos

Linda Griggslooking sharp after Sunday Service at First Central Baptist Church.

Courtesy Jennifer Gordon

Shirley Gordon and Thomas Nugent at a New Year's Eve Party at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos

Cherish Tafe and Joan Godette looking sharp after Sunday Service at First Central Baptist Church.

Courtesy Jennifer Gordon

Jennifer Gordon and Steven Caban at a New Year's Eve Party at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Courtesy Catherine Cumming

Mia Rose Cumming is ringing in the New Year in style.

Courtesy Kerry Falcone

Members of the Dicks, Falcone, and Welborn families take a New Year's selfie.

Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos

Josenia Ruiz and her fiance, Rev. Dr. Demetrius Carolina, Pastor of First Central Baptist Church.

Courtesy Renee Sarno

David Budash Rene Sarno at Medieval Times.

Courtesy Angelica Cimmino

Angelica and Joseph Cimmino pose for a photo at a Roaring '20s-themed holiday party.

Courtesy Sophia Caputo

Lenny, Sophia, Stephanie and Gianna Caputo.

Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos

Nylah and her dad, Lawrence de Silva, ooking sharp after Sunday Service at First Central Baptist Church.

Courtesy Vincent Innocente

Vincent Innocente gets a hand from Robert Farrell as he scales the Grand Canyon earlier this month.

Courtesy Doreen Quirk

Quirk Family members pose for a New Year's Eve photo: Dennis Quirk; William, Eden and Sean Quirk; Keri, Emma, and Lindsay Fortel; Doreen, Allie and Bri Quirk; Mike Postiglione; Susan, Steve, AnnaDoreen and Antonia; and Joseph Quirk and Nicole DAngelo.

Courtesy Jackie Rinaldo

James Rinaldo at a family New Year's Eve party.

Courtesy Theresa Montuori

Theresa Montuori, foreground in grey, submitted this photo of girlfriends ringing in the New Year together.

Staten Island Advance/Dr. Gracelyn Santos

Travis Sims Alycia Byrd- Richardson after Sunday Service at First Central Baptist Church.

Guests of Peggy Maida, West Brighton, pose for a group photo at a New Years Eve party at her home.

Courtesy Holly Bonner

Holly Bonner and her daughters, Nuala and Aiofe.

Courtesy Sophia Caputo

Caputo Family: Lenny, Sophia, Stephanie and Gianna.

Courtesy Peggy Maida

Cousins take a photo with their dads on New Year's Eve: Peggy Maida, at left, Judy Daley, Richard Christie and Jimmy Christie.

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Staten Island's Best Dressed: Ladies and gents in festive attire and more - SILive.com

Former WingHouse on 4th Will be a Rumba Island Bar and Grill – St. Pete Rising

Rumba Island Bar and Grill is a member of the Bay Star Restaurant Group, which is led by Frank Chivas. Chivas has been operating restaurants in Pinellas County for over 20 years, including long-time institutions like Salt Rock Grill and Island Way Grill. With the addition of the Rumba on 4th Street, Bay Star will be just shy of a dozen establishments.

In 2015, Chivas was named Mr. Clearwater by the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce. Chivas grew up in foster care and as a result has dedicated himself to helping children in need. He actively supports a variety of local nonprofits including the Boys & Girls Club, Clearwater 4 Youth, and the Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy.

There is no expected opening date for Rumba Island Bar and Grill on 4th Street, but if its anything like its sister restaurants in Clearwater and Oldsmar, itll be worth the wait. Be sure to follow Rumba Island Bar and Grill on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on construction progress and a grand opening.

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Former WingHouse on 4th Will be a Rumba Island Bar and Grill - St. Pete Rising

Staten Island Tech ranks 2nd in list of top 2020 NYC high schools – SILive.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A Staten Island public high school is the second best public high school in New York City and New York State, according to a new ranking.

Niche -- a website dedicated to ranking and reviewing schools across the country -- has released its list of the best public high schools in New York City for 2020. Staten Island Technical High School ranked second as the best public high school in both the city and state.

The ranking is based on an analysis of academic and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education. The ranking is determined by a number of factors, including test scores, college data, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality and high school ratings.

Staten Islands school district, District 31, ranked 141st in the ranking of best school districts in New York State.

Here are Niches top 25 best public high schools in New York City, along with their ranking among public high schools in New York State.

25. Midwood High School at Brooklyn College

Location: Brooklyn

Number of students: 4,011

State rank: 105

24. Maspeth High School

Location: Queens

Number of students: 1,048

State rank: 102

23. Manhattan Center for Science & Mathematics

Location: Manhattan

Number of students: 1,596

State rank: 97

22. Scholars Academy

Location: Queens

Number of students: 1,351

State rank: 93

21. Millennium High School

Location: Manhattan

Number of students: 660

State rank: 91

20. Manhattan Hunter Science High School

Location: Manhattan

Number of students: 448

State rank: 75

19. NYC Lab High School for Collaborative Studies

Location: Manhattan

Number of students: 531

State rank: 70

18. Columbia Secondary School

Location: Manhattan

Number of students: 687

State rank: 69

17. Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences

Location: Brooklyn

Number of students: 1,025

State rank: 59

16. Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts

Location: Manhattan

Number of students: 2,701

State rank: 55

15. The Brooklyn Latin School

Location: Brooklyn

Number of students: 725

State rank: 47

14. The Beacon School

Location: Manhattan

Number of students: 1,291

State rank: 45

13. Queens High School for the Sciences at York College

Location: Queens

Number of students: 464

State rank: 38

12. New Explorations into Science, Technology & Math School

Location: Manhattan

Number of students: 1,743

State rank: 32

11. Bard High School Early College

Location: Manhattan

Number of students: 549

State rank: 27

10. Eleanor Roosevelt High School

Location: Manhattan

Number of students: 544

State rank: 23

9. Brooklyn Technical High School

Location: Brooklyn

Number of students: 5,664

State rank: 18

8. Bard High School Early College Queens

Location: Queens

Number of students: 598

State rank: 16

7. High School of American Studies at Lehman College

Location: Bronx

Number of students: 377

State rank: 15

6. Baccalaureate School for Global Education

Location: Queens

Number of students: 515

State rank: 12

5. High School Math Science & Engineering at The City College of New York (CCNY)

Location: Manhattan

Number of students: 464

State rank: 7

4. Bronx High School of Science

Location: Bronx

Number of students: 2,977

State rank: 4

3. Townsend Harris High School

Location: Queens

Number of students: 1,109

State rank: 3

2. Staten Island Technical High School

Location: New Dorp

Number of students: 1,313

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Staten Island Tech ranks 2nd in list of top 2020 NYC high schools - SILive.com

Whats the average credit score on Staten Island? – SILive.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- While the cost of living in New York City is among the highest in the world, a report from Experian has found that credit scores among New York residents range from significantly below average to some of the highest in the country.

Experian ranked each New York City borough by credit score, as part of its ongoing look at the scores in the United States. It analyzed consumer credit data from the second quarter of 2019 to break down New York City neighborhoods by zip code and see which ones had the best credit.

Experian examined credit scores using the scoring model FICO Score 8, which examines factors like credit card usage, balances, credit history, credit mix and new credit. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, and a credit score of 700 or above is generally considered good, according to Experian.

New York City overall averaged a 701 FICO credit score for the second quarter of 2019, which Experian said is just under the national average of 703.

The average credit score on Staten Island is 709 -- lower than Manhattan (714) and Queens (710), but higher than Brooklyn (700) and the Bronx (665), the report found.

Experian ranked the credit scores by neighborhood. The South Shore had the highest average credit score on Staten Island, with an average score of 728.

The lowest average score on Staten Island was in Port Richmond at 681. Mid-Island consumers had an average score of 725, and residents who live in Stapleton-St. George had an average score of 703.

Experians 2019 State of Credit report released last June found that the average American has three regular credit cards with balances totaling about $6,500, and 2.6 store cards with total balances of around $1,900.

The average credit score nationwide was 680, and the average mortgage debt was $208,180, according to the report.

In New York State, the average credit score was 692, Experian reported. New Yorkers carried an average of 3.3 regular credit cards with balances totaling $6,850. The average resident also had 2.8 store credit cards with balances totaling $1,888.

The mortgage debt for a New York resident averaged $251,323, according to the Experian report.

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Whats the average credit score on Staten Island? - SILive.com

The Conventional Wisdom on China’s Island Bases Is Dangerously Wrong – War on the Rocks

Last month, during a conference on Chinas maritime ambitions, I was asked a question I often get about Beijings artificial island bases in the South China Sea. That question goes something like this: Couldnt the United States easily neutralize these remote outposts in a conflict, negating their value? The assumption is understandable given how seemingly remote the facilities are and how accustomed Americans have become to uncontested dominance over the sea and air. But it is flawed. In fact, China, not the United States, would control the sea and airspace of the South China Sea at the outbreak of hostilities thanks to its artificial island bases. And given current American force posture in the region, it would be prohibitively costly for the United States to neutralize those outposts during the early stages of a conflict. That would make the South China Sea a no-mans land for most U.S. forces (submarines excepted) during the critical early stages of any conflict giving the islands considerable military value for Beijing.

This answer provoked enough of a stir among conference attendees that I took to Twitter to see what fellow South China Sea watchers and security experts thought. Their responses were overwhelmingly consistent with my argument and added several concerns for the United States that I had overlooked. This confirmed a worrying disconnect. Most of those who follow the South China Sea most closely see Chinas artificial island bases as major gamechangers in any future SinoU.S. conflict. Yet the conventional wisdom throughout Washington still seems to be that they can be safely dismissed as lacking strategic value. Thats wrong.

The main purpose of Chinas artificial islands is not to help fight a war against the United States. Beijings primary strategy in the South China Sea is to use civilian and paramilitary pressure to coerce its Southeast Asian neighbors into abandoning their rights. Thanks to the facilities on its island bases, hundreds of militia vessels and a large number of coast guard ships are based hundreds of miles from the Chinese coast for months at a time. They engage in frequent harassment of civilian and law enforcement activities by neighboring states, making it prohibitively risky for Southeast Asian players to operate in the South China Sea. The threat of Chinese naval and airpower, meanwhile, dissuades neighboring states from using more forceful military responses against these illegal actions. Left unchallenged, this primarily nonmilitary strategy will secure Chinese control over the waters and airspace of the South China Sea in peacetime and undermine Americas role as a regional security provider. It will make clear to Southeast Asian partners that a security relationship with the United States cannot safeguard their interests in the face of a rising China and will thereby undercut the rationale for governments like the Philippines and Singapore to support the U.S. military presence in the region.

But China also recognizes that its strategy might fail. It could miscalculate, provoking a violent conflict with the United States. Or a fight could start in Northeast Asia and spread south. The Peoples Liberation Army has therefore invested in facilities and deployments in the Spratly Islands that not only support its current peacetime coercion but also favorably shift the balance of power in any future conflict. As a result, the islands not only guarantee China air and surface dominance in the South China Sea in the opening stages of a conflict, but they are also far more difficult to neutralize than conventional wisdom suggests. The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at CSIS has exhaustively documented the growth of these capabilities using commercial satellite imagery and other remote sensing tools.

China has constructed 72 fighter jet hangars at its three airbases in the Spratlys Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi Reefs along with another 16 on Woody Island in the Paracels. It has so far held off on deploying combat aircraft to the Spratlys but rotates J-11 fighters frequently through Woody. Assuming it was the first mover in a conflict, it would be able to deploy combat aircraft rapidly to the airfields in the Spratlys, instantly establishing air dominance in the theater. Unless the Chinese happened to pick a fight when U.S. forces were engaged in a major exercise like Balikatan in the Philippines, the closest U.S. ground-based combat aircraft would be in Okinawa and Guam, approximately 1,300 and 1,500 nautical miles away, respectively. The only U.S. military planes in the region would be patrol aircraft in the Philippines and potentially Malaysia.

China has, meanwhile, deployed YJ-12B and YJ-62 anti-ship cruise missiles to its outposts in the Spratlys and Paracels, backed by longer-range missile capabilities from the mainland. And it has invested heavily in radar and signals intelligence capabilities on all the islands, making it a safe bet that it sees just about anything moving on or above the South China Sea. A U.S. Navy vessel sailing in those waters would be well within the range of Chinese fire when hostilities broke out. Lacking supporting ground-based fire or air cover, the only rational option would be to pull back to the Sulu and Celebes Seas, and probably beyond, as quickly as possible. This would be especially true of any U.S. aircraft carrier that happened to be in the theater, since it would be far too valuable to leave in such an indefensible position.

In the face of these Chinese advantages, could the United States still neutralize the island bases early in a fight? Probably, but not at an acceptable cost. Doing so would require expending a lot of ordnance likely desperately needed in Northeast Asia, diverting important air and naval platforms and placing them at risk out of proportion to the potential battlefield gains.

The island facilities are considerably larger than many observers seem to realize. As Thomas Shugart, then a visiting fellow at the Center for a New American Security, once pointed out, most of the District of Columbia inside the I-495 beltway could fit inside the lagoon at Mischief Reef. Pearl Harbor Naval Base could fit inside Subi Reef. The critical infrastructure that would need to be hit to seriously degrade Chinese capabilities is spread out across a considerable area. That amounts to a lot of ordnance to drop, even if the goal were just to hit critical nodes like sensors, hangars, ammunition depots, and command and control facilities.

Disabling the airstrips themselves would be an even taller order. The United States fired 59 Tomahawks at the Shayrat Air Base in Syria in 2017, all but one of which hit, yet the runway was back in operation just a few hours later. Considering that China has deployed HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles and constructed point defenses at all these bases, some percentage of missiles fired would never reach their target. And much of the infrastructure has been hardened, including Chinas missile shelters, larger hangars, and buried ammunition depots. The most effective means of cratering the runways themselves would be to drop heavier ordnance from the air, but that would put high-value U.S. bombers at unacceptable risk in a secondary theater (more on that below). So a safer bet would be to just focus on hitting key information nodes with longer-range munitions. A hundred cruise missiles per outpost would not be an unreasonable estimate to effectively disable the bases. That amounts to 300 missiles just for the major bases in the Spratlys, another 100 for Woody Island, and dozens more if the United States wanted to disable smaller facilities (for instance, the heliport on Duncan Island that would likely be used for anti-submarine warfare operations).

What platforms would launch these hundreds of cruise missiles? The only thing safely operating in the theater after hostilities started would be U.S. submarines. They would find it a lot harder to remain undetected in the face of active Chinese anti-submarine operations once they started shooting. Every launch would put them at some risk. And in that environment, U.S. subs would likely be busy attacking Chinese surface ships and other high-value platforms, not trying to blanket thousands of acres of infrastructure at Mischief or Subi Reefs with valuable ordnance with no guarantee of success. Anything else sent into the theater long-range bombers from Guam, surface ships, etc. would be operating at high risk given Chinese dominance of the sea and air space.

No matter how the ordnance was delivered, the math would be the same. Effectively neutralizing Chinas bases would require hundreds of missiles, emptying the magazines of valuable U.S. platforms that dont have ordnance to spare. And it would do so in what is sure to be a secondary theater. It is hard to imagine a scenario in which the United States would be seriously considering kinetic strikes on Chinese bases in the South China Sea that would not also involve fighting in Northeast Asia. That would mean that anything the United States launched against the Spratlys would be something it could not use for operations in defense of U.S. and Japanese forces or for the relief of Taipei.

This punishing math could be changed, especially by the full implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement to allow rotational deployments of key U.S. capabilities in the Philippines. These should include combat aircraft at Basa Air Base on Luzon and Antonio Bautista Air Base in Puerto Princesa to contest Chinese air dominance over the South China Sea. And it should include preparations to rapidly stand up U.S. fire bases at these and other facilities in case of hostilities to hold Chinese outposts and ships in the South China Sea at risk.

Barring an unexpected change of heart, these plans are unlikely while Rodrigo Duterte remains president of the Philippines through 2022. In the meantime, the United States can lay the groundwork for full implementation of the defense cooperation agreement by undertaking more ambitious infrastructure projects at agreed-upon sites and pushing the Armed Forces of the Philippines to support those upgrades. It should also push for more opportunities to deploy combat aircraft to defense cooperation sites as part of bilateral exercises, as American F-16s were for the first time at Basa last year. This would help acclimate both sides to U.S. fighters operating from these bases and, if frequent enough, could strengthen deterrence by giving the United States some rapid-response capability in the South China Sea. But these steps will not fundamentally alter the math.

Without the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, or some undiscovered (and unlikely) stand-in, U.S. forces would have little choice but to concede the waters and airspace of the South China Sea to China in the opening stages of a conflict. The logistics and maintenance hurdles China would face during wartime would likely prevent its island bases from effectively operating over the long-term. But for several weeks at least time that would be critical in a Taiwan contingency, for instance they would pay huge dividends for Beijing. So long as the United States lacks ground-based combat aircraft and fire bases along the South China Sea, American planning needs to acknowledge that reality.

Gregory B. Poling is director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative and a fellow with the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Image: Wiki Commons

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The Conventional Wisdom on China's Island Bases Is Dangerously Wrong - War on the Rocks

Meet Love Island Winter 2020 contestant Finley Tapp the bombshell footballer who fancies three Islanders – RadioTimes

It looks set to be one of the most explosive series of Love Island yet.

Already weve seen bombshells Jess and Eve ruffle a few feathers in the villa and the shock departure of Ollie and that was all in the first few days.

Now, things are set to be even steamier with two new boys heading into the villa looking to crack on in the sun.

Heres everything you need to know about Finley Tapp, the football player hoping to impress three of our Islanders

Age: 20

Job:Recruitment consultant and footballer plays for Oxford City

In three words:Loud, outgoing and good looking

Instagram:@finn_tapp

Coupled up with:Single

Finley, who rates himself a 9/10, says its not all about looks when hes looking for a partner.

I want a girl who is fun and outgoing and someone who can make me laugh, he said. I dont have a type looks-wise but obviously you want that initial attraction.

He adds his celebrity crush is Maya Jama.

Siannise, Paige and Sophie are in Finleys firing line, with Finley adding hes not afraid to ruffle a few feathers to get what he wants.

Itll be great if I come out of the villa with mates but if I need to step on toes to get the girl I like, Ill do it, he said.

If you feel like youve got loyalties with the boys and theyve shown you loyalty before then thats where the respect lies.

According to Finley, yes.

Ive always been loyal. Whenever I start getting the wandering eye, its time to break up. Who knows what could happen in the villa!

Having started out at the MK Dons Academy aged just eight, he played for the team professionally in 2018. After being loaned to seventh-tier team Staines Town until January 2019, Finley then chose to sign with Oxford City as a defender.

Finley suffered a head injury in January last year after he was knocked unconscious on the pitch during a match against Dartford.

LoveIsland continues weeknights and Sundays at 9pm on ITV2

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Meet Love Island Winter 2020 contestant Finley Tapp the bombshell footballer who fancies three Islanders - RadioTimes

Hawaii island takes brunt of storm – Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Hawaii News

Hawaii island got the brunt of the precipitation Sunday in the form of heavy rainfall and, on its summits, snowfall, while rain fell incessantly over the other islands, further saturating the ground. Read more

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Hawaii island got the brunt of the precipitation Sunday in the form of heavy rainfall and, on its summits, snowfall, while rain fell incessantly over the other islands, further saturating the ground.

The National Weather Service extended a flood watch until Monday afternoon for all the Hawaiian Islands, while the Big Islands flood warning was expected to be lifted for all parts of that island by Sunday night.

A flood watch means conditions are favorable for life-threatening flash flooding. The Weather Service said the atmosphere is unstable and wet, and the ground, especially in windward and upslope areas, is soaked from all the recent rainfall.

A 72-year-old driver was trapped inside a bus that stalled early Sunday morning along Highway 11 in Kau while attempting to drive through floodwaters.

The water was 5 to 6 feet high, a Hawaii County fire official estimated. The area was prone to flooding due to prior heavy rain, which covered the roadway.

Firefighters rescued her and she was uninjured.

Some Hawaii island rain gauges (48-hour precipitation totals ending at 1 p.m. Sunday) measured in the 20-plus-inch range, with the Saddle Quarry gauge falling just shy of 30 inches with 29.12 inches. Hakalau hit 26.39 inches. Mauna Keas summit reached 24.59 inches, and Pahala got up to 20.3 inches.

For comparison, the 24-hour record rainfall in the U.S. was on Kauai at Waipa Garden on April 14 to 15, 2018, when 49.69 inches fell.

The Weather Service says showers are expected to gradually diminish today into Wednesday, but tradewinds are expected to remain locally strong and gusty. However unsettled weather with more rain could return Thursday and Friday, but with lighter winds.

Police closed Highway 11 at 7:29 a.m. Sunday near Kawa Flats in Kau. It remained closed between mile markers 57 and 61 as of 4:25 p.m. Sunday.

The Weather Service said Kawa Flats, Naalehu and Pahala were in the flood warning zone.

Hawaii County police closed Highway 19 in both directions in the Laupahoehoe Gulch area due to a landslide late Saturday night, leaving drivers with no alternate route until it reopened three hours later.

Police also closed, at 6:23 a.m. Sunday, both lanes on Highway 19 near mile marker 47, north of Honokaa, due to a large fallen tree, until 10:12 a.m. Sunday.

The Department of Public Safety canceled visits to the Kulani Correctional Facility due to fallen trees and hazardous conditions along Stainback Highway, which leads to the prison.

Meanwhile on Oahu, two mudslides on Pali Highway forced the closing of one Kailua-bound lane for several hours. Upper Nuuanu got 14.8 inches of rainfall in 48 hours as of 1 p.m. Sunday.

First responders on Oahu were kept busy with calls for fallen trees and branches, which got dangerously close to power lines.

The Weather Service warns, Rainfall and runoff will cause hazardous driving conditions due to ponding, reduced visibility and poor braking action.

It recommends avoiding streams, drainage ditches and low-lying areas prone to flooding.

The flood advisory for windward portions of Hawaii island was in effect until 8 p.m. Sunday due to the significant ponding in communities from windward Kohala to Hilo.

Water levels in streams and rivers were still very high, the Weather Service said.

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Hawaii island takes brunt of storm - Honolulu Star-Advertiser

the first building of zaha hadid’s ‘unicorn island’ nears completion in china – Designboom

zaha hadid architects has revealed a glimpse of an almost complete exhibition and conference center in chengdu, marking the first building of the studios unicorn island masterplan for the city. the video, which pans around the curved forms of the construction, shows just one part of the much larger scheme. once realized, the 67-hectare site will provide a huge mixed-use program to accommodate both work and leisure functions in chinas growing metropolis.

render by MIR

the name of the project comes from the term unicorn companies, which refers to start-ups valued at over a billion US dollars. with china now boasting a third of these companies, chengdu has become a hub for the latest technology and innovations. consequently, in the south of the city, the tianfu new area is being developed as an ecologically sustainable civic, business and residential center for chinas technology and research sectors.

render by MIR

designed by zaha hadid architects, unicorn island will become a part of the tianfu new area and provide space for chinas digital economy to continue to grow. with its massive scope, the multi-purpose masterplan is planned to accommodate 70,000 researchers, office staff, residents and visitors alike. in addition to creating new living and working environments for chinese and international companies, the project is also developed to enhance the wellbeing of its community by integrating generous amounts of green areas and wetlands.

render by MIR

the design makes reference to the regions historical natural engineering projects. constructed 2,300 years ago to the northwest of chengdu, the nearby dujiangyan irrigation system on the min river was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 2000. this ancient water management system deployed the rivers natural forces to irrigate the chengdu plain, creating some of the most productive agricultural land in china and protecting the area from flooding.

render by MIR

unicorn islands parkland design is driven by the environmental principles of dujiangyans historic irrigation system and tianfu new areas ongoing ecological work to re-establish its natural wetlands. with this in mind, the masterplan intertwines an abundance of green civic spaces, water conservation and principles of connectivity, in order to establish healthier living and working environments and improved wellbeing of residents and workers.

render by MIR

the masterplan is arranged in a radial array, with a plaza and metro station at the center, allowing the entire island to be easily reached on bike or foot. the buildings will be constructed in clusters and respond to a diversity of functions. the architecture also intends to foster a strong sense of community by building to a human scale. this notion of community will also be harnessed thanks to innovations in urban farming technologies, which will provide residents, workers and visitors with fresh, locally-grown produce.

render by ZHA & negativ.com

project info:

project name: unicorn island

location: chengdu, china

project team:

architect: zaha hadid architects (ZHA)

design: patrik schumacher

ZHA project directors: satoshi ohashi, michele pasca di magliano

ZHA project associates: andres arias madrid, stefano paiocchi, jingwen yang

ZHA project architect: maria tsironi

ZHA project team: di ding, chengzhen jia, johannes elias, konstantina tsagkaratou, martin gsandtner, millie anderson, nicolas tornero, shahd abdelmoneim, sven torres, thomas bagnoli, valentina cerrone, yihui wu, yuan zhai, martina rosati, arian hakimi nejad, kate revyakina, vincent konate, neil rigden, juan montiel, christos koukis, jihan shraibati, patricia de osma arena, shi qi tu, irfan bhakrani, qiuru pu

ZHA competition project directors: satoshi ohashi, michele pasca di magliano

ZHA competition project designer: maria tsironi

ZHA competition project associate: jingwen yang

ZHA competition team: chafik zerrouki, di ding, konstantina tsagkaratou, lida zhang, lorena espaillat bencosme, millie anderson, nailu chen, nicolas tornero, philipp siedler, sven torres, xinqi zhuang, yihui wu, yuan feng

competition engineering (transport, smart and civil): ramboll

landscape design: ramboll dreisetl

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the first building of zaha hadid's 'unicorn island' nears completion in china - Designboom

White Island Tours restarts visits to Moutohor Island – RNZ

White Island Tours has started taking people to Moutohor/Whale Island for the first time since the Whakaari/White Island eruption five weeks ago.

White Island Tours, which had been running boatloads of people to both islands, suspended operations after the eruption on Whakaari on 9 December which is believed to have killed 20 people including tourists and some of the company's tour guides.

Moutohor or Whale Island was never off limits after the eruption, but tours were halted out of respect for the victims, staff and affected families.

Moutohor is about 10km off the coast of Whakatne, while Whakaari/White Island is another 40km further.

White Island Tours said it was restarting tours to Moutohor, which it said was a sombre occasion but a positive step forward for providing employment for its staff.

The island has some volcanic activity including hot springs, and is a pest-free, wildlife management reserve for endangered birds and plants.

There has been no decision on whether tours to Whakaari will resume.

Meanwhile, camera feeds showing volcanic conditions on Whakaari was today made available to the public again for the first time since a major eruption in early December.

Gas and steam continues to emit from the volcano but it has not erupted since 9 December, although GNS Science has warned the risk of eruption remained.

GNS volcanologist Brad Scott said the eruption did not affect the equipment.

"It was all working the whole time but due to sensitivities some of the information wasn't being pushed through to the public but we're now putting everything back through to the public.

"It was just in respect for the families, particularly the web camera images - we took those down from the public webpage but we've now reinstated those."

Scott said another eruption was possible, but unlikely within the next four weeks.

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White Island Tours restarts visits to Moutohor Island - RNZ

Are Americans drinking less wine? Staten Island business owners weigh in. – SILive.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The U.S. wine industry is currently faced with declining consumer demand and, as a result, excess supply, according to a report. And this shift can be on Staten Island, as business owners have said they are seeing lower sales of vino.

The reality is that we have never seen these market conditions. Weve never experienced excess inventory because of declining consumer demand. Prior periods of excess have always been due to over-planting, noted the State of the U.S. Wine Industry 2020, an annual report published by renowned wine analyst Rob McMillan.

And according to a recent Wall Street Journal report, changing demographics have slowed wine sales. Americans drank less wine last year, the first such drop in a quarter of a century, as millennials opt for alternatives like hard seltzers, cocktails and nonalcoholic beer," the report stated.

From Arrochar to Annadale, that assessment can be seen in consumer trends locally.

Joe Labriola, the chef and co-owner of Marina Cafe in Great Kills, said his drink sales are strong from the bar to table-side orders. But he credited a new generation of cocktail-loving patrons to such a shift in consumption. He said younger patrons are drinking vodka-based drinks instead of wine to be more health conscious" as wine is perceived as more fattening than vodka. .

Edward Gomez, of DaNoi restaurants in Fort Wadsworth and Travis plus Cargo Cafe in St. George, said the decrease in wine consumption started a long time ago.

At least I noticed it in all my restaurants. I attributed it to stricter driving laws and the wine gets you tired theory, he said. He also surmised that its pure economics at work: As his older patrons move away and the restaurants see a younger generation dining out theyre not so much into spending.

That observation locally has been a growing pattern for the past few years, a fact reflected in a report by IWSR, a source for beverage industry research.

Adam Rogers, IWSRs research director for North America, wrote for the organization: "Coupled with a preference for less but better, consumers are more discerning about how they spend their disposable income, increasingly preferring premium spirits and cocktails over red or white wine.

Franco Ortega, chef and owner of Italianissimo in South Beach, said he sees a decrease in the number of bottles hes selling. But he added that patrons still enjoy ordering wines by the glass.

You cant have a meal without a glass of wine in fine dining, said the proprietor.

Wine racks at Taverna on the Bay, Stapleton(Staten Island Advance/Pamela Si

The folks at Flagship Brewing Co. said the wine is a necessary component to its taproom, and expanded its menu with the product. Recently, the Tompkinsville brewery added New York State wines to the inventory. Co-owner Jay Sykes called the addition a great experience" with a broader picture.

Our commitment to New York State Agriculture has given us the ability to offer our customers great, locally made wine that is directly correlated to an industry that is creating jobs and sustaining small business," said Sykes. While the wine product is a handy menu addition for non-beer drinkers, the facilitys craft styles represents the lions share of its sales.

As a wine rep for major New York distributor Southern Wines and as a winemaker for his Vino Divino Wines, Charleston, Rob Rispoli said he sees both the spirit store owners and producers perspectives. He said retailers are experiencing lower wine sales, but his barrel production is up. He said he believes that consumers are more price-conscious than ever.

I think people are more educated wine drinkers, buying better wine for the house. I think theyre tired of paying too much in the restaurants, said Rispoli, adding that, in his realm, the dining-out crowd has a drink at home beforehand to save money.

According to a wine industry reports wine sales are down in the United States. Local proprietors and business owners say that consumers have switched over to cocktails and spiked seltzers.

Willowbrook Beverage owner Steve Magnavita said he thinks the slump in wines just means a shift over to other beverages. He said he has observed this trend with spiked seltzers vs. beer.

Even though it has been more of a summer drink, said Magnavita, White Claw is still holding its own. Competition for the line will be a new product, Budweisers Bud Lite Seltzer. This is a fresh product in what Magnavita described as a stagnant suds field at the moment.

And its is a sentiment expressed by other beer-centric markets in the borough.

I think the beer business is a little stale. I couldnt tell you if thats trending into liquor sales," said Magnavita. Consumers switch back and forth sometimes, he explained.

So, will that mean consumers will gravitate into the vino-centric beverages in the store?

Over the years, Ive always noticed its like a pendulum, said Magnavita, adding, For instance as Im speaking to you, someone is just buying a case of White Claw.

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Are Americans drinking less wine? Staten Island business owners weigh in. - SILive.com

Royal Caribbean currently offering cruises from Galveston to its magical private island, CocoCay – Chron

The island's Coco Beach Clubs offer floating cabanas and infinity edge pools.

The island's Coco Beach Clubs offer floating cabanas and infinity edge pools.

Photo: Courtesy Galveston Island

The island's Coco Beach Clubs offer floating cabanas and infinity edge pools.

The island's Coco Beach Clubs offer floating cabanas and infinity edge pools.

Royal Caribbean currently offering cruises from Galveston to its magical private island, CocoCay

Beginning this summer, cruise-goers will have the chance to sail straight from Galveston to a hidden paradise island with its own record-breaking waterpark and private beach clubs.

Perfect Day at CocoCay is a private destination island owned by Royal Caribbean. The cruise line is currently offering summer 2020 seven-day cruises to the island from Galveston with fares starting as low as $564. The cruises will depart from Galveston and make stops in Key West, Florida, Nassau and of course, CocoCay, Bahamas.

This private island offers the ultimate getaway vacation perfect for adults and children of all ages. Some of the island features include Thrill Waterpark, home to Daredevil's Peak, the tallest waterslide in North America, according to the cruise line. Located in the heart of the island, the waterpark also boasts the biggest wave pool in the Caribbean; a "family tower" section consisting of six rides; and an adventure pool featuring various obstacle courses, from floating lily pads to rock climbing walls.

RELATED: Royal Caribbean announces 2020-2021 schedule, new perks on ships leaving Galveston

Adults can retreat to the island's Coco Beach Clubs, where floating cabanas and infinity edge pools dot the ocean landscape. The island's Oasis Lagoon, which boasts the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean, per the cruise line, features several swim-up islands, a swim-up bar and private cabanas with attendant service.

For a more action-packed time, CocoCay's South Beach offers a variety of adventurous activities, from volleyball, beachside basketball and paddleboarding to glass-bottom kayaking. For the real thrill-seekers, guests can soar over the island on 1,600 feet of zipline or take a helium balloon ride to see the highest vantage point in all of the Bahamas.

Ready for your next beach vacation? Get a glimpse at the paradise that awaits you at CocoCay in the photos above, now sailing from Galveston this summer...

For more information on the cruises being offered, click here.

Port, Royal Caribbean make deal for third Galveston cruise terminal

Rebecca Hennes covers community news. Read her on our breaking news site, Chron.com, and on our subscriber site, houstonchronicle.com. | rebecca.hennes@chron.com

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Royal Caribbean currently offering cruises from Galveston to its magical private island, CocoCay - Chron

Matchbox Twenty, Wallflowers announced for Treasure Island concert series – Bring Me The News

Treasure Island Resort and Casino

Treasure Island has announced Matchbox Twenty and The Wallflowers as the latest additions to its 2020 summer concert series.

Matchbox Twenty, led by frontman Rob Thomas, will headline the show at the Treasure Island Amphitheater on Sept. 4.

The four-piece had its heyday in the late '90s, thanks to hits including "Real World," "Push," "If You're Gone" and "Bent."

They hit the big-time with their album, Yourself or Someone Like You,which was diamond-certified after its release in 1996.

They'll be joined by another '90s band, The Wallflowers. Led by Jakob Dylan, the son of Minnesota's own Bob Dylan, the group had their breakthrough in 1992 with their self-titled album.

They hit the big time in 1996 with the release of Bringing Down The Horse, which spawned hits including "One Headlight," "6th Avenue Heartache," and "The Difference."

Tickets go on sale this Friday, Jan. 17, at 10 a.m. and will range in cost from $26.50 to $105.

You can get tickets either fromTIcasino.com or at the Treasure Island Box Office.

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Originally posted here:

Matchbox Twenty, Wallflowers announced for Treasure Island concert series - Bring Me The News

Treasure Island residents say contamination could be making them ill – Business Insider

The view from Treasure Island is magical. In the morning, the sun hits the towers of downtown San Francisco from the east, illuminating the city's skyline. At night, the buildings' lights shine against a dark sky next to the glistening Bay Bridge.

Liz Washington used to live on the island, a 400-acre artificial land mass in the middle of the San Francisco Bay.

People approached her all the time with envy during those years, she told Business Insider, saying things like, "It must be wonderful living on Treasure Island," and "Oh, the city views!"

"They know nothing, nothing, nothing," Washington said.

For years, Treasure Island residents have complained that the land has made them sick. Some people who live there attribute the health issues of current and former residents, including chronic coughs and cancer, to radioactive material left behind from Naval training exercises conducted from 1942 to 1997.

Washington said she knows neighbors who've developed lung and thyroid cancer. She herself has experienced respiratory and gastrointestinal issues.

"We all have a cough that we call the Treasure Island cough," Washington said. Hers sounds dry; she is constantly clearing her throat.

Despite these reports, Treasure Island is being primed for a $6 billion development project consisting of 8,000 new residential units.

A Navy ship at Hunter's Point. Wikimedia Commons

To build Treasure Island, the US Army Corps of Engineers dredged sand and covered the loam with soil, trees, and flowers. The "Magic Isle" opened to the public in 1939, then became a Naval base as the US entered World War II. The Navy would go on to occupy the land for more than five decades.

During that time, it carried out routine training exercises using dangerous radioactive isotopes.

In 1946, after the US dropped two nuclear bombs on 95 target ships in the Marshall Islands as part of a test known as Operation Crossroads, the contaminated ships were sent to San Francisco. Most went to a top-secret nuclear-testing facility at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, but one ship, the USS Independence, made its way to Treasure Island. It was used as a training tool to prepare sailors for nuclear war.

Following World War II, the Navy used Treasure Island to conduct training academies in which radiation-safety officers were asked to handle isotopes like radium-226 and cesium-137.

Radium-226 has a half-life of about 1,600 years, meaning it takes 1,600 years to reduce its concentration by half. Exposure to high levels of the isotope over an extended period of time has been linked to bone cancer. Cesium-137 has a much shorter half-life about 30 years but high levels of exposure to the isotope can lead to burns, acute radiation sickness, and cancer.

In 1950, radium spilled in a Navy classroom following a laboratory exercise. It was left to spread throughout the building, according to a Navy report. Personnel who were exposed to the spill were decontaminated with hand scrubbers and abrasive soap, but by then many of them had carried contamination on their clothing and shoes into their homes and cars.

Six years later, the Navy built a mockup ship outfitted with 11 pieces of cesium-137 so that officers could practice detecting levels of gamma radiation. Navy officers also sprayed the vessel with radioactive isotopes like bromine-82, bromine-80, potassium-42, and sodium-24. As the officers scrubbed the ship clean, the run-off seeped into nearby soil.

Items contaminated with radium-226 and cesium-137 were also stored in facilities, vaults, and classrooms on the island until the 1990s.

Today, the Navy says"all accessible areas of Treasure Island are safe to the public and confirmed to have no radiation above naturally occurring background levels."

But residents aren't convinced.

In 2000, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) warned all Treasure Island residentsto "avoid contact with the soil in your backyard" and "take precautionary measures such as wiping feet, changing shoes, and hosing down the patio area, to avoid tracking soil from your backyard indoors."

The warning came after California regulators received the results of a Navy-run soil analysis, according to a Reuters investigation published in January 2019. The analysis found "chemicals of concern" in some yards. Reuters also reported that residents had complained to the state for years about a host of health problems, including cancer, asthma, and children's hair loss.

Washington, who moved to Treasure Island about two decades ago, said she wasn't aware of the island's history when she arrived. When she first spoke with Business Insider a year ago, remediation efforts were taking place about a block and a half from her home there. The Navy also remediated soil just down the street from her property in the past, she said.

The Navy "didn't notify people that there was radiation and chemicals on the island," she said. The Navy has maintained, however, that it disclosed the contamination through a landlord.

"The only thing I was told was, 'Don't let your kids play in the dirt," Washington said, referring to the warning from the DTSC.

But that was easier said than done, she added.

"If you move somewhere and there's a lot of soil, of course you're going to want to plant some plants," Washington said. "You have kids. You have pets. Of course they're going to dig in the dirt."

Kathryn Buckner, who lived on Treasure Island from 2005 to 2016, told Business Insider that her three children also used to play in the dirt outside her home. As the daughter of a military family, she said, she assumed the Navy would have informed her if the soil was harmful.

"I grew up proud of my country. Trained to believe everything, trained to trust authority," she said.

Bucknersaid she has been diagnosed with melanoma and had a tumor removed from her left arm in 2015.

Trelease Miller, who has been a resident of Treasure Island for almost 12 years, said she received a notice telling her not to dig in the soil about a year after she moved in. By that time, she had already planted grass in her backyard.

Miller believes that there's a link between her health problems and contamination on the land.

Lately, she said, her ankles have started swelling to the size of her calves and she has found it impossible to lift her right arm. She's starting to wonder whether these symptoms could be related to joint damage from radiation. Research from Wake Forest University suggests that radiation exposure can lead to the degradation of joint cartilage.

Miller also uses a nebulizer and sees a breathing specialist every other week. Radiation is not scientifically linked to asthma, but the Navy's cleanup efforts on the island have also exhumed dioxins, a pollutant that can exacerbate asthma and bronchitis.

"I've never had asthma a day in my life never, ever until I moved out here," she told Business Insider.

Buckner said she, too, has a nebulizer and a "Treasure Island cough."

"I didn't have any of this stuff before," she added. "It changed who I was for sure. That person, that citizen, that mom is gone."

A row of housing units on Treasure Island. Katie Canales/Business Insider

Miller and Buckner both said their children have struggled with health issues as well.

Miller's daughter, Brianna, grew up playing in the sandbox near their home, Miller said. When Brianna was around 5, her hair started falling out, leaving bald patches on her scalp. She also developed bubbly blisters on her legs, Miller added.

Buckner said her youngest daughter, who is now 20 years old, started experiencing swollen knees, nosebleeds, and bleeding gums as early as age 6. Around the same time, she began losing her hair and developed rashes on her face that Buckner said "almost looked like burns."

Both women recalled taking their daughters back and forth to doctors.

Buckner said one doctor said her daughter's problems were genetic, but the symptoms don't run in the family. About fix or six years ago, Buckner said, another doctor attributed the symptoms to Treasure Island's contamination and told her to leave. Buckner now lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Miller said her daughter's doctor had a hard time determining the cause of Brianna's symptoms. During one visit, Miller mentioned that she lived on Treasure Island.

"The way that [the doctor's] tone changed it made it seem like he'd heard that before," Miller said.

Still, the doctor assured her that Brianna's health problems weren't related to the island. Indeed,there is no scientific evidence that proves the land has been making residents sick. The Cancer Prevention Institute of California counted 48 total cancer diagnoses on the island from 2002 to 2011, but said that did not constitute "evidence of significantly elevated incidence rates of all cancers among the residents."

Miller sought a second opinion, though, and that doctor attributed the symptoms to toxins in the soil, she said.

Miller now has a nickname for Treasure Island: the radiated rock.

The scope of the Navy's cleanup efforts on Site 12 as of 2018. US Department of the Navy

Around 1,800 people currently live in low-income housing on Treasure Island. Others live in market-rate rental properties, while the rest are formerly homeless residents living in units turned over from military families.

After years of investigation into the extent of radiation on the island, the Navy released a report in 2006 that identified potential contamination sites.The report determined that Site 12, the official name for Treasure Island's residential community, is "radiologically impacted," meaning radioactive materials were likely used, stored, or disposed of there.

Shortly after, the Navy began remediating the land. That's when locals started seeing signs with phrases like "radiologically controlled area" andworkers in hazmat suits.

Miller said remediation workers started showing up at her home unannounced several years ago, pointing handheld geiger counters (which detect radiation) at the ground and recording the results.

"It kind of reminded me of Ghostbusters," she said.

Miller and her two daughters were told to evacuate their home in 2017.

"They gave us 90 days to move and then all of a sudden that 90 days dropped to like 16 days and we were out of there," she said.

Trelease Miller outside her home. Katie Canales/Business Insider

A year later, the Navy demolished the property where Miller had lived, along with the neighboring units, after discovering "soil with chemical contamination" underneath. According to a 2018 Navy report, multiple buildings have been demolished at Site 12.

Miller now lives within walking distance of that former rental.

From 2007 through 2018, Navy contractors detected 1,280 radioactive objects on Treasure Island.

At one unoccupied structure, a technician found "elevated levels" of radiation beneath a slab of concrete, according to reporting by NBC Bay Area in 2013. Radiation levels in that spot were 1 million times higher than what the EPA allows for occupants.

"During housing construction, debris from the SWDAs [solid waste disposal areas] was mixed with clean soil and dispersed across the housing area," a 2014 Navy report found. But it said "the housing structures are not impacted."

Kathryn Buckner in front of her former residence on Treasure Island in 2018. Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

However, in September, the Navy discovered what it called a low-level radiological object in the soil of an occupied housing unit, according to reporting by the San Francisco Bay View. The Navy said the object had "radiation above the background range" but added that it did not present a health risk.

Still, some residents worry about their proximity to sites that are fenced off because of contamination.

"If there's radioactive waste on one side of the fence, why wouldn't there be radioactive waste on the other?" Bradley Angel, the executive director of the watchdog group Greenaction, told Business Insider.

He added: "I've worked in the field of pollution in communities for over three decades and I've seen a lot of disaster situations. This is right up there in terms of a really bad situation that is a dire health and environmental threat."

Tahirih Linz, the Navy's environmental coordinator for Treasure Island, told Business Insider that "there was no risk to human health and safety in residential areas from subsurface objects discovered through the environmental cleanup program" and added that the island is "safe for residents, employees, and visitors."

A rendering shows what Treasure Island could look like once the development project is complete. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; dbox; CMG

The first phase of the proposed $6 billion Treasure Island development project is expected to include around 2,100 residential units, up to 500 hotel rooms, and 90 acres of parks. The final project, which is expected to be complete in 10 to 15 years, will include new roads, 140,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, and 100,000 square feet of office space.

The development will also have around 2,000 units of affordable housing. (In San Francisco, that means homes are set aside for households earning 50% or less of the city's median income.)

A group called Treasure Island Community Development (TICD) is spearheading the project it's a joint venture between the development company Lennar and real-estate investment firms Stockbridge Capital and Wilson-Meany.

A similar project, an $8 billion live-work community with 12,000 homes built at Hunters Point in San Francisco, could offer a window into Treasure Island's future. Since the early 2000s, the Navy has overseen the remediation of irradiated soil at Hunters Point, costing more than $1 billion. The Navy transferred the land there to Lennar in 2004.

But former employees of Tetra Tech, the contractor hired by the Navy to perform cleanup at Hunters Point, admitted to falsifying soil tests. The Navy has said residents of Hunters Point are 100% safe and has agreed to retest all areas that were inspected by Tetra Tech.

But the scandal generated new concern among Treasure Island residents, since Navy remediation efforts there were in part planned based on 50 soil samples collected and analyzed by Tetra Tech.

In video footage from the Labor Video Project, Robert McClain, a radiation-control technician who worked at both Treasure Island and Hunters Point, said corrupt soil sampling may have also taken place on Treasure Island in 2007 and 2008. McClain recalled outlining contaminated sites on Treasure Island in paint, but said that when he returned the next day, the soil had been moved and the radioactive objects discovered had "disappeared."

Tetra Tech did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

Bob Beck, the director of the Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA), a nonprofit overseeing the economic development of the land, told Business Insider that "naval operations on Treasure Island were dramatically different than those at Hunters Point."

Tetra Tech's field work on the island was limited, he added. He said he'd never heard of a "Treasure Island cough."

A Navy report published in March said Tetra Tech's Treasure Island testing was "consistent and accurate" and that all cleanup areas had been "managed by other contractors before and after" the company was involved.

A spokesperson for the TICD told Business Insider that it "has no incentive to develop land that is environmentally unsafe."

Condemned buildings behind a fence on Treasure Island in October 2018. Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

Washington said she has brought up her health concerns at local meetings hosted by the Navy and a community board. Navy officials "repeat the same thing over and over and over again," she said: that Treasure Island is safe.

Of the same Navy officials, Angel said: "They're not blind. They're not deaf. They're not dumb. They know what's going on, and they don't give a damn."

Linz said the Navy plans to continue sharing information at these meetings and will allow for questions "as new discoveries are made." But according to Miller, interactions with the Navy are a "sore subject" among residents due to a perceived lack of transparency.

"It just feels like you're not only playing with my intelligence you're actually playing with my life," she said.

Trelease Miller inside her home on Treasure Island. Katie Canales/Business Insider

Buckner said she wishes she had a more complete understanding of the pollutants that could be making her sick.

"I want to get the answers," she said. "I can't even battle half the things that have happened to my kids or my family without accurate information. I can't help my own family that's the most frustrating thing."

Washington said she also discussed her health concerns with the San Francisco Department of Health, but was told no other residents had raised any similar complaints.

Angel thinks some residents who have become ill may avoid speaking out because they fear eviction. But many Treasure Island residents could face eviction anyway once construction on the new development starts. Certain households will be offered a cash payment or new unit from the city, but around 200 others aren't entitled to either and could be told to leave in five to 10 years.

Washington accepted a relocation package and moved off the island in September.

Miller doesn't know whether she's eligible for a payment, but said she'd worry that accepting it could prohibit her from suing the Navy over her health problems later. (The official contract, however, does not contain language that forbids residents from suing.)

"That cash payment comes with a condition as far as I'm concerned," Miller said. "Whatever the hell I have, I'm going to have it anyway. We're going to ride this out."

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Treasure Island residents say contamination could be making them ill - Business Insider

6 versions of paradise: How to choose the right Hawaiian island for you – The Points Guy

Its Hawaii Week at TPG! The Hawaiian Islands have so much to offer travelers, from the sprawling city of Honolulu to quiet black-sand beaches to restaurants serving inventive island cuisine. And its possible to pull off a visit to the islands using miles and points. It just takes a little savvy planning and well show you how. Visit TPGs Hawaii destination hub for links to more stories about getting to the islands, staying on the islands and what to do while youre there.

No matter where you go in Americas 50th state, Hawaiis eight large islands (one discourages tourists and one is uninhabited) offer a wide variety of topographies, accommodations, activities and experiences.

But each island definitely has its own vibe. How do you choose between so many different versions of paradise? Heres a shortguide to finding the right Hawaiian island to visit on your next vacation.

Related: These are the best times to visit Hawaii

Oahu is Hawaiis most bustling and urban island. Its home to the states largest city and commercial center, Honolulu, which is known for an epic rush hour that sometimes rivals Los Angeles. Within the city limits, Waikiki Beach is the place to see and be seen shop, dine and enjoy the amenities of huge high-rise resorts.

But Oahus offerings are more diverse than just Honolulu. The growing resort area of Ko Olina is not as built up and has a variety of accommodations, including Disneys Aulani Resort and the Four Seasons Ko Olina. On the way to Ko Olina from Honolulu is Pearl Harbor, one of the most visited historic sites anywhere on the islands.

Related: 7 fun things to do on a rainy day in Honolulu

Oahus North Shore provides another vibe, downright chill with its beach hopping, food-truck loving, small-town surfer scene. Hikers can find plenty of trails all over Oahu, from the peaks of Diamond Head to less-traveled spots like Makiki Valley or Waimea Valley.

Oahus gateway for travelers, Honolulu International Airport (HNL), has the most air service of any location in the islands, making it the cheapest destination for travelers from the mainland. It also offers the most nonstop flights.

Related: Best ways to redeem points and miles on Hawaiian Airlines

For more Oahu research:

The second-most-visited island in the state and also its second-largest is Maui, home to the famed Road to Hana, Haleakala National Parkand the best whale watching anywhere in the islands in winter months.

For many travelers, a vacation on Maui is the best of both worlds. The island offers some of the same infrastructure, conveniences and activities of Oahu without the traffic and urban sprawl. Its possible to have an active vacation here and visit a lot of attractions or also just enjoy some island R & R at a resort.

Maui is my top pick for families with kids of school age because of its many activities. It works well for multigenerational groups, because it has experiences that grandparents and grandkids can enjoy, like the Maui Ocean Center or a sunrise at Haleakala National Park.

The island of Maui also has many amazing hotels and resorts at a wide variety of price points. Most are clustered in two major areas on the Lahaina/Kaanapali/Kapalua corridor on the northwest side of the island or in Kihei/Wailea farther south.

For its size, Maui offers an impressive variety of hotels for travelers to book a hotel stay with points. Most major chains are represented and many properties offer condo accommodations that work for families or larger groups. The Hyatt Regency Maui, Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, Westin Nanea, Grand Wailea (Hilton) and Andaz Maui have all scored well with TPG contributors and readers.

For more Maui research:

The island of Hawaii, called the Big Island, is the largest and newest island in the chain. Because its so big, seeing everything requires close to a week but it offers many different travel experiences from day to day.

The vast majority of Big Island visitors stick to the western side of the island near the city of Kailua-Kona and the Kohala Coast, where the large resorts are located. Luxury seekers can enjoy high-end properties like the Four Seasons Hualalai, the Mauna Lani Bay Resort (about to reopen in early 2020 after a major renovation by Auberge Resorts) or the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Families on a moderate budget can find ample hotel offerings too. In particular, the Waikoloa Beach Marriott and Hilton Waikoloa Village cater to travelers with kids. Luaus and pool complexes are a big draw.

Althoug its entirely possible to spend a week on the Big Island relaxing on the beach of a resort, the island can also be an adventure travelers paradise. On the northern part of the island, travelers can zipline, take ATV tours, jump into waterfalls, scuba dive or snorkel with giant manta rays, or flume down historic sugar cane irrigation channels.

On the southern part of the island, you can visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The town of Hilo on the eastern side of the island has its own local vibe that can be a great getaway for travelers looking for an authentic Hawaiian experience.

For more Big Island research:

Kauais lush greenery makes it the most beautiful of all the Hawaiian islands. It is home to waterfalls, hiking trails and a variety of eco-adventures. Most travelers seek out Kauai to avoid the hustle and bustle of Oahu and Maui and have a more unplugged vacation experience.

Unfortunately, Kauais natural beauty also makes it less reliable as a vacation destination. The islands greenery comes from the substantial rainfall it gets, which makes it possible that your vacation in paradise is a damp one. For that reason, its probably best to plan for a longer trip, just in case the weather doesnt cooperate all of the time.

Hotel offerings on Kauai are ample. For families, the hands-down winner is the Grand Hyatt Kauai in Poipu, known for having one of the best waterslides and pools anywhere on the island. Poipu to the south is home to quite a few other major resorts; Princeville to the north has many others.

For more Kauai research:

Although the vast majority of travelers to Hawaii visit Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai, there are two smaller islands that tourists can visit as well. Getting to both of them requires a little extra effort, as neither has air service from the mainland.

Lanai, the island owned by Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, is accessible by boat from Maui. It has two Four Seasons resorts on the island, so its also luxurious and pricey.

Molokai, in contrast, has no name-brand accommodations, making it a place of refuge for local residents and travelers looking for authentic Hawaii travel experiences. Molokai has commuter air service from Honolulu International Airport (HNL) and Mauis two airports: Kahului (OGG) and Kapalua (JHM).

I wouldnt recommend that travelers head to either of these places until theyve visited several of the larger Hawaiian islands first. Youll likely get more out of them (and know which one is the right fit for you) once you have more context to appreciate them.

For more Lanai and Molokai research:

Are you planning a trip to Hawaii? Heres some more advice:

Featured image by YinYang/Getty Images.

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6 versions of paradise: How to choose the right Hawaiian island for you - The Points Guy

Oil Spill Occurs in the Galapagos Islands; Emergency Declared – EDM Digest

By Allison G. S. KnoxContributor, EDM Digest

One of the most worrisome types of environmental emergencies is an oil spill in the open ocean, due to the potential for the oil to kill wildlife, contaminate water and permanently damage coral reefs. Because of the nature of these emergencies, it is particularly important for authorities to handle an oil spill swiftly in order to prevent further damage to the environment.

The Ecuadorian government is currently working to clean up after an oil spill near the Galapagos Islands that occurred on Sunday, December 22. Fortunately, the Ecuadorian government reacted soon after the disaster occurred.

According to an article published by the New York Times, a barge sank and dumped 600 gallons of diesel into water near the Galapagos Islands. Another article published by ABC News reporter Karma Allen says that "the spill occurred off San Cristobal Island when a barge carrying 600 gallons of diesel fuel collided with a crane at the La Predial pier on Sunday. The crane was loading a container onto the barge when it suddenly tipped over onto the barge, sinking the vessel."

Ecuadorian government authorities declared an emergency soon after the incident. ABC News also reported that "Ecuadorean President Lenn Moreno said he declared the state of emergency when the collision first occurred but said the situation was under control as of early Monday." ABC News added that "Park and naval crews were on site Monday, laying out containment barriers and absorbing cloths to contain the spill, but the extent of the damage is unknown."

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Associations Office of Response and Restoration, containing an oil spill needs to happen quickly, but there's also a lot of technology that goes into it. NOAA says booms and skimmers are some of the most important elements of managing an oil spill.

The NOAAs Office of Response and Restoration notes that "Booms are floating, physical barriers to oil, made of plastic, metal, or other materials, which slow the spread of oil and keep it contained." Skimmers are "boats and other devices that can remove oil from the sea surface before it reaches sensitive areas along a coastline.

It is currently unclear what specific procedures the Ecuadorian government is using. As the cleanup continues, authorities in Ecuador will ultimately need to continue evaluating the progress of containing the oil spill.

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Oil Spill Occurs in the Galapagos Islands; Emergency Declared - EDM Digest

The lesson from my trip to China? Solomon Islands is not ready to deal with this giant – The Guardian

The invitation from the prime ministers office came in mid-November, almost exactly two months after the event referred to as the switch the day the government of Solomon Islands, after more than 30 years of diplomatic allegiance to Taiwan, unceremoniously switched recognition to China.

The PRC [Peoples Republic of China] want to take SI [Solomon Islands] media on an Look and Learn tour of China, the email said, youre on the list.

In three decades of covering political developments in the Solomon Islands, the only other event that has generated as much controversy and media attention as the switch was a coup perpetrated in the dead of the night in 2000.

The move away from Taiwan has genuinely perplexed many Solomon Islanders, who ever since have been incessantly debating the implications for our sovereignty, our already waning control over our forests and minerals, our religious and other freedoms and even the economic wisdom of signing up to Chinas Belt and Road when for some nations it appears to have been less of a belt and more of a noose around their necks.

So, it was in this context that the delegation of Solomon Islands journalists accepted the invitation for an all-expenses tour to a land most of us had never expected to have the opportunity to go. I know I accepted just as I have many invitations to conferences and training events funded by the Australian government over the years in order to be better informed, and ultimately to see with my own eyes how this international juggernaut actually works.

Landing in Beijing, what struck us first was the vast physical scale of the place; the sight of huge structures and seemingly endless rolling boulevards and cities was hard for us islanders to get our heads around.

In Beijing we visited the newsrooms of CCTV and their international branch CGTN. The size of their staff numbers and the digital system they were using were, to us, the equivalent to going to the moon. I was pleased to get the chance to attend a press conference at the ministry of foreign affairs. Conducted fully in Mandarin, the only words I could make out were Donald Trump.

One of our team joked, I will go back and ask our local Chinese, why are you here when you come from a big and better country like this! He obviously wasnt thinking about the constraints faced by ordinary people when it came to personal freedoms.

Unsurprisingly these issues were not highlighted on our trip. Given the language barrier there was never going to be any real chance to speak spontaneously or confidentially with ordinary Chinese citizens about the reality of their lives.

But that didnt stop us discussing the issues of freedoms and civil liberties constantly.

We wondered out loud if our leaders actually understood how China carries out its diplomacy and if all we were hearing from around the Pacific and the world, about China being a bully, was true or not. But then again Australia who we largely see as a friendly and decent neighbour is still locking up those seeking refuge on their shores, so what exactly should we expect from this communist dictatorship?

In Guangdong province, from which many of the Chinese people now in Solomon Islands originated, the deputy mayor hosted lunch with a little side dish of frankness. We still have poor people and we as a country are struggling with our own internal issues, he said. Solomon Islands has to find a shoe that fits it. Each country has to find what system works for it.

The completely new town in Hainan Province, Sanya City totally blew us a way with its fabulous tourism port and new age architecture. I was impressed with what they had achieved in Sanya City but I kept thinking that such a huge leap of development and economic progress would not be possible without total control over the system and people.

I saw China as a country with money to burn and a point to prove. But from the beginning, all I could think was: how can we, a tiny island nation, ever hope to partner equally with this giant of a country, the worlds fastest growing superpower.

By the time our tour concluded in Shanghai, I was personally convinced that our political leaders are not ready or able to deal effectively with China. Solomon Islands regulatory and accountability mechanisms are too weak. We have already shown some spirit with our attorney general rejecting a hasty deal to lease the island of Tulagi, the capital of one of our provinces, to a Chinese company, but I fear how fragile and weak my country is against any large developed nation let alone China.

Solomon Islands has always prided itself on setting its own course in international relations, recognising Taiwan for three decades, and in the 1980s, as a newly independent state, standing up to the Americans over an illegal fishing boat fiasco.

In the end, it will be history that judges our leaders and whether the switch from Taiwan to China was the right move, and if they handle it in the countrys best interest. My hope is that in the meantime, the price extracted from our island nation is not too steep or too painful.

Dorothy Wickham is founder of Melanesian News Network.

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The lesson from my trip to China? Solomon Islands is not ready to deal with this giant - The Guardian

Watching NYE fireworks? Stay away from Treasure Island, officials warn – KRON4

TREASURE ISLAND (KRON) Planning on watching some fireworks if youre in the San Francisco Bay Area for New Years Eve?

If you are, do NOT go to Treasure Island, city officials are advising.

In a statement, the Treasure Island Development Authority said it does not advise the public to visit TI on the holiday due to ongoing construction related to the TI Development Project.

Officials said viewing areas and parking will be extremely limited on New Years Eve and roadways into parking areas will be inaccessible.

Besides, why not watch the fireworks from the comfort of your own home?

Join KRON4 on New Years Eve where well be live from the Embarcadero with Grant Lodes and Justine Waldman to bring you the fireworks from over the Ferry Building.

Learn more about KRON4s NYE Live celebration here.

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Watching NYE fireworks? Stay away from Treasure Island, officials warn - KRON4

38% of Survivor fans cant wait until Winners at War, even if 12% thought Island of the Idols was the worst season ever [POLL RESULTS] – Gold Derby

You cant say that the recently completed 39th season of CBS enduring reality show Survivor didnt lack for drama even if much of it was the result of questionable behavior beyond the normal routine of the show.

Top most was the inappropriate touching accusations by Kellee Kim against Dan Spilo, a bad situation made worst when the network and the producers dragged their feet on fully addressing the matter. That allowed two female contestants to exploit the situation to get ahead in the game by telling castaway Janet Carbin that they had problems with Dan, too, and lied about planning to vote him out at the next tribal council.

The #MeToo issues certainly undercut the theme of the season having former champs Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine act as undercover mentors to the players while cutely hiding out on another island. That is especially true given how Dan was allowed to hang around until the penultimate episode, which resulted in a downer of a reunion show when Dans main victim Kelleefinally got to fully speak her mind with lawyer in tow while host Jeff Probst apologized to her and the viewers.

SEE46% of Survivor fans wanted Janet Carbin to win Island of the Idols Sorry, Tommy Sheehan! [POLL RESULTS]

For those reasons and others, we asked Survivor watchers how they felt about the Island of the Idols season, including whether the deck was stacked against female contestants winning as well as how the show handled an overly touchy-feely male player.

That led to 12% of respondents declaring Season 39 as the worst season ever and 19% saying that there should have been an all-female final three. Instead, Tommy Sheehan won Sole Survivor with Dean Kowalski as the runner-up and Noura Salman coming in third. A full 18% thought that the shows handling of the Dan situation was reprehensible and made it more difficult for women who were still in the game.

SEESurvivor #MeToo fallout: Sue Hawk felt dehumanized 15 years ago by naked Richard Hatch, who now insists she concocted story [WATCH]

For a reality contest that revels in villains who often stoop to deceit and questionable actions in order to take advantage of other players and get ahead, it makes sense that 12% fear that now a post-Dan monitor of contestant behavior will be nearby each season might put a crimp in the fun of the show.

The fact that there was maybe too much reality in Season 39 reflecting both social issues even beyond inappropriate touching, including topics about race and ethnic backgrounds, that was enough to cause 4% to drop Survivor from the must-see viewing.

But have no fear CBS. A full 38% cant wait until Season 40 titled Winners at War arrives on Feb. 12, 2020 with 20 past champs including Ethan Zohn, Parvati Shallow, Yul Kwon, Natalie Anderson, Tyson Apostol as well as Queen Sandra, Boston Rob and his now-wife and fellow winner Amber Mariano.

SIGN UPfor Gold Derbys newsletter with experts latest predictions

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38% of Survivor fans cant wait until Winners at War, even if 12% thought Island of the Idols was the worst season ever [POLL RESULTS] - Gold Derby

187 Rescued from Small Raft Off Turks and Caicos Islands – The Maritime Executive

Turks and Caicos and Bahamian police forces transfer the survivors to shore (USCG)

By The Maritime Executive 12-24-2019 11:42:00

On Saturday, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF), Turks and Caicos Islands Police (TCIP) and the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Senecarescued 187 people from a small raft about 17 miles southwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew based out of Great Inagua spotted a 30-foot vessel heavily overloaded with people. Coast Guard 7th District watchstanders and the Coast Guard liaison officer for the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands coordinated a response with the RBDF, TCIP and the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Seneca.

The Seneca and a Her Majesty's Bahamian Ship crew arrived on scene and embarked the 187 people between the two ships. The Seneca took aboard 86 people and the Bahamian ship took the remaining 101. The Seneca later transferred the survivors to the TCI Police Marine Unit. No injuries were reported.

As a precautionary measure, the Seneca destroyed the raft, as it posed a hazard to navigation.

"Safety at sea is our number one priority and we are always grateful to work with our international partner agencies to save lives," said Lt. Cmdr. Justin Matejka, Coast Guard liaison officer for the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands. "This case involved 187 people on a 30-foot boat with no safety or communication equipment. That's over a hundred lives traveling in an unpredictable, unforgiving environment with no safety net. Without our intervention, many people could have been injured or worse."

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187 Rescued from Small Raft Off Turks and Caicos Islands - The Maritime Executive


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