California Water Service Donates Almost $200,000 to Local Organizations to Brighten Thanksgiving and Holidays for Disadvantaged

As part of its ongoing commitment to improve the quality of life in the communities it serves, California Water Service (Cal Water), the largest subsidiary of California Water Service Group (NYSE: CWT), has partnered with charitable organizations in all of its local service areas to help provide meals and services this holiday season to thousands of families in need. Through its Operation Gobble program, Cal Water is donating $198,000 to local charities in its 21 service areas this month. The donations include 1,300 gift checks for holiday meals, plus more than $175,000 in direct contributions. Cal Water has contributed holiday meals through Operation Gobble for the past 27 years. According to Cal Water President and CEO Martin A. Kropelnicki, Operation Gobble donations come from the company’s stockholders, not from water rates. “We are committed to being a good corporate citizen and improving the quality of life in our communities year-round,” Kropelnicki said. “But we know that holidays can be especially tough, so it’s a great time to provide a helping hand.” www.marketwired.com

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While Other Parts of California Are Bone Dry, San Diego Faces The Opposite Problem: Too Much Water

The $1-billion desalination plant coming online next month in Carlsbad will fit right in with years of careful planning and investment in water supply in San Diego County. It will also worsen a peculiar San Diego problem amid a multiyear drought: an oversupply of water. Unlike other parts of California, San Diego has 99% of the water needed for normal usage. But statewide conservation mandates have applied equally to areas that have plenty of water and those that don’t, so the result here has been water piling up unused while local water agencies raise rates to make up for lost sales.Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall, a San Diego County Water Authority board member, said the situation is hard to explain to his constituents. www.latimes.com

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The No. 1 Green Building Benefit: Lower Operating CostsBy: Jessica Lyons Hardcastle

The building industry is rapidly developing new technology to manage emissions and improve energy efficiency and water management, while also lowering operating expenses. “Commercial and industrial property owners who oversee green buildings will see a significant savings across energy, trash, water and maintenance costs,” says USGBC spokeperson Leticia McCadden. “Over the next four years (2015-2018), the green construction industry is expected to save $2.4 billion in energy.” This was evident the US Green Building Council’s Greenbuild 2015 last week. And according to a new green building trends report previewed at the event about 70 percent of survey respondents cite lower operating costs as the greatest benefit of green building. “Green buildings are better for the environment, better for business and better for the people within them,” says John Mandyck, United Technologies Corp. chief sustainability officer. www.environmentalleader.com

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Bill Gates Launches Multi-billion Dollar Clean Energy Fund

The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist announced his latest endeavor, the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, at the climate change summit in Paris alongside President Obama and French President Francois Hollande. “We need to bring the cost premium for being clean down,” Gates said Monday in an interview with CNN’s New Day. “You need the innovation so that the cost of clean is lower than the coal based energy generation.” Lowering the cost of clean energy to make it competitive with fossil fuels is the best way to get poor countries to make the switch without sacrificing economic growth, Gates said. Clean energy can make air conditioning, refrigerators, stoves and fertilizer more affordable for poor people. money.cnn.com

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Obama Says U.S. is Safe As Millions Set Off on Thanksgiving Travel

President Barack Obama sought to reassure Americans they were safe as millions of travelers set off for the long Thanksgiving weekend on Wednesday and authorities stepped up security at airports in response to the attacks in Paris two weeks ago. In New York City, record-breaking crowds were expected on Thursday for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, and Police Commissioner William Bratton said the city was deploying more officers at the annual event than ever before. “Right now, we know of no specific and credible intelligence indicating a plot on the homeland,” Obama told reporters at the White House, two weeks after suspected Islamist militants killed 130 people in a series of coordinated attacks in the French capital. “We are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe,” he said, flanked by his FBI director and other top security officials on the day before Thanksgiving, when many Americans travel to be with their extended families for a traditional turkey dinner. www.retuers.com

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Maine Voters Approve $100M In Housing, Infrastructure Bonds

Mainers have voted to borrow $100 million to fund elderly housing projects and highway and bridge improvements, according to projections by the Bangor Daily News. Question 2 asked voters whether they favored a $15 million bond issue for the construction of new homes and renovation of existing ones for low-income seniors. Supporters say that will be matched by about $22.6 million in private investment. At least one housing project would be located in each of Maine’s 16 counties. Funding preference go to locations within counties that have nearby access to services such as health care and public transportation. Question 3 asked whether Mainers wanted to issue an $85 million bond for transportation projects. The first $65 million will go toward building, reconstructing and rehabilitating bridges and highways, with the other $17 million going toward projects at ports, harbors, airports, railroads, bicycle and pedestrian trails. bangordailynews.com

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XpressWest draws nominal high-speed rail competitors

When the Nevada High-Speed Rail Authority meets later this month to consider awarding a franchise for a system to deliver train passengers between Las Vegas and Southern California, there will be two competitors vying against the favorite, XpressWest. Las Vegas-based XpressWest, formerly known as DesertXpress, has been the anticipated franchisee ever since Senate Bill 457 was signed into law earlier this year. The system requirements listed in the legislation match closely with those in the XpressWest business plan. But the five-member authority is expected to hear presentations on each proposal Nov. 18, even though neither of the underdog competitors qualify based on the requirements of the legislation. In addition to XpressWest, proposals will be offered by Sky Tram International, Portland, Ore.; and Las Vegas-based David Brough’s Dual-Mode Advanced Vehicular Endeavor, known as D.A.V.E. There won’t be a presentation on a third proposal, submitted by the Reno-based Nevada Intercity Passenger Railroad, headed by Lamar Aiazzi. www.northcountrypublicradio.org

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‘Yes’ vote on Seattle’s $930 million transportation levy emboldens boosters in Portland

Earlier this month, Seattle residents approved a record $930 million property tax levy to pay for a laundry list of transportation projects. Portland has its own list — including a backlog of paving work, two proposed high-capacity transit lines, a bottleneck through the Rose Quarter — and transportation leaders think the ballot-box victory in Seattle might be a model that could be replicated here. Already, Portlanders are expected to weigh a gas-tax hike to pay for paving projects in Portland in May. And Rep. Earl Blumenauer earlier this month told the TriMet board they might have a fleeting window for a big funding ask, given a compelling enough package of projects. “I will admit that I am shamelessly lobbying for people to look at 2016,” the Oregon Democrat told the board. “There will never be, I think, a better time in our lifetime to be able to make the case to the public and secure support.”
www.oregonlive.com

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Sun Belt Cities Bike-Share for Transportation, Recreation

More people are sharing bicycles to meet their daily transportation needs and people living in Sun Belt cities are also using bike-share programs for recreation according to a new report from Rice University. Kelsey Walker, research fellow and report co-author with Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, says checking out a bike at a nearby kiosk is particularly useful for short trips when people don’t want to have to go hunting for a parking space. “If you just want to go grab lunch at work, you don’t necessarily want to have to get in your car and ride around, but maybe it’s too far to walk,” says Walker. “I think there’s a lot of potential for these programs to expand into a bunch of different cities and towns.” Walker’s group studied programs where bikes are available for a membership fee at a network of kiosks throughout the day.
www.publicnewsservice.org

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De Blasio Calls On Congress To Increase Transportation Infrastructure Investment

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday called for an increase in federal investment in transportation, as the Thanksgiving holiday travel period began. The mayor noted in an address Tuesday that with Thanksgiving travel, more and more people are packing planes, trains, and buses – but he said the infrastructure for transportation has been underfunded. He said the lack of investment is to blame for the traffic jams and delays that plague transportation systems around the country. “For example, in this city, some of these challenges are very, very pointed. For example, in this city, we don’t just have a handful of bridges over 100 years old. We have 160 bridges in New York City over 100 years old – that’s just one of our challenges. And what we see all over the metropolitan area – the traffic jams, the delays our commuters go through because of aging infrastructure,” de Blasio said.
www.newyork.cbslocal.com

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