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Albemarle Council hears more concerns from residents about public housing – The Stanly News & Press | The Stanly News & Press – Stanly News…

Alfreda Miller and her four children live in one of the worst apartment units in Amhurst Gardens. The toilets and bathtubs in her two bathrooms overflow with sewage and feces every few months, she said.

She has thrown away countless towels and blankets trying to soak up the water. Her children help scrub the tubs after each incident.

Miller, 38, had previously shared her story with The Stanly News & Press, but on Monday night she detailed it before Albemarle City Council, during a lengthy town hall meeting at the E.E. Waddell Center where council members listened to concerns raised by public housing residents.

Who wants to throw dirty towels with poop on them in their washing machine? she said, holding back tears. This is my day, this is my life, that I have to deal with.

Her unit on Inger Street is one of several in the public housing community impacted by collapsed pipes, which have caused problems for residents.

Miller said she also has mold in her home, which makes her fear for any potential long-term health effects. She is especially worried for her 9-year-old daughter, who has asthma. She said she believes her daughters condition has worsened since the family has lived there.

The conditions have gotten so bad Miller is afraid to invite people into her apartment.

She signed paperwork in late May to move into a vacant property while her unit is renovated but, several months later, she and her children remain in the same unit, despite having all of their belongings packed.

My kids shouldnt have to live like this, she said. We shouldnt have to live like this and be treated like this, like its our fault.

The council decided to schedule a meeting with residents after initially hearing from them during a council meeting in August. At that meeting, several council members mentioned it was the first time they had heard of such problems. Public housing director Dr. Kim Scott spoke in more detail about some of the problems during the Sept. 6 council meeting.

Victoria Ingram, who has lived on South Bell Avenue for more than 30 years, was one of the residents who spoke during the August meeting and again Monday. Shes had numerous problems over the years with household items, including her refrigerator, air conditioner and the toilet in her bathroom.

Shes had to discard new furniture due to infestation of bed bugs and often has to throw out food because her refrigerator is not working. Her air conditioner recently stopped working and it felt like hell in that apartment, she said.

This doesnt come easy to me because Im on a fixed income, Ingram said. Im to the point where Im fed up.

At least half a dozen residents spoke, including some, likeAngelina Kelder, who felt the city could have done more over the years to address the issues.

The thing that still continues to bug me is that you all continually pass the buck on to somebody else instead of taking accountability, she said.

In response, Mayor Ronnie Michael said the council is very disappointed in the conditions many residents are living in, adding that weve got to figure out answers and thats what were hoping Dr. Scott can help us to figure out.

Since public housing is under the jurisdiction of the city, Scott told council he has struggled to help his residents as a result of the red tape he has to go through on the municipal level. He alleged that the procurement process changes often and when he has gone to the finance department with funding requests, he is told he does not have the money in his budget to spend.

I have run schools that have $6.9 million budgets and I was able to get what I needed through the procurement process and this is the most difficult procurement process that I have ever had to deal with in 25 years, he said.

Michael stressed Scott needs to work within his budget and follow the proper procedures, including having written specifications for what is needed.

The citys 63-page Purchasing and Contracting Policies and Procedures Manualwas last updated in January 2021 and all departments are educated on it, according to a statement sent to the SNAP from the city.

As with any level of government, the City of Albemarles procurement policy is in place to make sure taxpayer money is spent responsibly, the statement said. All departments of the City of Albemarle are required to follow the Citys procurement policy. This procurement policy is based on local, state, and federal laws and procedures.

While he said he understands rules and regulations need to be followed to procure necessary items for residents, City of Albemarle Section 8 inspector Eric Allsbrook said some rules are made to be broken.

When it comes to appliances like refrigerators and stoves not working, thats a 24-hour emergency, Allsbrook said.

Councilman Benton Dry emphasized the importance of everyone coming together to try and solve the problems.

Were here tonight to listen and do what we can to move this thing forward, he said. We appreciate what each of you have said and I hate like hell that youre in this situation.

At the end of the meeting, Michael told the SNAP: The city is dedicated to finding how to address these issues and move forward and correct the problems.

Scotts plan to improve the public housing community

In a presentation before the residents spoke, Scott mentioned there are 10 units with existing sewage line issues.

The facilities are about 50 years old, as the housing community has been around since 1971.

He first discovered the problems in January, when he took over as director and stepped in what he thought was a pool of water but instead was sewage leaking from one of the units.

Scott and his staff are working with Stogner Architecture in Rockingham to determine the severity of the problem and hire contractors to renovate the properties. Since 1991, Stogner has worked on 18 public housing projects within the city, according to its website.

In addition to the collapsed pipes, Scott has found 30 inoperable refrigerators and stoves and four HVAC systems that are not working. Many of the HVAC units have not been serviced in six years, he said.

Scott would like to modernize and refurbish at least 20 apartment units each fiscal year. This would include mold testing and abatement, sheet rock repair and replacement, floor, ceiling and cabinet replacement, as well as painting, appliance replacement and incidental repairs.

Stogner will work with the public housing department to help identify the existing condition of cast iron sewer systems in the units and replace the existing systems with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping.

The sewer repair project is forecasted to begin next February, Scott said.

Capital funding for the public housing department for fiscal year 2022 is $724,485, with funding for 2023-2026 expected to be $578,517 each year.

A key problem has been that several vacant units on Inger Street, which will temporarily house several of the residents dealing with sewer problems like Miller and her children, are still not yet ready. Scott has looked at alternative options, such as hotels in the area, but they have all been booked.

My concern is I dont have units to put my residents in because theyre not finished, Scott told council.

He anticipates the vacant units should be completed within the next two to three weeks.

In addition to the sewer problems, as part of his five-year plan, Scott recently changed portions of the Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy, including rent collection and security deposits.

Scott and his staff have been updating residents rental amounts, which had been inconsistent in the past, and have reduced the waiting list, which had been inflated due to individuals who have been dead for years still being included.

He is also working to establish wrap-around services for many families, including healthcare, mental health services, youth development, childcare and literacy programs.

As part of the Change Your Mind; Change your Life campaign, public housing will offer several educational opportunities for residents to learn about topics such as credit repair, home ownership and workforce development.

I love these residents and I want them to have a piece of the American Pie, he said.

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Albemarle Council hears more concerns from residents about public housing - The Stanly News & Press | The Stanly News & Press - Stanly News...

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Build solidarity with rail workers fight! Help strengthen, expand the labor movement! The Militant – The Militant

CHICAGO Mario Aurelio Navarro, a 49-year-old experienced conductor, was killed in a derailment in a Union Pacific rail yard in El Paso, Texas, Aug. 29. Two cars derailed, crushing Navarro and crashing into a neighboring backyard, rupturing a gas line and forcing the evacuation of 50 residents. Navarros death on the job was entirely preventable. According to a police report, supervisors told him the track was clear, but in fact a derailer had been installed there when work was done on the track earlier.

Brother Navarro is the fourth TD member who has died while in service in 2022, said a statement issued by SMART-TD, the conductors union.

This latest fatality underscores the fact that the rail bosses drive for profits, which has led them to slash crew size and impose unlivable and dangerous schedules, is a crucial question.

These questions are not addressed in the proposed national contract for over 115,000 rail workers organized by a dozen different unions who are facing off against five Class 1 railroads and some 30 local carriers.

The contract for the majority of the unions ran out at the end of 2019. Under the notorious anti-union Railway Labor Act, they entered mandatory talks organized by the National Mediation Board in June 2021. Those talks were unsuccessful and ended June 14 this year, followed by a 30-day cooling off period. Then Joseph Biden imposed a Presidential Emergency Board to draw up proposals, which it issued Aug. 16.

Most of the rail unions, under pressure from workers, have said the recommendations are not acceptable and are continuing negotiations. If a settlement is not reached by Sept. 16, the unions are legally free to strike, and the rail bosses are free to lock out workers.

The board recommended a pay raise of about 24% over five years, some of it retroactive, and the bosses have ballyhooed this as the largest in decades. But most, if not all, of the raise will be eaten up by high inflation and increases in health insurance costs. And the proposal does nothing to address the issues of exhausting work schedules, draconian attendance policies, job cuts and speedup.

Overall, the rail bosses have slashed the workforce by 29% over the last six years, resulting in soaring profits. Now the carriers want to impose engineer-only operations on road trains, and have been cutting yard crews to the bone.

On Aug. 9 CSX unilaterally turned what had been two-person remote control switching crews into one-person jobs in its Selkirk yard near Albany, New York. Since then, Selkirk employees have been harassed, intimidated, and bullied into accomplishing more work with half the crew, Joshua Therrien, chairman of SMART-TD Local 212, wrote in a letter to the federal Surface Transportation Board.

My people were already fatigued and beat down from the employee shortage, Therrien said. Now my members are being forced to work 12 hours vs. 8 hours because the state of the railroad is in shambles. They are being yelled at on the radio, met by management in the field and being harassed for not moving quicker, or doing more, and when they cant find any rule violations, they are flying a drone over our heads 24/7.

The railroad issued a statement saying, CSX strongly refutes the allegations of harassment and intimidation.

Therrien also accused CSX of skimping on routine maintenance in the Selkirk yard. Crews are operating switches that are hard to operate because there are not enough maintenance workers to properly adjust or lubricate them, he wrote. We are walking on road ballast, so that the carrier can save a few pennies on good walking ballast to protect our feet, and we walk around debris. This description rings true for many rail workers across the country.

A track crew of three, the same size as it was decades ago, now is responsible for maintaining five times more trackage from our home base in Lincoln into eastern Iowa, including any yard tracks in between, over 100 miles of track and a number of bridges, Jake Forsgren told the Militant Sept. 3. Forsgren has 11 years as a track worker and welder in Nebraska and is the local chair of Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division Lodge 1320.

Track workers travel long distances, at times hundreds of miles from their home base. Travel allowances paid by the companies were last adjusted in 1996 and meals and lodging have not been raised since 2005.

The Presidential Emergency Board acknowledged the BMWE provided scores of anecdotes of employees who were forced to sleep in cars, skip food or eat nothing but fast food, sleep in substandard hotels with bed bugs and criminal activities taking place on premises, or sleep multiple employees in a room even during the COVID pandemic.

So far, our national negotiating leadership has been unsuccessful getting a contract with railroad companies, Forsgren said. Strike ballots of BMWE members were counted the last week of August, resulting in over 97% for a strike if an agreement isnt reached.

The rail bosses profit drive, crew cuts and resulting worker resignations have led to many delays in servicing customers. Some major capitalist businesses have appealed to the federal government to intervene. In June the Surface Transportation Board issued an emergency service order directing Union Pacific to prioritize corn shipments to Foster Farms, after the poultry giant complained it might have to euthanize millions of chickens for lack of feed.

But the business associations and government agencies, such as the Surface Transportation Board, are united in their opposition to any strike action by rail workers to fight against their conditions. They are counting on Congress to rapidly order a halt to any work stoppage, as it has done many times in the past.

The last national rail strike took place April 17, 1991, after three years of negotiations, mediation and cooling off periods. One of the major issues was the rail bosses drive to cut what were four- or five-person crews to two. The strike showed the tremendous power workers have. Virtually all freight ground to a halt.

By the end of the day, Congress passed legislation ordering the strikers back to work, and the unions complied. The vote was overwhelming and bipartisan, with only five representatives opposed. Most of the bosses concession demands were imposed.

This record proves more clearly than ever that organized labor needs its own political party and not the so-called friends of labor in the Democratic and Republican parties, Joe Swanson, a retired rail worker and the Socialist Workers Party candidate for Congress in Lincoln, told the Militant. The SWP campaign supports the formation of a labor party that would fight for abolition of the Railway Labor Act, which severely limits the right of rail workers to strike.

Rail workers have historically honored the picket lines of other unions when they go on strike, as they did in the 2021 Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Local 50G strike at Kelloggs in Omaha, Swanson said. Such acts of solidarity by the entire labor movement can both help and inspire others to stand up and fight. All out in support for the railroad unions in their struggle for a contract and for schedules and crew sizes that protect workers health and welfare. This is in the interest of all workers.

Naomi Craine is a freight conductor and member of SMART-TD.

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Build solidarity with rail workers fight! Help strengthen, expand the labor movement! The Militant - The Militant

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How Much Does a Bed Bug Exterminator Cost? | Terminix

If youve noticed signs of bed bugs in your home, its time to consider contacting a bed bug exterminator. Prices may vary from business to business, though. While do-it-yourself methods may seem to be cheaper, they may not always work and may end up costing more in the long run. That said, its important to recognize the benefits of professional pest management. When vetting exterminators, consider their treatment options and make sure they're flexible enough to align with your needs. Here are some elements that can determine how much a bed bug treatment may cost. Cost of a Bed Bug Exterminator

So, how much is bed bug extermination? Costs vary depending on treatment and environments. Some homes need more extensive, hands-on operations, while others only need a one-time treatment. Additionally, a preference for non-toxic solutions may also impact your cost. Not sure if professional treatment is for you? Wondering what a bed bug inspection costs? Terminix technicians can conduct a FREE bed bug inspection. From there, you can decide whether to proceed with the recommended treatment. Likewise, Terminix offers FREE follow-up treatments. If bed bugs return, a technician will return to your home free of charge during the warranty period.

Non-toxic methods can include the RapidFreeze solution. This method makes use of carbon dioxide, which is then converted to dry ice. Upon contact, this compound can freeze insects, including both eggs and their nymphs. This method can still be fast and effective but keeps customer preference in mind. In addition to the RapidFreeze solution, Terminix also offers other effective treatments to meet the needs of each home. These can include steaming, heat, vacuuming and trapping monitors. Youll want to make sure that your exterminator is using the best method for your home. Experience can also be a good sign that your exterminator knows what theyre doing. For example, Terminix has been helping homeowners tackle termites and pests for over 90 years. Our customers can vouch for our knowledge and success in treating infestations.

With so many DIY treatments, many people overlook the benefits of professional extermination. According to the National Pest Management Association, 84% of professional exterminator requests for bed bugs were actually a different pest. In fact, 71% of cases were fleas and 28% were cockroaches. Terminix technicians are trained to recognize differences in pests, know the common hiding spots and identify signs of infestation. Additionally, exterminators have access to effective treatment options that arent sold commercially. As so, they have the skills needed to successfully and safely apply these solutions in your home for an effective treatment.

Many people stray from the professional route when they are researching bed bug exterminator costs. Average homeowners may choose to attempt extermination on their own instead. If methods are unsuccessful, infestations may worsen. As so, its important to let the professionals step in right away. By scheduling an appointment with Terminix, a trained technician can help you achieve more success. With robust knowledge and unparalleled experience, they can help keep your home free of bed bugs.

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How Much Does a Bed Bug Exterminator Cost? | Terminix

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5 Unexpected Places Where Bed Bugs May Be Hiding In Your Home – House Digest

One area bed bugs love to hide in is your closet. As Bed Bugs Insider points out, one of the main ways bed bugs infest your house is by latching onto your clothing during travel, where they will then nest in your closet when you get home. They also like the darkness associated with most closets, so if they don't originate in your closet, odds are they'll find their way there eventually especially if you remove them from your mattress.

If you're a frequent traveler, keep your luggage away from the walls and off your bed, ideally keeping it on a metal luggage rack that the bugs can't access, per Orkin Canada. You can also wrap your clothing in plastic bags to try and keep the bugs out. Despite your best efforts, it's still possible they'll find a home in your closet.

To check your closet for bed bugs, start by removing everything you have stored in there and placing the items in tightly sealed plastic bags. Avoid wearing or using anything until you can guarantee it's bed bug free. Search for living and dead bugs, checking every corner and crease. If you spot even one, odds are there are plenty more hidden somewhere, in which case you should immediately contact an exterminator.

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5 Unexpected Places Where Bed Bugs May Be Hiding In Your Home - House Digest

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