Author: Loring Bourassa


Regulatory Requirements to Consider for Electric Gate Installation Plans

electric gate installationWhile homeowners are focused on deciding on gate options that require lower gate repair maintenance for the long term, professional gate installers give greater attention to the regulatory and legal requirements called for when installing automatic electric gates.

It’s essential for home and building owners to understand that state and local authorities impose certain rules and requirements for electric gate installations. Considerations include the rules specified by the homeowners associations in line with concerted efforts to standardize the type, placement and design of electric gate installations in their subdivision or community.
Ignoring the established rules can result in the payment of hefty fines and lengthy legal disputes that will only increase the costs of one’s electric gate investment.

Check with the Local Planning or Zoning Department of Your Community

When planning to install a major improvement in your property, it’s best to first consult with your municipality’s local planning or zoning agency.
Regulations tend to vary per jurisdiction, which could impact your choice of materials, design and size of the gate you propose to install. Zoning regulations could even specify a required distance between your gate and the property line, or the road fronting the location of your electric gate.

The following are other regulatory aspects to look into when planning to install an electric gate system on your property:

Building Codes and Building Permit

electric gate private propertyCheck with the local government’s engineering office if installing an electric gate on your property requires a building permit. Building Permit requirements depend on the building codes established by the local government to ensure that all building constructions, structures and their occupancy take into account the health, safety and welfare of the general public.

A building permit might be required to ensure the proposed gate system is in accordance with the local building code regulations. Failing to secure the necessary permit may result in the removal of the installed gate plus payment of hefty fines.

Safety Standards to Mitigate Hazards

Some state and local governments formulate and promulgate safety standards as a means of mitigating the established risks posed by heavy and powerful systems to people, vehicles and even pets. In

Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety has set safety standards for gate openers or garage door openers (a component of electric gate systems.)

ADA Accessibility Regulations

Although electric gate installations on private property are exempt from the accessibility regulations prescribed by the Americans with Disabilities American Act, homeowners should still include accessibility features as much as possible.


Why Popular Japanese Anime Productions are Not Politically Themed

Non-Japanese fans of manga and anime may have noticed that the stories hardly touch on political issues except for those supporting the concept of nationalism.
Japanese animation has long been recognized as apolitical and has been instrumental in developing a better image of Japan. After all, the nation suffered from terrible consequences as a result of its undesirable participation in the World War II conflict. As it was, Japanese Imperial leaders supported the desire to dominate its Asian neighbors by siding with Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Japan launched surprise attacks that weakened the allowed forces, especially the US.
Anime history in Japan since the 1980s carried narratives that avoided topics of Japan’s political history as a power-hungry country. Many attributed the change to the rise of an otaku  population that has grown increasingly distant from political matters.

What Does Otaku Mean in Japan?

Otaku in Japan refers to the emerging generations of young Japanese nationals whose core interests are in the development of computer technologies; or in promoting popular culture that highly recognized anime as original Japanese art.
It was in the eighties when manga stories became a widely read pastime, particularly those used in developing anime series and films. They became acceptable as media for teaching new generations about Japanese culture and real-life applications of traditional cultures in modern Japan’s way of living.
“Space Battleship Yamato” of the popular anime shows that came out during the otaku movement, condemns war and violence by depicting the Earth’s destruction at the hands of other planetary forces and inhabitants.
The story supported the concept that rather than fight to dominate each other’s territories, Earth people must work together to strengthen the planet’s barriers and weaponry against alien invaders. The popularity of “Space Battleship Yamato” was such that it inspired the creation of other popular futuristic anime concepts like Gundam, Macross and Evangelion.
However, not everyone agreed with the concepts and principles supported by otaku communities. Some anime creators still wanted to incorporate Japan’s past political and historical stances, if only to make their anime creations more realistic to be interesting.
Yet the influence of the otaku culture has evidently become stronger. This was demonstrated by the controversy sparked by “Future War 198X” a politically-themed animation film released in 1982.
The narrative of “Future War 198X” revolved around the race to build nuclear power and to harness its potential for launching devastating attacks against non-allied countries. It was released at a time when there was cold war brewing between Soviet Russia against other major world powers like the US and the UK. Yet “Future War 198X” did not garner approval of organizations supporting the cultural movement inspired by the otaku community,

The Internet’s Role in the Global Popularity of Japanese Anime

Many believe that the international popularity of Japanese anime is mainly due to the artistic and creative skills of anime creators. Actually, the international release of Japanese animations in the 80s up to the 90s were limited due to licensing issues. Things began to change only in early 2000, along with the widespread use of the Internet.
In Indonesia, the advent of anime indo platforms paved the way for nonton anime id to reach Indonesian households.The Anime ID website made it possible for Indonesian anime fans to download or watch classic and new anime shows free of charge and without hassles.


The Fairy Tale World of Bavarians and Their Beloved King

Bavaria is often identified as a state of Germany, and it’s officially known as Freistaat Bayern, which translates in English as the Free State of Bavaria. Despite the country’s strategic alliance with the Prussian-led German Empire during the Austro-Prussian War that led to the kingdom’s addition to Germany as an autonomous state, Bavarians have been able to assert its unique culture and identity.

In its many towns and villages, the people of Bayern’s penchant for fairy tale is still evident, unaffected by the stoicism of German culture that strives to maintain strict discipline aimed at achieving perfection and precision in all aspects of life.

The annual Oktoberfest that is being celebrated by all beer lovers throughout the world is actually a Bavarian tradition, and not German as many are inclined to think. The famous and world-renowned Neuschwanstein Castle or the fairy tale castle that served as model to Disneyland’s iconic Sleeping Beauty palace, is the legacy of Bavarian King Ludwig II.

Sadly, King Ludwig II’s lack of discipline in handling the state’s financial affairs and disinterest in politics, caused him to lose not only his position as ruler of Bavaria, but also his reputation. He was branded as a Mad King, was arrested, and on the same day, met his untimely and mysterious death.

The People of Bavaria and King Ludwig II

Currently, Bavaria is the second largest economy among German states when it comes to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This gives them a prestigious status as one of Germany’s wealthiest regions.

Travel brochures usually highlight Bayern culture through their fairy-tale villages, ornate palaces, baroque churches, snow-capped Alpine peaks, and lush green highland meadows. Other tourists are more interested in Bavaria’s culinary specialties such as authentic sausages and dumplings, alongside rivers of beer.

Travelers can also experience the ambience of Bavaria’s folkloristic culture, where women wear dirndls and men don leather breeches.

Historians tend to credit the ruler’s of the region for the famous Bayern culture, as they have preferred fine arts over engaging in wars in more than 800 years. Even King Ludwig II’s grandfather Ludwig I’s, fervent ambition was to make Bavaria’s capital Munich, a center for the arts, science, and letters. Like Ludwig II, the senior Ludwig I was also into building museums, theaters, broad avenues and palaces.

Yet whenever that particular era is mentioned, the first king that comes into mind is King Ludwig II, the lonely “dream king” and a big fan of German composer Richard Wagner. Another notable fact about him is that he was the eccentric hermit and builder of the castles located in the Alps which includes the famous Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bayern.

Bavarians show their love for the revered king by hanging his portraits in their farmhouses, inns, and taverns. Others even honor their nightclubs and hotels with his name, while there are monuments of him found at the countryside. There are even societies and clubs named after King Ludwig. Historians have taken note that no other monarch has captured the imagination of Europe more than Ludwig II, except for France’s Louis XIV.


Is There Hope for Better Child Care Policies and Programs in the US?

While the US has childcare policies, they’re carried out via not-so robust public programs except in states that have legislated their own child care statutes. Liberals through the progressive Democrats have been pushing for universal child care and early education laws, similar to those being provided by Scandinavian countries like Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland.

How Child Care Policies are Shaping Up Under the Biden Administration

Hopefully, positive changes will take place under the Biden administration, since this new president has been pushing for the inclusion of child care policies such as universal preschool, expanded Child Tax Credit and paid family leaves for medical purposes.

Actually, the Child Tax Credit has taken effect this year, for which 35.2 million qualified American families received the first monthly installment last July 2021. According to the IRS, they have credited a total of about $15 billion as advance tax credit payments covering as many as 60 million children and averaging $423 for each child.

In April of this year, US Democratic Senator Elizabth D. Warren of Massachusetts and House Representative Mondaire Jones (D-NY-17), reintroduced the bill embodying Universal Child Care and Early Learning laws. It’s a bicameral legislative proposal that aims to establish federal support for locally administered child care programs.

If the bill garners Congressional approval, it will ensure the availability of affordable and high quality child care services and early learning, to middle and low income families.

A Quick Look at Child Care and Early Education Policies in Scandinavian Countries

Scandinavian countries are popular for being family-friendly, as the national governments have made it compulsory for employers to give paid parental leaves to both mothers and fathers of new borns.

In Sweden, parents are allowed to have as many as 480 days in paid maternal and paternal, so they can devote quality time in giving care and raising their children from infancy stage up to their preschool years.

Although a set of 480 days paid leave must be consumed before a child turns eight years old, Swedish parents can still avail of paid leaves called “Vård av Barn” (VAB) when needing to look after a sick child. Moreover, they can choose to work for shorter periods when needing to maintain balance between work and family life.

To help Swedish parents meet the needs of their children, Swedish parents living together are entitled to receive a monthly allowance of SEK1250 for each child. Solo parents, on the other hand, receive SEK675 as monthly child care allowance.

In addition, preschools are required to provide quality day care services as they are partly subsidized by the government to ensure affordability. To make preschool daycare facilities accessible to all Swedish families, the government has imposed a maxtaxa policy that caps a limit to the fees charged, and in accordance with the economic status of a family.

Although Scandinavian countries like Sweden are not the wealthiest, they see to it that part of the high taxes collected from its citizens work toward providing support to families until their children reach the age of majority. Elementary up to Senior High Education is provided free in Sweden regardless of choice of school. Children’s medical and health care needs are likewise free, including the prenatal care, child delivery and postnatal medical services provided by hospitals.

Scandinavian nations are perfect examples of how governments are investing in families to ensure that the citizens of the future will advance in life in good health and with high levels of intellect.

In Sweden however, parental failure that affects the physical and/or mental well being of a child can have serious consequences. The government could take action by taking away a child from his or her parents.

That is why, a common obsession among Swedish parents is the use of baby monitors, preferably the babyvakt kamera type that lets them have a constant and clear visual of their babies and toddlers when sleeping or playing on their own in another room.


Why and How Florida’s New Insurance Laws Affect Roofing Companies

The need to control the rapid increase in home insurance costs in Florida elicited contentious legislative proposals affecting roofing contractors as well. The final provisions of SB 76 that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed to take effect in July 01, 2021 included certain restrictions that bar Florida roofing companies from carrying on with certain business practices when contracting roofing repair services with insured property homeowners. Mainly because insurance companies have been putting the blame on roofing contractors for the mounting costs of roof repair claims being filed by insured homeowners.

In recent years, many insurance companies have been rejecting insurance claims that they deem as unnecessary costs of roof repairs or roof replacements supposedly instigated by roofing contractors. As a result, an increasing number of lawsuits are being filed against insurance companies, since homeowners feel disadvantaged in not being able to claim reimbursements for their roof-repair expenses.

Inasmuch as legal costs all the more increase the financial burdens faced by insurance companies, a spate of increases in insurance premiums have taken place as recourse.

SB 76 intends to control the continuously rising costs of home insurance premiums being charged by Florida insurance companies. Yet the insurance bill focused on controlling the soaring number of roof damage claims, which insurance companies allege are results of business strategies and practices of roofing companies.

SB 76 Restrictions Imposed on Florida Roof Contractors

SB 76 included provisions that require insurance companies to include information about closed claims in the annual reports being submitted to the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation.

Additionally, insurance laws now require the Property Insurance Corporation to provide an estimation of the costs of catastrophe reinsurance in the calculation of rates for a projected 100-year probable maximum loss; regardless of whether the corporation purchases reinsurance.


While several other provisions pertaining to procedures for rejecting claims of roof repairs are now prescribed, the new insurance bill included the following restrictions that roofing companies and contractors must observe:

1. Roofing contractors are prohibited from initiating an insurance claim or negotiating claims in behalf of insured homeowners.

2. It is now unlawful for roofing contractors to offer cash rebates, discount coupons, gift cards or anything of value, to insured homeowners as incentive to having their home inspected for roof damages. Incentives include waiver of insurance deductible on a residential property,

3. Roof repair contractors are likewise prohibited from urging insured homeowners to file an insurance claim as consideration in carrying out roof inspection, as this is also considered as tantamount to soliciting a roof repair deal with the insured homeowner.

4. Generally, SB 76 prohibits roofing contractors from coaxing, urging or bribing insured homeowners with rebates or discounts through advertisements or by way of door-to-door marketing campaigns. The contention is that these methods deviate from conventional approaches in which insured homeowners initiate roof inspections by searching online for a licensed roofing contractor using search phrases like “Roofing Company near me.”

5. While some insured homeowners rely on recommendations of neighbors, relatives and associates, SB 76 also prohibits roofing contractors from offering some form of financial consideration to those who will recommend their services to others by word-of-mouth.

Still, in an article published by the owner of Silvers Systems Inc., Mike Silvers, who is a Director of Technical Services at Florida’s Fellow of the Royal Services and Arts (FRSA), he warns that there are certain language in the SB 76 bill that could be misinterpreted. He gives advice to roofing contractors to first seek legal advice before modifying their policies and their roofing contracts in line with the provisions and restrictions of SB 76.