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Bangkok, Christmas Trees, and a Reorg

News for the Week of January 4, 2009

Happy New Year to all!

2009 has already been a very busy news week as we head into the first full week of the new year.  We have started our new goals for 2009 and we have some great things up our sleeves.  The site is going to be taking on additional authors and we are creating a new members area.  We will be looking for feedback from all of you real soon, until then, here is top news story.

Club Owner to be Charged in fire with 62 Deaths

The owner of the Sankita Club publicly apologizes and will be charged as one of the major stakeholders on the property.  The deadly fire has claimed 62 lives with another 32 in intensive care.  Details on the fire are still emerging as it may have been sparked by fire works utilized to welcome 2009.  Investigators are also looking into details on sparklers may have been the cause which were handed out to patrons at the event.  Local police stated the building has been operating without a license (go figure, safety concerns) since 2004 but has been legally open while appealing the decision.

Get that Tree Out of Your House

24% of all fires which involved the Christmas Tree occured in January.  NFPA and many fire service organizations have reminded the public that if needles are starting to fall off your tree, now is the time to get it out.  A great reminder that all of us can learn from and help reduce home fire hazards

Reorganizing the Building Department

Mayor Don Ness and Fire Chief John Strongitharm have announced a reorganization of the Duluth (MN) Building and Safety Division.  Starting February 25, 2009 the Deputy Fire Chief will take over administration of the division and the current building official will take a more hands on approach with the department.  These actions seem to be a more aggressive step in the mayors reform of the building and safety division.

The Lake Superior News quoted the chief stating “Past efforts at reorganization haven’t been as successful as we had hoped they would be, or as successful as our customers expect,” Chief Strongitharm said.  “We hope that through a change in management structure and a top-to-bottom look at the operation through use of a process-reform consultant, we will provide the expected result of a customer-friendly, effective and efficient division that has reduced backlogs for plan review.  We will also maintain our currently high level of code review and code enforcement.”

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