Wednesday, August 27, 2014

City of Boston Appeals Preliminary FEMA Flood Maps

City of Boston Appeals Preliminary FEMA Flood Maps

BOSTON-- The City of Boston yesterday filed an appeal with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the 2013 Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for Boston. This appeal comes after a study, completed by an independent consultant hired by the City, indicated inconsistencies and potential errors in the mapping and flood study approach used by FEMA. The City’s technical and scientific appeal will request that FEMA publish new Preliminary FIRMs based on the study’s findings, and hold a new 90-day appeal and public comment period.

“These maps have significant implications for Bostonians,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “We are doing our due diligence to make sure they are established with the best available data and appropriate modeling methodology.”

FEMA released Suffolk County’s new maps on November 15, 2013, for public review. The new maps added 1,585 acres of land to the 100-year floodplain, which includes 13,709 housing units and 4,202 businesses. All properties with federally-backed mortgages or loans in the 100-year floodplain are required to carry flood insurance and comply with flood protection standards in local zoning and state building codes.

“The City is ensuring that the new FEMA maps best reflect the current flood risk of Boston,” said Brian Swett, Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space. “However, these maps do not address the future impacts of climate change and sea level rise. We know that coastal flooding will get worse in the decades to come, and the City has a number of initiatives underway to better prepare for this challenge.”

Because of the significant impacts of these maps, the City of Boston hired Woods Hole Group (WHG) through a competitive bid process to evaluate FEMA's flood mapping methodology, data sources and modeling. WHG’s final report found inconsistencies in FEMA’s mapping and flood study approach, resulting in approximately 507 acres of land that should be removed from the 100-year floodplain, as well as 33 acres that should be included. These findings serve as the grounds for a technical appeal with FEMA. In addition, WHG is currently conducting more detailed and accurate hydrodynamic flood modeling of Boston Harbor, which will be completed and submitted as supplemental information as a basis for a scientific appeal.

After the appeal period closes, FEMA will respond to all comments and appeals.

FEMA has been updating FIRMs to more accurately delineate the areas subject to coastal flood hazards, known as the 100-year floodplain. Suffolk County’s maps were the last to be released in Massachusetts last November. The official Comment and Appeal Period began on May 29, 2014 and ended on August 27, 2014 and the City ensured that the public was informed of the appeal period via the hand-distribution of flyers to affected neighborhoods, as well as an email to relevant business umbrella groups such as A Better City, Greater Boston Real Estate Board, NAIOP and The Boston Harbor Association. The City solicited comments and appeals from the community to be submitted with its appeal. One comment was submitted.

Supplemental Document: Mayor Walsh's appeal letter to FEMA

Mayor Walsh Announces Multi-Faceted Off-Campus Student Move-In Strategy



Inspectors will target problem properties and improperly stored trash in known student neighborhoods

BOSTON – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced a comprehensive strategy to assist students moving into off-campus housing in Boston’s neighborhoods for the 2014-2015 academic year. Representatives from several City departments will conduct targeted housing inspections, trash inspections, and information drops, in student-heavy neighborhoods, from Friday, August 29, through Monday, September 1, 2014. In addition, the City has launched a social media campaign, called #Boston101, to highlight city services available to students throughout the year, as well as a revamped students section of the City of Boston’s website, at www.cityofboston.gov/students/.

 “We’re preparing for an efficient and effective student move-in process this year,” said Mayor Walsh. “By coordinating across departments, we will assist students moving into and across the City to get settled into safe off-campus housing, and provide them with the tools they need to stay connected with the City all year.”
 
The Inspectional Services Department (ISD) will have up to 50 inspectors canvassing Allston, Brighton, Fenway, and Mission Hill. Inspectors will target addresses with a history of violations, as well as units identified through random selection. They will execute on-the-spot rental safety inspections upon renter request, and confirm that units are registered with the City of Boston in compliance with the City's Inspection and Re-Inspection of Rental Units Ordinance, which requires that all private rental units are registered annually. Inspectors will be circulating through other Boston neighborhoods, including Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Dorchester, East Boston, Jamaica Plain, the North End, South Boston, and the South End to check for student move-in activity, and will deploy inspectors if necessary.

ISD and the Public Works Department (PWD) will be posting information about bed bugs, reminding students to avoid used furniture, and to notify their landlord immediately in the event of a suspected infestation. The Code Enforcement Division of PWD will be issuing citations for trash violations, including improperly placed trash, and trash placed on the curb on the incorrect trash day. Trash trucks will be circulating through key student move-in neighborhoods to collect discarded items that have been placed on the curb. New residents can visit www.cityofboston.gov/myneighborhood to find their trash and recycling dates.

On Monday, September 1, representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services will be staffing tents at Cleveland Circle in Brighton, at the Hess Gas Station at 100 Brighton Avenue in Allston, and in Calumet Square in Mission Hill. They will be distributing “#Boston101: Student Guides to City Services” booklets and a bookmark with move-in tips from ISD and Greenovate Boston. They will be on-hand to assist students with City information, and directing students with questions or concerns to call the Mayor’s Hotline at 617-635-4500, tweet @notifyboston, or use the City of Boston’s Citizen’s Connect App.

The Boston Transportation Department will be implementing on-street parking restrictions on several streets in Allston and Brighton from Friday, August 28, through Tuesday, September 2, and in Mission Hill and Fenway on Monday, September 1. In addition, on-street parking restrictions will be in effect around Northeastern University this week through to Monday, September 1. Signs will be posted in affected neighborhoods. For more information on street restrictions, visit www.cityofboston.gov/transportation/trafficadvisories.

The newly-redesigned website, www.cityofboston.gov/students, has been updated to improve user experience, providing relevant information on safe rental housing, move-in tips, public transportation, and things to do in the City. #Boston101 is a social media campaign featuring animated videos, blog posts, and graphic content that will run from the @NotifyBoston and @Onein3 Twitter handles during the month of September.

In 2013, there were nearly 36,000 undergraduate and graduate students estimated to be living off-campus in the City of Boston at more than 13,300 unique addresses. In July 2014, upon request of Mayor Walsh, Boston’s colleges and universities provided the City with the addresses of students living off-campus. Department of Neighborhood Development analysts reviewed the data and identified 437 addresses where more than four unrelated undergraduates might live, in violation of Boston’s Student Zoning Amendment. Of that list, 149 addresses, with 2,000 student residents, were flagged for potential concern, such as students exceeding the number of bedrooms. ISD has visited 137 of these units to look for violations since July, and will revisit them during the student move-in period.

麻大孔子學院辦講座 助中文教師準備新學年

麻州大學波士頓分校孔子學院825日舉辦中文教師培訓。來自4州的60多名老師上了一整天的課,紛紛表示從6名講者那兒學到很多。
麻州大學波士頓分校孔子學院中方院長劉成運表示,這場培訓,主題為“如何為新學年做好準備”,60多名學員分別來自麻州(MA),新罕布夏州(NH),康州(CT),以及紐約州(NY),其中還包括瓦爾普萊索孔子學院中方院長、羅德島大學孔子學院院長助理。
6名講課老師分別為來自哈維克Monomoy 區域學區的高健、牛頓Bigelow 中學的高傑、波士頓拉丁學校的楊明、波士頓復興(Renaissance)特許學校的陳麗嘉,Williston Northampton 學校的張華,以及麻州大學波士頓孔子學院的王淑紅。他們根據各地中文教學的實際狀況,以新學年為教學設計主題,從不同角度闡述。
 高健講的是“開個好頭並不難”。她幽默風趣的闡述,以韻律,多媒體輔助教學,能達到“好的開始是成功的一半”這效果。
楊明和陳麗嘉借用很豐富的實例,深入分析了學生群體結構和和多元化對教學的影響,還介紹了美國主流學校常用的課堂管理理念,幾種有效的課堂管​​理方法。
張華以專業視角分析中文課程的範式轉換。她重點介紹了中文教學的課程設計框架、後向設計模式,以及如何培養學生的螺旋式技能。
王淑紅介紹了漢辦、對外漢語出版社、國家開放大學等開發提供的各種中文教學資源。
當天上課的學員,還分成小學、初中、高中三組,進行分組討論, 由高健、張華和孟援朝主持,就不同層次的中文教學的計劃,更深入的探討,旁邊有12來自北京的對外漢語碩士項目學員,在現場觀摩。
麻州大學波士頓孔子學院院長孫柏鳳表示,孔子學院的重要使命之一,是為中文教師提供職業發展機會、提高中文教學整體水平,將根據各名老師參加培訓時間,頒發證書,也將針對老師們的不同需求,辦理更多培訓。
她還籲請學員們在927日這天,到波士頓市政府廣場,參加大波士頓地區僑學各界舉辦的慶祝中華人民共和國成立65週年、中美建交35週年,以及孔子學院日等活動。

圖片說明:

            麻州大學波士頓分校孔子學院中文教師培訓,有60多人參加。(圖由麻州大學波士頓孔子學院提供)


            麻州大學波士頓分校孔子學院中文教師培訓,講課老師示範課堂管理技巧。(圖由麻州大學波士頓孔子學院提供)

台灣十六所科技大學校長訪波士頓為創新創業取經

由台灣教育部技術及職業教育司司長李彥儀率領,共22人的“臺灣科技大學創新創業訪問團”, 已於25日抵達波士頓,正陸續參訪哈佛,MITBabson等院校,以及劍橋創新中心,為推動台灣的產學結合,進一步取經。
            訪問團成員包括校長,副校長,分別來自台灣的16所科技大學,包括曾任教育部部長,現為台灣教育大學系統總校長的吳清基,臺灣科技大學校長廖慶榮,南台科技大學校長戴謙,正修科技大學校長龔瑞璋等,共22人。
            25日他們參觀了從19942001年,連續八年獲“美國新聞和世界報導”雜誌評選為企業管理(MBA)教育第一名的巴布森(Babson)學院,昨(26)參觀麻省理工學院的產業聯絡項目(ILP),聽取該項目資深副主任Todd Glickman做簡報。今(27)日將繼續參觀哈佛大學創新實驗室iLab,劍橋市創新中心(Cambridge Innovation Center),預定28日赴康州紐黑文(New Haven)市的耶魯大學,參訪馬佐平教授的半導體實驗室,預定31日返台。
李彥儀司長表示,近年來台灣積極推動產學合作,更加重視應用科學,鼓勵學校把研發成果專利,技術轉移成人們看得見,摸得著的商品,希望借著講究創新,創業的技職教育,幫助學生畢業後順利就業,甚至創業。
該團抵達波士頓前,在華府參訪,拜會了美國教育部副部長John Uvin,成人及職業教育司官員共五人,了解到美國總統奧巴馬近年撥發很多資源給社區大學,和台灣的做法類似。
李彥儀指出,行政院今年才又公佈撥出四年二百億元經費,辦理“技職再造”項目,邀聘業界人士進校園當老師,傳承經驗,同時幫助各校更新設備,跟上時代。
參觀了麻省理工學院的產業聯絡項目後,他們覺得台灣從2002年起成立的六大“教育部區域產學合作中心”,做法也很像。其中兩名校長認為,各校目前在做的產學合作,相比之下,規模小些。麻省理工學院一所學校就有3000多名研究人員,產業聯絡項目辦公室裏,也有50多名員工,台灣要加強產學合作力度,還得整合一下資源。
以培養師資為主旨,整個系統內有七所學校的台灣教育大學系統總校長吳清基表示,台灣現在強調的是“三創中心”,要創意,創新,創業並重。
駐波士頓臺北經濟文化辦事處教育組組長黃薳玉指出,教育部為帶動臺灣科技大學與產業界合作,已於2012年試辦“典範科技大學”計劃,並於2013年評選出12所典範大學,其中有10所都參加了這次的訪問團。
為協助各科技大學認識大波士頓本地的台灣科技資源,黃薳玉昨日中午還特地在醉瓊樓設宴,請紐英崙玉山科技協會會長康麗雪,新英格蘭台灣青年商會會長王遠力,紐英崙中華專業人士協會董事長張重華,曾任紐英崙玉山科技協會會長的建築師王本仁等人出席,與校長們交流。
到訪的臺灣科技大學創新創業訪問團成員,除前述幾人外,還包括,臺北科大校長姚立德,高雄第一科大副校長許孟祥,雲林科大校長侯春看,勤益科大校長趙敏勳,虎尾科大校長覺文郁,屏東科大校長戴昌賢,昆山科大校長蘇炎坤,朝陽科大校長鍾任琴,樹德科大校長朱元祥,長庚科大校長樓迎統,明志科大校長劉祖滑,龍華科大校長葛自祥,副校長林如貞,嘉南藥理大學副校長王嘉穗,高雄第一科大國際長許正義,正修科大秘書龔信節,助理教授張豪賢等人。

圖片說明:

經文處教育組長黃薳玉(左二)邀台灣教育部技術及職業教育司司長李彥儀(右八),前教育部長吳清基(右七)等人在波士頓華埠天下為公牌樓前合影留念。(菊子攝)

美東國術會慶中秋 八武館獻藝秀功夫

美東國術總會紐英崙總分會23日晚在喜臨門設宴慶祝甲午馬年中秋,八個武術團體競相獻藝,兩個舞蹈團演出八舞,近三百人歡聚一堂,熱鬧非常。
            美東國術總會紐英崙總分會從去年開始,改以中秋武林大會,取代農曆新春大宴。由於各武館時間不易配合,參加活動的武館,和去年並不儘相同。23日晚上場示範者,包括胡清白鶴派,黃強白眉派,華林派,駱瀚源空手道,波士頓少林功夫中心,芳太極氣功協會,巾幗醒獅團,東方文化學院,共八個團體。
            該會創辦人之一,現已高齡八十六歲的余仕昂仍擔任總策劃,該會新會長之一,創辦東方文化學院的譚輝和大波士頓資歷極深的周紹球搭擋任司儀。
            前述各團體當晚輪番上場,展示太極,推手,虎鶴拳,羅漢拳,連環腿,刀槍劍戟等各種功夫。
            其中的華林派,由摩頓市華林功夫學校師傅余翠梅率隊示範。她的丈夫陳錦榮,兒子陳城熹,都夾在表演團隊中,和團員們展示的踢腿,彈跳,翻騰動作,舉手投足都虎虎有風,讓台下觀眾紛紛稱讚,難怪該一功夫學校最近在一國際比賽中奪得兩項總冠軍。
            當晚示範功夫的團隊,共有兩個是由女師傅領頭,余翠梅之外是來自台灣,臺北體育大學畢業,獲有春田學院體育碩士學位,在普利茅斯(Plymouth)創辦了芳太極氣功協會的李芳芝。
            總強調每次大會都要帶點新東西來的駱翰源師傅,這晚除了再次指出武術是種對抗(fight)藝術,還請出兩名白髮蒼蒼,分別已高齡六十九歲,七十六歲的老先生,示範用手杖當武器的防身法,提醒年長者,善用手杖及把手彎勾,就不怕歹徒太歲頭上動土了。
            創辦將近四年,武館設在昆士市的波士頓少林中心,這晚由年輕的開館師傅釋恆正指揮徒弟上場。為了陪女兒,跟著學武,曾任紐英崙中華專業人員協會副會長的林明輝,也手起腳落,已然身手不凡。
            美東國術總會紐英崙總分會前任會長胡衛正透露,目前該會包括三個武館,胡清白鶴派,黃強白眉派,以及東方文化學院。今年的會長為東方文化學院創辦人譚輝,副會長為黃強白眉派師傅蘇細春。其他到會示範武術的都是嘉賓武館。往年參與示範,黃雅亭師傅率領的南派武館,以及Michael William創辦的武藝研究院,都因在外地參加比賽,未能出席。
            當晚到賀嘉賓,包括駐波士頓台北經濟文化辦事處副處長陳銘俊,波士頓華僑文教中心主任郭大文,波士頓僑務委員馬滌凡,紐英崙中華公所主席阮鴻燦,正在競選麻州副州長的劍橋市議員張禮能等人。
            查詢美東國術總會紐英崙總分會詳情,可發電郵到,e92ken@gmail.com

圖片說明:

            右起,胡衛正,周紹球,余仕昂,譚輝等紐英崙美東國術會要員和經文處副處長陳銘俊(左一),麻州副州長候選人張禮能(左三)在會中合影。(菊子攝)

            參與活動的武術團體會末大合照。(菊子攝)
            各門派師傅及嘉賓合影。(菊子攝)

            李芳芝(左),余翠梅(右)是當晚的兩名女師傅。(菊子攝)

            紐英崙美東國術會和茉莉花舞蹈團合影。(菊子攝)

            波士頓鄉土舞蹈團演出。(菊子攝)

            紐英崙美東國術會前會長胡衛正(右起),余仕昂請紐英崙中華公所主席阮鴻燦致詞。(菊子攝)


            駱瀚源(右三)在兩名老人家示範手杖功時做說明。(菊子攝)
波士頓少林功夫中心

麻州未加入聯邦真正ID法 居民進出聯邦大樓、登機將受限

麻州未簽署實施聯邦政府的“真正身分證(REAL ID)“法,開始面對聯邦政府不承認麻州駕照,麻州居民因此無法進聯邦大樓,甚至無法登機的困境。
波士頓環球報昨(26)日一篇報導指出,一麻州居民最近遭遇持麻州駕照,無法進入華府附近一聯邦大樓狀況。
據悉,全美共有九州未簽署“真正身分證”法,麻州是其中之ㄧ。
美國聯邦政府的“真正身分證”法,逼使各州證實持駕照者的公民資格,並在發駕照時更新安全標準。美國國會想藉此法防堵恐怖份子,但麻州及其他州的官員因為該法有侵犯州權之嫌,得額外多花數以百萬元計的金錢,還有隱私權顧慮而猶豫未簽署。
各州並不會因未簽署該法而受懲罰,但該法從今年七月底實施後,居民將為遭遇到的限制而感沮喪。
            波士頓環球報指出,麻州州長派區克(Deval Patrick)辦公室把這問題轉給了麻州交通廳。該廳發言人Cyndi Roy Gonzalez表示,麻州已申請延期實施,以期有足夠時間因應該法的規定。
            她說,美國國土安全局(DHS)要求各州大幅度改變發駕照制度,麻州想確保能做得對,做得好。但她並未詳細說明。
            麻州若要符合該法,必須在發放駕照時符合一系列規定,包括檢查申請駕照者的身份是否合法,保留照片,調查有權接觸敏感資料的員工背景等。這些標準旨在防止欺詐,以及入境安全。
            該法是“911“事件發生後,在2005年時訂定的,國土安全局已延緩實施多年,但今年四月起開始逐步施行。第二階段是七月開始的。
            20個州和哥倫比亞(Columbia)特區獲得了展延實施待遇,21州考慮提出抱怨。另外3州未作任何改變,但為人們提供了可用以展示的特別駕照。
            剩下的六州居民,在沒有另外一種身分證明時,就無法進入聯邦大樓有限制的部分。這六州為麻州,緬因州(Maine),奧克拉荷馬州(Oklahoma),阿拉斯加州(Alaska),亞利桑納州(Arizona),以及路易斯安納州(Louisiana)。
            由於最新階段行動從七月廿一日起生效,目前還不清楚有多少人受到影響,或者有多少聯邦樓宇嚴格執行這一規定。
           該法的作用,也有各種情況。遊客仍可不需要身分證就進入史密松(Smithsonian )博物館,被告也仍可出庭。
            除非麻州加入實施該法,沒有其他身分證明文件的居民,從2016年起,將會發現自己無法遊白宮,不能登上商業飛機。
            麻州參議會少數黨領袖Bruce Tarr表示,他為此和派區克政府接觸,幾乎沒得到回應。只能猜測那是因為因應“真正身分證”法,將會阻礙派區克政府想要給非法居留者駕照的企圖。

            麻州議會的交通憐惜委員會六月時否決了發駕照給無證件居民的議案。派區克以發駕照,可讓麻州知道駕駛的背景為由,支持發駕照,但反對者認為那是給了違法者具危險性的好處。