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  1. By Will James Sarah Howe, who is blind and uses a wheelchair, is searching for a new apartment after her landlord gave her notice to vacateWill James / KNKX Residents of the Tiki Apartments in Tacoma say they know their complex is run down. But they say it's served as a refuge for renters who struggle to find apartments elsewhere, including people with disabilities, fixed incomes, or criminal records. Now that a new landlord is displacing them, they're thrust into a much more intense housing market. A new owner from Seattle is renovating the complex and notified tenants last month that they would have to leave. The episode highlights the extent to which the Puget Sound region's housing affordability problems have taken root in Tacoma, once considered a bargain for housing within reach of people with disabilities. Tacoma's average rent swelled by 8 percent to $1,218 over the past year, according to the apartment search company RENTCafé. "It's like living in Hell," said Sarah Howe, who is blind and uses a wheelchair due to a rare genetic disorder called Norrie disease. Howe, 42, has lived in the complex three years and has until the end of June to move out. Initially, she had less than a month, but a public outcry led by tenants like Howe, and a last-minute deal engineered by Tacoma City Council members, extended the landlord's deadline. Howe estimates she's made 40 to 50 phone calls to inquire about apartments, none of which have panned out. "It's been a nightmare," she said. "I go to sleep and hope that I wake up and I get to start all over. But I wake up and it's the same thing: still looking for a place to live." Her disabilities limit her choices. She needs an apartment that's wheelchair accessible and close to transit lines. But a major obstacle is her income. Howe gets $790 a month total in federal and state assistance. Her rent at the Tiki Apartments currently takes up most of that, leaving her with $220 a month for bills and other expenses. Again and again, she's been told nothing is available within that kind of budget. "I want to cry, but I just hang up and then I cry a little bit," she said. "And then I get over it and make another phone call." Tacoma City Council members allocated $10,000 earlier this month to pay for caseworkers to help relocate the tenants. So far, about half have found new homes. All around Howe's unit, workers have already begun renovating apartments for new tenants. "My biggest fear is being the last one here," she said. "But then even if I'm the last one here, it's a statement that there's just not that much accessibility out there." When she went outside to pull a prank on one of her neighbors last weekend — she planned to put a sleep shade over her eyes and say, "I can't see, I'm blind!" — she couldn't find anyone. "There was nobody here to pull a prank on, nobody here to mess with," she said. "These are my friends, these are my community, these are the family that I chose. These are the people that looked out for me."
  2. Anyone know the name of this flower/bush?
  3. admin

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria shot

    Franz Ferdinand wrote in his notes that once he became emperor he would introduce universal suffrage, a.k.a. one-man, one-vote. But not for the reasons you may assume; Franz Ferdinand was no friend to democracy, said Cohen. He was interested in weakening Hungarian power, said Cohen, which he hated and believed was the barrier to change. Greater rights for south Slavs, Czechs and other subjugated ethnicities on the Hungarian side of the empire would undermine their political sway, and consolidate power in the crown.
  4. admin

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria shot

    Thousands of rose beds stretched out in a maze-like pattern over the grounds of his estate at Konopischt. According to “Archduke of Sarajevo,” guests often lost their way in “the great floral mosaic” of roses. His daughter Sophie recalled that her father was always studying flowers and pressing them into his books.
  5. admin

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria shot

    Franz Ferdinand was an ill-tempered, outspoken, headstrong man, said Cohen, and he pressed the emperor to modernize the archaic rules that were slowly killing the empire, as he saw it. “He was quite prepared to rock lots of boats,” Cohen said. Emperor Franz Joseph, on the other hand, preferred more tranquil conditions. “He was old and torpid,” said Wawro. The emperor, nearly 70-years-old at the turn of the century, often spent 14 hours a day at his desk buried in bureaucratic matters. “The comfortable ways of Franz Joseph were leading (the empire) to the grave,” said Wawro. “Things had to be shaken up.” The archduke’s demands, like modernizing the navy, retiring long-time military chiefs, and forming alliances with the Russian Empire — in addition to Franz Ferdinand’s pushy personality — irritated Franz Joseph. But the greatest strain on their relationship? Sophie. Franz Ferdinand never forgave his uncle for trying to stand in the way of their marriage.
  6. admin

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria shot

    Countess Sophie Chotek of Bohemia — a lady-in-waiting when the two met — was just below the level of princess, and according to Habsburg rule, ineligible to marry the archduke. His uncle, Emperor Franz Joseph, deeply resented Franz Ferdinand’s resolve to break this rule. Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie Chotek. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons Franz Ferdinand enlisted the support of the pope, the czar and the kaiser, said Lebow, to twist the emperor’s arm until he agreed. However, Sophie could gain no royal rank and their children were stripped of all claims to the throne. Sophie could not appear at most major events by his side, nor could she be buried in Vienna where the Habsburgs were buried. The arrangement deeply insulted Ferdinand. Even in death, Sophie didn’t escape reminders of her ranking. Gloves, a symbol of a lady-in-waiting, decorated the bronze of her sarcophagus.
  7. admin

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria shot

    Franz Ferdinand was trigger-happy. Tigers in India, kangaroos, emus and wallabies in Australia and stag and deer in the forests of Austria all met their demise at the end of the archduke’s rifle. “Anything that moved, he was ready to shoot,” said Lebow. His personal record was reportedly 2,140 kills in a day. Franz Ferdinand shot his first tiger on a six-week trip to India in 1893. “I cannot describe my joy,” he wrote of the kill. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons Franz Ferdinand tallied his kills in a massive journal. The grand sum of pheasant, partridge and ground game that he shot was 272,511, according to calculations published in “Archduke of Sarajevo.” Emperor Franz Joseph described his nephew’s hobby as mass murder, said Cohen, while others considered it a mania. Hunting trophies — an estimated 100,000 — cluttered his estate at Konopischt. You had to be careful walking down the halls to avoid getting impaled by antlers, said Cohen. At the estate, “(t)he foot of a giant elephant, shot by the Archduke in Kalawana in 1893, serves as an ashtray; the foot of another such colossus from Ceylon as a wastepaper basket,” wrote a government official from Prague.
  8. admin

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria shot

    Franz Ferdinand suffered bouts of tuberculosis during his 20s and early 30s. Many said this was due to his mother, Princess Maria Annunciata, who died of the disease at age 28. The upside of weak lungs? He was sent all over the world for treatment. A whirlwind tour of the Mediterranean, a voyage to Asia and a sightseeing cruise down the Nile all helped to dampen the disease until his lungs healed for good in the late 1890s. The coterie who surrounded the emperor — his uncle, Franz Joseph — at one time assumed that Franz Ferdinand would not live to inherit the throne. Cohen says that this readiness to dismiss the vulnerable nephew as a viable heir planted in him a seed of resentment toward the Habsburg Imperial Court (one that would grow).
  9. admin

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria shot

    Brustbild Franz Ferdinand, Erzherzog von Österreich-Este (1863–1914) in Uniform Archduke Franz Ferdinand with his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, and their three children (from left), Prince Ernst von Hohenberg, Princess Sophie, and Maximilian, Duke of Hohenberg, in 1910
  10. WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has charged two Ohio corporations, Epcon Communities, Inc., and Epcon Communities Franchising, Inc. (Epcon), with housing discrimination for failing to design and construct thirty-two multifamily housing communities throughout Ohio that meet the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act. Read HUD’s charge. The Fair Housing Act requires that multifamily housing built after March 1991 contain accessible features for people with disabilities. Requirements include accessible common areas, bathrooms and kitchens, as well as wider doors and environmental controls that can be reached by residents who use wheelchairs. The failure to include these features is unlawful and makes the property difficult or impossible to use by people with disabilities. "It can be very difficult for persons with disabilities to live in housing that does not meet the Fair Housing Act’s design and construction requirements," said Anna María Farías, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "If, for example, a unit has stairs at its entry, that unit is effectively unavailable to a person who uses a wheelchair; it’s as if the property has a sign saying, ‘no wheelchairs allowed.’" HUD’s charge resulted from complaints by the Fair Housing Advocates Association (FHAA), an Ohio-based fair housing organization, and HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. FHAA first filed a complaint with HUD alleging that five Epcon communities in Ohio had numerous inaccessible features in violation of the Fair Housing Act. During its investigation, HUD discovered additional properties, built by Epcon or throughout its franchisees and filed its own complaint alleging that a total of thirty-two Epcon communities were inaccessible. According to the charge, Epcon allegedly discriminated against persons with disabilities because it lacked unsafe and inaccessible routes that persons with disabilities and others can use to travel between their homes and common areas: mailboxes, the clubhouse and pool. The charge will be heard by a United States Administrative Law Judge unless any party elects for the case to be heard in federal court. If the administrative law judge finds after a hearing that discrimination has occurred, he may award damages to FHAA for its loss as a result of the discrimination. The judge may also order retrofits at the inaccessible properties, and other injunctive or equitable relief, as well as payment of attorney fees. In addition, the judge may impose civil penalties to vindicate the public interest. April 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act and the 30th anniversary of the Act’s amendment to prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities. This year, HUD, local communities, housing advocates, and fair housing organizations across the country are conducting a variety of activities to enhance awareness of fair housing rights, highlight HUD's fair housing enforcement efforts, and end housing discrimination in the nation. For a list of activities, visit The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. People who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Housing discrimination complaints may also be filed by going to
  11. admin

    A-list Celebrities

    @Chelita and @Nicole where should they be ranked? 🙂
  12. admin

    A-list Celebrities

    Ok... help me out... who have I missed or placed wrong? This list is just starting so I'm sure I've missed hundreds of good names.
  13. admin

    A-list Celebrities

    Where should I place? Drew Barrymore Martin Sheen Charlie Sheen Michael Douglas Barbra Streisand Cher