Sunday, February 12, 2006

What a disaster

No, not my recent week at school. That week went fairly well, and with the exception of one period, I would consider it a very good week. The kids are totally into the The Stock Market Game, and even though I'm currently grading some substandard essay tests (not one has a conclusion so far), the kids seem to have a pretty good hold on investing.

No, it's not my basketball team either. Yes, this season is going to end up being my worst record ever as a coach, but it is by far not my worst season. This week we went 0-2 against teams that were simply better than us. However, we played one of the better halves of the year, hanging with the top team in the league until their 6'3" center just killed us underneath. Still, I coach a good group of kids, and it isn't easy to depend on others for years, and now have to learn to become "the man".

It's the county! Yes, Mendocino County is now considered a Federal Disaster Area, which means we are eligible for federal aid (which we aren't going to really pursue) and tax breaks (which we really are going to pursue). The declaration happened on Feb. 3, and just yesterday we had our first contact by a gentleman from FEMA. He gave us a phone number to call, which we did and promptly became part of the federal disaster system. Believe it or not, the inspection wait for us was only 24 hours. That's right! Called on Saturday afternoon, and around 6 p.m. the inspector from FEMA called and said that he would be here at about Noon on Sunday. Sure enough, our FEMA assessment is completed and we start dealing in money matters in about 10 days. Hmmmmmm, I wonder if the same process is going as fast in New Orleans? Of course, the damage is much more severe, but the services being provided at the same level?

By the way, the damage assessment was contracted out to a company called Alltech, which is based out of Virginia. Consumer Rights groups like to brag about the fact that FEMA throws out money to companies with little or no regard. However, besides the President's useless delay (he was waiting for what?), Alltech has been great. But, I did a little snooping around the issue of Alltech and I found that Alltech actually has a parent company called Parsons Brinckerhoff. If you want to see some impressive projects, check out Parson's Annual Report, a fascinating look at where global engineering is taking us.
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