A bi-monthly news publication for AWI Manufacturing & Supplier Members May 6, 2010
Business Tools

Leverage New Business from an AWI “Award of Excellence”

What can you do to earn an AWI "Award of Excellence" and gain business exposure to potential new design professional customers? Does an award provide you another reason to contact existing, past and potential customers about your business capabilities?

Yes it can!  How do you start the process? Submit your application for the next "Award of Excellence" (AOE) honors program – fall 2010.

Use an AOE award to market your excellence and gain a competitive edge during these challenging times when others are seeking entry into your markets. All Manufacturing Members are eligible to participate. Gain exposure among the outstanding projects of AWI Manufacturing Members who are featured in Design Solutions Magazine, AWI’s official quarterly journal.

Visit awinet.org for submission forms. The deadline for submissions for the next quarterly (fall) AOE honors program is August 1, 2010. Benefits to AOE honorees include exposure in the online issue of Design Solutions Magazine which is open for business 24/7, plus distribution to more than 25,000 industry professionals.

Pictured is one of the award-winning AWI Manufacturing Member projects featured in a recent AWI "Award of Excellence" quarterly competition. Architectural Woodwork Corporation of St. Louis, MO fabricated the woodwork and other surfaces for the St. John’s Mercy Heart and Vascular Hospital. Shown here is the curved nurses’ station in the surgery center, fabricated of hard pressure decorative laminate for durability. The three-story entry lobby features large expanses of American Black Sherry paneling. Other views of this project can be seen in the winter issue of Design Solutions.

Photo Credit: Debbie Franke, St. Louis, MO
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Energy Efficiency from Shop Floor to Top Floor

A report documenting the leading-edge energy efficiency strategies and best practices offers a look at the seven habits of highly efficient companies.

According to a Pew Center report, "Energy Efficiency from Shop Floor to Top Floor," the core practices and principles include internal operations, supply chains and products and services. The report reveals the high cost of the carbon footprints of companies and the importance of achieving energy efficiency.

To access the report, visit the Pew Center.
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Leverage Connections through AWI Networking Tools

Network with your friends, suppliers and colleagues without leaving your desk or easy chair.

Find AWI on Facebook.

Join the AWI network of 600 contacts on LinkedIn.

Participate in discussions, ask questions, get answers, and share. Use these tools to tap into resources and knowledge within the AWI community of members. 
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Five Strategies to Attract and Retain Generation Y

As the second-largest generation after Baby Boomers, Generation Y is reshaping the workforce. Also known as the Millennials or Echo Boomers, Generation Y includes nearly 70 million 20-somethings known not only for their technological savvy, but also for their entrepreneurial spirit. How do you attract and retain these workers?

Enter the generation that wants it all – a high-paying job with rapid career growth at a socially conscious company, flexibility and fun. How do companies attract and retain this generation of workers, already notorious for high rates of turnover?

Flexibility
Generation Y workers want to better manage their personal and work lives than their predecessors. They expect their careers to conform to their lifestyles. To accommodate this, many employers have adopted telecommuting or flex-time policies.

Volunteering
Companies that provide corporate-sponsored volunteering opportunities are likely to attract the attention of Generation Y, which has a high rate of volunteerism.

Training and Development
Generation Y is considered the most educated of all generations and enjoys challenges. Companies can better engage them by providing opportunities to learn new skills, through training or mentoring.

Communication
Generation Y thrives on technology, but personal communication is still important. Companies that support open-door communication may find happier employees.

Recognition
Generation Y-ers want to feel appreciated for their efforts. Formal and informal recognition, therefore, can encourage retention.

Employers cannot afford to ignore the demands of Generation Y. They should adapt their recruiting and retention practices today to help avoid losing top talent to competitors tomorrow, according to Administaff.

Article provided by Administaff (NYSE:  ASF): the nation's leading professional employer organization (PEO), serving as a full-service human resources department that provides small and medium-sized businesses with administrative relief, big-company benefits, reduced liabilities and a systematic way to improve productivity. The company operates 50 sales offices in 23 major markets.  For more information about Administaff, call 800.465.3800 or visit http://www.administaff.com. Administaff is an Affinity Partner of AWI.
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AWI News

AWI Leadership Meeting One Week Away

All Development Council representatives, committee members, board members and chapter leadership attendees, will be gathering May 13-15 in Louisville, KY for sessions to advance their skills and move AWI programs forward.

MEETINGS AND TRAINING SESSIONS

• Development Council Meeting, May 13, 8:00 am – 12:00 noon
• Speakers Bureau Training, May 13, 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm
• Reception hosted by the AWI Board and Sponsored by the Ohio Valley Chapter, May 13, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
• Chapter Leadership Training, May 14, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
• Education Foundation Meeting, May 14, 8:00 am – 12:00 noon
• Skills USA Committee Meeting, May 14, 8:00 am – 12:00 noon
• Supplier Committee Meeting, May 14, 9:00 am – 11:00 noon|
• Marketing Committee Meeting, May 14, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
• Single Membership Task Force Meeting, May 14, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
• AWI Board of Directors Meeting, May 15, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

All meetings include breakfast and lunch.

The 2010 AWI Annual Sponsors will have tabletop displays during the Thursday reception and Friday’s breakfast and lunch.

ASSISTANCE and INFORMATION
If you have any questions about the event, please contact AWI Director of Marketing Katie Allen at 571.323.3611 or by e-mail kallen@awinet.org.
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AWI Calls for Nominations for Honorary Life Membership

AWI is currently inviting nominations for the high distinction of Honorary Life Member.  Do you know someone who should be recognized?

Honorary Life Members are individuals who have contributed exemplary service to the association, its’ members, and AWI’s Mission as deemed by his/her peers.

For nomination procedures, qualifications for Honorary Life Member, and nomination forms, click here. The deadline for nominations is July 31, 2010.
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Green Scene

Guide to Green Colleges and Green Curricula

In an effort to recognize the environmental and sustainability programs at universities and colleges across the country, The Princeton Review, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), recently released "The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges."

It is the first free comprehensive Guidebook solely focused on institutions of higher education that have demonstrated an above average commitment to sustainability in terms of campus infrastructure, activities and initiatives. The Guide also provides important information on schools that have dedicated environmental studies curricula.

The Guide – which is based on a survey of hundreds of colleges nationwide – profiles the nation’s most environmentally-responsible campuses. From solar panel study rooms to the percentage of budget spent on local/organic food, "The Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges" looks at an institution’s commitment to building certification using USGBC’s LEED® green building certification program; environmental literacy programs; formal sustainability committees; use of renewable energy resources; recycling and conservation programs, and much more.

The free Guide can be downloaded at www.princetonreview.com/greenguide and at www.usgbc.org/campus.

The Princeton Review noted that another unique aspect of the Guide is that it provides important information on schools that have dedicated environmental studies curriculums. "By many accounts, there are going to be a lot of job opportunities related to the environment and sustainability," commented Robert Franek, senior vice president and publisher, The Princeton Review. "For those who are interested in working in this growing sector, the Guide highlights the schools that are doing an especially good job in preparing and placing the next generation of green professionals."
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USGBC Works to Empower New Generation of Green Building Student Leaders

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) joined more than 1,300 college students, 100 university presidents and leading non-profit organizations, social entrepreneurs, and youth leaders at the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) annual meeting last month, making its "Commitment to Action" to help students jumpstart their careers in green building and sustainability through the USGBC Students program.

USGBC’s commitment goal is to partner with student leaders to launch 200 new USGBC Students groups at institutions of higher education in the U.S. over the next five years, the council said. "As part of the USGBC Students program, the commitment will work to recruit engaged students and inspired green building professionals, and equip them with resources and training for advancing green building and sustainability projects on campus.  Students will assist with building audits, educational programs and LEED® green building documentation," the council reported.  

"Students that participate as active members of LEED project teams are eligible to apply for LEED professional credentials, an important accreditation for students who want to pursue careers in green building," according to USGBC.
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Standards

Did You Know...about the AWS?

By Shows Leary, AWI Quality Certification Program Inspector

Familiarity with the AWI Architectural Woodwork Quality Standards Illustrated (QSI) can no longer be relied on in woodwork project specifications where the Architectural Woodwork Standards introduced in August 2009 supercede the QSI. Don’t assume the standards are the same. Learn about veneer specifications.

As a service to architectural woodworkers, we will report about some of the differences between the QSI and AWS in each issue of AWI e-briefs to help members educate themselves about the changes.

Veneer Specifications
One of the most problematic areas of veneer work is interpreting the architect’s veneer specifications. Quite often the only specification is, for example, "oak veneer" or the dreaded "maple veneer." What does this mean to the AWI woodworker? The AWS helps with this by requiring that specific layout requirements are to be agreed upon by the architect and woodworker. In Section 8, Wall Surfacing, .the AWS presents nine (9) items to be reviewed in order to achieve the intent of the design. If the woodworker irons out these items in the shop drawings or submittals, than misunderstandings should not occur once the panels are installed.

1) Species of veneer. All woodworkers have had the "Maple Veneer" specifications thrown at them. What does that mean? The first item helps to clarify the expected wood species. This is where the woodworker irons out whether the architect means natural Maple, that being Maple with heartwood and sapwood, or the more common white Maple, that being maple without any sap wood in it. All woodworkers are aware of the vast cost difference between the two types of Maple and many have had discussions with architects over this item. What could occur? The architect expected clean white maple with no coloring, but the specification did not call for white Maple.

2) Method of slicing includes plain, quarter, rotary or rift slicing. The slice will be a major factor in determining the appearance and cost of the finished product.

3) Matching of adjacent veneer leaves includes book, slip or random match.

4) Matching of veneer leaves within a panel face includes running, balanced or center balanced.

5) Matching between panels includes non-sequenced, sequenced or blue print matching.

6) End matching, if required, should also be noted.

7) Grain direction. Normally vertical but many designs include horizontal grain. Note this on the shop drawings to avoid confusion later.

8) Fire rated veneers are sometimes specified and are available. Read the specifications and be sure if fire retardant veneers are required.

9) Flitch selection. Look in the specification as a flitch may already be selected and noted as such in the specifications.

About the author: Shows Leary has been an AWI Quality Certification Program (QCP) inspector since 1996. He has served as QCP's Regional Representative and as a member of the Quality Certification Corporation Board of Directors and Board of Appeals. He is an alternate member of the AWI Technical Committee. Contact Shows Leary at shows@showsleary.com.

The Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) makes every effort to ensure that published information is accurate and current. Neither AWI, nor any content contributor, officer, or employee of AWI warrants the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information published in AWI NewsBriefs and/or AWI e-briefs, nor endorses any products, services or other information resources linked from AWI’s editorial content and shall not be held liable for any losses caused by reliance on the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of such information. Portions of the information may be incorrect or not current. Any person or entity that relies on any information obtained from this system does so at their own risk.
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AWS Errata Web Site – Latest Changes

The AWI Technical Committee reminds members about Errata published – and changing continually – for the Architectural Woodwork Standards. See the latest changes.

Click here for Errata List effective as of May 4, 2010. And, check the AWS Errata Web site frequently for other changes. Many changes have been made since October 1, 2009 following publication of the First Edition of the AWS in August 2009. The Errata Web site is the ultimate source of information which is posted as AWS data changes. AWI members are reminded that the Errata List is a living document and should be checked frequently for changes in the AWS. Don’t be caught using outdated information on your next project that specifies the AWS.

Visit http://www.aws-errata.com/ for errors and corrections to the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS) jointly produced and published by the three developers: AWI, the Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada (AWMAC) and the Woodwork Institute (WI).
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Understanding & Marketing AWS: Upcoming Presentations

With the release of the Architectural Woodwork Standards (AWS), members of the AWI Speakers Bureau, AWI chapters, staff and others are/will be making presentations to architectural woodworkers, architects, designers and contractors about the differences between the AWI Quality Standards Illustrated and AWS. Watch for news of special presentations in your area.

AWI Empire State Chapter
May 27, 2010
What: AWS001 Training and Plant Tour
Where: Genbrook Millwork, Greene, NY
Information Contact Chapter Officers 

Successful Presentation(s)
On April 27, AWI Education Committee Chairman Mike Bell of Kentucky Millwork delivered a presentation about the Architectural Woodwork Standards to architects and design professionals attending the convention of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.


The AWS is jointly produced by AWI, the Architectural Woodwork Manufacturers Association of Canada (AWMAC) and the Woodwork Institute (WI).

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Puzzled about the AWS? Learn with a Crossword Puzzle!

Everyone would agree that the Architectural Woodwork Standards is not one of those "easy read" books you take to the beach on vacation! Caesar Silfies of Hollywood Woodwork, Inc. says, "This book can be difficult to navigate and yes, downright boring to study!" To make it fun, he’s created and shared with AWI a learning tool for members to test their knowledge of the AWS – a crossword puzzle. Give it a try.

Find out just how AWS-savvy you are while you test your crossword puzzle skills. You may know many of the answers, but Mr. Silfies gives you references in the AWS to help you out. Gosh darn...you should have made them read the entire book!

Click here to download the puzzle and clues. Sharpen your pencils and grab your copy of the AWS. Enjoy the game. Good luck!

Thanks to Mr. Silfies of Hollywood Woodwork in Hollywood, FL, an AWI Manufacturing Member since 1981.
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Safety Matters

2010 AWI/CNA Safety Awards Program Submissions Accepted until June 1

AWI Manufacturing Members who have maintained safe working environments for their employees will want to participate in the 2010 AWI/CNA Safety Awards Program. Get recognized for your good track record and boost the morale of your employees. Applications will be accepted until June 1, 2010.

How do you submit an application?

AWI e-mailed all AWI Manufacturing Members in good standing a link to the application. The submission period opened May 1, 2010 and will close June 1, 2010. You can submit your information here: http://www.inverra.com/AWI/2010safety.html 

What are the benefits?

  • Gain recognition.
  • Market safety as a core business value.
  • Build team spirit among your employees.
  • Negotiate business with added leverage.

    As in previous years, honors will be awarded for Best Safety Achievement, Zero Lost Time Accident Achievement, and Safety Improvement Recognition. Honorees will be recognized at the 58th AWI Annual Convention, October 27-30, 2010, in Denver, CO.

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    CNA Risk Control Webinars

    Tap into the resources of AWI safety partner CNA for complimentary Webinars on a variety of risk control topics. Here’s a list of upcoming events.

    "We know that keeping your business and employees safe can be a tough job. That’s why we created the CNA School of Risk Control Excellence (SORCE) Webinar series – a comprehensive schedule of Webinars that gives you the tools and resources you need to prevent accidents before they occur," CNA announced.

    The SORCE Webinars are listed below. You can register for any of these classes by clicking here. 

    MAY MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY FOCUS

    Drug & Alcohol on the Job: What do Employers Need to Know?
    May 7, 2:00 p.m. EDT
    Research indicates that illicit drug use and alcohol/drug dependence vary across industries and occupations. Mary Hines, President of SAPPA (Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association) and CNA Risk Control will discuss drug and alcohol use in various industries and what employers need to know about drug and alcohol in the workplace.

    As an added bonus, CNA policyholders can join SAPAA for the balance of this calendar year for FREE. All you have to do is go to www.sapaa.com, download the membership application and write "CNA" in the membership dues category.

    Electrical Arc Flash Safety and Risk Management
    May 11, 2:00 p.m. EDT
    Electrical losses impact equipment and workers. Joe Weigel from Schneider Electric will present an overview of the NFPA 70E 2009 Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. Joe will talk about facility and employer responsibilities for compliance to the NFPA 70E Standards, as well as the current status of OSHA’s enforcement. Participants will leave this Webinar with an understanding of electrical hazards and how they impact workers and business costs.

    Labels and Warnings in Product Liability Prevention
    May 17, 2:00 p.m. EDT
    The most common allegation in a product liability lawsuit is that of a failure to warn. A CNA Risk Control expert will share the latest changes in labels, warnings and instruction standards, and how to maintain product liability prevention.

    Managing the Latino Workforce
    May 21, 2:00 p.m. EDT
    According to Hector Escarcega, Bilingual Solutions International, effective intercultural communication creates a profitable workplace. Mr. Escarcega will discuss quality, production and safety, and provide valuable insight for closing the communication and cultural gap when training and communicating with your Spanish speaking workforce. Discussion around the use of customs and traditions in your workplace, along with legal pitfalls and social problems for cultural sensitivity will also be addressed.

    Motion is Money – Building your Business Economy
    May 27, 2:00 p.m. EDT
    This Webinar is designed to help you recognize how the aging workforce affects your business operations and how to understand how motion in the work environment affects productivity, efficiency, and bottom line profitability.

    To learn more about the School of Risk Control Excellence contact your CNA Risk Control consultant, or call 866.262.0540.
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    OSHA Fines Woodwork Manufacturer for Safety Violations

    Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors found that a motorized saw at the Yonkers, NY, plant of H&H Woodworking Inc. cut off part of a worker's hand because the machine was not equipped with required safety features.

    Additional safety and health violations found during the inspection included accumulated combustible wood dust; improperly stored flammable liquids; a locked exit door; and workers allowed to eat food in areas where hazardous chemicals are used, OSHA reported. OSHA cited the company $130,800 for "intentionally disregarding worker safety and health and for exposing workers to potentially known hazards that could cause death or serious physical harm."

    The agency advises that "One means of preventing recurring hazards is for employers to establish effective comprehensive workplace safety and health programs that involve their workers in proactively evaluating, identifying and eliminating those hazards," said Robert Kulick, OSHA's regional administrator in New York. Read the news release for more details.
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    Learning Forum

    One Event You Can't Afford to Miss


    58th AWI Annual Convention
    Denver, CO - October 27-30, 2010
    One Event You Cannot Afford to Miss!

    Registration is Now Open
    with Early Bird Specials

    www.awinet.org 

    Bring yourself, your family and your employees to Denver to
    Refresh – Recharge – Reconnect





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    The 10 Commandments of Sales

    How many friends are enough in the business world? Find out the 10 words of wisdom for salespeople to live by.

    Click here for the article by management consultant Mark McCormick reported in the April 27th edition of Sales & Marketing Business Brief (free subscription).
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    Workforce

    Madison Area Technical College Placed All Stundents in Spring Internship Program

    The successful woodworking program at the Madison, Wisconsin facility, reports that all of it students completed a 4-day, 28-hour internship at area businessines this spring. Congratulations to the hosts and to Patrick Molzahn, MATC Cabinetmaking & Millwork Program Director.

    Thanks to the following AWI members for supporting the MATC students:

    • Internship Supporters – Carley Wood Associates (Madison); Randall Cabinetry (Middleton)
    • Donations – Planit Solutions (AlphaCAM); Veneer Technologies

    AWI members are reminded that local schools depend on industry support to supplement their modest cabinetmaking and millwork education budgets. Consider helping them out; they are educating the workforce of tomorrow.


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    AWI Arizona Chapter Forges Partnership with Local School, Internships Being Explored

    The AWI Arizona Chapter is exploring development of a two-week summer paid apprenticeship program at which students from woodworking classes at Belen High School would intern at chapter member shops.

    The idea is an outgrowth of discussion between Brian Martinez, a dedicated woodworking teacher at the school, and members of the AWI New Mexico Chapter. Chapter members – Rick Thaler, Ben Ulibarri and Gary Harwood – have formed a committee to work on the project and are researching existing curriculum for this kind of project as well as other cooperative education efforts between shops and schools. In addition, they are coordinating visits to Belen High School where members would address students about the architectural woodwork industry as a career path. An article appeared in the Valencia County News-Bulletin on April 14 reporting on the chapter’s partnership with Belen High School.

    So far, Patrick A. Molzahn (pmolzahn@matcmadison.edu), Cabinetmaking & Millwork Program Director for Madison Area Technical College, has offered his 36-hour internship programcurriculum as an example for this and other chapters to explore. He is also generously sharing an article he wrote about internships, "Internships Are Beneficial for All." Are there any other programs you know of?
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    USDA Promotes “More Kids in the Woods” Program

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced that USDA's Forest Service will contribute $500,000 in 2010 to the "More Kids in the Woods" program for projects that promote active lifestyles and connect kids to nature. 

    "Our ‘More Kids in the Woods’ challenge not only promotes physical activity, it fosters environmental awareness and stewardship among young people as we face critical environmental challenges, such as the effects of climate change. "More Kids in the Woods" helps kids make the connection between healthy forests, healthy communities and their own healthy lifestyles," Secretary Vilsack said.

    The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of National Forest System land, provides stewardship assistance to non-federal forest landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. For more information, visit www.fs.fed.us.
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    Industry News

    AIA Reports Continued Upward Trend in Architectural Billings

    On the heels of more than a two point gain in February, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) was up again in March, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

    AIA reported that the March ABI rating was 46.1, up from a reading of 44.8 the previous month.  Though this score reflects a continued decline in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings), it is the highest score since August 2008. The new projects inquiry index was 58.5.

    "This is certainly an encouraging sign that we could be moving closer to a recovery phase, even though we continue to hear about mixed conditions across the country," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. "Firms are still reporting an unusual amount of variation in the level of demand for design services, from improving to poor to virtually non-existent. This increasing volatility is often a sign that overall business conditions may begin to change in the coming months."

    Key March ABI highlights:

    • Regional averages: midwest (50.5), northeast (47.0), west (46.0), south (44.4);
    • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (47.3), institutional (46.8), mixed practice (45.0), commercial / industrial (44.7);
    • Project inquiries index: 58.5.

    About the AIA Architecture Billings Index:
    As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. The Architecture Billings Index is derived from a monthly "Work-on-the-Boards" survey and produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group.

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    March Construction Holds Steady

    New construction starts in March came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $435.6 billion, essentially unchanged from the previous month, according to McGraw-Hill Construction, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies. 

    Improved activity in March was shown by two of construction’s three main sectors – nonresidential building and housing.  The third sector, nonbuilding construction (public works and electric utilities), retreated in March after its elevated amount in February.  Through the first three months of 2010, total construction on an unadjusted basis was reported at $91.9 billion, up 2% compared to the same period a year ago, McGraw-Hill reported.

    The March data brought the Dodge Index to 92 (2000=100), the same as February’s revised reading.  The Dodge Index hit bottom back in February 2009 at 82, and since then it has basically stabilized at a low level, hovering in the range of 85 to 95.  "The pattern of total construction starts over the past year has made the transition from steady decline to at least low level stability, with the occasional hint of slight upward movement," stated Robert A. Murray, vice president of economic affairs for McGraw-Hill Construction.  "After the steep correction witnessed over the past three years, including the 25% plunge for 2009 as a whole, the move towards stability marks a noteworthy change.  With single family housing now edging up from a very low amount, combined with the recent strength shown by public works, the stage is set for total construction starts in 2010 to register moderate growth.  Nonresidential building is also now seeing the occasional pickup, such as what occurred in March, but on balance nonresidential building is still expected to be a drag this year on the emerging recovery for total construction starts," Murray said. 

    Nonresidential building in March grew 6% to $155.1 billion (annual rate).  On the plus side, the healthcare facilities category jumped 58%, providing more evidence that it is rebounding after the loss of momentum reported in 2009.  The amusement-related category had a particularly strong March, soaring 248%. Office construction rose 20% in March.  Small gains in March were reported for churches, up 6%; and stores, up 1%, according to McGraw-Hill. 

    On the negative side, school construction showed more weakness, sliding 13% in March as state and local finances continue to deteriorate.  The public buildings category slipped back from earlier strength, retreating 12% in March, and the transportation terminal category dropped 83% from an exceptional February. Also posting declines in March were warehouses, down 6%; and hotels, down 27%, McGraw-Hill reported.

    Residential building, at $146.5 billion (annual rate), increased 6% in March.  Single family housing improved 5%, making it eleven out of the past twelve months that gains have been recorded.  Multifamily housing in March climbed 13%, showing improved activity for the fourth month in a row.

    McGraw-Hill noted that the 2% increase reported for total construction on an unadjusted basis for the first three months of 2010 versus last year was due to a mixed performance by sector.  Residential building advanced 35%, when compared to the early months of 2009 when single family housing reached bottom.  Nonresidential building during the January-March period fell 13% compared to a year ago, as the result of this behavior by segment – commercial building, down 39%; manufacturing building, down 70%; and institutional building, up 5%.

    Useful perspective is obtained by looking at twelve-month moving totals, in this case the twelve months ending March 2010 compared to the twelve months ending March 2009, Mc-Graw-Hill said.  On this basis, total construction is down 17%, reflecting this pattern by sector – residential building, down 15%; and nonresidential building, down 26%. 
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    A Date to Remember for IWF Atlanta

    IWF Atlanta, August 25-28, 2010, is offering discounts for registration prior to July 23. Remember that date and act early to benefit.

    General Registration
    If you register before July 23, 2010, the cost is $20 per badge and the badge is good for all four days of the show. AWI members, however, receive a bigger discount an additional $5 discount off the price. Click here to take advantage of this offer.

    After the July 23, 2010 early registration deadline, the cost is $25 per badge.

    Housing
    To assure you receive your housing preference for IWF Atlanta, use this association member link to arrange for accommodations. AWI members should use the special access codes (Login = IWF; password = AWI) to reserve housing (not IWF registration).

    Technical Conference Sessions
    The cost for attending the Technical Conference sessions at IWF 2010 is $45 for registrations made before July 23, 2010 and $55 for registrations made after the July 23, 2010 early registration deadline.  You must register for a show badge to attend any Technical Conference session. This registration fee is uniform for all attendees – no additional discounts are available.

    Education
    For attendees, IWF has scheduled 21 seminars in six tracks, including the AWI presentation of "LEED® - Green - Sustainable Woodwork" on Thursday, August 26, 1:00 - 2:30 pm.

    This program explores the relationships between the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System™ of the U.S. Green Building Council project specifications and the use of wood and wood products. It is intended for general-level design professionals, end-use customers, and woodworkers who are unfamiliar with the LEED® requirements. The concept of LEED® points or credits are related to AWI’s support of sustainable architecture and the use of wood, nature’s renewable resource.  Attendees take home an understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of using FSC-certified materials. The program reviews green lumber, panel products, veneers, and doors.

    Click here for Information on all the educational tracks.
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    Federal Scene

    COBRA Premium Reductions for Health Benefits

    Updated information is available on the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Web site concerning premium reductions for health benefits for involuntarily terminated employees under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, commonly called COBRA.

    The information affects those involuntarily terminated for certain periods up until May 31, 2010 (the newly extended closing date). Certain tax credits as well as premium assistance for continuation coverage under certain state laws are available, according to the DOL Employee Benefits Security Administration Fact Sheet, "COBRA Premium Reduction." The Fact Sheet contains details about eligibility, Coverage Period, Benefit Options, Income Limits, Penalties, and more.

    The DOL Employee Benefits Security Administration COBRA page now has available updated Model Notices, Application for Expedited Review of Denial of COBRA Premium Reduction, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that reflect the provisions of the Continuing Extension Act of 2010, and more at www.dol.gov/COBRA.

    For answers to questions about the new health care reform law and COBRA, see the EBSA FAQ page.
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    ASA Steps Up Advocacy Efforts to Ensure Fair Federal Construction Contracts

    The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) is appealing to Members of Congress to co-sponsor legislation to end unfair practices relating to bid shopping, which occurs after the prime contractors list in their bids the subcontractors they plan to use for each stage of a construction contract.

    "Bid shopping occurs when a contractor, after its bid has been accepted by the government, negotiates with a subcontractor to perform at a lower price than that used to calculate the bid," ASA stated in its Fact Sheet for use in seeking co-sponsors to HR 3492, the Construction Quality Assurance Act of 2009. The legislation "would institute bid listing in federal construction by requiring prime contractors on federal construction projects valued at $1,000,000 or more to list in their bids the subcontractors they intend to use for $100,000 or more of the work."

    For information about ASA’s position on bid listing practices, see ASA’s Fact Sheet and the Action Alert it issued seeking their members’ assistance in promoting Congressional support for the legislation. ASA members are using its advocacy tool on ASA’s Web site to reach members of the U.S. House of Representative.

    Currently, the legislation is still stalled in committee. ASA’s current efforts are aimed at increasing Congressional sponsorship of the bill to build positive forward momentum.
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    Administration Sets Rules for Project Labor Agreements on Federal Construction Projects

    A new Obama administration rule requires federal agencies, effective May 13, 2010, "to consider the use of a project labor agreement (PLA)" on construction contracts valued at $25 million or more, and provides additional guidelines for agencies to determine the projects on which PLAs can be used, according to the American Subcontractors Association (ASA).

    To use a PLA, an agency would have to determine whether a PLA would "advance the federal government's interest in achieving economy and efficiency in federal procurement" and "be consistent with the law." According to ASA, under the administration’s guidelines, PLAs may be appropriate where:

    • The project will require multiple construction contractors and/or subcontractors employing workers in multiple crafts or trades. 
    • There is a shortage of skilled labor in the region in which the construction project will be sited. 
    • Completion of the project will require an extended period of time. 
    • PLAs have been used on comparable projects undertaken by federal, state, municipal, or private entities in the geographic area of the project.

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    Tax-Free Employer-Provided Health Coverage Now Available for Children under Age 27

    As a result of changes made by the recently enacted Affordable Care Act, health coverage provided for an employee's children under 27 years of age is now generally tax-free to the employee, effective March 30, 2010, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported.

    The IRS announced today that these changes immediately allow employers with cafeteria plans –– plans that allow employees to choose from a menu of tax-free benefit options and cash or taxable benefits –– to permit employees to begin making pre-tax contributions to pay for this expanded benefit.

    IRS Notice 2010-38 explains these changes and provides further guidance to employers, employees, health insurers and other interested taxpayers.

    This expanded health care tax benefit applies to various workplace and retiree health plans. It also applies to self-employed individuals who qualify for the self-employed health insurance deduction on their federal income tax return, the IRS reported.

    Employees who have children who will not have reached age 27 by the end of the year are eligible for the new tax benefit from March 30, 2010, forward, if the children are already covered under the employer’s plan or are added to the employer’s plan at any time. For this purpose, a child includes a son, daughter, stepchild, adopted child or eligible foster child. This new age 27 standard replaces the lower age limits that applied under prior tax law, as well as the requirement that a child generally qualify as a dependent for tax purposes, according to the IRS.

    The notice says that employers with cafeteria plans may permit employees to immediately make pre-tax salary reduction contributions to provide coverage for children under age 27, even if the cafeteria plan has not yet been amended to cover these individuals. Plan sponsors then have until the end of 2010 to amend their cafeteria plan language to incorporate this change.

    In addition to changing the tax rules as described above, the Affordable Care Act also requires plans that provide dependent coverage of children to continue to make the coverage available for an adult child until the child turns age 26. The extended coverage must be provided not later than plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010. The favorable tax treatment described in the notice applies to that extended coverage, the IRS said.

    Information on other health care provisions can be found on this Web site, www.IRS.gov.
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    Financial Security of Smaller Federal Projects Would Suffer Under Bond Threshold Change

    Regulators are proposing to adjust the threshold to $150,000 for requiring surety bonds for federal projects. The adjustment would be in compliance with federal law that requires them to adjust acquisition-related thresholds for inflation every five years. But, the American Subcontractors Association (ASA) has appealed to regulators to keep the threshold for providing surety bonds at $100,000.

    Last month, ASA told federal regulators that a proposal to exempt more small federal construction projects from the requirement to provide surety bonds would increase the financial risk of the projects at taxpayer expense. ASA asked regulators to support the financial stability of smaller federal projects by keeping the threshold for providing surety bonds at $100,000 instead of raising it to $150,000.

    ASA pointed out that the extraordinary economic conditions facing the construction industry overcome the arguments in favor of any such increase: "The construction industry has been particularly hard hit by the current Great Recession. Even the most experienced contracting firms have seen their credit worthiness erode."

    Subcontractors typically extend large amounts of credit to federal projects by providing labor, materials, and equipment on promises of future payment, according to ASA. Payment bonds required by the federal Miller Act 40 provide a layer of financial security on such projects by allowing subcontractors to file claims in case they are not paid for their properly performed work. Absent such protection, "A subcontractor that experiences slow or no payment from a customer is almost certain to be forced to curtail its own performance, thus endangering the entire construction project," ASA said. "The Miller Act’s surety bond requirement protects taxpayers, as well as subcontractors and suppliers."

    According to ASA, surety bonds also increase the financial stability of projects because sureties "vet" the prime contractors to which they provide bonds. "In order to bid on federal government construction, a prime contractor must pre-qualify for a surety bond by meeting the surety’s standards for capital, capacity and character," ASA noted. Increasing the bond threshold would mean that prime contractors would not have to provide performance bonds on projects between $100,000 and $150,000, removing the surety-provided guarantee that these projects would continue if the prime contractors failed to complete them.
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    State Scene

    Arizona Immigration Bill Sparks New Calls for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

    An immigration bill (SB 1070) recently signed into law in Arizona gives police unprecedented powers to stop, question and arrest suspected illegal aliens and anyone attempting to transport them. Making headlines around the country, the controversial law for its potential "profiling" of suspects, the legislation is influencing renewed discussions about comprehensive immigration reform on the federal level.

    "Enforcement of legislation targeting ‘suspected’ immigrants has raised civil rights concerns and questions about states' ability to pre-empt federal enforcement of immigration laws," according to the American Subcontractors Association (ASA). ASA has renewed its call for a comprehensive, federal solution to this nationwide problem, and called on its members to contact their federal legislators and urge them to "Fix Our Broken Immigration System." Former Arizona governor and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is leading the Obama administration's campaign to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.
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    Arizona Immigration Law Spurs Federal Reform Discussions

    The controversial new immigration law in Arizona, which grants law enforcement officials, the authority to question "suspected" Illegal immigrants, has spawned discussion not only in the state, but also elsewhere around the country and in Congress.

    According to officials in Arizona, the state has an estimated 450,000 illegal immigrants. Police are in the middle of debates there by proponents who want to curtail illegal immigration and opponents who view the measure as a "profiling" tool.

    On Capitol Hill, partly in response to the Arizona law (as reported in The Washington Post), Senate Democrats introduced a "framework" for a federal immigration bill aimed at strengthening security along the U.S. / Mexico border.

    On April 28, 2010, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced a plan to overhaul the nation’s "broken immigration system, the American Subcontractors Association reported. According to ASA, "the plan would institute a biometric identification card that would serve as ‘evid3ence of lawful work-authorization’ and establish the Biometric Enrollment, Locally-stored Information, and Electronic Verification of Employment (BELIEVE) System as a mean of employment verification."

    According to press reports, including The Washington Post, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) said the state had little choice but to act because the federal government has failed to address illegal immigration issues.
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    Chapter News

    Nine AWI Chapters Achieve “Distinguished Chapter 2010”Status

    In the race for AWI "Chapter of the Year 2010" nine chapters have pulled ahead of their colleagues. Who are they? Are other chapters still in the race?

    AWI congratulates the following nine chapters who have earned "Distinguished Chapter 2010" status to date:

    AWI Carolinas
    AWI Chicago
    AWI Florida
    AWI Georgia
    AWI Great Lakes
    AWI Ohio Valley
    AWI Central PA
    AWI Texas
    AWI Wisconsin

    The 2010 Chapters D.R.I.V.E. Value to Members Campaign continues with opportunities available to all AWI chapters who are in the race this year. The competition continues for not only "Distinguished Chapter 2010", but also best newsletter, best Web site, and ultimately "Chapter of the Year 2010." Go for it.

    Contact Greg Bednar, AWI Chapter Services, at gbednar@awinet.org for more details and to keep your chapter in the race for top honors in 2010. Chapters will be recognized with honors during the 2010 AWI Convention, October 27-30, 2010 in Denver, CO.
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    AWI Chapter Leadership Training on May 14

    For chapter leaders, this year’s all-day Leadership Training Session in Louisville, KY is THE EVENT of the year for chapter officers and representatives considering a chapter leadership role. This ‘New School" training program will feature sessions and presentations by national staff, national committee chairpersons and selected chapter leaders.

    Greg Bednar, AWI Chapter Development Services, recommends that chapters consider sponsoring an attendee with chapter funds as one of the best investments a chapter can make for its future growth and success.

    For the lineup of sessions during this one-day program solely for chapters, see the attached

    Questions and RSVPs should be directed to AWI Director of Marketing Katie Allen at kallen@awinet.org.
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    AWI Wisconsin Chapter Exhibits at AIA-Wisconsin Convention

    Jim Buege, AWI Wisconsin Chapter President manned the chapter’s booth at the recent American Institute of Architects (AIA) Wisconsin Convention where the Architectural Woodwork Standards were presented to architects and design professionals.


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    Texas, Arizona, Illinois & Indiana SkillsUSA Competitions

    The AWI Texas, Arizona, Chicago and Heart of America Chapters recently reported about the successes of local SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking Competitions which the four chapters support. Congratulations – good job!

    This year’s Texas Skills USA Cabinetmaking Competition "was tough, with eleven contestants from around the state," according to Christi Duncan, Executive Secretary of TAWI. Judges were Bill Donnelly & Mark Middleton, Louis & Company; Tom Klar, Roddis Lumber; Bruce Kneeper, Horshoe Wood; and Frank Young. "The quality of the students’ work gets better each year." The TAWI awarded scholarships as well as over $2500 in attendance prizes to the competitors. The first place winner was Mario Romero from Robstown High School, who received a $1500 college scholarship from TAWI and a $1500 travel voucher to help him travel to the national contest in Kansas City this summer; second place went to Weston Gallo from Dale Jackson Career Center Lewisville, who received a $1000 college scholarship from TAWI; and the third place winner was Josh Weitzel from Cleveland High School, who picked up a $500 college scholarship from TAWI.


    Texas SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking Competition Contestants

    Elsewhere, in Arizona, 26 contestants participated in the SkillsUSA competition in that state, and equally successful events occurred in Illinois and Indiana.


    The Illinois SkillsUSA contestants



    Contestants at work during the Illinois SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking Competition


    AWI National SkillsUSA Committee Chairman Kent Gilchrist (left) reviews Cabinetmaking Competition specifications with contestant in the Indiana SkillsUSA.


    AWI members in the Heart of American Chapter designed the specifications for the Indiana SkillsUSA Cabinetmaking Competition.
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    Upcoming Chapter Events

    What’s happening in your local AWI chapters and architectural woodwork communities?

    Check out the informative AWI chapter programs sponsored in your area. Tap into your local AWI chapter for vital information that can help your business grow and put you in touch with fellow AWI architectural woodworkers and suppliers.

    AWI Chicago Chapter
    When: May 13, 2010
    What Chapter Meeting & Presentation on "GREEN Finishing"
    Presenter: Dany Cote
    Special Guest: AWI National Director Steve Waltman, Stiles Machinery
    Information: Click here for meeting details.
    Questions: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI Minnesota Chapter
    When: May 13, 2010 (11:00 am – 5:00 pm)
    What: Annual Tabletop Meeting
    Where: Summit Door
    Information: Contact Scott Wothe, swothe@me.com 

    AWI New England Chapter
    When: May 19, 2010
    What: Chapter Meeting & Associate Product Fair
    Where: Doubletree Hotel, Westborough, MA
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI Great Lakes Chapter
    When: May 19, 2010 (1:00 pm)
    What: "Up from the Ashes" Video; "Understanding LEED® - Now You’ve Got the Job, What’s Next?" Presentation; Tour of Traverwood Branch, Ann Arbor Library; followed by dinner and General Membership Meeting at Carson’s American Bistro
    Where: Traverwood Library, Ann Arbor, MI
    Presenter: AWI Sustainability Resources Representative Rob Ziegelmeier
    Details and Reservation Information: Click here
    Questions: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI Colorado Chapter
    When: May 20, 2010
    What: Chapter Meeting
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI Heart of America
    When: May 20, 2010
    What: Chapter Meeting
    Special Guest: AWI National Director Steve Waltman, Stiles Machinery
    Host: Salina Planing Mill, Salina, KS
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI Carolinas Chapter
    When: May 21, 2010
    What: Membership Meeting
    Special Guest: AWI Past President Ed Brewer, Louisville Lumber & Millwork
    Where: Myrtle Beach, SC
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers  

    AWI Georgia Chapter
    When: May 26, 2010
    What: Woodworks Program Columbus – Wall Panels/Lev. Specs
    Where, Columbus, GA
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI Georgia Chapter
    When: May 27, 2010
    What: Woodworks Program Atlanta, Wall Panels/Lev. Specs
    Where: Atlanta, GA
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI Arizona Chapter
    When: June 1, 2010
    What: Chapter Meeting
    Tentative Agenda:  SkillsUSA Compeition Update; Leadership Conference Recap; AWI Spring Professional Development Seminars Report; Future Chapter Goals; Roundable Discussion about Business Challenges
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI Chicago Chapter
    When: June 10, 2010
    What: Golf Outing
    Where: St. Andrews Golf & Country Club
    Information & Questions: Click here 

    AWI New Jersey Chapter 
    When: June 10, 2010
    What: Chapter Meeting and "Closing the Deal" Presentation
    Special Guest: AWI National President Doug Carney, R & S Casework, Inc.
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI Wisconsin Chapter
    When: June 11, 2010
    What: Meeting and Tour of Milwaukee Tool
    Where: Milwaukee, WI
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI Great Lakes Chapter
    When: June 16, 2010
    What Board Meeting
    Where: Daiek Woodworks
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI Texas Chapter 
    When: June 17-18, 2010
    What: General Meeting and Program – "Advertising & Marketing: How to Impact the Bottom Line"
    Where: Sheraton South Padre Island Beach Hotel & Condominiums, South Padre, TX
    Information: Details on chapter Web site 

    AWI Iowa-Nebraska Chapter
    When: June 18, 2010
    What: Meeting at DMAC
    Sponsor: Stiles Machinery
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers  

    AWI Empire State Chapter
    When: June 24, 2010
    What: Meeting
    Special Guest: AWI National Director Skip Heidler
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI New England Chapter
    When: June 24, 2010
    What: Product Vendor Fair
    Where: Newburyport, MA
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI Heart of America Chapter
    When: June 24, 2010
    What: Judging of SkillsUSA Competition
    Where: Wichita, KS
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI Florida Chapter
    When: June 26, 2010 (7:30 am – 5:00 pm)
    What: Dual Track Program: 1) "Software for Woodworkers: Vendor Showcase"; and 2) "Software for Woodworkers: AutoCAD for Woodworkers"
    Presenters: Paul Hansen, E-Template System; Russ Rucks, Roger Shaw & Associates (Microvellum); Mark Stearns, Taskklock, Inc.; Norman Fink, Trakware Systems, Inc.; and Christopher McVey, Resource Engineering, Inc.
    Where: Renaissance Plantation Hotel, Plantation, FL
    Information: See attached flyer for details and registration fees and deadlines 
    Questions: Chapter President/Treasurer Phyllis Thornberg, 813.977.6683 (p); phyllis@lyndan.com 

    AWI Heart of America Chapter
    When: July 15, 2010
    What: Chapter Meeting
    Hosted by: Technique Manufacturing
    Where: Hutchinson, KS
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

    AWI Ohio Valley Chapter
    When: July 16, 2010
    What: Golf Outing
    Information: Contact Chapter Officers 

    All chapters are encouraged to plan their events early to allow for ample promotion of your activities in this section of AWI e-briefs as well as through other avenues. Contact Greg Bednar, AWI Chapter Development Services at gbednar@awinet.org

    Members are encouraged to check chapter event listings in the most recent issue of AWI e-briefs, as well as with chapter officers and chapter Web sites for program changes. As plans become finalized, dates and presentations may change for chapter programs previously listed. This issue of AWI e-briefs contains the most current information available to AWI National.

    [Return to top]   [Print this article]

    Next Issue of E-briefs

    The next issue of AWI e-briefs will be published May 20, 2010.


    [Return to top]   [Print this article]



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