EPA Hosting Public Hearing to Discuss Citizen Concerns Over MCCO University Circle Coal Powerplant Permit Renewal

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 06/24/2010 - 05:44.
08/10/2010 - 16:30
08/10/2010 - 18:45
Etc/GMT-4

Thanks to the timely, effective intervention of the Sierra Club, the Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to hold a public hearing for citizens to discuss their concerns about the renewal of the permit for the Medical Center Company (MCCO) to burn coal in their powerplant in University Circle (above), harming residents and workers in the densely populated and economically distressed surrounding neighborhood.

As I have previously posted on realNEO, "one of the most serious sources of pollution in Cuyahoga County is literally in my back yard... coal and natural gas fired external boilers at University Hospitals, operated by Medical Center Company (MCCo), polluting the surrounding neighborhoods since the 1930s." This coal plant is not well publicized - my family did not know it existed when we moved to this neighborhood, and my neighbors are generally not aware it exists. Nor is it well publicized that it provides heat to Case Western Reserve University, and that there are plans for MCCO to build another coal plant less than one kilometer from the current plant.

It was certainly not well publicized that the EPA permit for the current MCCO coal burning facility was coming up for renewal with the EPA - apparently they ran an announcement in the PD... did you notice?!?!  Now you know.

The association of this coal plant with Case is kept secret as smart young people hate pollution, and there is great negative global attention on campuses that burn coal, including Case.

The Sierra Club has orchestrated a national "Campuses Beyond Coal" program working to move all US and so Ohio colleges off coal and to clean, renewable energy - "Campuses Beyond Coal is a joint effort between the Sierra Student Coalition and the Sierra Club to move our nation's universities beyond coal to 100% clean energy solutions.  We aim to  shut down or replace campus-based coal plants and end our schools' dependence on the coal-generated electricity they purchase".

In addition to Case, eight other Ohio colleges burn coal, including Oberlin and Ohio University. The Sierra Club intends to get them all off coal.

While inquiring into the current status of the MCCO plant - emissions, violations, etc... - the Sierra Club determined the license for the current MCCO coal facility is pending immediate approval for renewal, and the Sierra Club requested a public hearing.

The Sierra Club just informed me their request was granted... there will be a public hearing about the current MCCO coal burning plant permit on August 10, 2010, from 4:30-6:45 PM - a major victory for Northeast Ohio citizens and our environment.

PUT THIS DATE ON YOUR SCHEDULE AND PLAN TO ATTEND... IT WILL BE A VERY EDUCATIONAL AND EMPOWERING HEARING.

NOTE - BECAUSE OF SIGNIFICANT FEEDBACK FROM THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE INCONVENIENCE OF THE ORIGINAL CHOICE OF VENUE FOR THIS PUBLIC HEARING (AS IDENTIFIED BELOW) THE MEETING HAS BEEN MOVED TO THE MLK CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY ON STOKES, AS NOW INDICATED FOR THIS EVENT - GOOD WORK CITIZENS!

There is a problem, however - the Public Hearing is currently scheduled to be held at the Eastman Branch of the Cleveland Public Library, which is at Lorain Avenue and WEST 116th Street  - the MCCO Plant is around East 110th - the EPA has planned the Public Hearing around 230 blocks and a world away from the plant's impact area... few people in the neighborhood of the Eastman library would care about a plant on the far East Side...

It will be extremely difficult for most  MCCO -area residents to make it to a meeting at Lorain and W. 116th - it seems this location was selected to make it as inconvenient as possible for MCCO-area residents to attend. Of course, the EPA claims otherwise.

I have contacted the EPA requesting a change of venue to a location in East Cleveland - their explanation for the far-West location was that there were few venue choices available because it is the Summer. While I offered other locations in East Cleveland, and gave the EPA the name and number of my Councilwoman to discuss possible sites here, the EPA did not promise to change the venue.

The Sierra Club agrees this is a significant concern and suggests other concerned citizens contact the EPA with a request to move the meeting near the neighborhoods most harmed by the MCCO plant's emissions.

To help convince the EPA that W. 116th is a poor choice of location for a meeting about MCCO - a coal plant in University Circle - please call Kristopher Weiss, the EPA public interest coordinator - kristopher [dot] weiss [at] epa [dot] state [dot] oh [dot] us, 614-644-2160. Don't be shy... it is his job to handle such citizen requests. If Kristopher hears from enough of us, the EPA may respond to our concerns.

I will keep this calendar listing updated with any venue changes... PUT THIS DATE ON YOUR SCHEDULE AND PLAN TO ATTEND...

Attached is some related literature from the EPA and Sierra Club about coal and MCCO.

Our contacts with the Sierra Club for related matters are Nachy Kanfer - nachy [dot] kanfer [at] sierraclub [dot] org - and Mattie Reitman - mattie [dot] reitman [at] sierraclub [dot] org - and they will definitely welcome any outreach from you with questions and offering help.

I look forward to seeing you in August.

Location

Martin Luther King Jr. branch of the Cleveland Public Library
1962 Stokes Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106
United States
Phone: 216.623.7018
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HEADS UP--August EPA meeting

 

To help convince the EPA that W. 116th is a poor choice of location for a meeting about MCCO - a coal plant in University Circle - please call Kristopher Weiss, the EPA public interest coordinator - kristopher [dot] weiss [at] epa [dot] state [dot] oh [dot] us, 614-644-2160. Don't be shy... it is his job to handle such citizen requests. If Kristopher hears from enough of us, the EPA may respond to our concerns.

I will keep this calendar listing updated with any venue changes... PUT THIS DATE ON YOUR SCHEDULE AND PLAN TO ATTEND...

I agree that the location of this meeting is almost meant to confuse people.  Eastman Branch (named for Linda Eastman) is no where near Case Western Reserve University. 

There must be a large public auditorium available on the east side of Cleveland for this hearing in August???

If not at CWRU, how about the next most logical location--the Natural History Museum--home of GLBC??

I will call and email today--Norm.  Thanks for the heads up.

East Cleveland has free, convenient meeting locations

University Circle is too expensive too. I suggested the beautiful East Cleveland library, MLK Center, Shaw High, one of our churches or City Hall... East Cleveland has free, convenient meeting locations.

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A personal plea to Dr. Gus Kious and other NEO physicians

Dear Dr. Kious--

We have met at the East Cleveland Public Theatre.  I supported your effort to bring new energy-efficient housing to East Cleveland. I support your efforts to promote straw bale construction housing.  I respect that you don't live in Geauga County.  You live in Cleveland Heights--a community impacted by the current coal plant in University Circle.

I am asking you to speak out against the siting of a new coal plant in the community you serve--East Cleveland.  I am asking you to speak out against the "regional" take-over of the East Cleveland Public Library system.  I am asking you and your physician colleagues to exercise your considerable conscience.  I am begging you to care.

Respectfully,

Laura McShane

SEE also:

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EPA Hosting Public Hearing to Discuss Citizen Concerns Over MCCO University Circle Coal Powerplant Permit Renewal


Submitted by Norm Roulet on June 24, 2010 - 4:44am.
Start: 2010/08/10 - 4:30pm
End: 2010/08/10 - 6:45pm
Timezone: Etc/GMT-4

Thanks to the timely, effective intervention of the Sierra Club, the Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to hold a public hearing for citizens to discuss their concerns about the renewal of the permit for the Medical Center Company (MCCO) to burn coal in their powerplant in University Circle (above), harming residents and workers in the densely populated and economically distressed surrounding neighborhood.

As I have previously posted on realNEO, "one of the most serious sources of pollution in Cuyahoga County is literally in my back yard... coal and natural gas fired external boilers at University Hospitals, operated by Medical Center Company (MCCo), polluting the surrounding neighborhoods since the 1930s." This coal plant is not well publicized - my family did not know it existed when we moved to this neighborhood, and my neighbors are generally not aware it exists. Nor is it well publicized that it provides heat to Case Western Reserve University, and that there are plans for MCCO to build another coal plant less than one kilometer from the current plant.

It was certainly not well publicized that the EPA permit for the current MCCO coal burning facility was coming up for renewal with the EPA - apparently they ran an announcement in the PD... did you notice?!?!  Now you know.

The association of this coal plant with Case is kept secret as smart young people hate pollution, and there is great negative global attention on campuses that burn coal, including Case.

The Sierra Club has orchestrated a national "Campuses Beyond Coal" program working to move all US and so Ohio colleges off coal and to clean, renewable energy - "Campuses Beyond Coal is a joint effort between the Sierra Student Coalition and the Sierra Club to move our nation's universities beyond coal to 100% clean energy solutions.  We aim to  shut down or replace campus-based coal plants and end our schools' dependence on the coal-generated electricity they purchase".

In addition to Case, eight other Ohio colleges burn coal, including Oberlin and Ohio University. The Sierra Club intends to get them all off coal.

While inquiring into the current status of the MCCO plant - emissions, violations, etc... - the Sierra Club determined the license for the current MCCO coal facility is pending immediate approval for renewal, and the Sierra Club requested a public hearing.

The Sierra Club just informed me their request was granted... there will be a public hearing about the current MCCO coal burning plant permit on August 10, 2010, from 4:30-6:45 PM - a major victory for Northeast Ohio citizens and our environment.

PUT THIS DATE ON YOUR SCHEDULE AND PLAN TO ATTEND... IT WILL BE A VERY EDUCATIONAL AND EMPOWERING HEARING.

NOTE - BECAUSE OF SIGNIFICANT FEEDBACK FROM THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE INCONVENIENCE OF THE ORIGINAL CHOICE OF VENUE FOR THIS PUBLIC HEARING (AS IDENTIFIED BELOW) THE MEETING HAS BEEN MOVED TO THE MLK CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY ON STOKES, AS NOW INDICATED FOR THIS EVENT - GOOD WORK CITIZENS!

There is a problem, however - the Public Hearing is currently scheduled to be held at the Eastman Branch of the Cleveland Public Library, which is at Lorain Avenue and WEST 116th Street  - the MCCO Plant is around East 110th - the EPA has planned the Public Hearing around 230 blocks and a world away from the plant's impact area... few people in the neighborhood of the Eastman library would care about a plant on the far East Side...

It will be extremely difficult for most  MCCO -area residents to make it to a meeting at Lorain and W. 116th - it seems this location was selected to make it as inconvenient as possible for MCCO-area residents to attend. Of course, the EPA claims otherwise.

I have contacted the EPA requesting a change of venue to a location in East Cleveland - their explanation for the far-West location was that there were few venue choices available because it is the Summer. While I offered other locations in East Cleveland, and gave the EPA the name and number of my Councilwoman to discuss possible sites here, the EPA did not promise to change the venue.

The Sierra Club agrees this is a significant concern and suggests other concerned citizens contact the EPA with a request to move the meeting near the neighborhoods most harmed by the MCCO plant's emissions.

To help convince the EPA that W. 116th is a poor choice of location for a meeting about MCCO - a coal plant in University Circle - please call Kristopher Weiss, the EPA public interest coordinator - kristopher [dot] weiss [at] epa [dot] state [dot] oh [dot] us, 614-644-2160. Don't be shy... it is his job to handle such citizen requests. If Kristopher hears from enough of us, the EPA may respond to our concerns.

I will keep this calendar listing updated with any venue changes... PUT THIS DATE ON YOUR SCHEDULE AND PLAN TO ATTEND...

Attached is some related literature from the EPA and Sierra Club about coal and MCCO.

Our contacts with the Sierra Club for related matters are Nachy Kanfer - nachy [dot] kanfer [at] sierraclub [dot] org - and Mattie Reitman - mattie [dot] reitman [at] sierraclub [dot] org - and they will definitely welcome any outreach from you with questions and offering help.

I look forward to seeing you in August.

Location

Martin Luther King Jr. branch of the Cleveland Public Library
1962 Stokes Boulevard

Cleveland, OH, 44106

United States

What if no one supported a permit for MCCO?

This is an opportunity for NEO to do the right thing. 

What if Chris Ronayne and David Beach each submitted statements to the Ohio EPA requesting that the Medical Center Company coal fired heating plant permit not be issued - and Mr. Ronayne and Mr. Beach each stated that the replacement energy could come from land based wind turbines SW of Toledo and that they had both approached the Cleveland and Cuyahoga Port Authority who had agreed to supply the bonding capacity necessary for the new Wind Farm installation. 

What if?

It is all doable NOW. 

David Beach and Chris Ronayne can do it!

Chris says he can't - Beach lost his Tweet

Chris says he can't - Beach lost his Tweet

Mattie and I met with Chris - he was very helpful and supportive - Sierra Club guy from way back - "UCI" is not a direct MCCO customer... Chris intentionally did boycott them in that way... but Chris works for the coal burners... and wants to move forward in local politics and business... long and short of that.

Not an enemy, though, if you accept its just business and politics.

Beach... last tweet I saw he was watching birdies at the Shaker Lake Natures center... but that was last Spring. Is he still alive?

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No Empty Auditoriums in University Circle, Ohio

 

The Medical Center Company coal fired heating plant at University Circle, Ohio is owned by the numerous not-for-profit entities it heats around University Circle.  
 
These not-for-profit organizations include Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals, Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland Natural History Museum, etc., etc. – all of which enjoy tax free status and all of which have auditoriums.   
 
Apparently, none of these not-for-profit do-good organizations have offered to host the EPA public hearing about the permitting of their own heating plant.
 
So what does that say about our NEO not-for-profit leadership?   What does this say about Chris Ronayne, president of the not-for-profit University Circle, Inc?   What does this say about David Beach, head of the purportedly environmentally focused not-for-profit Green City Blue Lake? What does this say about all the do-good for Cleveland and for Society leaders who take home a salary funded through their not-for-profit organizations?  
 
These people either don’t know there is a EPA permit hearing for their very polluting (one of the more significant in Ohio) coal fired winter heating plant or are hypocrites.    
 
Come on guys, open up your auditoriums for the sake of your neighbors.

 

Always hold air quality permit hearing UPWIND from the facility!

 

(Copy below of email I sent to) Kristopher Weiss, the EPA public interest coordinator - kristopher [dot] weiss [at] epa [dot] state [dot] oh [dot] us, 614-644-2160.
 
Mr. Kristopher Weiss                                                   June 24, 2010
Environmental Protection Agency, public interest coordinator
Ohio
 
Dear Mr. Weiss,
 
I understand that a EPA permit hearing for the Medical Center Company coal fired facility in University Circle, Cleveland, Ohio is scheduled in August 2010 and that the closest practical venue for the hearing has been determined to be on the West side of Cleveland.
 
It is my opinion that a hearing venue on the West side of Cleveland is not a reasonable location for the Medical Center Company permit hearing as the West side of Cleveland is too great a distance from the citizens most impacted by the air quality degradation caused by coal burning at the MCC – air quality being one of the main focuses of EPA regulations and thus the need for site-specific permitting.  
 
Question: does the EPA have any standard which regulates how a hearing venue is to be chosen? What factors are to be considered? DI|STANCE, COST,  PUBLIC TRANSPORATION ACCESS, etc.  
 
If the EPA does have criteria for determining what is,  and what is not, a reasonable hearing venue, I would appreciate your linking me to the regulation.
 
If the EPA does not have criteria for determining  what is, and what is not, a reasonable hearing venue,  please let me know what venues closer to MCC you considered (which were unavailable?) and the reasons they were unavailable.   
 
If you feel this request for information would be more appropriately asked via a federal Freedom of Information Act request, please consider this correspondence as such a FOIA request.
 
Thank you for helping citizens breath easier!
 
Best,
Jeff Buster
Cleveland
Ohio
 
 

 

Thanks, Jeff - those are some of my questions, exactly...!

Thanks, Jeff, for getting specific with the EPA on their meeting venue selection process - those are some of my questions, exactly...!

Keep us posted on what you find out.

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State public records request vs. Federal FOIA request

 

I was confused about which EPA was conducting the permit hearing.   It is the State of Ohio EPA and not the Federal EPA which is conducting the hearing. Therefore the State of Ohio Public Records Law and not the Federal Freedom of Information Act is the pertinent vehicle for records/information requests.   This distinction is detailed at the OHIO EPA web site here. http://epa.ohio.gov/dir/publicrecords.aspx
 
Federal US government agencies are queried via FOIA and State and local agencies are queried via the State public records act.

 

state epa permits pollution

er, I meant to say that the state is the overseer and issuer of permits to pollute. I used to know this stuff inside out, having done some local battles. The feds mostly want to make sure that the states enforce the regs that the states have in place, but the state epa can do anything that they want within the regs that the state established.  

It is possible to win this. One sign of a possible win is the MCCO gets a temporary renewal of the permit, which gives the opposition time to work on disallowing the longer term permit. Legal representation is a huge plus.  

From my East Cleveland neighbor who has also contacted the EPA

From my East Cleveland neighbor who has also contacted the EPA...

Mr. Weiss stated that he is now looking for an East Cleveland venue, possibly the main library. We need a good turnout at the meeting to tell the EPA that a coal-fired plant is no longer acceptable.

Everyone reading this, please show your concern by contacting the Sierra Club and EPA as well... from above...

To help convince the EPA that W. 116th is a poor choice of location for a meeting about MCCO - a coal plant in University Circle - please call Kristopher Weiss, the EPA public interest coordinator - kristopher [dot] weiss [at] epa [dot] state [dot] oh [dot] us, 614-644-2160. Don't be shy... it is his job to handle such citizen requests. If Kristopher hears from enough of us, the EPA may respond to our concerns.

Our contacts with the Sierra Club for related matters are Nachy Kanfer - nachy [dot] kanfer [at] sierraclub [dot] org - and Mattie Reitman - mattie [dot] reitman [at] sierraclub [dot] org - and they will definitely welcome any outreach from you with questions and offering help.

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take 2 minutes to support

 take 2 minutes to e-mail Weiss at the Ohio EPA. It is critical that the meeting be in the neighborhood close to MCCO. I actually thought there was a mistake and that it was E. 116th until I read the postings carefully, and saw that Weiss is aware of W. 116 vs. E. 116th.

Here is what I sent, with cc's to the Sierra Club contacts:

Mr. Weiss, if the Ohio EPA is seriously interested in hearing what the folks most impacted by this proposed permit renewal have to say, then this hearing must be held in a location that is accessible to the neighborhood in which it is sited. The area around MCCO abounds in meeting spaces that people can walk to for this hearing. It is just not feasible for people to either drive across town this time of day, or use our $5 plus transit system. 

Please change the location to the MCCO neighborhood.

Thank you,

makes no sense

Obviously they do not want folks to show up for the meeting. I will e-mail Weiss too.

EPA moves MCCO permit hearing

Nice! 

 

Dear Ms. Webb,

Thank you for contacting me. I have heard from a number of concerned citizens and have moved the meeting to the Martin Luther King Jr. branch of the Cleveland Public Library on Stokes Blvd. I chose the original venue and clearly was ignorant of the lay of the land and I apologize for causing concern. Ohio EPA believes strongly in public participation and wants to make this as convenient as possible for everyone who may be impacted.
I also want to let you know that citizens can provide testimony before the meeting and after - the public-comment period will last for a few days after the hearing as well. All comments - written, oral, on tape, etc., regardless of whether given at the meeting or after - will be given the same weight.
I hope this helps and feel free to contact me anytime.
Sincerely,
 
 
Kristopher Weiss
Public Involvement Coordinator
Ohio EPA
614-644-2160

Kristopher just called me with the same news

Kristopher just called me with the same great news - good work citizens.

He also told me that if anyone is unable to attend the public meeting they are ENCOURAGED to send their public comments to him at the EPA and to David Hearn at the Cleveland Department of Air Quality starting NOW up through August 16th - I will post the contact info when I get that - and he stressed the EPA does want to make it easy for citizens to comment and all comments received in any way, by meeting, mail, phone and email, are all taken seriously and weighed equally - so start commenting and comment through August 16, public.

Kristopher also said to get word out about the meeting date change as he had received lots of input on the location issue from the public, so the public has already made a big difference in these proceedings and the EPA is definitely paying attention to public concerns - call this a victory for social media, as the mainstream still doesn't even know and/or acknowledge there is an issue with air pollution in NEO, much less in University Circle with MCCO (wonder why?).

Good work realNEO!

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Great work on moving EPA Hearing

REALNEO activists save the day--I was just going to send my letter and call (I am off today).  Great job Norm, Jeff, DWebb, Lily et al. !!! 

Martin Luther King Branch is apropos--for this social justice issue.  There is plenty of parking in the back of the building and it is barely a few steps away from the Healthline on Euclid Ave. Corridor.  

It's a great library!!!  Check it out.

What if no one supported a permit for MCCO?

This is an opportunity for NEO to do the right thing. 

What if Chris Ronayne and David Beach each submitted statements to the Ohio EPA requesting that the Medical Center Company coal fired heating plant permit not be issued - and Mr. Ronayne and Mr. Beach each stated that the replacement energy could come from land based wind turbines SW of Toledo and that they had both approached the Cleveland and Cuyahoga Port Authority who had agreed to supply the bonding capacity necessary for the new Wind Farm installation. 

What if?

It is all doable NOW. 

David Beach and Chris Ronayne can do it!

 

That's what I am proposing

That's what I am proposing with hemp biomass, without Beach and Ronayne.

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Jeff, keep in mind there are 9 Ohio colleges burning coal

Jeff, keep in mind there are 9 Ohio colleges burning coal - Case doesn't have a logical play with wind I know of, but some of the rural Ohio colleges do... you suggested generating wind power near Toledo...

University of Toledo Medical School... http://www.utoledo.edu/facilities/energymgmt/

Oberlin... http://cs.oberlin.edu/~envs/source/index.php

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Beehive Collective Coal Event

Hi Norm--we should see about booking the beehive collective for this event--

http://beehivecollective.blogspot.com/

http://www.beehivecollective.org/english/tour.htm

Beehive

Yeah they are amazingly talented. I have seen them 3 times before and are real knowledgeable. Great people and speakers!

HEMP biomass

Is a viable solution in the short term--and certainly less damaging than coal.

http://fuelandfiber.com/Hemp4NRG/Hemp4NRGRV3.htm

I am interested to see how Cuba is addressing energy needs.  I bought the movie:

 

 

That will make Ohio the Brightest Greenest State on Earth

That will make Ohio the Brightest Greenest State on Earth - part 2 of "When I met with my counsel about legalizing cannabis in Ohio, I explained I never bring up a problem without a solution".

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I intend to video tape this entire hearing

I intend to video tape this entire hearing and put it on the Internet forever.

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unanimous opposition to the EPA issuing a new 5-year license

I shot about 2 hours of EPA testimony video today - will get it on Youtube and realNEO asap - and I won't leave you in suspense about the conclusion... unanimous opposition to the EPA issuing a new 5-year license to MCCO - many viable short and long term next steps from credible parties - strong community binding around this important cause, to stop MCCO from burning coal in University Circle any longer than ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

An expert from the Sierra Club stated MCCO could replace their remaining coal boilers with Package Gas Boilers in under 1 year - engineering and all.

Awesome collaboration building - first time I've ever really seen anything grass roots in NEO work well... and not only is this without Foundation support, but it is safe to say this has all happened with FOUNDATION OPPOSITION.

Maybe the foundations aren't the solution to what troubles NEO.. perhaps they are the core of the problem.

We'll certainly find out FOR SURE in the coming months... well before any elections, that is for sure.

Candidate DAVID ELLISON WAS IN THE HOUSE - I expect him to bring this to his platform and force all candidates to do the same...

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Good job, Norm

Can't wait to see the video.  Thanks!