Tag Archives: Reviews

The Power of Zoom Conferencing

Get in touch with Zoom conferencing from all devices.
Get in touch with Zoom conferencing from all devices.

I am new to Zoom, an online conference and video conference application. So far with integration with my Calendly.com account, my clients are loving the power of the visuals Zoom affords.

I use a Logitech video cam and the Logitech app called Capture as my video controller. Then, when I have a Zoom conference, I link to my video and do screen sharing with clients showing my face on one side of the screen and their account in the center.

My clients are choosing to communicate with me this way in nearly all of my Google Ads strategy calls. There is power in seeing the results in their own Google Ads accounts with my explanation.

It has made it significantly easier to understand a client’s questions and show account results. There is power in a visual!

I am using the free version of Zoom, which still provides for very nice features is very easy for clients to use. It does take me about 5 minutes or so to get everything connected before my call for best client experience, but it has helped customers to more clearly understand what we do and how we do it via Zoom.

P.S. I make no money off this review or referral. I just like using this free application.

 

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sPower: a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Do not be fooled into thinking that sPower wants to be a good neighbor to the citizens of Spotsylvania County. This could not be further from the real truth, and one that is veiled behind glitzy images of green spaces and a smooth pro-solar marketing campaign, that has been launched to counter efforts to squash the project. The truth is much darker and one that all Spotsylvania County residents should be aware of.

First, it is important to put things in perspective. This “Wolf” (sPower) is a company made up of over 125 LLC’s and is also co-owned by an investment group located in Canada. This loosely defined group of investors expects to make seriously big money off of the sPower industrial plant that is to be the fifth largest in the United States and the largest east of the Rocky Mountains. This industrial utility plant is sited less than 50 feet from the property line of some locations; which is in itself an anomaly for their own industry.

Based on my own research and an estimate of 3,500 acres to be used for solar generation and using Land Mark Dividend.com’s estimate of return per acre yearly as a estimating tool, sPower and its investors could possibly generate $74,375,000 (over $74 million) to $148,750,000 (over $148 million) in income yearly.

Over the 35 year lifespan of the equipment this is a possible income of $2,603,125,000 ($2.6 billion) to $5,206,250,000 ($5.2 billion). Although this is an estimate and real numbers may vary, these raw calculations give an idea of the amount of money that is in play with this project.

Clothed as a”Sheep”and stating that they want to be a “good neighbor” sPower offers the County $600,000 for 35 years ($21,000,000 or $21.0 million). The tax portion sPower would have owed regardless of any additional incentives would have been $8.0 million in this same period.

The County receives the remaining $13.0 million as an incentive over 35 years. This is only .24% of sPower’s possible $5.2 billion income – a very small amount based on the enormous change to county residents’ lives, the environmental impacts, unknowable real costs of decommissioning, and sPower’s project income.

This corporate “Wolf” was on full display at the meeting held at the Hobart Building during the public hearing on December 5th. Packing the first three rows on the left side of the room, with sPower “suits” and corporate lawyers surrounded by stacked boxes of folders and notebooks, our new “good neighbors” stated their project was the “future for the County”.

To me, feeding the hungry mouths of corporate greed from the targeted land and wetland areas, home to many native species, is the farthest thing from what I have in mind as the “future for the County”. With minimal monies flowing into our community after the construction phase, many workers being transported in instead of strong local hiring, new unanswered questions of low frequency humming noise pollution from panel inverters, and seriously underfunded decommissioning cost proposals, the risks to the County to allow this project to go forward are too high. sPower a “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” certainly does not appear to be the good neighbor that they claim they want to be.

Yes, the future is coming, but we do not have to embrace the vision that sPower sets out for our own County. We can instead embrace a vision of encouraging companies that want to share real community and prosperity with their neighbors to locate here.

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SPower’s Industrial Solar Plant in Spotsylvania, Virginia Reviewed

The Meadow Family is positioned to sell a 6,500 tract of land adjoining my subdivision to sPower where they hope to build the 5th largest solar industrial plant in the world and the largest east of the Mississippi.

This solar industrial complex will contain 1.8 million Cadmium Telluride photo voltaic panels. It will be positioned within 50 feet of some local property lines and will forever change the complexion of our semi-rural county of Spotsylvania, Virginia. And not for the better.

These are my concerns and my personal review on this project by sPower.

One

Based on research and an estimate of 4,500 acres to be used for solar generating and using Land Mark Dividend.com’s estimate of return per acre, sPower stands to generate $95,625,000 (over $96 million) to $191,250,000 (over $191 million) in profit yearly. Note this is profit not gross revenue before expenses.

Over the 30 year lifespan of the equipment this is a profit of $2,868,750,000 ($2.8 billion) to $5,737,500,000 ($5.7 billion) for sPower investors.

sPower offers (but not in writing at this time and not in the County paperwork details that were part of the County Staff review – so therefore only is a verbal declaration, $660,000 for 30 years which is $19,800,000 $19.8 million. This “proffer” is only .34% of potential profits from the highest number of $5.7 billion that sPower may be generating in profit for their investors.

If the suggested $660,000 proffer does not meet the new Virginia code in subsection C of the Act for “specifically attributable” as it is not paid for a need that was created, at least in part, by the rezoning. In other words the proffer must address a need that was created by the rezoning or it may be therefore considered illegal and then the county receives nothing.

With the extremely high profit of this project and very low investment back into the community which will be forever changed by this project, I do not personally feel that the special use permit for sPower to build this plant and change the zoning from agricultural to industrial should be approved. There is not enough financial benefit to county residents even with the perks sPower has dangled to residents in their printed and online materials. There is a lopsided positive benefit to sPower investors.

Two

Recycling of CdTe solar panels is a concern. Most documentation is about the recycling of silicone based panels and not the more hazardous and less expensive CdTe panels being used in this project.

Recycle PV appears at this time to be one of the very few US located solar panel recyclers.  Some solar panel manufacturers may offer recycling programs. For now, the industry consensus is that this is a new area and that the need for recycling cannot be met by the existing resources as panels age out.

As a result many panels are removed and stacked and some even put in landfills as the United States does not have the legislative regulation to control and mitigate environmental harm caused by the storage or disposal of aged out solar panels.

In fact, the problem is so significant that the State of Washington beginning in 2021 now requires all solar panel manufacturers selling in the state, to submit to a stewardship plan for approval to include recycling and also codifies the removal, disposal, and storage of solar panels. In Washington State, solar panels are now managed as dangerous waste. Spotsylvania County has none of these regulations.

Additionally, the decommissioning and recycling costs will likely far exceed what is expected or even estimated.

Recently, it cost the Department of Energy, $0.20/watt to encapsulate the Abound solar panel modules made by First Solar(the company which will be supplying the solar panels for the pending Spotsylvania project) in concrete due to the Cadmium. As many as 140,000 modules were encapsulated at a cost or $2.2 million.

The use of the cheaper CdTe solar panels is a health hazard that will be 30 years in the making. Although while the facility is in operation sPower says they will immediately address any broken panels, during decommissioning it is not unusual to stack panels; potentially breaking the glass seal leading to serious toxic leakage into the soil.

With recycling of solar panels not being widely done at this point, it seems shortsighted to not factor in the serious and dangerous consequences of where these panels go, how they are to be stored, and mistakes that are sure to happen in handling when being taken down.

The risk is too high and potential cleanup costs to the county unknowable predicating a NO to this Solar Power Industrial Complex.

Spotsylvania Count,y Virginia should not be a test site for sPower’s 125 LLC aggregate business eager to make a huge profit and destroy woodlands and wetlands of our beautiful rural and agriculture environment and damage our rural cultural heritage.

 

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Steer Clear of Outback Landscaping and Call Me Construction LLC

I have a sad tale to tell, but one of a cautionary note. If you are looking for a review on Charles N. Thomas of Outback Landscaping also doing business as Call Me Construction LLC, know that you should not do business with this individual for good reason.

Charles Thomas the owner of Outback Landscaping is a thief. He stole $10,000 from us and abandoned our hardscape project at 75% completion. We have had to hire a new contractor to finish the job.

This was a $50,000 project. It has now been over a year since he started. What we have to show is compacted gravel, garden walls and no pavers except under our hot tub. We don’t even have wall caps or column caps.

We cannot even finish our electrical inspection due to his inability to perform as he contracted to do so, causing a safety hazard.

We found out several months into the project that he let his contractor’s license expire, and that was just the start. Many customers are in trouble now due to this man.

One customer took him to court with a $300 per hour lawyer to get a judgement which they cannot collect as he has no money, assets, or has hidden his property as the lawyer suspects. He now has a $27,034 judgment against him from a similar situation as ours.

Virginia State Department of Regulation has revoked his contractor license on 9-11-18 and he had to pay a $4,500 fine for one problem with the project abandonment and $4,200 fine for failed project.

We are filing a complaint with the state too. We found out, however, from the AB Kearns Eagle Bay block distributor that he is continuing to buy materials and perform work for unsuspecting customers.

I have to say, based on the way he takes money from clients, promises endlessly in a believable manner, and is so very smooth in all he says and does; that he is believable until you have given him too much money and then he appears to walk the project. But only, after stringing you on with endless health and family issues that may or may not be legitimate. At this point, I trust nothing he says.

Acting in a state of fraud, is a pattern of behavior with this person. These two businesses I have mentioned by name are not the only ones he has done this with – stolen money, not completed jobs, closed down and started up under other names.

Charles Thomas needs to be in jail and we will be working with state authorities to get him there. BEWARE!

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Rebecca McCord – Virginia Tech Graduating Senior

Rebecca A. McCord, Virginia Tech Senior
Rebecca A. McCord, Virginia Tech Senior

Our very own Rebecca A. McCord is a graduating senior at Virginia Tech.  She is seeking full-time employment in the Washington D.C. region in the national defense and/or security field.

Her major is BAIS in National Security and Foreign Affairs with minors in Leadership, Russian, International Public Policy and Global Engagement.

You can see Rebecca A. McCord’s  full resume and curricula vitae on the Wix website that, by the way, she built herself.

Rebecca has been my Executive Assistant for several years. Although my firm will miss her for her exceptional qualifications and head for business, it is time for her make a difference in the world around her.

A person of unique qualifications, Rebecca A. McCord brings to the table a very strong work ethic, desire to make our country strong in the global order and global marketplace, and a desire to succeed. She speaks Russian and French. Rebecca will be graduating in May 2019 but is scheduling job interviews now for full time employment after graduation.

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Why Reviews Matter

Yes I love to take pics of my food for reviews.
Yes, I love to take pics of my food for reviews.

As a Google Local Guide, I review every place I visit and every place I eat. With over 300 reviews and photos uploaded to Google, I am just one of many who are helping Google index local businesses, build reviews and improve the accuracy of Google Maps.

Google does not pay me for these services, but I do receive special Google branded products and other perks for being a Google Local Guide.

Here’s what I’ve found out as I travel my local area.

  1. Reviews really do matter.
  2. People actually look at the photos I post for about a business.
  3. Negative reviews mean I probably won’t visit.
  4. I am constantly evaluating my store or restaurant experience.
  5. If I receive poor service, I will write about it.
  6. Even for lower end restaurants food presentation is important.
  7. People actually read what I post about a business.
  8. I do not tell business owners I am reviewing them.
  9. I myself select who I trade with based on online reviews.
  10. Reviews are more important than a nice website.

The bottom-line is that you are on display and being rated with every phone call, every visit, every plate that is served. You may have the best website, but if your visitors do not receive the royal treatment when they call or visit, you’ll set yourself up for a negative review. Get several and they can damage your business and sales!

To get savvy help in writing rebuttals to negative reviews, contact us today.

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