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These Four Black Women Just Made History at Harvard University

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Claudine Gay, Bridget Terry-Long, Michelle A. Williams, and Tomiko Brown-Nagin

Cambridge, MA — For the first time in Harvard’s 382-year history, four of the university’s academic departments will be led by African-American women. Professor Claudine Gay, the latest appointee, will become the first woman and the first African-American to lead the university’s prestigious Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

The Crimson Harvard reports that on August 15, Professor Claudine Gay will be occupying the post as the dean of Harvard’s flagship faculty, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She is hoping it would inspire other women and people of color just like how she was inspired when former University President Drew G. Faust became Harvard’s first female president.

“If my presence in this role affirms someone’s sense of belonging and ownership, the same way Drew’s appointment affirmed my own sense of belonging, then I think that’s great,” Gay said.

Gay will be joining three other Black women who are currently seated as department heads. In 2016, Michelle A. Williams became the first black women to lead the Longwood-based School of Public Health. Tomiko Brown-Nagin and Bridget Terry-Long were also the first Black women who became deans of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Graduate School of Education in April and May, respectively.

Many are saying these appointments sparked a significant turning point at the University that only has underrepresented minorities make up only about 8 percent of its faculty.

“To now be moving into a phase of Harvard’s life where people who don’t meet that profile are now empowered to advance Harvard, it just signals that Harvard is getting ready for a new future for itself and for the country and for the world,” said John S. Wilson, a known advocate for the university’s diversity.

Meanwhile, University President Lawrence S. Bacow said, “Each of these exceptional individuals was selected because they enjoy reputations as distinguished scholars and educators, and because they are widely admired by their colleagues as extremely effective academic leaders”

He continued, “They were selected not because of their race or gender but because they each rose to the top of a rigorous search process.”

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More Shake Up at SAGE – Interim CEO Resigns

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In just two months time, one of the most revered nonprofits on the East Side has had a shake up.

First, longtime CEO Jackie Gorman departed in late September. Now, interim CEO Akeem Brown has also resigned. The San Antonio Business Journal reported Friday that Brown left the organization only after two months in his new position. According to his LinkedIn page, he’s been with SAGE for a little more than two years and previously served as its director of operations. Prior to joining SAGE, Brown worked with former Councilman Alan Warrick as a director of communication and policy. 

The recent turnover in executive staff at SAGE raises questions of who will lead the organization forward especially during a time when many investors are looking at the area for redevelopment.

Earlier this year, the San Antonio Express-News reported on Gorman and SAGE’s efforts to bring change to the East Side, which often gets stereotyped for having high crime statistics. It reported that during Gorman’s tenure, investors are seeing the area differently now to refurbishing homes and building retail shops.

In spite of SAGE’s efforts, it has drawn some criticism as well. A 2016 News 4 Trouble Shooters story questioned why SAGE and other organizations were slow to invest more grant money on the East Side. In 2014, a portion of the East Side was designated one of the nation’s first “promise zones,” which made it eligible for millions in federal grants.

To read the story on Gorman from BlackVideoNews, go here.

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What to Expect from a Home Inspection

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By Lisa Harrison Rivas

For most people, buying a house is the biggest investment they’ll ever make. People often spend months searching for their dream home, and when they finally find what appears to be it, they can’t wait to buy it. But we all know looks can be deceiving, so before the packing starts, it’s a good idea to get a home inspection.

Here’s what you can expect from a home inspection.

An inspection is usually done after a house is under contract, meaning a signed offer has been accepted. If you are working with a real estate agent, he or she can provide a list of licensed inspectors for you to choose from. The house will be inspected for structural defects and pests (crawling critters, not annoying family members).

All lenders require a Wood Destroying Insect Report on pre-existing homes before funds will be advanced for the sale. The report will state if the home has an infestation or damage from a previous infestation and if the house has been previously treated for termites.

Sheds are a haven for termites, so they also should be inspected. One client I was working with had an old shed on a property torn down at the buyer’s request. Sure enough, the shed was full of termites and the house was also infested. The shed was removed, and the seller paid for the termite treatment, which was not cheap.

Keep in mind the Wood Destroying Insect Report must be done within 30 days of closing, so it’s a good idea to have this inspection done last in case there’s a delay in closing.

After the structure of the house is examined, the inspector will issue a report on the roof, foundation, heating and cooling system, electrical system, plumbing and other visible defects. Common issues inspectors find include damage from moisture, aging roofs, heating/cooling defects, termite damage, and improperly installed insulation.

Cracked or shifting foundations also are common in South Texas. I had another client who had found what she thought was the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood. The home looked flawless at the showing. An offer was made and accepted, and she was anxious to move forward with the deal. At last, she would be getting the home she had been waiting for. But then, the inspection report came back and it revealed that the beautiful house in the perfect neighborhood had a cracked foundation. This is a perfect example of looks being deceiving and the precise reason a good licensed inspector is crucial.

In older homes, especially in rural areas, the wiring can be a problem. It’s not uncommon for inspectors to find it to be outdated. In general, they will check to see if the house has sufficient electrical capacity needed to power today’s appliances safely.

Once the inspector finishes the report, you and your agent will receive a copy. Decisions will be made about which items need to be addressed before moving forward with the deal. The buyer’s agent will send repair requests to the seller’s agent, and both parties should sign off on which items will be repaired. If you are the seller, make sure you keep all your repair receipts. If you are the buyer, make sure you ask to see them during the final walk-through.

The long summers in South Texas means air conditioning systems are running most of the year, so potential buyers often request that sellers pay for routine maintenance on the heating and cooling system before closing on the house.

And while it might be tempting to save some cash and have your uncle with a tool belt look at the system, I’d recommend that, unless he’s licensed, you politely decline the offer and hire a licensed professional, in which the state requires. Inspectors say a lot of the problems they see are caused by unlicensed Mr. Fix-its.

The buyer, unless he or she is financing with a VA loan, usually pays for both the general structural inspection and the Wood Destroying Insect Report, but like anything else, this is negotiable. The cost varies depending on the size of the house, but expect to spend from $300 to $500 for the structural report. A Wood Destroying Insect Report will cost around $160. Depending on the inspector, these costs can be paid upfront or at closing.

So now you know what to expect from a home inspection.


Lisa Harrison Rivas is a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Don Johnson, Realtors. Contact Lisa at 210-380-9006 or lhrivas@realsa.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Re-Inventing the Other Side of the Tracks

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Just South of the Alamodome, near the Denver Heights neighborhood, there’s a buzz going on – an old pallet manufacturing site – now holds ongoing events that feature art and community engagement.

If you take a look at the social media pages of Essex Modern City, it seems like a hip new company is using the space at Essex and Cherry streets  on the East Side to hold pop-up events that showcase beautiful murals and tasty food trucks. However its developers – Sacramento-based Harris Bay – is trying to create excitement about Essex Modern City, an 8-acre, mixed-use development that will feature office space, apartments, restaurants and retail.

But the project has yet to break ground. According to the San Antonio Business Journal, the developer is working on trying to designate the area as a quiet zone from the noisy trains in the area. In the article, the developer said its hopeful construction will begin in the first quarter of 2019.

According to CREO, the architecture firm for the project, Essex Modern City is expected to be a one-of-kind project for the Alamo City, which “returns the focus to the people, both those who live there and visit, by making it a walkable community with vehicular access limited to emergency and service access. The large central plaza and extensive green space throughout provides a venue for events and exhibits for residents and visitors.”

Though instead of construction, there’s still something to see at this location. On the second Saturday of each month, visitors can mix and mingle with local and national street artists, musicians and vendors who showcase their talent, and passion.

 

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