Chicago Proposes Dog-Friendly Restaurants
What is it with dogs? Now the Windy City may be joining the ranks of pooch-friendly cities. The Chicago City Council is considering an ordinance that would allow restaurant patrons to bring their dogs along. Like the law that passed in Florida earlier this month, the ordinance would allow dogs only in outdoor dining areas, seated next to their owners, of course.
The proposal has to clear committee before going to the full city council, which likely won't be until late July, according to a spokesman for the Illinois Restaurant Association.
Health codes in at least 29 states prohibit animals in restaurants except those assisting the disabled. Several municipalities such as Alexandria, Va., and Long Beach, Calif., have circumvented codes on behalf of dog lovers. Florida's change of heart is only a three-year pilot program, but could become permanent depending on how it works out. Dog owners can go to sites like www.dogfriendly.com to find restaurants that allow their pets to come for dinner.
Annapolis Considers Mandatory Food Safety Certification
A proposed ordinance in Annapolis, Md., would require you to have a manager certified in food safety available for consultation during business hours after July 1, 2007. After July 1, '09, a food safety certified manager would have to be on site.
The ordinance would bring the city in line with four Maryland counties that have similar legislation. Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties all require food safety training and certification for restaurant managers. Managers must take a 15-hour course offered by the Maryland Hospitality Education Foundation or local community colleges.
The city says that next year the Anne Arundel County Council is expected to consider the training requirement for all restaurants in the county. If that happens, the city's proposed ordinance would no longer apply. The city council has until October to decide whether to pass the bill.
IRS Explains Energy Efficiency Deductions
It isn't easy being "green," as Kermit the Frog might say. To help, the government has provided tax incentives, and the Internal Revenue Service has explained how they work in a handy new document on the Internet.
Commercial building owners and leaseholders can deduct up to $1.80 per sq. ft. for making buildings 50% more energy efficient. Deductions start at 60 cents/ft2 for energy savings of at least 162/3%.
The deduction is against the cost to purchase and install energy-efficient lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, equipment or modifications to the building itself. And yes, you have to document the savings or how you plan to achieve them. The Department of Energy has a list of software you can use to calculate energy savings.
The Internal Revenue Service has the complete rules on how to qualify at
OSHA Rules On Hexavalent Chromium Effective Soon
Anyone in the business of welding or grinding stainless steel, take note: The Occupational Safety & Health Administration believes such activity can create hexavalent chromium in the air and has announced new, stricter workplace limits on the carcinogen to take effect this fall.
The new standards, which go into effect Nov. 27 for companies with 20 or more employees, require measurement of employee exposure and set new limits on that exposure at about one tenth the previous allowable limits.
By Nov. 27, employers involved in welding/grinding stainless will be required to monitor air quality to measure micrograms of hex chrome per cubic meter of air in an eight-hour time-weighted average. If the level exceeds 2.5 micrograms, ongoing monitoring will be required. If the level exceeds
5 micrograms, personal respirators will be mandatory.
Companies with fewer than 20 employees have until May 30 next year to comply. You can find more information on the standards at www.nafem.org.