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Kellemora
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Re: Block This

Post by Kellemora » 28 Jun 2019, 10:59

We had a super big blow up when the instituted busing county kids to the city and vice versa.
Your Real Estate taxes include the school district taxes, and you often lived in what school district you wanted your kids to go to. And believe me, the school tax differences from district to district were enormous.
Places like Meacham Park, Kinlock, and others has super low taxes, but they were still higher than city school taxes.
While places like Clayton, Webster, Kirkwood, etc. had almost the highest in school taxes.
So what they were doing was busing kids from the medium high tax districts to the lowest tax districts, and from the high tax districts to the medium low tax districts.
The number of lawsuits that came from that fiasco nearly broke a few of the high taxed school districts, because they were winning and in huge amounts too.
Most of these families who won the largest of the lawsuits had traditionally sent their kids to private schools up until they started their second year of high school. And none of the tax money they paid went toward their kids education until they started high school, and now they were being bused downtown, and in some cases to the highest crime areas in the city.
Shortly after busing started, private schools had no room left they had so many new students enrolled. A few were using portable buildings as classrooms to accommodate the influx of new students.
While at the same time, public school attendance dropped by over 1/3, and with all the teachers on contracts, they were often teaching to a classroom of only 6 to 10 students.
I pulled my son out of Parkway and sent him to Saint Monica's when I heard he was selected for the busing program.
After much to do, when the dust settled, they finally let folks opt-out of the busing program.
But the busing program didn't end, they were still bringing city kids out to the county schools, but no so many county kids would go to the city schools, and due to the mismatch, the busing program was finally ended.

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yogi
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Re: Block This

Post by yogi » 28 Jun 2019, 12:31

It's a fact of life that not all schools in and round big cities are created equal. The wealthier suburbs have the better schools and teachers to go with them. That's one of the reasons a family chooses to live where they do; the schools. I agree it might appear unfair that some inner city geniuses don't have the opportunity to attend high quality schools, but sending the affluent kids to poverty stricken schools isn't the solution. Chicago ran the same course that St Louis did, as well as many other school districts nationwide. It became a racial confrontation and it took many years for them to figure it all out. I attended what they called a magnet school after grammar school. Anybody who wanted in was allowed to attend. That worked out pretty well and I often wondered why they didn't apply the same strategy to lower grade schools. School districting is fine for budget purposes, but it often isn't practical if providing equal opportunity is the main goal.

My daughter started out her teaching career in one of those affluent suburban schools. It had wonderful benefits and great support from the parents. Then the district decided to drop their bi-lingual classes and my daughter ended up teaching in a school district ranked second from the bottom in the whole state (Chicago was the bottom ranked one). She got a raise with that job and an improvement in a couple benefits. The students were a huge challenge, however, given most of them were temporary and there with undocumented parents. Be that as it may she took on the challenge and has made a mark in the system with her teaching approach. Her kids are usually the best in the district according to the testing they must go through.

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Kellemora
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Re: Block This

Post by Kellemora » 29 Jun 2019, 10:37

I agree that the way the school districts are handled was a big mistake from the git-go.
But I can see the point of having the more affluent of society add more funding to make the schools in their district better.
But is it really a fair way of doing things?
All schools should be equal in what they teach, and what amenities they provide for the students.
They claim they all teach the same, but in reality they don't.

At one time, they were going to change the school tax rates from school districts to entire counties. So that all the schools in the county would be funded equally, based on student head count per each school.
But they hit a major problem with that idea. Although the tax for the more affluent would go down, the tax on the poor would rise to more than they could bear.
So, they decided school districts were the best way to go, with a percentage of each school districts income going to the state to help fund the school districts in poorer areas.
This too created problems because all schools wanted their fair share of the state funding for schools.

During three summer months for two years I volunteered to teach VOTEC. I was sent to Tempe, Arizona to teach both times, and taught carpentry. It was more than frustrating because more than half the students didn't know one end of a hammer from the other. VOTEC was provided for free to the students. It was like a trade school for kids who could not afford any type of formal education or even the cheapest private trade schools.
Besides being hotter than blue blazes there, and although they didn't have gangs per se back then, working with these kids was like working with gang members, who were going to do as they damn well pleased. It cost them too! Out of 27 students my first year, only 6 earned their trade certificate. The second time, I had 35 in the class when it started, and only 18 left the last month, but 11 of those earned their certificate.
The only thing provided for me was transportation to Tempe and back home again, a small shared apartment with another teacher, all utilities furnished, and seven dollars a day food allowance, paid only after we turned in our receipts each week. Naturally, the receipts were always over the limit of what they would refund, because everything was expensive there. I survived on bologna, cheese, and bread, for lunch, and perhaps a can of soup or stew for dinner, along with some type of more healthy snack, like an apple or orange one day, cheddar cheese and crackers, etc. Thankfully, the teacher I lived with in the apartment had more funds than I did, so he often bought something for me I couldn't afford for myself. He even cooked up some fried ham, or burgers for us a few times, and a baked in the oven chicken on our last week there. This was the second class I taught. The first class my roommate was a real jerk, rarely talked to me at all, and stayed in his room most of the time we were not out teaching. At least he never used the kitchen and made a mess.
I never saw in his room, but I think he had a small dorm fridge in there, because he never put anything in the kitchen fridge unless it was huge, like a gallon jug of milk, I dare not touch either, hi hi.
I did these two teaching jobs as part of a requirement to get my general contractors license. There were other things that could have been done instead, but they were ongoing items I didn't want to deal with.

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yogi
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Re: Block This

Post by yogi » 29 Jun 2019, 12:41

The Missouri lotto tickets I buy are said to go toward education. They don't specify the exact distribution, but I'm guessing the profits are put into a general education fund. Thus the contributions I'm making to the Missouri educational system are going to the inner city schools in St Louis as well as to the more affluent school districts. The ghetto residents who buy lotto tickets are doing exactly what I'm doing. They not only are supporting their local schools but also those where the entitled white kids attend. I don't hear any of those ticket buyers complaining about where their education dollars are being spent.

Public education is a state level responsibility. Why can't all the tax money go to the state instead of school districts and counties? The payouts could still go by the same headcount rule, but the source would be a general fund and not a local fund. So yeah, I'd be paying for some black kid in the inner city, but his mama and daddy would be paying for the public schools in O'Fallon. Makes sense to me. :lol:

And, if you really don't like any of that, there is home schooling or private schools. It doesn't have to be complicated.

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Kellemora
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Re: Block This

Post by Kellemora » 30 Jun 2019, 11:23

Sounds good except for the fact that you are taxed based on your school district and what the people in that district voted to put in their schools.
When I was in school, we had tiled floors, but when my son was in school, they had carpeted floors.
Now you know it costs a lot more to care for carpeting than for plain old tile. Took much more expensive equipment to care for the carpet floors, plus the carpeting had to be replace a lot more often than tile floors.
The cafeteria at my sons school floor was all terrazzo, no tile or carpeting.

Another thing is the books used in the schools. When we were in school, we had to keep our books covered with a book cover to protect them, at least in grade school. High School we didn't have to do that, but then they changed what books we used every few years. The books were not discarded, they were sent to less affluent schools, and probably passed from there down to the poor schools.

In college we had to buy all of our own books. I still had many of them, because they changed books so we couldn't sell them back to the campus bookstore. I was able to sell a few of them to off-campus private bookstores though, because they were still used at other colleges.

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Re: Block This

Post by yogi » 30 Jun 2019, 12:58

The need for new schools, or closing unused schools, would be pretty much what it is today even if the funding was centralized at the state level. The difference is that a single fund would be supplying the cash. Bonds could be purchased by the state for specific projects, and in turn increase the tax rate to the general fund. Any new buildings would naturally have to meet whatever codes are in place, and of course those building codes change over time. The only problem I see with my scheme is that taxpayers on the south side of the state don't want to be paying for improvements on the north side of the state. My answer to that is reeducation. If you want to live in this state, supporting the public school system is part of the price you must pay. Period. End of story.

For a long time I figured text books were a scam imposed upon the general population by the book publishers. I got all my books for free in grammar school, but paid for everything after that. Today text books are being deprecated. It's mobile devices and the Internet in the classrooms in the year 2019. :mrgreen:

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Kellemora
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Re: Block This

Post by Kellemora » 01 Jul 2019, 10:21

It takes at least a tablet computer to use textbooks for school, and they must be fully indexed, and some even have jump to page options.
Most devices will remember what page you are on, and allow you to set bookmarks.

Early electronic devices for classroom use slowed down rather than sped up class activities.
This caused the school board (here at least) to initiate several rules concerning the use of same.
If you chose an electronic version of a book over a normally provided school textbook, you must buy it yourself.
Workbooks cannot be used in electronic form as the pages must be torn out and given to the teacher for grading.
Most of the schools here do not let teachers create their own tests as they did when we were in school, so most of the tests come from pre-printed forms provided to the school by the school district, and they also much comply with state regulations.
In other words, they have way too many chiefs and not enough Indians now running the schools, hi hi.

I looked this up: 17% of the taxes collected by each school district go to the state for redistribution.
They have formulas they use to determine which schools and how much of the pool is distributed to them.
Just reading it would make your head swim. There was over 25 factors, each with determining points.
In one group of factors, the lower your final score, the more money your school got.
In another group of factors, the higher your final score, the more money your school got.
One thing I noticed is schools drop-out rates earned them a higher amount.
At first this seemed like they were rewarded for having more kids drop-out.
But it appears it doesn't actually work like that.
The drop-out rate is compared to the recovery rate and the recovery rate earns them much more.
The overall goal was to make the school better so the kids wouldn't drop-out so quickly.
And the money the school got for drop-outs went to recovery programs, which does not directly benefit the school.
I assume it covers the labor of counselors who go out and talk to drop-outs to get them back in school.

At the end of it all, each school, none excluded, have a score which is calculated into a percentage.
The money pool is first reduced by 12.8% for administrative costs, then the remaining pool becomes 100% of available funds for distribution to the schools based on the percentage they get. The more wealthy schools usually have a low return, while the poorer schools have a higher return, often more than their tax base paid into the state.

Here is a general school funding website that combined all but 5 states into one basic formula to give you an idea of how schools are funded by the states, and where the states get that necessary income from.
https://apps.urban.org/features/funding-formulas/

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Re: Block This

Post by yogi » 01 Jul 2019, 19:52

That's a pretty interesting article. Apparently my idea of centralized funding is not new and is even in practice in some places. Who would have thought? I already knew that funding for public schooling came from three sources, i.e., local, state, and federal. I did not know how the proportions were determined nor did I suspect there were so many options. I am absolutely certain that I personally have no control over the collection and distribution of school funding. When the tax bill comes in I must pay. Simple as that. :mrgreen:

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Kellemora
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Re: Block This

Post by Kellemora » 02 Jul 2019, 10:58

I was never on the school financial or appropriations committee, but spent a lot of time supplies acquisition, all volunteer work by the way, and only while my son and daughter was at that school.
While helping out in that department, we didn't just order supplies haphazardly. Each thing we ordered had to have a funding source for some or part of it, and what we ordered had to not only balance with allowable inventory, but also show why we needed more of that item, in other words usage reports.
The state does not give a school the money directly. They earmark a certain amount of funding to the schools budget. So a purchase order for a certain item may have to show two or three sources for the funds to cover it. 30% from the schools fund, 60% from the state fund, and 10% from the federal fund. And each of these entities must get a copy of the purchase order, and a requisition form for the funding from that entity be sent to the supplier of the goods.
The school was always invoiced for the item, so a copy of the invoice goes along with the purchase order to the necessary entities. In some cases, federal funding is deposited into an account we have access to so they don't have to cut a check themselves, which is yet another form to show the school withdrew x number of dollars for PO, to pay Invoice #, such n such. If the money was just placed in the schools account it would save tons of paperwork. But I guess the government employees need to have a reason to keep their job, so they are duplicating all the work, often redundantly, hi hi.

On a different note: When I owned a restaurant, you would not believe the number of licenses we had to have back then. Most of which you no longer need today, since some services have been combined over the years.
One of the first licenses they finally abolished was a license to sell or use egg products.
Even a tavern who sold hard boiled eggs for patrons at the bar, had to have an egg license. Crazy.
Besides myself, each employee had to pass Applied Food Service Sanitation tests and get their license.
But that wasn't the only one, they had to have food handling and preparing, for everything except cooked foods, and then another license to prepare cooked foods.
Now they are all wrapped up in one license I think.
Plus if we played music over the radio, besides the BMI and ASCAP fees, we had to have a music license.
This license did not allow dancing, that was yet another license.
We did not serve liquor so didn't have to worry bout that one.
Building structure fees for occupancy, with annual inspections.
Fire Equipment and their inspections and replacement or repairs with 2 to 4 inspections per year.
And of course the Health Department inspections every 2 or 3 months, at random.
It takes an entire 40 hour work week of bookwork, just to keep up with all the licenses and fees, and I haven't even touched on payroll or taxes.

Seems like every time a new poly-TICK-ian takes office, they create another department to give their son-in-law a cushy high paying job, so have to come up with something for him to do. Usually harassing businesses!
Nuff Said!

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Re: Block This

Post by yogi » 02 Jul 2019, 15:37

My take on government regulations is from that of a consumer's point of view. I never ran a business more serious than a lemonade stand so that I only hear anecdotal stories about how oppressive regulations are for business. As a consumer I don't want any big business, or small business for that matter, taking advantage of me. I don't want to be the victim of their abuse or ignorance either. Businesses exist to make profits and caring about their clients and customers extends only as far as the bottom line of the yearly financial reports go.

When little guy such as myself feels he is being abused by a business there are only a few ways to address the problem. One is to go to the business owner and explain things with the hope they will be sympathetic. That often leads to law suits which is very costly for both the business and the customer. The last resort is to appeal to the local politician to get some laws and regulations in place. The final recourse is to move to some other country where they are more consumer friendly and welcome immigrants too.

There is no way to fix our system other than to destroy it and rebuild it in some authoritarian kind of way.

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Kellemora
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Re: Block This

Post by Kellemora » 03 Jul 2019, 09:47

Let me ask you this question.

The scenario:
You go out to dine in a restaurant, and look up to their unusually high ceiling with exposed framework.
You see dirt, cobwebs, and possibly even a rat or mouse run across one of those rafters.
Yet they always get a 97 to 100 on their Health Inspection.

Another restaurant you dine at is impeccably clean.
No matter where you look in this restaurant, all you see is sparkling clean.
You've can see into the kitchen prep areas and the workers are all spic n span.
Yet this restaurant is always marked down, scores are often 85 to 90 on their Health Inspection.

Let's assume the Health Inspector who inspects both of these restaurants is the same inspector and he does a thorough job at each location, based on the rules and laws he must follow.

Here is my question:
Why do you think the filthy, and poorly run restaurant gets such a high score,
while the impeccably clean and well run restaurant gets a low score?

I'll tell you this, you are much safer, health wise eating at the restaurant with the lower score, because they are the cleanest and best at handling all the foods properly and at the right temps, and proper storage.

So, why the low score?
There was a hole in the screen door by the handle the size of a #2 pencil.
The bucket they transfer ice from the ice maker to their soda fountain bin, was sitting on the inbound dish washing tray, it was there to be washed, not there because that is where they kept it.
A delivery just arrived and the refrigerated food boxes were placed on the stainless steel counter just outside the cooler door, and there just happened to be a closed gallon jug of the disinfectant used to clean the dining tables on that same counter.
Because of the shipment of food products, a tray of glasses out of the dishwasher was set on top of the ice making machine, until the counter was cleared and cleaned to set it there and then store the glasses.
The inspector just happen to stop in during a delivery and when the service equipment was to be washed.

Why does the dirty place score so high?
For one, the inspector is not supposed to check anything over 9 feet above the floor.
They had already cleaned there service equipment and placed it back where each item belongs.
The daily delivery was already long put away.
And the inspection was after their morning clean-up before the lunch crowd arrived.

Now you know why occasionally you will hear about a rat dropping from the ceiling down on a diner, yet they had a super high Health Inspection report.

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Re: Block This

Post by yogi » 03 Jul 2019, 13:18

I claim foul. You ask me a question that I cannot answer and then go ahead and provide an explanation without hearing my side first. :lol:

Truth is that I understand your point perfectly. My comments about business regulations were simply that they exist for a good reason and are intended to be applied fairly and equally. We both know that doesn't happen all the time in practice for many reasons both legal and suspect. Being a businessman as you are would give you a much different perspective because you have experiences that I do not. I will confess that I am no longer as confident in government as I used to be when I grew up in an environment were ethics was respected. That respect seems to be eroding these days, but there still are a lot of folks in business and government who value the ideals.

Hopefully that restaurant which is getting the high rankings isn't any of the ones I patronize. There are a couple with ceilings beyond 9' tall around here.

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Re: Block This

Post by Kellemora » 04 Jul 2019, 12:55

I only know what the rules were back when I owned a restaurant, and have no idea what they are now.
But I can tell you this, there were inspectors who were on the take back then too.
Not blatantly, but accepted gifts from time to time, which had a bearing on how they treated the owner during an inspection.
I knew one of the folks who owned a Velvet Freeze ice cream shop.
It just so happened the health inspector bowled at the same bowling alley with him.
To coerce him to switch teams (was the excuse used) he bought him a new bowling ball, bag, and shoes.
After that, his health inspection report never fell under a 97, where it often used to be down to 89 or 90 quite often. Not low enough to lose his A rating, but a lot of things were marked as passing that we all knew shouldn't have been.
Boxes of cake cones were often stored on a shelf above their cleaning supplies, which is a major infraction today.

Heck, down here, one of my favorite restaurants has a ton of things stored right outside the men's bathroom door. But because no open boxes are stored there, he has been getting by with this for probably over two decades.
Even back when I had a restaurant, nothing could be stored within 20 feet of a restroom door. This is one reason you see so many bathrooms down hallways instead of opening right into the dining or work areas. And if they do open into the dining area, it is usually as far away as possible from the food prep areas.

One major thing that has always befuddled me from before I even owned a restaurant.
There is supposed to be a place for patrons to wash their hands before they eat.
No think about those dining places that have no public access to bathrooms.
Where are their hand washing stations for the public? No where to be found!
Some get by with this by saying they do not have indoor dining, but do have picnic benches outside.
I know after I worked at my first restaurant, I read the rule books very carefully to get my license.
I saw no exceptions to the rules anywhere in that book, hi hi.

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Re: Block This

Post by yogi » 04 Jul 2019, 15:13

I find your comment about washrooms to be interesting. I didn't think a restaurant could operate without their customers having access to a washroom. It's been many years since I've been able to buy lunch without sitting down inside to consume it. Generally it was a hot dog stand. I think that's how the first McDonalds operated too. All you could do is buy the burgers; you had to go elsewhere to eat them. In those cases I could see not offering a washroom. Everything else in my memory seems to have something. And, of course, each washroom I've been in has signs posted to the effect that employees MUST wash their hands before returning to work. Apparently it's optional for everybody else.

There must be a better way, but I don't know how to take the human element out of physical inspections. Perhaps as robots and AI get smarter they will be able to do an impartial survey. But, as it stands today, even the most well intended inspector is influenced by his relationship to the establishment's owner. I can appreciate the plight of the food service businesses, but their customer safety is of paramount importance. Some of the rules get a little extreme, but there is no such thing as being too cautious. So said the guy who never owned a restaurant. :mrgreen:

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Kellemora
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Re: Block This

Post by Kellemora » 05 Jul 2019, 09:51

I've been in restaurants down here, where they store the drink glasses right on top of the ice bins. Back home this was not only illegal, they could shut you down for this one offense. Glasses do break, and glass in the ice bin could kill someone. So it is logical no glassware can be above or close to an ice bin. You see this most often in establishments that serve liquor.

I agree, especially for the safety of the consumers, laws need to be in place and enforced with a heavy hand.
But many of the things on the inspection report now goes beyond ridiculous and has nothing at all to do with food safety in storage, preparation, and food service. And things that should be inspected are not. Crazy.

One thing that should be tested but isn't, is the amount of grease laden air reaching the dining area.
The exhaust fans over the grills and charbroilers are often set as low as they can set them to keep from sucking heated or cooled air from the building. If they are set too low, not all the smoke or fumes are going up and out of the building.
Also, in many restaurants, the heating plant or AC blower which is normally part of the heating plant, is in the utility area that is integral with the food service and prep areas. So too much smoke back there, and it gets sent right out to the dining areas.
This was my biggest beef with landlords I rented restaurant space from.
I had to pay out of my own money to have an air intake to the furnace blower relocated so it drew in air from the dining area, and a little from outside too. Plus I installed exhaust vents over the pizza ovens besides those over the grills. I also kept them cranked up so there was no smoke or grease in the air in the food prep area.
I had cool air intakes in the outside wall at the back of the food prep area too. They helped to keep the heat or AC from being sucked out of the building as much.
A few of the employees who also worked at other restaurants of told me, their hair is not all messed up on the days they worked for me, not like anywhere else they worked. This was good, and one of the reasons I had a low employee turnover.

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Re: Block This

Post by yogi » 05 Jul 2019, 14:25

It's not easy keeping the air clean when you cook indoors. It's got to be particularly difficult in high volume cooking places like restaurants. It seems easy enough to isolate the kitchens from the dining areas. Something simple as double doors would go a long way to help. Cost is a factor that has to be figured into the cooking plan and I can see why nobody cares much about greasy air. It's not like cigarette smoke. One of the major flaws in this house of mine is that there is no outside exhaust in the kitchen. There are fans that blow the greasy air onto the cabinets and up to the ceiling, but nothing to extract the fumes to the outside world. I asked the builder if there was a building code that forbade exhausting the kitchen, and he admitted there was none he knew of. It's just the way homes are build these day, i.e., cheap as they can get away with.

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Re: Block This

Post by Kellemora » 06 Jul 2019, 10:06

All of my houses were exhausted to outside. In fact, when I built my new kitchen at my Creve Coeur house, I had more powerful exhaust systems than was in some restaurants I've been in.
This makes sense when you consider I had a char broiler.
I had downdraft vent with a 24 inch diameter 3-1/2 inch wide blades under the cabinet, speed controlled. If you turned that sucker up as high as it would go, it would suck an empty aluminum pie pan off the stove. Needless to say, we never turned it up on high, ever, hi hi. Now above the char broiler, under the upper cabinet was another humongous blower. It had two 8 inch diameter blowers with 10 inch long blades, also speed controlled.
To the left of the back door to the backyard, in the wall, was a doggie door with a strand type doorway, of several strands deep. Think like a flat mop hanging inside this and you'll have an idea of what I mean.
The built in oven and microwave were to the left of this doggie door.
By using a strand type doggie door, the air sent out the exhaust vents came through the doggie door, instead of sucking heat from the rest of the house.

When I built our new kitchen down here where I live now, it was a design feat to install an outdoor vent as large as I wanted. But we accomplished it, even in the super tight space I had to work within.

Here is a link to my kitchen under construction.
The wall I was working with, when I started, had 2x6s at one end 2x4s at the other end, which threw the entire wall out of plumb. I used this to my advantage.

http://stonebrokemanor.classichauslimit ... nl2012.pdf

Page 2 - All four pictures show the initial work. The black vertical lines are heat proof foam rubber strips.
Page 5 - On the right shows the ductwork installed with the framing over it, also with rubber strips hidden.
Note also I have horizontal 2x4s in place for hanging the upper cabinets, and affixing the lower cabinets.
Page 7 - Bottom right shows the vent attachment area after the drywall was in.
Notice also the alcoves for the range, washer/dryer, and the deeper alcove inside the washer/dryer area for the dryer exhaust. This is how I got all the appliances to come out flush with the front of the cabinet counters.

NOTE: The transition piece from rectangular to round was necessary because the cost of a vertical rectangular outside vent was astronomical, so I went with the lower cost round vent.
To Prevent an area of grease build up at this transition point, cement based floor leveling compound was poured into the ductwork from outside, and then a thin layer of epoxy over that so oils would not soak into the cement. The picture on Page 2 is a little misleading, the floor leveling compound did not reach as far as that first old stud. The angle is not as steep as it appears in the image. Also, the vent was purposely angled, instead of flat, so when we steam clean the vents there is no place for water to become trapped, and of course, so grease can run downhill.

Before we put the drywall up, all three inspectors, which are the plumbing inspector, the electrical inspector, and the building inspector, were all amazed at the amount of planning that went into doing this lopsided kitchen and making it square again, and the amazing use of alcoves so everything would fit properly.

This was a major project because the ceiling sags considerably, and the floor was had a couple areas that dipped down, this is where I used the wedges to bring the floor up to level, in a solid way.
The folks who installed the cabinets said they never had an easier job, since I already leveled the floor under the cabinets and had all the mounting boards in place for them. They didn't have to hunt for studs.

Lots of work!

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Re: Block This

Post by yogi » 06 Jul 2019, 15:29

Moving to Missouri was a deliberate choice we reluctantly had tto make. We were not all that enamored with the neighborhood up north, although we did have some terrific neighbors. After nearly thirty years of making that house our own, we left it behind to new people who marveled at the great construction and features we built into it. It truly was a work in process from the very beginning. This new house is nice. It would take well over $30k to bring it close to what we left behind. Perhaps the greatest disappointment is that we had to buy a spec home and could not build one to our custom design. That's how we ended up with more living space for less money. But, as I am made aware of often, you get what you pay for. Even in Missouri.

So, no kitchen vents. In fact there is very little in the kitchen that I truly like. It would all have to go, except, maybe, for the oak flooring. There is nothing I'd like better than to have my own woodworking shop in the basement and the energy to rip it all apart and rebuild it to my liking. I am not as severely limited as you are physically, but there is no way in hell I can do anything like that even if I had the cash and tools. You had an extra challenge in that your house wasn't exactly square. LOL But, you knew what to do and you fixed it up well. Two questions come to mind. The first is why you chose to go with rectangular vents internally when you knew you would not exhaust to the outside that way? What's the attraction to squareness? The other question is about the cut outs in the studs. That outer wall looks like a load baring wall, and I thought it was a bad idea to notch the studs the way you did. I guess the horizontal members add some support, but it looks like all the weight from above is on the remains of the notched out 2-by. I'm probably missing something because the inspectors didn't make you change anything.

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Kellemora
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Re: Block This

Post by Kellemora » 07 Jul 2019, 10:07

I went with rectangular duct work to maintain the number of square inches for the size blower in the vent hood.
And because there was not enough room to install six inch round duct.
The back of the corner cabinets I bought are lopped off, so they are not exactly a triangle. This would make room for the transition piece from rectangular to round. However, I was able to shift the transition piece closer to the concrete filled concrete block wall, an exterior wall.

The wall with the cut outs for the rectangular duct work is a partition wall between the kitchen and the master bedroom.
On the side with the duct work, the were rough-cut 2x6 studs, which means they measured a full 6 inches. While at the other end, where the washer/dryer goes, those studs only measured 4" down to 3-3/4 inches. In other words, that whole wall was tapered from 6" studs down to 3-3/4" studs. Which means the corners in the kitchen were not at 90 degrees.
I used new 2x4s with a notch cut in them over the duct work from the kitchen side, and then used increasingly larger studs to get to the right wall, this brought the wall back out to 90 degree corners, plus gave me enough room for that second little alcove inside the washer/dryer alcove for the dryer exhaust vent.

As an aside. I had no idea of what I was getting into, until all of the original kitchen cabinetry was removed and I dug into the walls. You would not believe how far out of plumb everything is in this house.
But using my CAD/CAM program, I could work everything out so the new cabinets would fit perfectly, based on the cabinet dimensions provided by the cabinet maker, which were not 100% accurate, and the accumulation of wrong data caused a 1/2 inch mismatch at the refrigerator end of the cabinets. This didn't matter about the upper cabinet because it used a spacer, but for the floor cabinets and counter-top, that 1/2 inch was not a pleasant thing to find. On the bright side, the upper cabinets did come out with the exact planned measurement on each side of the window. But even here too, the cabinet to the left of the window was set in place to match the ridge alongside the window, rather than line up with the base cabinets. The difference so slight no one would ever notice.

One other thing, the outlet on the vent hood was rectangular, and I planned on going rectangular all the way to outside vent cover. But when I priced vertical rectangular vent covers, the price was astronomical, because so few are made.
The difference is like $19.95 for a 6" round pipe vent cover, vs $189.95 for the vertical vent cover and with a 3 month lead time for them to make it and get it to me. Was cheaper and faster to go with the transition from rectangular to round. Also made it easier to cut through that concrete filled concrete block wall too.

Despite all the things I had to deal with in doing this kitchen, it was far easier than the bathroom and bedroom I did before it. Debi's sisters husband is a small contractor, and he said he would never tackle the types of jobs presented in this house. Nor would he work to the tight tolerances I did to get things to come out just right.

I asked him to cut all the tapers I used on the floor under the stove and washer/dryer. He thought I was crazy. Said he would just add a strip across the back and lay a new piece of subfloor over it, tapering the edge so it came out flush with the floor.
About a six months later he was on a job where he hit the exact same problem, and did it his way. A couple of months later he was called back because the subfloor sagged from the weight of the fridge sitting on it.
He moved the fridge out and ended up tearing up the subfloor he put in, and using tapers like I did. And you know, he said it was much cheaper than the way he did it cost wise, and the floor is now solid as a rock.

The only thing I could tell him was I used to work in old historical homes which had problems he never dreamed of. And one thing I learned about floors is you have to keep them solid or they will warp, shift, sag, etc. No matter how much reinforcing you do to the floor joists.
The one thing I don't like about him is he skips steps, even when they are written out plain as day for him to follow. If he don't think something is needed, he leaves it out. This is because he doesn't understand the reason something is there in the first place.
Some contractors I've used for a couple of things were the same way. Not here in my house but back home when I was renovating old city houses. I gave a contractor the blueprints that showed down to the 1/8th inch where certain studs had to be placed, and where a few of the fire-stops had to be placed. He didn't do that. So when we went to install the heavy duty shelving, the studs were not behind the mounting holes, and the cross frame did not have a place to connect it. This meant we had to tear out the drywall of the finished room and start over. We didn't tear out the studs, just added new studs where they were supposed to be placed, and the fire-stops at the height needed at each end of the shelving area. Needless to say, we never tossed another job his way after that!

When I was doing the kitchen, the electric inspector got a laugh over the reason for the placement of all the extra outlets. The reason he laughed was because their purpose was for electrical items that these days are normally battery powered. However, that electrical outlet above the window for Christmas wreaths is now used to power an electric window shade with a remote control. We could have got a battery pack, or an electric transformer to power the motor. I chose the electric transformer power source. Why not, the outlet was there, hi hi.
The frau loves the electric window shade behind the sink, because she's too short to reach pulling a shade down by hand, so am I as far as that goes, hi hi. So automatic shades for this area was the only way to go! And it makes her happy! She loves to close those shades at night. That particular window by the way has extra UV gas in it, so that 3pm sun does not heat you up or anything in the window. Another cost that was well worth having done when I did the kitchen.
And here too again, dear bro-in-law wanted to know how I knew about all these little things I did or used. He never heard of UV gas inside of Thermopane windows either. Sheee.

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yogi
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Re: Block This

Post by yogi » 08 Jul 2019, 09:27

You went to extremes in customizing your rebuit house. While I believe that is the best approach, not everybody is capable of even planning such customization and much less building it themselves. It's unheard of to have an outlet specifically placed for Christmas wreaths. You call it a custom appliance while most builders would see it as excessive and costly. Neither of those two things were of much concern to you. However, I do note that you are also practical and would not pay the premium price for a rectangular exhaust cover. Of course the timing was an important consideration too in your case.

The last house we lived in was custom built. We found what we thought was a great builder and got an estimate of the costs to build it. All that went well and we got the construction loan, although we had to go to a few banks because some thought the house was not worth the price the builder was demanding. When it came time to excavate, the foundation unexpectedly filled with water. We got an engineer out and he specified a few extras that had to be done in order to build on this land. That's when the builder told me the cost of building had risen more than 10-grand since the day he quoted the price. It was awkward and we could not afford too much overrun. Because of that increase in cost (his poor evaluation of what it would take) the builder took a few shortcuts along the way. Nothing was out of code, but for example a short stretch of I-beam was not installed because it was unnecessary according to the builder - not to mention costly. Well the floors were not as stable as you would like them to be, but they were acceptable. We couldn't do much after the fact anyway. Thus, what you describe is not limited to one or two subcontractors. They all have the same idea. They know how to do it better, and cheaper, regardless of the plans and instructions.

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