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Officials Share Plans For $9.4M Pocomoke Library

SNOW HILL – Construction of a new Pocomoke library is expected to cost close to $9.4 million and could begin as soon as this fall.

Worcester County Library Director Jennifer Ranck shared plans for Pocomoke’s new 13,000 square foot library this week with the Worcester County Commissioners. The new facility, designed by Jeff Schoellkopf, is projected to cost $9,325,000.

“I want to thank you for the opportunity to bring a 21st century library to the southern end of the county,” Ranck said. “Pocomoke really needs this.”

Officials have been working to bring a new library to Pocomoke for some time. After exploring various locations, library officials began working with the town to bring the library to the site currently occupied by the old armory. The town is now expected to demolish the aging structure this spring to allow for construction of the new library.

Ranck told the commissioners Tuesday The Design Group had developed plans for a 13,000 square foot structure.

“When you walk into the building, there will be a lovely gallery space, access to the community meeting room, restrooms,” she said. “This area will be available after hours.”

From there, patrons will walk through a second set of doors into the main library where they’ll see the circulation desk.

“Off to one side there’ll be an amazing children’s area,” she said. “We’re looking at putting in almost like a small classroom space in that area as well as a really fun treehouse where kids can get into our story times.”

There will also be access to a small children’s porch and small enclosed yard. The adult stacks will be located on the other side of the library, which will also include a teen space in one corner.

Ranck said officials were pleased to see $2.2 million the governor’s proposed budget for the project.

“We can start having shovels in the ground as early as this fall,” she said. “We will apply for additional funding in FY25 to help offset the county’s contribution to the project. The cost estimate you see does include a 7% escalation contingency.”

When asked how the Pocomoke branch would compare to the new Berlin branch, Ranck said the Pocomoke facility would be a bit larger than Berlin, which is around 12,000 square feet, but smaller than the branch in Ocean Pines, which is 18,000 square feet.

Commissioner Caryn Abbott, pointing out that she hadn’t yet been in office when planning began, asked if the design and construction services had been bid out. Ranck said the commissioners had approved the design contract last year and had agreed to hire Whiting Turner as construction manager but that the actual construction of the facility hadn’t yet been bid.

“I’m going to need to have more discussion with you after today,” Abbott said. “Going from 6,700 square feet to 13,000 square feet, I’m just wondering, looking at the foot traffic, if that can be decreased at all.”

Ranck said officials had looked at the area that the branch served, which extended beyond the town itself. She said officials tried to have one square foot of library space per capita and there were 11,000 people in the area the library served.

“We did want to give ourselves a little room to grow into that space,” she said.

Commissioner Ted Elder said this facility had been designed similarly to the Berlin branch that opened in 2018.

“That turned out very well,” he said.

Ranck agreed.

“We hit a home run and I think we’re going to bring home a super bowl championship when we do Pocomoke,” she said.

Commissioner Jim Bunting asked if the estimate of 11,000 people in the library service area included people who couldn’t or wouldn’t go to the library. Ranck said the figure was based on zip code.

“Libraries are for everyone,” she said.

She added that the library’s design team wanted to provide the Pocomoke community with meeting space like Berlin now had.

“We’re at capacity sometimes from one program,” she said of the current Pocomoke branch. “I feel like it’s better to plan ahead a little bit than plan a smaller thing that in five our ten years might not really serve what we’re looking for.”

Abbott said when she’d visited the library it seemed like it was being used more for community programs than library programs. Ranck said library staff offered children’s programs, history programs and educational programs but agreed the facility was used by community groups such as the homeless outreach team.

“There’s not a lot of public meeting space in Pocomoke,” she said.

Commissioner Diana Purnell praised the Berlin facility and said she saw senior citizens in there using computers and mothers bringing in babies for story time. She’s eager to see a new library in Pocomoke.

“I think you’re doing a great job in your design,” she said. “I think Pocomoke is going to become a jewel.”

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WHO: COVID-19 Origin Data on Raccoon Dogs Should Have Been Made Available Years Ago

The World Health Organization called on China to make the data fully accessible to the international community after it was removed from a global virology database.

The World Health Organization on Friday said that the origin of COVID-19 remains unknown following the release of genetic data from China that links the coronavirus to raccoon dogs for sale at the Wuhan market.

The head of WHO said that the information from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention – which has since been taken down from the global virology database GISAID – should have been made available years ago as every piece of data can help solve the origin question.

This data do not provide a definitive answer to the question of how the pandemic began, but every piece of data is important in moving us closer to that answer, and every piece of data relating to studying the origins of COVID-19 needs to be shared with the international community immediately,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a Friday press briefing. “This data could have – and should have – been shared three years ago.”

An analysis of the genetic data, which was first reported by The Atlantic, shows that raccoon dogs could have been carrying and potentially shedding the virus at the end of 2019.

WHO was made aware of the data on Sunday, and it called on China CDC to make the data accessible in full to the international community.

“We continue to call on China to be transparent in sharing data and to conduct the necessary investigations and share the results,” Tedros said. “Understanding how the pandemic began remains both a moral and scientific imperative.”

WHO’s Maria Van Kerkhove emphasized that the virus itself has not been identified in an animal from the market.

“We have repeatedly asked for studies to trace those animals back to their source farms so that we can go back in time and actually look to see where the animals came from and if any testing had been done,” she said at the briefing. “We repeatedly asked for serology to be conducted of people who worked in the markets, perhaps people who worked on farms where these animals came from.”

The development comes shortly after the Department of Energy reportedly concluded with “low confidence” that the coronavirus most likely came from an accidental lab leak in China. But the White House emphasized that there is not a consensus among the intelligence community about how COVID-19 started. The Energy Department joins the FBI in its view, but four other intelligence agencies and the National Intelligence Council believe the route was natural transmission from animal to human. Two agencies, including the CIA, are still undecided.

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Multimedia Speakers Market size to grow by USD 21.33 billion from 2022 to 2027, Driven by the growing consumer preference for in-home entertainment systems – Technavio

The global multimedia speakers market size is estimated to grow by USD 21.33 billion from 2022 to 2027, according to Technavio. The market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of over 11.33% during the forecast period. The growing consumer preference for in-home entertainment systems is driving the growth of the global multimedia speakers market significantly. There has been a paradigm shift in the home entertainment industry due to the changes in consumer lifestyles and the choice of entertainment. The shift can be attributed to factors such as the busy lifestyle of consumers, rising disposable income of consumers, and the easy availability of in-home entertainment systems to play music and video games as well as to watch movies. Furthermore, in-home entertainment systems prove to be an economical option when compared to expensive outdoor leisure pursuits such as vacations, movie theaters, and sports events. Hence, the shifting preference toward in-home entertainment is expected to drive market growth.

For more insights on the historic market data (2017 to 2021) and forecast market size (2023 to 2027) – Request a sample report

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Special coverage on the Russia-Ukraine war; global inflation; recovery analysis from COVID-19; supply chain disruptions, global trade tensions; and risk of recession
Global competitiveness and key competitor positions
Market presence across multiple geographical footprints – Strong/Active/Niche/Trivial – buy the report!
Multimedia Speakers Market – Segmentation Assessment
Segment Overview
Technavio has segmented the market based on distribution channel (offline and online), type (wireless multimedia speakers and wired multimedia speakers), and geography (APAC, North America, Europe, South America, and Middle East and Africa).

The market share growth of the offline segment is estimated to be significant for the growth of the global multimedia speakers market during the forecast period. Due to the consumers’ affinity toward experience-based purchase offerings, offline stores continue to thrive in the market. Many consumers rely on in-store performance and store expert demos to make their purchase decisions. Vendors increasingly emphasize matching the online prices of their multimedia speakers with the store manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), resulting in the reduction of the price disparity between distribution channels.
Geography Overview
By geography, the global multimedia speakers market is segmented into APAC, North America, Europe, South America, and Middle East and Africa. The report provides actionable insights and estimates the contribution of all regions to the growth of the global multimedia speakers market.

APAC is estimated to contribute 45% to the growth of the global multimedia speakers market during the forecast period. The growth in sales in the region can be attributed to factors such as the growth in disposable income and the rise in the purchase of multimedia speakers through online sales channels. The rise in disposable income across APAC countries has resulted in a rise in consumer spending on leisure items such as home entertainment products, including advanced and high-end multimedia speakers. The rapid penetration of smartphones and internet facilities, coupled with the proliferation of online payment facilities, has boosted the use of online purchases across the region. Moreover, the majority of people in APAC are shifting to smart lifestyles, due to which the penetration of smart homes in the region is expected to surpass the US by 2030. Hence, factors like growing disposable income are driving the growth of the global multimedia speakers market during the forecast period.

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How this High School Graduate Became a Real Estate Mogul

Zev Freidus, President of ZFC Real Estate, opens up about his childhood on a farm as one of nine children, his drive to succeed, and the lessons he’s learned along the way.

Zev Freidus is the president of ZFC Real Estate. He sat down with Jessica Abo to discuss how he’s using technology to change the real estate game.

Jessica Abo: Zev, you grew up on a farm and you’re one of nine kids. What can you tell us about that?

Growing up on the farm in a big family, for the most part, was a very good experience. It taught me a lot of life lessons. I had to take care of younger siblings. I would go fishing in the morning before I caught the bus to school. I’d tried to catch enough fish to feed all eleven of us and being one of the older ones, that fell on me. I’d collect the eggs and milk the cows before I went to school. It definitely was the foundation of my work ethic.

You went on to get your first minimum-wage job when you were 19. How did that job play a role in the business person that you are today?

I did not go to university. I went straight to work. I always knew, and my parents always knew, even before I knew, that I was a computer person. Computers were just getting started. I remember my first computer, my grandma bought it for me when I was a teenager. It was one of those things you connect to your TV and I couldn’t do much with it, but I was fascinated by it. And I think it was just a given that I was going to go into technology, but I didn’t know anything. So I got a minimum wage job, but it was in the field that I was interested in.

I was literally packing boxes for a computer component manufacturer. The guy sitting next to me would test the parts before I put them in the box and I’d watch what he did. And then when he quit, I pulled the boss aside and I said, “I could do that,” and I did. And then when they needed a network — this was the early days of networking — and nobody knew how to do it, I said, “I’ll try. I’ll read the book, I’ll figure it out.” And I taught myself. I had to prove myself over and over again — more so than most because I didn’t have the credentials. But I think that’s a good thing because I would take the manuals home at night and read them. That’s what I did when I got home from work because I wanted to learn.

How did you move from the technology industry to real estate?

I had already been investing in real estate as a part-time investor for myself. I owned just a few residential rental properties and I was working for a large American company. I was traveling all over the world and I had a pretty busy schedule. After seven years of doing that, I realized that my dreams of building a real estate portfolio had been put on the back burner. So I decided to quit my job and just focus on real estate. And since people had been picking my brain for years about real estate, I figured I could earn a commission for answering those questions and that would allow me to stay in real estate and then I wouldn’t have to choose between my career and my investment goals.

Zev, how did your background in technology influence the way that you approached the real estate industry?

Real estate was really one of the last industries to get transformed by the internet. But I understood from the beginning that everything was going to go online. I put together a website. I started doing some search engine optimization (SEO) and generating leads. Then I would get a lead off the internet. I would talk to them, I’d get them in my car, I’d take them out to the country clubs. I’d show them multimillion-dollar houses that were not listed by me but listed by other people, just a member of the MLS. I’d have them just look at the listings, show them houses, represent the buyer, and get paid commission from the listing agent and do it again. As they say, the rest is history. It’s a blur from there. Ten years later, I had 250 agents doing and $25 million of commission a year.

You sold that brokerage, which is not a typical move. How did you do that?

What was different for me was that I built it all on technology. 50% of all of my agents’ business came from leads that I provided. So when you have a value proposition for an agent that is, “I will double your business” and you do that, but that increase in business doesn’t go with you if you leave, then they’re going to stay, even if it’s under new ownership. As long as the value proposition continues.

It’s been several years since you sold that brokerage. What made you want to get back in the game and start ZFC Real Estate?

In all the years since I sold, I haven’t found a more interesting business than this, and I see that the same basic principles that I founded my first company on still exist. The same number of people go to Google every month and search for real estate in Boca Raton as they did then. The competition is more difficult now because my competitors have caught up with me over the years, and there are a lot of good websites out there now. The industry is basically run by a few big brokerages, but there is absolutely a need for a boutique firm. A lot of agents prefer to work that way.

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