Short takes on items of note.

Briefs - January 2008

The New York Public Library will restore the façade of its Fifth Avenue building, according to the New York Sun. Restoration work will begin this spring, with a targeted completion in three years to meet the building's centennial in 2011. Now known as the Humanities and Social Sciences Library, the building’s exterior marble needs repair of cracks, chips, and erosion. WJE Engineers & Architects P.C. in New York designed the $55 million restoration, most of which is already funded from city, state, and federal sources.

Briefs - December 2007

• The William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark., received a platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED®) rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The 153,779 ft² building, which features regionally quarried natural stone, is the first federal building to receive a platinum rating – a rank attained by only 29 other buildings worldwide.

Briefs - January 2006

• In a December online survey at the Chatterbean website, 48.8 percent of respondents selected granite countertops as their favorite kitchen trend in 2005, followed by the availability of professional appliances and more elaborate lighting. Outdoor kitchens brought up the rear with only 6.1 percent of the vote. The results came from the “How to Cook Up Your Perfect Kitchen” quiz on the personal-trend Website.
• The Marble Institute of America (MIA) and the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) announced a partnership last month to present the MIA’s two-day educational course, “Increase Your Share of the Residential Countertop Market,” and offer continuing-education credits to NKBA members. The co-sponsored seminar will be presented five times in 2006

Briefs - April 2007

   • Japanese customs officials arrested two men in early March on suspicion of smuggling the country's largest haul of ivory, according to Asia Today. Officials discovered the three-ton shipment in a container registered as "synthetic marble" that arrived in Osaka last August.

Briefs - November 2005

China Granite Corp. reported that two of its quarries in China have been reopened after being closed by the Mining Mangement office of Shangdong Province. The closure of all mines overseen by the management agency’s office in Laizhou, China, came after the deaths of 16 workers at an unauthorized site. China Granite’s operations were not involved in the accident and have been cleared by government regulation and safety agencies.
• Sound Bytes vs. Reality Dept.: Appearing on The Early Show on CBS in mid-November, Spike Carlson, executive editor of The Family Handyman, described current countertop options in the home market. He noted that Formica® or laminate is used in three-quarters of kitchen jobs today, and wood is also popular.
“If you go with granite, expect to pay $250 a square foot just for the tops," he told the national TV audience. He also recommended “engineered stone” as a lower-cost alternative, as it was basically ground-up granite. And that there’s also solid-surface, “which have more resins. Again they have that same look, but at a lower cost.”