Williamsville Firm Is In The Spotlight For Moving Landmark Lighthouses

I used to work for this company and was involved in several of these moves


Gay Head Light flashes a red signal in Aquinnah, MA, Oct. 13, 2013 on the island of Martha's Vineyard. The lighthouse flashes alternating red and white beams of light.

Gay Head Light House At Martha’s Vineyard

International Chimney Corp. has made a name for itself by successfully moving five historic lighthouses on the East Coast from dangerously eroding shores, including the famed Cape Hatteras Light, the country’s tallest lighthouse.

Now, the Williamsville engineering firm is embarking on its sixth relocation project with another landmark lighthouse. It was recently tapped to move the iconic and still-active Gay Head Lighthouse, which now stands on clay bluffs just 46 feet from the edge, on the westernmost tip of Martha’s Vineyard.

“We are thrilled to be part of it,” said Tyler Finkle, assistant project manager. “We’re just fortunate to be able to work on these old structures. It’s like a calling for us.”

The lighthouse, which was built in 1854 and weighs 400 tons, will be moved 140 feet back from its current location, he said. The preliminary work will involve doing engineering calculations based on the lighthouse’s center of gravity, as well as planning the path of the move. Jo Jakubik, who was involved in the company’s five previous lighthouse moving jobs, is the lead project manager.

The 56-foot lighthouse is in the Town of Aquinnah on Gay Head Cliffs, situated on a bluff that’s 130 feet above sea level.

Len Butler, a resident of the town, said the erosion of the bluff has been rapid, spurring the formation of Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Committee in 2013. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has designated the lighthouse one of country’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

“The erosion is advancing between one and two feet a year,” Butler said. At that rate, it would be unsafe to move the structure in a couple of years, he added.

Aside from being an active navigational beacon, the lighthouse needs to be saved because of its history, said Butler, who is chairman of the preservation committee, which has raised $1.5 million, half of the $3 million needed to move and restore the lighthouse.

“It’s not only the town’s history, but also the island’s maritime history,” he said. “It was the first lighthouse on the island. It was the I-95 corridor for the shipping industry. It’s the first light you see when you approach the Massachusetts coast.”

The group selected International Chimney because of its résumé, which includes moving Sankaty Head Lighthouse in Nantucket in 2007, a similar brick masonry lighthouse in a location also similar to Gay Head, Butler said.

The company is most known for relocating the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton, N.C., in 1999. The historic 200-foot, 5,000-ton lighthouse, built in 1870, was moved more than a half a mile inland over a 23-day period, away from the fast-approaching coastline.

Save the Gay Head Committee is bidding for ownership of the lighthouse from the U.S. Coast Guard, and the transfer should take place early in 2015, Butler said. The relocation project would commence in the spring.

“We love the work and being a part of it,” Flinker said. “We’re looking forward to it. It’s really an iconic part of the country.”







God Intervenes

Although I truly feel God’s presence in my life at all times, I sometimes am a bit insolent and I let myself get into situations that could be troublesome for me. 

Three times this week, God boldly intervened in my life to save me from what would -not could- but would have been bad situations. 

The first started on Sunday, when Pastor John told a story of a couple with marital problems he had counselled. When all seemed hopeless, the wife, who had been cheated on and abandoned, called an emergency meeting and in that meeting, proceeded to apologize to her husband for all the ways she had wronged him. In the end, that couple is happily together today. 

Now, that story is definitely profound, but until Tuesday, it didn’t have much of an affect on me, until God intervened. As the day went on, that story tugged at me and by the days end, it was actually causing me a lot of stress and anxiety. When I went to pick the kids up after work, I felt the urge to ask their mother to come out so I could talk to her and when she did, I began to apologize for the things I had dome terribly wrong. Specifically, I wanted to, needed to apologize for allowing a situation to occur that resulted in her leaving me. Now, I didn’t get to go through the entire list before she began to tear me up one side and down the other, but I stood there and let her, knowing it was an opportunity to let it out and to humble myself in her presence (and anyone else within ear-shot). 

Wednesday, I had an occasion to do something that night that would have been bad. Nothing Illegal, but lets just say beautiful Female, 22 yrs old and married. I struggled all day with what I was planing to do, and my conscience ate at me, which I knew was God saying loudly, “don’t go.” I could have and should have listened to that voice, but as the day wore down and she texted me to make sure we were still on, I apologized and admitted that I was just going to do what I wanted. At 8pm, an hour before we were going to meet up, just as I got in the shower, I got a text; “Something came up, have to cancel”. I thank God immediately for saving me from what would have certainly been a HUGE negative act. 

Friday, the sales people got out of work at 11AM. My boss does not believe in letting the rest of us go when the  sales people get off. Being a holiday weekend, we really felt this wan’t fair and it’s a pattern that’s repeated often. We work hard and diligently in admin to get our jobs done, yet the reward is not there for us. At lunch time, I left to cash my check with the plan to not come back. I can’t go into details, but something very good and profound happened to me that made me realize that a very bad thing would have happened if I didn’t return and let me know that I am indeed appreciated by my bosses. 

I wish I could say that I’ll never let myself get into these tangles again, but I’m a human being, a sinner, but God does look out for us, if we open ourselves up to him.


From May 27, 2012

Looking Back, Looking Ahead…

In 1989, I met a girl named Renee on December 30th, and we spent the next four years in a relationship. On December 31st of that year, she took me to a party and we stopped at her friend’s house, where everyone was given a bottle of Martini & Rossi Asti Spumante. 

Tonight marks the 22nd consecutive New Years Eve that I’m breaking open a bottle of Asti. Last year, I bought 2 bottles, in hopes that I would be celebrating yet another bad ending and an optimistic beginning. Tonight, I find myself in the same boat. Looking back at a bad year and ahead with optimism. But this year, more optimistic than hopeful. 

This year ended just as it had begun; a 3 month stretch of not seeing the kids and the War Of The Roses, still Raging. I spent the year at the same hateful job, in the same overloaded position, the same low pay, everything the same. I struggled to pay bills and end this year behind on all of them, again. I struggle with untreated depression and aching loneliness and an overall empty feeling. 

So, what’s different? Why does 2012 bring expectations instead of just wishful thinking? 

Well, for one, I’m starting a new job next week. A little better pay. A lot better atmosphere. An appreciative boss and instead of filling the role of a manager, but not being recognized as one, I come to this new place in charge of my department. 

I made some friends this year that I know have my best interests at heart. Friends that think about me when I’m not around, and I about them. People that are pulling for me. And praying for me. Which brings me to my most profound change in attitude. After years of lying to myself and anyone that would listen about how “spiritual” I am, with the help of my new friends, I’ve taken a step towards God and a truly spiritual life. One step, the first of many, and I have my fears. Letting go is never easy for me. Trust is not easy for me. Belief in anything is not easy for me, but I’m looking and moving in the right direction. 

There are still setbacks. My truck is in the shop with an 800.00 repair bill, but I have the kids this weekend. And Bridget actually started talking sensibly for a change. 

So I take my first sip of this year’s Italian nectar and I toast you, Jim & Loni, Kevin, Chris & Cyd, Pastor and the people at the church and everyone else that’s had an impact on my life this year. 

Cheers. Salud!

Happy New Year and God, Bless each and every one.


From December 31, 2011

Sixty Five Dollars

I can’t pay my bills

I’m not healthy

I can’t find any motivation

I procrastinate to a fault

I hate how my house looks

I don’t have a single close friend

I don’t know love

I hate my job

I hate my boss

I hate most of my co-workers

I hate my neighbors

I can’t build my website

I hate Peoria

I can’t find a better job

I haven’t seen my kids in months and that doesn’t look to change any time soon

I’m a dark place I can’t get out of

I’m so lost

I’m so lonely

I feel like I’m dying, slowly

I don’t understand how I got here

I cry, a lot


I have sixty five dollars to my name….


From November 19, 2011

Showing My Hand On Unemployment

Posted for your consideration and opinion, is my story and the details of how I’m appealing the decision by the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s decision to deny my benefits, two months into my receiving them. It’s a long read, but well worth it.

Originally, I was getting unemployment, just fine, after I got fired in September. Then in November, my old boss, Matt, called them and told them I was self-employed, which I wasn’t. I was working part time.
So they did a phone hearing and in the process, asked me to fax in the work search history I had done to date.
I sent them 9 interviews in 10 weeks, plus listed daily newspaper and internet job site searches.
Well, they denied me, claiming that I was self 0-employed and wasn’t doing an active enough search for work.
So I appealed.
A month later, in December, I had a phone hearing with an Administrative judge from Chicago, who went over my job search and asked about my part time job.
Well, he denied me, saying I wasn’t doing an active enough job search, so I went online and researched all the regulations and found out a few things.
1, there is no definable number of how many jobs you are supposed to try for per week.
2, they have to take certain things into consideration, including my training and experience (They cannot make me go from being a graphic designer to a burger flipper), what I’m used to making (They can’t make me take a minimum wage job, when I was used to making a lot more), the current job situation and availability of jobs that are within my experience and wage AND that job search assistance services ARE considered part of an active job search.
So I appealed the judge’s decision based on the above points, and detailed them all in my appeal.
I had a phone hearing last Wednesday with the director of the local office, who wanted my job search history for Nov 9th to Present and I sent in like 5 jobs, plus the internet and paper. Keep in mind that Christmas Week and New Years Week, finding a job would have been about impossible, with most offices closed most of that time.
And SHE denied me, I found out today, for the period of 11/9 to present for not an active job search.
Well, I KNOW they did not make an educated decision, because she didn’t include the period prior to 11/9, which is exactly WHAT I was appealing in the 1st place and obviously ignored the code that backs my case up.

Here is my Appeal:

Hearing held by telephone on 01/07/2009 at 11:00AM by Kathy Steinseifer, E. S. Service Representative, Peoria, IL

All instances of Claimant will refer to Gregory J. Hansen, SSN xxx-xx-xxxx

Claimant was denied Unemployment Benefits due to “an unrealistic and independent search for suitable work” and was found ineligible for benefits.
Referred to Section 500C of the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act.
Research by the claimant of The Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act, Section 500C which defines eligibility based on an individual actively seeking work and refers to 56 Illinois Administrative Code 2865.125.

1. In the application process, an individual filing for unemployment is not ever advised on how many job searches per week the applicant is expected to perform.
2. Nowhere in the Illinois Unemployment Act, nor the Illinois Administrative Code, does it define the number of job searches an individual claiming unemployment is expected to perform.
3. Upon direct questioning of various employees of The Department of Unemployment Security, no one was able to give a direct answer to the question of how many job searches are required by any individual claiming unemployment benefits. Typical responses were “enough to show an active and reasonable effort to find employment.”
4. The term “reasonable” is not defined in the Illinois Administrative Code or The Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act.
Upon researching the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act and The Illinois Administrative Code as it pertains to Unemployment, the following discoveries were made in regards to the criteria used to determine if an applicant for unemployment insurance is eligible for benefits and actively searching for work:

1. According to The Illinois Unemployment Act, Part XI, Section 500:
An unemployed individual is eligible for benefits for a week only if:
a. He has registered for work and reports at regular intervals in person, by mail or by telephone at an Illinois Department of Employment Security office as required by the Director. (Section 500A and 56 Ill. Adm. Code 2865.125(a)(1)).
b. He has made a claim for benefits at the local Department of Employment Security office serving the area in which he lives. (Section 500B and 56 Ill. Adm. Code 2720.100)

3. During the week, he is able to work, available for work and actively seeking work. (Section 500C and 56 Ill. Adm. Code 2865.125)

An individual is presumed to be unavailable for work if:
a. After his separation from his most recent work, he has moved to and remains in a locality where job opportunities for him are substantially less favorable than those in the locality he has left. (Section 500C3)
b. His principal occupation is that of a student in attendance at, or on vacation from, a public or private school.

However, an individual enrolled in and attending a Department approved training course may, under specified conditions, be considered available for work. Such an individual will not be required to seek work and will not be disqualified under Section 603 for work refusal.(Sections 500C4 and 5)

The Above Section, in Italics, Does Not Apply In This Instance Since The Claimant Has Not Relocated Nor Is The Claimant A Student.

4. During the week, he has participated in reemployment services to which he has been referred, including but not limited to job search assistance services.
5. He has served a non-compensable waiting period of one week in which he has met all the eligibility requirements. (Section500D)

Claimant has asked if paragraph 4, as it relates to reemployment services, would include newspaper and internet search sites and was told that they “should” qualify.
Claimant listed daily searches of the Peoria Journal Star, Monster.com, careerbuilder.com, peoriahelpwanted.com, and hotjobs.yahoo.com in the work search history that was submitted, upon request, to the local Unemployment office. Claimant has been led to believe that these should count as an additional 35 active job searches per week, based on the information given by various agents of The Department of Unemployment Security.

The Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act, Part XI, Section 500 goes on to say:
The Department shall consider the following in evaluating the adequacy of an individual’s work search (56 III. Adm. Code 2865.125):
1. The individual’s physical and mental abilities.
2. The individual’s training and experience.
3. The employment opportunities in the area.
4. The length of the claimant’s unemployment.
5. The nature and number of the claimant’s work search efforts.
6. The customary means of seeking employment in the occupation(s) in which the claimant seeks employment.
7. Any other information that would affect the claimant’s work search.

Paragraph 2 states that The Department of Unemployment Security must take into account the claimant’s training and experience, which is in Advertising Sales and Graphic Design. Therefore, The Department of Unemployment Security, by regulation, cannot demand that an applicant look for work outside of his training and experience.
Paragraph 3 reads that The Department of Unemployment Security must, by regulation, consider the employment opportunities in the area. In the course of the phone interview conducted on 01/07/2009, the representative of The Department of Unemployment Security admitted that job opportunities in the Peoria, IL area are bleak. The average rate of unemployment in the Peoria, IL area at the time of the interview, according to statistics, was at or above 10%, which is substantially higher than the national average.

In accordance with Paragraph 6, claimant has used email, telephone and in person visits to search for and apply for gainful employment.
Claimant listed multiple attempts to secure employment in those fields in the work search history that apply to his work experience and training, as submitted upon request to The Department of Unemployment Security.
Claimant has also stated that the lack of a current driver’s license and reliable transportation, and that his reliance on public transportation limits the job search process, which should not count against the claimant.

Also, The Illinois Unemployment Act, Part XI, Section 500 goes on to read that benefits shall not be denied if:

No work shall be deemed suitable and benefits shall not be denied to any otherwise eligible individual for refusing to accept new work under any of the following conditions:
1. If the position offered is vacant due directly to a strike, lockout, or other labor dispute;
2. If the wages, hours, or other conditions of the work offered are substantially less favorable to the individual than those prevailing for similar work in the locality;
3. If, as a condition of being employed, the individual would be required to join a company union or to resign from or refrain from joining any bona fide labor organization;
4. If the position offered is a transfer to other work offered to the individual by the employing unit under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement or pursuant to an established employer plan, program, or policy, when the acceptance of such other work by the individual would require the separation from that work of another individual currently performing it.

Paragraph 2 refers to wages, hours or other conditions offered. Claimant’s last job, at United Metro Works, in Peoria, IL paid the claimant $14.00 an hour and provided full time employment. By regulation, a claimant cannot be forced to accept work that pays substantially less than his most current work experience, or what is “favorable to the individual”, which should include his current rate of Unemployment Benefits. The purpose of Unemployment Insurance is to provide a weekly payment that is commensurate to the applicant’s most recent earnings, as certified by his work and earnings history, and to provide ample time and opportunity to secure new employment that, as shown in paragraph 2, as being “favorable to the individual”. Therefore, it goes against the regulations, as shown, to demand that an individual accept a noticeably lower paying job, outside of the individual’s work experience and training, just to “get off of Unemployment”, a statement made to the claimant during the appeals process.
Claimant has continued to make periodic certifications for benefits throughout the course of this process, as required.

Unemployment Insurance is an earned benefit provided to workers who are unemployed due to no fault of their own, so that they can maintain a financial income, until gainful employment is secured, with a limit of 26 weeks.
Because of these repeated denials; the claimant has been unable to maintain his financial obligations, nor provide for his family in the means accustomed to and afforded by his prior work experience. This has also cause emotional duress and family strife, stress and depression within the claimant’s household.
Claimant has been forced to sign up for food stamps, emergency utility assistance and other aid as provided by State agencies, which is an added financial expense to the state and is a source of embarrassment and ridicule within the claimant’s family and peers, which goes directly against the purpose of Unemployment Benefits..
Claimant has also been forced to take immediate work at a noticeably lower wage than his recent earnings history, outside of his most recent work experience, in an effort to secure any income at all, which goes against the purpose of Unemployment Insurance Benefits. The job entails selling specialty advertising to businesses nationwide and pays commission upon collection of any sales made, which is incredibly difficult, given today’s economy and the claimant is currently being paid off of a draw system.
The Denial is for the period of 11/09/2008 through 01/13/2009. The original appeal and the original denial were for the period of 08/31/2008 through 01/13/2009. The original appeal also quoted most of what has been presented here, but little of that was discussed in the phone interview, held on 01/07/2009. This oversight seems to imply that a hasty decision was rendered to deny benefits, based on opinion and not on the regulations as stated in The Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act.
It is not acceptable to expect an applicant for unemployment to live upi standards that cannot be defined since they do not exist.

Claimant requests that, because he has lived up to the expectations as outlined in the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act, and, because there are no guidelines defining how many job searches per week are required, and, because the decision to deny has been made hastily based on opinion and not regulation, and, based on the above listed findings, the decision to DENY be overturned and that claim for Unemployment Insurance Benefits be APPROVED, effective immediately, and, the debt for the amount paid to the claimant since 08/31/2008 that was requested to be returned to The Department Of Unemployment Security be forgiven, and all benefits upheld since 11/09/2008 be paid immediately.
Claimant requests that this appeal be expedited, due to extreme financial hardship.
Gregory J Hansen, Claimant.


From February 20, 2009


Just a short note, before I go on my rant about the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
If you don’t know, I was un-surreptitiously fired form a job I loved as the manager of the Layout and Design department at United Metro Works back in February.
The claim made to Unemployment, and never substantiated, was that I was making racist comments around the office, something that never happened, and because my boss, Matt had lied about why he fired me, I was granted Unemployment Benefits.
2 months later, Matt called Unemployment and lied again, claiming that I was self-employed.
In a nut shell, I’ve had an ongoing case with them trying to reclaim my benefits, which I’ll go into detail about in another post.

Today, Karma intervened. Matt and his equally vile wife were awakened at 7:30 this morning by the Police under orders of the Attorney General’s office and were placed under arrest.
His house was searched, his employees were also arrested, his offices were searched and computers, files, etc all confiscated. The phone lines were cut, and the building sealed.
Why?? Because Matt, it seems, likes to use clients credit cards to spend at will on everything from his own bills to food for the office, to parties, etc.
The IRS is investigating him, and the lawsuits are lining up.
Hooray for Karma!!


From February 19, 2009