NYC apartment house
seeks to show how
modular design stacks
up in the quest for cool

NEW YORK (AP) -- In a city piled high with ambitious architecture, a seven-floor structure off the beaten path boasts a distinction of its own: It’s billed as the first multistory, modular-built apartment building to open in the nation’s apartment capital.

Called the Stack, the building near Manhattan’s northern tip aims to show that while stackable apartments can save builders time and money, modular doesn’t have to mean monotonous. Its chunky front embraces its building-block roots, but the apartments’ interiors defy their boxy components with varied floor plans and stylish fixtures and finishes.

Modular construction -- assembling a building from prefabricated sections instead of building from scratch on-site -- has been around for decades, but interest has grown recently around the country and in its biggest city. The world’s tallest modular building, a 32-story apartment tower, is rising in Brooklyn.

Advocates say modular building can trim costs and timetables -- module factories don’t have to worry about bad weather -- and make construction more consistent. Still, the technique presents special challenges (say, driving a 750-square-foot box over the George Washington Bridge), and not all projects have proven speedy. Some have faced pushback from labor interests, not to mention an image problem: The method is sometimes perceived as cheap and, well, cookie-cutter.


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"’Pre-fab’ and ‘modular’ have somewhat of a stigma associated with it, in some people’s minds, whether it’s appropriate or not," developer Jeffrey M. Brown said. But "this approach can really produce cool buildings."

Poll shows few Americans check doctors’ vitals before letting them check theirs

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans consider insurance and a good bedside manner in choosing a doctor, but will that doctor provide high-quality care? A new poll shows that people don’t know how to determine that.

Being licensed and likable doesn’t necessarily mean a doctor is up to date on best practices. But consumers aren’t sure how to uncover much more. Just 22 percent of those questioned are confident they can find information to compare the quality of local doctors, according to the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Today, 6 in 10 people say they trust doctor recommendations from friends or family, and nearly half value referrals from their regular physician. The poll found far fewer trust quality information from online patient reviews, health insurers, ratings web sites, the media, even the government.

"I usually go on references from somebody else, because it’s hard to track them any other way," said Kenneth Murks, 58, of Lexington, Alabama. His mother suggested a bone and joint specialist after a car accident.

"I guess you can do some Internet searches now," he added, but questions the accuracy of online reviews.

UN: Iran gets rid of sensitive nuclear material

VIENNA (AP) -- The United Nations says Iran has turned all enriched uranium closest to the level needed to make nuclear arms into more harmless forms.

Tehran had committed to the move under an agreement with six powers last November that essentially froze its atomic programs while the two sides negotiate a comprehensive deal. They extended those talks Saturday to Nov. 24.

Iran had more than 250 pounds of 20 percent enriched uranium when the agreement was reached and began reducing it shortly after. The U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency said Sunday in a report obtained by The Associated Press that all has now been converted or diluted.

At 20 percent, enriched uranium can be converted quickly to arm a nuclear weapon. Iran denies wanting such arms.

Iraq veteran in Ohio worried about losing his 14 therapeutic pet ducks after village citation

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ohio (AP) -- An Army veteran who hurt his back during the Iraq War is worried a citation will result in him losing his 14 pet ducks, which he says are therapeutic.

Darin Welker said officials in the village of West Lafayette told him to get rid of the ducks in May and cited him for a minor misdemeanor on June 23 for failing to comply. Walker is scheduled to appear in Coshocton Municipal Court for a hearing Wednesday and could face a $150 fine.

Welker, 36, says the ducks help him with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and keep him more active.

West Lafayette, about 80 miles east of Columbus, banned residents from keeping fowl and other farm animals in 2010.

Bosnians bury kin found in wartime mass grave

KOZARAC, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) -- Bosnian families are burying the remains of 283 Muslims and one Roman Catholic Croat who were killed at the start of the Bosnian war of 1992-95.

The bodies were laid out in green coffins in a sports field in Kozarac, where prayers were held for them before burial in various graveyards in the area.

One of the mourners was a woman who buried her husband and six sons.

The victims were killed in the summer of 1992, when Serb troops went from house to house in the area of Prijedor in northwest Bosnia and killed any non-Serbs they found. They hid the bodies in mass graves, some of which have only been discovered recently.

About 10,000 Bosnians remain missing from the war.