Unemployment claims decrease

first_img(July 16, 2008) The Vermont Department of Labor reports that there were 712 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance last week, a decrease of 60 from the week before. Altogether 7,139 new and continuing claims were filed, 190 more than a week ago and 999 more than a year earlier.The Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info(link is external)Previously released Unemployment Weekly Reports and other UI reports can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/lmipub.htm#uc(link is external)last_img

77 artists and organizations to receive more than $245,000 in funding

first_imgThe Vermont Arts Council is pleased to announce the recipients of three competitive grant programs.  Seventy-seven awards totaling $245,165 have been awarded for Arts Learning, Community Arts and Creation projects.  This announcement comes on the heels of news earlier this month that 42 Vermont arts organizations were awarded funding totaling $606,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  While the stimulus money was designated for job retention in the non-profit arts sector, these grants will fund individual artists, schools and community arts projects.Arts Learning grants fund in-school and out-of-school educational programming that enhance student learning through the arts. The 15 grants awarded total $59,940.  Community Arts grants support projects that encourage participation and engagement in the arts.  The 45 Community Arts grants total $141,185.  Creation grants support the development and presentation of new work.  Seventeen artists were awarded a total of $44,040.Competition for funding was greater than ever this year; in some categories requests were four times greater than the resources available. Applications were reviewed by peer panels of professional artists, educators, arts administrators, community leaders and others with specialized knowledge in each grant category.  Panelists evaluated applications according to the degree to which the applicant met the criteria outlined in the grant guidelines.  Because the application process is rigorous, receiving a grant not only provides financial support but also valuable recognition and credibility.“These grants are funding high quality performances and artistic endeavors in communities throughout the state,” said Arts Council Executive Director Alex Aldrich.  “My hope is that every one of these projects results not only in a standing-room-only performance or exhibition, but in an increased awareness of the vital role that the arts play in all of our lives, in every community, every day of the year.”The following is a list of awards by county:Addison County:Champlain Valley Folk Festival, Ferrisburgh5,000.00 to support the 27th Annual Champlain Valley Folk FestivalMiddlebury Festival on the Green, Middlebury1,375.00 to support Middlebury’s Festival on the GreenJanice Perry, Ferrisburgh$3,000 to support “Liminology,” an interdisciplinary, multi-media investigation of the physical and performative properties of fresh waterTiffany Rhynard, Middlebury$3,000 to support “Disposable Goods: What is/Who is?” a series of portable and versatile new dances to be performed in unconventional spacesBennington County:Arlington Area Childcare, Arlington$5,000 to support a multi-disciplinary arts enrichment program for children, parents, teachers and community membersReadsboro Arts Corporation, Readsboro$1,000 to support the Readsboro Arts FestivalSage City Symphony, Shaftsbury$1,105 to support Sage City Symphony’s annual Youth ConcertCaledonia County:Catamount Film & Arts Center, St. Johnsbury$2,500 to support the presentation of three performance series including Music at the Morse, School Time Performances and Catamount Cabaret, that feature Vermont performersGrass Roots Art & Community Effort, Hardwick$5,000 to support GRACE community partnerships through the artsKingdom County Productions, Barnet$5,000 to produce a documentary film based on the lives of Vermont youth in foster careChittenden County:Bella Voce Women’s Chorus, Essex Junction$2,500 to support the performance of three new works as well as a project to compile the work of New England composers, writing for women’s voicesPaul Besaw, Burlington$3,000 to support the creation of a new dance work in collaboration with composer Michael Hopkins and the Burlington Chamber OrchestraBurlington Book Festival, Williston$5,000 to support the 5th annual Burlington Book FestivalBurlington Chamber Orchestra, South Burlington$2,500 to support a concert featuring the pianist Michael Arnowitt at the Barre Opera HouseBurlington Discover Jazz Festival, Burlington$5,000 to support the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival’s live performances and educational programsECHO at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, Burlington$4,783 to support after-school activities and instruction around photographic techniques, cultural exploration, and photoethnography targeting Abenaki youthsFirst Night Burlington, Burlington$5,000 to support First Night BurlingtonLinda Jones, Burlington$3,000 to support the creation of new body of work that explores a combination of different media, including the incorporation of encaustic & digital images, oil paint, and other mixed materialsKathy Marmor, Winooski$3,000 to support the production of two new computer-controlled interactive installations focusing on weather as a metaphor for change, created during a residency at the Fairbanks MuseumRichmond Elementary School, Richmond$1,000 to support a collaboration between the Heather Morris School of Celtic Dance, a Celtic New Year celebration and Richmond Elementary SchoolVermont MIDI Project, Essex Junction$5,000 to support the Vermont Midi project through mentoring student composers and concert performances by professional musiciansVermont Mozart Festival, Burlington$5,000 to support three Family Series Concerts of classical music designed to encourage youth participation in the artistic processVermont Performing Arts League, Burlington$5,000 to support the 17th annual Vermont International Festival of diverse culturesVermont Symphony Orchestra, Burlington$5,000 to support the Made in Vermont Music Festival statewide tourVermont Youth Orchestra, Colchester$4,000 to support the Vermont Youth Orchestra’s  spring 2010 performances at the  Dibden Arts Center and the Flynn Center for the Performing ArtsFranklin County:Common Ground Youth Center, St. Albans$1,000 to support Common Ground’s youth initiated and produced monthly music shows and open mic nightsFriends of the Opera House, Enosburg Falls$2,500 to support a community art project  in and about Enosburg that includes a book with images and text,  an exhibition and a public forum about local artVermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, Fairfax$2,500 to support marketing activities and artists’ fees for new and commissioned chamber works presented throughout the 2009/10 seasonGrand Isle County:Folsom Educational Center, South Hero$5,000 to continue the use of the “Words Come Alive” program in mainstream classroomsVermont Shakespeare Company, North Hero$2,500 to support a professional production of Much Ado About Nothing by William ShakespeareLamoille County:Vermont Studio Center, Johnson$4,000 to support residencies for secondary art and English teachers who wish to develop creative curriculaVermont Studio Center, Johnson$1,000 to complete an access survey and implementation planOrange County:Chandler Center for the Arts, Randolph$5,000 to support artists’ fees for Chandler’s 17th annual New World Festival, a celebration of Celtic and French Canadian music and dance and cultureSafeArt, Chelsea$5,000 to support residencies, arts youth group, and community performance focused on abuse prevention in the greater Randolph areaOrleans County:Circus Smirkus, Greensboro$4,000 to support the creation and presentation of the 2010 Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour: “Smirkus Ever After”Glover Community School, Glover$3,800 to support an eight-day residency with “No Strings Attached” marionette companyMemphremagog Arts Collaborative, Newport$1,875 to support the annual Art On Main eventWarebrook Contemporary Music Festival, Irasburg$2,500 to support the seventeenth season of the Warebrook Contemporary Music FestivalRutland County:Brandon Artists Guild, Brandon$2,150 to support a nine-month long afterschool art program in collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club of Rutland County and using local artists as youth mentorsCapitol Chamber Artists, Benson$2,500 to support Capitol Chamber Artist’s season program,  Romanticism: 150 years of music from Vermont, Early America and EuropeCarving Studio and Sculpture Center, West Rutland$4,750 to support two weeks of intensive training in traditional stone working leading to the creation of a carved stone benchParamount Theatre, Rutland$2,500 to support a program of master classes for advanced music students as part of the “Passages at the Paramount” Classical SeriesRutland Recreation Department, Rutland$3,400 to support instruction and performance of Shakespeare for rural Rutland County youthWashington County:Alisa Dworsky, Montpelier$3,000 to support the creation of a site-specific exterior installation made of hand-crocheted rope at the Bennington MuseumEleva Chamber Players, Waterbury$1,000 to support performances, provide seniors with access to performances, and provide musical coaching to youthGreen Mountain Cultural Center, Waitsfield$2,500 to support a three-week residency program that includes master classes, open rehearsals, concerts, and two fully-staged performances of TOSCADavid Hinton, East Calais$3,000 to support completion of the first English translation of poems selected from the corpus of Chinese poet Mei Yao-ch’enTim Jennings, Montpelier$3,000 to support the creation and promotion of a new themed folktale program, “The King and the Thrush: folktales of goodness and greed,” and a the creation of a live-performance CD of the sameLost Nation Theater, Montpelier$5,000 to support the 22nd season of performances, education programs, and outreach partnerships at Montpelier’s City Hall Auditorium Arts CenterMonteverdi Music School, Montpelier$5,000 to support a new weekly program of workshops and masterclasses, ensemble coaching and informal performancesMRC and Co., Waitsfield$4,000 to support a choral program with high-level musical instruction and outstanding performance opportunitiesRevitalizing Waterbury, Inc., Waterbury$1,250 to support the ninth annual Stowe Street Arts Festival in WaterburyRumney Memorial School, Middlesex$2,870 to bring Natalie Kinsey Warnock to teach about student narrative writing and Linda Lembke to teach bookbindingGordon Stone, Waterbury$1,125 to support the rehearsal, promotion and performance of a collection of new songs by a Vermont composer that reflect Vermont’s ethnic diversityWindham County:Asian Cultural Center of Vermont, Brattleboro$2,475 to support the Asian Cultural Center of Vermont’s programs and activitiesBuilding a Better Brattleboro, Brattleboro$2,500 to support the 8th annual Brattleboro Literary FestivalCenter for Digital Art, Brattleboro$1,080 to support theatrical performances of “Adramelech’s Monologue” featuring  professional and student performers, as well as “Meet the Artist” events, panel discussions, and student lectures and  filmingFamilies First in Southern Vermont, Wilmington$2,500 to support individuals with developmental disabilities to serve as mentors/assistant teachers in the Theatre Adventure ProgramFriends of Music at Guilford, Guilford$1,750 to support a collaboration with Windham Orchestra and Brattleboro High School drama department  in the production of 3 one-act operasMarcy Hermansader, Putney$3,000 to support the creation of four abstract collages for the series BACK THROUGH BLACKIn-Sight Photography Project, Brattleboro$5,000 to support black-and-white photography classes and expand digital class offerings for interested youth of Windham CountyIn-Sight Photography Project, Brattleboro$440 to support participation in Marlboro College’s Certificate in Nonprofit Management programMarlboro Elementary School, Marlboro$4,000 to support six winter workshops with artists in school offering in-depth arts instructionBrian Mooney, Brattleboro$3,000 to support the completion of a collection of short stories titled TONIC and the revision of a novel titled PLUGNew England Center for Circus Arts, Brattleboro$1,625 to create a circus arts curriculum in collaboration with the Windham Regional Career CenterNew England Youth Theatre, Brattleboro$3,925 to hire professional artists to instruct students in the design, creation and painting of full-scale sceneryVerandah Porche, Guilford$3,000 to support the creation of “The Broad Brook Anthology,” a play for voicesAndy Reichsmand & Kate Purdie, Marlboro$3,000 to support a film about Vermont agriculture through the lens of Lilac Ridge Farm, a long-standing family-run farmSandglass Center for Puppetry, Putney$3,000 to support the creation of a puppetry work in collaboration with the Public Health Institute, exploring the potential of people with dementia as creative story tellersVermont Center for Photography, Brattleboro$2,500 to support the Vermont Center for Photography’s monthly program of photography exhibitionsYellow Barn, Putney$5,000 to support a program of 10 concerts and public workshops and discussions for at-risk children, teenagers, and seniors in Southern VermontWindsor County:Arts Bus, Bethel$2,500 to support Arts Bus programs in Bethel, Chelsea and TunbridgeBethel Schools, Bethel$2,787 to support “Bethel Gets Up and Movin'” culminating in a ten-day dance intensive with Karen Amirault and an evening of performancesDuncan Johnson, Hartford$3,000 to support the creation of five new sculptures to be exhibited in fall, 2009 and spring, 2010Opera Theatre of Weston, Weston$5,000 to support Opera Theatre of Weston’s Community Youth ProgramsUpper Valley Arts, Norwich$5,000 to support the creation and presentation of a study guide, DVD, and Web site for Freedom & Unity: The Vermont Movie, for use in public school classrooms in all 14 Vermont counties* * *Since 1964, the Vermont Arts Council has been the state’s primary provider of funding, advocacy and information for the arts in Vermont.  It strives to increase public awareness of the positive role artists and arts organizations play in communities and to increase opportunities for Vermonters to experience the arts in everyday life. The Council is the only designated State Arts Agency in the U.S. that is also an independent, not-for-profit, membership organization. For more information on the programs and services of the Vermont Arts Council, visit www.vermontartscouncil.org(link is external).*** END***last_img read more

Study: 1,005 Vermont jobs at risk as China pushes paper

first_imgHeavily subsidized by the Chinese government in violation of global trading rules, the Chinese paper industry has tripled production over the past decade, killing jobs throughout the United States and driving up the massive U.S. trade deficit with China, according to a report released today by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). In Vermont, according to the study, some 1,005 jobs are at stake.The EPI report, No Paper Tiger: Subsidies to China’s Paper Industry from 2002–2009, says that China’s rapid rise in the global paper industry has been fueled by more than $33 billion in government subsidies from 2002 to 2009. The full report can be found at www.americanmanufacturing.org(link is external)The U.S. paper industry is large and highly competitive, employing 474,000 workers in nearly 5,000 plants in the 2005–2007 period. However, thousands of U.S. paper producers, and the more than 470,000 remaining jobs, are at risk due to the rapid growth of highly subsidized paper exports from China. Almost every state has workers in the paper sector, with California, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin having the highest number of paper industry workers.“China’s massive subsidies to its paper sector are doing severe damage to the U.S. paper industry, its workers and their families,” said Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM). “The only way to stop the bleeding is for U.S. policymakers to take action against China’s blatant violations of trade laws, including sweeping subsidies to paper and many other industries.”China’s export-driven paper industry has added 26 percent of new production capacity on average every year since 2004, increasing the U.S. trade deficit with China. Imports from China’s paper industry to the United States are rising faster than those from any other country. In February 2010, the report estimates, the annualized growth rate of Chinese paper and paper-product imports into the United States was 22 percent.China has no natural competitive advantage in papermaking and lacks the natural resources to fuel the industry. China’s forest base is among the smallest in the world per capita. Consequently, the country is the world’s largest importer of pulp and recycled paper.Despite the explosion in new China paper mills, the country’s paper industry uses outdated, obsolete and polluting machinery and technology, contributing to China’s growing status as one of the world’s leading polluters, according to the report, which was written by Usha C.V. Haley, Chaired Professor of International Business at Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand, and an EPI research associate.The EPI report estimates that subsidies to China’s paper industry have included:$25 billion for pulp;$3 billion for coal;$1.7 billion for recycled paper;$778 million for electricity;$442 million in subsidy income reported by companies; andLoan-interest subsidies of $2 billion.China’s strategy of dominating the global paper market through illegal subsidies is especially evident because it has no inherent cost advantages in the capital-intensive paper industry. Labor makes up only about 4 percent of the costs in the industry; in contrast, imported recycled paper and pulp comprise more than 45 percent.“Raw materials, which make up three-fourths of the costs of producing Chinese paper, as well as electricity, coal and transportation, have nearly doubled in price over the last decade,” Professor Haley said in the report. “Yet, Chinese paper sells at a substantial discount compared to U.S. or European paper.”Source: EPI. 6.30.2010. The Alliance for American Manufacturing is a nonpartisan, nonprofit partnership of several leading U.S. manufacturers and the United Steelworkers.last_img read more

Charlotte nursery strives to reduce carbon footprint

first_imgHorsford Gardens & Nursery,This Green Up Day, ask: what is the carbon footprint of your yard? This may seem like an odd question, considering owers, trees, and shrubs absorb excess carbon from  our atmosphere and give oxygen. But it’s something that owners Charlie Proutt and Eileen Schilling  have been asking since they took over Horsford Gardens and Nursery in 1986. What they have learned  might surprise you. As it turns out, nursery practices can have far-reaching e ects on the community beyond simply supplying customers with plants. Horsford’s emphasis on eld-grown plants has been the lynchpin of their carbon-reducing strategies. Horsford trees and shrubs are grown at the nursery instead of trucked in from large-scale growers out-of-state. By growing nearly every plant they sell, the Charlotte nursery is better able to manage their fossil-fuel consumption, thereby reducing their carbon footprint.‘A healthy, full-grown tree absorbs 10-14 lbs of C02 per year,’ explains retail manager Seth Gillim. ‘At that rate, the tree needs a full year to absorb the carbon output from just ten miles of shipping. Our Kubota tractor is all we need to harvest the plants from our growing elds.’Reducing fossil fuel is good business as well good environmental stewardship. ‘As much as 30% of the cost of a plant from most garden centers is in energy-wasting freight,’ adds grower Ralph Fitz-Gerald. ‘Not only are our eld-grown trees, shrubs, and perennials better suited to Vermont’s extreme weather, but they cost less.’ Another component of Horsford’s mission to reduce waste is to avoid buying plastics. ‘Wasted plastics are the dirty little secret of the ‘green’ industry,’ says shrub grower Dave Berg. ‘Last year, our nursery grew over 10,000 plants in pots re-used from previous seasons and recycled from customers.  We credit customers ten cents for every black nursery pot that we can reuse. Recycling is great, but re-using is much better. All of the energy inputs that go into recycling itself are saved.’A wind-turbine, glass greenhouses, and recycling irrigation water are other green technologies Proutt and Schilling have brought to their business. In honor of these e orts, Horsford’s was awarded the most recent Greenworks Environmental Award. Says Proutt, ‘There’s no one thing we do that makes us green; it’s a combination of practices we’ve steadily implemented over the years. Each season we get a little better at what we do.’‘Charlie and I got into the nursery business because of our passion for the earth and its capacity to grow beautiful plants,’ agrees Schilling. ‘For 25 years we have worked hard to make our nursery and community healthier and environmentally vibrant.’To celebrate Green Up Day this year, Horsford’s is o ering 30-50% o on all eld-grown trees. ‘After a day of picking up litter on the roadside, why not stop by the nursery and choose that perfect crabapple or maple tree for your yard?’ asks Proutt. ‘It’s a great time of year for planting a Vermont-grown tree that could last for generations.’ The sale runs from April 15 through May 12.Horsford Gardens and Nursery is Vermont’s Oldest Nursery, in business since 1893.last_img read more

Ashley retires after 53-year career with Freeman French Freeman

first_imgFreeman French Freeman,David Ashley, Senior Vice President of Freeman French Freeman, will reach two milestones May 13 ‘ his 75th birthday and the day he retires after a 53-year career with Vermont’s oldest architectural firm. Ashley and his wife of 55 years, Sandra, live in Westford. They have five children and 15 grandchildren. Ashley’s studies at Yale were conducted by many of the great names in architecture from that era, including Louis I. Kahn. Ashley attended Philip Johnson design critiques and standing room only Frank Lloyd Wright lectures. He was also active in the Marching and Concert Bands at Yale. Locally, he has been a member of the Enosburg and Westford-Fairfax Town Bands, the St. James Bell Choir and the Sterling Weed Orchestra of St. Albans. From apprentice to project lead, these are just a few projects David has been involved in: Shepardson Med-Surg wing of the then Mary Fletcher Hospital (apprenticing with John French)Proctor Hall at Middlebury College working with Ruth FreemanSaint Michael’s College Chapel of the Archangel and the original Circular LibraryEight public high schools, including: Barre, Burlington, Essex Junction and Mount MansfieldWCAX Weather Station atop Mount MansfieldUniversity of Vermont: Gutterson Fieldhouse and structural design for Patrick GymnasiumArea elementary schools, including Swanton ElementaryDial Central Building for Bell Telephone Co.IBM: Building 973, the mid-90’s ‘full capacity build’ with nearly 175,000 sq.ft. of semi-conductor process clean roomsBurlington International Airport: major expansion initiatives starting in the mid -90’s. ‘David has achieved a career that rivals no other. He is a remarkable individual,’ said Jesse Beck, President of Freeman French Freeman, ‘who values long-term commitment and he has expressed that through his work, his family, and his love of many activities he enjoys to this day. He has been an inspiration on many, many levels and he will be dearly missed by us all.’ Ashley joined Freeman French Freeman in 1958 after graduating with a BA in architecture from Yale University. He is the only member of the firm to have worked with its founders: Bill Freeman, through the ‘70s; John French, until he retired in ‘67; and with Ruth Freeman, who died in ‘71.last_img read more

Vermont Hard Cider, Porter Healthcare, Addison Repertory, Lorraine Franklin and Karen Hennessy win Addison awards

first_imgThe Addison County Chamber of Commerce recognized local businesses, organizations, and individuals with its annual awards during the Chamber’s annual meeting held on September 8th at the Middlebury Inn. Four awards were presented in front of a crowd of 100 attendees which included Chamber members, local business people and other dignitaries. In addition to the award presentations, the Chamber membership voted on a new board of directors. Vermont Hard Cider Company was presented with the Business of the Year Award which is given to a business located in Addison County that demonstrates excellent business practices and provides a positive impact on the community. According to Andy Mayer, Chamber president, ‘Vermont Hard Cider’s growth, commitment to Addison County, and commitment to the environment, while enhancing theVermont brand make them a natural choice for the award.’ In addition to the Business of the Year award, the Addison County Chamber presented its Buster Brush Citizen of the Year Award which is given to an individual who has made numerous contributions to the community without the expectation of acknowledgement. This year two recipients were presented with the award’Lorraine Franklin of Addison and Karen Hennessy of Crown Point, N.Y. Franklin and Hennessy are co-founders of the Lake Champlain Bridge Coalition. Rep. Diane Lanpher, District 3, said, ‘As co-founders of the Coalition, they demonstrated the necessary spirit to achieve success by using their tenacity to hold communities together. Without their efforts I believe area businesses and workers would have fractured into less than effective entities. They showed extraordinary leadership, refusing to settle for anything less than full unity. This unity comes in the form of a bridge. Their effort to reconnect their once separated communities has been relentless.’ The Chamber’s Community Achievement Award is given to a not-for-profit organization for outstanding services and leadership to the community. The Chamber recognized Helen Porter Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center as an outstanding healthcare provider and business. According to just one of the nominations, ‘Helen Porter’s kind and compassionate care is the norm rather than the exception. They have made the facility welcoming, cheerful and homelike, which enhances the patient’s well being and that of the staff and visitors as well.’ Addison Repertory Theater was recognized as this year’s Business Education Partnership Award recipient. This award recognizes extraordinary programs, people or initiatives which link the business and education communities to bridge the gap between the workforce of today and the one we will need tomorrow. The A.R.T., under the extraordinary direction of Candace Burkle and Steve Small, has provided a home for students allowing them to flourish in many aspects of their lives because of their passion for and accomplishments in acting, writing, directing and producing plays. Annual meeting attendees voted on the board of directors for the 2011-2012 year. New to the board this year are Sam Cutting IV, Dakin Farm; Don Devost, Addison Advisors and Kelley Mills, Hannaford CareerCenter. All are serving one-year terms expiring at the 2012 annual meeting. The board and members of the Chamber recognized Mike McLaughlin, Bread Loaf Corporation; Lynn Coale, Hannaford Career Centerand Paul Richey who are leaving the board after serving their terms. Kris Merchant, Waitsfield Champlain Valley Telecom, is the outgoing chairperson while Jeff Costello, Costello Home Works, is the incoming chairperson. Other board members include: ·         Bonita Bedard, Vermont HoneyLights, representing Five Town Business Council·         Dan Brown, Swift House Inn·         *Tim Buskey, Vergennes Residential Care·         David Donahue, Middlebury College·         Donna Donahue, Better Middlebury Partnership·         Robin Huestis, Round Robin Upscale Resale Shop·         *Andy Mayer, Addison County Chamber·         *Kate McGowan, United Way of Addison County·         Kris Merchant, Waitsfield Champlain Valley Telecom, immediate past president·         *Steve Misasi, Misasi & Misasi, PC·         Mike Rainville, Maple Landmark Woodcraft, representing Addison County Economic Development Corporation·         Bill Sayre, A. Johnson Lumber Company, representing Addison County Regional Planning Commission·         Bill Townsend, J.P. Carrara & Sons·         Grover Usilton, National Bank of Middlebury * Designates Chamber Officers About Addison County Chamber of Commerce The Addison County Chamber of Commerce (ACCOC) is an association of individuals representing business interests, working together to promote commercial business and tourism in Addison County. The Chamber can be found on the Web at www.addisoncounty.com(link is external) Photo captions: Outgoing_incoming_chairs: From L to R: Kris Merchant, Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom, outgoing chairperson; Andy Mayer, president, Addison County Chamber of Commerce; Jeff Costello, Costello Home Works, incoming chair. Biz_Edu_Partnership: From L to R: Robin Huestis, Round Robin Upscale Resale Shop, congratulates Steve Small, Addison Repertory Theater at Hannaford Career Center. Biz_of_the_year: From L to R: Bill Townsend, J.P. Carrara & Sons, presents Chamber’s 2011 Business of the Year to Bret Williams, CEO, Vermont Hard Cider Company. Citizens_of_the_year: From L to R: Lorraine Franklin, owner, Champs Trading Post, Addison, VT; Diane Lanpher, Vermont State Representative; Karen Hennessy, owner, Sugar Hill Manor B&B, Crown Point, NY. Franklin and Hennessy co-founded the Lake Champlain Bridge Coalition.  Community_Achievement: From L to R: Lynn Coale, Hannaford Career Center, congratulates Neil Gruber, Helen Porter Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center for winning the Chamber’s 2011 Community Achievement Award. Middlebury, Vermont ‘ September 13, 2011 ‘ The Addison County Chamber of Commercelast_img read more

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources enters new phase in flood recovery

first_imgThe Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) announced today that staff will begin the shift from an exclusive focus on emergency response to working with municipalities, businesses and homeowners to maximize the long- term effectiveness of the state’s flood recovery work. ‘The first phase of the disaster response primarily involved emergency river work that would enable Vermonters to get back to their homes and businesses,’ said Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz.  ‘The work of opening up travel routes remains critical to public health and safety and our economy,’ stressed Markowitz, ‘so we are still involved in emergency efforts to allow these repairs, but now is the time to prepare for the floods that will come with melting snow and spring rains.’The expedited process used by the state to authorize river work helped get important road and bridge repair under way as soon as possible during the first weeks of the disaster resulting from Tropical Storm Irene, and ANR will continue to use this process where true emergency work is ongoing. ‘ANR is here to help communities recover, and will be wherever we are needed to offer technical assistance during this extreme situation,’ Secretary Markowitz said, ‘but it is important to remember that the environmental protections that protect our streams are not suspended during flood recovery. With permission from our River Management Engineers, emergency and recovery in-stream work will proceed, and we will continue to do everything in our power to expedite the process.’  As permanent fixes are being developed, deliberation and documentation are more critical.  Secretary Markowitz added, ‘We still need to stay on a fast track, so we will assist towns, state, and federal agencies and authorize upcoming river work in tandem with the documentation required for federal grants and reimbursements.’Recognizing that recovery in the aftermath of a statewide flood disaster requires extensive in-stream work, the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Rivers Program will assist landowners, municipalities, and other agencies as they conduct emergency and long-term recovery work. DEC staff will ensure that rebuilding occurs in the best possible way in order to minimize loss in the next flood.State Rivers Program Manager Mike Kline, who works with and supervises the State’s river engineers, said, ‘The ability to give technical assistance through verbal authorizations has made it just possible to keep up with the demands for forty or fifty site visits and dozens of calls for assistance in a single day.  Resolving or managing conflicts between human investments and the dynamics of rivers, for longer term stability, however, will require us to move past the emergency phase.  We need to document the authorized work when a temporary fix needs to evolve into a more permanent solution.’At the discretion of the DEC River Management Engineer, three levels of authorization to conduct stream alterations will be used:1. Expedited assistance and approvals. DEC Rivers Program staff will use its emergency authorities, general permit process and expedited written and verbal approvals to address emergency situations that still exist as a result of the flood (i.e., necessary to avoid imminent danger to private and public property).2. Documented guidance and approvals.  DEC Rivers Program will use its emergency authorities and general permit processes to expedite written approvals or signoffs of stream alterations, related to the flood, but not deemed to be an emergency.  The Rivers Program will not authorize this category of work using purely verbal approvals.  These signoffs will also serve the purpose of documenting the compliance with state laws necessary to secure state and federal grants and reimbursement for flood recovery work.3. Stream Alteration Permits. DEC Rivers Program will use its stream alteration general permit and individual permit authority to issue written permits for activities unrelated to the current flood disaster recovery effort, not including those activities that may already proceed as non-reporting activities under the State Stream Alteration General Permit (http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/waterq/rivers.htm(link is external)).  Emergency authorities will not be applied in these circumstances and verbal approvals will not be provided.Practices that will require state and local approvals during the flood recovery period: The following practices can contribute to damage caused by flood erosion and inundation. Consequently, permits will be required from the DEC Rivers Program or municipality prior to the use of these techniques:1. Berming ‘ using gravel and other aggregate to fill and create a linear barrier between the river and its floodplain.  Placement of fill in a mapped floodway or special flood hazard area must meet the requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program in those communities enrolled in the NFIP.  Fill is not permitted in the floodway unless the applicant can demonstrate, using standard engineering practices, that the proposed development with fill will not result in an increase in base flood elevations (44 CFR §60.3).  Municipal approval under the community’s flood hazard bylaw and state review by the Floodplain Management Program are required for floodway and floodplain fills. 2. Excavating and rechanneling streams in unstable dimensions and/or elevations ‘excavating the channel substantially deeper, wider, and/or steeper than the dimensions and longitudinal slope of the channel required for the annual flood discharge; or extending dredging operations beyond that necessary for the removal of existing threats is curtailed.   These activities may be authorized, however, in severely aggraded areas, where ongoing aggradation (i.e., sediment accumulation) is anticipated by the Rivers Program, and where use of materials in flood recovery may reduce other emergencies situations. However, commercial gravel mining in streams is prohibited by law, and statutory limits for riparian landowner use of 50 cubic yards without a permit still apply in flood recovery periods.3. Creating new straightened river channels ‘excavating new channels that did not exist prior to the flood event will be not be allowed, except in very limited circumstances, where threats to life and critical infrastructure would exist otherwise.4. Reconstruction of streambanks and/or roadway embankments – encroaching into and excessively narrowing the stream channel and/or using undersized or otherwise unsuitable materials for streambank and/or roadway embankment stabilization.If you have a complaint, concern or a questions about work going on in a river near you please call 211 and the operator will help you.  Contact information and coverage maps for River Management Engineers is located at: http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/waterq/rivers.htm(link is external)last_img read more

U.K. company’s Africa expansion will bundle solar power with internet service

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg New Energy Finance:Providing internet to off-grid solar customers in Africa is the next logical step for BBOXX Ltd. in becoming a “next-generation utility,” according to Mansoor Hamayun, chief executive and co-founder of the U.K.-based company, which is backed by Engie SA and venture capital investors.Hamayun told BloombergNEF in an interview that BBOXX can increase its average revenue per user and overall number of customers by offering internet as an additional service to electricity under a pay-as-you-go model.BBOXX has launched its internet hotspot model in Rwanda, where customers log into the hotspot using their existing BBOXX user account, and the amount of time they spend on the internet is added to their bill. Hamayun is considering expanding internet provision into urban areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it may bundle a Wi-Fi offering together with solar energy and partner with a telecoms company to facilitate it. The aim from a customer’s perspective, would be to “have one sole provider for internet, utility and appliances,” he said. “Electricity is a starting point. All the infrastructure that we have to build around it then becomes the foundation for extra services – everything from logistics to call centers and customer services,” said Hamuyun. BBOXX is able to provide lower-cost internet due to the existing distribution and logistics networks it already has in place, plus call centers, customer services and billing processes.Providing internet access in rural places is a “mass market opportunity”, as without internet access, the use case for mobile phones and many other appliances becomes limited. “We are seeing evidence among certain customers that payment for internet is equal to what they pay for electricity, so it doubles the revenue we receive,” Hamayun said.“From a customer’s perspective, you have one sole provider for internet, utility and appliances. Many customers don’t have internet access, or cheap enough internet, to use their appliances with. The reason for the high cost of internet in many areas is that the overheads of managing customers are expensive. So the fact that we’ve built up an effective distribution and logistical network, call centers, customer services and billing processes — all established with our electricity offering — helps to lower the cost of internet and other services to people. Electricity is a starting point.”“We credit check our customers and install the system in their household with a range of appliances. Each system is remotely monitored and controlled. In Rwanda, customers can qualify for an upgrade to a smart phone, and once they get that they can access the hotspot and pay using mobile money. BBOXX has received equity from institutional investors like Engie and on a local level we work with banks. In Rwanda, we have debt funding from Deutsche Bank and Banque Populaire du Rwanda. A USAID guarantee and agreements with the Africa Guarantee Fund is part of that, and the debt comes from a socially-focused fund they manage. That allows us to purchase the equipment that we manufacture, install it and receive payment that matches the debt profile.”More: ‘Next-Gen Utility’ Offers Africans Solar, Internet U.K. company’s Africa expansion will bundle solar power with internet servicelast_img read more

2008 Best of the Outdoors : Hiking

first_imgBEST LONG DISTANCE HIKING TRAIL Appalachian TrailThe 2,175-mile National Scenic Trail extends from Springer Mountain, Ga., to Mount Katahdin, Maine.“My first thru-hike was in 1973, and I’ve done 14 thru hikes in total. I keep doing it for the same reason people keep going to church. I enjoy it. It’s a passion and it’s my guidestone. The A.T. helps me move through the real world. It gives me something that is stable and fair and enables me to progress more confidently in a world that isn’t as consistent. You have to flow with the trail. You can’t fight it. As far as physical beauty is concerned, nothing can beat the diversity in the 70-mile section between Roan Mountain and Watauga Lake: Canadian spruce forest, high elevation bald, mountain plateau, deep gorge with waterfalls, and a man-made lake with an earthen dam. Plus, on that section, you’re walking in the footsteps of John Muir.”—Warren Doyle, most accomplished A.T. thru-hiker with a record 15 thru-hikes.NEXT BEST2. Mountains to Sea Trail, N.C.3. Tuscarora Trail, Va./W.Va./Md./Pa.4. Bartram Trail, Ga./N.C.5. Cumberland Trail, Tenn./Ky.6. Massanutten Mountain Trail, Va.7. Foothills Trail, S.C./N.C./Ga.8. Benton Mackaye Trail, Ga.9. Allegheny Trail, Pa./Md./D.C.10. Pinhoti Trail, Ala./Ga.BEST MOUNTAIN SUMMITBlack Balsam, N.C.The 6,216-foot bald mountain is covered with rock and knee-high grass, offering 360-degree views of the surrounding wildlands.NEXT BEST2. Old Rag, Va.3. Roan Mountain, N.C.4. Max Patch, N.C.5. Whitetop Mountain, Va.6. Big Bald, N.C.7. Thunderhead Mountain, N.C.8. McAfee Knob, Roanoke, Va.9. Wayah Bald, N.C.10. Rabun Bald, Ga.BEST DAY HIKERamsay Cascade TrailAn eight-mile out and back trail through Great Smoky Mountains National Park.“There’s a lot of old growth forest left in the park, and this hike takes you through big pockets of old growth. One spot is almost magical: you pass through this gate of old growth trees and then you come to the largest tulip poplar on the trail. It’s massive. It takes four people holding hands to wrap around this thing. You hike along two different streams and the trail terminates at my favorite waterfall in the park. It’s not the highest or the most powerful waterfall, but there’s something about the way the water comes down over the ledges and drops that’s just gorgeous. If you were gonna have one day hike in the park, this would be it.”—Eric Plakanis, owner of A Walk in the Woods hiking guide service in the SmokiesNEXT BEST 2. North Fork Mountain Trail, W. Va.3. Roaring Run, Jefferson NF, Va.4. Naked Ground Trail, Kilmer-Slickrock, N.C.5. Piney River Falls, Sehnandoah NP, Va.6. Gregory Ridge Trail, Great Smokies, Tenn.7. Cooper Creek Trail, Chattahoochee NF, Ga.8. Deep Gap Trail, Pisgah NF, N.C.9. Mount LeConte, Great Smoky Mountains, N.C.10. Wild Oak Trail, George Washington NF, Va.WILDEST WILDERNESSCranberry WildernessA 36,000-acre chunk of the Monongahela National Forest where raw nature functions freely and unmanipulated, allowing rare ecosystems and wildlife to flourish.“The Cranberry represents the last of the best red spruce ecosystem. One of the trails, the Middle Fork Trail, has been called the most beautiful hike in the Monongahela National Forest by guidebook writers. Personally, I like the ridgetop hikes the best, through the red spruce, but there are some great hikes along the valley floor, particularly next to the North Fork of the Cranberry, which is a great trout stream with campsites along the entire stretch. There are no big vistas. The entire area is forested. It’s deep, dark woods. But the woods are so magical. It’s enchanting to be engulfed by them. The new Wild Monongahela Act will add 12,000 acres to the Cranberry, making it the third largest Wilderness area in the Eastern U.S.”—Dave Saville, executive director of the West Virginia Wilderness CoalitionNEXT BEST 2. Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness, N.C.3. Tray Mountain Wilderness, Ga.4. Ramseys Draft Wilderness, Va.5. Citico Creek Wilderness, N.C.6. Linville Gorge Wilderness, N.C.7. Otter Creek Wilderness, W.Va.8. Dolly Sods Wilderness, W.Va.9. Beartown Wilderness, Va.10. Shining Rock Wilderness, N.C.FAVORITE WATERFALLWhitewater FallsGorges State Park, N.C.The tallest waterfall east of the Rockies, Whitewater Falls drops 411 feet near the border of North Carolina and South Carolina.“It’s beautiful in all seasons. Catch it in the winter after it snows and it’s magical; during the fall it’s colored by surrounding yellows and oranges; during spring or summer, it cascades through verdant greens. You can hike to both Whitewater Falls and Lower Whitewater Falls for an incredible day trip.”—Allen Easler, waterfall photographerNEXT BEST 2. Crabtree Falls, George Washington NF, Va.3. Triple Falls, DuPont State Forest, N.C.4. White Oak Canyon Falls, Va.5. Great Falls of the Potomac, D.C.6. Ramsay Cascade Falls, Tenn.7. Amicalola Falls, Amicalola SP, Ga.8. Linville Falls, Pisgah NF, N.C.9. Laurel Fork Falls, Foothills Trail, S.C.10. Blackwater Falls, W.Va.BEST URBAN HIKECarvins CoveRoanoke, Va.Carvins Cove consists of 14,000 acres of forest on the edge of the city of Roanoke, complete with 47 miles of trails (including 14 miles of the A.T.). It is the second largest city-owned park in the country.“You can throw a rock from Interstate 81 and hit the cove, it’s so close to civilization. But once you’re in it, it’s amazingly pristine and extensive. It’s all woods, and there are so many trails, people get lost all the time. Not a tree has been cut commercially in over 50 years. My favorite trails are Enchanted Forest—an endless pine forest where hikers walk beneath a dense pine canopy—and Heidi-Ho, which is a tough climb up to the ridge top.”—Roger Holnback, president of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club NEXT BEST 2. Great Falls Park, Washington, D.C.3. James River Park, Richmond, Va.4. Kennesaw Mountain, Ga.5. Rivanna Trail, Charlottesville, Va.6. Blackwater Urban Trail, Lynchburg, Va.7. Crowders Mountain, Charlotte, N.C.8. Kanawha State Forest, Charleston, W.Va.9. Bent Creek Forest, Asheville, N.C.10. C&O  Towpath, Washington, D.C.FAVORITE CAMPGROUNDLakeside CampgroundDouthat State Park, Va.Forty miles of trails sit crisscross this state park, all of which are easily accessible from the campground. But what makes this campsite so attractive is the 50-acre Douthat Lake. NEXT BEST 2. Laurel Fork, Elkins, W.Va.3. Carolina Hemlock, Black Mountain, N.C.4. Cranberry River, Richwood, W.Va.5. Pocahontas, Marlinton, W.Va.6. Mortimer, Lenoir, N.C.7. Davidson River, Brevard, N.C.8. Sherando Lake, Lyndhurst, Va.9. Standing Indian, Franklin, N.C.10. Elizabeth Furnace, Front Royal, Va.FAVORITE HIKING CLUBAppalachian Trail ConservancyThe Appalachian Trail Conservancy is a non-profit that maintains the integrity of everyone’s favorite long distance trail with the help of 30 regional trail clubs from Georgia to Maine.“The entire Appalachian Trail is maintained by volunteers. We make sure those volunteers are on the same page and have the equipment they need to take care of the trail that they love so much. We facilitate, making it as easy as possible for people to give back to the trail they love—whether it’s organizing trail work days, pioneering innovative projects like the Roan Mountain goat project, or helping to protect the Rocky Fork Tract, which is the largest tract of land left unprotected along the A.T. The A.T. is close to a lot of people’s hearts. People want to take care of it, and we make it easier for them to do so.”—Andrew Downs, regional associate representative for the ATC NEXT BEST2. Sierra Club3. American Hiking Society4. Potomac Appalachian Trail Club5. Carolina Mountain ClubHIKING MOMENTS OF THE YEARThe Mountains to Sea trail in North Carolina reaches the 500-mile mark…The Wild Monongahela Act—the first Wilderness bill in West Virginia in 20 years—is introduced to Congress…The 60-year-long North Shore Road conflict is resolved when the National Park Service determined building 34-mile highway through the park would be environmentally devastating, and the $6 million settlement to Swain County passed Congress.last_img read more

Trail Mix – Travis Book & The Three Bs

first_imgTravis Book heads to four Blue Ridge locales for a weekend of beer, bluegrass, and bikes.Travis Book, bass player for The Infamous Stringdusters and longtime friend of BRO, is a man of many passions. Chief among them are playing music, drinking good beer, and spending time on his bike. Ever the crafty fellow, Book has managed to concoct a plan that combines all three of these loves — travel to four Blue Ridge towns, crank some great mountain bike trails, and then hit the local craft brewery to pick some tunes and sip some brews.Best weekend ever?  It could very well be.And it turns out Book is as generous as he is crafty. All of the proceeds from the four shows will benefit local biking clubs and trail systems.Travis and I recently chatted about the tour, which starts in a couple weeks.BRO – You have put together a weekend of playing music, drinking beer, and riding bikes. Any advice on how I can get something like that past my wife?TB – I’ve demonstrated to my wife over the years that if I don’t get outside and do something reckless/thrilling/challenging, I get to be a little bit of a pain in the ass. I also have to give her a foot rub while watching pre-recorded episodes of Downton Abbey pretty much whenever she wants for the foreseeable future, which isn’t a bad deal if you ask me.BRO – For years, you and the Dusters have wound outdoor experiences with your music. How do you satisfiy your outdoor wanderlust when you are on tour?TB – Careful planning, creative scheduling, and a steadfast belief that playing tired after a day of riding in the van and skiing or riding or running or hiking is better than playing tired after a day of just riding in the van. We all love to get outside and get the blood flowing, so it’s always an easy sell to detour into a national park or get up a little early to make some turns.BRO – What was it about these four towns that made you choose them for this tour?TB – Initially, I was inspired by the Blue Ridge Parkway and the way it ties the Blue Ridge together. Brevard and Roseland are a few miles from the northern and southern termini of the parkway, and I’ll be using the parkway as much as possible in my travels. All four of these communities have strong outdoor and beer cultures and a need for additional funding for trail and music lovers.BRO – What’s your favorite post-ride beer?TB – Devils Backbone Eight Point IPA or Oskar Blues G’Knight. I’m also not afraid of anything cheap or in a can. I’m not a beer snob, but I won’t drink Miller Lite. There’s something wrong with that beer . . . it might be the corn.BRO – Can we look forward to this being an annual event?TB – I hope so. If the breweries sell some beer, the clubs raise money, sponsors see some new eyes, people dig the music, and everyone has a great time, then this model could work anywhere there are music lovers, breweries, and trails. Thankfully, that’s pretty much everywhere. I’d love to try this out west, too. I don’t get to ride in Colorado as much as I’d like.BRO – Should I join you for a ride, could I fill my Camel Bak with a refreshing IPA?TB – You could, but I would advise taking a can or two of Dale’s or Striped Bass in your pack. Once you put beer in that Camel Bak bladder, there is no going back.The Bluegrass, Beer, and Bikes Tour kicks off on Thursday, March 26th, at Oskar Blues Brewery’s Tasty Weasel Taproom in Brevard, N.C. Friday, March 27th, includes a stop in Boone at the Appalachian Mountain Brewery, while Saturday, March 28th finds Travis back on his home trails at Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Roseland, Va. The weekend winds up on Sunday, March 29th, at Soaring Ridge Craft Brewery in Roanoke.All shows on the Bluegrass, Beer, and Bikes Tour are free, though a donation is suggested.For more information on the bike tour, along with details on other solo shows or where you might catch Travis with The Infamous Stringdusters or Sunliner, please check out his website.last_img read more

The future of Appalachian Power is Renewable

first_imgChris Beam, the new president of Appalachian Power, plans to move towards renewable energy in hopes to attract large businesses to West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee.Top tech companies such as Amazon and Google are on the lookout for new locations for data and distribution centers, and both of these companies require 100 percent clean reusable energy. Beam said bringing these companies to West Virginia could have a massive impact on the region.“So if we want to bring in those jobs, and those are good jobs, those are good-paying jobs that support our universities because they hire our engineers, they have requirements now, and we have to be mindful of what our customers want,” Beam told the West Virginia Gazette-Mail.Stepping back from coal might be tough for a region that has depended on the coal industry for jobs for decades. In the near future, Appalachian Power plans to build a wind farm in Southern West Virginia.Read more here.last_img read more

Public vs. Private: Zinke Proposes Privatizing National Park Campsites

first_imgSecretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is proposing outsourcing park functions to private companies. The intention is to address the $11 billion backlog of deferred maintenance projects within the National Park Service. Many fear that even more privatization within parks would significantly increase campsite prices and deter tourists. While many private companies already own and maintain campgrounds throughout the U.S. park system, if widespread privatization were to happen, recreation and camping outings could fall victim to a mean price tag. The majority of camping on public, federally owned land costs under $15 a day and most camping on U.S. Forest Service property is free.The future of the campsites and their prices in our national parks is up in the air as it is being debated whether the actual land the campsites are on would be privately owned or if just the services and maintenance required would be outsourced like trash removal and bathroom cleaning.A pay station at the Juniper Family Campground in the Bandelier National Monument.Photo by Clyde MuellerSupporters of privatizing camping believe it would save taxpayer dollars while improving upon the maintenance issues that have gone unchecked due to a lack of funding. Environmentalists believe it would increase costs, making outdoor vacations and adventure less attainable and desirable. With growing concerns of more private ownership rather than federal ownership, some are even concerned that oil and gas drilling could be happening on the doorsteps of more of our national parks. Already, some national park units are being opened to oil and gas drilling.The U.S. Interior Department budget for 2018 calls for a 10.9 percent cut in funding, including decreasing funding to park maintenance by 15 percent and cutting funding for national parks by 23 percent. This proposal has drawn criticism in Congress from members of both parties.last_img read more