Ag College Cuts

first_imgAfter surviving repeated budget cuts since 2009 totaling close to 25 percent, the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences will layoff 18 employees and sell 602 acres of research farms and timberland to make cuts levied by the state for the fiscal year beginning July 1.“We’ve worked hard over the past three budget cycles to make these drastic cuts without employee layoffs,” said J. Scott Angle, CAES dean and director. “We have had massive response to retirement incentives, which coupled with natural attrition reduced our workforce by 355 positions.” The latest cut to the college’s Agricultural Experiment Stations and Cooperative Extension Service budgets was more than the college could absorb. “We have eliminated every inefficiency we could find,” Angle said. “We redesigned our Extension delivery system to maximize every dollar and every employee. We leveraged every research grant, and we just came up short.” After examining and prioritizing the college’s programs, Angle decided to close several research programs, further tighten select county Extension offices and sell valuable farmland to be able to make pending cuts. “We have to look at these budget cuts as permanent,” Angle said. “It’s clear we won’t be able to rebuild any of our programs in the near future, so we must reduce our workforce, programs and infrastructure to match our new budget realities.” Land for Sale, Programs ClosedEarlier this year, the college listed an 80-acre parcel of pasture and timberland outside of Griffin, Ga., for sale. On May 23, the college offered the 522-acre Plant Sciences Farm in Watkinsville, Ga., for sale, too. In addition, the college will close the peach research facility at Byron, Ga., and pecan pest management, horticulture research and plant pathology programs at its campus in Tifton, Ga. It will also make further staff reductions on the Griffin and Athens campuses. “We chose to eliminate programs that were low priorities within the departments and programs where relevant, reliable information was available to clients from another CAES department or from USDA,” Angle said. Angle said highly publicized tuition and student fee hikes left many legislators and taxpayers with the impression the university wasn’t really cutting the budget. “Not only has the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences taken bigger cuts and lost more positions than the rest of the university over the past three years, the cuts are real and permanent for us,” Angle said. “Unlike other colleges within the university that can offset budget cuts with tuition increases, we benefit very little from tuition.”The ag college is funded differently from other UGA colleges because Cooperative Extension and Agricultural Experiment Stations are separate state budgets from the university’s instruction budget. Those two organizations’ funds make up the majority of the college’s state budget allocation. Neither gets any funding from university tuition.“Making permanent decisions like selling land and laying off employees are never easy decisions,” Angle said. “But, we are out of options. We must make decisions that will help us function effectively long-term as a much smaller college.”last_img read more

Homegrown Roses

first_imgOn Valentine’s Day, the demand for cut flowers, especially for roses, is high. This year, Keith Fielder, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent and rose grower, suggests giving a rose plant along with those fresh cut roses so your sweetheart can enjoy roses almost year-round.“Buy your sweetie a nice, dozen, cut roses, and then give her a few bare root roses that the two of you can plant together,” said Fielder. “Once you plant them, you can enjoy the roses together year after year.”Fielder began his garden with six varieties of roses and has now grown upwards of 25 different rose varieties over the past 28 years with the help of his wife, Roseanne.“Part of the fun of growing roses is sitting down and going through a catalog together to decide what you want to plant together,” he said.If you want to grow long-stem roses that work well in cut floral arrangements, Fielder recommends hybrid tea roses, which tend to be fragrant. If your goal is a flower that stays pretty for an extended period of time, he suggests buying a cutting rose, but warns that they put off very little fragrance. Fielder’s favorite red cutting rose variety is ‘Mr. Lincoln.’“It’s has been around a long time and rose snobs will probably throw rocks at me for saying that I love it. It’s a really pretty red rose, it’s a nice plant, and my mom has one in her yard that is 18 years old and still flowering,” he said. “She puts some mulch around it, throws some 10-10-10 fertilizer on it once in a while and then cuts flowers off of it. ‘Mr. Lincoln’ is one I have had a lot of luck with, and the older roses are a lot less expensive.”Beyond the traditional red, roses now come in a plethora of colors. Fielder recommends ‘Tropicana,’ an orange rose; ‘St. Patrick,’ a yellow rose with a green tinge around the petals’ edges; ‘Joseph’s coat,’ a climbing rose that produces a mix of pink, mauve and red roses; and ‘Cecile Brunner,’ a pink rose.Fielder suggests buying bare root roses from a reputable producer. The ones typically sold in bags embossed with a photo of the rose on the front are OK, but avoid the ones dipped in wax and be very picky in your selection. Look for ones that are still dormant with robust canes.“Bare root roses look like sticks with roots when you buy them. They are actually rose plants that have been grafted onto rootstock and then cut back,” he said. “They are typically shipped from January through March and are the most economical way to buy roses. Plant them by mid-March at the latest and they will establish roots.”Novice rose growers should start small and plant one to two roses in a site that gets six to eight hours of strong sunlight from morning until afternoon, Fielder said. Plant them at least six feet apart in soil that is fertile, but not wet.“Roses don’t like to have wet feet,” he said. “And the air flow can’t be restricted. When I go out and visit homeowners who have problems growing roses, I normally find the roses planted two to three feet apart. That’s way too close together.”In addition to being beautiful and coming in a wide variety of colors, Fielder says he finds roses “remarkably relaxing.”“My wife and I take a peek at them after work and it’s a great decompression device for us. We have also gone out at the break of dawn to see what’s blooming,” he said. “She loves to cut them and take some to work with her.”For more information on growing roses at home, read UGA Extension Circular 1001, “Roses in Georgia: Selecting and Growing Techniques” at extension.uga.edu/publications.last_img read more

D.W. Brooks Lecture and Awards

first_imgFormer Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme Ertharin Cousin has spent her career working to build more robust and sustainable food systems in food insecure countries around the world.That experience has given her insight into the challenges that tomorrow’s leaders will have to tackle to feed a growing world population while protecting the environment. She’ll share those insights in the 2019 D.W. Brooks Lecture at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12, in the Mahler Auditorium at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education & Hotel.Her talk, “Achieving Food Security and Planetary Health: A Solvable Enigma,” is being sponsored by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.“We are excited to bring Ambassador Cousin to campus as this year’s D.W. Brooks lecturer,” said CAES Dean and Director Sam Pardue. “Her long history of working tirelessly to solve the world’s food insecurity issues is an inspiration to our students, faculty and staff. We look forward to engaging with her on this global challenge.”Cousin currently serves as a distinguished fellow of agriculture at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and visiting scholar at the Stanford University Center on Food Security and the Environment.During her tenure as the executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme from 2012 until 2017, she guided the world’s largest humanitarian organization, with 14,000 staff meeting urgent food needs for 80 million beneficiaries in 75 countries.Cousin is a respected leader, visionary thinker and practical problem solver, with more than 30 years of national and international nonprofit, government and corporate leadership experience. A champion and global advocate for longer-term solutions to food insecurity and hunger, Cousin has published numerous articles regarding agriculture development, food security and nutrition.In addition to Cousin’s talk, which is free and open the public, CAES will present its D.W. Brooks Awards of Excellence at a ceremony after the lecture. This year’s awards honor some of the college’s most dedicated and creative researchers, teachers and Extension leaders.The 2019 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Research will be presented to Marc van Iersel, Vincent J. Dooley Professor of Horticulture, who has broken new ground in the area of energy efficiency and water-efficient irrigation management of greenhouses and nurseries.The 2019 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Teaching will be presented to Patricia J. Moore, professor and senior teaching fellow in the Department of Entomology, who was instrumental in “flipping” the introductory biology class she teaches to change how we teach science to include and encourage all students — especially women and historically underrepresented groups —to pursue scientific careers.The 2019 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Extension will be presented to Alfredo Martinez-Espinoza, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, who has worked for the past 17 years to develop a dynamic Extension and applied research program that focuses on the management of new and recurring diseases of turfgrass, small grains and non-legume forages and delivers relevant information to stakeholders and fellow Extension professionals.The 2019 D.W. Brooks Award for Excellence in Public Service Extension will be presented to Lori Purcell Bledsoe, Northwest District 4-H program development coordinator, who has become a national leader in youth development practices and has expanded the number of young people served by Georgia 4-H across northeast Georgia.For more information about this year’s event, visit dwbrooks.caes.uga.edu.last_img read more

Champlain College to confer honorary degrees on Lola Aiken and Marc vanderHeyden

first_imgBURLINGTON, Vt.–Champlain College will confer honorary degrees on two prominent Vermont residents at its 129th Commencement on May 5, 2007. The Board of Trustees of Champlain College selected retiring Saint Michael’s College President Marc A. vanderHeyden and Champlain College Trustee Emeritus Lola P. Aiken for this honor.Aiken and vanderHeyden will be awarded honorary doctoral degrees from the private, professionally focused college. Additionally, vanderHeyden will deliver the Commencement Address at Champlain College’s ceremony.”These two individuals come from very different backgrounds, but they both have created positive changes in Vermont’s cultural, historical and educational landscapes,” said Champlain College President David F. Finney. “At Commencement time, we’re pleased to honor their many contributions while reminding our graduates that they also have the power to make indelible marks on their communities and the world.”Lola Pierotti AikenLola Pierotti Aiken of Montpelier is celebrated as an unwavering advocate for Vermont’s educational, historical and community organizations. Born in Vermont’s capital city, the daughter of a stonecutter who emigrated from Italy, Aiken would land a job working for George Aiken in 1941 in his US Senate campaign office, before moving to work in his Congressional office in Washington.She earned her way to the top staff job where she proved herself a catalyst – using her connections in Vermont and Washington to help advance the Senator’s efforts on behalf of Vermonters. Twenty-five years after joining the Senator’s team, she would marry him and continue to work by his side without pay. Over three decades in the capital, Aiken rubbed elbows with six presidents, first ladies and many senators, while today she remains a loyal supporter of the Senator’s legacy. Vermont political candidates still seek her out today for endorsements at campaign time.As a stateswoman and dedicated community servant, Aiken’s energy and “we-can-do-it” attitude is legendary across Vermont. She’s served on the board of directors of UVM’s George B. Aiken Lecture Series, The Vermont Historical Society, Calvin Coolidge Foundation, Ethan Allen Homestead, Rockingham Meeting House and Judicial Conduct Board. Her service has also reached to Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice and the New England Culinary Institute Scholarship Committee. She’s a longtime, active member of the Friends of the Statehouse – where her husband served as Governor for four years prior to becoming a Senator. Aiken’s recent awards include the 2005 Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Service Vermont Lifetime Achievement Award. She has an honorary degree from UVM and won Norwich University’s Board of Fellow’s Medallion Award in 2002.At Champlain College, Aiken Hall – the former Westervelt home built in 1885, was named in honor of Lola Aiken because of her longtime dedication to Champlain students and programs. She served as a college trustee for the 18 years prior to 1995 and she was an advocate for Champlain’s many student life programs and the Single Parents Program, which has been nationally recognized for supporting single parents as they juggle family and educational responsibilities. Aiken also provided leadership for capital campaigns to build a campus center and high-tech library at Champlain College.Aiken once told former Champlain College President Robert Skiff that she loved one of his sayings: “If you stand still, you lose ground.” Many would agree that Lola Aiken has also lived by these words.Dr. Marc A. vanderHeydenDr. Marc A. vanderHeyden has served as president of Saint Michael’s College in Colchester for 11 years and will step down in June 2007. As the 15th president of the liberal arts Catholic college, the historian has brought intelligence, compassion, creativity and extraordinary development to the institution.A seasoned educator who was born in Ghent, Belgium, vanderHeyden is fluent in three languages and has a working knowledge of five more. Colleagues say he has an acute sense of the need for globally informed education that goes beyond one’s own borders. St. Michael’s trustees have noted that his enduring and primary focus on students and the quality of their educational experience was clear from the moment he set foot on campus.During vanderHeyden’s tenure, Saint Michael’s College strengthened its academic profile, including obtaining an invitation to create a Phi Beta Kappa honor society chapter on campus – one of only 270 colleges and universities nationwide have been invited to do so. vanderHeyden oversaw the completion of a $52 million campaign and constructed important new facilities while enhancing the college’s technology infrastructure.vanderHeyden has involved all of the college’s constituencies in developing a shared vision of Saint Michael’s College. He linked the college to national and international education organizations, led the institution in exploring the importance of its Catholic heritage, and created lasting ties to the arts community.vanderHeyden and his wife, Dana, have rooted Saint Michael’s in Vermont’s cultural community through significant support and collaboration with many organizations. The Lane Series now collaborates with Saint Michael’s on arts presentations nearly every year, the Flynn Theater works with the college in an arts-education graduate program, the Church Street Fire House Gallery recognizes Saint Michael’s as a supporter of several exhibits annually, the Fleming Museum provides free access to Saint Michael’s students and The Vermont Youth Orchestra has a beautiful new home in the Elley-Long Music Center at Saint Michael’s College. During vanderHeyden’s tenure, the college also initiated the artist-in-residence summer program to bring young talent to campus and to build a significant contemporary art collection on campus.As vanderHeyden moved Saint Michael’s College forward, he has also brought his talents to several state and regional organizations. He currently serves on the boards the Association of Vermont Independent Colleges, Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, Green Mountain Power, New England Board of Higher Education, Vermont Business Roundtable, Vermont Campus Compact, Vermont Health Foundation and Vermont Higher Education Council. The diversity of organizations attests to vanderHeyden’s versatility and leadership skills, which have been invaluable to the community at large.last_img read more

Vermont has lowest rate of wireless-only households

first_imgOklahoma leads the nation in the percentage of households with cell phones only, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than a quarter of households (26.2 percent) in Oklahoma had only wireless and no landline phones in 2007. On the other end of the spectrum, only 5.1 percent of households in Vermont were wireless-only in 2007.The report from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, “Wireless Substitution: State-level Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January-December 2007,” is the latest report on wireless substitution in the United States.”These findings are important to CDC because many of our largest surveys are done on calls to landline phone numbers. All of those adults with only cell phones are being missed in these surveys,” said Stephen J. Blumberg, health scientist with CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics and lead author of the study.In addition to Oklahoma, states with the highest percentage of wireless-only households are Utah (25.5 percent), Nebraska (23.2 percent), Arkansas (22.6 percent) and Idaho (22.1 percent). States with the lowest percentages, following Vermont, are Connecticut (5.6 percent), Delaware (5.7 percent), South Dakota (6.4 percent) and Rhode Island (7.9 percent).The report also shows the percentage of adults who use only wireless phones is also highest in Oklahoma (25.1 percent) and lowest in Delaware (4 percent). The District of Columbia also had a high percentage of adults who use cellphones only (25.4 percent).The percentage of wireless-only phone use among households and adults varies greatly within regions. For example, in the Midwest, the state that has the most wireless-only households, Nebraska (23.2 percent), borders the state with the least, South Dakota (6.4 percent).Results from previous CDC reports on wireless substitution show wireless-only phone use continues to grow on a national level. A recent report found that 17.5 percent of U.S. homes had only wireless telephones during the first half of 2008 — nearly 3 percentage points greater than the estimate for 2007 (14.7 percent). The percentage of adults using only wireless-only phones also grew from 13.6 percent in 2007 to 16.1 percent in the first half of 2008.The full report is available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr014.htm(link is external).CONTACT: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center forHealth Statistics Office of Communication, +1-301-458-4800/PRNewswire-USNewswire — March 11/SOURCE Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlast_img read more

Legislative economist questions state’s stimulus plans

first_imgThe economist contracted by the Legislature for consultation and analysis has sent a scathing report back to the Joint Fiscal Office in regards to a bill before the Senate Finance Committee called “Vermont Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (S.137).” Tom Kavet is an economist from Williamstown. As part of his introduction, he says, “Virtually none of the proposed programs that reduce revenues or increase spending represent any net economic stimulus benefit to the State.” He questions essentially all of the measures as benefitting near-term economic stimulus. He suggests that maximizing federal stimulus funds is by far the best opportunity for the state to recover from the current recession. He also makes a case that a fully funded “rainy day fund (a reserve fund used to make up for lost tax revenues in bad times and replenished during good times)” would be logical public policy, rather than cutting taxes in good times and raising taxes in bad times, but which would require a significant change in political will. The current balance of this fund is $60 million.He goes on to say that the state lacks a comprehensive economic development plan. And even mentions that the popular “sales tax holiday” from last summer and touted as a stimulus measure, “probably actually resulted in a small net economic loss.” He also says that cutting state programs or laying off state workers also would result in a net loss to the economy over the next two years. Below is his overview to the report (click here for the full report).To: Steve Klein, Legislative Joint Fiscal OfficeFrom: Tom KavetKavet, Rockler & Associates, LLCWilliamstown, VermontWebsite: www.kavetrockler.com(link is external)CC: Senate Finance CommitteeDate: April 8, 2009Re: Requested Review of Proposed Vermont Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, S.137OVERVIEWPer your request, I have summarized perspectives on the: 1) Costs, 2) Near-Term Economic Stimulus Effects and 3) Policy Considerations, associated with the 121 relevant sections proposed in S.137, the Vermont Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.While the bleak economic conditions that were originally cited as the rationale for this legislation are real and present, the efficacy of many of the 121 measures contained withinthem to address these conditions can only be described as minor, and in some cases, misguided. Many of the measures are revised versions of programs that have either had little or no beneficial impact as previously enacted or proposed measures that have been rejected in prior legislative sessions.Many of the measures represent substantial State expenditures of revenues – whether as tax expenditures that reduce revenues, loan loss guarantees that may reduce revenues, or direct expenditures – at a time of severe revenue stress. Virtually none of the proposed programs that reduce revenues or increase spending represent any net economic stimulus benefit to the State. This is because they must be funded with offsetting tax increases or spending cuts (see page 2 insert for more a more detailed discussion). Few of the proposed measures provide clear goals stating expected public benefits for these public expenditures, and fewer still provide transparent public oversight to insure that these benefits are achieved. Most importantly, the larger policy framework and supporting analysis within which these measures fit, is absent. As noted in comparable pending House legislation, Vermont lacks a shared statewide vision of its economic future ¦[and] lacks a single, holistic, integrated state plan for economic development. (See H.313)Without a coherent plan and credible planning entity, such measures accumulate, overlap and add to administrative (and user) chaos with those already passed, many of which are unused, unevaluated and of uncertain benefit. Without a strategic plan, the efficiency of public expenditures is diluted and policy priorities remain vague. Economic development becomes a catch-all for anything any other state is doing and anything that might help. While the political impetus to do something is understandable at times like this, it is important to understand the limitations of state economic policy options that can truly impact the broader economy. For example, the beneficial economic impact of almost all of the non- ARRA measures proposed in the subject legislation would be exceeded by the expenditure of the State Rainy Day Fund (about $60 million) and would be dwarfed by the negative economic impact of laying off substantial numbers of state workers and cutting expenditures for essential state services.The most impactful portions of the proposed legislation are those related to maximizing the receipt and expenditure of federal economic stimulus dollars. There is no other single public policy action the State can take with greater beneficial impact on the State s economy over the next two years than measures to aggressively attract and utilize the massive ARRA funds now becoming available (see chart, next page). Proposals in this legislation that maximize and rely on this funding have powerful beneficial economic and fiscal impacts because, for the most part, they do not require any additional State taxation or offsetting spending cutbacks to finance. With nearly $1.5 billion in potential state investment, these policy areas should receive the highest legislative priority.Administrative concerns associated with these proposals should also be given fair weight. All too often, programs are rushed into existence without careful planning regarding compliance, operation and public oversight. The VEPC EATI program, for example, was developed with the best of intentions, but without careful consideration as to how the program would be policed and managed, and resulted in the loss of millions of dollars in taxpayer money due to program loopholes and abuse. All of the large programmatic proposals should be thoroughly vetted by the Tax Department, Joint Fiscal Office and other administrative agencies to determine administrative costs and concerns regarding program operation before passage, and all should have some form of public oversight and follow-up to insure that the expected benefits are received.The below assessments for individual sections of this bill should be considered preliminary, since new information is being made available daily and statutory revisions are being constantly introduced. This memo is based on statutory language as of March 27, 2009. Updated analyses will be made available to various committees upon request as these proposals move through the legislative process.last_img read more

VPR Commentary: Tax policy perspective

first_imgVermont Public Radio Commentary. Monday June 22, 2009McQuiston: Tax policy perspective LISTENBy Timothy McQuiston(HOST) Commentator Timothy McQuiston suggests that when you hear politicians talking about taxes, it isn’t so much about fairness, it’s about jobs.(McQUISTON) Tax policy is all in your perspective, it seems to me. While the Legislature has focused on the property tax and the direct impact it has on local constituencies, governors have generally looked at the bigger picture and the income tax.In the latest, harrowing row over the state budget, which resulted in the first-ever budget veto, the Legislature cut the income tax, albeit slightly, for anyone making under 200,000 dollars and raised it for everyone else.Governor Douglas proposed lowering the highest marginal rate for income over 375,000 from 9.5 percent to 9 percent – and you might well be wondering, “Why?”Well, take the case of golfer Tiger Woods. Tiger’s participation in the US Open at Bethpage Black in New York State, means that he will have to pay New York state income tax on whatever prize money he wins. But Tiger officially lives in income tax free Florida. So if he has to pay income tax where he earns it, why not live in his home state of California? Because Florida, like New Hampshire, is tax free for earned income.Tiger makes a bundle on the PGA tour, but most of his income comes from endorsements and other non-prize money sources – video games, golf equipment, clothing deals. Heck, Tiger could live in New Hampshire. All he’d need to do is stick around for six months and one day in the Granite State. But I suppose the Sunshine State offers more opportunities to work on your game.In Vermont terms, what Governor Douglas and his predecessors have been concerned about, is that business owners and other top managers make decisions about where to locate or expand a business in part on how it affects their own wallets. And if they move their business out of state, jobs go with it.If your adjusted gross income is one million dollars, you’re going to pay $51,000 in Vermont taxes. If your income is 100,000 – still a nice income – your tax will be only a little over 3,000. But if you move your company over to New Hampshire, you’ve essentially given yourself and your employees a nice raise without having to increase payroll one penny.It makes you happier; it makes your employees happier; and it makes the State of New Hampshire happier. In recent years, both Howard Dean and Jim Douglas have fought the Legislature over the income tax for these very reasons.It’s clear that many business owners are willing to pay more to live here – sometimes a lot more. Others have no choice because of the nature of their business and they either like it or lump it. But make no mistake – the lure of “tax free” is very real.last_img read more

Vermont among top performers on national math assessment

first_imgSource: Vermont DOE. 10.14.2009# END # Only one state outperformed Vermont in eighth-grade math and only two states outperformed Vermont in fourth-grade math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), according to results released by the US Department of Education today.Highlights for Vermont results include:· Vermont students were only outperformed by students in New Hampshire and Massachusetts on the fourth-grade exam.· Vermont students were only outperformed by students in Massachusetts on the eighth-grade exam.· Vermont was one of only five states or jurisdictions to show growth in scores in both grade levels, and all three New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) participants were included in that group of five (Vermont, Rhode Island and New Hampshire). The other two were Nevada and the District of Columbia.“What is really impressive about these results is that the three NECAP states were already star performers,” said Commissioner of Education Armando Vilaseca. “It is easy to show growth when you are on the lower end, but for these well-performing states to continue to show growth is notable.”Vermont has shown steady gains on NAEP in both fourth and eighth grade math since 2003. Fifty-one percent of Vermont grade four students achieved the rating of “at or above proficient” compared to 38 percent of fourth-graders nationally. Forty-three percent of Vermont grade eight students achieved the rating of “at or above Proficient” compared to 33 percent of eighth-graders nationally.Poverty-based achievement gaps are still a concern. The gap between students eligible for the free/reduced priced lunch program and their peers is formidable (19 points in grade four and 23 points in grade eight).“While it is incredibly exciting that Vermont students perform so well compared to other states and continue to post gains on NAEP, it is disappointing that our low-income population did not improve to our expectations this year,” said NAEP Coordinator Susan Hayes. “We must determine how to address the stubborn achievement gap that persists between disadvantaged youngsters and their wealthier peers.”Vermont students took the exam during the months of January, February and March of this year. As part of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), all states must participate in NAEP assessments in reading and mathematics at grades four and eight every other year. National and state-to-state comparisons are based on data from public schools only. Results for individual schools or students are not reported. For Vermont’s NAEP results, visit: http://education.vermont.gov/new/html/pgm_assessment/data.html#naep(link is external).  For a complete set of national results, visit http://www.nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard(link is external).For more information, contact Susan Hayes at (802) 828-5892 or susan.hayes@state.vt.us(link sends e-mail) or Jill Remick at (802) 828-3154 or jill.remick@state.vt.us(link sends e-mail).last_img read more

Governors break ground for new Champlain Bridge, ferry to keep running

first_imgVermont Governor Jim Douglas and New York State Governor David A. Paterson today broke ground on a new Lake Champlain Bridge spanning the lake between Crown Point, New York, and Addison, Vermont. The governors were joined at the site of the approach to the former bridge by state and local elected officials, local business leaders and community members to officially kick-off the start of construction of the new bridge. Those who live and work in the area surrounding the Lake Champlain Bridge share family, friends and business relationships on both sides of the lake, Governor Douglas said. The ease and timeliness of transportation across Lake Champlain is critical to their way of life and economy. Everyone involved in this bridge project should be commended for getting us to this point so quickly.    Breaking ground on the new Lake Champlain Bridge is an important step in reconnecting our two states and restoring this critical link for commerce, tourism, employment, education and medical services, Governor Paterson said. I am proud to have worked closely with Governor Douglas to expedite this project, and commend the elected officials, community members and respective transportation officials for their efforts to work together toward a solution. The new bridge will be built at the same location as the previous structure in order to minimize historic and environmental impacts on the surrounding area. Construction will begin immediately and is expected to be completed in September 2011.The Modified Network Tied Arch Bridge will be a steel structure with an arch along the center span. Steel used will be treated for enhanced corrosion resistance. Multiple redundancies in the design make this bridge a safe structure that will have at least a 75-year service life. Bridge components are designed to be easily replaceable to reduce maintenance costs. Travel lanes will be 11 feet wide, with five-foot shoulders that will help accommodate larger trucks and farm vehicles, as well as provide ample room for bicyclists. Sidewalks will be built on both sides of the bridge.Flatiron Constructors, Inc. of Boulder, Colorado was awarded the contract to build the new bridge. While Flatiron will bring a core team of approximately a dozen managers, there will be many jobs for local workers with the appropriate qualifications.New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee said: Today signifies progress in reestablishing a permanent transportation link between New York and Vermont across Lake Champlain. During the last eight months, we have listened to the public and worked hard to deliver the design for a beautiful new bridge that pays full respect to both the historic and park setting of the surroundings while working at a record pace. We intend to keep up this pace during the construction of the new bridge.Vermont Agency of Transportation Secretary David Dill said: Design of the new bridge started almost immediately once it was determined that the old bridge could not be saved. The effort represents a massive undertaking by Vermont, New York, the federal government and the bridge s architect HNTB to design, engineer and permit the new bridge in only a few short months.The new bridge design was selected following significant outreach through public meetings and an online survey, which found strong community support for replacing the bridge with the Modified Network Tied Arch Bridge. This option was also supported by the bridge s Public Advisory Committee. Public preference was one of many factors considered as New York and Vermont chose the replacement bridge design and played a significant role in the final determination.The former Lake Champlain Bridge was closed last October after significant cracking was found in the structure s support piers and was demolished in December. (see demolition click HERE) New York and Vermont worked quickly to subsidize existing ferry service, and to establish free express bus service between New York and three major employers in Vermont, and shuttle bus service between several New York park-and-ride locations and the ferries.Additionally, a 24-hour, free, temporary ferry was opened in February, drastically cutting commuting time between New York and Vermont and effectively reestablishing commerce and emergency service along the corridor. Located immediately south of the former bridge, the temporary ferry, operated by the Lake Champlain Transportation Company, will continue to run until the new bridge is opened to traffic.In business since 1947, Flatiron has extensive experience building major interstate bridges all across the United States and in western Canada. The company rebuilt the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, following its tragic collapse in 2007. Flatiron has received numerous awards in recent years from some of the largest and most respected trade industries in the United States, including the Associated General Contractors of America, the American Council of Engineering Companies and the American Society of Civil Engineers.Source: Douglas’ office. 6.11.2010###last_img read more

Dealer.com and Burton Snowboards complete summer 2011 commuter challenge

first_imgDealer.com (www.dealer.com(link is external)), the global leader in online marketing solutions for the automotive industry, and Burton Snowboards, the world’s leading snowboard company, today announced the completion of the first ever Summer Commuter Challenge ‘ a competition which called on employees of both Burlington, VT-based companies to use creative commuting methods in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions. As an extension of the Vermont Way to Go Challenge, Dealer.com and Burton turned their common goal of reducing their carbon footprints into a friendly competition to see which company could drive greater employee participation in the challenge during the summer. Throughout June, July and August, employees from both companies were encouraged to use alternative modes of transportation such as walking, carpooling and telecommuting. Employees logged their creative commuting activity on www.burtonvsdealer.com(link is external), a website specifically developed to track the ongoing progress of both companies. During festive meetings at the end of each month, employees from Dealer.com and Burton met to discover the winning company for the month, recognize top commuters and celebrate each other’s efforts. ‘Participating in the Commuter Challenge with Burton was incredibly fulfilling and fun,’ said Dealer.com CEO Mark Bonfigli. ‘Not only did both companies make a meaningful impact on our overall carbon footprints, but we all enjoyed coming up with creative, and sometimes unique, methods of clean and green transportation.’ The challenge began June 5th and culminated on August 27th with employees from both companies saving approximately 170,000 lbs of CO2 emissions by adopting alternative commuting methods in June, July and August. While Dealer.com came out ahead each month in the friendly competition, a total of 412 employees from both companies participated in the challenge throughout the summer. Both companies celebrated the culmination of the Commuter Challenge in downtown Burlington on Tuesday, September 7th. Employees who participated in the challenge were recognized, and prizes were awarded to those who used alternative modes of transportation to commute the most, commute at least once every week or commute each day throughout the summer. In addition, each commuter was eligible to win one of 40 door prizes donated in part by local businesses that sponsored the challenge. About Dealer.com (www.dealer.com(link is external))Dealer.com is the global leader in online marketing solutions for the automotive industry, providing award-winning SaaS-based e-marketing solutions to OEMs, auto dealers and media companies.  Headquartered in Burlington, Vermont with additional offices in Manhattan Beach, California, the company’s innovative websites and integrated online tools include advertising alternatives that significantly lower the cost of customer acquisition, enhancing dealers’ efficiency and profitability. Recent national and international accolades include placing No. 14 on Outside magazine’s 2011 list of Best Places to Work in America and receiving two Stevie Awards from the American Business Association for Best Overall Company of the Year and Fastest Growing Company of the year in 2011. Dealer.com has also by honored by Inc. magazine as one of the 2010 Top Small Company Workplaces in addition to securing a place on both the Inc. 5000 and Deloitte Technology Fast 500 rankings in 2010. Dealer.com wasalso ranked first in SEO effectiveness among auto dealer website providers for the third consecutive year in 2011 by Sorgenfrei LLC. About Burton Snowboards (www.burton.com(link is external))In 1977, Jake Burton Carpenter founded Burton out of his Vermont barn. Since then, Burton has fueled the growth of snowboarding worldwide through its groundbreaking product lines, its team of top snowboarders and its grassroots efforts to get the sport accepted at resorts.  In 1996, Burton began growing its family of brands to include boardsports and apparel brands. Privately held and owned by Jake, Burton’s headquarters are in Burlington, Vermont with offices in California, Austria, Japan and Australia.  For more information visit www.burton.com(link is external).September 9, 2011 (Burlington, VT) ‘ Dealer.comlast_img read more