Request for projects to be included in the Windham Region CEDS

first_imgBrattleboro Development Credit Corporation has announced a call for the submission of project proposals to be included in the federally recognized Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the 27 town Windham region. Official request appears below. While no monetary awards will directly result from these projects being included in the CEDS, inclusion of your municipal, education, private sector or non-profit project in the CEDS indicates it is aligned with regional goals for growth.The deadline for submission of projects to be included in this years CEDS is August 9th ‘detailed information on SeVEDS, what a ‘CEDS’is, and the Windham Region CEDS process and submission guidelines can be found at www.seveds.com(link is external).Identification of your project as a vital project indicates the project is of the highest priority and expected to have the greatest impacts on achieving the regional goals.Again, while inclusion of your project in no way guarantees funding of any sort, many federal agencies look more favorably upon projects which have the kind of broad support inclusion in a region CEDS indicates.Project Overview: Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) is seeking project proposals for inclusion in the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), as required by the United States Economic Development Administration (EDA). Information on the required component of a CEDS can be found www.seveds.com/ceds-projects(link is external)Proposal Contents: The proposal must identify the applicant and include a detailed description of the project; establish that the applicant has the authority, capacity and the wherewithal to successfully implement the project; establish the likely outcome of the project and establish how that outcome is consistent with the goals and strategies of SeVEDS. For a complete description of submission requirements, go towww.seveds.com/ceds-projects(link is external).Applicants: Any private or public entity or consortium of entities can submit a project for consideration. Applications will only be accepted from the entity(s) directly implementing the project.Proposal Instructions: Proposals are due no later than August 9 at 5:00 pm. Proposals must be received at: SeVEDS, 76 Cotton Mill Hill, Brattleboro, VT 05301. A minimum of (5) paper and one (1) digital copy are to be submitted.Contact Information: All inquiries, questions and clarifications must be directed to Laura Sibilia at 802-257-7731 or [email protected](link sends e-mail).SeVEDS Regional Economic Development Goals & Strategies: Visit www.seveds.com(link is external) to review a list of regional economic development goals and strategies.last_img read more

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Protest outside, tension inside as PSB hearings on VTGas pipeline begin

first_imgVermont Gas Systems Inc,by Andrew Stein September 16, 2013 vtdigger.org Vermont Gas Systems and its opponents came out swinging Monday over whether the state should permit a proposed 43-mile natural gas pipeline.The Vermont Public Service Board called the parties together in Montpelier for the first of five days of technical hearings on the proposed pipeline extension into Addison County. The board must approve the project before it can proceed.Nathan and Jane Palmer of Monkton are not happy that a proposed natural gas pipeline is slated to go through their property. Photo by Andrew Stein/VTDiggerMonday’s hearing came after the Agency of Natural Resources signed an agreement with VTGas late Friday that requires the gas utility to drill below wetlands and take environmental measures to enhance vegetation around the line and reduce invasive species. The proceedings also followed a raucous public hearing in Middlebury last week, where opponents dominated the conversation.During part of Monday’s hearing at the Capitol Plaza hotel and conference center, protesters from the group Rising Tide Vermont held a mock trial outside. In a symbolic act, they implicated Gov. Peter Shumlin and three VTGas executives for ‘crimes against the climate.’ Shumlin and VTGas executives maintain that natural gas is a cleaner and cheaper alternative to fuel oil and propane.VTGas is a subsidiary of the Canadian gas company Gaz Métro, which also owns Green Mountain Power, Vermont’s largest electric utility. VTGas is Vermont’s only natural gas utility, and its $86.6 million proposal is attracting a range of opposition.It’s not every day that the Conservation Law Foundation and the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association work side by side, but this proposed project is bringing the disparate organizations together.Don Gilbert, CEO of Vermont Gas Systems, testifies before the Public Service Board at a technical hearing at Capitol Plaza in Montpelier on Monday. Photo by Andrew Stein/VTDiggerMonday’s hearing began with the cross-examination of VTGas CEO Don Gilbert. CLF attorney Sandra Levine and Fuel Dealers’ attorney Richard Saudek, who formerly chaired the Vermont Public Service Board, kicked things off with a barrage of questions.Levine homed in on the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which is often panned by environmentalists for the threats it poses to drinking water resources. Fracking, which is banned in Vermont, uses a series of underground explosions and high-pressure injections of water, sand and chemicals to extract natural gas from rock formations, such as shale. The practice has drastically increased the North American supply of natural gas since 2008 ‘ and reduced its cost.‘Do you agree that a portion of the supply that would be used by the Addison natural gas project would come from sources that use hydraulic fracturing?’ Levine asked Gilbert.‘I think it’s likely,’ he responded.Levine then asked if VTGas would agree to cease using gas from fracking.‘I don’t think that would be in the best interest of our customers, no,’ he said.The Fuel Dealers Association has argued that VTGas is overstating the economic and environmental benefits of the project. Since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is analyzing the effects of fracking on drinking water resources, Saudek asked Gilbert if he thought it might be wise to put off the project until the EPA releases its report in 2014.Gilbert was not keen on the idea.‘We’ve seen hydraulic fracturing develop recently in the energy industry, but it’s been a technology used for decades in the water-drilling industry and has developed over time for natural gas, and now we’re seeing it used for oil and propane,’ he said. ‘To deny Vermonters access to the lower price and cleaner benefits of gas, I don’t think would be in the best interest of the state or our customers.’Saudek then proposed a scenario in which governments might clamp down on the practice.‘Your prices would most likely go up,’ he said.‘It could,’ Gilbert said, but the fuel’s competitive edge would depend on the price of other fuels. And, he said, clamping down on fracking would not only affect the price of natural gas, it would also affect the price of oil and propane.VTGas Vice President Eileen Simollardes later took the stand, defending the route of the project.‘It’s very unfortunate that not everybody can be happy with it, but we do believe that in totality it is the right place,’ she said.She indicated that 43 percent of the 40-plus mile route is secured via land easement contracts with landowners. VTGas is in negotiations with landowners for another 32 percent of the route. If the Public Service Board awards VTGas a permit, or certificate of public good, the company could possibly obtain access to the remaining 25 percent of the land through eminent domain.‘I believe with every fiber of my being that this is a good deal for Vermont,’ Simollardes said.But Jane and Nathan Palmer of Monkton say it’s not such a good deal for them. The pipeline is slated to go through their property, and they are unhappy about it.The Palmers are interveners in the proceeding, and Nathan Palmer cross-examined Simollardes for almost half an hour.‘Do you think this is a done deal?’ an exasperated Palmer asked at the end of his questioning.She said that she did not, and, more importantly, Board Chair James Volz said it was not.‘The company can’t go forward without our approval, and we certainly haven’t made a decision,’ Volz told Palmer. ‘This is not a done deal.’Opponents of a natural gas pipeline proposed for Addison County demonstrate Monday outside a Public Service Board hearing at the Capitol Plaza in Montpelier. Photo by Viola Gad/VTDiggerlast_img read more

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Opinion: Ship of state is on the right course

first_imgby Jeb Spaulding, Vermont Secretary of Administration Recently, Paul Cillo, the founder of Vermont’s left-leaning Public Assets Institute, penned an Op-Ed claiming that the Shumlin Administration isn’t spending enough to serve Vermonters and calling for taxes to be raised to match the increased level of services Cillo believes are warranted. Shortly afterwards, Tom Pelham, co-founder of the decidedly more conservative Campaign for Vermont, published an Op-Ed describing Vermont’s spending as a ‘pending fiscal ship wreck,’ and calling for significant reductions in current state spending. In the face of critics from opposite poles of the same budgetary debate, what is an Administration to do?Exactly what we have been doing: maintaining our focus on creating jobs and meeting the critical needs of Vermonters, while carefully protecting the public purse.The Shumlin Administration has made tough and responsible budget choices, even while it has met considerable challenges, such as the damage from Tropical Storm Irene, a slow economic recovery, the end of federal stimulus dollars from the Great Recession, and continued dysfunction in Washington, DC. Administration leaders are being asked by Governor Shumlin to work across agencies to make state government work better by increasing efficiency and reducing waste. All the while, Governor Shumlin has fought off legislative efforts to raise taxes for General Fund spending.Though the Shumlin Administration is meeting the challenges of today while planning for the future, some of our critics seem stuck in the past. As someone who has worked with both Paul Cillo and Tom Pelham over many years and across many roles, I respect their right to advocate for their own views of our state’s budget. But as a state official who must actually deal with the practical art of governing, I am not as free as a clever advocate to paint the state’s budget situation in stark monochrome.Pelham’s prescription for our claimed woes boils down to the familiar remedies he has promoted for years: cutting government services, shifting responsibilities to others, and coming up with gimmicks that sound promising but usually don’t work. He claims our financial practices have put Vermont’s bond rating at risk by citing a report from Standard & Poor’s that actually improved the outlook on the state’s rating.Tellingly, in recent days, Moody’s Investors Services reaffirmed Vermont’s best in New England Triple A rating, explaining, ‘Moody’s highest rating level reflects Vermont’s strong history of financial management, which includes conservative fiscal policies and the maintenance of healthy reserve balances that continue to provide a cushion against any unexpended revenue declines; and manageable debt profile that reflects the State’s focused efforts to reduce its debt ratios and maintain well-funded pension systems.’Nowhere is Vermont’s solid progress clearer than in our path out of the Great Recession, where Vermont’s economy ‘has recovered more quickly than the rest of New England, and much faster than many other parts of the country,’ according to Federal Reserve Bank of Boston CEO Eric Rosengren when he spoke in Burlington earlier this month. And our recovery shows in the numbers: Vermont remains one of the lowest unemployment rate states in the country, currently tied for fifth.Pelham performs historical sleights of hand in his review of government spending in Vermont. He begins his analysis with 2008, when the economy began the most significant decline since the Great Depression. Only he could be surprised that spending by government, much of it in the form of federal stimulus money, would ‘ and should ‘ increase as unemployment rose, incomes stagnated, and home values falteredPelham correctly expresses concern about the long-standing challenges of funding Vermont’s pension systems, a problem stretching back over many administrations, but then fails to mention the name of the person who routinely made the trip from a former Administration’s offices in the Pavilion building to the Statehouse to convince lawmakers that we should not fully fund the actuarial recommendation for the pension funds: Tom Pelham. When he left his position as Commissioner of Finance, Vermont was not the Triple A rated state it is now, and it couldn’t possibly have become one with that kind of budgetary practice. The truth is that Vermont was ahead of the curve in enacting changes, like increasing the normal retirement age, increasing employee contributions, and linking retiree health coverage to length of employment, to make our public pension plans sustainable. Further, we now routinely fully fund the annual pension actuarial recommendation.Meanwhile, in stark contrast to Tom Pelham, Paul Cillo reaches back more than 20 years and cherry picks one quote to fault the Shumlin Administration for not emulating Governor Richard Snelling, characterized by Cillo as a leader who felt comfortable raising taxes in order to support increases in state services and programs. It is important to note that Governor Snelling inherited a budget gap several times larger than the funding gap currently anticipated for the next fiscal year. I doubt very much Governor Snelling would endorse Cillo’s whitewash portrait of the extremely difficult choices his Administration made during that crisis. A more accurate view of Snelling’s budgetary philosophy, one shared by Governor Shumlin, is reflected in his January 1991 budget speech to the Legislature, when he said ‘our citizens expect their government to balance the need for services and the burden of taxes. They will not tolerate excessive taxes any more than they will accept neglect of social interests.’ The former Governor continued, ‘Consequently, Vermont does not and never has had the option of simply deciding which government programs or services it wants and then levying taxes at whatever levels might be required.’Cillo believes that the Shumlin Administration has failed to focus support on Vermont’s most needy, ignoring the facts in the process: increased state spending for low income housing and homelessness; the first base-budgeted contribution to low income heating assistance in state history; becoming the first state in the country to extend free school lunch to all low income public school children; an increase in the coverage limits for Medicaid; and increased subsidies for childcare. No one could take a clear-eyed look at the facts and claim that Governor Shumlin does not value and support the state’s anti-poverty programs.Finally, claims from both Cillo and Pelham that we are spending state dollars on public assistance programs without concern for results ring false. Following the Governor’s lead on a statewide strategic plan, Secretary Doug Racine and his team at the Agency of Human Services have aggressively rebuilt its capacity to measure and report results, something that was done for years but abandoned during the last decade. The Agency has identified 21 outcomes for the wellbeing of Vermonters. Contracts with our community partners now require these measures of performance, so that we can see whether we are getting desired results for the money we are spending. Soon, an e-scorecard will allow Vermonters to see how the Agency is doing on its performance measures. In addition, Governor Shumlin has launched both an e-dashboard (http://governor.vermont.gov/govdash(link is external)) to track a host of social, economic, and environmental indicators and a financial transparency website (http://spotlight.vermont.gov/(link is external)) which allows citizens to see ‘Where the Money Comes From’ that is used to operate state government and ‘Where the Money Goes’ when it is spent. Greater accountability, more effective programs and better results for Vermonters will result.While our critics continue to replay the last 20 years of tired legislative fights, the Shumlin Administration will stay focused on the future by focusing on creating good paying jobs and prudent management of the state’s finances. This budget year and those beyond will undoubtedly bring new challenges. Vermonters expect state government to act responsibly and to meet critical needs within the means we have, and they deserve nothing less.October 29, 2013‘last_img read more

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Vermont designates first three Green Grocery Environmental Leaders

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Healthy Living Market – Burlington, Hunger Mountain Coop – Montpelier, and Commodities Natural Market – Stowe have been named as Vermont Green Grocery Environmental Leaders by the state of Vermont for their environmental stewardship and sustainability efforts. The standards to meet this designation were developed by multi-state environmental agency workgroup members of NEWMOA (Northeast Waste Management Officials Organization, as part of the Northeast Sustainable Grocery Environmental Leader program and include energy efficiency, water and waste reduction, recycling, environmentally preferable purchasing, and facility operations. The State of Vermont’s Green Business Program is a joint effort between the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Vermont Small Business Development Center and is voluntary and free of cost to participating businesses. This program provides assistance to businesses desiring to “green up” their operations and recognizes businesses of all sizes for meeting a set of environmental best management standards, going beyond compliance with existing environmental regulations. These standards are posted on the program’s website (www.vbep.org(link is external)).last_img read more

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National Life makes the grade, bond rating boosted by S&P to ‘A+’

first_imgNational Life Group,Vermont Business Magazine The financial strength rating for National Life Group’s insurance companies was boosted by Standard & Poor’s on Thursday based on the company’s improved capital strength and stronger credit quality. S&P Global Ratings formally raised the rating of National Life Insurance Company and Life Insurance Company of the Southwest to “A+” from “A.” At the same time, SP Global raised its issuer credit rating on NLV Financial Corp., National Life’s holding company, to “BBB+” from “BBB.”“We’re delighted we’re being recognized by S&P for the financial strength of our 167-year-old company,” said Mehran Assadi, president and CEO of National Life Group.S&P praised National Life’s focus on the fundamentals. “The upgrade reflects our view that NL Group has improved its capital strength, resulting in stronger credit quality,” S&P said.“We now view the insurer’s financial risk profile as extremely strong, compared to our prior opinion of very strong. Over the past few years, NL Group has organically grown its capital, more effectively managed its investments in structured securities, and successfully completed a closed block reinsurance transaction. We believe its improved capital position is sustainable.”S&P said National Life’s “business risk profile remains strong” and noted that premiums and deposits are almost evenly split between protection and retirement savings.The outlook by S&P was listed as stable and “reflects our expectation that NL Group will maintain its strong business risk profile encompassing engaged and  productive distribution and favorable operating performance.”Source: National Life 8.12.2016 NationalLife.com(link is external).last_img read more

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DC Cancer Moonshot Summit participant gives keynote at Vermont pharmacy college white coat ceremony

first_imgAlbany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences – Vermont Campus,Vermont Business Magazine Dr Sarah Scarpace Peters, PharmD, MPH, BCOP, gave the keynote address at the Vermont campus of the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) white coat ceremony for incoming Doctor of Pharmacy students last week. Peters was among the 300 individuals invited by the Office of Vice President Joe Biden to participate in the Cancer Moonshot(link is external) summit held earlier this year in Washington, DC. In addition to her faculty role at ACPHS, she is President of the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA), a national association that seeks to optimize the care of individuals affected by cancer.“It’s an honor to talk with new students about how the role of pharmacist has grown exponentially in the last 20 years, and how as medication safety experts they will have a tremendous impact on preventing hospital readmissions,” Peters said. “Pharmacists are not just behind the counter, but work closely with physicians and employ strategies to help patients’ adherence to medication therapies.”The White Coat Ceremony is held annually for first year Doctor of Pharmacy students. During the ceremony, students are presented with their white coats by members of the faculty. The ceremony concludes with the students reciting the Pledge of Professionalism.“Presentation of the white coat is an outward sign that symbolizes their internal transformation from pharmacy student to student pharmacist,” noted Dr. Robert Hamilton, Pharm.D., MPH, Interim Dean of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.Pictured here are the Vermont PharmD students who have just received their white coats. Students attending ACPHS’s Vermont campus are from 20+ states across the US, and numerous countries including China, Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, Nigeria, Ghana, Canada, and Trinidad and Tobago.Albany College of Pharmacy and Health SciencesFounded in 1881, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is a private, independent institution with a long tradition of academic and research excellence. Ranked #1 value-added college in the country(link is external), ACPHS is committed to educating the next generation of leaders in the health care professions and translating scientific discoveries into therapies that benefit humankind. The College opened its Colchester Campus in 2009; it remains the only Doctor of Pharmacy program in the state of Vermont. The school’s main campus is located in Albany, New York. For more information about ACPHS, visit us at www.acphs.edu(link is external) or Facebook(link is external).Source: August 30, 2016 (Colchester, VT) – Albany College of Pharmacylast_img read more

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Phil Scott will participate in eleven gubernatorial debates

first_img 10/18 – WCAX (Only major party candidates invited)* 10/23 – Vermont Press Association (All three candidates invited) * 9/25 – Windham County Gubernatorial Forum (All three candidates invited) 9/22 – VT Commission on Women Forum (All three candidates invited) 10/6 –Vermont PBS (All three candidates invited) 10/17 – vtTA and Seven Days Gubernatorial Round Table (All candidates invited) 11/3 – VPR (All three candidates invited) center_img Vermont Business Magazine Phil Scott’s campaign today released a list of the eleven (11) debates Scott will participate in prior to the General Election in 69 days. “Debates are an effective platform for candidates to discuss their priorities and plans, and to highlight important contrasts that exist among them,” said Scott campaign spokeswoman Brittney Wilson.“There is a clear choice in this election. Phil Scott is the only candidate who is focused on growing the economy, making Vermont more affordable and restoring Vermonters’ faith and trust in their government,” Wilson said. “Phil has set strict budget limits; has a plan to modernize state government; a plan to combat the opiate crisis; and real ideas to address our crumbling infrastructure. In the coming weeks, Phil will be rolling out a comprehensive economic development plan to reinforce his commitment to creating jobs and making Vermont more affordable.  He looks forward to to highlighting the reasons why he’s the right choice in this election.”Phil Scott sees debates as valuable opportunities to further highlight the differences between him and the other candidates, Wilson continued.“For starters, Phil’s approach to rebuilding prosperity for all Vermonters will not be through new taxes and fees like the $700 million Sue Minter’s party has forced on Vermonters over the last six years of one party rule,” Wilson said.  “That is why he has committed to participate in eleven debate events.”PHIL SCOTT’S DEBATE SCHEDULE 8/22 – VT-NEA Debate on Vermont PBS (Only major party candidates invited)* BALANCING DEBATES WITH DIRECT VOTER DIALOGUEThree weeks ago, the Scott campaign issued debate criteria as a means of maximizing the time their candidate can spend engaging with Vermonters directly. “One of our requests to debate organizers was to honor the great tradition in Vermont of giving every candidate’s voice an equal opportunity to be heard in the public square,” Wilson said.  “We applaud the eight (8) organizations that have invited all three candidates for Governor to make their case to voters.”Wilson said the campaign is disappointed that three (3) organizers do not share their support for an inclusive debate of the issues.  “We urged them to reconsider and invite all candidates.  They politely declined.  Phil is looking forward to those debates nonetheless and we respect the fact that our campaign committed to these events before the primary and before creating our criteria.”*Debate/forums scheduled prior to primary and/or addition of third-party candidate on the ballot 10/25 – WPTZ (All three candidates invited) 9/28 – VT Digger Debate in Rutland (All three candidates invited)* 10/10 – AARP VT (Only major party candidate invited)*last_img read more

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Rutland’s Pure Water for the World acquires Safe Water Team

first_imgVermont Business Magazine With a goal of expanding access to safe drinking water to underserved children and families in the developing world, Pure Water for the World, Inc, based in Rutland.(link is external) announced last week the acquisition of Michigan-based nonprofit, Safe Water Team. Safe Water Team (SWT) was established in 2009 to help families living in underdeveloped regions receive access to clean water through the use of the Hydraid biosand water filter(link is external). SWT, started by Rotarians(link is external) and businessmen in the Grand Rapids area, was founded on the belief that corporations have a social responsibility to act to the benefit of a greater society.SWT established itself as a network of Hydraid filter distributors, with a business model of setting up distribution centers in various countries to sell Hydraid filters to local organizations for implementation. Over seven years, SWT created distribution centers in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Ghana and Kenya.Working in collaboration with Hydraid filter manufacturer, Cascade Engineering(link is external), based in Grand Rapids, members of SWT helped to make today’s version of the plastic biosand filter a reality.“We are extremely excited about joining forces with Pure Water for the World and seeing the increased impact we can have together,” said Wendell Christoff, former President, SWT. “Combining resources will allow us to reduce costs and expand our geographic area to serve more families with safe, clean water.”Pure Water for the World (PWW) is a 501(c)(3) organization, also founded by Rotarians, headquartered in Vermont. PWW’s mission is to improve the health and livelihood of children and families, living in underserved communities in Central America and the Caribbean, by providing effective tools and education to establish sustainable safe water, hygiene and sanitation solutions. To date, PWW has partnered with over 200 communities, reaching more than 750,000 people in Haiti and Central America.For six years, PWW has been utilizing the Hydraid biosand filter as its primary household water treatment tool, implemented in combination with hygiene education and training, sanitation solutions, and monitoring and follow-up programs to support long-term use and sustainability.SWT and PWW have spent years working side-by-side in both Haiti and Honduras. The organizations share similar values, practices, and commitments to bring safe water solutions to those who need it most.Now operating together, as Pure Water for the World, the organizations anticipate considerable growth in implementations of clean water filters in Central America, Haiti, and Dominican Republic.“The commitment, the passion and the technical expertise of the Safe Water Team will significantly enhance the ability of Pure Water for the World to provide sustainable safe water and sanitation solutions,” said Robert Mohr, President, PWW Board of Directors. “The true beneficiaries of this union will be those children and families in Honduras, Haiti and Dominican Republic who lack these basic human rights.”Filter sales will be supplemented with critical safe hygiene and sanitation education through PWW’s established WASH (link is external)(Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) training centers. Overall reach and impact will be extended directly, by way of PWW’s locally-based implementation teams, and indirectly, through the training and sales of filters to outside organizations and implementers.SWT’s Directors will remain active, with four members joining the PWW Board of Directors(link is external), creating a unique synergy and shared knowledge. The past SWT Directors will serve on PWW’s new safe water technologies advisory committee, with a directive of evaluating new and emerging water filtration technologies.About Pure Water for The World:Pure Water for the World is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to improve the health and livelihood of children and families, living in underserved communities in Central America and the Caribbean, by providing effective tools and education to establish sustainable safe water, hygiene and sanitation solutions.Pure Water for the World has partnered with over 200 communities, reaching more than 750,000 people in Haiti and Central America with life-changing, sustainable safe water, hygiene and sanitation solutions.Source: RUTLAND, VT – February 3, 2017. Pure Water for the World www.purewaterfortheworld.org(link is external).last_img read more

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Stone Environmental receives international award for Best Use of Story Maps

first_imgStone Environmental Inc,Vermont Business Magazine Esri, the global leader in spatial analytics, recognized Stone Environmental this month at the Annual Esri Partner Conference for its exceptional contribution to spatial analysis technology. Stone said in a statement that it is “humbled and excited” to receive the Best Use of Story Maps award for taking data visualization to the next level by using ArcGIS story maps to engage a wide-variety of stakeholders in the revitalization of downtown areas with underserved, abandoned or contaminated brownfield properties. David Healy, Vice President and Senior GIS Applications Specialist of Stone, accepted the award on behalf of Stone’s work on the Bennington Downtown Area-Wide Plan Story Map on March 6, 2017 in Palm Springs, California. David Healy (right) with Esri’s Best Use of Story Maps Award March 2017. Photo courtesy of Stone Environmental”The Bennington Story map is a great extension of Esri’s GIS technology,” said David. “What sets this story apart from others is how it integrates classic story telling with engaging interactive maps, photos and alternative redevelopment scenarios. It was an honor to receive this award in front of over 1,000 global GIS market leaders, and is a testament to our partnership with Esri, which goes back over 20 years. Esri’s recent advancements have now made ArcGIS software useful anywhere, anytime, and on any device.”The Bennington Downtown Area-Wide Plan Story Map(link is external) promotes plans to revitalize downtown Bennington, a mixed-residential and commercial area that once served as an industrial hub and but today remains a former shell of its old self. In 2016, the Town of Bennington and Bennington County Regional Commission (BCRC) engaged in an area-wide planning process to address several vacant and underutilized properties, many with brownfield conditions, and to engage the community and potential partners in redevelopment ideas. Stone worked with team members Greenman Pedersen, Kennedy Advisors, and Centerline Architects to develop the Bennington Downtown Area-Wide Plan(link is external), offering a detailed market study, conceptual redevelopment scenarios, and feasibility analyses. “For any Area Wide Plan to be successful, the community needs to be an active part of the process,” said Daniel Voisin, Director of Environmental Assessment and Remediation at Stone. “In Bennington, we used the story map as a way to build interest in the project by providing an easily navigable platform for community members to find information about the area’s history, setting, resources, and the concept redevelopment plans. It proved to be a key tool to push information to the public.”With the support of the community, a consortium of local business leaders, institutions, and civic-minded investors, the town of Bennington is ready to give downtown revitalization another try. In July 2016, the town announced plans to transform a block of historic buildings into a mixed-use, downtown space with residential housing, office, restaurants, and retail stores.To learn more about how we’re applying leading edge scientific tools, information, and analyses to help our clients solve complex environmental problems, visit Stone’s website (http://www.stone-env.com(link is external))Stone Environmental is small, employee-owned company that provides the scientific tools, information, and analyses to help clients solve complex environmental challenges. Our team of scientists, quality assurance professionals, and engineers work around the globe, and our clients rely on us because of our integrity, expertise, and innovation. Our capabilities include environmental assessment and remediation, water resources management and modeling, data quality assessments, support for agrochemical product stewardship and registration, and geospatial analysis, visualization, and application development. Stone employs over employs over 40 scientists, engineers, modelers, application developers, and project managers. The company’s headquarters is located in Montpelier, Vermont. Remote employees also work out of offices in Mankato, MN, Tallahassee, FL; and Boulder, CO.Source: March 21, 2017 (Montpelier, VT). Stone Environmentallast_img read more

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Vermont lawmakers pass marijuana legalization bill

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The Vermont House voted Wednesday to concur with the Senate’s version of S22, which would eliminate penalties for personal marijuana possession and cultivation by adults 21 and older beginning in July 2018; it would also create a study commission on regulating and taxing marijuana for adult use. The vote was 79-66 in the House(link is external), which featured some Republicans voting in favor and some Democrats voting against.The bill (see page 1423 of Senate Journal S. 22 for details)(link is external) that would make marijuana legal for adults in Vermont is now headed to the desk of Governor Phil Scott. If he signs it or allows it to become law without his signature, Vermont would be the first state to make marijuana legal for adults via its legislative body. Other states, such as Colorado, have used a public referendum to make pot legal. Vermont does not have binding referenda. The law, however, would not bring Vermont full commercialization of pot, as there is in Colorado.Beginning in July 2018, the law would eliminate Vermont’s civil penalty for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana and remove penalties for possession of up to two mature marijuana plants and up to four immature plants. It would also create a study commission to develop legislation to regulate and tax marijuana for adult use.Governor Scott has not made his definitive intentions yet known on the subject. The measure failed last year over several issues, including driver safety, child protection, enforcement, taxation, production and administration.Proponents of making pot legal have said that Vermont could see an economic benefit, while taking criminals out of the business for the widely used substance. Presently, possession of a small amount of marijuana is not a criminal offense. This bill does not decriminalize the sale of marijuana.“Vermont lawmakers made history today,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “The Legislature has taken a crucial step toward ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. There is no rational reason to continue punishing adults for consuming a substance that is safer than alcohol.“It’s time for Vermont to move forward with a more sensible marijuana policy,” Simon said. “The voters and the Legislature are behind it, and we hope the governor will be, too.”Fifty-seven percent of Vermont voters support allowing adults 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana, according to a statewide survey of 755 registered voters conducted in March by Public Policy Polling. Only 39 percent were opposed.S22 originally was a bill that increased penalties for possession, sale, and dispensation of fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid.The Alexandria, VA-based Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), which has lobbied against Vermont passing a marijuana legalization bill, issued the following statement from President Kevin Sabet in response to the Vermont House vote to legalize marijuana possession: “We are disappointed by today’s vote in Vermont, but our fight is far from over,” Sabet said. “This legislation isn’t about criminal justice reform. Vermont already passed decriminalization legislation in 2013 – no criminal penalties for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana were being issued. This is about opening the doors to a new addictive industry being funded by Big Tobacco that will install retail pot shops in Vermont neighborhoods and lobby politicians to suppress common-sense regulation. We will continue to give a voice to parents, and public health and safety experts to encourage Governor Scott to choose people over profit and veto this harmful legislation.” SAM maintains that evidence demonstrates that marijuana – which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades – is addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. Moreover, SAM said in a statement, in states that have already legalized the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashes and youth marijuana use. It said states that have legalized marijuana have also failed to shore up state budget shortfalls with marijuana taxes, continue to see a thriving black market, and are experiencing a continued rise in alcohol sales.last_img read more

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