Chandler M. Levinson, a doctoral student studying plant breeding, genetics and genomics at the University of Georgia Tifton campus, has been named a 2020 Borlaug Graduate Scholar by the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB).The Borlaug Graduate Scholars program was established by NAPB and funded through the Agronomic Science Foundation (ASF) to develop the next generation of leaders in the plant breeding science professions. The annual awards are presented for outstanding contributions to agronomy through education, national and international service and research.Levinson, who studies with D.W. Brooks Professor of horticulture Peggy Ozias-Akins in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, currently works with collaborators in the U.S., Argentina and Senegal to use wild peanut relatives to increase resistance in cultivated peanuts, improving and protecting peanut yields and contributing to global food security. Levinson holds a bachelor’s degree from Berry College, where she worked in a chestnut breeding program and longleaf pine restoration program.“Chandler’s research has been part of a formative project on peanut crop improvement for disease resistance traits from wild relatives through interspecific hybridization and molecular marker-assisted breeding,” Ozias-Akins said. “She not only has excelled in her research but also leadership activities in the Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics Graduate Student Association and Graduate Student Working Group of the National Association of Plant Breeders.”Levinson has authored or coauthored three peer-reviewed articles and has two more in preparation. She provides leadership in several organizations, serving as chair for the NAPB Graduate Student Working Group, president of the American Peanut Research and Education Society Graduate Student Association, and vice president of the UGA Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics Graduate Student Association. Her main passions are mentorship, journal and grant writing, professional development, rock climbing, helping others and rescuing animals.As a Borlaug Graduate Scholar, Levinson will be paired with volunteer mentors who are professional and scientific NAPB members committed to the professional development of the recipient.”It is an honor to be associated with Dr. Norman Borlaug through this award, and I hope to follow closely in his footsteps toward promoting food security through plant breeding,” Levinson said. “My plans for my future career are to continue working on improving crops in order to help people, likely by becoming a professor, and focusing on fostering international collaborations and on mentoring confident students.”Levinson will officially receive the award at the NAPB Annual Meeting to be held virtually August 17-20. For more information on the 2020 awards, including award descriptions, visit plantbreeding.org/awards.For more information about the plant breeding programs at UGA, visit plantbreeding.caes.uga.edu.
Governor Jim Douglas threw his support behind efforts to redevelop downtown Winooski and with that support comes loan guarantees from the state that the federal government and developers have said are essential to the project’s success.The Governor said that he believes the Winooski Falls Riverfront Redevlopment Project can work, and that he expects to be able to provide the guaranty required by US department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the approximately $22 million loan that HUD will make to Winooski for affordable housing.”The City of Winooski has been working very hard for many years to realize its vision for a revitalized downtown,” Governor Douglas Said. “I too, share that vision and since coming to office in January have worked with city officials, and others to assist in transforming that vision into reality.”Douglas said that the downtown revitalization project is important to him for three primary reasons, fighting sprawl and creating affordable housing and hundreds of new jobs.Douglas noted that Winooski’s largest employer, the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, would be preserved in the Winooski downtown by the construction of new headquarters and more than 100 acres of public recreation areas and open space would be maintained.The project will create 600 units of housing, 125 of which will be designated for low and moderate income Vermonters.Construction of the project could begin as early as Spring 2004. The first phase, in conjuction with infrastructure improvements, will be the construction of the new VSAC headquarters, an integrated parking garage, and commercial and residential establishments. The total project will be phased in over the next 4 to 5 years.This $175 million project will have $40 million in state loan guarantees and grants, infrastructure improvements or tax credits from entities such as Vermont Housing Financing Agency when it is completed.This will be the largest revitalization project in Vermont’s history. VSAC will have new headquarters. The historic Champlain Mill will be rehabilitated into a mixed residential and commercial building. Riverfront condominiums will be built. Two rental-housing complexes will also be built.
The two-day event was hosted by the Iroquois Healthcare Alliance which represents 56 hospitals in Upstate New York. As a founding partner of The Choice Care Card, Robert is an expert in the consumer-driven health field. In his presentation, Robert focused on the integration of personal care accounts and wellness programs. Personal care accounts provide a new funding vehicle for basic healthcare expenses, and also provide employers a tax-advantage vehicle for employee wellness incentives.The Choice Care Card, LLC is recognized as a pioneer and leader in the success of debit card based consumer driven health care plans. The Choice Care Card was ranked in the top ten of Consumer Driven Health Care Plan Providers by Business Insurance in both 2003 and 2004. The Choice Care Card is marketed nationwide and can be offered with any insurance plan, large and small group, fully insured or self-funded. Additional information about The Choice Care Card is available at www.choicecarecard.com(link is external).The Benefit Group of New England based in Montpelier, Vermont is a group insurance agency & consulting firm serving over 350 New England employers. For more information on this topic or any inquiries please call The Benefit Group of New England at 1-877-479-3546 or e-mail at CustomerService@benefitgroupne.com(link sends e-mail). Visit at www.benefitgroupne.com(link is external)The Iroquois Healthcare Alliance, located in Clifton Park, NY advocates on behalf of 56 hospitals and health care system members and the communities they serve in Upstate New York. The Alliance serves as a regional resource and leader in promoting the public understanding of, and support for, the health care system serving the communities in the region. IHA serves Members located in 31 Upstate counties, which include the cities of Albany, Syracuse, Utica, and Binghamton as well as surrounding areas. Visit at www.iroquois.org(link is external)
Week Ending October 25, 2008There were 1,190 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance last week, an increase of 389 from the week before. Altogether 6,905 new and continuing claims were filed, 363 more than a week ago and 2,009 more than a year earlier. In addition, the Department processed 1,161 claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008, a decrease of 36 from last week.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)
Governor Jim Douglas today announced the appointment of Tayt Brooks as Commissioner of the Department of Housing, Economic and Community Development. Brooks joined the Douglas Administration late last year as Deputy Commissioner of Housing and Community Affairs. When the Department of Housing and Community Affairs merged with the Department of Economic Development, Brooks served as Deputy Commissioner for the new Department of Housing, Economic and Community Development.“I’m excited to appoint Tayt to lead this Department,” said Governor Douglas. “His experience in the private sector and in state government, along with his experience working with members of the General Assembly, makes Tayt a natural fit to advance policies that will help create jobs and grow our economy.”Brooks previously worked as the Government Affairs Director for the Home Builders’ & Remodelers’ Association of Northern Vermont where he worked on important legislation such as the Growth Centers and New Neighborhoods bills. A native of St. Albans, Brooks is a graduate of Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans and St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.Source: Governor’s office. 10.2.2009
The Vermont Department of Labor is reminding businesses that legislative changes taking affect July 1st could mean immediate closure of businesses found to be without required workers’ compensation insurance.Act 142 takes effect July 1st that requires the Department of Labor to close a business immediately if an employer fails to carry required workers’ compensation insurance. The legislation also stiffens penalties for failure to carry insurance of $150 to $250 per day that a business operates without insurance with stiffer penalties for failure to comply with a stop work order. Fines will be increasing on employers who fail to abide by the law by misclassifying workers’ as independent contractors to avoid costs and obtain an advantage over their competitors. These fines can be up to $5,000 per misclassified employee. Lastly, the legislation creates a fifth position at the Department to investigate misclassification by Vermont employers. Three new investigative positions were created in legislation passed in 2009. These investigators will be out on the streets to persuade employers it is in their best interest to comply with the law by obtaining the required coverage.Over the past year, the Vermont Department of Labor has been stepping up investigation of and enforcement against employers lacking workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. Vermont, like other States, is encountering a serious problem that threatens the health and safety of its workforce – the misclassification of workers and the failure of employers to obtain required workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees.A recent sweep of the Church Street area of Burlington revealed several non-complying businesses. The Department ordered them to close if they could not provide evidence of workers’ compensation insurance coverage within five days. Some of the Burlington employers under investigation have admitted that they had deliberately avoided obtaining workers’ compensation insurance altogether to cut business costs; others had previously obtained insurance coverage but their policies had been canceled due to non-payment of premiums.In addition to stepping up coverage investigations, the Department will also be conducting employer seminars to help employers understand misclassification issues. These seminars will be directed towards helping employers understand that, in most cases, an independent contractor who does not have employees of its own is actually an employee of the business as it related to the workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance programs. Dates and locations of the employer seminars will be posted Labor’s website at www.labor.vermont.gov(link is external).Vermont’s Workers’ Compensation system was first established in 1915, providing a ‘no-fault’ insurance program whereby employees may receive medical and disability benefits for a variety of work-related injuries and illnesses. If an employer carries the mandatory insurance, they are not subject to civil suit by an injured worker. If the employer fails to carry insurance and an employee is injured or becomes ill, that employee can sue for damages. Depending on the injury, that could result in the loss of the business, an owner’s home, or other assets. ‘Most often the cost of insurance is far less expensive than the resulting law suit’ commented Stephen Monahan, workers’ compensation and safety director for the Department of Labor. ‘We want employers to know we will be investigating about the higher fines and penalties in hopes they will choose compliance. Our division also has expertise through ProjectWORKSAFE that can identify ways to enhance workplace safety and health’ commented Monahan. Source: Vermont Department of Labor 6.29.2010
Five of Vermont’s health care associations today released a joint report outlining their health care reform guiding principles and recommendations for policy makers. This release coincides with the most recent update to the Vermont Health Care Commission by Dr. William Hsiao, the Harvard-based economist who is developing three health system design options for consideration by the General Assembly.The associations identified a number of important themes. These include:1) State health care reform initiatives need to be fully aligned with the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).2) Health care professionals and providers should be full partners with health plans and state government in planning for and implementing new payment methodologies, delivery system reforms and insurance reforms.3) Payment incentives designed to support a re-defined health care system need to promote quality value and improved access..4) The ability to deliver improved health care outcomes requires greater attention to and resources for health information technology, workforce education, recruitment and retention as well as expanded prevention/wellness programs. Keeping Vermonters healthy includes having an adequate supply of primary care clinicians to ensure access to preventive and primary care services.5) Most providers, particularly long term care and home health, face substantial net funding reductions under the ACA that must be considered by state policy makers.“Identifying joint recommendations and guiding principles better prepares us to be engaged in the important discussions ahead,” said Bea Grause, President and CEO of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. “Like Vermont’s previous reform success stories, further health care reform will depend upon the close collaboration of all stakeholders and policy makers, with the interest of the patient as the central focus.”The participating health care associations include Bi-State Primary Care Association (representing community health centers, free clinics, rural health clinics and area health education centers), the Vermont Assembly of Home Health Agencies, the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, the Vermont Health Care Association (representing nursing homes, residential care and assisted living facilities) and the Vermont Medical Society (representing physicians).To read the paper in its entirety visit www.VAHHS.org/pressroom/ReformReadinessPaper.pdf(link is external)Source: Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. 10.13.2010
The Vermont Department of Public Service (DPS) has named John Beling as its new Director of Public Advocacy and Consumer Affairs. Mr. Beling, who has served as Special Counsel for DPS during the past year, will head the Department’s staff of attorneys who represent ratepayers in all public service company proceedings before the Public Service Board and in all other venues where those interests are at stake, such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Beling will advise the Commissioner and DPS regarding the public interest and will help guide the long-term interest of all Vermonters in reliable, environmentally sustainable, and economically sound provision of utility services. He will also oversee the Department’s Consumer Affairs division which reviews and investigates consumer complaints regarding regulated utility services.‘John has done excellent work for the Department this past year,’ said Commissioner Elizabeth Miller, ‘and has deep experience in environmental litigation. He is the right person for this position. The Department of Public Service is delighted to welcome him as Director.’Before joining DPS, Beling worked at the Vermont Attorney General’s office on environmental matters and served as enforcement counsel with the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Boston. Beling started his career in the Torts Branch of the United States Department of Justice as a trial attorney focusing on asbestos and environmental tort litigation. Beling has a BA, cum laude, in English and History from Tufts University and a JD from St. John’s University School of Law.When not at work, John serves as a lecturer for the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. He also serves as a mock trial judge for Vermont Law School and enjoys coaching youth sports and instructing adaptive skiing.‘I look forward to helping to craft the policies that will balance the needs of progress and the needs of the consumer to enhance the superb quality of life that we enjoy here in Vermont,’ commented Beling.The Department of Public Service is an agency within the executive branch of Vermont state government. Its charge is to represent the public interest in matters regarding energy, telecommunications, water and wastewater. Source: DPS. 7.7.11
Central Vermont Public Service has asked the Vermont Public Service Board to authorize a 4.8 percent rate increase under the company’s alternative regulation plan. If approved, the increase would take effect on Jan. 1, 2012.‘We have worked very hard to control operating costs, which are virtually flat overall,’ CVPS President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Reilly said. ‘The rate change is being drive by a variety of factors, which include new power contracts at competitive, yet slightly higher costs, and investments in our system to improve reliability for customers. Meanwhile, the rate impact was mitigated by a reduction in our allowed return on equity, which will drop from 9.45 to 9.17 percent.’Even after this increase, the company’s rates will remain competitive with the major utilities in New England. The bill for a residential customer who uses 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month will rise from $82.26 to $86.22, a difference of $3.96. By comparison, the same customer would pay as much as $114.03 elsewhere in New England, according to the Edison Electric Institute.Since 1999, CVPS’s rates have risen at only about half the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index.CVPS is in the process of selling the company to Gaz MÃ©tro, the parent of Green Mountain Power, with which CVPS will merge next year, if the transaction receives all necessary regulatory approvals. Through the merger process, GMP and CVPS have promised to provide $144 million in customer savings in the first 10 years after closing the sale. CVPS 11.1.11
PNM: No interest in keeping San Juan coal plant open FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):PNM Resources Inc. officials said their company firmly intends to close the coal-fired San Juan plant in 2022 and expressed confidence the New Mexico Legislature will pass a measure to provide financing for that effort.PNM Chairman, President and CEO Patricia Vincent-Collawn said in a Feb. 27 earnings call that the company, parent to utility Public Service Co. of New Mexico, stands by its plans to completely abandon the plant following final evaluation for replacement power resources in its request for proposals, along with completion of an updated load forecast and plant decommissioning study.The city of Farmington, N.M., on Feb. 24 announced it signed an agreement with a private holding company to keep the plant open, but the town has only an 8.48% stake in San Juan Unit 4, one of the two remaining operating units. PNM is the plant’s operator and majority owner.PNM Executive Vice President and CFO Charles Eldred said the company has every intention of shedding its ownership interest in San Juan, regardless of what Farmington has “theoretically” proposed. The company will not in any way accept a power purchase agreement or any involvement in the plant after 2022, he said.Vincent-Collawn said New Mexico state Senate Bill 489, also known as the Energy Transition Act, includes securitization financing provisions for San Juan’s closure that PNM has supported, along with the governor’s strong support.Vincent-Collawn pointed out the bill, which also would increase the state’s existing 20% renewable energy standard to 50% by 2030, is one of several measures that call for more renewable and carbon-free resources. The majority of the House and Senate, along with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, are Democrats, and energy policy has been a central focus of this year’s legislature. “So I can’t see any coal fitting into our plans,” she said.More ($): PNM stands by plans to close San Juan coal plant, urges passage of bill to help