SISTAR program offers student research grants

first_imgFounded in 1991, the Student Independent Study and Research (SISTAR) grant provides Saint Mary’s students and faculty members with the opportunity to create eight-week summer research partnerships. Professor Laura Haigwood, director of the Center for Academic Innovation (CFAI), said the grant was established to encourage the collaboration of Saint Mary’s students and professors. “The program was inspired, in part, by the close, collegial, teaching and research relationships that faculty and students develop at SMC,” she said. “We wanted to be able to reward and encourage that work.” The grant, which provides the student researchers with housing and a stipend, is funded by donations. Haigwood said Maryjeanne Ryan Burke, a 1956 graduate of Saint Mary’s College, is a large contributor to the program. Haigwood said the Burke endowment is offered to specifically qualified professors. “The Burke SISTAR is reserved for full-time, tenure-track faculty who are not yet tenured, and it has proved an outstanding research, teaching and learning opportunity for them and for their students,” she said. Outside of the Burke SISTAR grant, the prerequisites for student and faculty applicants are much more imprecise, Haigwood said. The program is open to all full-time students and faculty of all studies. Haigwood said although the number of applicants varies greatly from year to year, the grant is usually awarded to four student-faculty research partnerships. The grant is typically presented to a rising senior. The application process includes an interview and a written proposal. According to Haigwood, the CFAI grant committee makes the award decisions. The committee is chaired by Haigwood and includes five other faculty members that are elected by the Faculty Assembly. Last year’s four award recipients were selected from a variety of departments. Senior Ashley Feely worked with Sociology Professor Mary Ann Kanieski on a project entitled “Emerging Patterns in Relationships Between Mothers and Their Adult Children: Examining Mothers’ Self-Constructed Identity.” Fellow senior Megan Griffin partnered with Political Science Professor Patrick Pierce on a study called “Race to the Top: The Political Economy of State Tax Incentives for Business.” Brynn Thomas, also a Saint Mary’s senior, collaborated with Professor Susan Latham on a communicative disorders project. Senior Alyssa Klubeck teamed up with history professor David Stefanic on a project called “Women in Revolution: Comparing Women in the French and Irish Revolutions.” Klubeck said the experience was beneficial on an educational and professional level, as well as being enjoyable. “It was an incredible amount of fun to work so closely with one of my favorite professors and gain the experience of working with a professional academic,” Klubeck said. The grant also supports travel and related expenses for the student to attend a professional conference in the next academic year. Stefanic and Klubeck were able to present their study at a conference in Nebraska this fall. Haigwood said the idea behind the grant is to give students the opportunity to work side-by-side in a study with a professor, rather than as an assistant. “We want [the faculty and the student] to work together as genuine peers,” Haigwood said. “SISTAR students are generally more like graduate students than undergraduates in their collaborative work with faculty. We want her to be a co-researcher, or an independent peer researcher.” With aspirations to attend graduate school, Klubeck said she recognized the opportunity the SISTAR grant offered her. However, Klubeck said the program gave her more than just a resume boost. “While research and writing were invaluable, I found what I learned from Dr. Stefancic as a mentor in my work was a great opportunity,” she said. “I think that is what the SISTAR program really has going for it. The connections it builds between students and professors to work together and learn from each other are unparalleled.”last_img read more

ND listed as a top Peace Corps university

first_imgPlacing on the Peace Corps’ list of top universities nationwide for the 12th straight year, Notre Dame has established a tradition of expanding learning beyond the classroom. Notre Dame ranked 10th on the Peace Corps’ list of Medium Colleges and Universities to produce the most Peace Corps volunteers in 2011. According to a recent Notre Dame press release, 35 alumni currently serve in the Peace Corps around the world. Among that list is 2010 Notre Dame alumna Meghan Costello, who has spent the past 16 months in Rwanda.  Costello said her primary role in Rwanda is teaching English, yet her mission goes far beyond teaching itself. “Peace Corps is different from other organizations because it is so much more than the primary assignment,” she said. “It’s about integration into a community, learning about another culture and spreading American culture. Through these steps, you can find other ways to be useful in the community.” The prospect of joining the Peace Corps was something that Costello said she had always considered, and after joining, it became the perfect fit for her. “I think Peace Corps was always in my head, a little thing inside that I always wanted, but didn’t think I would ever actually experience,” she said. “When it became a part of my reality, I had the support of all my family and friends. It felt so right.” The atmosphere and the people of Notre Dame are what motivated Costello to join the Peace Corps, she said. In addition, a study abroad trip to Rome helped her realize a passion for applying her education outside of the classroom. “Studying abroad in Rome certainly helped in my desire to experience other cultures,” she said. “I wanted to understand what I was reading in class and to experience the reality of these situations, whatever the reality was.” Although Costello said life in Rwanda can be difficult and lonely at times, she finds comfort in her tasks and responsibilities. “The highlights always come with good work,” she said. “I have recently been plunging into projects in my community, and they bring me joy the kind of joy that comes after finishing a tough paper or a long run.” However, Costello said it is difficult for her to express in words how her time in Rwanda has been because she has yet to fully understand it herself. “My experience in Rwanda is impossible to describe,” she said. “It’s everything that you’d picture it would be ¾enlightening, challenging, life-changing, difficult, rewarding … it’s all those things, but different than you could ever imagine.” Looking toward the future, Costello said she is unsure of what her plans are, but her experience in the Peace Corps has broadened her perception of what careers are available in the business world.            “I am meeting fascinating people all the time here, and so many are doing great work,” she said. “There are so many cool jobs out there, and I want them all. We will have to see what life has in store for me.”last_img read more

University awards medal

first_imgKen Hackett, former president of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), will receive the 2012 Laetare Medal during the May 20 Commencement Ceremony, the University announced Sunday. The Medal, established at Notre Dame in 1883, is the oldest and most prestigious honor given to American Catholics. It is awarded annually to a Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity,” according to a University press release. University President Fr. John Jenkins praised Hackett’s compassion and strong commitment to worldwide outreach throughout his tenure at CRS. “Ken Hackett has responded to a Gospel imperative with his entire career,” Jenkins said in the press release. “His direction of the Catholic Church’s outreach to the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick and unsheltered of the world has blended administrative acumen with genuine compassion in a unique and exemplary way.” After serving CRS in various capacities since 1972, including a stint as its regional director for Africa and in several posts throughout Africa and Asia, Hackett was appointed president of CRS in 1993, according to the press release. He held the position for 18 years until his retirement in December. Hackett was succeeded by Carolyn Woo, former dean of the Mendoza College of Business.  Hackett, a native of West Roxbury, Mass., became interested in international service when he enrolled in the Peace Corps following his graduation from Boston College in 1968 because he said “it seemed like an interesting thing to do.” Hackett’s experiences living in a Catholic mission and working in an agricultural cooperative project in rural Ghana demonstrated the “actual impact of American food aid on the health and well-being of very poor kids in a very isolated part of a West African country,” he said in the press release.  After completing his Peace Corps assignment, he continued his commitment to service by beginning his CRS career in Sierra Leone, where he administered both a maternal and child health program and a nationwide leprosy control program.  While serving as CRS regional director for Africa, Hackett addressed the agency’s response to the Ethiopian famine of 1984-85 and supervised CRS operations in East Africa during the Somalian crisis of the 1990s, according to the press release.  During his tenure as the agency’s sixth president, Hackett oversaw the redoubling of CRS efforts to engage the American Catholic community in worldwide service work by reaching out to Catholic organizations, dioceses, parishes, and colleges and universities throughout the country. CRS also incorporated lay people into its board of directors under Hackett’s supervision.  The organization, one of the world’s most effective and efficient in global relief and development, now operates in more than 100 countries with a staff of nearly 5,000, according to the press release.  In addition to his service as CRS president, Hackett also served as the North America president of Caritas Internationalis, the coalition of humanitarian agencies of the Catholic Church. He continues to serve as an adviser to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and as a board member of the Vatican Pontifical Commission Cor Unum. Hackett was awarded an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 2007. He also holds honorary degrees from Boston College, Cabrini College, University of Great Falls, College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Mount St. Mary’s University, New York Medical College, Siena College, University of San Diego, Santa Clara University, Villanova University and Walsh University. The Laetare Medal is named in celebration of Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent and the day Notre Dame announces its recipient each year. The 2011 Medal was jointly awarded to Sr. Joan McConnon and Sr. Mary Scullion, founders of Project H.O.M.E. Previous recipients include President John F. Kennedy, Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and jazz composer Dave Brubeck.last_img read more

SMC student studies world female leaders

first_imgFor Saint Mary’s junior Lindsay Ellis, summer break will be an opportunity to explore the cultures of young female leaders from around the world. After receiving an email from the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) regarding new employment opportunities on campus, Ellis said she was intrigued by the chance to interact with international female leaders. “I am really excited to share my culture with other women leaders,” Ellis said. “With this opportunity, I will be able to find out how different I am from these other young women and how our cultures compare and contrast.” Ellis will participate in a study at Saint Mary’s that examines undergraduate women leaders from Burma, Egypt, Libya, Mongolia and TunisiaUnited States State Department’s Ellis. Ellis said the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs selected Saint Mary’s for a grant to conduct the study. Titled “Educating Tomorrow’s Global Women Leaders,” the institute will consist of four weeks of intensive studies of American women’s history, leadership and intercultural skills. This will be followed by a week of educational travel, culminating in a conference in Washington, D.C., Ellis said. “I am participating in the four weeks as a student mentor on campus, beginning on June 16 and ending on July 14,” she said. “I will be sharing a room with two international participants where we will participate in all of the activities. I will basically be an American host to the participants.” Hosted through CWIL, the institute helps participants to learn about the United States and to get to know their peers, Ellis said. “The program is designed through CWIL to include student mentors like myself so that the participants will have us as their American tour guides and mentors during their stay here,” Ellis said. Strong leadership skills and excellent intercultural competence were prerequisites for becoming student mentors, Ellis said. “I am a resident advisor in McCandless Hall, and women’s studies is one of my minors,” Ellis said. “This opportunity seemed to fit right in with what I like to do.” Ellis said she thought her experience as a Resident Advisor strengthened her application for the CWIL program. “We do diversity training and are involved with a lot of conflict resolution,” she said. “We also plan many events throughout the year, so all of that sort of molds us into people who fit the job description perfectly. I can’t wait to meet the other girls in my section, because I know we all bring something different to the table.” In addition to learning about other female leaders and their cultures, Ellis said she and other mentors will receive room and board as well as a stipend for their participation in the study. “I found the incentive in applying was that I’d be able to be back on campus for a few weeks and get to travel around while meeting new friends,” Ellis said. “The opportunity to travel to places like New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. all in one summer will be amazing.” The participants and their mentors will also make weekend trips from South Bend to Chicago, Ellis said. “This opportunity to travel and get to know women from other countries is going to be an experience I will never forget,” she said. “I am really looking forward to meeting all the participants and learning more than I ever imagined … I think because I love Saint Mary’s so much, I always want to share that love with new people, so this is the perfect opportunity for me.”last_img read more

Hypatia Day commemorates women in science

first_imgWho says mathematics and science are exclusively male-dominated areas of study? Saturday at Saint Mary’s College, nearly 80 seventh and eighth-grade girls defied this stereotype as they participated in various science labs and math-oriented activities for Hypatia Day. Hypatia Day was first organized in 1991 by Sr. Miriam Patrick Cooney, professor emerita of mathematics. Hypatia Day is meant to provide a unique experience for young girls interested in careers in math and science, director of Media Relations Gwen O’Brien said. The event was an opportunity for middle school girls from seven local counties to visit Saint Mary’s and be engaged and mentored by math and science majors, O’Brien said. With the help of Saint Mary’s students and faculty from the math and science departments, students from the surrounding Michiana and Mishawaka area received an early taste of what it is like to be a science or math major, O’Brien said.Various classrooms around the campus were used to showcase the applications of math, engineering, science and other associated fields, O’Brien said.Hypatia Day is named for the first known female mathematician, Hypatia of Alexandria, who was the daughter of ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher Theon, she said. According to legend, Hypatia’s father taught her mathematics during a period in Greek history when young, female girls were excluded from education, O’Brien said. “Hypatia knew something these girls may be figuring out: Math and science are for girls too,” O’Brien said.Associate professor of mathematics and director of Hypatia Day Kristin Kuter said the visiting middle school students were treated to a special address by this year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Tracy Kijewski-Correa, who is an associate professor and chair of the Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences Department at Notre Dame. “[She] was very dynamic, down to earth, and inspirational,” Kuter said. “She focused on empowering the young women in the audience and encouraging them to continue to pursue an education in STEM, emphasizing its power.” The remainder of the day included panel discussions between participating faculty and the girls’ parents that stressed the importance of support for the girls, who participated in hands-on sessions with Saint Mary’s math and science majors, O’Brien said. A variety of activities were put on by the math and computer science clubs, which helped the girls decode encrypted messages and code in programming language.The chemistry club had the girls make “goo” and look at different colored flames produced by various substances, and the biology and engineering clubs integrated their fundamental elements into fun games, Kuter said. “The student participants seemed to enjoy the hands-on activities, and the parents were very grateful for the information we provided about the upcoming curricular choices that should be made for their daughter to continue on to college,” Kuter said.This is Kuter’s fifth year running the event since she inherited the task from her predecessor, professor Ewa Misiolek, Kuter said.“[It is important to] encourage young women, especially those that are transitioning from middle to high school, that they can do anything, including math or science,” Kuter said.Kuter believes it is all a matter of self-confidence and self-esteem in terms of encouraging girls interested in mathematics and the sciences to continue to strive for achievement, Kuter said.“Girls need to be encouraged to persevere. They need to be told they can do it,” she said. “The stereotype that girls cannot excel in math and science unfortunately still exists in society and we need to counteract those messages at every opportunity possible, before the student disengages.“Given the research, if these girls are not encouraged, they may not have the confidence to continue.”Kuter said this year’s event was a success, and she hopes next year’s Hypatia Day will include an added session for physics students. Tags: Hypatia Daylast_img read more

HISE weekend includes press box reception, shadowing classes

first_imgEmily McConville The University of Notre Dame brought students from around the world to campus from April 6-8 to partake in the Hesburgh International Scholars Experience (HISE), which provides prospective international students with a glimpse into life at the University.According to assistant director of admissions Julie Moloney, the Latin American and Caribbean council initiated the program six years ago in hopes of providing international students with the opportunity to see and experience Notre Dame prior to making a college decision.“A lot of students don’t get the opportunity to visit Notre Dame before they have to make their decision, and we all know how beautiful this campus is and how great the people are,” she said.Moloney said the international students get the chance to experience the life of a Notre Dame student through the program.“We organize a lot of different activities and events for them,” Moloney said. “They get to do college information sessions with each of the different departments with a lot of professors and some of the academic advisors in the different departments.”In addition, Moloney said students are allowed to attend up to three classes in order to gain a better understanding of the academic aspect of student life. Participants also have the opportunity to observer dorm life and student-student interactions.“They get to stay in the dorms with student hosts, so the hope is that they’re getting to see Notre Dame from all angles before they have to make that decision as to where they see themselves the next four years,” she said.On Sunday night, the students partake in the press box event at Notre Dame stadium, according to the HISE agenda.“It’s really kind of neat for the students to be able to be up there,” Moloney said. “I think some of them realize how big of a deal it is, and some don’t until they come to Notre Dame.”Another trademark event of the weekend is the closing gala on Tuesday evening, Moloney said.“There’s a nice dinner, and there’s a speaker,” Moloney said. “Then we have a big dance afterwards with a photo booth and competitions. Everyone knows that they get to come, dress nicely for that and have a lot of fun.”Notre Dame has one of the highest percentages of students who study abroad among universities in the United States, and Moloney said it is also important to have international students attend the University.“Adding diverse minds and cultures is really enriching all across the board,” she said. “I think students that come back from [study abroad] experiences are so enriched academically and culturally.“I think that it aligns perfectly with the mission of the university to be bringing these diverse minds to Notre Dame just to stir the pot a little bit in terms of students that have grown up in different parts of the world with completely different cultures and completely different university systems and education systems.”Moloney said she hopes the HISE experience shows students all of Notre Dame’s strengths and allows them to decide if the University is the right fit for them.“We have programming that really reflects around what I kind of say are three pillars of Notre Dame,” Moloney said. “The mind, heart and spirit … our tradition of academics, community, spirituality.Despite being a respected academic institution, Notre Dame is not the right fit for everyone, Moloney said, but she added that if a student is interested in community and spirituality as aspects of a college experience, then Notre Dame is a good choice.“I think every student that graduates from here, you know that you’re graduating not just with a top-notch education, but you’ve also grown a lot personally in every aspect of the way,” she said.Moloney said Notre Dame is a place where students might experience their highest and lowest moments, but through these experiences, students grow markedly.“In a nutshell, I would recommend students to Notre Dame if that sense of growing as a whole person really appeals to them and knowing that, when you graduate, you’re going to be tasked with making a difference in the world, whatever you choose to do,” Moloney said.This task falls to students in every major, whatever career path they choose, Moloney said.“We’re challenging all of our students and all of our graduates to go on and make a difference,” Moloney said. “I think that’s one of the reasons I think people are attracted to Notre Dame because it is so mission-centered and because it comes with such a heavy task but a very manageable task.”Tags: HISE Prospective Studentslast_img read more

VisionWalk raises funds for ocular disease research

first_imgThe Notre Dame Biology Club will hold the fifth annual ND VisionWalk Sunday to raise money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) in its efforts to find a cure for retinal degeneration and other ocular diseases.Jonathan Jou and Sara Hockney, both senior biology majors, are this year’s walk co-chairs. Jou said University President Emeritus Father Theodore Hesburgh served as the inspiration for the first ND VisionWalk in 2010.“Five years ago, there was a student named Maria Sellers, who went to visit Father Hesburgh during his office hours and found out he suffers from retinal degeneration,” Jou said. “She started [ND] VisionWalk [after] speaking to Dr. David Hyde, who does retinal regeneration research.”Retinal degeneration occurs when cells in the back of the eye start to die, and gradually cause loss of all central vision, Hockney said.The event is a five-kilometer walk beginning at the Irish Green, where participants can purchase t-shirts and sunglasses and participate in a silent auction prior to the walk, Hockney said.“Our big seller [in the silent auction] every year is a Notre Dame football helmet,” Jou said.All proceeds from the event go to the FFB, which supports VisionWalks all over the country, Hockney said.The FFB’s mission is to “drive the research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by … the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases,” according to its website.Last year, approximately 200 people, many of whom were residents of the surrounding South Bend community, participated in the event, Hockney said. The co-chairs said they set a course that winds through campus to offer a view of campus for visiting participants.“A lot of people are coming who are not on campus very much [and] who want to go through classic Notre Dame areas,” Hockney said.The past four walks have been successful, and last year’s event raised about $10,000, Jou said. This year, the co-chairmen said they hope to raise at least $13,000.Jou and Hockney have been involved in the event for the past few years and assuming the roles of co-chairmen was very important to them.“Research [in retinal degeneration] is making progress, but [this event] is about raising awareness and getting people involved in a cause you care about,” Hockney, whose grandmother suffers from retinal degeneration, said.“I thought [ND VisionWalk] was a way to get involved with doing things now that are going to make a difference,” she said.Similarly, Jou said the ND VisionWalk allows him to make a bigger, immediate contribution to the medical research field.“It was a way to give back to research field,” he said. “Science is trending toward philanthropic funding. I think that events like these are becoming more and more important and will carry more weight in the future.”Tags: Foundation Fighting Blindness, Macular Degeneration, VisionWalklast_img read more

Panel explores Saint Teresa of Avila’s relevance to young Catholics

first_imgFour speakers gathered Thursday night at Saint Mary’s to discuss St. Teresa of Ávila’s relevance to young Catholics as part of a spring lecture series in honor of the 500th anniversary of her birth.Teresa’s selflessness and love for others were common themes in each speaker’s presentation, but Julia Feder, a postdoctoral fellow in Notre Dame’s theology department, focused especially on false humility, which she said can produce fear and a lack of confidence in believers.“There are many opportunities to misinterpret humility,” Feder said. “False humility can produce fear and overzealous penitential practices. True humility will lead one to accept God’s blessings and courageously take up love of one’s neighbor. It will lead to activity, rather than to paralysis.”Additionally, Feder emphasized the importance of honoring God through prayer. She said conversation with God can lead to greater understanding of oneself.“Prayer is for those seeking purification,” Feder said. “It is the door to the healing works of God. The journey toward union with God and prayer is also a journey toward knowledge of the self.”Maria Surat, a master of divinity student at Notre Dame, discussed Teresa’s desire for people to follow in the example of the Carmelites and meditate each day.“Teresa taught that prayer is nothing but a conversation between friends,” Surat said. “She tells us to seek God with determination and to never give up in prayer. Prayer is not thinking much but loving much.”Surat said Teresa’s followers should consider God a close friend, for this perspective can help them to grow in faith.“Teresa teaches us to seek God’s face in the person of Christ and to cultivate intimate friendship with him,” Surat said. “We are called to friendship with God so that we might encourage others to seek him.”Surat related her own life to Teresa’s life 500 years ago and said Teresa faced challenges much like her own.“In contemporary society, we are faced with many challenges to the gospel,” Surat said. “Teresa encourages us to be strong friends of God. She too was living in a time of painful division of the Church.”Katie Bugyis, a Ph.D. candidate in Medieval Studies at Notre Dame, said Teresa’s experiences connect with those of her modern-day followers.“Teresa had to overcome opposition,” she said. ““he was even forced to abandon her efforts to retire to a monastery in Castille for four years. She quickly learned from the many difficulties that plagued her foundations and developed strategies for circumventing any obstacles.”Despite Teresa’s struggles, Bugyis said she witnessed the establishment of 17 Carmelite houses for nuns throughout Spain, where she enforced her own guidelines and principles.“Teresa’s reforming ideals were inspired by nearly 30 years of experience as a Carmelite nun at La Encarnación in Ávila,” Bugyis said. “Teresa was convinced that preferential treatment would destroy monastic communities. She insisted ‘All must be friends, all must be loved, all must be held dear, all must be helped.’”Saint Mary’s sophomore Kaleigh Ellis shared photos of her time in Ávila, where she walked in Teresa’s footsteps.“Ávila has a real devotion to Teresa,” Ellis said. “It puts history in perspective when you can walk around areas where people like St. Teresa walked around.”Although her 500th birthday will be celebrated March 28, Teresa’s legacy is ongoing, Surat said.“Teresa is a woman who has truly experienced God in her life, and she speaks to us from that experience,” Surat said. “We are encouraged to make Teresa’s dying words our own: ‘I want to see God. I am a daughter of the church.’” Tags: Saint Mary’s College, Saint Teresa of Avilalast_img read more

South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks to College Democrats at ND

first_imgSouth Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg shared lessons from his political career with the College Democrats and articulated his administration’s policy and his future aspirations for the city Tuesday in DeBartolo Hall.Buttigieg, himself a member of the College Democrats during his undergraduate years at Harvard, said while South Bend has struggled economically in the past, he thinks the city is on the right track to full recovery.“You’re in South Bend in an extraordinary moment in the history of the city, because we’re on the rebound,” he said. “We have had the fastest population growth in 25 years. It wasn’t much, but the fact that it’s positive numbers itself is pretty exciting.”Buttigieg said crucial to the recovery of South Bend — and one of the cornerstones of his administration — is the ability of its municipal leaders to listen to the needs of the average citizen. Indeed, he listed his ability to respond effectively to his constituency as one of the reasons for his election to the office of mayor in 2011.“We entered a five-way race where I was not the most credible candidate coming into it,” he said. “We built credibility by talking and listening to voters and having a message that really spoke to where South Bend is at.”He said one of the challenges he faced coming into office and even during the mayoral race itself was that South Bend was regarded by many as a dying city. In fact, Buttigieg said South Bend was listed by Newsweek magazine as one of 10 dying cities of America the very week he declared his candidacy.Buttigieg said part of the reason for South Bend’s past economic troubles was the large amount of vacant and abandoned properties still leftover from the closure of the South Bend Studebaker factory over 50 years ago.“Even though we’re best known for the University of Notre Dame, we actually didn’t grow up around education as a city. We grew up around industry,” he said.In order to combat the city’s vacancy problem, Buttigieg said his administration unveiled the “1,000 homes in 1,000 days” program, which aims to demolish or renovate 1,000 of the city’s abandoned houses over the course of 1,000 days. Already, he said, the city is on its 975th house after only about 900 days of the project being in place.“It’s kind of unsexy, but it makes a huge difference,” he said.Among his administration’s other “unsexy” undertakings, he said, is the creation of a smart sewer system.  Buttigieg said South Bend is the first city in the world to put its sewer system on the Cloud.“The rest of the world is getting more productive thanks to technology — why shouldn’t cities?” he said.But even considering its recent growth, Buttigieg said South Bend still faces a number of challenges.“Our industrial past is a great thing in terms of having brought us here, but it also means that we’ve struggled for 50 years to adjust,” he said. “It’s taken my entire first term as mayor just to get people ready to believe in the city.”Still, Buttigieg said he has seen an improvement in the outlook of South Bend since he took office in 2012, in part evidenced by the city’s recent 150-year anniversary celebration.“Honestly, what has made the biggest difference is people believing in the city, and having a celebration of our city … cemented the awareness that our city is back,” he said. “I think it was the perfect hinge point for being in the middle of this decade, which I think will go down in history — if we keep pushing — as the most transformative decade our city has ever had.”Buttigieg said he thinks this decade is particularly historic for a number of reasons, including the city’s recent push towards acceptance of all members of society. Having recently come out publicly as gay in an essay published in the South Bend Tribune, Buttigieg said one of his greatest concerns as a politician is equality.“I really want to be judged in my job based on, ‘Are we filling the potholes, and are we generating jobs, and is the city coming back?’” he said. “I will absolutely be outspoken on LGBT issues and especially when fairness comes into play.”And for now, Buttigieg said, he is exclusively focusing on the mayoral election. He said he does not currently have aspirations to run for state or federal office.“Right now, I’m just thinking about the city,” he said. “I know it’s not a job I can do forever, but I’ll do it as long as it’s the place I can make the most impact. … This may be the last office I ever run for, and it might not.”Looking towards the future, Buttigieg said he thinks the involvement of students and young people is essential to the continued recovery of the city. He said the many joint projects between South Bend and Notre Dame “could put South Bend on the map as one of the great city-university collaborations in America.”“If you could pick one thing to put in the middle of your city, as a mayor — a waterfall, an NFL team — what you would pick would be a world class university, and we have that,” he said. “Which is exactly why South Bend is not going to die. South Bend is going to grow.”Tags: College Democrats, Pete Buttigieglast_img read more

‘I thought God had presented this guy’: 20 years after reporting clergy abuse to the University, a Notre Dame survivor shares his story

first_imgReporting the abuseAccording to 2019 correspondence between Fuller’s lawyer, Richard Serbin, and Notre Dame general counsel Marianne Corr, Fuller kept in contact with the University for at least a year after reporting the abuse in 2002.During that time, University records indicate Fuller corresponded with former Notre Dame general counsel Carol Kaesebier and Fr. Richard Warner, then chief adviser to University President Emeritus Fr. Edward A. Malloy. Fuller does not have records of his correspondence with Warner and Kaesebier from the early 2000s.According to University records, Fuller met with Notre Dame in April of 2003. His sister Paula Mason and a close friend, Carol Smola, came along for support.Kaesebier, Warner and other top University administrators attended on behalf of Notre Dame. Kaesebier was part of a three-person committee Malloy founded that year to work with survivors of abuse by Notre Dame clergy.Fuller hoped his meeting with the University would help him heal. He said he asked the University to help pay for him to receive an additional degree, as he felt Notre Dame had not given him the education he had paid for.“‘You put me through some more school, help me get a degree in counseling or be a therapist, and I’ll go help people like me,’” he said. “That’s exactly what I said.”Both Smola and Mason confirmed Fuller asked the University for help with education costs at the meeting. However, the University did not fulfill his request. In an email, Kaesebier said she did not recall enough about her correspondence with Fuller or the events of the meeting to comment. Malloy said he did not remember Fuller, and Warner did not respond to multiple interview requests.In reaching out to the University for comment, Observer reporters also asked University spokesperson Dennis Brown to confirm whether Fuller asked for help with educational costs or made any other requests during the meeting. The University declined to comment.According to University records, Fuller did not stay in contact with Notre Dame after the meeting.In an Associated Press article from March 2003, the University offered a public apology to Fuller for a priest who “had sexual contact with him” while he was a student there. “We feel very bad about this,” Fr. Richard Warner, at the time director of Campus Ministry and counselor to Malloy, said in the article. “We feel even worse because … he’s lived with it quietly for all those years and has had to seek out counseling. It wasn’t brought to our attention until almost a year ago.”The article does not identify Presley as the priest in question.Fuller said he was disappointed by the apology and feels the University has yet to take full responsibility for Presley. Courtesy of Mark Fuller. A photo of Mark Fuller from a few years ago.Fuller rediscovered his lawyer’s correspondence with Notre Dame general counsel Marianne Corr from 2019 during an interview with The Observer. In the correspondence, Corr said she would be open to continue working with Fuller. He reached out to Corr in May, and the two have been in conversation.At the beginning of Lent, a volunteer came to Fuller’s work offering to place ashes on people’s foreheads. Though his relationship with the church has been damaged, he decided to take ashes that day.“I didn’t lose all my faith,” Fuller said. “Still pray.”It takes time to process trauma, Fuller said, and he’d like to see more survivors have access to professional therapy.“There’s a progression; you can’t push yourself,” Fuller said. “You can’t rush too much, you can just get hurt again in a way, in weird ways.” And, he added, if he could talk to a young survivor, he’d like to offer them hope.“I would want that person to know — to be encouraged — that it sometimes gets dark or hard,” Fuller said.He paused.“And then it gets lighter.”Tags: Catholic Church abuse crisis, Diocese of Erie, Fr. William Presley, Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, University of Notre Dame Mary Steurer | The Observer Fr. William Presley was rector of St. Edward’s Hall, featured above. Fuller says Presley abused him in the men’s residence hall. Addressing the pastIn February 2019, the Diocese of Erie launched a survivor compensation fund. Fuller hired a lawyer and filed a claim, settling later that year. A third of Fuller’s settlement went to his lawyer, and another third went to taxes, he said. “It was by no means — originally or the part [of the sum] that I netted — enough for the medications, the therapy, the missed wages, the pain and suffering, nowhere even close,” Fuller said. “I can’t even do the math.”Fuller did not disclose the amount of the settlement. The diocese had also previously offered Fuller money for counseling, but it was only enough to cover about six sessions, he told media outlets during a demonstration in Pittsburgh led by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), an international advocacy group of which Fuller is a member.However, Fuller did credit then-Bishop Donald Walter Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania, for believing him when he reported Presley.According to news outlet goerie.com, in December, the compensation fund had paid a total of $5.9 million to 50 survivors, making the average settlement $118,000. Sums have ranged from $5,000 to $400,000.“Establishing a fund, handled completely independently by a third party, allowed us to publicly acknowledge the crimes of the past and the damage that was done,” Welsh said in a statement to The Observer. “It also gave us a way to offer some measure of justice to victims.”The diocese also offered to connect survivors with pro bono lawyers unaffiliated with the diocese’s law firm to help them through the process.Fuller’s lawyer, Richard Serbin, has represented over 400 child sex abuse survivors over the span of more than three decades. Serbin said in that time, he has seen a change in the Catholic Church’s approach to addressing sexual abuse.“In the early years when I was doing this, it was all hardball legal tactics, very aggressive tactics to fight these lawsuits,” he said.Since the early 2000s, the Catholic Church has made strides in addressing the sexual abuse crisis. However, the absence of greater regulation means there is still little consensus on what qualifies as adequate response and prevention, advocates said.Terry McKiernan, co-founder of the clergy abuse watchdog group called Bishop Accountability, said Catholic organizations should ensure comprehensive information about their abuse history is publicly available. This could include what the organization has done or is planning to do to address abuse, as well as a public apology to survivors, he said.“The message should absolutely be that the person at the top is willing to sit down with anyone who has been harmed,” he said.Former FBI executive assistant director Kathleen McChesney, who helped spearhead the creation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Child and Youth Protection in the early 2000s, recommended Catholic institutions strengthen their abuse prevention with regular background screening, increased supervision and timely response to boundary violations. “You want to do everything you can to identify who’s an abuser,” she said.The University should do more to educate students about the dangers of clergy abuse, Fuller said. He suggested inviting survivors like him or other professionals in the field of abuse prevention to come speak to Notre Dame freshmen.“Be warned,” he said. “Be aware.” ‘The color all went out of my life’Fuller and Presley stayed in contact for the remainder of Presley’s time at Notre Dame.Over the course of Fuller’s sophomore and junior years, Presley took him on trips around the country.In New York, Presley took Fuller to his first pornographic film, as well as to the Rainbow Room, a famous lounge in Manhattan.“I can’t even walk by that building without feeling sick to my stomach,” Fuller said.Fuller said during these trips, Presley often tried to initiate unwanted sexual contact with him.“He would touch me or touch my back, touch my arm, touch a leg,” he said.Presley also took Fuller to a ranch on the west coast. While there, Fuller said, Presley hired women sex workers for them.“I was so terrified and so disgusted … and just frozen. I couldn’t wait to get out of there,” Fuller said.He bought Fuller a stereo, speakers and a turntable. Disgusted by the gifts, Fuller gave them to his cousin as soon as he left college.“I think he was buying my silence,” Fuller said. Grooming victims and convincing them the abuse is a form of counseling or education is one way offenders can hold their victims psychologically hostage, convincing them to stay in an abusive situation, said Carlos Cuevas, a clinical psychologist and professor at Northeastern University. He declined to speak to the specifics of Fuller’s case but discussed the general dynamics and effects of sexual abuse.“Those are things that may not be physically keeping the individual from leaving, but certainly psychologically are making sure the offender can continue to have access to them,” Cuevas said. Sophomore year, when the abuse started, Fuller’s grades plummeted.Fuller’s friendships from freshman year also faded, and he withdrew from his extracurriculars. He wanted to drop out of school, but his father asked him to stay. “The color all went out of my life, you know, out of that campus,” he said. “It was no longer so beautiful to me.”Presley left Notre Dame in 1976, Fuller’s junior year.center_img ‘There’s a progression; you can’t push yourself’As Fuller, now 65, nears retirement, he hopes to buy a small home, perhaps a townhouse. In his ideal world, Fuller would retire by a lake and perhaps find a significant other.“I know what I think and feel,” Fuller said. “I’m aware. And that is good for communicating.”Smola described Mark as “incredibly courageous” and “resilient” as she’s watched him heal throughout the years.“All of those talents and abilities … that he’s had, he’s needed to use those to process through and keep going and accomplish all that he has,” she said.Throughout it all, he’s relied on family and friends, especially his sister.“We’re best friends today,” Mason said.Besides SNAP, Fuller is also a member of AlAnon, a recovery group for friends and family members of alcoholics. Daniel Wilson, one of Fuller’s friends from AlAnon, said he has also seen Fuller become increasingly open to sharing his story with others in the roughly 12 years they’ve known each other.“In our circle of friends in recovery, there are a lot of people who have suffered sexual abuse, both men and women, both straight and gay, and I think his experiences have helped people who have a different profile,” Wilson said. Mark Fuller, class of 1977, came forward with his experience of priest abuse in 2002. Notre Dame offered little more than an apology.Editor’s note: This story includes descriptions of sexual abuse and violence. A list of sexual assault reporting options and on-campus resources can be found on the Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross websites.Diane Park The first two times Mark Fuller visited Fr. William Presley, then rector of St. Edward’s Hall, they just talked. It was 1974, and Fuller vividly remembers sitting in an orange lounge chair in the front of Presley’s rectory while the priest asked him questions about his classes, his family and his personal life. Fuller remembers Presley offering him a soda.Then, in their third or fourth meeting, Fuller said, things changed. Presley told Fuller to wait while he went into the bedroom. When Presley called him in, he was in bed under the covers. He told Fuller to disrobe.Fuller said this was the first time Presley raped him.“He would go get a washcloth — ‘This is what you do. This is what you do with your partner,’” recalled Fuller, 65. “He was telling me how sex worked.” Presley raped him two more times during his sophomore year, Fuller said.Investigators say Presley victimized many people over the course of his career. According to a 2018 report by a grand jury that investigated sex abuse allegations against the clergy in Pennsylvania, where Presley also worked, at least five have credibly accused him of abuse. The report, which cited records from the Diocese of Erie, said Presley was known to have abused people through “‘choking, slapping, punching, rape, sodomy, fellatio, anal intercourse’ and other acts.”“It’s some kind of a soul murder, you know,” said Fuller, who graduated from the University in 1977. “It really is. It damages something so important that you can’t see.”Since the grand jury report was made public in August 2018, Notre Dame has developed several initiatives addressing the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis. The University commissioned two task forces, one to facilitate dialogue on campus, another to assess research opportunities. It pledged up to $1 million to fund research on clergy abuse. The University even hosted its 2019 Notre Dame Forum on the subject.However, there has been little public discussion of Notre Dame’s own history with abusive clergy in recent years, and its own record with priest abuse remains murky. A 2003 report from the South Bend Tribune said at the time Notre Dame was aware of allegations against four priests. It is unclear if Presley, who was later defrocked and died in 2012, was one of them. Survivors like Fuller question whether the University has offered a full accounting of the cases involving clergy at Notre Dame. And, with little more than an apology decades after the alleged abuse, some, like Fuller, are left with a sense of unfinished business — which they say reflects a larger failure by the University to address the harm students suffered at the hands of its priests.The Observer asked Notre Dame how its strategies for abuse response and prevention have changed since the ’70s, particularly in light of the abuse crisis. The University did not respond and did not answer a question about how many priests working at Notre Dame had been accused of abusing a community member during their tenure.In the Presley case, Fuller reported the abuse to Notre Dame in 2002. In a statement to The Observer, vice president for public affairs and communications Paul Browne linked to an Associated Press article from 2003, where the University offered an apology to Fuller.“While we had no contemporaneous reports on file from that period, Notre Dame in 2002 reported the allegations against Presley to the Erie, Pennsylvania, diocese,” Browne said in a statement to The Observer. “The University publicly apologized to the student in 2003.”The University’s apology did little to assuage the pain Fuller has felt for nearly half a century, he said. For almost 30 years, he had refused to report Presley’s behavior to Notre Dame — largely, he said, because of a mix of fear and shame.In a series of interviews with The Observer over the past five months, Fuller shared his account of how the abuse he endured shaped his life, his faith and his perception of the university he once called home. He did so, he said, in the hopes that other survivors of clergy abuse — both at Notre Dame and elsewhere — might find the courage to share their stories. And he said he also hopes that his story might compel the University to reckon more fully with the sins of the priests from its past. Courtesy of Mark Fuller Mark Fuller’s high school senior portrait.Grooming and abuseIn the fall of his sophomore year, Fuller and his roommate were invited to a football game watch party with Presley in St. Edward’s Hall. Presley was friendly, Fuller recalled of their first meeting. There were about a dozen students crammed into the rectory watching the game. Returning for his second or third game watch, Fuller said he decided to stay behind to talk to Presley. Fuller disclosed that he was gay, and he wanted to try conversion therapy to see if he could turn himself straight. “My church, my family, everything, everybody said that I was bad,” Fuller said.Presley was quick to offer help. He told Mark he would be his counselor.Fuller left the rectory that day feeling relieved. He had been praying to find someone to help him.“I thought God had presented this guy,” he said.Presley came to Notre Dame from the Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania, in August of 1970, according to the grand jury report, which lists him as a “graduate and student counselor” at the time. According to The Observer archives, he was named rector of St. Edward’s Hall in September 1971. University records also indicate he was a member of hall staff in Keenan Hall. The grand jury report found that Presley’s track record of abuse began as early as 1963. The report concluded the Diocese of Erie knew of allegations against Presley by at least 1987.“Not speaking specifically about this case, every allegation that we had on file has been reported to civil authorities, whether it is beyond the statute of limitations or not,” Diocese of Erie director of communications Anne-Marie Welsh said in a statement to The Observer. “We will continue to report new allegations as they are made known to us.”Presley was defrocked in 2006. He died in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 2012.last_img read more

Jamestown Area Tim Hortons Closes Dining Rooms Amid Virus Outbreak

first_imgImage by Justin Gould / WNYNewsNow.JAMESTOWN – Jamestown area Tim Horton stores are closing their dining rooms amid the Coronavirus outbreak.In a post on social media the company says they are moving to drive thru only operation.“This is not a corporate decision it is ours, we are fully committed to the safety of our employees, their families, and our customers,” the company said. “We understand this will be an inconvenience for some but we are taking all precautions to try and help this issue.” Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Falconer VFD Receives $125,000 Federal Grant

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Stock Image.FALCONER —The Falconer Volunteer Fire Department has been awarded a federal grant of $125,238, according to Congressman Tom Reed.Reed announced the grant Thursday through the Assistance to Firefighters program.In addition, the City of Dunkirk Fire Department will receive $155,304.76.The Assistance to Firefighters Grants program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency alongside the U.S. Fire Administration. “We recognize the services firefighters carry out every day to keep us safe and secure. Given the important role firefighters play in our communities, we care about making sure our fire departments have fair access to the resources they need,” said Reed. “These grants are crucial to our local fire departments and we were proud to fight for these funds.”For more information on the Assistance to Fire Fighters grants program visit: fema.gov.last_img read more

Sheriff Reports Uptick In Stolen Yard Signs, Warning Of Criminal Reparations

first_imgWNY News Now File Image.MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents that stealing political yard signs is a crime in New York State.In a statement to the media, Sheriff Jim Quattrone says so far this election season there have been several reports of stolen yard signs throughout the county.The Sheriff says that taking political signs is not only a crime, it can also considered suppressing free speech, a violation of the U.S. Constitution.“As Election Day approaches there will likely be an increase in signs being put out,” said Quattrone. “Anyone taking a sign without permission could be subject to criminal charges.” Specifically, Republican District Attorney candidate Jason Schmidt reports on his Facebook page that some of his political signs have been taken.In the post, Schmidt says signs along Central Avenue in Fredonia first went missing last Saturday.The Sheriff’s Office says residents that believe a sign is hindering visibility of traffic, or if a sign is illegally placed, residents should call the municipality where the sign is located. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

So You Think You Can Dance Finalist Carlos Garland Joins iLuminate

first_img View Comments So You Think You Can Dance finalist Carlos Garland is the latest to light up New World Stages in the off-Broadway hit iLuminate. The dancer began performances on June 23. The new 2014 edition of the show, directed, co-choreographed and co-written by Miral Kotb, opened on January 27,In addition to competing on the tenth season of the popular Fox series, Garland, along with his dance crew Systematic, won BET’s 106 & Park dance competition. He has also toured with Rasta Thomas’ dance company, Bad Boys of Dance.iLuminate, which first got attention as a contestant on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, tells the fantastical story of Jacob, a talented young artist who struggles to connect with the real world. He takes comfort in his magical paintbrush, which gives him the ability to turn the characters in his imagination into living creations. The show combines music, art, dance and technological magic to create a theatrical spectacle.last_img read more

Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Carolee Carmello & More Will Star in Tuck Everlasting

first_img View Comments Casting is now set for the previously announced world premiere of Tuck Everlasting at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. The new production, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, will star Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Carolee Carmello, Robert Lenzi, Terrence Mann, Michael Park and newcomer Sarah Charles Lewis. Carmello, Keenan-Bolger and Park had initially been tapped to appear in the 2013 pre-Broadway world premiere in Boston, which was subsequently canceled. The new production will begin performances on January 21, 2015 and run through February 22. Opening night is set for February 4. No official word yet on the tuner’s plans for the Great White Way following Atlanta.Featuring music by Chris Miller, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and a book by Claudia Shear, Tuck Everlasting follows a young girl (Lewis) and her friendship with Jesse Tuck (Keenan-Bolger) and his family, who become immortal after drinking from an enchanted spring. Based on the 1975 children’s novel by Natalie Babbitt, the story has twice been adapted for the screen.Keenan-Bolger’s Broadway credits include Newsies, Mary Poppins, Seussical and Beauty and the Beast. Carmello, who will take on the role of Ma Tuck, earned Tony nominations for her performances in Parade, Lestat and Scandalous. She recently appeared in the pre-Broadway engagement of Finding Neverland. Lenzi, who will play Miles Tuck, made his Broadway debut in South Pacific. Mann, who takes on the role of the Man in the Yllow Suit, earned a Tony nod for his most recent Broadway performance in Pippin; he was also nominated for Beauty and the Beast and Les Miserables. Park will play Pa Tuck; he has appeared on Broadway in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Little Me. Lewis, at just 10-years-old, recently starred in Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s Annie.Additional cast members will include Michael Wartella as Hugo, Shannon Eubanks as Nana and Liza Jaine as Betsy Foster. The world premiere production will feature a set by Walt Spangler, costumes by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and sound design by Brian Ronan.last_img read more

Cocktails, Accordions & Shared DNA: Chart the History of A Delicate Balance

first_img The Making of a Playwright In the artistic hotbed of 1940s New York, Albee met celebrated poet W.H. Auden, who then arranged a meeting with Thornton Wilder. Albee was writing poetry at the time, but after reading his work, the famous Our Town playwright suggested that Albee consider becoming a dramatist. “I don’t think he saw the incipient dramatist in my poems,” Albee told The Telegraph in 2011, “I think he was trying to save poetry from me.” Albee’s first play The Zoo Story opened in Berlin in 1958, but it was his scorching 1962 drama Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? that secured his place in American theater history. Edward Albee turned the drawing room comedies and dramas of the 1950s upside-down with his brilliantly brutal works, including the blistering one-act The Zoo Story and his game-changing barnburner Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? But it wasn’t until 1967 that he garnered his first Pulitzer Prize for A Delicate Balance. Wealthy, WASPy older couple Agnes and Tobias live in suburbia with Agnes’ hard-drinking sister Claire, but things are thrown into chaos by the arrival of their daughter Julia, whose fourth marriage has crumbled, and their friends Harry and Edna, who are fleeing from an unnamed terror in their home. Read up on this play before it opens at the Golden Theatre on November 20, directed by Pam MacKinnon and starring Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Lindsay Duncan, Martha Plimpton, Bob Balaban and Clare Higgins. Big Shoes to Fill After a 1973 movie with Katharine Hepburn and Paul Scofield earned decent reviews but very little love in the awards department, a 1996 Broadway revival fared better. George Grizzard and Rosemary Harris were well-received as Tobias and Agnes, but it was Elaine Stritch as the boozy, accordion-playing, truth-telling Claire who left her mark (as always) on the show’s juiciest role. In the new revival, three-time Tony winner Glenn Close chose not to compete with the memory of Stritch’s performance; that honor instead goes to acclaimed British actress Lindsay Duncan. “I wouldn’t begrudge Elaine Stritch anything,” Duncan told the L.A. Times. She’s one of your legends, and as far as I’m concerned, she can have it all. Thankfully, I can only do the Claire that I can do.” When Stars Align While the number of Awards—Tony, Olivier, Emmy, Golden Globe—among this cast is staggering, no one is resting on their laurels. “All of us have come to the moment where you sink to you knees and roll on the floor,” Close said on The Today Show of working on Albee’s play. But the challenges were worth it—the production that lured Close back to Broadway for the first time in 17 years is drawing audiences in record numbers. It’s not easy to get a full cast of marquee names, so we’re guessing they all share’s Bob Balaban’s delight at being a member of this ensemble: “With the play, the director and the cast,” he said, “I’d be happy to just move scenery.” View Comments Write What You Know When Albee started writing A Delicate Balance, he ended up right back in the WASPy world he escaped—Harry and Edna were even based on a real couple of the same name who were friends of his parents. According to Albee, the play “has to do with that class, and that social and political structure that I grew up around, unfortunately, and left as soon as I could.” A Delicate Balance opened on Broadway on September 23, 1966 starring real-life married couple Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy as Tobias and Agnes, Rosemary Murphy as Claire and Marian Seldes as Julia. After mixed reviews, Seldes was the only one to walk away with a trophy on Tony night in 1967, but we’re guessing Albee wasn’t too disappointed. He’d already won the 1967 Pulitzer Prize for drama, an award many felt was overdue. Virginia Woolf had been up for a Pulitzer in ’63, but the committee deemed it insufficiently “uplifting”; several jurors resigned in protest. But A Delicate Balance wasn’t a consolation prize: “We were right then, and we’re right now,” said juror Mason Brown. To the Theater Born Albee came by his velvet-barbed language honestly. Born in 1928 in Washington, D.C., at under a month old he was adopted by a wealthy vaudeville heir and his socialite wife and moved to the ritzy town of Larchmont, NY. It wasn’t his natural environment. “When I was told that I was adopted I remember being rather relieved,” Albee told The Guardian. “I just didn’t feel that I belonged. And the older I got, the more I was able to observe the way they lived their lives and the more I was convinced that there was something very amiss there.” Young Albee was thrown out of several private schools and sent to the military academy; at 20, he left for good and found the home he’d been looking for in Greenwich Village. He never saw his father again, and it would be 17 years before he again saw his mother. Together Again In 1982, Glenn Close and John Lithgow became great friends while filming the screen adaptation of The World According to Garp. (Maybe they picked up a couple of tips on A Delicate Balance: Original stars Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy also starred in the film.) They both earned Oscar nods but haven’t worked together since, though their connection remains strong. “I’m the male Glenn Close, and she’s the female John Lithgow,” Lithgow told the New York Times, “In that we’re basically serious theater actors who have been lucky to find great material to play in film and television. We share DNA in a lot of ways, which can help create a marriage.” Related Shows A Delicate Balance Show Closed This production ended its run on Feb. 22, 2015last_img read more

Whip Yourself Into Shape with Broadway.com’s 2015 Workout Mix

first_img View Comments Be honest, things got a little rough last night, didn’t they? While watching Idina Menzel kill it on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, you ate a few too many canapés and you drank more whiskey than one person should down in a month. It’s OK, it happens to the best of us. But don’t worry—Broadway.com is here to make you buff and beautiful! It’s time to hit the gym with our 2015 Workout Playlist, now streaming on Spotify. Just load the songs on your phone (or stream them on the Spotify iPhone app), take ‘em to the gym and get that heart pumping. You’ll look like this, or this, or this in no time.last_img read more

James Earl Jones & Cicely Tyson Will Star in The Gin Game on Broadway

first_img View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 10, 2016 Related Shows Tony-winning legends James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson are returning to Broadway! The pair will headline a revival of D.L. Coburn’s The Gin Game. Directed by Leonard Foglia, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play will begin previews on September 21 and officially open on October 13 at the Golden Theater.Jones received Tony Awards for Fences and The Great White Hope, and nominations for On Golden Pond and The Best Man. His other Broadway credits include the recent You Can’t Take It With You, Othello, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Of Mice and Men and The Iceman Cometh. His many film roles include Clear and Present Danger, Field of Dreams and The Man.Tyson won the 2013 Tony for Best Actress in a Play for her performance in The Trip to Bountiful and was also nominated for an Emmy Award for the 2014 television movie version. Tyson made history when she became the first African American to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress for 1974’s TV film The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Her 1972 film Sounder earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. On stage, Tyson has starred in shows including The Corn Is Green, Trumpets of the Lord, Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights and Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright. Recent film appearances include Alex Cross, Diary of a Mad Black Woman and The Help.Weller Martin (Jones) and Fonsia Dorsey (Tyson) meet on the porch of their nursing home and strike up a friendship, with Weller teaching Fonsia how to play gin rummy. As they play, they share stories about the lives they led in the outside world. But when Fonsia wins every hand, Weller becomes increasingly frustrated, until their gin games and conversations become a battleground, with each player exposing the other’s failures, disappointments and insecurities.The pair last appeared on Broadway together in A Hand Is on the Gate in 1966. And in case you were wondering, Tyson is 90, Jones is 84 and they will be doing eight shows a week!The Gin Game returns to the Golden Theatre where the original production opened in 1977, starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. The play last appeared on Broadway in 1997, in a production starring Charles Durning and Julie Harris. The Gin Game has also been filmed twice for television; in 1981 with original stars Cronyn and Tandy, and in 2003 with Dick van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore.Complete creative team will be announced later. The Gin Gamelast_img read more

Buried Child, Starring Ed Harris & Amy Madigan, Extends Off-Broadway

first_img Buried Child ‘Buried Child’ Buried Child is a hit before it even starts performances! Led by Oscar nominees and real-life husband and wife Ed Harris and Amy Madigan, the production will now play off-Broadway through March 27; it has previously been set to shutter on March 13. Directed by Scott Elliott, the New Group revival of Sam Shepard’s play will begin previews on February 2 at the Pershing Square Signature Center’s Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre. Opening night is scheduled for February 17.The cast will also include Taissa Farmiga, Larry Pine, Rich Sommer, Paul Sparks and Nat Wolff.Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Buried Child returns 20 years after its last major New York production. Dodge (Harris) and Halie (Madigan) are barely hanging on to their farmland and their sanity while looking after their two wayward grown sons Tilden (Sparks) and Bradley (Sommer). When their grandson Vince (Wolff) arrives with his girlfriend Shelly (Farmiga), no one seems to recognize him, and confusion abounds. As Vince tries to make sense of the chaos, the rest of the family dances around a deep, dark secret. Pine will play Father Dewis. Related Showscenter_img Show Closed This production ended its run on April 3, 2016 View Commentslast_img read more

Hamilton’s Renee Elise Goldsberry Praises B’way’s Powerful Women

first_img Hamilton View Comments Renée Elise Goldsberry Related Shows Renée Elise Goldsberrycenter_img from $149.00 Star Files Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now! There is a robust roster of wonderful tuners and plays on the Main Stem and a delightfully diverse community of performers making Broadway soar. Hamilton Tony nominee and Broadway.com Audience Choice Award winner Renée Elise Goldsberry stopped by The Today Show on May 19 to give it up to the ladies rocking the Great White Way. “I am so proud of the diversity, not only just racially, but of the powerful women that are being portrayed right now,” Goldsberry said. Not satisfied? Watch the full interview below!last_img read more

Broadway Grosses: Hamilton Remains Non-Stop

first_img View Comments Phillipa Soo & Lin-Manuel Miranda in ‘Hamilton'(Photo: Joan Marcus) Lin-Manuel Miranda took a bow in his masterpiece Hamilton for one last time on July 9, which also marked the conclusion of Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr. and Philippa Soo’s runs in the blockbuster musical. As audiences—determined not to throw away their shot at catching the three original leads—flocked to the Richard Rodgers Theatre, the show reached its highest gross yet and was the only production this week to surpass its potential. While they will be missed, the tuner will undoubtedly remain a usual suspect on the boards for some time. The Lion King still claimed the throne as the top-grossing show, and perennial hits Wicked, Aladdin and The Book of Mormon joined them in the top spots. Meanwhile, She Loves Me, following a live-streamed performance, ended its limited run with its biggest week at $712,072 and a capacity of 98.51%.Here’s a look at who was on top—and who was not—for the week ending July 10:FRONTRUNNERS (By Gross)1. The Lion King ($2,255,572)2. Hamilton ($2,053,263)3. Wicked ($1,758,107)4. Aladdin ($1,591,362)5. The Book of Mormon ($1,322,710)UNDERDOGS (By Gross)5. Jersey Boys ($489,255)4. Fully Committed ($395,188)3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time ($369,489)2. Fun Home ($320,261)1. An Act of God ($284,709)*FRONTRUNNERS (By Capacity)1. The Book of Mormon (102.46%)2. Hamilton (101.75%)3. The Humans (99.02%)4. She Loves Me (98.51%)5. The Lion King (97.18%)UNDERDOGS (By Capacity)5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (62.39%)4. An American in Paris (61.27%)3. Paramour (60.50%)2. Jersey Boys (58.45%)1. On Your Feet! (52.79%)* Number based on seven regular performancesSource: The Broadway Leaguelast_img read more

See the Rocky Horror Picture Show Do the ‘Time Warp’!

first_imgIvy Levan, Tim Curry, Adam Lambert, Annaleigh Ashford, Staz Nair, Laverne Cox, Ryan McCartan, Victoria Justice, Christina Milian, Reeve Carney & Ben Vereen(Photos: Steve Wilkie/FOX) Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show remake seems to be just a jump to the left! The highly anticipated broadcast will air on October 20, and we can hardly wait to bust out our “Time Warp” moves and fishnets as we watch some of our stage faves strut and pelvic thrust across the small screen. Get a taste of what’s to come with the newest trailer, and be sure to check out Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford as Columbia, Broadway alum Reeve Carney as Riff Raff, Laverne Cox as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Tony winner Ben Vereen as Dr. Everett Scott and Heathers hunk Ryan McCartan as Brad below! View Commentslast_img read more

Georgia Greenspace

first_imgThe GGP is a voluntary, noncompetitive, county-based program. It provides for awards of formula grants to eligible counties if they develop and implement plans to permanently protect at least 20 percent of the county’s geographic area as undeveloped green space that furthers one or more of the GGP goals.Any Georgia county can submit a greenspace program for approval if its population is at least 60,000 or its growth at least 800 people per year. A list of participating counties is on the GGP Web page (www.state.ga.us/dnr/greenspace).If your county has already qualified and applied for GGP funding, you can still get involved. There has to be a Greenspace committee. And while the membership varies, it usually includes interested citizens. All meetings should be open to the public, too.As the state’s population increases, so do the demands on our natural resources. We can’t assume there will always be good water quality. We must take steps to ensure it.Water quality and conservation are critical issues for everyone in Georgia. Active involvement of volunteers will be necessary to ensure sustainable growth and a high quality of life. Get involved, and enjoy improving your community. Protect water quality for rivers, streams and lakes.Protect against floods.Protect wetlands.Reduce erosion by protecting steep slopes, areas with erodible soils and stream banks.Protect riparian buffers and other areas such as marsh hammocks that serve as natural habitats and corridors for native plants and animals.Protect scenic views.Protect archaeological and historic resources.Provide for recreation in the form of boating, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, running, jogging, biking, walking, skating, birding, riding horses, observing or photographing nature, picnicking or just playing.Connect existing or planned areas contributing to the goals. The Georgia Greenspace Program was created by the legislature in 2000. The state Department of Natural Resources adopted the Georgia Greenspace Administrative Rules on July 26, 2000.The final rules for the GGP help guide the DNR, Georgia Greenspace Commission and the counties, cities and towns eligible to take part in the program.This is a great program. It can help us make sure we retain enough green space to protect out natural resources. Of the nine goals of the program, five affect water quality.Greenspace as a single word is a new term. Mostly, it refers to permanently protected land and water, including farm and forested land, whose development rights have been severed from the property.The land must be in its undeveloped, natural state or developed only to the extent consistent, or restored to the extent needed, to meet one or more of the GGP goals to:last_img read more

New baby

first_imgBy Stephanie SchupskaUniversity ofGeorgiaSince her unusual start in a Petri dish, KC has matured into a very normal cow. And on the last day of 2005, she routinely gave birth to Moonshine, her second calf.“KC has done just like every other cow out there and produced a calf within 12 to 13 months of her last calf,” said Steve Stice, the University of Georgia scientist who directed the team of scientists who cloned KC. “Moonshine and Sunshine (KC’s firstborn) were both normal pregnancies and were delivered without assistance, which is important to commercial cow-calf operations that will be using cloning to improve the quality, diseases resistance and productivity of their herds.”KC is different from other cloned cows because she is the first to be cloned from kidney cells taken from a frozen side of beef. The others have been formed from living animals, Stice said.“Right now there are probably a lot of cloned cows out there having calves,” he said, “which is a good thing because it proves cloned cows do have normal offspring.”The public is still wary of cloned cows. Around the time Moonshine’s sister, Sunshine, was born in December 2004, polls indicated that nearly 60 percent of U.S. consumers opposed cloning animals, including livestock.Stice hopes that will eventually change.“The Food and Drug Administration has still not given their approval on cloned animals entering the food chain,” he said. “They have the data they need to give the clearance but other issues may be slowing this down. Once the FDA acts, I think it will mark the beginning of wider acceptance of cloned animals.”Stice is a Georgia Research Alliance eminent scholar and one of the world’s top cloning experts. He conducted the cloning research with the biotechnology firm ProLinia Inc., which was later bought by ViaGen Inc.Since cattle were first domesticated, farmers have been trying to improve their herds through selective breeding. Cloning can speed up the process by allowing scientists to make exact copies of the desired animals and their traits.According to UGA agricultural specialist Joseph Durham, Moonshine came into the world weighing 70 pounds. And although KC did all the work, various animal and dairy science faculty members got to name the new calf. “We did a survey of the animal and dairy science department,” Stice said, “and Moonshine came up on several suggestions.” They decided to move away from the disco theme that started when Sunshine was named after the rhythm and blues group, KC and the Sunshine Band. But Stice recalls that Boogie Shoes, a hit song from the band, was one of the names suggested.(Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University ofGeorgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Family composting

first_imgBy Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaWhen it comes to recycling, you probably sort out glass andplastic products from your householdtrash and maybe even save newspapers for the local Boy Scouttroop. But what about yesterday’sbanana peel and the spent grounds from this morning’s java?Composting your household vegetable and fruit waste is a formof recycling, too. You’re keepingthose items out of the landfill and creating plant food.Compost is the organic matter that remains after microbes havedecomposed your fresh vegetablerinds and grass clippings. It doesn’t sound appealing, but soiland plants think it’s yummy. New habit formed quicklyI was amazed by how quickly I adjusted to composting. For aweek or so, I caught myself headingto the trash can with an apple core or the shriveled remains of ahead of lettuce. But before long, itbecame second nature.I was also surprised by how quickly my daughters latched ontothe concept. My 12-year-old iswholeheartedly into composting. She even questions me as towhether something fits the”composting bill.”She helps me when I break down the veggie remains before I putthem in the bin, too. (I like to speedthe progress along, so I cut my fresh vegetable waste into smallpieces.)My friend Krissy is the queen of composting. She has fourcompost bins in various stages. Shecomposts shredded paper from her office and banana peels andapple cores from her lunches. Sheeven “feeds” her bins paper towels and dryer lint.Her son Jack, a 4-H’er and Boy Scout, is just as dedicated tocomposting. When they enterStarbucks, they leave with a bag of spent coffee grounds.They also love to watch the sides of their compost bins formystery plants. Krissy has a three-foottall avocado plant that got its start in one of her bins. I had anice-sized potato plant in mine until thefirst Georgia frost killed it.For me, the true moment of composting glory was the day my16-year-old daughter slam-dunked abanana peel into the composting collection bucket. No, I wasn’tamazed by her basketball skills. Myamazement and pride came from the fact that she did so of her ownfree will.Now, if I could somehow convince both my girls that picking upafter themselves helps theenvironment. Composting newbieI have to be honest. As a science writer for the University ofGeorgia, I’ve worked aroundagricultural scientists for the past 12 years. But I’m acomposting newbie.When I decided to take the composting plunge, I gathered tipsfrom my veteran-composting friends,all of whom happen to be UGA Cooperative Extension specialists. Ilearned that a compost bin couldbe a large plastic drum, a wire bin or even just a true pile. Youcan put as little or as much moneyand effort into your compost bin as you’d like.Living on a 6-acre homestead in middle Georgia, I have a bitof an advantage over metrohomeowners. I don’t have to worry about whether my bin has curbappeal or is neighbor-friendly.My nearest neighbor is an acre away.I decided to use an old horse trough as my compost bin (yetanother form of recycling). Be sure toplace your bin in a convenient outdoor place. You don’t want itso far removed that using it will bea chore.And since you don’t want to constantly trek back and forthfrom your kitchen to the compost bin,you need a collecting bin indoors. I chose a small plastic bucketthat easily fits under my kitchensink.last_img read more

March severe weather

first_imgTemperatures were above normal across Georgia in March. Rainfall was highly variable, from a very wet month in Atlanta to dry conditions in southeastern Georgia.In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 55.8 degrees F (1.5 degrees above normal), in Athens 54.7 degrees (1.2 degrees above normal), Columbus 60.3 degrees (2.7 degrees above normal), Macon 57.5 degrees (1.3 degrees above normal), Savannah 60.9 degrees (1.6 degrees above normal), Brunswick 64.2 degrees (3.8 degrees above normal), Alma 61.5 degrees (0.3 degree above normal), Valdosta 63.5 degrees (3.7 degrees above normal) and Augusta 57.8 degrees (2 degrees above normal). High temperaturesRecord daily high temperatures were set at Alma March 19 and March 22, with new maximum temperatures of 90 degrees and 88 degrees, respectively. These beat the old records of 88 degrees set in 1963 and 86 degrees set in 1991. Brunswick set record-high temperatures March 22, 23, 24 and 27. Augusta set a new record of 90 degrees March 19, breaking the old record of 84 set on that day in 1997. Columbus and Savannah also tied record daily highs during the month.The warm conditions caused earlier-than-normal greening of vegetation across the state, according to the National Weather Service. This leads to increased use of soil moisture by thirsty plants and reductions in runoff to the effect of leaf cover.Abundant rain and a few forest firesPrecipitation in March varied quite a bit. The wettest areas were in the northern and western regions. The driest area was the southeastern corner of the state, where five counties reported forest fires associated with the lack of rainfall and severe drought conditions.The highest monthly total precipitation from National Weather Service reporting stations was 9.06 inches in Atlanta (3.68 inches above normal). The lowest was in Brunswick at 1.73 inches (2.20 inches below normal). Valdosta received 5.50 inches (0.07 inch above normal), Athens 6.65 inches (1.66 inches above normal), Alma 4.57 inches (0.23 inch below normal), Columbus 5.30 inches (0.45 inch below normal), Macon 4.03 inches (0.87 inch below normal), Savannah 4.44 inches (0.80 inch above normal) and Augusta 5.01 inches (0.53 inch above normal). This was the ninth wettest March in Atlanta since records began at the airport in 1940.Columbus reported a new daily rainfall record of 1.44 inches March 9, breaking the old record of 1.43 inches set that date in 1978. Alma reported a new record of 2.19 inches March 30, breaking the old record of 1.98 inches set that date in 1991.Dillard gets most daily rainfallThe highest single-day rainfall from Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network stations was 4.44 inches north-northwest of Dillard in Rabun County March 6. Two observers in Rabun Gap nearby reported 4.37 and 4.19 inches on the same day. An observer on Tybee Island observed 4.18 inches March 28. The highest monthly total of 15.81 inches was measured by the Dillard observer who also had the highest daily rainfall. Thirty other CoCoRaHS observers in Georgia reported 10 or more inches of total precipitation this month. Severe weather was reported on seven days in March. A weak tornado was reported March 9 near Doerun in Colquitt County. Hail was observed in northern Georgia March 19. Strong winds and small hail were reported on several other days in scattered locations across Georgia.A couple of tornadoes and a huge hailstoneThe biggest outbreak of severe weather came March 26-27. The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center had 8 reports of EF0 and EF1 tornadoes across Georgia, including one that crossed Lake Blackshear in Sumter County and one that was observed at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Houston County. During the outbreak, large, damaging hail was reported in many locations, including a 4.25-inch hailstone reported in Coweta County, a record hailstone for Georgia in March. Despite concerns about potential frost damage due to early blooming of fruit trees and scattered frost reports in northern Georgia this month, no significant losses have been reported this year so far. However, the danger of killing frost, particularly in northern Georgia, continues well into April.last_img read more

Salvanelli’s Authentic Italian Specialties Offers Gourment Italian Food Baskets

first_imgSalvanellis Authentic Italian SpecialtiesP.O. Box 65155Burlington, VT 05406-5155Telephone 802.951.2523E-mail: [email protected](link sends e-mail)Web site: www.salvanellis.com(link is external)For Immediate Release Contact: Gloria Salvanelli Tel: 802-951-2523Salvanellis Authentic Italian SpecialtiesOffers Gourmet Italian Food BasketsBurlington, VT — December 2, 2005 — Its been said that the problem with Italian food is that, after you eat it, five or six days later youre hungry again. The point, of course, is that Italians are as passionate about food as they are about good wine and true love. Esse nufesso qui dice male di Maccheroni. In other words, He who speaks badly of macaroni is a fool.Authentic macaroni and other Italian delicacies are now available at Salvanellis Authentic Italian Specialties in Burlington. Salvanellis Italian Baskets are personally selected and filled with only the very finest imported Italian foods available, from antipasto to dessert. Three specific baskets, Antipasto, Pasta and Dessert baskets are available, as well as customized baskets. Whether your customized basket is based on budget, food specialties, business or personal, Salvanellis will create the basket to fit your needs.All products are authentic Italian, either imported from Italy or made from original Italian recipes by Italian Americans. Imported products include Ravida Estate Bottled Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Illy coffee (Italys finest espresso), Villa Bellentani Balsamic Vinegar, Soppressata Calabrese Salami, Benedetto Cavalieri Tagliatelle, Sicilian Honey and Parmigiana Reggiano.The pasta basket, Nona Lenas Table, also includes DellAmore Pasta Sauce, made in Colchester by Frank DellAmore, but produced from a recipe of his grandmother, Filomena. Another regional Italian product is Croccante, Italian Almond Crunch, produced by Tre Noci in Boston, using a recipe from her Calabrian grandmother.Our antipasto, pasta and dessert baskets make delizioso holiday, wedding, hostess, and birthday gifts. We are happy to create custom baskets for any occasion. Salvanellis also caters to corporate clients for company functions and events, or a special client.Salvanellis Authentic Italian Specialties can be reached at 802-951-2523, or via e-mail at [email protected](link sends e-mail). Their web site is www.salvanellis.com(link is external). — 30 —last_img read more

Municipal Law Basics publication to help local officials

first_imgSecretary of State Deborah Markowitz today announced the publication of Municipal Law Basics, an easy-to-read handbook designed to help citizens better understand the basic laws that apply to Vermont s municipalities. Markowitz said, If you have ever wondered who oversees local government, or whether you are allowed to tape meetings of your selectboard, or whether citizens may petition the school board to change a policy, then Municipal Law Basics is a publication for you.Markowitz will be using the handbook during the upcoming Town Officers Education Conference series, sponsored by the UVM Extension Service. I receive many calls from people wanting to know how our cities and towns work, says Markowitz. Some of these callers are municipal officials who want to know where their responsibilities begin and end; some are members of the public who want to get involved and who need to know their rights as citizens or the mechanics of the process of governance. It is my hope that this booklet will be a useful resource for local officials and members of the public to help answer these important questions.Municipal Law Basics is available online at www.sec.state.vt.us/publications.html(link is external), or contact the Secretary of State s Office at 802-828-2363 to order a hard copy.last_img read more

New unemployment insurance claims lower than previous week

first_imgWeek Ending April 04, 2009. There were 1,370 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance last week, a decrease of 191 from the week before. Altogether 18,500 new and continuing claims were filed, 99 less than a week ago and 7,555 more than a year earlier. The Department also processed 1,979 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 24 more than a week ago. In addition, there were 1,184 Second Tier claims for benefits processed under the EUC08 program which is an increase of 44 from the week before. The Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/(link is external) Previously released Unemployment Weekly Reports and other UI reports can be found at:  http://www.vtlmi.info/lmipub.htm#uc(link is external)last_img read more

Douglas at White House over medical home plan modeled on Vermont ‘Blueprint’

first_imgVermont Governor Jim Douglas and Blueprint for Health Director Craig Jones, M.D., joined Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at the White House today for the announcement of a new federal initiative modeled after Vermont s innovative Blueprint for Health.  The announcement could have positive financial implications for Vermont, as it will enable Medicare to join Medicaid and commercial insurance carriers in state multi-insurer efforts to support primary care medical homes and community health teams.  When Medicare, Medicaid, and the private sector work together, physicians will face consistent incentives to change their practices to enhance their ability to promote prevention and wellness, utilize existing information technologies, and coordinate care across multiple parts of the health care system, explained Secretary Sebelius. Governor Douglas, like many others, has recognized that when primary care is improved and care is coordinated, the overall quality is increased and costs are lowered.Vermont s Blueprint Integrated Pilots currently include all major Vermont insurers, with the exception of Medicare.  This is a tremendous opportunity, explained Governor Douglas.  With Medicare participation, we would have the option to expand the Blueprint beyond the current pilot phase, enhancing the delivery system reform we started here in 2006.  The Blueprint has developed an advanced model of primary care and prevention that includes health teams that provide coordinated services through multiple primary care practices in a community, as well as enhanced fees for primary care based on performance and outcomes. A lot of Vermont s delivery system reform is about common sense connecting of the dots, said Governor Douglas at the White House.  For many of us, a visit to our family practice physician or internist takes place in one silo, while visits to specialists and even hospital procedures happen in another.  The primary care medical home, connected by health information technology to the specialists, labs, and hospitals we visit, means your personal doctor gets automatic updates on your care, test results, and medication prescriptions, whenever and wherever those services are delivered.  Duplicative and by extension unnecessarily costly lab tests are eliminated, and potentially adverse medication interactions are flagged immediately.  Your primary care doctor is given the information he or she needs to be at the center of your care team, ensuring coordination that will lead to better quality and outcomes.Douglas added: It is a tribute to all of our partners Vermont s Congressional delegation, commercial insurance carriers, legislators, and the Vermont medical community especially the leadership of Dr. Jones that we now see the Blueprint s innovations recognized as a national model for delivery system reform.Under the demonstration program, states that meet specified criteria will be provided an opportunity to add Medicare’s support to their efforts to enhance primary care.  Applications will be solicited later this fall for Medicare participation that is slated to begin early next year.Vermont, while it will have to apply to be included in the demonstration program, is extremely well-positioned to be included in the effort.Pasted below is the full transcript from today s event.WHITE HOUSE OFFICE FOR HEALTH REFORM DIRECTOR NANCY-ANN DEPARLE : It’s my honor to welcome Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Jim Douglas, the governor of the great state of Vermont.Secretary Sebelius and I have been working together to advance the cause of health reform, and we’ve been honored to have Governor Douglas by our side. I had the pleasure of going up to Vermont to moderate a White House regional forum on health reform with the governor, and I want to thank him for his leadership as we’ve worked to make health reform a reality.Governor Douglas and many of his colleagues know that we can’t afford to wait for reform. Today, our nation spends $7,421 per person on health care, but yet there are millions of Americans who can’t get coverage. According to one government analysis, if we do nothing, health expenditures in the United States could grow from $2.5 trillion a year in 2009 to more than $7 trillion in 2025.And we know that families are suffering. And those of you who are primary-care clinicians today know that better than anyone, because you’re on the front lines.Yesterday, a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust indicated that premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance have continued to rise. The average cost of a family policy in 2009 increased to $13,375, and on average employees pay $3,515 and employers pay a whopping $9,860. And in the past 10 years, health insurance premiums have increased by 131 percent, far outpacing wage gains or inflation.But cost isn’t the only issue. Millions of Americans who have insurance know they could lose their health care at a moment’s notice. These Americans don’t have the security or the stability they need. They know that an insurance company could eliminate the coverage they need when they need it the most, when they’re sick.Every day, 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance. The president and leaders like Governor Douglas know that the status quo can’t continue.President Obama’s health insurance reform plan addresses three simple goals: If you have health insurance, it will give you security and stability. If you don’t have insurance, it will give you quality, affordable options for the first time, and it will lower the cost of health care for our families, our businesses, and our government.Today, we’re closer than we’ve ever been to enacting health insurance reform. I know that Congress is working hard to move forward, and I’m confident that we’ll succeed. But as we move forward in the legislative process, we’re also using the tools that we have to improve health care for all Americans.As a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, I know we have the ability to make constructive changes that will strengthen care for all Americans. And today, I’m pleased to introduce Secretary Sebelius, who will discuss an important demonstration project we’ll be launching in the days ahead.Madam Secretary?KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Well, thank you, Nancy-Ann. And it’s great to be with my former colleague, Jim Douglas, again. Jim and I were elected together in 2002, re-elected together in 2006, and then I made a slight detour, but pleased to continue to work together on these important issues.You know, there are a lot of people who tell me every day that they don’t really believe that we can lower health care costs and produce better care at the same time and say, how can that possibly be done? And the answer is really pretty simple.We spend 50 percent more per person on health care than any country in the world, and yet our health results are pretty poor over and over again. So we’ve got a lot of room for improvement in what we’re doing.And today we’re making an announcement about a new initiative that will help us deliver higher-quality patient-centered care at no extra cost to Americans. It’s a model for care that’s already in play. It’ll be better for doctors, better for patients, and better for our national balance sheet, which is why this program has such widespread endorsement.It’s a model that achieves many of the same goals that we’re trying to accomplish with health insurance reform, the legislation pending at the Congress. The model is called the advanced primary care or medical home model. And here’s how it works in a state like Vermont.Doctors are encouraged to coordinate care in the same way they do in high-performing, integrated health care systems, like Geisinger in Pennsylvania. And what we know is, when doctors work together in teams and share information more freely, patients are more likely to get the care they need and less likely to get duplicate or unnecessary care.Patients just don’t care from their doctors in this plan. They also get care from community health teams, staffed by nurses, social workers, and behavioral health counselors who check up on patients to make sure they’re managing their chronic conditions.So let’s take a patient with diabetes. Instead of being told at your doctor visit you need to exercise more and eat better, and I’ll see you in six months, you have providers actually working with that patient in the intervening time to help him or her stay healthy. What you get is a new model of health care that really could work for the entire country.It’s a model that patients like, because they get better care and more time with their doctors. It’s a model that physicians like, because they can concentrate on keeping their patients healthy, which is why they went into medicine in the first place. And it’s a model that’s good for families, businesses and government, because it delivered efficient care, effective care, and saves dollars.And it’s not just the state of Vermont that’s doing this, although Governor Douglas was a real leader in this area. In Maine, they started their own medical home pilots in January and got an overwhelming response, with more than 60 primary care practices applying to participate. Massachusetts is also following this model. In Colorado, they’re currently testing the medical home model of 16 primary care practices across the state, and they already have some impressive preliminary results.When children were enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP, were treated at medical homes, the medium health care costs went down 25 percent. But more importantly, those children were three times as likely to get a well child visit. So better intervention, better check-ups, and lower costs.It’s results we’ve seen over and over again in advanced primary care models across the country, lowering costs from chronic disease, lower costs from emergency room visits, more preventive care, and higher patient satisfaction.Now, the medical homes that are currently in operation are made possible by agreements between the public and private insurers in states to change incentives for providers to reward them for keeping their patients healthy. Earlier this year, Governor Douglas and several of our fellow colleagues who are governors wrote me in my new position to say, “We’ve got a great model, but currently we can do this only with Medicaid, with SCHIP, and with private insurers in our state. We think Medicare should participate in this program. We think there’s a real opportunity here to expand to Medicare patients.”And so we took a look at what they were saying and took a look at these impressive results. So today, I’m announcing that Governor Douglas had a great idea.(LAUGHTER)Does that come as a surprise?GOV. JIM DOUGLAS (R-VT.): Thank you.SEBELIUS: And we’re launching a new initiative that will allow Medicare to join with Medicaid and private insurers to support these advanced primary care models. States will be able to apply to participate in the initiative, but they’re going to have to meet several qualifications, including guaranteeing that the model will actually produce better results with lower health care costs. And a lot of the criteria that actually is being put together models what is already in place in these states.So we’re excited to take Governor Douglas and his colleagues up on their effort for help for the same reason the administration is so supportive of health — health insurance reform, because we believe it’s both possible, but essential to build a health care system that delivers better, smarter care to Americans at a lower price.It’s why you see explicit support for the advanced primary care model in some of the reform bills in Congress. And you also see these priorities being echoed in the bills that are under consideration.Health reform helps to limit co-pays for preventive care, which will help us catch small problems before they become big problems. And it helps invest in health I.T. to help doctors and hospital systems work more closely together, share information, identify complications, make sure that the patients are appropriately responding to treatments.We’re moving more toward bundled payments to hospitals and other care providers, to eliminate avoidable readmissions and reward better quality of care over quantity of care.Yesterday, as Nancy-Ann has said, we got new evidence for why we urgently need health reform. And I just want to repeat some of the information from the Kaiser Family Foundation, because it is quite accurate and quite a gloomy picture of what Americans are facing.Premiums up 130 percent over the last 10 years. Companies preparing to shift even more costs to workers; 4 in 10 say they’ll raise premiums and co-pays; more than a third say workers will pay more for all the out-of-pocket expenses.You know, former President Ronald Reagan used to say that status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” And President Obama has made it incredibly clear that the status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable, and that’s why he’s proposed reform that will give Americans stability who have insurance coverage, changing the rules for insurance companies who now can kick people out or lock people out of the market, and reform is also — and maybe most importantly — about improving the quality of care for all Americans, making sure that they have access to high-quality health care systems, and get the primary and preventive care that can avoid high costs at the end of the day.We know that this 21st century health care system is achievable, because we see it in places around the country. We see it in Vermont, in Colorado, in Maine. We see it in great health care systems delivering high-quality, lower cost care. We need to move health reform forward to ensure that that care is available to all Americans and use the tools that we have to put these great models in place.So it’s now my pleasure to introduce Governor Jim Douglas from the state of Vermont to talk a little bit about the advance care model.(APPLAUSE)DOUGLAS: Thank you. Secretary Sebelius, thank you so much. It’s a real honor and privilege to be here with you today. It’s, I think, important to have someone from the ranks of the governors serving in your role, because you understand fully not only the challenges that are faced by states in this difficult economic environment and with the health care issues that we’re confronting, but also the opportunities. And that is evident in the announcement that you’ve made today. So thanks so much for — for your leadership at the Department of Health and Human Services.The Medicare pilot program that the secretary has announced today will help states like Vermont achieve our vision of high-quality, affordable health care for everybody across our state. This is something we’ve been pushing for, for some time, and I’m delighted that the secretary and her team have made it happen today.I’m so pleased that this progress is taking place now. I have the honor of serving as chairman of the National Governors Association, and each year the incoming chair of the association selects a topic for focus during his or her term. And I’ve decided, not surprisingly, that health care is the issue that we’ve got to focus on as an association. And so the announcement today comes at a very welcome time. We have to work together to ensure that we have a system that is affordable, accessible, and accountable to the American people.In 2003, we launched a program we called the Vermont Blueprint for Health. It’s the state’s vision for transforming our health care system. Building on the Blueprint, we passed a comprehensive health reform measure three years later.Our reform efforts were the product of extensive bipartisan negotiation and collaboration by my Republican administration and by the Democratic leaders of our legislature and by private-sector participants in our health care system across the state. We’re all united in a common desire to arrest the spiraling growth of health care costs.In Vermont, as in many states, that’s an increasing percentage of our public spending, and especially in these tough fiscal times, we have to get it under control if we’re going to be able to meet the other legitimate needs in education and environmental programs, in transportation, and the other services that are so important to the people we serve.So we worked together across the political aisle to compromise, to craft a successful health care reform package, and I think it’s equally important that everybody work together in Washington, D.C., to achieve health care reform that will be meaningful and accepted by the American people.I want to thank the efforts of the administration for reaching across the aisle, participating on a bipartisan basis in this debate, and I hope that, in the end, we’re able to work together to find the solution.Well, the bill that we passed three years ago encompasses over 60 different initiatives, including the availability of new subsidized coverage for low-income, uninsured individuals, investments in health information technology, and the Blueprint, which will benefit most greatly from the announcement that we just heard today. A lot of our delivery system is about breaking down barriers. For many of us, a visit to a family physician takes place in one silo, while a visit to a specialist or a hospital is in another silo. So we’re utilizing the health teams to which the secretary referred to break down these silos and provide coordinated services through primary care practices, both for those with chronic diseases and for those whom we want to — for whom we want to promote prevention and wellness.The primary care medical home is critical to coordinating these services. By using health I.T., your primary care doctor in Vermont receives updates on your care by connecting to the specialists, labs and hospitals that you visit, no matter where those services might be delivered. Duplicative and, by definition, unnecessary and costly tests are eliminated, and dangerous medication interactions are flagged.Commonsense coordination leads not only to better quality, but saves money throughout the whole system. For example, in a hospital in the city of Rutland, Vermont, doctors in the emergency department now have electronic access to a patient’s medication history. They’re able to diagnose more quickly a possible adverse drug reaction and avoid the need for costly tests, which can save time, money, and even lives.The Blueprint’s primary care model means a different health care experience for patients and physicians. From the patient’s perspective, they have a more thorough and less hurried primary care visit. Their community health team is there to make sure they understand their care plan and connect them with the community services that they need.The primary care providers are being paid for better care, not more care, through incentive payments. In our Vermont pilots, which now cover about 10 percent of our population, participating providers receive a larger fee for higher performance. From the primary care providers’ perspective, they now have the tools to fulfill the mission that motivated them to choose their profession in the first place. With all insurers supporting this model of care, physicians can make sure that patients’ individual needs and concerns are addressed.Medicaid and all the private insurers in the state, as well as large employers, participate in the Blueprint. And with today’s announcement, Medicare will now be able to participate in this type of exciting and innovative state-led reform.These aren’t just theories about what will happen some time in the far-off future. These reforms are having a real impact on people’s lives today.Nancy-Ann mentioned the White House forum, and I want to thank her and the president for inviting me to be one of the few governors to host a forum earlier this year. But at that forum, a young woman from the town of St. Johnsbury, named Rhonda Rose (ph), explained how her community care team has improved her life and her health. Rhonda had struggled for years to get a handle on her chronic disease. As a recipient of Medicaid and other state programs, her struggle had a financial impact on the state. Now, through a doctor, a social worker, and others on her community health team, she’s taking necessary steps to prevent expensive emergency department visits, and her health has improved, and she’s back to work.Ultimately, that’s really what health care reform is all about: slowing the growth in costs, enhancing the quality of care delivered, improving the lives of individual Americans, and helping to ensure a strong economic recovery. I know this is what the president is trying to achieve, and I appreciate his partnership with the states and encourage my colleagues on both sides of the political aisle to move forward to accomplish these vital goals for the American people.Our reform efforts need to be a true partnership between the states and the federal government and between policymakers of both parties. Today’s announcement is certainly a great step forward, and I want to thank Secretary Sebelius once again for her leadership and for making this pilot available. I know it’s going to make a difference for a lot of people across our great country.Thank you, Kathleen.(APPLAUSE)DEPARLE: Thank you, Governor, for leading us forward on this new model. And thank you, Secretary Sebelius. And thank everyone for comingSource: Governor’s office. 9.16.2009last_img read more

New Champlain ferry operation imminent

first_img Residents in the area surrounding the Lake Champlain Bridge share family, friends and business relationships on both sides of the lake, Vermont Governor Douglas said. Establishing this new, free ferry service will allow these relationships and commerce to resume more normally.   On B-Day, December 28, 2009, it took longer for the clouds of smoke, rust and paint to settle than for the 500-plus shaped charges of MRX high explosive to cut enough weakened steel beams to bring down the Champlain Bridge. In its place, work on a new bridge is expected to start this spring. In the meantime, a new ferry located at the same spot was expected to begin operations by the end of January.The implosive demolition opened the way for a set of operations more complicated than dealing with the old bridge, whose remains by mid-January had been fished out of the crossing to the point where a 20-foot-deep channel was available for future boat traffic. (A 1,000-foot safety zone has been declared around the bridge removal operation no ice-fishing shanties, either which is supposed to be completed by April 15). Attention had turned to the project of creating a ferry at the same crossing a project that had begun before the implosion and was on track to be done by the end of January–and to strategic decisions that would shape the Champlain Bridge s replacement.The Ticonderoga ferry had been kept running through December 27 usually it closes after fall foliage season, and ice had briefly forced owner Michael Matot to shut it down on December 17 by Jeff Provost s company Dock Doctors. The Ferrisburgh firm, which employs about 35 people in the colder months and as many as 50 in the summer, does manufacturing in Vermont but sells more of its products in the Lake George area of New York, where it has a branch office.Thus Dock Doctors found itself among the businesses who had employees or markets or suppliers that required crossing Lake Champlain, and saw the lake become a divide when the bridge was closed October 16. Since the summer, usage had been limited to one lane, with no trucks over 40,000 pounds allowed. The generally accepted figure is that in normal operation, there were about 3,400 trips across the bridge each day.Provost made himself known to the public when he announced, at a states-sponsored hearing in Addison following the steel bridge s complete shutdown, that he could swiftly put up docks capable of serving barges like this in use on the Hudson river, which could handle (as could the docks) both heavy truck traffic and winter ice.Neither state took him up on the offer, but in the weeks that followed, Dock Doctors ice-managing craft and two bubbler lines went to work pushing back the ice then keeping the crossing open between Larabee s Point and Ticonderoga. It took them time to come around to it, Provost said in a recent interview but a lot of ferry users won t forget the sight of the channel passing between acres of ice like the Biblical parting of the Red Sea.Bubbler lines are used all over the world, Provost said. A compressor pushes air through hoies in a hose running along the bottom of the body of water, the air bubbles enlarge as they rise (less pressure), and soon there is an upward draft, similar to that of a ceiling fan, except it is sending water upward. The lake bottom and the water near it are warmer, he said which is why some kinds of fish plow into bottom mud to survive and creating a circulation that brings up the warmer water maintains a wall that prevents ice from forming.The Ti ferry could have run all winter, between its two bubbler lines, plus propeller devices that move water near shores, and their barge and its small crane to deal with any loose floating ice, Provost said. In fact, there is a bubbler operation they began 12 years ago in Pittsburgh for the Army Corps of Engineers, to keep 100 boat slips open, which is still going.But no insurance company would continue the Ti ferry s insurance, Provost said, because of one risk assessor. He didn t even come and look. Instead, based on the fact that the Ti ferry s quarter inch steel hull wasn t meant to run through ice, he recommended against insuring the operation even though there was no ice, Provost said.A NYS-DOT bulletin announced that on January 14, Lake Champlain Transportation would deploy one of their ferries to the future ferry crossing between Chimney Point and Crown Point, to cruise back and forth and keep ice from blocking the channel. Two days later it was there, doing exactly that.John Zicconi, VTrans director of planning, outreach and community affairs, had no doubt that the ferry could double as an ice-breaker; the company keeps a crossing open in the Champlain Islands with one, he observed. Provost said it seemed a huge waste of money to him, running a ferry rather than a few compressors, but we have to look to the future.The future of the crossing is unfolding as three concurrent efforts: removing the remains of the bridge (no one has said how the concrete piers will be taken down); finishing new ferry docks at Chimney Point and Crown Point and starting regular ferry service (which Zicconi said is on track to start by the end of January); and designing, planning, permitting, and building a new bridge (to open in 2011 if many things go well, or in 2012 if not).One key decision was made, as promised, a few days after the January 11 closing of a public comment period regarding the design of the new bridge. The projected cost of a new bridge had gone from the NYS-DOT s rough estimate of $50 million prior to discovering a fatal flaw in one of the unreinforced concrete bridge piers to a rough estimate in mid-January of $111 million, counting the costs of building and operating a ferry and subsidizing travel on the existing ferries. With the Vermont, New York and the country as a whole facing major deficits and a stalled economy, there was every chance that budgetary issues would trump aesthetic considerations and the effect of replacing a National Historic Monument with something of Spartan simplicity on the area s attractiveness to tourists.HNTB, the Kansas City firm contracted to design the new bridge, put forward six potential bridge renderings. The long-span steel girder bridge and sequential concrete bridge, both with the roadway as the highest point, resembled Interstate highway construction; the steel composite cable-stayed bridge and concrete extradosed bridge both had the roadway supported by cables connected to high towers (one such cable-stayed bridge is visible in the heart of Boston; for a spectacular example, look up the Millau Bridge in France, which spans a valley rather than a river); and the network tied arch bridge and modified network tied arch bridge both had the middle of the roadway held up by cables tied at a steel arch.The modified arch drew overwhelming support from the public and from the citizens advisory group, a panel of New York and Vermont state and local officials plus business representatives. On each side its arch extended down past the roadway to a pier and from there continued upward in check-mark fashion to support more of the roadway; the concept seemed to suggest a higher highway with a better scenic view, and the overall profile was stylish rather than severe. In mid-January, the two state transportation agencies looked at the results of the informal survey, and chose the same arch design the public had favored. But that did not settle all the issues.The reason for putting a new bridge where the old one had been was, officials said, largely to avoid the time and expensive of archaeological investigations Lake Champlain and its shores having been historically important corridors for at least 400 years. Deviating at all from the previous footprint even at the same crossing–would set in motion federally required processes.That set off alarm bells for cyclists and pedestrians, a group that has grown substantially with the strengthening conviction the country should support and enhance means of transportation that do not increase global warming by burning fossils fuels. If the width of the bridge is not increased, to avoid increasing its footprint, how could there by room for adding cycling lanes and sidewalks?Zicconi said that whatever is true for the base of the bridge, the traveled way will have 11-foot vehicular lanes, five-foot shoulders, and sidewalks; unusually wide vehicles, such as farming machinery, would utilize shoulder space. Asked if the curbs for the sidewalks were being designed to allow cyclists to leap from the shoulder to the sidewalk when confronted by a dangerous situation a standard safety maneuver for cyclists he said no one had brought up that issue.The strongest pressure for accelerating ferry and bridge construction has come from the business community, where loss of bi-state business and employee travel have been serious issues. All sorts of improvisations and adaptations have helped keep the impacts from becoming extreme: Basin Harbor quickly arranging a pedestrian ferry; public transit agencies on both sides of the lake adding bus routes between towns or businesses and ferry landings; the state paying ferry charges so those fees wouldn t increase the cost of commuting; businesses or nonprofits assisting employees who commute (Middlebury College and the Porter Medical Center, for example); carpooling; and in the case of places like the West Addison General Store (hurting but still going, said owner Dana Franklin) and the Bridge Restaurant in Addison, voluntary supportive purchases by area residents.Even where successful, the effort has been strenuous. At Porter, where 75 employees were from New York State, only two people left because of the bridge situation, according to spokesman Ron Hallman. It hasn t been easy, he said, especially for people leaving or coming onto a shift at 11 pm. Nor has the $250,000 they have spent in employee assistance as of mid-January been easy budgetarily. He summed up: It s big issue.Much was made early on of three Vermont farmers with operations or fields or cows across the lake (make that four: part of the Bridge Restaurant s popularity comes from featuring local farm beef). But the bigger agricultural impact might arrive later for Bourdeau Brothers, the business name used for Bourdeau Brothers in northern Vermont, Bourdeau & Bushey in Middlebury, and Feed Commodities International, and for their customers. Jim Bushey, who manages in Middlebury, said that if there is no effective means of reaching their New York State customers by spring, when services like seeding and fertilizing are needed, the situation could become serious. Sending feed trucks through Whitehall, at the southern end of the lake, has been a considerable expense, he said.It may never be possible to get a good figure for the total impact, said Andy Mayer, executive director of the Addison County Chamber of Commerce. But their Middlebury office, which has been an information relay point, send out a survey in the late fall, not aimed at affected parties but simply using their contact list. The 83 surveys returned indicated losses of $60-$300 per week. Some help is anticipated from the state s economic development resources; early on, business people said they were more interested in grants than loans, but the feeling has swung the other way, that loans with low or no interest would help, he said.When the bridge closed, both states declared transportation emergencies, but so far there has not been a push to declare an economic emergency. As for funding the new bridge, the formula repeatedly cited would have an 80 percent federal share matched by 20 percent from the states, with each paying 10 percent. Efforts are underway to secure some sort of appropriation or earmark that would defray all or part of the state shares.The unexpected bridge closure and demolition, for safety reasons, brought attention back to the VTrans’ 2007 Road to Affordability and its premise that repairing and maintaining infrastructure promptly is much cheaper, in the long run, than allowing emergency situations to arise. A recent online FAQ for that plan states that The Agency has $1.5 billion in highway, bridge and culvert projects already identified and under development. At our current pace of spending $60 million annually on roadway projects and $50 million annually on structures like bridges and culverts, it will take about 15 years to complete everything on our books. And this does not account for inflation or needs that will surface between now and the year 2022.The upcoming Legislature will have to decide whether increased bonding would amount to increased deficit spending, which would hurt the state s bond interest rate, or whether prompt attention to infrastructure needs would help in the long run.Despite the recession, a we ll get there spirit has prevailed. At the telephone number for the Bridge Restaurant, owner and operator Lisa Cloutier thanks people for calling The No Bridge Restaurant, which she says is closed for the time being because the loss of the bridge minimized traffic along the corridor (her restaurant is at the junction of Routes 17 and 125, a few hundred yards from the crossing). However, the message insists, Make no mistake about it: once the ferry comes into this corridor, this restaurant will be back open again.Source: Vermont Business Magazine. Story by Ed Barna. Ed Barna is a freelance writer from Middlebury. New York Governor David Paterson traveled to Crown Point, NY, today and was expected to announce that a new ferry operating at the location of the former Champlain Bridge was expected to begin operation by the end of January, in other words, by Sunday at the latest. Full, regular service is expected first thing Monday. This has been a long-time coming for those commuters using circuitous travel routes to reach destinations to and from Vermont, and for those businesses on both sides of Lake Champlain who count on those commuters. The free service will run around the clock and every day. The crossing will take about 15 minutes.last_img read more

Cleanup plan for Burgess Brothers landfill Superfund site in Bennington August 16

first_imgEPA (Boston, Mass. ‘ July 29, 2011) ‘ A public informational meeting and hearing will be held on Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 7 pm in the Bennington Free Library in Bennington, Vermont. The meeting is an opportunity for residents to learn about proposed changes to the cleanup plan for the Burgess Brothers Landfill Superfund Site. In 1998, EPA signed a Record of Decision (ROD) which called for placement of a landfill cap and construction of a soil vapor extraction system to address groundwater contamination. Contaminants were detected in the groundwater in upper thirty feet of soil at the site.  Primary groundwater contaminants include trichloroethene (TCE) and tetrachlorothene (PCE).  The groundwater in the bedrock remains unaffected. Since the ROD was signed in 1998 and the original cleanup plan was implemented, levels of contamination in the groundwater have increased and moved beyond the landfill.  For this reason, EPA is proposing an amendment to the remedy.  Additionally, as the changes in the remedy will impact a site stream and possibly wetlands, the public is invited to comment on this aspect of the cleanup plan. last_img read more