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Step IT Up

first_imgCyberSkills/Vermont and Northern New England Tradeswomen are running their third class of Step IT Up, a joint venture to give women the skills for a career in Information Technology.The first two classes were held at Dale Correctional facility and prepared women for careers in Web Site development. The current class prepares the ten participants for jobs in the growing desktop publishing arena.Step IT Up consists of two main components: computer instruction, from basic MS Office to Quark Express delivered by CyberSkills/Vermont in partnership with KnowledgeWave; and Women’s Resources, the job-readiness element crucial to the success of the program, provided by NNETW. The women will receive coaching on resume writing, interviewing, customer support, and conflict resolution. Both CyberSkills/Vermont and Northern New England Tradeswomen will be working with employers to find internships and jobs for the graduates of this program.For more information contact CyberSkills/Vermont at 860-4057, ext. 27, or check out both the CyberSkills/Vermont (www.cyberskillsvt.org(link is external)) and NNETW (www.nnetw.org(link is external)) web sites. Step IT Up is partially funded by a Department of Labor earmark grant.last_img read more

FairPoint Communications job fair WRJ November 20

first_imgWhat: Job FairWhere: Hampton Inn Maple Room180 Route 5, White River Junction, Vt.When: Thursday, November 20, 2008v 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.Who: FairPoint Communications, Inc.The following technical, line and support positions are available: administrative assistant, central office technician, outside plant technician, splice service technician and translations administrator. People with operational knowledge of electronics, wiring and cabling, fiber optics, computer technology, networking, construction or administration should visit the career link found on FairPoints Web site at www.fairpoint.com(link is external) or stop by the job fair. Ideal candidates will possess a track record of achieving results while embracing FairPoints customer centric culture. These positions will support FairPoints plans to expand its broadband network while delivering an exceptional customer experience.About FairPointFairPoint Communications, Inc. is an industry leading provider of communications services to communities across the country. Today, FairPoint owns and operates local exchange companies in 18 states offering advanced communications with a personal touch, including local and long distance voice, data, Internet, television and broadband services. FairPoint is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol FRP. Learn more at www.FairPoint.com(link is external).###last_img read more

Wes Oswald named interim CEO at Northwestern Medical Center

first_imgThe Northwestern Medical Center (NMC) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Wesley W. Oswald has accepted the position of Interim Chief Executive Officer.  Oswald is temporarily filling the position vacated by long-time NMC CEO Peter Hofstetter, who has accepted the CEO position at Holy Cross Hospital in Taos, New Mexico. Oswald has over 42 years experience in hospital administration.  Long-time community members may remember Oswald from his 5-year tenure as the Chief Executive Officer at Northwestern Medical Center in the mid 80s.  As a retired CEO, Oswald retired from full-time permanent work in 2002, and has spent the past seven years serving in multiple interim positions throughout the country. He will join NMC s Leadership Team on June 1st. We are pleased to welcome Wes back to Vermont to help us in the interim, said John Casavant, President of the NMC Board of Directors.  His professional experience and his familiarity with our community will make for a smooth transition.   Our Board and Medical Staff are working closely with QHR on a national CEO search, said Casavant.  Early indications of interest in the position are very strong and we expect to have our new permanent CEO in place by the Fall.   QHR provides NMC with management and consulting services to NMC and about 200 other hospitals nationally. Joining Casavant on the CEO Search Committee are Board Members Judy Ashley- McLaughlin, Greg Mruk, and Paul Clark, as well as physicians Dr. Stephen Payne, Dr. Lowrey Sullivan, and Dr. Audrey von Lepel.last_img read more

5 Vermont historic buildings to get $425,000 for village restoration

first_imgUS Senator Patrick Leahy and the Preservation Trust of Vermont announced that five historic downtown buildings will receive federal funds to help spur village redevelopment.  Historic buildings in Putney, Readsboro, Poultney, Richmond and Shoreham will get restoration work using a $425,000 federal grant Leahy secured for the Preservation Trust of Vermont s Village Revitalization Initiative. These historic buildings are at the very heart of the identity and economy of our communities, said Leahy.  These grants do more than ensure the stability and aesthetics of a building, they also open these buildings to the public and help to keep our villages healthy.”Our Village Revitalization Initiative has now provided significant funding for 25 community-based  projects across Vermont,” said Paul Bruhn, executive director of the Preservation Trust of Vermont.  “Each of these projects is a key piece in each community’s effort to build a successful village center.  We’re most grateful that Senator Leahy is so committed to this effort.”Since 2005, Leahy has secured more than $2 million in federal funds to help rehabilitate more than 25 buildings across the state of Vermont, creating new indoor public spaces and reopening long-shuttered public spaces to Vermonters.  The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board assists in the administration of these grants.Putney General Store – $100,000.  Funding will be used by the town of Putney and the Putney Historical Society to continue restoration of the general store destroyed by fire in May of 2008.  CONTACT:  Lyssa Papazian (802) 387-2878.Readsboro Bullock’s Store – $100,000.  Funding will be used to acquire and begin rehab on the 1880 s era Bullock building in the village of Readsboro.  The rehab work will make the space available to mixed use and community use.  CONTACT: David Marchegiani (802) 423-5416.Poultney Bentley Hall- $100,000.  Funding will be used to restore Bentley Hall on the edge of campus and in the center of Poultney to make the space available to the community.   CONTACT:  Paul Fonteyn, President, Green Mountain College (802) 287-8201.Richmond Round Church – $25,000.  Funds will be used to make restorations to the 195 year-old National Historic Landmark Richmond Round Church.  CONTACT:  Gary Bressor, Richmond Historical Society (802) 434-2800.Shoreham Newton Academy – $100,000.  Funds will be used to restore the 1810 federal style building on the town green in Shoreham.   CONTACT:  Wilson MacIntire, President, Newton Academy Restoration Corporation, (802) 897-2600.In June, Leahy announced that the Chandler Center for the Arts received a $250,000 federal grant through the Village Revitalization Initiative to fund the rehabilitation of the Chandler Music Hall and Gallery in Randolph.Source: Leahy’s office. MONTPELIER, Vt. (Tuesday, Sept. 29)last_img read more

Vermont chooses NOT to apply for federal education grant

first_imgThe State of Vermont will not be applying for the second round of the federal Race to the Top grant, the Vermont Department of Education announced today.The highly competitive grant program, financed under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), requires states to agree to very specific strategies, such as linking teacher pay to student performance, investing in charter schools and implementing turnaround models that could require the removal of principals in a data-driven school-ranking process.Only two states, Delaware and Tennessee, received funds in the first round of grants (totaling over $600 million). Vermont did not apply in the first round.“We do not make this decision lightly,” said Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca. “Vermont continues to struggle with the financial impacts of the recession, and our school districts have carried a heavy share of that impact. We believe that by focusing on this grant we would have to alter the course we have set for education, with absolutely no guarantee that we would be successful. We don’t think that makes sense for our schools, our teachers or for Vermont students.”“The strategies required in Race to the Top may be entirely appropriate for some states,” said Vilaseca. “But Vermont’s strengths and challenges require different strategies. Our approach to improvement involves the entire system, PreK through 12 and beyond, and a statewide system of support for all schools. The focus of Race to the Top is not aligned with our statewide approach, and it would require significant policy and legislative changes that are not consistent with the good work happening across the state.”Because Race to the Top is based on a point system that favors states with extensive data gathering systems, established teacher pay-for-performance agreements, existing state legislation for charter schools and broad indications of support from school boards, superintendents and education associations, it is unlikely that Vermont would be seriously considered for these specific grant funds, Vilaseca said.Vermont currently does not have a statewide evaluation system of teachers and principals nor is there an existing system of tying teacher compensation to student achievement. In addition, Vermont does not have any charter school legislation nor any charter schools currently operating. The Vermont Department of Education recently conducted an informal, non-binding survey asking its 280 school districts if they were “likely” or “not likely” to support the application. Based on the sample of returns, it did not appear there was widespread support for the initiative.“We will continue to work with education leaders in moving Vermont’s public education system forward,” said Deputy Commissioner Rae Ann Knopf. “We plan to pursue several initiatives that are already underway in Vermont, such as national common core standards, the statewide system of school support, longitudinal data systems and alternate pathways to licensure. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners on advancing the tenets of the Transformation Policy Commission’s Opportunities to Learn and the department’s Roots of Success documents. This is a time of thoughtful and collaborative change in Vermont education, and it is important now – more than ever – that we focus on what is truly working for Vermont students.”Ken Page, Executive Director of the Vermont Principals Association, released the following statement: “It is clear to us that the Commissioner of Education, and indeed the entire Vermont Education community, has weighed this decision carefully and well. The Vermont Principals’ Association supports the decision not to pursue this one-size-fits-all approach to school improvement. We are proud that Vermont schools are considered some of the best in the nation. Our schools will improve, not by simply throwing money at the problem, not by blaming and shaming school leaders and their communities, but by a concerted and deliberate effort by school personnel to work together to systematically address areas of need. The 21st century demands that we have a curriculum that is wider than just math and reading: our students must be highly skilled, highly motivated and well-rounded in all curricular areas. The Race to the Top competition is a distraction from the real work that must be done by Vermont’s fine teachers and leaders.”Vermont education officials noted that other states are also considering passing on the opportunity of applying for these particular funds. The Kansas State Board of Education voted last week 9-0 not to apply for the funds.Source: Vermont DOE. 4.26.2010###last_img read more

Vermont best as US foreclosure activity drops to lowest level since November 2008

first_imgVermont had the lowest foreclosure activity in the nation in November, with 10 foreclosures at a rate of only 1 for every 31,262 units. North Dakota was a very distant second with 49 foreclosures for a rate of 1 in 6,395. New Hampshire had 561 foreclosures for a rate of 1 in 1,064.RealtyTrac (www.realtytrac.com(link is external)), the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, has released its US Foreclosure Market Report for November 2010, which shows foreclosure filings ‘ default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions ‘ were reported on 262,339 US properties in November, a 21 percent decrease from the previous month and a 14 percent decrease from November 2009. One in every 492 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing during the month.‘Foreclosure activity decreased dramatically in November, with fewer than 300,000 properties receiving a foreclosure notice for the first time since February 2009,’ said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer at RealtyTrac. ‘While part of the decrease can be attributed to a seasonal drop of 7 to 10 percent that typically occurs in November, fallout from the foreclosure robo-signing controversy forced lenders and servicers to hit the pause button on many foreclosures while they scrambled to revamp their internal procedures and revise or resubmit questionable paperwork.’Both the 21 percent month-over-month decrease and 14 percent year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity were the highest drops recorded since RealtyTrac began publishing the US Foreclosure Report in January 2005.Foreclosure Activity by TypeA total of 78,955 U.S. properties received default notices (NOD, LIS) in November, a 21 percent decrease from the previous month and a 31 percent decrease from November 2009 ‘ the 10th straight annual decrease in default notices. November’s default notices total was the lowest since July 2007.Default notices in states that practice judicial foreclosures (called Lis Pendens filings) decreased 31 percent from the previous month and were down 43 percent from November 2009. Meanwhile non-judicial default notices (NOD) decreased 9 percent from the previous month and were down 12 percent from November 2009.Foreclosure auctions (NTS, NFS) were scheduled for the first time on a total of 115,956 U.S. properties in November, a 16 percent decrease from the previous month and unchanged from November 2009. Scheduled judicial foreclosure auctions (NFS) decreased 34 percent from the previous month and were down 12 percent from November 2009, while scheduled non-judicial foreclosure auctions (NTS) decreased 7 percent from the previous month but increased 5 percent from November 2009.Lenders foreclosed on 67,428 U.S. properties in November, down 28 percent from the previous month and down 12 percent from November 2009. Bank repossessions (REOs) decreased month-over-month in 37 states and the District of Columbia. November’s REO total was the lowest since May 2009, but November’s numbers pushed the year-to-date 2010 REO total to more than 980,000 ‘ already above the record year-end total for 2009.Nevada, Utah, California post top state foreclosure ratesDespite a 20 percent monthly decrease in foreclosure activity, Nevada posted the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate for the 47th straight month. One in every 99 Nevada housing units received a foreclosure filing in November ‘ nearly five times the national average.Thanks in part to sharp monthly drops in foreclosure activity in Arizona, Florida, California and Michigan, Utah’s foreclosure rate leapfrogged to second highest among the states in November after being sixth highest the previous month. One in every 221 Utah housing units received a foreclosure notice during the month ‘ more than twice the national average.With one in every 233 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in November, California posted the nation’s third highest foreclosure rate despite a nearly 14 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from the previous month and a 22 percent decrease in foreclosure activity from November 2009.Other states with foreclosure rates ranking among the top 10 in November were Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Idaho, Illinois and Colorado.10 states account for more than 70 percent of national totalCalifornia alone accounted for 22 percent of the national total in November, with 57,378 properties receiving a foreclosure filing during the month ‘ the nation’s highest state total. Default notices in California, which is primarily a non-judicial foreclosure state, decreased 11 percent from the previous month, while scheduled auctions decreased 2 percent and bank repossessions decreased 40 percent.With 32,938 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in November, Florida posted the second highest state total despite a 42 percent drop in foreclosure activity from the previous month. Default notices in Florida, which is a judicial foreclosure state, decreased 52 percent from the previous month, while scheduled auctions decreased 46 percent and bank repossessions decreased 20 percent.With 15,311 properties receiving a foreclosure filing in November, Michigan posted the third highest state total despite a 21 percent drop in foreclosure activity from the previous month. Default notices in Michigan, which is primarily a non-judicial foreclosure state, decreased 4 percent from the previous month, while scheduled auctions decreased 20 percent and REOs decreased 35 percent.Georgia posted the fourth highest state total, with 14,423 properties receiving a foreclosure filing, and Texas posted the fifth highest state total, with 13,369 properties receiving a foreclosure filing. Both states ‘ which are primarily non-judicial foreclosure states with short foreclosure processes that do not require a public default notice separate from the published foreclosure auction notice ‘ documented double-digit percentage increases in scheduled auctions from the previous month but also documented double-digit percentage decreases in bank repossessions from the previous month.Other states with foreclosure activity totals among the nation’s 10 highest in November were Illinois (12,941), Nevada (11,371), Ohio (10,458), Arizona (10,384) and Pennsylvania (5,672).Top 10 metro foreclosure rates in Nevada, California and FloridaWith one in every 86 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in November, the Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., metro area maintained the nation’s highest foreclosure rate among metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more. Las Vegas foreclosure activity decreased 19 percent from the previous month but was up 21 percent from November 2009.Reno-Sparks, Nev., also posted a foreclosure rate in the top 10, at No. 8 with one in every 150 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in November.Seven California cities posted foreclosure rates that ranked in the top 10: Stockton at No. 2 with one in every 130 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing; Bakersfield at No. 3 (one in 133 housing units); Modesto at No. 4 (one in 135 housing units); Vallejo-Fairfield at No. 5 (one in 144 housing units); Merced at No. 6 (one in 147 housing units); Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario at No. 7 (one in 148 housing units); and Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville at No. 9 (one in 163 housing units).Big monthly drops in foreclosure activity in many Florida metro areas resulted in only one metro area in the state with a foreclosure rate ranking among the top 10: Port St. Lucie at No. 10 with one in every 173 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in November.Report methodologyThe RealtyTrac U.S. Foreclosure Market Report provides a count of the total number of properties with at least one foreclosure filing entered into the RealtyTrac database during the month ‘ broken out by type of filing. Some foreclosure filings entered into the database during the month may have been recorded in previous months. Data is collected from more than 2,200 counties nationwide, and those counties account for more than 90 percent of the U.S. population. RealtyTrac’s report incorporates documents filed in all three phases of foreclosure: Default ‘ Notice of Default (NOD) and Lis Pendens (LIS); Auction ‘ Notice of Trustee Sale and Notice of Foreclosure Sale (NTS and NFS); and Real Estate Owned, or REO properties (that have been foreclosed on and repurchased by a bank). The report does not count a property again if it receives the same type of foreclosure filing multiple times within the estimated foreclosure timeframe for the state where the property is located. Source: IRVINE, Calif. ‘ Dec. 16, 2010 ‘ RealtyTrac® (www.realtytrac.com(link is external)last_img read more

Justice Sonia Sotomayor to headline Vermont’s 15th Annual Women’s Economic Conference

first_imgSenator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) says this year’s 15th Annual Vermont Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference, set for Saturday, October 8, in Randolph, will feature a special guest: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Leahy said Justice Sotomayor will begin this year’s sessions with a question-and-answer forum with conference-goers.   ‘Marcelle and I are delighted that she is coming to Vermont,’ said Leahy.  ‘She personifies the American Dream, and her life and achievements already have inspired so many.  She is a perfect match for this conference and its purpose.’ This is the 15th year for the popular day-long conferences, which Leahy launched 15 years ago.  The free sessions will be hosted at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, Vermont, with lunch and child care included.  This year’s practical, how-to workshops will offer tools for women at all stages of professional development, to expand and succeed in business planning and strategic media planning, to hone leadership skills, and to discover and apply techniques in work-and-life balance.  Online registration for the conference begins September 6 at www.leahy.senate.gov(link is external). (FRIDAY, Aug. 26) — Senator Patrick Leahylast_img read more

‘Plug and Play’ Solar Finds Markets in Nebraska and Ohio

first_img‘Plug and Play’ Solar Finds Markets in Nebraska and Ohio FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Midwest Energy News:Utility customers in Ohio and Nebraska are among those taking advantage of a new and simpler technique for connecting solar arrays and other renewable energy systems to the grid.ConnectDER, as it’s known, generally eliminates the need to enter a home and it greatly reduces the amount of electrical work required.“It allows you to inject the solar on the customer side of the meter prior to getting into the home,” said Michael Shonka, a solar installer who has put the new equipment in a half-dozen homes in the Omaha area. “This means we can cut out $1,000 to $2,000 worth of cost in the system because you don’t need electricians to go through foundations trying to get to the service panel, and you don’t need to rearrange the panel.”Some people know it as “plug and play” solar.The ConnectDER “collar” plugs into the meter socket, typically on the outside of the house, and then the meter plugs into the ConnectDER, meaning that the solar panels’ inverter connects directly with the meter without having to go through the household service panel.In Nebraska, the Omaha Public Power District approved the equipment this past summer, and the Lincoln Electric System is now evaluating it. In Ohio, utilities in Tipp City, Yellow Springs and Westerville permit the new technology, as do about a dozen other utilities from Vermont to California and Hawaii.Shonka said he is “always looking for innovations in the industry,” and heard about ConnectDER at an industry meeting.“I recognized this as being a problem because every time I went to do an installation, I ran into issues with how to make the electrical connection.” The last few feet of wiring, he said, “are very expensive. You have to get through foundations, run wire in conduit through the inside of the house, rearrange the circuit-breaker box.”Marketing the product is time-consuming, said ConnectDER’s product manager, Jon Knauer, because, “Each new market that we want to sell it into requires utility approval. Over time that gets easier, because once we have a couple utilities sign off, the others tend to follow along. We’re still in the phase of opening up new markets.”He’s hopeful that in the Midwest, with its numerous municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives, the technology may spread more rapidly than in other regions.Smaller non-profit utilities “make decisions fairly quickly. The (Omaha Public Power District) approved it in a month or two, which isn’t very long. And there are a lot of statewide municipal or co-op associations that you can take the product to and say, ‘This group of utilities similar to you are doing this, and maybe you should think about doing the same.’”More: New connection technology is cutting cost of solar installationlast_img read more

EPA plan won’t change price advantage of gas over coal

first_imgEPA plan won’t change price advantage of gas over coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The New York Times:America’s ailing coal industry was buoyed on Tuesday when the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a proposal to relax pollution regulations on coal-fired power plants. President Trump traveled to West Virginia to tout the planned measure, telling supporters, “We’re putting our great coal miners back to work.”Yet the reality on the ground for the nation’s coal industry remains bleak. Even the Trump administration’s own numbers suggest that its latest proposal won’t reverse the sharp decline of coal power, which has been crushed by competition from cheaper natural gas and renewable energy over the past decade.More than 200 coal plants have shut down since 2010, and another 40 plants have announced they will close in the years ahead, with virtually no new coal plants being built today.At best, if finalized, the E.P.A.’s newest rollback could help a small number of those endangered coal plants stave off retirement for a bit longer, albeit at the expense of increased air pollution. But even in that scenario, the agency’s own analysis showed, coal power would still decline by 20 percent between now and 2030 and coal mining would drop by one-third. “This is like throwing a few snowballs into a blizzard,” said Tom Sanzillo, director of finance at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. “You might see a plant here or a plant there that benefits from the new rules. But we’re talking about very minor changes compared with the significant gap between the cost of coal and the cost of natural gas.”More: Trump’s New Pollution Rules Still Won’t Save the Coal Industrylast_img read more

Tesla testing novel community storage initiative in Western Australia

first_imgTesla testing novel community storage initiative in Western Australia FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Ars Technica:A community storage pilot project using Tesla batteries went live this week in Western Australia, three months ahead of schedule. The 105KW/420KWh pooled storage will act as a sort of locker for excess power produced by homes with solar panels.The project is an unusual one because it pools battery capacity for homes with solar panels. It was funded by energy company Synergy and government-owned Western Power, which sought 52 customers with solar panels on their homes as participants. The 52 shares of the project were snapped up in two weeks, far more quickly than expected, which accelerated the project’s timeline.Participants will each be allotted 8kWh of storage, which they will “fill” with excess power created by their rooftop solar panels during the day. (This is in theory, of course. Solar-generated electricity can flow back onto the grid, but there’s no guarantee that the battery will be charged with solar-generated electrons.) In the evening, customers will “be able to draw electricity back from the PowerBank during peak time without having to outlay upfront costs for a behind-the-meter battery storage system,” says a press release from the government of Western Australia.The model is similar to that of community solar projects, which have become popular in the US. Rather than spend money on expensive solar panels (or batteries, in this case), homeowners can opt in to a collective project. A managing company will put up the upfront costs and collect payment in installations. The Western Australian community battery project will cost participants AUD$1 (USD$0.73) per day for 24 months, although the participants will be able to opt out of the program at any time. Still, if a customer would normally buy electricity from Western Power in the evening after the sun goes down, participating in a program like this should save them money.More: Tesla battery will power unusual community storage project in Western Australialast_img read more