The Circumferential Highway experienced a small victory recently when it came to light that the Federal Highway Administration had issued an ROD or Record of Decision, giving the good-to-go on the current design and location of the proposed highway. This thumbs-up to the Vermont Agency of Transportation, however, is far from a green light on the actual construction of the highway, which still faces an “end of road, turn back” sign from the Environmental Protection Agency.The giant undertaking of connecting Interstate-89 in Williston with 117 and 289 in Essex has been riddled with problems since planning began in the early 1980s and the original layout for the road was declared dead by Governor Shumlin at a press conference in May of this year. The new proposal, known as Alternative 17 or what was previously referred to as the Circumferential A/B Boulevard, is not expected to be any less divisive.Sue Minter, the Deputy Secretary Agency of Transportation, told Vermont Business Magazine that the Circumferential A/B Boulevard is still ‘a long way off’ and that there are ‘many permitting battles ahead.’A letter to Governor Shumlin and Colonel Philip T Feir of the US Army Corps of Engineers in May from H Curtis Spalding, the regional administrator of the EPA, stated the EPA’s position quite clearly on the A/B Boulevard. Spalding wrote, ‘The Circ A/B alternatives, including VTrans’ preferred (Alternative 17) do not satisfy the Clean Water Act 404(b)(1) guidelines and that the Corps should deny VTrans’ permit application. Ending this project would enable all of us to turn our collective energies toward developing an environmentally sound solution to the regional transportation needs of Chittenden County, an objective my Agency is ready to help address.’The letter went on to state numerous problems with the proposed alternative including ‘increased phosphorus loadings to Lake Champlain… the loss or alteration of an entire network of headwaters streams that is an essential source of clean cold water for Allen Brook,’ which already has been designated an ‘impaired water,’ and ‘likely violations of water quality criteria in affected streams during construction.’According to the letter, dated May 9, at least one more permit battle has been guaranteed. It concluded, ‘â ¦if the Corps notifies the EPA of its intent to issue a permit for Alternative 17/Circ A/B based upon the existing record, I intend to initiate the 404(c) process under the Clean Water Act. In light of the significant ecological damage that Alternative 17/Circ A/B would cause, I encourage the state to reconsider its support for the alternative, and I renew the recommendation I have made previously to the Corps that it deny the permit application.’Minter said that the Shumlin administration wants to move forward, but without getting swamped down in legal battles. She said that this less contentious path is being sought out in numerous ways including meetings with the Metropolitan Planning Organization and bringing together the ‘Circ’ communities (Essex town, Williston, Colchester) to better examine integral parts of the plan such as the reduction of traffic and mitigation in key areas, environmental impact, etc.Although contingent on legal proceedings, the A/B Boulevard is planned to be constructed in two parts: Part ‘A’ will consist of a route connecting I-89 to Mountain View Road in Williston; and part ‘B’ will connect Mountain View Road to VT-289, going over the Winooski River into Essex. The road will consist of at-grade, signaled crossing at US 2 and Mountain View Road, two lanes in each direction (four total), and a 16-foot median separating them.Many Williston resident have expressed concern that the approved plan, particularly part A, will bring about more congestion and traffic problems in the future, one of the problems that the highway is supposed to alleviate. It has also been suggested that the B Boulevard should be built first, rather than A to more quickly reduce traffic at the five corners intersection in Essex Junction.Some believe that the construction schedule has been arranged accordingly to give priority to IBM, which is located off Redmond Road at Mountain View Road in Williston, in gaining more control of their transportation needs. The Chittenden Solid Waste District or CSWD, also located off of Redmond Road, would also be significantly impacted by the installation. The extent of this impact, under the current plan, hasn’t been fully determined.When the construction of either part of Alternative 17 is set to begin, if ever, is still up in the air. Minter concluded of the plan, ‘We know it’s going to be disputed.’Neel Tandan, Vermont Business Magazine. Circ won’t be built, alternatives sought and needed | Vermont…May 31, 2011 … Governor Peter Shumlin in May announced that the Circumferential Highway ‘is not dead.’ He then essentially threw a load of dirt on its … RELATED: Circ highway plan clears major environmental hurdle | Vermont …Jul 7, 2010 … As a result of these discussions, the original Circ alternative that called for construction of a limited access highway with a 50 mph speed …
Photo by Reenan OztkurkModern day climbing legend Dean Potter, 43, has died in a BASE jumping accident in Yosemite National Park. According to reports, the accident occurred on Saturday May 16 just after 7:30 p.m., when Potter and BASE jumping partner Graham Hunt donned wing suits and dove from the 7,500 foot Taft Point.A search and rescue effort was initiated sometime after the jump when the pair’s spotter failed to connect with them. According to Outside Online, she heard sounds that could have resulted from either impact or parachute deployment, but was optimistic that Potter and Hunt might have been detained since BASE jumping is illegal in Yosemite National Park.The initial effort was fruitless, but when searching resumed the next morning Yosemite search-and-rescue crews recovered the bodies of both Hunt and Potter. Neither of the men’s parachutes had been deployed.Potter was known for his record setting speed climbs of El Capitan, BASE jumping stunts, and for breathing life into the sport of high-lining in the mid-2000s. He drew controversy in 2006 when he free soloed the iconic Delicate Arch in Utah’s Arches National Park (a climb that cost him his Patagonia sponsorship), and more recently, when he modified a wing suit to accommodate his Miniature Australian Cattle Dog Whisper.Potter is survived by Whisper and his girlfriend Jennifer Rapp.
By Lorena Baires/Diálogo May 07, 2020 U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-Bravo) is deploying its humanitarian arm in Central America to strengthen response capabilities and halt the rapid spread of COVID-19.JTF-Bravo is sending health supplies to protect doctors, nurses, service members, and police forces. This aid began to reach the region in early April. El Salvador was one of the first countries to receive U.S. support, with deliveries of basic health supplies to stock up containment centers, where people potentially infected with COVID-19 receive treatment.During the Vita exercise, the medical evacuation team of JTF-Bravo’s 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, trained together with the Colombian Military Forces on victim assistance and air transport operations to improve capabilities and increase interoperability. (Photo: Joint Task Force Bravo)The United States has also sent food rations to service members in the field who prevent people from evading health controls. “The Sumpul Command, deployed in more than 186 illegal border crossings, received meals ready-to-eat donated by the U.S. military,” said Salvadoran Naval Force Rear Admiral René Merino, El Salvador’s minister of Defense. “They have also sent disinfecting gel and masks, because personnel are in contact with many people every day.”JTF-Bravo practiced setting up a field hospital to care for its COVID-19 patients internally, if it were to be needed, at its José Enrique Soto Cano Air Base headquarters in Comayagua, Honduras. This would allow them to avoid burdening the local health system. According to a press release, their Army Forces Battalion has also rehearsed a plan to treat and evacuate infected service members, while the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment has been conducting humanitarian assistance training and demonstrating its ability to mobilize forces when needed during a crisis.Months before the virus was detected in the region, several armed forces refreshed their knowledge in emergency interoperability.“The best strengths our military provides are the tangible U.S. commitment to alleviate human suffering and for people to know that they will receive the help they need,” said U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Laura Miller, JTF-Bravo’s Civil Affairs officer in Honduras.An example of this assistance was the Vita exercise, conducted in La Guajira region of Colombia in March 2020, to offer preventive care, and public health, pharmacy, and dentistry services.“We have significantly increased the task force’s readiness to execute humanitarian assistance operations in austere environments, which is particularly critical, because aviation crews needed to become familiar with the unique demands of flying over mountainous and desert terrain,” said U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Bob Yerkey, head of Operations for JTF-Bravo. “Our civil and medical affairs staff has made valuable contacts that will prove essential in future humanitarian assistance operations.”In another exercise in Panama’s Darién province, conducted in December 2019, JTF-Bravo and Panama’s Public Force worked to respond to a simulated disaster following a natural event. “This exercise became a forum for various agencies to come together and solve problems, such as displacement of people, food assistance, and humanitarian supplies to communities,” said Lt. Col. Miller, who led the exercise. “We not only strengthened ties between countries, but also between civilian and military response agencies. [It’s] a cooperation effort currently being put into practice.”“All the above are on top of the numerous medical preparation exercises and other activities that we coordinate in the region. By working with partner nations’ forces, we are prepared to face together the challenges of today and tomorrow,” said U.S. Air Force Captain Beau Downey, head of JTF-Bravo’s Public Affairs. “The most relevant competency both sides get is interoperability; we build relationships with each other and learn where contact points are, so as to use them quickly during a crisis.”
The advent of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has turned the consumer complaint process into a compliance event.It’s no longer enough to take consumer complaint calls and strive for good service, says Jared Ihrig, CUNA’s chief compliance officer.“The CFPB wants to see how you’re managing those calls and how you’re tracking them,” he says. “They want spreadsheets and pie charts that show when the calls came in and how long it took to resolve the issue, and if the error was extrapolated across the membership and remediated with all the members who had the same issue.“They want to know if you changed your policies, procedures, and product offerings so the same complaint does not happen again.”CFPB is closely scrutinizing regulators to ensure they’re documenting these issues. continue reading » 17SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
Constant temperature checks, a “no mask, no service” ethos, and high-tech people-tracking: welcome to the new normal in China, where reminders of the country’s national mobilization against the coronavirus lurk around every corner.China appears to be coming to grips with the virus, which emerged late last year and has infected more than 80,000 people and killed nearly 3,000 in the country, but has slowed markedly in recent weeks.But that has come at the cost of new preventive policies that have turned life upside down and are not likely to be swiftly abandoned. The changes wrought by a contagion spread by humans and their travels is particularly felt when trying to move around within China, as AFP journalists discovered during recent trips from Shanghai up to the borders of the viral epicenter of Hubei province.Reminders of the virus begin as soon as one leaves home, with masked cab drivers in white gloves quick to admonish any passengers who forget to wear masks.Some drivers are going even further. In the city of Wenzhou, about four hours by train from Shanghai, AFP reporters jumped into car called via Didi Chuxing — China’s answer to Uber — in which a clear plastic barrier was stretched over a makeshift frame to separate driver and passengers.Didi Chuxing piloted the project in a handful of hard-hit cities and plans to spend 100 million yuan ($14 million) to expand it. Topics : ‘Sold-out’ trains Travellers booking tickets aboard the country’s efficient high-speed rail network lately are surprised to find that, despite travel being depressed by virus fears, popular booking apps like Ctrip invariably list most trains as “sold out” or with only a handful of seats left.But one such Wenzhou-bound train was full of empty seats. That is because only a fraction of tickets are being made available to prevent travellers sitting too close to each other.”We are sorry for the confusion, but China’s high-speed rail systems are contributing to the patriotic hygiene campaign. We hope you find this convenient,” said a young female train attendant.With the government calling for an all-out “People’s War” against the virus, tech champions like Alibaba and Tencent have rolled out digital mobile-phone apps that use big data to track a traveller’s movements going back as far as a month.Users are rated as green, yellow or red based on whether they visited any high-risk zones.Showing one’s code to security personnel is now compulsory in a number of cities to exit train stations, or use public transport.In Wenzhou, cab drivers, hotels, and virtually any business will ask to see the color code before letting someone pass.The system has fuelled new grumbling on China’s internet over previous accusations that the big tech firms were doing the Communist Party’s surveillance work.But most complaints seem to involve “green” ratings inexplicably turning “red”, which can result in mandatory 14-day home quarantine.The pervasive measures attest to the one-party state’s ability to marshal huge resources — financial, material, and human — for mass campaigns couched in 1950s Communist rhetoric.Red banners hang throughout now largely shut-down cities like Wenzhou, lauding the “War of Resistance Against Pneumonia”, and declaring that “Everyone Must Contribute to the Patriotic Hygiene Campaign.” Elbow bumpHotel check-ins have become mini health inspections by masked staff who measure guests’ temperatures by aiming hand-held sensors at foreheads and forearms and record the result.”Have you experienced any fever, felt unwell or visited Hubei recently?” a Wenzhou front-desk clerk asked.The temperature obsession can be taken to absurd lengths, with some hotels re-measuring guests who had stepped out only minutes earlier. On one day, an AFP reporter moving around Wenzhou had his temperature taken a dozen times, including by cab drivers, restaurant owners, convenience-store clerks, hotel security, front-desk staff and a final late-night knock on the door by a female hotel employee.”Do not walk forward! Be still please,” she snapped, before a light beep announced the result.”It’s normal. Enjoy your evening.”Beijing is pushing a long-term fight and local governments will no doubt be fearful of letting up even slightly anytime soon and being blamed for a new outbreak.That means even some of society’s most time-honored practices are on hold.When an AFP reporter presented a business card to a government liaison officer in Wenzhou, she recoiled and asked that it be placed on a table.And when it came time to shake another official’s hand, the man refused, laughing nervously.”For safety, we don’t really shake hands at the current time,” he said, instead sticking forward the crook of his arm for an “elbow bump.”
Flag Order, Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf has ordered the Commonwealth flag in the City of New Castle to fly at half-staff to honor New Castle Police Detective Sergeant Brian Cuscino.Detective Sergeant Brian Cuscino passed during training on April 19, 2018.The Commonwealth flag shall be lowered immediately, Friday, April 20, 2018, through interment. All Pennsylvanians are invited to participate in this tribute.Flying of the United States flag shall follow the current order in honor of former First Lady Barbara Bush. Governor Wolf Orders the Commonwealth Flag at Half-Staff to Honor New Castle Police Detective Sergeant Brian Cuscino April 20, 2018 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
The measures would also give asset managers the ability to improve their management fee disclosure, as well as to decide on whether to use the AMF’s fund classification, which has now been made optional.Other measures would allow management firms to use a wider range of liquidity management tools to manage their investment strategies in the best way, and make use of new pre-marketing possibilities, the organisations said.The AMF and the AFG also said FROG would institute an annual meeting to make sure the initiative continued developing.They named Jean-Louis Laurens as ambassador for the French asset management industry to promote the sector’s strengths within professional bodies and to major international investors.Laurens has been managing partner and chairman of the management committee of Rothschild & Cie Gestion since 2009, and headed up Robeco’s French subsidiaries from from 2005 to 2009. A newly established working group set up to make France’s asset management industry more attractive to foreign investors has outlined a series of steps to reach the goal.France’s Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) and the French asset management association – the Association Française de la Gestion Financière (AFG) – set up the working group earlier this year, calling it FROG as an acronym for “French Routes and Opportunities Garden”.FROG has now produced a report on the outcome of its deliberations including seven concrete measures.These seven steps will help the industry to compete on an international level by letting investors choose fund subscription and redemption solutions from a comprehensive catalogue, and giving them access to SICAVs (open-ended investment companies) that have opted to comply with a governance charter, the AMF and the AFG said.
QFES has raised grave concerns about the use of flammable insulation in the Cairns Performing Arts Centre’s (CPAC)construction, which could jeopardise its planned opening and cost ratepayers big money. Insulation is behind the cladding. PICTURE: JUSTIN BRIERTYWITH two Cairns city landmarks already coming under scrutiny for the cladding and insulation choice, property owners in the tourist mecca of Port Douglas have been encouraged to get a better understanding of new legislation around the materials.Cladding and insulation from the Cairns Performing Arts Centre is yet to be confirmed safe after the $71.1 million project was entered on a list of 735 buildings across the Cairns region — including the Cairns Hospital’s new wing — with potentially unsafe aluminium composite cladding.Cairns is not the only region dealing with fallout from strict new combustible cladding laws. Cladding has been used on buildings since the mid-1990s to improve appearance, but events such as the London Grenfell Tower tragedy and the Melbourne Lacrosse fire have highlighted that certain types of cladding can contribute to propagation of flames and the rapid spread of fire to other parts of the building.More from newsCairns home ticks popular internet search terms2 days agoTen auction results from ‘active’ weekend in Cairns2 days agoThe new legislation, which comes into effect on October 1, will affect an estimated 12,000 privately-owned strata buildings in Queensland built or refurbished after January 1, 1994. The initial stage will require bodies corporate to register and complete an online checklist to determine cladding risk with additional stages required depending on the stage 1 outcome.Failure to comply with the new Queensland regulations within the specified time frames can result in hefty fines of up to $33,290.25 and stage 1 compliance is only 180 days so these regulations cannot be ignored. The new legislation follows the introduction of similar measures in NSW and Victoria.Archers the Strata Professionals partner Grant Mifsud said seminars would be held at the Pullman Sea Temple Port Douglas on October 25 from 5.30pm-7.30pm, in response to the introduction of the Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018.“If you own property in a low medium or high-rise strata scheme, these regulations will affect you,” Mr Mifsud said.“Combustible cladding inspection specialists as well as legal experts will present the facts and provide practical solutions to achieve compliance within the specific time frames required for each stage. An open forum designed to enable audience interaction will follow, led by our industry expert panellists with a further networking session after the panel discussion over refreshment.”
Australian LNG player Santos said on Wednesday it has signed a new long-term natural gas supply agreement with Brickworks Limited for its east coast operations through to the end of 2024.The natural gas contracted to Brickworks will supply its east coast operations in South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales.Santos will supply up to 15PJ of natural gas over the life of the agreement from fields in the Cooper Basin.Santos Managing Director and CEO Kevin Gallagher said this natural gas supply agreement “is another demonstration of Santos’ commitment to secure the future of Australian manufacturing jobs.”“Santos is actively participating in the wholesale commercial and industrial market on the east coast, adding to competition in the domestic market and helping deliver more competitive natural gas prices and terms for Australian industry,” Gallagher said.Since 2015 Santos has reduced connected well costs in Queensland by 84 per cent and completed well costs in the Cooper by 50 percent to become Australia’s lowest cost onshore natural gas developer, the company claims.“Drilling more wells and lowering production costs – extracting more gas for less money – is the best way to keep downward pressure on gas prices,” Gallagher saidSantos added that it is on track to supply about 70 PJ of gas to the east coast market in 2018, which is almost 13 percent of expected demand this year.
The Batesville C-Team baseball won on Tuesday May 1st at home against Greensburg in 5 innings by a score of 12-2.Conner Roleson pitched a complete game, giving up 6 hits and striking out 4 while only walking 2.Batesville had 9 hits on the day. Leading the way offensively was Cory Ralston, Nolan Williams and Austin Cornn with 2 hits each. Ben Obendorf, Jeremiah Lemmel and Justin Heiser also had 1 hit each.Several strong defensive plays and aggressive baserunning were key to the win.The win puts the C-Team at 1-3 on the year, with the next game scheduled for Thursday May 3rd at East Central.Batesville C-Team baseball fell to Connersville on Saturday April 28th at home by the score of 20-9.Batesville had 9 hits in the game. Leading the way with hits was Jeremiah Lemmel and Conner Roleson with 2 hits each. Cory Ralston got the start on the mound and was relieved by Nolan Williams and Conner Roleson.The loss puts the C-Team at 0-3 on the year. The next game is at home on Tuesday May 1st against Greensburg.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Brian Roleson.