The partnership between University of Georgia Cooperative Extension and the Georgia Pecan Commission yielded a new area pecan agent position for the Southeast District this year.The two entities co-funded the position that will be filled by Andrew Sawyer beginning May 1. Sawyer will work with growers and county agents in southeast Georgia, while UGA Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells continues to serve producers in southwest Georgia and statewide.“I am so excited about this partnership between the pecan industry and UGA Extension. This is a great example of how everyone in the agricultural industry in Georgia works together to identify needs and solve problems,” said Laura Perry Johnson, associate dean for UGA Extension. “Andrew is the perfect person to be UGA Extension’s pecan expert in southeast Georgia. I look forward to seeing the great things that come from this partnership.”Sawyer has served as the Wilcox County Extension coordinator and Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) agent since October 2017. Prior to that, he was the ANR agent in Thomas County for six years.“I think it’s going to be a great experience. It’s going to be awesome working with the pecan team,” Sawyer said. “It’s going to be awesome working with the agents. I feel like I know a lot of them. I’ve met so many growers already at the last two pecan meetings in Tifton.”Sawyer’s addition to the pecan team is timely since there has been an increase in the number of trees being planted in the southeastern part of the state over the past decade. Although the majority of Georgia’s crop lies in southwest Georgia in Mitchell, Dougherty and Lee counties, Tattnall County in southeast Georgia was ranked No. 6 in farm gate value for pecans in 2017 with $16.1 million, according to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.“The pecan acreage in that part of the state has grown a lot in the last five to 10 years. Some of those areas, it’s a three and a half hour drive one way to get to them and that limits the amount of time you’re able to spend with them on the ground,” Wells said. “It’s going to be very helpful for them and all of us to have Andrew over there and accessible to those growers.”It’s a critical year for Georgia pecan farmers. Hurricane Michael hit southwest Georgia last October, decimating the pecan industry by causing more than $560 million in direct losses. Producers are currently making decisions about whether they should replant, what varieties to plant and how to overcome low market prices.“There probably will be more questions that come up this year, more problems that need to be looked at in the field,” said Lanair Worsham, vice chairman of the Georgia Pecan Commission. “It’s going to work well (having Sawyer join the pecan team).”For more information about Georgia pecans, see https://site.extension.uga.edu/pecan/.
On the afternoon of January 15, 2004 at his weekly press conference Governor Jim Douglas declared January “Vermont Mentoring Month.” Vermont mentors and their youth matches looked on.The Vermont Mentoring Partnership (VMP), a project of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, is spearheading Vermont’s celebration of National Mentoring Month, as designated by President George Bush in early January. The VMP connects youth and adults in mentoring programs throughout Vermont, supporting mentor programs statewide and serving over 2,000 youth.The theme for National Mentoring Month is “Who mentored you? Thank them … and pass it on! Mentor a child.” The philosophy behind “Who mentored you?” is to encourage individuals to recognize the importance of mentoring by inspiring them to think about people in their own lives who provided support, and helped them learn and become who they are today.At Thursday’s press conference, Governor Douglas stated: “The State of Vermont is working to expand mentoring and other volunteer activities… Mentoring reflects the great strength of the human connection. This sense of belonging is the heart and soul of the people of Vermont… Mentors are friends, teachers, coaches, and role models. They open doors of opportunity, convey values, and help provide the stability and compassion that youth of today need to succeed… They provide experiences for our youth to explore new careers, and opportunities that help prepare the future workforce of Vermont, helping to build a strong economy.”Research shows that youth-adult mentor matches improve student grades, school attendance, career options, family relationships, and prevent drug and alcohol initiation. One of several dozen state partnerships created by the National Mentoring Partnership, the VMP provides training, certification, workshops, conferences, and technical assistance to the Vermont mentoring community.A media campaign accompanies VMP’s community outreach and educational activities during this month. For more information about mentoring in Vermont, log on to the Vermont Mentoring Partnership website (www.vtmentoring.org(link is external)).
The Vermont Ski Museum is pleased to announce the 2009 Inductees into the Vermont Ski Museum Hall of Fame: Bill Beck, Erlon “Bucky” Broomhall, Suzy Chaffee, and Bobo Sheehan. The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to honor athletes, special contributors, and pioneers of Vermont skiing who promoted and/or contributed to the sport of skiing in Vermont; to document the histories of Inductees in the Museum’s collection; and to recognize their accomplishments through the Induction ceremony and the Hall of Fame exhibit. This year’s Induction ceremony will be on Saturday, October 24, 2009 at the Old Town Hall Theater in Middlebury, Vermont. Bill Beck, of Middlebury, Vermont, was a member of the National Ski Team from 1951-1957. He had the best downhill finish by an American male with his fifth place in the downhill at the 1952 Olympic Games. His record stood for 32 years until Bill Johnson won the gold medal in 1984. Beck also finished 5th, in 1952, in the prestigious Alberg-Kandahar Downhill, again a best ever by an American skier. He was a member of the 1954 World Championship Team, the 1956 Olympic Team Captain, and coach of the 1960 Olympic team. He remained active in the ski industry after retiring as a coach, industry representative, sport shop owner. Robert “Bobo” Sheehan was a legendary coach from 1945-1968. He skied on the Newport Vermont High School team in 1939, 1940 before joining the Middlebury class of’44. Sheehan coached the Middlebury women’s team in 1946 and led the Middlebury men in 1948 to their first of two consecutive national championship titles. In the same year Becky Fraser ’46, captain of the 1944 and 1945 women’s teams, became the first Middlebury skier to compete for the U.S. Olympic Team. He coached the 1956 US Olympic Team. He was president of the Eastern Collegiate Ski Association and member of the Olympic Ski Games Committee. In 1984, Middlebury College dedicates the Robert “Bobo” Sheehan chairlift in celebration of 50 years of skiing at the College. Sheehan died in 1999. Erlon “Bucky” Broomhall, originally from Rumford, Maine, dedicated his career to giving opportunities to young skiers in Southern Vermont. Broomhall had a successful college career racing for the Western State College Cross Country Ski Team. He came to Bennington in 1966 “to head a total ski program for the kids of all ages from kindergarten through high school.” He coached cross country, jumping and downhill, winning 5 Vermont State High School championships and helping at least 25 skiers to the Junior Olympics. He was one of the first in the nation to coach a girl’s team and brought the first girl’s team to Junior Olympics in 1968. In 1969, he left his coaching position to start the Torger Tokel League, now known as the Bill Koch League to develop skiers not yet in high school. Suzy Chaffee, from Rutland, VT, had a successful career on the US Women’s Ski Team competing in the downhill. Due to a miscalculation in wax, she did not fulfill her Olympic potential in the 1968 Games, but she received press for her silver racing suit. She used this press to launch many ventures including a modeling/endorsement/film career, a designer clothing line, and ski equipment made for women. She has been a strong advocate for women’s equality in sports. She joined the freestyle ski team as professional in 1971 and competed with the men since there was no women’s division; she won titles in 1971-73. She was one of the first two women to serve on the USOC’s Board of Directors; she assisted in the passage of the “Amateur Sport Act of 1978”; she served on president’s council on physical fitness under four administrations. Most recently she founded the Native Voices Foundation with the mission “to create joyful unity through sports and education to heal mother earth for all our children.”
Highway safety advocates today released the 2011 Roadmap Report, the eighth annual report card grading all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their performance when it comes to adopting 15 basic traffic safety laws. This year the report’s publishers, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), focused on the state budgetary impact of highway safety gaps. Vermont moved up to a grade of “yellow,” mostly for its addition of a text-messaging prohibition.”As states debate about keeping their treasuries solvent, lawmakers and governors in many states are blind to obvious legislative actions that will help with the budget crisis,” said Judith Lee Stone, president of Advocates. “The 2011 Roadmap To State Highway Safety Laws shows that adoption of effective state traffic safety laws saves lives and saves taxpayer dollars.”Among the 15 model laws Advocates evaluated in its 2011 Roadmap To State Highway Safety Laws are seat belt, booster seat and motorcycle helmet measures, in addition to restrictions and requirements for teen drivers, all-driver texting bans and tougher impaired driving laws.The federal government estimates that motor vehicle crashes cost society $230 billion every year. In 2009, nearly 34,000 people died in crashes throughout the nation and millions more were injured. This is equivalent to a “crash tax” of more than $800 for every person.”There are both obvious and hidden costs in the millions of deaths and injuries that occur on the nation’s roads every year. Motor vehicle costs are diverting and depleting our nation’s resources at an alarming rate,” said Ted Miller, Principal Research Scientist, Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation. “The Medicaid bill for crashes alone is $8 billion per year. In addition, catastrophic injury patients pour onto the Medicaid rolls to pay their hospital bills. And once they convert to Medicaid, not only do we pay that hospital bill, we pay for all their health care.””Legislators can do more to save lives and prevent serious injuries by passing traffic safety laws than I can ever hope to save in a lifetime of treating patients in the emergency room. For example, Virginia should pass a primary enforcement seat belt law this year to save money from unnecessary Medicaid and other medical expenditures which are accelerating annually. It’s a matter of dollars and sense,” said Dr. Mark R. Sochor, an emergency physician and Associate Professor and Research Director, University of Virginia Department of Emergency Medicine.In this year’s report states were given one of three ratings based on how many of the 15 optimal laws they have: Green (Good); Yellow (Caution – state needs improvement); and Red (Danger – state falls dangerously behind). Placement in one of the three ratings was based solely on whether or not a state had adopted a law as defined in the report, and not on any evaluation of a state’s highway safety education or enforcement programs.In 2010, five states improved their rating from Yellow to Green, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana and Michigan. Two states upgraded from Red to Yellow, Vermont and Wyoming. In all, the District of Columbia and 15 states were rated in the highest rated category of green including New Jersey, Illinois, Oregon, Maryland, New York, Georgia, Delaware, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, Kansas, Minnesota, California and Louisiana. The states with the worst rating of red are South Dakota, Arizona, North Dakota, Virginia, Nebraska, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Explanations for assigning the best and worst ratings can be found at www.saferoads.org(link is external).”Having just participated in the most challenging budget session I’ve experienced in Illinois where we made extremely difficult decisions to get our finances back on track, I can tell you that it is a painful process. There aren’t many stones left unturned in the quest to save our state money,” said Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton (D-6th District, Chicago). “If we hadn’t already passed the great majority of laws rated in Advocates’ Roadmap Report, I would have recommended that we do so right away. States pay a steep price for not having these safety laws and it can add up to many millions of dollars in Medicaid and other health care costs.”In 2010, 13 states enacted one or more of Advocates’ recommended highway safety laws for a total of 22 new laws. No state enacted an all-rider motorcycle helmet law although there were 9 unsuccessful attempts to repeal existing laws. The new laws enacted in all state legislatures are:Primary Enforcement of Seat Belts: Georgia (eliminated pick-up truck exemption) and KansasBooster Seats (children ages 4 through 7): Colorado (upgraded to primary enforcement)Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) for teen drivers: Alabama (passenger and cell phone restrictions), Georgia (cell phone restriction), Kentucky (cell phone restriction), Massachusetts (cell phone restriction), Michigan (nighttime and passenger restriction), Oklahoma (cell phone restriction), Vermont (cell phone restriction), and Washington (cell phone restriction)Impaired Driving: Wisconsin (mandatory BAC testing for drivers who survived)All-Driver Text Messaging Restriction: Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and WyomingThe 2010 report found that an additional 362 new laws need to be adopted in all states and D.C. to fully meet Advocates’ 15 legislative recommendations:19 states still need an optimal primary enforcement seat belt law;30 states still need an optimal all-rider motorcycle helmet law;23 states still need an optimal booster seat law;No state meets all the criteria of Advocates’ recommended GDL program;45 states and DC are missing one or more critical impaired driving laws; and,24 states still need an all-driver text messaging restriction.Addressing today’s National Press Club news conference was Marlene Case, who became a highway safety activist after her 17-year old son Andrew, was killed in a crash involving a teen driver in 2009. “We know that at ages 16 and 17, teens just don’t understand the consequences of reckless behavior,” said Case. “We want parents to hear our story and to join with us to urge lawmakers in Pennsylvania and other states to pass strong laws that limit the number of teen passengers with new drivers, strengthen seatbelt rules, and outlaw use of cell phones. We strongly support federal adoption of the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act (STANDUP) so every teen in every state is protected. It’s too late for Andrew, but it’s not too late for others. These laws don’t cost states any money and only require political leadership.”Bill Martin, Senior Vice President of Farmers Insurance and Insurance Co-Chair of Advocates’ Board of Directors said, “For insurers, the idea that preventing injury and saving lives actually also saves money is not new. But nothing the insurer does can fully bring their customer back from the emotional tragedy suffered by families and friends when car crashes take lives and inflict debilitating injuries.”Also participating in the news announcement was Dr. Grant Baldwin, Director of Unintentional Injury Prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who described a new system that will be available in February to map death rates and estimate costs associated with injury-related deaths at state and county levels.Electronic Press Kit and WebcastAn electronic press kit including the complete 2011 Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws, speaker statements and a replay of today’s news conference webcast can be found at www.saferoads.org(link is external).Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety is a coalition of insurance, consumer, health, safety and law enforcement organizations that work together to advance state and federal highway and vehicle safety laws, programs and policies.SOURCE Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —
‘It is our goal to empower 1,000 Vermonters to be accountable with their lives,’ Salmon said, ‘by providing a system that one can enter by simply declaring individual goals linked to clear outcomes. I’m excited and eager to get the ball rolling.’Salmon joined John Kleinhans, chairman of the Vermont State Colleges Student Association, and Deputy Health Commissioner Barbara Cimaglio, to record a 30-minute program for local access television to help explain the concept and how people can join or learn more. ‘The Vermont Department of Health and our partners are always looking for new ways to improve health outcomes,’ Cimaglio said. ‘Although Vermont is known as the healthiest state, substance abuse, smoking and obesity are still public health challenges. We support this innovative project and look forward to seeing how Vermonters respond.’Accountable to You, Accountable to Me is based on four different goals that Vermonters can pledge to accomplish by the conclusion of 2012, or 12 months from personal enrollment through March 31, 2013: quit smoking, stop drinking, lose 25 pounds, or save $2,012 to donate to a local Vermont charity or an individual project choice. Individuals may modify their declaration of pounds lost or dollars committed. Entrants who stay on course toward their chosen goal will be entered in a monthly prize bowl drawing with a cash reward donated by participants or businesses. Each participant will be paired up with a mentor that will make weekly electronic or phone contact and provide support.Accountable to You, Accountable to Me will be led on a day-to-day basis by John Kleinhans, and is open to all Vermonters. The program will include a social media campaign and active grassroots campaign based through all 14 counties in the state. ‘I am really excited,’ Kleinhans said. ‘This is a morale boosting vehicle where Vermonters can stand up and make themselves better and their communities better after a difficult year. If we could find 1,000 Vermonters to save 2012 dollars for others, that is over 2 million dollarsâ ¦It blows my mind!’ State Auditor Tom Salmon CPA announced the creation of the Accountable to You, Accountable to Me statewide wellness initiative. This program will encourage Vermonters to take a proactive role in their own personal health and wellness by focusing on accountability to one’s self and others who are part of their lives. By signing up to be held accountable to one’s individual health and/or savings goals, Vermonters will employ a new strategy to achieve better personal and community results in the year ahead.Vermonters will have an opportunity to sign up for one of the following categories:· No Use of Alcohol· No Use of Tobacco or any illegal substances· Lose 25 pounds· Save 2,012 dollars to donate to a Vermont charity.
On the Blogs: A ‘Wink and a Nod’ in Regulatory Allowance That Saw Coal as Too Big to Fail FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Patrick McGinley for TheConversation.com:A self-bonding corporation’s promise to reclaim is little more than an IOU backed by company assets.Companies reorganizing under federal bankruptcy laws will continue to mine and market coal, hoping to shed mountains of debt and eventually emerge from bankruptcy. It remains to be seen whether they will be able to obtain conventional surety bonds after they reorganize, or whether bankruptcy courts will direct the companies to use their remaining assets to partially fulfill their self-bonding obligations.One thing is clear, however. Against the backdrop of a century of coal company bankruptcies and attendant environmental damage, regulators ignored a looming coal market collapse with a wink and a nod. Properly administered, SMCRA’s reclamation bonding requirements should have required secure financial guarantees collectible upon bankruptcy.Unfortunately, coal regulators viewed America’s leading coal companies like Wall Street’s mismanaged banks – too big to fail. As a result, American taxpayers may have to pick up an enormous reclamation tab for coal producers.Full item: Will taxpayers foot the cleanup bill for bankrupt coal companies?
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Washington Examiner:Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Friday defended U.S. installers of rooftop solar panels and made an effort to beat back a pending decision that could make imported solar panels more expensive.Bipartisan letters from 16 senators and 53 congressman were sent to International Trade Commission Chairman Rhonda Schmidtlein, and urged the agency to reject a petition by Chinese and German-owned companies that manufactured solar panels and cells in the U.S., but have since gone bankrupt.The two foreign-owned companies that produced in the U.S. were seeking protection from imports that they say is hurting U.S.-based manufacturing. But the lawmakers wrote in their letters that imposing duties on these imports would only increase costs for domestic companies that install rooftop solar panels.“Solar companies in our states believe the requested trade protection would double the price of solar panels,” the Senate letter read. “Increasing costs will stop solar growth dead in its tracks, threatening tens of thousands of American workers in the solar industry and jeopardizing billions of dollars in investment in communities across the country.”Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., spearheaded the letter writing campaign on the Senate side. Reps. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., Mike Thompson, D-Calif., Pat Meehan, R-Pa., and Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., did the same in the House of Representatives.The letters were sent ahead of the trade commission’s Aug. 15 hearing on the petition by Chinese-owned Suniva and German-owned Solar World. The ITC’s role in the case is to decide if imports are hurting U.S.-based manufacturing, even if through the import of fairly traded goods.The Solar Energy Industry Association, the main trade group for the U.S. solar industry, explained that the “agency is considering whether these two companies out of more than 8,000 across the U.S. solar industry deserve tariff relief that would impact the entire market.” The group is opposing the companies’ request at the agency.Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the solar industry group, said the lawmakers effort shows that “trade tariffs are not a red or blue state issue.”The solar energy industry has created 1 out of 50 new jobs within the U.S. in the last year, according to SEIA.More: Republicans, Democrats join forces to protect rooftop solar installers Bipartisan Move in Congress to Thwart Trade Petition Aimed at Driving Up Solar-Panel Prices
BNEF: Unsubsidized wind now competitive with gas in Minnesota FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Minneapolis Star-Tribune:The cost of deploying wind and solar energy continued to decline significantly in Minnesota last year, and wind — even without federal tax subsidies — may be the state’s cheapest source of new electricity.Those conclusions were included in a report released Monday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which annually surveys the U.S. power generation sector for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, an industry-led group.The cost of new wind and solar power facilities in Minnesota fell by 16 percent and 23 percent respectively in 2018 over the previous year, the report found.The “levelized cost” of new, unsubsidized wind energy came in at $38 per megawatt hour (MWh), which takes into account the cost to build a power plant and its total power output, according to the Bloomberg analysis. Bloomberg didn’t have a state-by-state breakout of the levelized cost of natural gas. But wind in Minnesota is particularly cheap.“Minnesota has access to some of the best wind resources in the U.S.,” the Bloomberg report said. “As a result … new wind build in the state is likely already at parity with new combined-cycle natural gas plants even without incentives.”More: Cost of adding new wind, solar energy continues to fall in Minnesota, report says
Navajo proclamation points nation toward clean energy development FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Farmington Daily Times:Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer signed a proclamation late today that calls on the tribe to pursue renewable energy projects.The proclamation – named the Navajo Háyoołkááł Proclamation – calls for a diverse energy portfolio and job creation from projects that focus on clean energy development.It also calls for restoring land and water impacted by uranium and coal mining, developing off-grid solar-generated electricity for homes, and building utility scale renewable energy projects that supply tribal and state lands.Among the utility scale projects mentioned during the signing ceremony is a proposed solar farm situated on Paragon Ranch, a 22,000-acre parcel located south of Farmington, or on land within Tsé Daa K’aan Chapter.The proposal is part of $2 million the tribe is seeking for renewable energy projects in the capital outlay bill that awaits Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s signature.Nez said the proclamation sends a message that the tribe is continuing to embrace change and wants to be the leader in renewable energy in Indian Country. The proclamation also supports amending the tribe’s energy policy from 2013 and creating an energy office to oversee energy projects and development.More: Proclamation supports renewable energy transition for Navajo Nation
The best outdoor writing, I believe, is about people. Nature writing can be pretty, and environmental books can be convincing, but I ultimately crave the raw emotion of fellow human beings struggling to find and protect their place in the world.People are both the problem and the solution. Good outdoor writing reconnects people to nature—not through lectures, but through living, flesh-and-blood examples of courage and commitment. We feel the landscape through them.Here are a few of my favorite classic outdoor voices and books that should be on every environmentalist’s must-read list. Instead of preachy diatribes or flowery descriptions, they inspire me with gritty, gutsy characters—some legendary, some overlooked—who stand their ground and speak for the wild.The Last American Man by Elizabeth GilbertA 21st century pioneer living nearly self-sufficiently on a wild reserve in Appalachia, Eustace Conway embodies the ideals of American masculinity—ruggedness, courage, and independence. However, those hard-fought ideals have a price. Gilbert shows us the tired, lonely man behind the bravado. A tough, buckskin-clad maverick hunts for the one thing missing from his mountain refuge: love.Into the Wild by Jon KrakauerChris McCandless is either a stupid kid or self-reliant hero. He gives away all of his savings and wanders the wild, seeking adventure and an authentic relationship with the land—until he finds himself starving to death alone in the Alaskan wilderness. Barely able to lift a pen, he scribbles this final message, which continues to haunt and shape my own life: “Happiness only real when shared.”Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPheeMcPhee masterfully captures the nuances of one of the most influential modern environmentalists, David Brower. But don’t expect classic confrontations with battle lines clearly drawn; both McPhee and Brower are far more kaleidoscopic.Zoro’s Field by Thomas Rain CroweLiving alone and off-grid in an Appalachian cabin for four years (twice as long as Thoreau) and growing nearly all of his own food, Crowe’s memoir is a modern-day Walden, filled with wisdom gleaned only through a consciously simple, self-reliant life in the wild.Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by Janisse RayRay’s hardscrabble upbringing in a south Georgia junkyard is an unlikely start for an environmental luminary, but the rusted scrap heaps of her childhood are chock full of raw, resourceful characters—including an authoritarian father who locks his family in a closet and a snuff-dipping coon hunter who introduces her to the wild woods.The Lost Grizzlies by Rick BassGrizzly bears had not been seen for 15 years in southern Colorado until a small group sets out to find them. Bass seeks more than bears, though; he is tracking wildness and the longings of the human heart, which only are revealed in the presence of something larger.Desert Solitaire by Edward AbbeyIt’s definitely the most sermonizing selection of the bunch, but Abbey’s coarse, thunderous voice crying out for the wilderness still echoes across the desert he called home. Amid his nerve-tingling adventures as a park ranger, the monkey-wrenching anarchist unleashes forceful, full-blooded pleas for the last scraps of wildlands.