Pelham: Carbon dioxide and Vermont

first_imgby Tom Pelham Vermont’s energy policies enacted and implemented over the past six years by the majority party parallel the same wasteful and undemocratic pattern as their healthcare and education policies. This 2015 report (CLICK HERE(link is external)) by the federal Energy Information Agency (EIA) provides baseline context for Vermont’s CO2 emissions. It reports that at 5.6 million metric tons, Vermont’s CO2 emissions are the lowest in the nation and on a per capita basis are second lowest among the 50 states.Further, this 2015 profile (CLICK HERE(link is external)) from Vermont’s Department of Forest and Parks and Recreation indicates that Vermont is near net neutral relative to CO2 emissions. The profile states:“Statewide greenhouse gas emissions are estimated at 8.37 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MMTCO2e) per year. Vermont forests remove an estimated 8.23 MMTCO2e per year.”Bottom line, Vermont contributes little net C02 to the atmosphere while other states like Texas and Pennsylvania are the real culprits, with large emissions on both total and per capita bases.  So, given this context, is it vital that Vermonters allow their political leaders to hand over our iconic ridgelines, meadows and pastures to large renewable developers who, without hesitation, rip apart and deface the landscape of Vermont?This question is of special importance when considering the source of Vermont’s C02 emissions.  From the EIA report: “For example, in Vermont the largest share of emissions in 2013 came from the transportation sector (56%), predominantly from petroleum, but the electric power sector share was 0.2% because Vermont had almost no generation using fossil fuels. Vermont’s residential sector share was 23%—indicative of a relatively cold climate where petroleum is the main heating fuel.”Given these two primary sources of Vermont’s C02 emissions, the obvious question is whether there is a direct and powerful connection between industrial ridgeline wind and valley solar projects and the mitigation of C02 emissions from tailpipes and furnace chimneys? I think not.Further, our complicit political leaders have Vermont’s state and federal taxpayers and electric rate payers handing over millions of dollars annually to subsidize renewable energy developers. This May 2016 report (CLICK HERE(link is external))by UVM’s Legislative Research Service profiles the lengthy list of direct subsidies, tax credits, sales tax breaks, property tax breaks, feed-in-tariffs, electric rate surcharges, among others which fuel Vermont’s renewable energy developers, who without such could not survive on their own.And this 2016 Public Service Board order (CLICK HERE(link is external)) profiles how just one such ratepayer subsidy sets expensive price caps relative to the market and allows developers an enviable rate of “return on equity”.  The Order states: “Rate of Return: continue to assume 9.6%, which is equivalent to GMP’s current return on equity.” Surely, a nice investment for those so privileged but one that contrasts sharply with the 2% to 3% annual returns average Vermonters earn on long term investments. And, to cap it all off there’s this absurd result. The Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) created with taxpayers and rate payers subsidies are most often sold out-of-state and as our Attorney General  informs us, once sold cannot be counted as “renewable” in Vermont. Perversely, such REC’s cannot count toward Vermont’s official goal of “meeting 90% of the state’s energy needs through renewable sources by 2050.” By selling the REC’s, Vermont has created a perpetual money machine for renewable developers as the 90% goal can never be achieved if REC’s are sold. The best I can say about all this is it’s far removed from the Jeffersonian Vermont I grew up in and another shameful example of the concentration and abuse of power under the Golden Dome. With energy, health care, and education policies, among others, the demands of politically connected special interests take precedence. The worst I could say is its Tammany Hall type political corruption done the “Vermont Way.” The majority party has morphed to an amoral political machine at taxpayer and rate payer expense. Our political leaders and special interests scratch each other’s backs, fueled by higher taxes, higher electric rates, higher fees and higher health care premiums forced upon Vermont’s citizens. It’s all about the money and centralized power; and when there is criticism of such behavior a high priced Montpelier lobbyist or law firm or both are hired to spin their narrative more favorably and defame their opposition (think Annette Smith), just like lobbyists on K Street in Washington, DC.There’s only one hope for a cure to this sickness and it’s at the ballot box. Vermonters need to trust more what they see directly in key areas such as energy, health care and education and less what they’re told, as much of what passes as information is manufactured by the special interests and for the special interests. Absent voter action, Vermont will continue down a path of one party cronyism funded by tax payers, fee payers, rate payers and insurance premium payers, among others.This commentary is by Tom Pelham, formerly finance commissioner in the Dean administration, tax commissioner in the Douglas administration, a state representative elected as an independent and who served on the Appropriations Committee, and a co-founder of Campaign for Vermont.last_img read more

Loan Zone: The new mortgage timeline

first_imgRecently enacted regulatory guidelines affect closing dates and other process Wallace JonesThe implementation guidelines for several Dodd-Frank legislative rules took effect in January 2014. These rules have a significant impact on home financing, especially timelines in the mortgage process. In an effort to ensure there are no surprises along the way for your members as they purchase, sell, or refinance their home, check out this brief summary to help explain how these changes will play a part in their home buying experience.Three business days before closing. The guidelines implementing the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act require that all mortgage applicants be provided a written list of home-ownership counseling organizations within three business days of submitting their loan application. The new disclosure must list up to 10 counseling locations convenient to the applicant, with the address, phone number, services provided and languages supported by each counseling organization. Applicants are not required to contact a counseling agency, but the lender is required to provide the list.Three business days before closing, redux.According to the implementing guidelines of The Equal Credit Opportunities Act (Reg B), lenders must provide applicants copies—at least three business days prior to closing—of all appraisals and all other written valuations developed in connection with an application for a loan to be secured by a first lien on a dwelling. This is true even if the valuation is only used for limited purposes. If the homebuyer believes the three-business-day review period is not necessary, he or she has the right to waive that requirement, unless the loan is a Section 35 Higher-Priced Mortgage Loan.Possibility of a delayed closing.The Truth-in-Lending Act Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans Appraisal Rule (Section 35 HPML) guidelines set out a scenario in which closing may be delayed by the requirement of a second appraisal: continue reading » 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Gophers hoping key transfers obtain waivers to become eligible in 2020-21

first_imgWith Gach announcing his decision to transfer to Minnesota earlier this month, the Gophers now have two potential starters seeking waivers. Robbins and Gach have both drawn praise as players who have professional potential, with Gach declaring for the NBA draft earlier this offseason before withdrawing his name.Minnesota is familiar with the immediate eligibility waiver, with a notable example coming before the 2018-19 season when guard Marcus Carr had his waiver denied by the NCAA after transferring from Pittsburgh. Carr, who averaged 15.4 points and 6.7 assists in 2019-20, would have given the 2018-19 roster a much-needed boost at point guard, adding another backcourt threat to a team that won an NCAA tournament game. Instead, he was forced to sit out the season.“For me, the challenge has been who to take right now and almost guessing who will get a waiver and who is not,” Pitino said. “Reasonable minds would have said Marcus Carr should have gotten a waiver when his coach and coaching staff got fired. They didn’t give it to him.”With Carr currently declared for the NBA draft and the deadline for players with remaining eligibility to withdraw pushed back to October 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still possible that up to three of Minnesota’s projected starters will not actually suit up for the maroon and gold in 2020-21.For Gach and Robbins, the Gophers remain optimistic that the NCAA will approve their waivers. Perhaps helping their cases are their ties, both local and to the program. Gach is a native of Austin, Minnesota, while Robbins is the nephew of Gophers’ associate head coach, Ed Conroy.Because the NCAA considers each waiver claim on an individual basis, the exact reasons waivers are approved or denied remain largely unknown. This ambiguity has led to criticism of the NCAA’s current process and set in motion the talks to implement a one-time transfer exception.“I think it’s very important for college basketball to evolve,” Pitino said. “And I think the way you do that is by giving players more freedom to be able to do things.”However, with at least one more season of transfer waivers in their current form, expectations for Minnesota this season will hinge on whether Robbins and Gach are declared eligible. If able to play, they will provide the Gophers with renewed hope that the team can return to the NCAA tournament. Gophers hoping key transfers obtain waivers to become eligible in 2020-21Liam Robbins and Both Gach will need to receive waivers from the NCAA to play for Minnesota next season.Tony SaundersGopher head coach Richard Pitino looks down the court on Tuesday, March 5 at Williams Arena. Nick JungheimJune 25, 2020Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintFollowing three busy months of roster turnover, it appears the roster for the Gophers men’s basketball team for the 2020-21 season is now set. While it is known who will be part of the team, who will be eligible to play remains to be determined.Expectations for the Gophers may not become clear until this fall as the season approaches. That is primarily due to the uncertainty whether transfers Both Gach and Liam Robbins will receive waivers from the NCAA to become immediately eligible this upcoming season.“We’re looking into that with Liam,” head coach Richard Pitino said after Robbins signed with the Gophers. “It’s certainly something that we will be aggressive with.”Gach and Robbins come to Minnesota from Utah and Drake respectively, each with two years of eligibility remaining. According to NCAA rules, transfers may only become eligible if they meet certain criteria. Otherwise, they must obtain a waiver from the NCAA. In college basketball, the amount of players seeking such waivers has become increasingly common in recent years. According to the Associated Press, 30 men’s basketball players sought waivers in 2017-18. That number jumped to 79 in 2018-19, while the percentage of waivers approved fell from 80% to 56%. According to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman, the number of men’s basketball players seeking waivers spiked to approximately 120 last season.“It’s no longer about this four-year process,” Pitino said of the increased prevalence of transfers. “They want to see where they fit in on your roster now.”Earlier in the offseason, the Gophers hoped Robbins would not need a waiver to become eligible as the NCAA considered adopting a one-time transfer exception that would allow all men’s basketball transfers to become immediately eligible. That policy, however, will not take effect until the 2021-22 season at earliest.“Whenever they vote on this new rule for one-time transfers, that changes the whole scope of everything for everybody in college basketball,” Pitino said. “I don’t think it’s a matter of if it happens but of when it happens.”last_img read more

Why Older Minds Make Better Decisions

first_imgForbes: The decisions we make throughout our lives about money, work, health and relationships have a tremendous influence on how we age. And as the number of older people increases, not only in the United States but around the world, the decisions seniors make and how they make them will have a significant impact on global economies and societies.…Recent research has already challenged what we thought we knew about the capability of the brain. What has become clear, says Dr. Gregory Samanez-Larkin of Vanderbilt University, one of the network’s co-directors, is that despite a decline in some types of cognitive function, “older people often make better decisions than younger people.”As we age, we become more selective about what we remember, says Dr. Alan Castel of UCLA, one of the study’s lead researchers. In an earlier study, his team tested older and younger adults’ ability to recall a list of words. The initial findings, as one would expect, showed that younger subjects remembered more of the words. However, when the two groups were provided the same list, but with some words assigned a higher number value than others, older participants were better than younger subjects at remembering the words assigned high scores and ignoring those with low scores.Read the whole story: Forbes More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Night With A Nerd: Virtual Bingo – Periodic Table July 9

first_imgBSMA News:The community is invited to join a virtual bingo game 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 9 that has STEM topics rather than numbers in the squares. For the periodic table – the squares have symbols and someone calls the word. Players match to the symbols on their card. For example, if the word called is “sodium” then players look for “Na”.Everyone is invited to play. RSVP to the event to get a link to a bingo card emailed the day of the event.  Multiple players in the same household should register individually.To register, click here.Winners receive a gift certificate to the Gadgets store inside the Bradbury Science Museum.last_img

All Together NM Fund Provides $500K More In Food Grants

first_imgSTATE News:SANTA FE – A state COVID-19 relief fund launched at the outset of the pandemic in New Mexico this week contributed an additional $500,000 to food banks and pantries statewide.The All Together NM Fund, launched by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in collaboration with the New Mexico Coalition of Community Foundations, distributed the last rounds of funds to 39 food banks and food distribution sites serving communities in all 33 counties in the state.The latest distribution was made possible in large part by a generous donation from the McKinnon Family Foundation.“We launched the foundation several years ago with one of the central goals being the advancement of important causes in New Mexico, including educational and cultural institutions,” Ian McKinnon said. “Increasing food security for all New Mexicans is also clearly core to the mission of our Foundation.”“The partnership with the state has bolstered the New Mexico Coalition of Community Foundation’s capabilities in implementing this groundbreaking fund because our coalition members are constantly addressing challenges faced everyday by our communities,” said Randy Royster, chair of the Coalition and president and chief executive of the Albuquerque Community Foundation. “By working together to identify, prioritize and respond to community needs head-on, we are having a greater impact—not just for the nonprofit sector but toward our state’s entire recovery effort.”The recipients are Roadrunner Food Bank, The Food Depot, The Community Pantry, ECHO Food Bank, The Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, La Mesa Presbyterian Church, St. Felix Pantry, Bethel Community Storehouse, Belen Food Pantry, Las Casas Summer Food Program, Curry Retired Senior Meal Association, Carlsbad Community Foundation, United Way of Eddy County, United Way of Lea County, Rio Arriba First Baptist Church of Chama, San Martin de Porres Soup Kitchen, Truchas Service Center, Roosevelt Community Services Center, Bernal Community Center, Comedor de San Pascual, San Miguel Samaritan House, the Salvation Army of Las Vegas, Catron Food Pantries, Harvest Ministries of Roswell, Casa de Peregrinos, Spirit of Hidalgo, Silver City Gospel Rescue Mission, Lincoln County Food Bank, Deming Silver Linings, Otero Hunger Coalition, Our Lady of Perpetual Health of Sierra County, Socorro Storehouse, Always Loving Mankind of Colfax County, North Central Food Pantry of Taos, Raton Hunger Pantry and MAS Comunidad.In total the All Together NM Fund has distributed $3.3 million in grants over the course of the pandemic. The Santa Fe Community Foundation administers the fund.Significant donations have also been made by Arland & Associates, LLC, AT&T, Blattner Energy, Inc., Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico, Comcast, Daniels Fund, Illinois #3 Foundation, Intel Foundation, Isora Foundation, Molina Healthcare, Pattern SC Holdings, LLC, PhRMA, RALI, Stanley E. Fulton Family Foundation, Swire Coca-Cola USA, The Hayes Foundation, The McKinnon Family Foundation, Tri-State, Virgin Galactic, LLC and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.Donations to the fund are tax-deductible and can be made through the website here, by texting “together” to 505.333.4714, or by mail to the Santa Fe Community Foundation, PO Box 1827, Santa Fe, NM 87504. Note “All Together NM Fund” on the check itself.last_img read more

Crest Nicholdon’s Western Riverside scheme in Bath faces ongoing attack from the conservation lobby – Bath in a bubble

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Keeping up appearances

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

Students pen letters to prisoners to plug legal aid gap

first_imgOlivia LewisUniversity of SussexIn 2010, the government made changes to legal aid for prison law, which included a requirement for providers to apply to the Legal Aid Agency for prior approval before starting work on cases concerning prisoners’ treatment. The ministry, in its latest legal aid statistics bulletin, said prison law workload began to decline following the changes.In December 2013, changes were made to the scope of legal aid available for prison law under the government’s Legal Aid Transformation programme. The ministry acknowledged that these changes ‘appear to have accelerated the existing downward trend in prison law workload over the following year, with freestanding advice and assistance accounting for most of the decline’.Latest figures show that the number of claims submitted in relation to freestanding advice and assistance fell from around 6,500 in the last three months of 2013, to less than 2,000 in the same period last year.Welsh said the letters clinic is an opportunity to help provide legal advice and assistance to people ’unable to afford the services of a solicitor in an area which needs intervention’.She said PAS receives 4,000 letters a year and, as a small charity, does not have the resources to respond to every letter without the assistance of outreach clinics.Law student Olivia Lewis (pictured) said: ’As someone who wishes to practise criminal law, it is an excellent opportunity to gain real-life experience, as well as become aware of areas of law that I wouldn’t have learnt in my degree.’ Law students are giving new meaning to the phrase ‘letter of the law’ with their efforts to address the decline in prison law advice caused by firms dropping out of the sector as a result of the government’s legal aid reforms.Volunteers from the University of Sussex have opened a ‘letters clinic’ to help prisoners with questions regarding their rights.The final-year law students will be working with national charity Prisoners’ Advice Service (PAS) to provide free support and advice on prison discipline, licence conditions, visiting rights, categorisation of prisoners, and applications for parole.They will help lecturer and criminal law expert Dr Lucy Welsh, who is leading the scheme, to research enquiries to the clinic and help draft appropriate responses in a short timeframe.The university announced that the scheme was set up to ’fill the gap left’ after many law firms dropped the provision of prison legal advice following legal aid cutbacks.last_img read more

National state of mourning declared in Dominica

first_imgLocalNews National state of mourning declared in Dominica by: – March 5, 2013 Share Share 41 Views   4 comments Sharecenter_img Tweet Sharing is caring! President Hugo ChavezPrime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has declared a national state of mourning effective March 6th and a special memorial service on March 7th at the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Goodwill from 5pm in honor of President Hugo Chavez. “We have suffered a great loss…he was a true friend of Dominica,” Mr. Skerrit said in an address to the nation late Tuesday evening.Mr. Chavez who died at the age of fifty-eight (58) on Tuesday, March 5th was instrumental in Dominica’s development. Through his leadership, Dominica signed the Petro Caribe and ALBA agreements and also received assistance for the Melville Hall Airport rehabilitation among other projects.Mr. Skerrit has asked that all flags be flown at half staff during the National Day of Mourning on Wednesday, March 6th.“Above all, Dominica will cherish the special place it held in the life of President Chavez,” Mr. Skerrit said and pledged to announce further initiatives to honor Mr. Chavez’s contribution to Dominica’s development.“I have lost a colleague, a father, a brother and a friend. Hugo Chavez held my hands in the brightest and the darkest hours of my tenure to date as Prime Minister. Dominica and I could have looked to him for guidance…his passing is a great loss to me personally,” an emotional Mr Skerrit said of his personal relationship with President Chavez.He has also called on citizens to keep the Chavez family and the Venezuelan Government and people in their prayers and extended condolences to Venezuela’s Ambassador to Dominica Hayden Owanda Pirela Sanchez.He also assured Venezuela’s Vice President Nicolas Maduro of Dominica’s “continued support and solidarity”. President Chavez had been in power since 1998 and won the 2012 general elections for another six-year term.Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more