Vermont’s innovative solar program a finalist for national Readers Choice award

first_imgAn innovative solar program recently established by Vermont is up for a national award.The Excellence in Renewable Energy Awards, hosted by Renewable Energy World, has selected Vermont’s registration program for small solar systems as a finalist for its Readers Choice Award.Online voting is open through January 20 and is open to the public.The winner will be announced in Long Beach, California in mid-February.‘Given the national interest in Vermont’s innovative program, we think there’s a real shot we could capture the Readers Choice. We hope Vermonters and folks throughout the industry will weigh in and vote,’ said Andrew Savage of AllEarth Renewables in Williston. ‘Many Vermonters familiar with the solar industry are eager to see our state be a national model for cutting installation costs, making solar more affordable and accessible to homeowners.’With Vermont’s newly implemented law, small solar systems now have a simple pre-determined process that reduces paperwork and uncertainty and means they can be installed after just 10 days. The new process replaces all permitting for ground or roof-mounted solar systems 5kW and smaller with a single basic registration form outlining the system components, configuration, and compliance with interconnection requirements.”As a local installer, this new registration process is enormously helpful. This speeds up the installation process allowing us to avoid wasting time with costly delays for small installations,” said Rich Nicol, of Solartech, an installer in northeastern Vermont.A recent study earlier this year by SunRun, a leading national provider of residential solar systems, found that permitting adds an average cost of $2,500 to each solar installation and that streamlining the often-cumbersome processes would provide a $1 billion no-cost stimulus to the solar industry over the next five years.The report finds that the additional installation cost’ $.50 per watt’ is due to wide permitting variations not connected to safety, excessive fees, and an unnecessarily slow process. The report cites that Germany has a 40 percent advantage over the United States in installation price.Vermont’s new registration process, which is free, went into effect at the end of last year. The legislation,which became Act 47 and was signed into law May 25, 2011, received strong bipartisan support.‘We think the Vermont registration process could be a real model to follow nationally,’ said Jurgen Krehnke, president and general manager of SMA America. ‘Reducing the time and resources that go into solar installations is right in line with the DOE’s SunShot initiative and is critical to increasing PV adoption.’Williston, Vermont January 16, 2012last_img read more

Road Rage

first_imgThe Blue Ridge Parkway has drawn visitors to the mountains since construction began under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Now, after nearly 80 years, conflicting visions for the route’s future have sparked debate over how generations to come will enjoy the country’s most visited national park unit.Last fall, the National Park Service released a draft of the general management plan that will guide the parkway for the next 25 years. The draft outlined three different options for the parkway’s future – two that would change management practices and one that wouldn’t.The park service’s preferred option describes the parkway as a “traditional, self-contained scenic recreational driving experience.” It also seeks to enhance connections with surrounding communities and expand outdoor activities.“The preferred alternative focuses on managing the parkway as it has always been managed,” said Blue Ridge Parkway Community Planner Dawn Godwin. “It allows for some changes, but there won’t be any wholesale change in the parkway.”But some outdoor enthusiasts and residents who want the parkway to embrace more human-powered activities and connections with local communities say the park service’s preferred option is the wrong choice.Cycling was the most contentious issue, Godwin said.The Virginia Bicycling Federation argued that “motorized vehicles should not be the only way promoted to experience the Blue Ridge Parkway.” They urged citizens to ask the parkway to “promote bicycling, walking and other non-motorized forms of transportation as an integral part of the Parkway’s mission.”The park service has been responsive to community comments, Godwin said. “We decided…to make sure the plan is clear we won’t prohibit uses that currently exist.”The management plan also allows for developing new trails and connecting old ones to communities along the parkway, Godwin said.Some parkway enthusiasts worry that rising gas prices and waning youth interest could relegate the parkway to a relic enjoyed only by elderly vacationers.Visitors to the parkway have dropped by one-third in the past decade, down to 15.3 million last year. Only 12 percent of last year’s parkway visitors were children.“The sun may be setting on the driving experience as recreation,” said Anne Whisnant, author of Super Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Park History. Instead of driving, Whisnant said, the park should emphasize connections with towns and outdoor opportunity.But Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Phil Francis said he thinks these challenges can be met.“If the economy does well and people are able to earn a respectable living, I don’t know how much of an effect gas prices will have on tourism,” Francis said.The parkway is a relatively cheap vacation. The park doesn’t charge a fee for use. According to Francis, the biggest challenge is continuing to care for resources along the parkway despite a declining staff and budget.“Partner groups and local communities are essential to the parkway’s future,” he said.last_img read more

What We Choose To Value

first_imgValue. It is what drives us all. One way or another, we work, we play, we love, and it all happens because of what we choose to value.Over spring break, I took some time to roam out into the woods, to spend 12 hours with no electronic devices. The stress and hustle of everyday life sometimes makes me feel like I’m just running forward with blinders on but my time unplugged was a breath of fresh air. I’m just going to share my story of this solo trip and let the value of it be up to you.Entering the WildAfter work one day, I went straight to one of my favorite spots on the Little River. Pushing off from shore and paddling away from the boat ramp, I could feel the hypnosis of the electric world fade. A cool breeze hit me from the front and it was like I had just passed through a gateway into another world.Some cold spring water ran down my paddle and onto my hand. The cold of it was refreshing and raw as I entered the wild. After an hour of easy paddling I reached my destination — I was spending the night on the banks of the river right on the inside of a bend. I took my first step out of my kayak and had my foot sink down into the wet sand on the shoreline. I couldn’t waste much time enjoying the small lichen-covered cliffs across the river and the smell of the crisp water — I had to start collecting some firewood for the night. I chose to really go for the no electricity thing and left my headlamp in the car. I was able to set up my campsite just in time to sit my butt down on an old log and listen to a Barred Owl deeply beckon the fall of darkness. His calls gave me such a startling feeling, just being a lone traveler venturing out for a night. A feeling I find myself chasing often, it satisfies my thirst for adventure. I brought along a pack of hot dogs and cooked them over the fire, no buns, no ketchup. I’m a fan of eating them right off the stick — they taste better that way with the smoke still on them right out of the fire.As I headed in to my tent, some bullfrogs began to talk about their day in the reeds along the shore. They certainly were a boisterous crowd but I enjoyed their company and they seemed to be having a good time too. My sleeping bag was warm and I really enjoyed the sounds of the river pushing along and the smell of a just distinguished campfire. In the morning, I woke up to the sound of some crows, likely hollering about how nice the sunrise was. I got out of my tent and saw that they were right! The red on the horizon was really a beautiful sight and I felt like I had spent this night plugging in my spirit of adventure, rather than unplugging from technology.As I hopped in my kayak I spotted a big beaver swimming towards me. What an interesting creature, taking all its time to work on making the environment work in his favor just like us, but the most interesting thing was that he didn’t seem to need to hurry one bit to do it. I felt recharged as I took a sip of the cool water from my canteen and leaned back on my small seat. I had plenty of time before I had to be anywhere back in “real life” and decided to let the rivers current take me back to my car.last_img read more

Swift Arrives In Jamaica For SPS 2010

first_imgBy Dialogo May 13, 2010 High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) arrived in Port Antonio Jamaica, May 8, 2010, to kick off Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2010. SPS is a recurring deployment of various specialty platforms to the Caribbean and Latin America, with the primary goal of information sharing with navies, coast guards, and civilian services throughout the region. “We share common interests and participation in multinational maritime partnership missions like this one,” said Capt. Kurt Hedberg, mission commander for SPS 2010. “It’s an opportunity for us to foster friendly, mutual cooperation and understanding by coming together to enhance regional maritime security.” While deployed in support of SPS 2010, Swift will visit various countries in the Caribbean island nations, Central and South America over the upcoming months. During the ship’s stay in Jamaica, the crew will meet with the regions civil and maritime services. “The U.S. Navy and USSOUTHCOM are committed to this type of lasting partnership,” said Hedberg. “SPS will give all of us a chance to exchange ideas and mission-focused knowledge and expertise to improve capabilities in key mission areas. Only by communicating and working together can we hope to have the relationships we need in the event of a crisis which requires a multinational effort.” Some of the topics of discussion during the visit are port security, non-commissioned officer professional development, operational risk management, medical readiness, and outboard motor maintenance and patrol craft operation. The U.S. Marine Corps also has an eight-man mobile training team on board Swift to participate in the exchanges. The team will provide instruction in martial arts, non-lethal weapons, and military operations in urban terrain, check-point security, marksmanship and small unit tactics.” This is the fourth SPS deployment in the region and the vision is to continue this effort to maintain a persistent presence in the region as a way to further enhance strong relationships. The ship’s crew is operated and navigated by 17 civilian contract mariners working for a private company under charter to the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command. The ship is scheduled to return to the United States in early October 2010.last_img read more

Honduras to Collect Travel Tax to Finance Border Security

first_img In order to finance security at its airports and other border posts, both maritime and on land, Honduras will collect a new tax from travelers who enter and leave the Central American country, with proceeds of approximately 270 million dollars over ten years in the case of the air terminals alone. The Interior and Population Secretariat signed a 10-year contract with the U.S. firm Securiport to set up an advanced biometric registry of travelers, from whom it will collect 17 dollars upon entry and another 17 dollars upon departure from the nation. Honduran Interior Minister Áfrico Madrid justified the new fee as an additional measure to guarantee national security. “It’s a matter of preventing the entry of individuals involved in organized crime, terrorists, drug traffickers, kidnappers, hitmen, arms traffickers, and money launderers who use our country as a center of operations due to the lack of scientific mechanisms of immigration control,” he argued. The contract, approved on December 14, will go into effect once it is published in the official daily La Gaceta, and the charge will be applied 120 days after that publication. By Dialogo January 18, 2012last_img read more

US Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant Interdicts Approximately 3,000 kilograms of Cocaine near Costa Rica

first_imgBy U.S. Coast Guard 7th District Public Affairs June 24, 2020 The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant (WMEC-617) crew seized a total of 122 bales of cocaine, June 22, in back-to-back interdictions of go-fast vessels just off the coast of Limon, Costa Rica.The forward-deployed Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew aboard the Vigilant successfully disabled the first go-fast vessel and observed the crew throwing packages overboard.Once on scene, the boarding team discovered four people aboard and recovered 77 bales or approximately over 1,900 kilograms of cocaine from the water. Immediately following the first interdiction, the helicopter crew and a separate cutter boarding team were vectored to a 34-foot go-fast vessel with five people aboard.The helicopter crew successfully disabled the second go-fast vessel and also observed the crew throwing packages overboard. The Vigilant boarding team arrived on scene, apprehended five people and recovered 45 bales or approximately 1,179 kilograms of cocaine from the water.The cocaine recovered during both interdictions has an estimated wholesale value of approximately $118.3 million.“Every high-speed interdiction of drug-laden vessels presents unique challenges, so for us to simultaneously interdict two overpowered go-fast vessels in the middle of the night is extraordinary,” said U.S. Coast Guard Commander Fred Bertsch, commanding officer of the Vigilant. “I am very proud of our crew and could not have asked anything more from them. These efforts, combined with those of our partner agencies and nations, will help ensure stability in the Western Hemisphere.”On April 1, U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counternarcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives. Numerous U.S. agencies from the departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime.The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations.last_img read more

Test driving your member data

first_imgOver the past few years, the topic of big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and marketing automation have left many small bank and credit union CEOs feeling uneasy. Given the circumstances these institutions face, this is completely understandable. For many, the prospect of beginning a large scale data project, with limited budget, personnel and resident expertise can keep a senior manager awake at night wondering; what is the best way to begin using member data?  If you can test drive a car…why can’t you try out your member data in a low risk/cost manner first; and then decide what your optimal data solution should be? There are core data companies that offer state of the art analytics products that link real-time to your core and offer many expensive options depending on your objectives. These products provide all the capabilities a small financial institution needs to begin, segmenting members, driving targeted campaigns and synching with a CRM/AMP (automation marketing platform) that will deliver a personalized member experience in real time. The stress comes from the fact you need to make a lot of down the road decisions and it is a big cost for community institutions. There is a stress free, common sense option available to CEOs who feel the urgency to begin using their institutions data but who don’t want to engage in a high stakes, data strategy gamble. By taking a data test drive we are suggesting that you utilize the member data and systems you currently have and begin to use it to incrementally improve your marketing and sales efforts.  Without purchasing a new expensive analytics package small institutions can identify simple data-driven cross-sell opportunities and begin bringing this capability in-house. For smaller financial institutions that currently do not have a formal cross-sell program, the initial results from the test drive have proven to surpass expectations. One word of caution, these test drive projects come with a few challenges. These challenges come from the fact that to test drive your member data you have to begin thinking about your marketing and sales efforts in a very different way.  At the core of this new perspective your teams needs to begin thinking about “selling members not products.” So, for example, August is no longer home equity lending month, you are now identifying members with similar characteristics that point them to specific financial solutions. It’s called needs based selling.An example will make the test drive concept clearer. One of the most successful data test drives that we have used is the checking account cross-sell.  You can run this campaign with 3 simple steps:Step 1. Find the person in your IT department that is not intimidated to write report queries from your core system.  The qualifying questions to build your data-based member list are: Can you give me a list of all members who do not have a checking account?Next can you tell me how many of these members have 2 or more non-checking accounts with us?   Can you tell me how many of these members have a deposit balance greater than $5,000 or loan balance of $50,000?Can you export this list in a CSV format with just the name and address so we can send a mail campaign to these members?Step 2.  Now that you have identified your target group and the product you are going to sell them; how will you position the offer?  Remember these members have 2+ accounts and a sizable balance so it is not a big leap for them to open a checking account. They already have a strong affinity for your institution, so don’t feel the need to give away a lot of free stuff. One possible media idea is to send a series of postcards to your targeted group of members.  They are impactful, and help you to focus on member segments and not just one-and-done mail campaigns.   Make sure you have a clear articulation of your value proposition and a strong call to action.Step 3.  Coordinate the campaign with your branch staff.  The roles of marketing and branch sales are most effective when they work closely together.  The primary responsibility of marketing (in addition to being the brand police) is to drive traffic into your branches.  The branch sales people need to understand the expectations created for members by the marketing campaign. Consistent messaging through the entire campaign process improves the ability of member facing personnel to open new accounts.A written notice to branch personnel is a great first step, but a sales meeting with role playing is more effective to help branch personnel better understand your campaign messaging.  You can even create special point of sales materials that have the same look and feel as the original mailer/postcard. This continuity helps members remember what first sparked their response to your campaign. When you have completed all three steps, there is one more thing you need to do; the post campaign analysis.  There are two types of feedback that will help you to quantify and understand your results.  The first is to create a simple response analysis.  You can take the file that was exported for the campaign and match it against a list of all new accounts over the past 12 weeks since the campaign was launched.   This can be a simple process; match the two files (new account list and the campaign list from Step 1) and look at the duplicates. These are your cross-sold members.  Make sure your new account list has the date the account was opened, starting balance and account type. Your metrics can focus on, accounts opened per member, deposits generated (average/member and campaign total), Marketing ROI and any additional non-checking accounts opened as a result of your campaign. The second is to debrief with some of your member facing associates.  Small focus groups work well. This is a more qualitative read on what members thought of your campaign; was the offer clear?  What could have made the campaign more effective?A successful campaign is the result of strong marketing – to drive members into the branch – and effective branch associates who can close the sale. It’s a team effort.The small community based financial institutions that begin using data this way discover the best practices for using member data to achieve their growth and revenue goals.  After test driving several data marketing campaigns smaller institutions can be more confident about their requirements when it comes time to purchasing their expensive member data marketing platform. 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Frank Koechlein Frank Koechlein is the President at Empower Your Analytics and coauthor of the marketing resource book “The New Marketing Analytics”. Frank has over 40 years of marketing experience in the … Web: empoweryouranalytics.com Detailslast_img read more

Family yoga event gets kids moving

first_imgThe classes are offered each month with the next class scheduled for Mar. 21. “It’s going to help them get out their energy to move their bodies so they’re not all pent up in the winter, so it’s just being active in a healthy way,” said instructor Jennine Justice. The class taught kids the basics of yoga while also giving them the opportunity to move around and have fun. The class was based around the music of Bari Koral. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — The Broome County Public Library hosted a Family Yoga and Mindfulness class on Saturday. Organizers said the class gives parents a way to fend off cabin fever while learning skills that their children can use to stay calm and reduce stress. last_img read more

Gareth O’Brien: Castleford Tigers sign full-back on three-year deal | Rugby League News

first_imgGareth O’Brien will remain at Castleford Tigers until the end of 2023 “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to continue my stay at the Tigers and I’m really looking forward to the next three years,” O’Brien said.“Since joining it’s been great, I settled in really quickly, the boys have been great and the coaches have been fantastic. It’s been a difficult year for everyone, and I think we’re a bit glad to see the back of it and we’re all looking forward to 2021.“I can slot into both half-back and full-back and that gives us some good options for next year. I’ll be putting everyone on their toes, it’s healthy and helps the competition that a squad needs. I’m looking forward to it.” – Advertisement – – Advertisement – Daryl Powell says O’Brien is a ‘very dangerous’ player Gareth O’Brien joined Castleford on loan from Toronto in August, and was planning to return to Canada at end of 2020 season; however, after Super League clubs voted against allowing Wolfpack back into the competition in 2021, the 29-year-old has committed his future to the Tigers Last Updated: 15/11/20 3:19pmcenter_img Gareth O'Brien will remain at Castleford Tigers until the end of 2023
Gareth O'Brien will remain at Castleford Tigers until the end of 2023

Prescott admits his block on Brent Cross was a mistake

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