Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA has selected 450 projects nationwide, including 8 in Vermont, that are focused on helping agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy consumption and costs; use renewable energy technologies in their operation; and/or conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy projects. Funding is made available through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which is authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill.â The Obama Administration is helping agricultural producers and rural small business owners reduce their energy costs and consumption ‘and by doing so is helping to create jobs, preserve our natural resources, and protect the environment while strengthening the bottom line for businesses.’said Vilsack. â This is part of the Administrationâ s â all of the above’energy strategy. Stable energy costs create an environment for sustainable job creation in rural America.â Secretary Vilsack made the announcement while touring Metrolina Greenhouses, a family-owned plant and services company in Huntersville, N.C., that has received a REAP guaranteed loan and three grants totaling over $1 million since 2007. Elm Brook Farm in East Fairfield VT, David Schurman of Jay VT, Nicholas Merritt of Fletcher VT, and the Branon Family Maple Orchards located in Fairfield, VT will all see significant energy savings during the sugaring season as a result of the grants they received to install new reverse osmosis systems. George Bissell, Jr. of Starksboro VT, and Shire Town Properties located in Brattleboro VT received grants to install solar arrays that will reduce the power they buy from the grid and save money as a result. Finally, Little Green Hydro, LLC of Braintree VT, received a grant to make energy efficiency improvements that will improve their bottom line.Todayâ s announcement includes $412,304 in grant funding to 20 agricultural producers and rural businesses, including one in Vermont, to conduct feasibility studies for renewable energy systems. In South Londonberry, Vermont Woodchips has been selected to receive a grant to help determine the feasibility of installing a 4 megawatt combined cycle biomass gasifier power plant.REAP offers funds for agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems, make energy-efficiency improvements, conduct feasibility studies and energy audits, and provide renewable energy development assistance. â Jobs preserved, businesses enhanced, energy and money saved are all accomplished through this program,’commented State Director for USDA Rural Development, Molly Lambert. â These business people and farmers are top-notch innovators. USDA is pleased to partner with them.’ These federal funds leverage other funding sources for businesses. In all, USDA announced nearly $7.4 million in energy grants today. This announcement is an example of investments the Obama Administration is making to help create jobs and grow the rural economy. For a complete listing of Rural Energy for America Program grant recipients announced today, please click here.Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council, the President is committed to a smarter use of existing Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities. The Council is working to break down silos, find areas for better collaboration and improved flexibility in government programs, and work closely with local governments, non-profits and private companies to leverage federal support.USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $170 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Montpelier VT, June 25, 2012 â USDA
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont is one of the three top states in its legislative activity to reduce the incidence of cancer. Legislation that includes smoke-free public areas and laws against tanning booths are two of the methods states can employ to reduce the chance its citizens get cancer. But all states, including Vermont, could do more, according to a recently released national report. Indeed, a majority of states are not measuring up on legislative solutions that prevent and fight cancer, according to a report released by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality” rates states on the strength of proven policies that help to prevent a disease that kills more than 1,600 people a day nationwide and will cost the country an estimated $216 billion in health care costs this year alone.The report, which was released last week at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual meeting in Seattle, WA, finds that 25 states have reached benchmarks in only two or fewer of the nine legislative priority areas measured by ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia measure up in just three to five areas and only three states – Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont – meet benchmarks in six of the nine categories. No state meets benchmarks in seven or more policy areas.“Most states are failing to implement laws and policies that not only prevent cancer and save lives, but lower health care costs and generate revenue at the same time,” said Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN. “By enacting evidence-based policies that encourage cancer prevention, guarantee access to affordable health care, curb tobacco use and improve patients’ quality of life, state lawmakers can create a legacy of better health.”The 13th edition of How Do You Measure Up? rates states on the strength of policies including smoke-free workplace laws, tobacco taxes, funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs and cessation coverage under Medicaid, funding for cancer screening programs and indoor tanning restrictions for minors. The report also looks at whether or not states have accepted available federal funds to increase access to care through their Medicaid program, passed policies to increase patient quality of life and adopted balanced approaches to provide access to pain medications.A color-coded system is used to identify how well a state is doing. Green represents the benchmark position, showing that a state has adopted evidence-based policies and best practices; yellow indicates moderate movement toward the benchmark and red shows where a state is falling short.How Do You Measure Up? also offers a blueprint for effective implementation of provisions of the federal health care law that benefit cancer patients and their families, such as ensuring transparency in health plans sold in state exchanges, ensuring access to cancer drugs and providing essential health benefits for chronic disease patients. In addition, the report highlights strategies to increase access to healthy foods and places for physical activity in communities.“Roughly half of all cancer deaths could be prevented if everyone were to stop using tobacco, eat healthy foods in moderation, exercise regularly and get recommended screenings. Lawmakers play a key role in making this a reality,” said Hansen. “This report highlights the proven policy interventions available to state lawmakers that can not only eliminate barriers to the prevention and treatment of cancer but also benefit the financial health of their states.”Although many states are falling short when it comes to passing cancer-fighting policies, others are making steady progress. The 2015 report shows that increasing access to Medicaid is the most-met benchmark, with 29 states and the District of Columbia having accepted the federal funds set aside to improve access to health care through Medicaid. This is a 6 percent increase from the number of states that received a “green” ranking in this category in the 2014 report.Unfortunately, 8 million low-income adults and families continue to lack access to affordable health coverage solely because their states have not yet increased access to Medicaid.The number of states that met the benchmark in increasing access to palliative care doubled from 2014 to 2015. Palliative care is specialized medical care focused on improving the quality of life for patients and families by providing coordinated, team-based care and offering relief from often debilitating symptoms of treatment.In 2014, only five states measured up when it came to passing ACS CAN model legislation or similar legislation to increase awareness of and access to palliative care. In the 2015 legislative session, Alabama, Texas, Maine, Oklahoma and Oregon passed such legislation.Alarmingly, funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs is one of the issues with the fewest states meeting the benchmark in this year’s report. Tobacco is the number one preventable cause of death nationwide and this year alone, it will claim the lives of more than 480,000 people in the United States. Yet, just seven states measure up when it comes to adequately funding tobacco prevention and cessation programs proven to help prevent young people from using these deadly products and help those already addicted to quit. Not only would investing in these evidence-based programs save lives, it would reduce health care costs associated with tobacco use, which this year will total $170 billion nationwide.An estimated 1.6 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer and more than 580,000 will die from the disease this year. One-third of all cancer deaths are attributable to tobacco and one-third to overweight and obesity.Source: WASHINGTON, D.C. – Aug. 6, 2015 – ACS CAN. For a copy of the complete report, visit www.acscan.org(link is external). ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.acscan.org(link is external).
Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC,by Alexandra Clauss, Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC You’ve likely heard the appalling reports of sexual harassment against the now-disgraced Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein. Sadly, the film industry is not alone; high-profile executives in the news, hospitality, and tech industries have also been faced with similar accounts of workplace harassment.So, what should you do if an employee complains of sexual harassment?First, what is sexual harassment? Sexual harassment is unlawful discrimination based on sex. It is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one of the following is also true:Submitting to the conduct is a condition of employment;Submitting to or rejecting the conduct influences employment decisions; orThe conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.Sexual harassment can be committed by a person of any gender or sexual orientation.Three things your company should not do after receiving a sexual harassment complaint:Don’t hide. Hiding will not make it go away, and it normally only makes matters worse. While you can’t predict where the investigation will lead, you need to face it. It’s not just exposure to significant civil liability—think six to nine figure sums—Fox News reportedly faced a criminal investigation over its mishandling of workplace sexual harassment complaints.Don’t wait for a “formal” complaint. “The employee didn’t put it in writing””The employee said she doesn’t want to file a formal complaint””The employee doesn’t want to get his co-worker in trouble”None of these are excuses to ignore inappropriate behavior in the workplace once you’re aware or should be aware of it.Don’t make assumptions. “She’s mad because she had a bad performance review””I’ve known him for years, he would never do that”You can’t justify failing to address a complaint of sexual harassment.Three things a company must do after receiving a complaint of sexual harassment:Respond quickly. A prompt response is essential to demonstrate a company’s commitment to a fair and respectful workplace. It also potentially reduces the risk of litigation and preserves available legal defenses.Tell the employee the company takes his/her complaint very seriously and is committed to providing a work environment free from sexual harassment. Develop a plan to investigate the complaint as quickly as possible and consult with experienced employment counsel. An investigation should include interviews of the complaining employee, witnesses, and the accused. The investigation should be documented and support the findings.Take it seriously. Uber’s Board of Directors hired former Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate sexual harassment claims. Hiring an experienced employment attorney to investigate a sexual harassment claim is not an admission of responsibility or guilt—it can demonstrate the company’s commitment to a fair and thorough process.It also means the attorney-client privilege may be applied to the investigation. Whether or not an attorney conducts the investigation, consulting with employment counsel throughout the process can help the company prepare a defense against potential litigation and avoid missteps, such as unlawful retaliation.Be proactive. All employees, especially supervisors, should be trained on how to react and respond to a sexual harassment complaint. A company will be held vicariously liable for the actions and inactions of supervisors. If you can’t remember the last time your company had sexual harassment training, invest in retraining.All Vermont employers are required to have a sexual harassment policy with specific elements—make sure your policy is compliant and has a mechanism for making complaints.Alexandra Clauss is an attorney and shareholder with Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC in Burlington. Her practice is devoted to advising businesses on employment and human resources issues. Alexa is a frequent speaker on HR topics, and she conducts workplace trainings, internal investigations, and employee handbook reviews. ©Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC – All Rights Reserved
In recent weeks, the team at Ironman Europe has put the finishing touches to a new channel on YouTube. The Ironman Europe YouTube channel features the action from the growing body of full IM and IM 70.3 races across Europe.www.ironman.com Related
Cedar Roe passes Fiberhood threshold. The second of the first three possible “Fiberhoods” in northeast Johnson County has passed the sign up threshold necessary to guarantee a Google build out in the area. The Cedar Roe neighborhood, which encompasses parts of Roeland Park west of Roe Avenue and north of Johnson Drive, passed its sign up goal. The Rainbow Boulevard neighborhood that encompasses Westwood, Westwood Hills and Mission Woods met its goal last week. The Shawnee Indian Mission neighborhood is the only remaining Fiberhood not to meet the sign up threshold. It required 179 more sign ups as of Tuesday afternoon.Leawood Mayor makes case for Brownback in letter. Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn as member of the “Women for Brownback Coalition” made a case to support Brownback for re-election in letter to the editor published in the Kansas City Star 913 section this morning. Dunn had previously issued an endorsement for the governor. [Kansas City Star – Letters to the editor] Fairway police chief in KCUR report on military items for police. Fairway Police Chief Mike Fleming was quoted in a KCUR report Tuesday regarding military equipment that local police departments have received. Fleming said Fairway got one pair of night vision goggles in the program and that the department had used them to find prowlers, peeping toms and burglary suspects. “We’ve located people who have fled from car chases where they have run after wrecking a car,” he added.New poll shows Davis, Brownback in tight race for governor. A new poll from Public Policy Polling shows Democratic challenger Paul Davis leading incumbent Sam Brownback, but with a much narrower margin than the Rasmussen poll released earlier this week. The PPP poll put Davis up 39-37 with a 3.3 percentage point margin of error. The Rasmussen poll had Davis up 51-41, but it didn’t include Libertarian candidate Keen Umbehr as an option. [Latest poll: Davis, Brownback race for Kansas governor remains tight — Wichita Eagle]Free rides and celebration in Mission on The Jo today. It’s your chance to try The Jo bus service for free today. All rides, except special edition, are free all day. It gets even better: from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. you can head over to the transit center between Johnson Drive and Martway for the “Cool down with JO Jamz & Ice” event. It features free Kona Ice while supplies last and a performance by Eco Elvis from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Leaders from more than 100 of the Kansas City metropolitan area’s business, civic and nonprofit entities signed an open letter pledging to require face masks be worn in their facilities.While some parts of the region fall under mask mandates, such as the Kansas statewide order Johnson County is adhering to, not each part is under a mandate, according to the letter. The letter — circulated by Comeback KC, a group supporting a unified, sustainable strategy to recover from COVID-19 — called on business leaders throughout the region to require the following firm policies:Require customers and clients to wear masks.Require employees to wear masks indoors when social distancing cannot be achieved and outdoors when in contact with others for more than 10 minutes.Provide employees, customers and clients with “high-quality masks” (those who need them).Tyler Nottberg, a Comeback KC founder and chief executive officer of U.S. Engineering Company Holdings, said in a press release that mask wearing is the region’s “best shot at a sustainable recovery.” Additionally, he said regional businesses can help to influence the community during this time.“Business leaders have a unique role to play in this pandemic,” said Tyler Nottberg, a founder of Comeback KC and chairman and chief executive officer of U.S Engineering Company Holdings. “We can use our influence to help set behavioral norms that benefit the entire community.”The entirety of the letter can be found online here. Below is a brief list of Johnson County leaders who signed the letter:Ed Eilert, chairman of the Johnson County Board of County CommissionersTracey Osborne Oltjen, president and chief executive officer of the Overland Park Chamber of CommerceJulius Lai, senior vice president of digital and loyalty marketing for AMC TheatresLeigh Nottberg, chair of the Nottberg Family FoundationEric Morgenstern, chief executive officer of Morningstar CommunicationsRich Smith, president and chief executive officer of Henderson EngineersTucker Trotter, chief executive officer of Dimensional InnovationsSheryl Wagner, vice president and director of accounting for Terracon Consultants, Inc.
Liberty Property Trust this week announced the grand reopening and rebranding of 2626 S. 7th St., now known as Liberty Sky Harbor Center in Phoenix.Since acquiring what was a run-down, obsolete warehouse last September, the company has completed a redevelopment of the property and its transformation into a state-of-the-art cross-dock distribution center.“The Sky Harbor submarket is ripe for this kind of redevelopment because large industrial buildings with ample areas for outdoor storage and parking are rare and in demand,” said John DiVall, senior vice president & city manager, Liberty Property Trust.“We have a terrific team that was able to look past what was – a dilapidated, outmoded facility – and see what could be, and the result is a modern, accessible and spacious facility that is in the ‘sweet spot’ of what the airport market needs.”Liberty began redevelopment of Liberty Sky Harbor Center in January and completed the massive project in just four months. The team included Phoenix-based firms Deutsch Architecture and Howard S. Wright Constructors, a Balfour Beatty Company. The listing broker is Bob Crum of Ross Brown Partners in Scottsdale.The updated and upgraded property now offers 185,834 SF of Class A cross-dock warehouse and distribution space with 67 dock doors, 360-degree truck access and more than eight acres of paved area for outside storage and trailer parking.Sustainable approaches to the building included the re-use of 85% of existing structures on site, recycling of asphalt, concrete and steel demolished as part of the redevelopment, installation of upgraded radiant insulation with an R-30 value, and the use of low VOC paint. Approximately 105,000 SF of the building is available for immediate lease.Liberty Sky Harbor Center is located south of I-17 with convenient access to both the I-10 and Loop 202 freeways, just minutes from Sky Harbor Airport.The property is within a short distance of another recently announced Liberty project, Liberty Center at Rio Salado, a sustainable mixed-use business park on 100 acres to be developed in conjunction with the City of Tempe.
OWNER: Lux Air Jet CentersConstruction Manager: BSI Construction ServicesGeneral contractor: Adolfson & Peterson ConstructionArchitect: Larson AssociatesLocation: Phoenix-Goodyear Airport – 1658 Litchfield Road, Goodyear, Ariz.Size: 67,290 SFValue: $8.2MStart/Completion: July 2014 to April 2015Highlights:The Lux Air Goodyear location will be a fixed-base operator (FBO) facility for Lux Air Jet Centers at the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport. The new FBO includes three pre-manufactured metal airplane hangers and associated office space.
Aqaba Container Terminal (ACT) serves as a good example of achievement based on its solid operational structure, performance monitoring, sustainability and privatization success, according to a report issued by the Jordanian government at the end of March 2014.The report compiled by financial, legal and business experts, representing a variety of market sectors in Jordan to access the operations of privatized entities, showed that ACT excelled in operational safety and quality, and its social and economic impact.ACT was deemed a model privatization venture within its category i.e. ventures based on a build-operate- transfer (BOT) structure that are owned by The Kingdom, but partnered with the private sector in operations and management/administration. This set-up resulted in improved company performance in both increased productivity and efficiency.The numbers reflect monthly throughput showing a significant increase between the years 2006 and 2013. In 2006, volume was 405,658 TEU while in the year 2013 it reached 872,809.In-transit TEUs (cargo destined inland to other markets) increased from 26,307 TEU to 92,097 TEU for the same period. New jobs in ACT also increased following the privatization from 748 to 886 between 2006 and 2013.Gantry crane productivity improved from 24 moves an hour in 2007 to 29 in 2013. The number of port calls increased during this same period from 378 to 443.The size of vessels also increased from 1000 TEU feeder vessels to 7200 TEU main line vessels with more than nine weekly services calling today. In 2013, over 333,000 trucks were handled at ACT’s gate.“These results reflect the agility and efficiency of our company’s operations. We are proud to have our name listed as a leader in port privatization”, stated ACT’s CEO Mr. Jeppe Jensen. “We will continue to work hard on delivering His Majesty King Abdullah II’s vision for transforming the city of Aqaba into a regional transportation hub through our global expertise, best practices and people.”ACT is a joint venture between the Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC) and APM Terminals — operating a 25-year build-operate-transfer agreement signed in 2006. The terminal constitutes the logistical and economic backbone of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), serving as the preferred gateway to the region for world markets.Since 2006, APM Terminals has invested USD 240 million in the Aqaba Container Terminal to create the transportation hub for the Levant region. The port’s expansion plan included a 460 meter berth extension and six new cranes in the 1.3 million TEU capacity terminal.The Kingdom of Jordan has 26 km (16 miles) of coastline at the northern tip of the Red Sea, on the Gulf of Aqaba. Jordan’s leading export markets are the USA, Iraq and India, and primary import sources are Saudi Arabia and China, followed by Germany and the USA.[mappress]ACT, April 30, 2014
The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has issued a new guide to help government agencies and Native American communities work together to identify areas along the country’s west coast that could be affected by future offshore renewable energy development. The potential for impacts to important coastal and marine Native American sites will increase as interest in offshore renewable energy development increases, BOEM says. These potential impacts may include physical disturbances to archaeological sites and traditional use areas, as well as visual impacts.Utilizing a cultural landscape approach that integrates traditional knowledge with environmental science, historical information, and archaeological knowledge, the guide outlines a method for tribes with a connection to the coast to document places and resources significant to their communities. This approach and the data it yields are intended to reduce potential conflicts while filling critical data gaps in ocean planning and resource management.“Understanding the types of important archaeological and cultural resources that could be affected is essential to their preservation,” said Joan Barminski, Pacific Regional Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.“The approach outlined in this guide recognizes that places and cultural heritage resources can have different or multiple meanings and levels of significance based on how people from different cultures, times, or backgrounds have interacted and continue to engage with the respective landscape.”A tribal cultural landscape approach is grounded in tribal sovereignty and identifies best practices for tribes on how to represent their interests to government agencies in reviewing potential development projects. It also outlines best practices for agencies on how to consult with tribes more effectively and appropriately in advance of proposed projects.“The places we live are as much part of us as our songs, stories, foods and oral traditions. They remind us of our place in the world and our obligations. Finding ways for land managing agencies to see this importance – to help us protect them and preserve our cultures, is vital,” said Eirik Thorsgard, one of the project’s core members and tribal member of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon and former Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Tribe.“This set of methods and acceptance of understanding assists in training people from other cultures about our perspectives and ensures for generations to come, we will still have the world our elders gave us.”The guide, Characterizing Tribal Cultural Landscapes, is available here.