Governor Douglas announces $3.9 million in public transit grants

first_img Source: Governor’s office. ### Governor Jim Douglas announced Wednesday that the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) has awarded $3.9 million in Federal Transit Administration grants over the next three years to six public transportation providers to help them either start new or expand existing bus routes. These grants will assist public transit providers across Vermont with their efforts to increase public transportation opportunities for the people of our state, said Governor Jim Douglas.  These funds will also help us ease traffic congestion along some of our heaviest traveled routes and improve air quality.Awards were made based on the provider s ability to mitigate congestion and its associated air quality impacts as well as their ability to show the viability and sustainability of the new or expanded route. This money will help fund new or expanded public transit routes for the next three years, said VTrans Secretary David Dill. In many cases, partnerships between local employers and the public transit provider were established to ensure that the grant funding would stretch as far as possible, effectively serve the commuting-public, and have the greatest overall positive economic impact. New or expanded routes to receive funding include: Addison County Transit Resources will receive just over $250,000 annually for the next three years to expand service of its existing Burlington LINK shuttle, the Middlebury Shuttle, and the Tri-Town Shuttle. Chittenden County Transportation Authority (CCTA) will receive approximately $695,000 each of the next three years to establish a Milton-to-Burlington LINK route in the same style as its popular Montpelier-to-Burlington LINK. CCTA will also use grant funds to establish regular service along the densely developed Route 2 Corridor between Burlington s Cherry Street Station and Taft Corners in Williston. Connecticut River Transit based in Rockingham and now operating as The Current was awarded $76,000 annually for the next three years to expand its successful Upper Valley Commuter route to more effectively serve the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center s workforce. Rutland s Marble Valley Regional Transit District will receive approximately $69,000 annually for the next three years to expand service by increasing the frequency of runs on the popular South Route component of their In-City fixed route services. Stagecoach Transportation Services of Randolph will use their award of $68,000 for the next three years to establish a Montpelier-to-Randolph Commuter route along the I-89 Corridor. Green Mountain Transit Agency, in partnership with Rural Community Transportation of St. Johnsbury, will use approximately $174,000 annually for the next three years to establish a commuter transit route along the busy Route 2 Corridor between St. Johnsbury and Montpelier.last_img read more

Lebanese Man Accused of Acting as Liaison between Colombian and Mexican Cartels

first_imgBy Dialogo December 15, 2011 The U.S. Government filed charges before a judge in Virginia against Ayman Joumaa, alias “Junior,” a Lebanese businessman who facilitated the transport of tons of cocaine and laundered money for Mexican and Colombian cartels. Joumaa, 47 years old, remains at large, but he was formally designated a criminal kingpin in January, following an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Treasury Department. “According to information from sources, his alleged drug and money laundering activities facilitated numerous global drug trafficking organizations, including the criminal activities of the Los Zetas Mexican drug cartel,” the DEA statement explained on December 13. These activities took place over at least eight years, during which Joumaa would receive cocaine from Colombian and Venezuelan suppliers, transfer it to Los Zetas, and then collect a commission of between 8 and 14 percent for laundering the profits. The alleged Lebanese kingpin, together with his siblings and other associates, operated businesses that served as a facade for laundering money, such as foreign-exchange agencies in Lebanon, a company in Panama, and a chain of department stores in Colombia, according to the charges against him. Joumaa could be sentenced in absentia to life in prison, according to the DEA.last_img read more

Illicit Drug Production Destroys Colombian, Peruvian Ecosystems

first_imgBy Gustavo Arias Retana/Diálogo June 16, 2020 Crop cultivation and the chemicals used to produce drugs have a direct impact on the hemisphere’s flora, soils, fauna, and rivers. Countries like Colombia and Peru are rapidly losing their natural resources and ecosystems due to narcotrafficking, which clears forests to grow marijuana, as well as coca to produce cocaine and poppy for heroin.Toxic waste from chemicals used to extract narcotics lacks proper management and is discarded into bodies of water, polluting groundwater resources and killing thousands of species.The Colombian National Police’s (PNC, in Spanish) report Coca: Deforestation, Pollution, and Poverty indicates that “drug production destroys an average of 40,531 hectares of forest annually in the country, about 111 hectares per day, where 80 percent of the reported tree species only exist in that biome.” Deforestation also entails destroying the habitat of endemic species that are unable to migrate. “In terms of fauna, the figures are: 600 birds, 170 reptiles, 100 amphibians, and more than 600 fish species,” the report says.According to the report Colombia – Survey of Territories Affected by Illicit Crops 2018 from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, “47 percent of [drug] crops are located in national natural parks, indigenous reserves, or black communities […].” The total area damaged by coca crops exceeds 225,000 hectares, the PNC adds.Germán Márquez, professor at the National University of Colombia and researcher at the Institute of Environmental Studies, told Diálogo that the country is among the most affected by logging due to drug production. “Deforestation has been the most direct impact since marijuana crops began in the 1960s and 1970s, and then coca leaf, and to some extent the occupation of many forest areas,” added Marquez.Eliseo Talancha, head of the Peruvian Institute of Environmental Law and Cultural Heritage, told Diálogo that his country is experiencing similar damage to that of Colombia, especially in the Amazon area.“Narcotrafficking is a local and regional environmental problem, mainly located [in the country] in the Peruvian Amazon, in the high and low jungles. It affects resources such as water, and the use of pesticides and chemicals leads to soil erosion,” Talancha added. “Cocaine base paste production causes serious damage in terms of river pollution and loss of fauna.”“We can summarize the main effects as such: interference in strategic ecosystems; thinning of vegetation coverage; extinction of endemic species; reduction of natural areas; deterioration of water sources and decreased capacity to regulate them; decline in water quality due to physical, chemical, or biological degradation; rain cycle alterations; and increased carbon dioxide,” the PNC report says.Some of the chemicals released into the region’s rivers due to cocaine production are kerosene, sulfuric acid, quicklime, carbide, acetone, and toluene, experts say. The production of 1 kilogram of coca base paste requires about 400 to 600 grams of chemicals, which are directly deposited into the region’s water sources.Other drug processing practices that are harmful for ecosystems, the PNC says, are open-air waste accumulation and incineration, as well as river pollution.“Many garbage dumps potentially generate dioxins, furans, and tar, which in some cases have higher toxicity levels than the initial substance [due to decomposition]. The accumulation of open-air and untreated waste generates leachates [toxic waste liquids] that pollute the soil. Waste enters the environment in high concentrations and ends up in bodies of water, merged with soil particles and, in the worst-case scenario, is accumulated and magnified. At this point, the pressure on the habitat is not limited to the crop area alone, but gets exported to the entire ecosystem,” the PNC emphasizes in the report.last_img read more

Member Business Lending: Three steps to early identification of increased risk of default

first_imgYou rely on the ability to quickly return decisions to your members as a competitive advantage, but do you have the right early warning system to monitor the portfolio and reduce risk after the loan is on the books?No credit union will ever be 100% successful in identifying all of its risky members before they default. They simply can’t afford to have staff continually review every loan in the portfolio, but everyone needs to do everything in their power to identify potential losses early enough to take action.Credit unions can identify risks and reduce losses with a rules-based early warning system. The systems and tools must display the results of the analysis in formats and reports that provide users with actionable data and insights. How it is created and monitored is key.A rules-based early warning system (RBEWS) is a model (or set of models) that predict increased risk of default. There is no denying that creating an RBEWS is a modeling exercise, which can create uncertainty and hesitancy among lenders who don’t have rigorous modeling experience. It is possible to achieve meaningful results using readily available statistical software. The bigger challenge for most financial institutions lies in collecting the data for the analysis. The question becomes, “Where to start?”Developing and implementing a rules-based early warning system can be broken down into three primary efforts:Constructing the early warning risk models.Create an RBEWS model that is focused on the right risk characteristics, identifies the systems and tools needed for the RBEWS to function properly, and demonstrates how to review results and how to act on those results.Merging the model results into current credit-monitoring practices and procedures.Construct an RBEWS based on a bundle of risk characteristics geared toward the entity type (individual, small business, mid-market, large corporate), loan-product type (commercial real estate, secured and unsecured, etc.) and geography; how to incorporate “Hard,” “Soft” and “Judgmental” data into the process; when to perform a review; the loan reviewers responsibilities when using this tool; and how relationship managers should approach borrowers after the system has issued a warning.Working with borrowers to reduce the credit union’s risk while preserving member relationships.This includes identifying a list of risk characteristics; managing the increased frequency of data reporting and field exams without generating an unmanageable amount of data; and improving an RBEWS over time by, for example, tracking false positives, tracking the credits flagged as heightened risk, and tracking the loans not identified, but that later become non-performing.Your RBEWS will need to aggregate the required data in a single data set. It is very important to minimize the manual effort in creating this data set, since manual inputs are time consuming, costly, prone to error and not scalable. Your RBEWS will need to interface with multiple data sources, which ideally will include:Your core systemYour financial statement spreading solutionConsumer credit bureau reportsConsumer and commercial credit-scoring servicesOther third-party data aggregatorsReviewing your portfolio to identify areas of decreased risk-specific borrowers, industry segments or product types—represents improved lending opportunities for your institution. A rules-based early warning system can help reduce losses by automatically performing a comprehensive portfolio review (at pre-determined times or as needed) and identifying the short list of default candidates.Click here to learn how to construct and implement a rules-based early warning system in this three part eBook series.For more information about the D+H portfolio of lending solutions, please contact us at 800-815-5592 or click here.Contributing author: James Hartzog 34SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Erick Smith Erick Smith is a lending solutions marketing manager who supports a portfolio of commercial lending solutions at D+H. Prior to joining D+H, Erick spent 10+ years at consumer … Web: www.dh.com Detailslast_img read more

Cider Mill hosts 2nd Annual Pink Doughnut Day

first_img“It’s just nice to be able to come together with other local businesses and perform these kind of things,” Natzle said. “Especially with what’s going on right now with this unnormal world.” The Cider Mill will be hosting another Pink Doughnut Day with Visions Federal Credit Union next week. The Cider Mill began taking orders yesterday to be picked up today.  Brent Natzle, assistant manager, says the significance about this event is local businesses helping each other out.  All pink doughnut proceeds will benefit the UHS Sock Out Cancer Fund. ENIDCOTT (WBNG) — The Cider Mill and UHS hosted their 2nd Annual Pink Doughnut Day Tuesday. For more information, check out their Facebook page.last_img

Highlights of the Week

first_imgMarineEnergy.biz has compiled the top news from marine energy industry from July 08 – July 14, 2019. French Trio Scraps Tidal Pilot Leask Marine on ATIR Diving Duty SIMEC Atlantis Ups MeyGen Output; Registers for CfDs; Eyes PPAscenter_img Allseas Snaps Up Bluerise New Investors for Eco Wave Powerlast_img

Three strikes to be struck out

first_imgOtago Daily Times 2 November 2017The three strikes law is “silly”, doesn’t work, and will be dismantled next year, Justice Minister Andrew Little says.“It’s been on the statute books for eight years now,” Little told the New Zealand Herald. “Our serious offending rate is rising, our prison population is rising. Throwing people into prison for longer and longer just isn’t working.”However, repealing it was not in the Government’s 100-day plan.“It will be some time next year, I imagine. It’s a silly law anyway, but I want to make sure when we do get rid of it, we can say, ‘Here is our plan to reduce serious offending rates’.”The three strikes law was passed in 2010 and applies to 40 serious sexual or violent offences.Family First said repealing the law would put the public in greater danger, and former Act MP David Garrett, who was the architect of the bill, said repeat violent offenders deserve longer sentences.“Each of those 216 guys on a final strike are dangerous, repeat, violent offenders who belong in jail, and they are doing more time than they were before.“What’s the wrong that needs to be righted? Andrew Little will have no examples of where the legislation has resulted in some rank injustice.”READ MORE: https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/three-strikes-be-struck-outKeep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

Sarah and Todd Palin File for Divorce

first_imgThe former first family of Alaska is breaking up. According to divorce papers, Sarah and Todd Palin’s marriage is over.In the court documents, Todd Palin cites incompatibility of temperament as a couple. That is similar to “irreconcilable differences.”The Palin family became well known after then Governor Sarah Palin was tapped to be John McCain’s Vice Presidential running mate in 2008. A couple of years ago the oldest Palin son was accused of beating up his father.The Palins, married for 31 years, have asked for joint custody of young est son, 11-year-old Trig.Sarah Palin, 55, was elected governor of Alaska in 2006.The marriage of Sarah and Todd, a commercial fisherman, snowmachine racer and oil field worker, was frequently on display in TV interviews, reality shows, books and other media appearances.Palin resigned as governor in 2009.last_img read more

Twisted Sister singer to anti-maskers: Don’t use our song

first_imgBroward County officials quickly responded to the incident, and Target was fined for not enforcing the county’s mask law. Citations were also mailed to the protesters, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported. A group of anti-maskers went viral after they stormed into a Fort Lauderdale Target with no masks, yelling out “take off your masks” while blaring Twisted Sister’s song “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider took to social media to condemn the anti-maskers. In a tweet he sent out on Wednesday the singer called the stunt “moronic,” and said the group doesn’t have his “permission or blessing to use my song for their moronic cause.”(Warning:NSFW)No…these selfish assholes do not have my permission or blessing to use my song for their moronic cause. #cuttheshit https://t.co/LPDAjSszbf— Dee Snider (@deesnider) September 16, 2020last_img read more

Boys hoops Hornets falls to B’ville; J-D, ESM, MPH get wins

first_imgA quartet of area high school boys basketball teams each faced various sets of expectations in the last full week of January.Fayetteville-Manlius was charged with trying to contain Baldwinsville’s sensational sophomore, J.J. Starling, last Friday night, and did an admirable job of it, yet still lost to the Bees 67-55.All through the first half, hot outside shooting allowed F-M to keep pace with B’ville. The Hornets trailed by just two, 38-36, at the break, and stayed within range during the third quarter, too.Like every other Bees opponent, the aim was to keep Starling from big numbers, and though he did have 23 points, F-M made Starling work hard for those numbers.Despite all this, B’ville got away by playing tough defense in the final minutes and having Bo Nicholson give big-time scoring support to Starling as Nicholson finished with 21 points.No one on the Hornets could match those totals. Charlie Gadsden and Josh Michel each had 12 points, with Trevor Roe getting eight points and Luke Davidson adding six points.That same night, Jamesville-DeWitt met a Fulton side that had quietly built a 9-3 record, though one of those defeats was to the Red Rams 75-53 on Dec. 20.A month later, very little changed, J-D again handling Fulton 71-47 even after a wild first quarter that saw the Rams have to battle to gain a 19-17 lead.Over the course of the next two periods, though, the Red Raiders were limited to just 17 points, J-D’s defense making all kinds of stops while its attack continued to perform well.At the forefront, Payton Shumpert got 23 points, adding seven rebounds and four assists. The trio of Trey Autry, Gunther Schnorr and John Marshall Withers each gained 11 points and Preston Shumpert had seven points.East Syracuse Minoa had little trouble in last Wednesday’s game against PSLA-Fowler, defeating the Falcons 63-43.Improving its record to 11-2, the state Class A no. 26-ranked Spartans opened with a 22-7 first quarter and built a 56-29 lead through three periods before resting its starters late.Nick Peterson finished with 13 points, while Devin Mascato-Buffaloe had 12 points. Matt Burchill-Wright got 11 points as Jimmy Ferns put in six points.Of far more importance was the way ESM played, on both sides of the ball, against Auburn last Friday night. Ignoring the Maroons’ 9-4 record, the Spartans were terrific in every aspect of the game in smashing them 65-33.As the game wore on, ESM’s defense only seemed to improve, and in the second and third quarters it left Auburn far behind, outscoring them 44-13.Peterson, with his 22 points, got plenty of support from Ferns, who gained 15 points. Burchill-Wright remained steady with nine points as no Maroons player scored in double figures.Manlius-Pebble Hill put together back-to-back wins for the first time this season, improving its post-season chances.On Jan. 17, the Trojans defeated LaFayette 65-58, overcoming an early 17-8 deficit and, in the third quarter, outscoring the Lancers 18-7 to move out in front for good.Aside from his 28 points, James Kelly earned 13 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Alex Abrams had a big night, too, with 18 points and seven rebounds as Shontez Anderson got eight points, seven rebounds and four assists.Then, in last Wednesday”s game against Stockbridge Valley, MPH prevailed 66-52, using a 21-9 push through the second quarter to gain control.Kelly had nearly half the Trojans’ output, earning 30 points. Anderson gained 14 points, with Isiah Clary adding six points.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story Tags: boys basketballESMF-MJ-DMPHlast_img read more