$2.1 million USDA funding package will improve Williamstown’s wastewater system

first_imgVermont Business Magazine US Congressman Peter Welch and USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Lisa Mensah joined federal, state and local officials in Williamstown on Earth Day to celebrate the town’s efforts to upgrade a 47-year-old wastewater system. The Town of Williamstown received a $2,161,000 grant and loan combination from USDA Rural Development to improve their wastewater infrastructure and reduce the phosphorus flowing from the plant into the Winooski River and on to Lake Champlain.“USDA Rural Development is committed to working with towns across Vermont to fulfill their role to safeguard the quality of the State’s most critical natural resource, water,” said Mensah. “I applaud Williamstown for pro-actively complying with Vermont’s new water quality standards and for their progressive efforts to deliver efficient wastewater services to their citizens while playing their part to protect their natural environment and the waters of Lake Champlain.”USDA Rural Development State Director Ted Brady said Williamstown will use a $1,277,000 grant and an $884,000 loan from the agency to make upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant and to ensure that the plant’s outflow meets the projected Total Maximum Daily Load of phosphorus anticipated from the Environmental Protection Agency this summer.  The phosphorus removal will decrease the plant’s yearly phosphorus output by 84 percent.  The upgrades will also result in an increase in operational and energy efficiencies.Brady noted that the funding for Williamstown was only possible thanks to a provision of the 2014 Farm Bill setting aside funds for projects of regional significance. The Williamstown project tied into a state-wide Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy established by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development following Tropical Storm Irene.Welch, who supported the 2014 Farm Bill, said without the set aside in the Farm Bill, Williamstown residents would have been left to shoulder more of the burden of the project, as the project would have received less grant funding.Following the news conference, the Congressman, members of Vermont’s ECO AmeriCorps program, USDA staff and others removed trash from a small tributary of the Winooski River.  Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Alyssa Schuren oversees the ECO AmeriCorps program, as well as many of the state’s water quality efforts. Schuren noted that her agency and her parent agency, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, works with USDA and other partners to help municipalities provide clean drinking water and environmentally sensitive wastewater treatment facilities. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Vicky Drew said the efforts in Williamstown complement a holistic approach to cleaning up Vermont’s water ways through engaging partners across all sectors to contribute to water quality efforts.  Drew cited the environmental stewardship practices her agency assists farmers with as well as Vermont’s landmark water quality legislation passed by the Vermont legislature last year, Act 64. USDA Rural Development funded Williamstown’s improvements through the Water and Environmental Program(link is external).  Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested $107.8 million to bring improved water and waste water services to over 84,372 Vermont residents.  Williamstown has taken advantage of the program’s historically low interest rates to bring a cost effective improvements to its water system which will benefit 260 Williamstown residents, 15 commercial enterprises and seven institutions.  USDA, through its RD 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 $212.8 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 areas. For more information on Rural Development visit the Vermont Rural Development website (www.rd.usda.gov/vt(link is external) )WILLIAMSTOWN, VT. (April 22, 2016) – USDAlast_img read more

Law firms’ middle-class bias risks excluding a diversity of talent

first_img Dr Louise Ashley is a research fellow at the Centre for Professional Service Firms, Cass Business School, part of City University London It may come as no surprise that the legal sector has a bias towards middle-class candidates. A range of research has attributed this situation to the tendency of leading law firms to recruit graduates from those UK and international institutions with the most testing entry requirements, which themselves have a strong middle-class bias. Though the impact of this strategy on their own diversity is increasingly recognised by many firms, it is widely justified on the basis that academic ability is a prerequisite for top-flight legal practice. Unequal access to educational advantage is, therefore, an important explanation of unequal access to legal careers. However, my research over the past five years suggests this is not the only factor. Working-class candidates may also be rejected from law firms purely on the basis of how they look and sound. Again, this emphasis is considered rational by many in the profession. After all, lawyers are in the business of providing advice and in consequence it makes sense that they should be articulate – or ‘well-spoken’. Yet it appears that for many individuals within leading City firms, the ability to clearly express oneself is considered seriously compromised when it is accompanied by any accent falling far outside the middle-class (and often southern) norm. Senior practitioners often attribute responsibility for this situation to clients, who must feel able to trust their advisers. It appears that this trust is considered possible only when associated with a narrow set of cultural characteristics. Many participants in this research also tacitly acknowledged the emphasis placed on reputation management when securing the position of elite law firms. This rests on several factors, including a belief that clients experience difficulty assessing and comparing the relative quality of advice they receive. Projecting the ‘right’ image therefore becomes an important proxy measure for some firms and can lead to a perception that living up to their ‘high-class’ reputation requires that they also field teams of lawyers who are of the ‘right class’. Why does this issue matter? The trend identified here is of concern from not just a moral but also a commercial perspective. A dual rhetoric has developed. On one side are ‘traditionalists’, who believe that the costs and risks of recruiting from institutions where students are drawn from a wider range of socio-economic backgrounds are too high. However, a counter-argument is made by ‘modernists’ who have started to question the sector’s recruitment strategies. They say that current strategies are delivering a set of ‘cookie-cutter’ recruits, all with similar skills and aptitudes. They argue that graduates who have benefited from long-term educational advantage are less ‘hungry’ and perhaps at times less talented than peers who have been forced to overcome more obstacles. Others suggest that though the two traits are by no means mutually exclusive, focusing heavily on academic ability does not always deliver the most commercial lawyers. The business case for diversity is often cited but is often bogus. However, in this case perhaps the most obvious demonstration of the benefits of difference is the knowledge that many highly successful senior leaders across the sector come from less privileged backgrounds, but would not have gained entry to their firms today on the basis of their academic qualifications. At the widest scale, reducing unequal educational outcomes according to relative privilege is one means by which this issue could be addressed. Of course, law firms cannot achieve this alone. The outreach programmes many have adopted are unlikely to make a significant dent in the sector’s middle-class bias if they are not accompanied by much deeper critical reflection about what a City lawyer can look and sound like. This will take courage and is undoubtedly challenging for a still relatively conservative profession.last_img read more

Edinburgh – Glasgow electrification design contract awarded

first_imgUK: The public version of the final business case for the Edinburgh – Glasgow Improvement Programme was published by Transport Scotland on January 27, when infrastructure manager Network Rail announced that Costain and Morgan Sindall had been awarded five-month alliancing contracts worth £5m to define the detailed scope, programme and target prices for EGIP.In July 2012 Transport Scotland had announced a phased approach to EGIP, based a review undertaken by Jacobs to reduce costs from initial proposals. The £650m first phase has subsequently been amended to include more extensive redevelopment of Glasgow Queen Street station including track remodelling, costing £120m. This takes the overall cost of the first phase to around £742m, including £126m of optimism bias and contingency. Costain and Morgan Sindall are to undertake detailed planning for the largest element of EGIP, covering 25 kV 50 Hz electrification of 156 track-km on the Glasgow Queen Street – Edinburgh Waverley route via Falkirk High as well as clearance works at Winchburgh Tunnel, infrastructure works at Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh Waverley stations and platform extensions at Croy, Falkirk High, Polmont and Linlithgow. Network Rail expects to award the main civil engineering and electrification contract worth around £250m this summer, with completion planned for 2016. Off-peak journey times between Edinburgh and Glasgow would be around 42 min following completion of the first phase, with capacity for four trains/h. A second phase of EGIP from 2025 could increase capacity to six trains/h, reduce journey times to 37 min and provide a connection to the future Edinburgh Gateway station.last_img read more

JSA supports students in outreach programme

first_imgAlthough the training sessions have been suspended as a safety precaution due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jamaica Squash Association (JSA) has continued to support the young players from Penwood High School in St Andrew who participate in its outreach programme.The JSA provided funds for the purchase of mobile data plans to assist students with accessing platforms for online classes following the closure of schools due to the pandemic. In addition, junior players from the Campion College Squash Club and their parents donated care packages for the Penwood students.The JSA’s partnership with Penwood High began in 2017 when the association started an adjunct programme offering students weekly squash training sessions. Since that time, students from the school have begun playing competitively, with 17-year-old Antonio Cumberland and 16-year-old Donell James making the junior national squad in 2018. James went on to represent Jamaica at the Caribbean Areas Squash Association’s Junior Championships in Trinidad in 2019. PRACTICE SUSPENDED Junior squash programme manager, Gill Binnie, said, “We have had to suspend our regular training sessions with the Penwood students because of the health and safety practices that have become necessary because of COVID-19. But although we haven’t been able to see the players regularly, we have still kept in touch with them and with the school and we wanted to provide some support because this has been a challenging time for all of us.”The outreach programme is among several JSA activities which have been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. Earlier this year, the association had to postpone the All Jamaica Junior Championships, the All Jamaica Ladies Championships and the KPMG League because of the pandemic. In addition, the Junior and Senior Caribbean Squash Championships, the most prestigious events on the regional calendar, have both been cancelled.“Like every other sporting fraternity, it has been tough going for our athletes who have been working towards these events, and of course have their personal goals and progress plans, but we are ready to resume training and hopefully competitions as soon as it is safe to do so,” Binnie added.last_img read more

Tsarsko Selo Selo and FC CSKA 1948 made an impersonal 0:…

first_imgTsarsko Selo and FC CSKA 1948 finished 0: 0 in the first match of the fourth round of the First League. The meeting was boring and did not offer emotions to the few spectators. The goal positions were almost absent and the zero draw is the most real result compared to what was shown on the field.After this denouement, Tsarsko Selo already has 8 points and a goal difference of 4: 0, but will most likely lose the first place after the round. FC CSKA 1948 has 3 points in 11th place with a goal difference of 2: 4. This is the third consecutive match without a goal for the rookie, which is already worrying for Krassimir Balakov.Tsarsko Selo – FC CSKA 1948, correctly canceled a goal for the guestsThe clash between Lyuboslav Penev and Krassimir Balakov promises a lot Almost nothing memorable happened in the first half. The guests from FC CSKA 1948 had more control of the ball, but could not reach the goal position. Martin Kamburov was vigilantly guarded and did not threaten Johnny Placid’s door.The national guard of Haiti still made a rescue after a blow under the crossbar of Denislav Alexandrov. A little later in the 27th minute Georgi Rusev scored the ball in the door of the hosts, but the football player of the guests was in a one-meter ambush.The alumni of Lyuboslav Penev made their first shot at Naumov, which was very inaccurate, only in the 45th minute. After the break, the sun disappeared. This picked up the pace slightly, but again the action was mostly in the center.Martin Kamburov had his chance to score, but after an excellent cross by Lazar Marin, the goal scorer missed a header in the 79th minute.The rest of the time nothing interesting happened and naturally reached an impersonal 0: 0.last_img read more