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Vermont Yankee fuel rods found

first_imgEntergy Locates Spent Fuel Segments at Vermont YankeeEntergy workers at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon located on July 13, 2004, the missing spent fuel rod segments in the plant’s spent fuel pool. The two pieces were stored in a unique 40-inch aluminum cylinder, which is unlike a typical storage container but is similar to several other aluminum structures and tools in the pool.Entergy VY Site Vice President Jay Thayer credited interviews with former employees and contractors, intense research of records and documents dating back more than 25 years, and video tapes of the pool that were recently taken.Said Thayer, ”Our search team designed a detailed search plan that explored every possibility from three different angles. They looked visually with the cameras, they searched the documents, and they talked to people who were on the scene 25 years ago. The team deserves a tremendous amount of credit.”We earlier had checked all the containers in the pool, but when we learned that General Electric had designed and sent a pipe-like cylinder for the fuel-rod pieces, we rechecked the videotapes. That’s when we noticed that what was previously thought to be part of an existing in-pool structure could very well be the canister that GE sent here.”Workers used remotely operated tools to open the canister and insert a small high- resolution video camera that confirmed the presence of the fuel segments, which are nine inches and seventeen inches long and about the diameter of a pencil.Thayer also credits the resident NRC inspectors at Vermont Yankee and William Sherman, the Vermont Public Service Department’s nuclear engineer, for their contributions to the investigation. ”These folks had full and open access to the process every step of the way and they provided valuable insights and guidance.”Thayer said the policies and procedures for record keeping and documentation of activities in Vermont Yankee’s spent fuel pool have been revised to ensure accurate record keeping. ”We want to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he said.This press release was released July 13 and is available online at www.entergy.com(link is external).-30-last_img read more

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Wayne Roberts announces retirement from LCRCC

first_imgMaryWardDirector ofCommunicationsLake Champlain RegionalChamber of Commerce& GBIC60 Main Street, Ste.100Burlington, VT05401p  802.863.3489ext. 209f 802.863-1538www.vermont.org(link is external) A. Wayne Roberts, President of LakeChamplain Regional Chamber of Commerce AnnouncesRetirementExecutive Search Process Will Begin inMarchKaren Marshall, chair of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber ofCommerce (LCRCC), announced today that A. Wayne Roberts, long-time president ofthe Chamber, would retire from his post at the end of the year. Roberts has beenat the helm of the LCRCC since 1986.”In 20 years, Wayne Roberts transformed our Chamber fromsupporter of the business community to the leading advocate for public policythat creates sustainable economic development in the State of Vermont,” saidMarshall. “He brought small and large business experience to the role, andpursued a vision to create a dynamic Chamber of Commerce that representedmultiple interests, and created leadership capacity among its citizens. Hisimpact on the economic welfare of the businesses and citizens in the ChamplainValley is profound. He has forged strong alliances for our business sector withstate and federal policy makers that will benefit our communities for years tocome. As we begin our search for a new President, we will look to find thetalented individual who can build on this strong foundation. “Prior to coming to the Chamber, Roberts was an account managerfor IBM. He then owned and operated three successful hospitality businesses inVermont and was an assistant professor of Business Management at Johnson StateCollege. In 1980, Roberts served as White House deputy personnel director, andwas subsequently appointed by the president to serve as U.S. deputyunder-secretary of Education.During his tenure at the Chamber, the organization has becomeone of the largest non-profit business membership organizations in Vermont,serving over 2,000 member businesses and 60,000 employees throughout thestate.Roberts successfully developed four divisions within theChamber, including Leadership Champlain, the Vermont Convention Bureau, the LakeChamplain Regional Marketing Organization, and Education & Training.Leadership Champlain works to identify, nurture and engage theleadership potential of community members to support a healthy economicenvironment. Since its inception in 1988, more than 700 community leaders havegraduated from the program.Roberts brought The Vermont Convention Bureau (VCB) into thefold in 1988 as a regional organization responsible for marketing Vermont as apreferred meeting and convention destination. In 1994, the VCB expanded to astatewide organization. Today, the VCB successfully promotes Vermont throughoutthe U.S. and internationally, generating hundreds of meeting and conventionleads with a nearly $10 million economic impact annually.The Chamber also administers the Lake Champlain RegionalMarketing Program (RMP), a program of the Vermont Department of Tourism andMarketing. Through the RMP, the Chamber publishes and distributes numerousaward-winning publications aimed at marketing the region as a tourismdestination. The Chamber’s public relations efforts include working with travelwriters, attending consumer shows and maintaining the organization’s web site,which receives over one-million visits annually. The Chamber’s public relationsefforts have garnered national attention for the region in major media outlets,worth millions of dollars.Among the Chamber’s many accomplishments is a successfuleducation and training division. The Chamber’s early efforts to focus oneducation and training in the region began in 1990 with Project Assist, aprogram that encouraged partnerships between schools and area businesses toimprove learning and career opportunities for youth.In 1997, the Chamber partnered with GBIC to develop theWorkforce Investment Board (WIB) in an effort to identify and develop qualitytraining programs that would address the workforce development needs of localmanufacturers. The WIB focuses on developing and sustaining business andeducation partnerships for youth and adult learners with an emphasis onstrengthening and enhancing the delivery of technical education in theregion.The accomplishments of the Chamber and GBIC in the education andtraining arena are extensive. In the last decade, the Chamber and GBIC have beenresponsible for the development of the Vermont Learn to Earn Initiative, thedevelopment of School-to-Work programs and School-to-Work Resource andCurriculum Guides (which became state models), and the development of LinkingLearning to Life.Roberts also developed four successful Chamber programs,including government affairs, communications, marketing and member services.Each of these programs help the Chamber achieve its mission of promoting andsupporting a healthy environment that makes the region the ideal place to live,work and do business. The government affairs and communications programs arealso shared with GBIC.Today, the Chamber employs 32 full-time staff that operate inseven locations. The Chamber’s headquarters are at 60 Main Street in Burlington,with satellite locations in Rutland, Montpelier, Boston, the BurlingtonInternational Airport and the North and Southbound I-89 Welcome Centers inWilliston.The Chamber’s Executive Committee has formed a search committeeto begin a search for a new president. Dawn Francis will serve as a staffliaison for the committee. For more information about the search, please contactDawn Francis at 863-3489, ext. 210 or visit the Chamber’s web site atwww.vermont.org(link is external).-30- This information may beprivileged or confidential and is intended for use solely by the person(s) namedabove. Review, of this communication by anyone other than the intended recipientis strictly prohibited; and distribution or duplication of this communicationmay not be made without the prior consent of the sender.last_img read more

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Regional biotech association warns Vermont legislation could have profound negative impact

first_imgThe region’s largest biotechnology association today warned that a bill under consideration by the Vermont Legislature will create the most restrictive and onerous regulatory environments for biotechnology growth and development not only in New England, but in the entire nation. Senate Bill 48, an Act Relating to the Marketing of Prescribed Products, is the focus of a presentation today at the State House by Senate President Peter Shumlin.”The Legislation’s radical expansion of Vermont’s existing and strict biopharmaceutical marketing laws promises to hinder significantly the development of the biotechnology industry in this state,” said Paula Newton, Chair of the New England Biotech Association (NEBA).NEBA serves as the regional policy and public affairs voice for the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical community, representing state biotech associations, companies, academic institutions, and other organizations consisting of more than 800 entities.Vermont law already heavily regulates biopharmaceutical marketing activities by requiring the disclosure of the value, nature and purpose of certain marketing related expenses by pharmaceutical manufacturers of just $25 or more in value, among other things. The bill would expand existing regulation by limiting compensation and other payments between biopharmaceutical manufacturers and physicians — including educational materials. And it would broadly expand already onerous disclosurerequirements to include competitively sensitive information concerning clinical trials. Furthermore, IMS Health this month reported that annual U.S. prescription sales growth was just 1.3 percent in 2008, the lowest rate since 1963, according to data maintained by CMS — making the stated purpose of the Legislation, controlling drug costs, moot.”With the enactment of these over-the-top restrictions, Vermont’s pharmaceutical marketing law will be far more severe than those of any other New England state. Such a uniquely sweeping expansion of the regulatory climate in Vermont will have a chilling effect on the growth of the industry in this state,” said Newton. “These requirements would certainly discourage biotechnology manufacturers from participating in clinical trials and academic research in Vermont, since reportedinformation would include competitively sensitive and proprietary information, making it more prudent to conduct research in one of the 49 other states,” she continued. “We urge reasonable elected officials who care about future jobs and the health care system in Vermont to reject this legislation.”Two other states, Colorado and New Mexico, have recently rejected marketing restriction legislation far less extreme than the Vermont bill as bad policy with unintended negative consequences for the life sciences industry and the jobs it producesNEBA is a non-profit, member-driven organization comprised of state biotech associations, companies, academic institutions, and other organizations with a collective mission to support and grow the biotechnology industry in New England. NEBA serves as the regional policy and public affairs voice for the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industry, and is committed to ensuring that New England remains a global leader in biotechnology and the life sciences.NEBA members include the largest biotech associations in those states, including the Biotech Association of Maine, Connecticut United for Research Excellence (CURE), New Hampshire Bio/Medical Council, Rhode Island BioGroup, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, Massachusetts High Technology Council, and the Biotech Association of Vermont (in formation).To find out more about NEBA, visit http://www.newenglandbiotech.org(link is external)last_img read more

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Vermont economists say state already $28 million in the hole

first_imgThe two economists charged with projecting state revenues told the Vermont Emergency Board today that barely more than two weeks into the new fiscal year revenue projections are already down $28 million. They agreed that this recession is the worst since the Great Depression nearly 80 years ago.Not surprisingly, the biggest culprits are the state income tax and the various consumption taxes, especially the general sales tax. If retail spending is down, then consumption taxes are down; if total wages are down, then income taxes are down. The reason for the bad news followed similar downward projections nationally in regards to employment and housing. The unemployment rate, the economists said, will likely peak in Vermont in the middle of next year at around 9 percent, from its current 7.3 percent, while the national rate will go over 10 percent by the end of this calendar year. Given those gloomy numbers, the economists said, income tax withholding is down and consumer confidence, and thus spending, is also down. The 2010 fiscal year began July 1.”The data is unmistakenly negative,” said Jeff Carr, economist for the Douglas Administration.  What has caught the federal government off guard as well is that numbers from April and May implied that the recession had perhaps bottomed out. But Carr said that is not the case and that at best we are nearing the bottom of the recession. Tom Kavet, economist for the Legislature, was a bit more pessimistic than Carr and suggested that a turnaround could be another quarter or two further on. That escalates the budgetary problems, he said, because it means that for each quarter the recovery is put off the state is another $18 million to $20 million deeper in a hole. He said leading indicators suggest this historically bad recession will continue for some time. At 19 months, this recession is already three months longer than any since the 1930s.”By any measure,” Kavet said, “this is the worst downturn since the Great Depression.”Perhaps the most telling moment of the meeting was an exchange at the end of the revenue discussion between House Ways & Means chair Michael Obuchowski and Governor Douglas (WATCH); two soft-spoken men who first served in the Legislature together in the early 1970s. Obuchowski asked if this were the appropriate time to discuss how the Legislature and governor were going to address this as far as the budget was concerned. The governor said it was not the time. Obuchowski said he was holding out his hand (metaphorically) to the administration. Douglas said he had welcomed a bi-partisan approach during the contentious budget-writing process in the spring but was turned down. Obuchowski pressed him further on working together. Douglas said his door was always open and that he would be in touch. At a later press conference, Douglas said he would call Obie to get the process moving.The Emergency Board is comprised of Governor Douglas and the chairs of the four legislative money committees: Appropriations Chair Senator Susan Bartlett (D-Lamoille), Finance Chair Senator Ann Cummings (D-Washington), Appropriations Chair Representative Martha Heath (D-Westford), Ways & Means Chair Representative Michael Obuchowski (D-Rockingham).Source of Charts: Legislative Joint Fiscal Committee. http://www.leg.state.vt.us/jfo/State%20Forecasts/2009-07%20July%20Foreca…(link is external)last_img read more

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Vermont delegation announces $1.1 million in funding for public health services

first_imgSenator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I), and Congressman Peter Welch (D) on Tuesday announced that the Vermont Department of Health will receive $1.1 million in federal support for public health programs.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding will support a new five-year program to link Vermont’s Blueprint for Health with existing public health data, support local public health programs and combat chronic disease. The Vermont grant is part of a $42.5 million nationwide investment in public health made possible by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590).‘This investment in the high quality programs run by the Vermont Department of Health will provide an important boost to public health services and improve the quality of care available to all Vermonters,’ said Leahy, Sanders and Welch. ‘By strengthening coordination between local, state and national health care authorities, this grant will ensure that Vermonters receive the best public health services available.’According to the Vermont Department of Health, the new award will strengthen Vermont’s ability to reduce the costly burden of chronic diseases by increasing attention to preventing illness and complications. It will support the work of the Department’s local prevention teams, which implement CDC best practices for health promotion and disease prevention at the local level. The grant will also link public health data systems and electronic health records to evaluate the effectiveness of Department programs.”We are delighted with this opportunity to strengthen the connections between Health Department programs and Vermont’s Blueprint for Health initiative,’ said Dr. Wendy Davis, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health. ‘Achieving meaningful health reform is not only about reforming the health care delivery system but must include sincere and sustained attention to effective population health and community-based prevention strategies.”In August, Leahy, Sanders and Welch wrote the Department of Health and Human Services in support of Vermont’s grant application.In their letter, the Vermont delegation wrote, ‘CDC’s grant program represents a unique and timely opportunity for Vermont to systematically increase the performance management capacity of its public health departments. The grant would assist Vermont in ensuring that public health goals are effectively and efficiently met.’Source: Vermont delegation. Sept. 21, 2010last_img read more

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Welch to Obama: Consider using strategic oil reserve

first_imgYesterday, oil prices spiked over $100 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as unrest continues to spread throughout the Mideast. Last week, oil was trading under $85 per barrel. Barclays Capital has estimated the turmoil in Libya has affected upwards of one million barrels a day of production, or roughly 2 percent of global supply. Releasing oil from the SPR has a proven record of driving down prices.  When President George H. W. Bush deployed oil from the SPR in 1991, oil prices immediately dropped by more than 33 percent. When President Clinton exchanged oil from the SPR in 2000, it again drove prices down by nearly 19 percent. And when President Bush released oil from the reserve in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina, oil prices fell by more than 9 percent.  Even before this recent spike in oil prices, the Department of Energy was forecasting high gas prices this summer. Earlier this month, the Energy Information Administration (EIA)projected that the nationwide average for regular gasoline would be $3.20 per gallon during the summer driving season, with a 10 percent chance that prices would exceed $4.00 per gallon. In addition, consumers are already facing substantially higher home heating costs this winter as well. Consumers heating with home heating oil are projected to spend more than 23 percent more this winter. Average expenditures on propane are projected to be more than 9 percent more. Right now, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve holds 727 million barrels and is filled to capacity. Releasing even a small fraction of that oil could have a significant impact on speculation in the marketplace and on prices.  It would also remind the world that the U.S. is ready, willing and able to use the SPR aggressively and effectively if needed.  The FY2012 budget request already proposes a ‘$500 million non-emergency sale of SPR oil.’ Signaling your intent to consider selling oil from the SPR in the near term would send a strong signal to oil markets responding to the unrest in the Middle East.  While this is a relatively modest supply disruption, it has the potential to have a disproportionately dramatic impact on global oil markets and prices paid by American consumers. While the OPEC nations with available spare production capacity could easily turn on the spigot to more than offset any disruption in Libyan supply, they also profit from oil price spikes and therefore have little incentive to quickly respond with the increased supply needed to calm markets.  However, one tool that the United States has at its disposal to protect against the threat of supply disruptions and related speculation in the oil markets is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).  As we approach the summer driving season, we must carefully consider all immediate options in order to prevent the runaway increase in prices that we saw in the summer of 2008.  We therefore urge you to consider leveraging the SPR to respond to these supply disruptions and combat the rapid price escalations resulting from rampant speculation in the oil markets.  American consumers are already suffering from high energy prices and the effects of the economic downturn. In the long term, we need to develop clean energy alternatives that can reduce our dependence on oil and insulate us from supply shocks. Clean energy, fuel economy and innovation are American made solutions that will end our dangerous reliance on foreign oil and OPEC. However, in the short term, considering releasing oil from the SPR as we approach the summer driving season could help prevent oil prices from escalating as they did in 2008. Thank you for your consideration of this request. With turmoil spreading across the Middle East, light sweet crude oil spiking above $100 a barrel for the first time since 2008, and summer driving season fast approaching, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and two House colleagues have asked President Obama to reprise a tactic used by the last three presidents and consider using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve [SPR] to reduce prices in the short-term for American consumers and businesses.‘As we approach the summer driving season, we must carefully consider all immediate options in order to prevent the runaway increase in prices that we saw in the summer of 2008,’ write Reps. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.). ‘We therefore urge you to consider leveraging the SPR to respond to these supply disruptions and combat the rapid price escalations resulting from rampant speculation in the oil markets.’Even before the recent spike in oil prices, the Department of Energy was forecasting high gas prices this summer. Earlier this month, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected that the nationwide average for regular gasoline would be $3.20 per gallon during the summer driving season, with a 10 percent chance that prices would exceed $4.00 per gallon.The SPR currently holds 727 million barrels and is filled to capacity. The current budget request from the president already proposes a $500 million non-emergency sale of SPR oil. The letter notes that while OPEC nations have available spare production capacity that could easily offset any disruption in Libyan supply, ‘[OPEC nations] also profit from oil price spikes and therefore have little incentive to quickly respond with the increased supply needed to calm markets.’‘Releasing even a small fraction of that oil could have a significant impact on speculation in the marketplace and on prices,’ write Reps. Markey, DeLauro and Welch. ‘It would also remind the world that the United States is ready, willing and able to use the SPR aggressively and effectively if needed. Signaling your intent to consider selling oil from the SPR in the near term would send a strong signal to oil markets responding to the unrest in the Middle East.’The letter notes this is an important short-term step to help consumers, but ‘in the long term, we need to develop clean energy alternatives that can reduce our dependence on oil and insulate us from supply shocks. Clean energy, fuel economy and innovation are American made solutions that will end our dangerous reliance on foreign oil and OPEC.’LETTER:February 24, 2011The Honorable Barack ObamaPresidentThe White House1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC 20500 Sincerely, REP. EDWARD J. MARKEY REP. ROSA L. DELAURO           REP. PETER WELCH# # # Dear President Obama:last_img read more

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Berkshire Bank parent completes acquisition of Legacy Bancorp

first_imgBerkshire Bank,Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: BHLB) has completed the acquisition of Legacy Bancorp, Inc., and Berkshire Bank has completed the merger of Legacy Banks, effective today.  Berkshire Hills now has over $4 billion in assets and more than 60 branches serving Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont.  Berkshire Hills has increased its outstanding common stock to approximately 21 million shares with a market capitalization of more than $480 million, based on recent trading prices. “This acquisition results in improved market share and an expanded footprint in our attractive northeastern markets,” stated Berkshire Hills President and CEO, Michael P. Daly.  “It contributes to our strong momentum in revenue and earnings growth.  This partnership enhances our resources to support the needs of our regions and to provide exceptional locally based service.  We are very pleased to welcome the customers, employees, and shareholders of Legacy to America’s Most Exciting Bank(SM).”Each common shareholder of Legacy Bancorp will receive 0.56385 shares of Berkshire Hills common stock plus $1.30 in cash for each share of Legacy stock.  Legacy shareholders also will receive cash in lieu of fractional shares based on the average closing price of Berkshire Hills’ common stock of $22.86 for the five consecutive trading days ended July 14, 2011. Additionally, Legacy shareholders at the effective time of the merger will receive an estimated $0.15 per Legacy share from the proceeds of certain branch divestitures later in the year.  Based on Berkshire Hills’ $23.06 closing stock price as of July 20, 2011, the estimated value of the merger to Legacy shareholders is $14.45 per share.  Both the Berkshire Bank Foundation and The Legacy Banks Foundation will continue to provide charitable contributions to communities served by Berkshire Bank.BackgroundBerkshire Hills Bancorp is the parent of Berkshire Bank, America’s Most Exciting Bank(SM), and has more than $4 billion in assets.    The Company has more than 60 full service branch offices inMassachusetts, New York, and Vermont providing personal and business banking, insurance, and wealth management services.  Berkshire Bank provides 100% deposit insurance protection for all deposit accounts, regardless of amount, based on a combination of FDIC insurance and the Depositors Insurance Fund (DIF).  For more information, visit www.berkshirebank.com(link is external) or call 800-773-5601.  Forward-Looking StatementsThis document may contain forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  There are several factors that could cause actual results to differ significantly from expectations described in the forward-looking statements. For a discussion of such factors, please seeBerkshire’s most recent reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov(link is external).  Berkshire does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements made in this document. SOURCE Berkshire Hills Bancorp PITTSFIELD, Mass., July 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ —last_img read more