Burlington Free Press to make big changes, shrink size of paper

first_imgFree Press Media,An ongoing $2.4 million rebuild of the FreePressMedia printing press in Burlington is one piece of a 2012 “Triple Crown” that also involves a new format for the printed edition and a new, content-based subscription plan for Free Press platforms, President and Publisher Jim Fogler announced today.”We are making a significant investment in our press and making a tangible commitment to our community. We are not only here to stay, we are here to grow. Our print and digital FreePressMedia platforms, including the Burlington Free Press and burlingtonfreepress.com, will continue to deliver high value and quality. For our local business partners who advertise in our printed edition, it’s a reinvented medium designed to deliver added impact.”Fogler said the full scope of FreePressMedia’s enhancements includes: A $2.4 million rebuild of our 45-year-old press is already in progress. This work will provide a first in the newspaper’s rich 186-year history: the opportunity to provide color photos and advertisements on every printed page. With more color capacity, FreePressMedia will also have the capacity to serve more commercial printed customers. A shift from broadsheet page size to a new tall tab format in June that will give the Burlington Free Press printed edition more of a magazine feel with design upgrades. A new business plan launching in conjunction with the easy-to-use format that will incorporate print and online content into a comprehensive subscription model.The newspaper’s production facility, located on South Winooski Avenue in downtown Burlington, will sport state-of-the-art printing capabilities when work is completed in late April. The Free Press printed edition will convert from a standard broadsheet format to a new, easy-to-use tabloid format (11’ wide x 15’ in length).The printed edition in this new format will be more colorful and feature a modular approach to advertising display which will provide greater impact and ad-size flexibility for advertisers.‘We’ll deliver a more colorful printed edition in a more compact and easy-to-handle size; and pages will be easier to navigate,’ Fogler said. ‘We will differentiate our content to match our platforms ‘ our printed edition will have more narrative storytelling and our web and mobile will be the news of now.’At the heart of the experience for printed edition readers will be the approach pioneered since 2009 in the Free Press’ passion-topics sections: in-depth reporting, rich photographs and eye-catching design in Green Mountain, Savorvore, ARTSbtv and innovate. These approaches have enhanced our coverage of topics that define life in Vermont. The new-look Burlington Free Press will deliver the most accountability reporting and narrative writing in all of Vermont.FreePressMedia will also be changing its subscription model, as part of an historic shift toward digital-first publishing. The new model will provide the flexibility of how, when and where our readers want to consume their local news and information in Vermont. Free Press readers will see significant digital enhancements in the next few months, including more video and photos, and a renewed focus on the topics that matter most to Vermonters. As this happens, FreePressMedia will launch new and improved digital platforms for readers to access news and information, including a more robust mobile site and a tablet-friendly reader experience.Under the new subscription model, subscribers will pay for access to content produced by FreePressMedia and distributed digitally through websites, mobile devices and tablets and in the printed edition. Subscribers may choose from a variety of offers of our full access plans including home delivery of the printed edition (daily, weekends, or Sunday only) and access to our news coverage or they may choose a digital-only plan. And for the first time, subscribers will be able to see the entire printed edition online in an e-Newspaper format. ‘These investments demonstrate our commitment to Chittenden County, and they will help us bring a sense of urgency and deep dives into the narrative of our daily and Sunday news reports ‘ whether you read us on a digital platform or in the printed edition of the Free Press,’ said Michael Townsend, editor of the Free Press. ‘Our readers depend on us to be their community watchdogs, hold our local officials accountable, push for open door meetings, be on the scene when news happens, and to report on what’s most important to them. We will continue to evolve.’About FreePressMediaFreePressMedia is the leading news and information company in the Greater Burlington area. The FreePressMedia family of brands includes more than 12 publications, websites and mobile applications including the Burlington Free Press and BurlingtonFreePress.com, which together have the highest integrated audience reach of any market in Vermont. FreePressMedia is part of Gannett Co, Inc, a leading international news and information company that publishes 81 daily newspapers in the USA, including USA TODAY.BURLINGTON, VT ‘ Free Press Media. 2.23.2012last_img read more

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Castleton poll shows strong support for wind power development

first_imgby Andrew Stein February 27, 2013 vtdigger.org The results of a February poll conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute show strong support for developing wind projects on Vermont ridgelines and subsidizing ‘ alternative energy.’The poll drew from 617 Vermonters across a range of ages and incomes. Of those individuals, 66 percent said they support ‘ building wind energy turbines along the state’ s ridgelines,’ while 19 percent oppose the practice and 14 percent are unsure.The poll found that 69 percent of participating Vermonters are in favor of ‘ the development of a wind farm’ in their community, compared with 19 percent who oppose the proposition and 12 percent who are unsure. Of those residents, 66 percent also said that Vermont’ s government ‘ should subsidize alternative energy,’ opposed to the 20 percent who are against the notion and 14 percent who are unsure.Wind development advocates ‘ like Paul Burns, director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group ‘ praised the results.‘ Wind power in Vermont is clean, safe and abundant,’ Burns said in a public statement. ‘ It’ s no wonder that support for wind remains so strong, despite the extreme rhetoric from groups like Energize Vermont and Vermonters for a Clean Environment.’Lukas Snelling is the director of Energize Vermont, which opposes the ridgeline development of wind turbines in Vermont. The group organized a rally this autumn, where nearly 200 protesters came out against developing wind turbines on Vermont’ s ridgelines.Snelling interprets the results of the poll differently than Burns does, pointing to the dip in support for ridgeline development from a 2012 Castleton Poll, which was conducted with help from various media outlets across the state. The 2012 poll found that 69 percent of participants supported such development, compared to the 66 percent this year.‘ The latest numbers released today from the Castleton Polling Institute show support for ridgeline wind in Vermont continues to erode,’ Snelling said in a public statement. ‘ Activists and citizens questioning the development of Vermont’ s ridgelines for wind power attribute the continued erosion of support to a variety of factors, but one of the most likely is that more of Vermont towns are facing proposals from aggressive wind developers.’PHOTO: Searsburg wind turbineslast_img read more

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Leahy offers legislative response to NSA surveillance scandal

first_imgby Alicia Freese June 24, 2013 vtdigger.org Senator Patrick Leahy interrupted the immigration debate on the Senate floor Monday to unveil his solution to civil liberties concerns that have been stoked by the recent leaks about the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs.Leahy, joined by four Democrats and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, introduced a bill to rein in the government’s surveillance authority. The FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013 reprocesses some of the Vermont senator’s previous attempts to add privacy protections in the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act (FAA).Leahy told fellow lawmakers ‘the American people also deserve to know whether these programs have proven sufficiently effective to justify their extraordinary breadth.’Vermont’s senior senator also reminded senators that they had quashed his previous attempts ‘to apply stricter oversight over these sweeping authorities.’He described his latest attempt as a handful of ‘commonsense, practical improvements that will ensure that the broad and powerful surveillance tools being used by the government are subject to appropriate limitations, transparency, and oversight.’Leahy’s legislation touches on Section 215 of the Patriot Act and Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, which have been at the center of the public debate after National Intelligence Director James Clapper identified them as the source of the Obama administration’s authority for the two data collection programs.His bill expedites the sunset provision of the FISA Amendments Act, moving it up from December 2017 to June 2015. That coincides with the date that key provisions of the Patriot Act are due to expire, which, Leahy said, would allow Congress to review surveillance provisions ‘all at once, rather than in a piecemeal fashion.’It also amends Section 215 of the Patriot Act to require the government show that records, in addition to being relevant to an authorized investigation, are also linked to a foreign terrorist group or foreign power. It also increases judicial review of this section.The legislation goes beyond the nucleus of the NSA scandal, addressing an issue that’s been at the periphery of the privacy debate. It puts a June 2015 sunset on the government’s ability to dole out ‘National Security Letters.’The letters, delivered primarily by the FBI, are mandatory requests for information that are accompanied by gag orders preventing the recipient from telling anyone about it. And, in the meantime, the bill requires the government to obtain a court order before enforcing a gag order, eliminates the mandatory one-year waiting period before someone can challenge a gag order, and asks for a public report on National Security Letters.‘When you have these kinds of gag orders on Americans you are going into very dangerous territory,’Leahy said.The bill also requires the Inspector General to report on whether the government is using the relevant sections of the Patriot Act and the FAA in a proper way, and it makes sure the annual review of Section 702, which is already required, covers all of the relevant government agencies.Leahy is one of the first lawmakers to offer a legislative ‘as opposed to a verbal ‘response to the uproar sparked by the revelations that the government has been amassing billions of phone and Internet records of American citizens. The bill on Monday is actually Leahy’s second NSA scandal-inspired proposal ‘on June 11, he introduced legislation requiring the secret court that authorizes NSA data gathering to declassify major legal opinions.Vermont’s other senator has also penned a piece of legislative response to the surveillance leaks. Sen Bernie Sanders’bill takes a more aggressive approach with Section 215 than Leahy’s does. It would put a definitive stop to indiscriminate metadata collection. Sanders’legislative solution would amend the Patriot Act to require the government to supply specific evidence that shows it has reasonable suspicion that records are tied to an identified terrorist suspect before it can start monitoring them.Sanders’bill also requires the attorney general to give reports to all of Congress, rather than restricting that information to the intelligence and judiciary committees.The full text of the FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013 can be found here.last_img read more

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Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Game raises $30,000

first_imgThe Vermont Lake Monsters are pleased to announce that $ 30,000 has been raised for the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, as part of the June 29 event at Centennial Field.  The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, made up of Veterans and Active-Duty Soldiers and Marines who have lost a limb(s) in post 9/11 combat, tour nationally to raise awareness of the sacrifices of these brave soldiers, while giving communities across our great country an opportunity to show their support of our true heroes. ‘It was an honor to assist in the creation of the Burlington, Vermont, event,’says Vermont Lake Monsters Vice President Kyle Bostwick.  ‘The outpouring of support in both preparation and participation of this event, that showcases the sacrifices that these soldiers have made should make us all be proud to be a part of our community.’Monies for the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team were raised through a two day event that was highlighted by an exhibition softball game featuring former Major League Pitchers Bill ‘Spaceman’Lee and Len Whitehouse, Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling, Silver Screen Actor and Vermont resident Luis Guzman, actor, producer, and writer Rusty ‘The Logger’ Dewees, country music star Jamie Lee Thurston, and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger. In addition substantial revenues for the event were raised through generous donations by The Pizzagalli Foundation, Jolley Associates, Farrell Distributing, Yankee Medical, Select Design, Lake Champlain Cruises, and REM Development.A ceremonial check presentation will occur today with WWAST manager David Van Sleet in attendance, July 29th, prior to the Vermont Lake Monsters home game against the Lowell Spinners at Centennial Field at 7:05PM.www.vermontlakemonsters.com(link is external) or www.woundedwarrioramputeesoftballteam.org(link is external)last_img read more

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$1 million gift from local allumnus creates professorship at UVM

first_imgThe AllEarth 2.2 MW solar farm in South Burlington. Vermont Business Magazine photos. A $1 million gift commitment from alumnus David Blittersdorf will establish a new professorship in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont.The David Blittersdorf Professorship in Sustainability Science and Policy will be an endowed professorship that will advance the essential elements of a sustainability curriculum at UVM to address the critical issues of fossil fuel depletion, climate change and the development of renewable energy alternatives.Under a suitably blazing sun in front of UVM’s Aiken Center Friday afternoon, Blittersdorf, the president and chief executive officer of AllEarth Renewables, Inc, of Williston, said, “We must transition very quickly to renewables for us to survive as a civilization.”Blittersdorf is a 1981 graduate of UVM’s College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. His accomplishments in the wind and solar energy industry define him as a leader in the field both nationally and internationally.While the professorship will reside with the Rubenstein School, Blittersdorf has stated his intent that the incumbent professor seek collaboration with the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences.”There is no greater challenge we face than addressing carbon emission, fossil fuel depletion, and our energy future. It’s going to take education, technology, and policy advances for us to be successful,” said Blittersdorf. “I have such high hopes for how UVM and the Rubenstein School will be educating practitioners to tackle the tough energy challenges we face as a state and as a nation.”‘I offer our most sincere thanks to David Blittersdorf for this wonderful new professorship that fits so perfectly with UVM’s established expertise in environment and sustainability,’ said University of Vermont president Tom Sullivan at an announcement ceremony today. ‘The Blitterdorf Professorship is also noteworthy for its interdisciplinary aspect, which complements UVM’s transdisciplinary research foci.’The Rubenstein School is a recognized national leader in advancing experiential learning and interdisciplinary research on the environment and natural resources. The LEED Platinum-certified George D. Aiken Center, home base to the School’s diverse programs, has been recognized in the Chronicle of Higher Education as a leading example of linking sustainability education to practice, including solar trackers that produce nearly half of the building’s electricity needs.Senior environmental sciences major Samanatha Wallace said she came “across the country” from her home in Austin, TX, explicitly to study at the Rubenstein School.”We work to extend the knowledge and practice of sustainability from ideas to application,” said Professor Jon Erickson, Interim Dean of the Rubenstein School. “The Blittersdorf Professorship will support generations of UVM students working on the transition to renewable energy and continue to move our state forward as a leader in the green tech revolution.”last_img read more

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Patient Engagement Systems adds lifestyle management service to tools for health plans

first_imgAbout Patient Engagement Systems®Patient Engagement Systems® (PES) is a nationally recognized healthcare services company dedicated to supporting its customers’ goal of helping people with chronic diseases, specifically diabetes and chronic kidney disease, improve their health, and reduce costs. PES provides medical groups, IPAs, health plans, health systems and government agencies with a suite of automated patient engagement tools, timely clinical decision support and the analytics needed to better identify, manage and monitor these high-cost patients. PES’s signature platforms include the Diabetes Patient Engagement System℠, a chronic care management and patient engagement technology developed and tested in a five-year National Institutes of Health funded study that verified care process improvements and cost reductions, the Chronic Kidney Disease Patient Engagement System℠ and the ESRD Prevention Program℠. PES is an IBM Global Entrepreneurial Partner, and is a 2011 URAC Bronze Awardee for Best Practice in Health Care Consumer Empowerment and Protection.www.patientengagementsystems.com(link is external)About DPS HealthFounded in 2004, DPS Health enhances the capacity of organizations to improve the health of their obese members, employees and/or patients through research-proven, web and mobile self-management support interventions. www.dpshealth.com/(link is external) Patient Engagement Systems, of Burlington, Vermont, announced today it has enhanced its suite of patient engagement and clinical decision support tools for patients with diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD) with the addition of DPS Health’s Virtual Lifestyle Management (VLM) service. Together, this enhancement underscores PES’s commitment to help health plans, medical groups and providers improve outcomes and lower the costs associated with treating patients with chronic conditions.By enhancing the Patient Engagement Systems’ solution with the VLM service, PES customers will now have access to lifestyle coaching and behavior change services integrated directly with population monitoring, analytics and communication.Benjamin Littenberg, MD, medical director, Patient Engagement Systems, said, ‘PES’s patient engagement suite of tools, clinical analytics and decision support solutions combined with DPS Health’s proven online obesity lifestyle management and personalized coaching, will enhance patient engagement to further reduce costs and improve outcomes for individuals with diabetes and chronic kidney disease.’ Patient Engagement Systems is a leader and innovator in creating effective care management programs and solutions which support and enhance a providers’ management of high-cost patients, such as those with diabetes and chronic kidney disease.Based on the National Institute of Health’s landmark Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), DPS Health’s Virtual Lifestyle Management service is an evidence-based, year-long online weight management program that successfully engages individuals to improve their physical activity and nutrition habits to achieve lasting weight loss. VLM combines online education, guided self-discovery, barrier mitigation, goal setting, monitoring and tracking, with internet-based coaching for a comprehensive weight loss program that directly addresses critical needs of those at-risk for chronic diseases.‘Obesity is a driver for many poor outcomes and increased costs for individuals with, or at risk for diabetes and other common conditions such as metabolic syndrome, hypertension, and early renal disease,’ said Neal Kaufman, MD, DPS Health Chief Medical Officer. ‘VLM has been developed specifically to counteract these complications, and deliver on the goals of driving significant weight loss, improving diabetes outcomes and delivering a positive return on investment.’last_img read more

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Burlington School District interim superintendent and team resign

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The three-person team that has run the Burlington School District said they will quit November 10 and return to their regular duties because of the way they’ve been treated by the Burlington School Board. In a letter sent to Board Chairman Patrick Halladay and made public today by Interim Superintendent Stephanie Philips on behalf of her and colleagues Paul Irish and Nikki Fuller, she said that the Board was disrespectful and inattentive to the needs of the three-person team running the district while a permanent superintendent is being sought. The three are ranking staff members in the District.In the letter, Phillips said: “Some Board members have little understanding, concern or respect for the work the interim administrative team has faced.” She said public comments and emails “malign” administrators. “This behavior,” she said, “only serves to expand the ‘us versus them’ culture.”Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, who has no authority over the school district, issued a terse statement following the announcement, and called the latest development “unacceptable.” He previously had reached out to help in the transition to a new superintendent, which the Board declined. The District has suffered several setbacks over the last few years, concluding with the forced resignation of its previous superintendent earlier this year. Jeanne Collins agreed to step down in June. She was hired by the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union in May.The District has suffered through the well publicized scandal of a teacher having an inappropriate relationship with a student, diversity problems, and, earlier this year, the school budget was defeated and an auditor found that the District had been running an unacknowledged $2.5 million deficit for three years. Mayor Miro Weinberger Statement about School District Leadership”As Mayor, I am committed, above all, to the children in our community, as well as to our parents and our teachers.”I am frustrated and disappointed that the School Board and interim schools administration have not been able to come together and move forward during this challenging time.”This is unacceptable. Burlingtonians will not tolerate this failure of leadership, which puts our children’s education at risk.”Within my authority as Mayor, I can offer no easy answers – the School Board is independently elected and selects our superintendent. “Upon hearing today’s news, I immediately spoke with School Board Chair Patrick Halladay and State Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe to ensure that all appropriate actions are being taken to protect the children and parents who will be impacted by today’s announcement and resulting events.”Last spring, I offered to help the schools manage their leadership transition. That offer was politely declined, but I will repeat it today. We are part of a shared community, and the City is here to provide any reasonable assistance it can to the Board in accomplishing the immediate tasks before it: recruiting and appointing an interim superintendent and selecting the next superintendent.”It is important that we act decisively, but not precipitously, in a way that moves our community forward.”Finally, I am very grateful to the teachers, principals, and staff in all our schools who have continued their excellent work with students this school year, despite the uncertainty at the top of the district.  The importance of that work cannot be understated – we are fortunate to have such committed and talented educators in our City.”RELATED STORIES:Burlington School District to deal with ongoing deficits, IRS problemStephanie Phillips named acting superintendent of Burlington School DistrictBurlington Elementary School teacher named 2015 Vermont Teacher of the YearStatement from Secretary of Education Holcombe“The Agency has been monitoring and will continue to monitor the situation in Burlington to ensure appropriate processes are in place, and appropriate efforts being made, to get the Burlington School District through its current crisis. We will respond as warranted, will provide support as requested, and are available to assist the district in its search for an interim superintendent.“The Burlington School District Board needs to put aside any individual agendas, and put the focus back on kids and putting in place the people and processes that will enable the schools and students to thrive. The board needs to move as quickly as possible to post a search for an interim superintendent, and work quickly and responsibly to get a high-quality individual in place.“Above all, the board needs to recommit to the integrity and efficiency of a search for a new full-time superintendent, and commit to getting behind the new superintendent so he or she can do the important work of serving the children of Burlington.“We offer our profound thanks to the staff who have kept the schools running and are working hard for the benefit of the students, despite the turnover.“last_img read more

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Vermont F&W news: Grand Isle Family Fishing, bass season begins June 11

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The 16th annual Grand Isle Family Fishing Festival will be held on Saturday, June 11 and organizers are planning for an exciting day of fishing fun and trophy catches. Designed for young anglers and families, the festival offers basic fishing instruction and the opportunity for kids to catch big trout in the hatchery pond. While the event as a whole is for families, the hatchery pond will only be open to fishing for kids. No prior fishing experience is needed and Vermont Fish & Wildlife will be supplying fishing rods, reels and bait for use by participants. The festival will run from 9 am to 3 pm at the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station at 14 Bell Hill Road in Grand Isle. Registration will close at 2 pm, but the hatchery pond will remain open to fishing until 3 pm. “The Grand Isle Family Fishing Festival is a great way for kids and families to get outside, spend time together and enjoy the great sport of fishing in a fun and educational setting,” said Tom Chairvolotti, fish culture production supervisor with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “It’s also the perfect opportunity for newcomers to learn the basics of fishing and have a chance to catch some really nice fish.” Anyone with questions about the festival can contact Chairvolotti at 802-372-3171. In addition to the Grand Isle Family Fishing Festival, Vermont’s Summer Free Fishing Day is also on June 11, as is the opening day of the regular Vermont bass fishing season. Vermont’s Free Summer Fishing Day gives both resident and nonresident anglers the opportunity to go fishing in Vermont for the day without a license. Bass Season Opens SaturdayVermont’s regular bass season, which opens each year on the second Saturday in June and extends through the last day of November, features some of the hottest bass fishing action anywhere in the northeast. Vermont’s regular bass fishing season is set to kick off on Saturday, June 11, marking the start of some of the hottest and most-renowned bass fishing in the northeast. “From big-water angling on lakes like Champlain, Bomoseen and Memphremagog, and the Connecticut River, to hundreds of smaller, untapped ponds and reservoirs, Vermont is loaded with great bass fishing for anglers of all ages,” said Shawn Good, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. Vermont’s regular bass season opens each year on the second Saturday in June and extends through the last day of November. However, outside of those dates, anglers can fish for bass on open water on a catch-and-release basis with artificial lures and flies only on waters that are not seasonally closed. “The bass fishing in Vermont is truly incredible, and one unique aspect compared to many other states is the sheer amount of quality, unpressured fish,” said Good. “Vermont is tough to beat for numbers of solid, two to four-pound bass that see very little fishing pressure, but anglers have the chance to connect with a true trophy in the six to eight-pound class as well.” Vermont’s bass fishing has received national notoriety in a variety of fishing publications in recent years, and bass-rich Lake Champlain has become a favorite of touring bass professionals. In 2014, World Fishing Network named Lake Champlain one of the seven best smallmouth bass lakes in North America. The renowned fishing media outlet went on to characterize Lake Champlain as “perhaps the best lake in all of North America for both quality largemouth and smallmouth bass.” Prominent professional tournament angler Kevin VanDam agrees. “What makes Lake Champlain unique is that you can catch fish – both smallmouth bass and largemouth bass alike – just about any way you want to,” said VanDam. “It’s an amazing fishery with diverse habitat throughout and large, healthy populations of many species of fish. Whether you’re an avid tournament angler or recreational fisherman, you’ll want to experience Lake Champlain fishing. It’s simply that good.” What’s more impressive is that Vermont hosts dozens of other lakes, ponds and rivers that rival Lake Champlain. “There’s no question that Champlain hosts a very special bass fishery, probably one of the best in the world,” said Good. “However, there’s countless other waterbodies throughout the state that can be just as good, if not better, simply because those bass populations don’t get much fishing pressure.” Bass fishing in Vermont is a fun outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike, regardless of skill level, and can also be a great source of food for the table. “Bass fishing is a great way to get out and enjoy Vermont’s great outdoors and nothing beats a tasty meal of fresh, locally-caught fish,” Good said. Good noted that smaller, younger bass, which are also much more abundant, are generally better eating compared to bigger, older fish. Anglers heading out on the water to fish for bass this season should be sure to reference all fishing regulations, including harvest and size limits, applicable to the waters they are fishing. Vermont’s fishing regulations can be found in the 2016 Vermont Fish & Wildlife law digest available at district offices and authorized license dealers, or online at http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/fish(link is external).last_img read more

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Sterling College ranked top college farm in Vermont

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Agriculture is at the core of Vermont’s economy, and it is an essential part of the environmental stewardship education at Sterling College. That commitment to sustainable agriculture has resulted in Sterling College and its Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems being ranked as the top college farm in Vermont, and the eleventh college farm nationally, by OnlineCollegePlan.com.The list was compiled in honor of National Farm to School Month in October, a month dedicated to spreading awareness and celebrating the efforts of the farms at participating schools. Other Vermont schools were well represented in the rankings, with Green Mountain College, Middlebury, and the University of Vermont also included.OnlineCollegePlan.com lauded the involvement of students, noting that a fourth of all students work on the farm, gaining hands-on experience managing crops, livestock, and woodlands. Sterling College is the only federally-recognized Work College in the Northeast, where all students, regardless of financial need, work on campus and earn money toward their educational expenses. Students have a variety of jobs to choose from on campus, including farm positions such as Livestock Crew, Forestry Crew, Draft Horse Attendant, and Perennial Planting Specialist.“This ranking is proof that we’re not just studying environmental stewardship and sustainable agriculture on campus: we’re living it every day,” says Dr. Charlotte Rosendahl, Director of the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems and faculty in Sustainable Agriculture. “Our farm is a living laboratory to shape a future of ecological agricultural systems—small-scale farms that don’t exacerbate climate change, water scarcity, or pollution.”Sterling College is a leader in sustainable agriculture education, and had one of the first college farms in the country. The farm provides around 20% of the food eaten on campus, leading to accolades from the Real Food Challenge, Sierra magazine, and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for Sterling College’s sustainable college dining. The College is the top college in the United States that serves food on campus that is local, sustainable, humane, and fair-trade.This ranking contributes to a remarkable few months in which Sterling College has been included by Sierra magazine in the top 11% of its “America’s Coolest Schools” list, a ranking of the nation’s greenest colleges and universities; was a top performer in the 2016 Sustainable Campus Index by AASHE; and was cited by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges.To see the complete listing, visit http://www.onlinecollegeplan.com/college-farms/(link is external). For more information about the Sterling College farm, visit http://www.sterlingcollege.edu/life-at-sterling/the-farm/(link is external)STERLING COLLEGEFounded in 1958 in Craftsbury Common, Vermont, Sterling College is the leading voice in higher education for environmental stewardship. The College was among the first colleges in the United States to focus on sustainability through academic majors in Ecology, Environmental Humanities, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems, and Outdoor Education. Sterling College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and is one of only eight federally recognized Work Colleges in the nation.Source: November 10, 2016 • Craftsbury Common, VT • Sterling Collegelast_img read more

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Organic standards will exclude next generation of GMOs

first_imgBen & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc,Vermont Business Magazine The National Organic Standards Board(link is external) voted unanimously on Friday to update US organic standards to exclude ingredients derived from next generation genetic engineering and gene editing. This recommendation to the US Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program will ensure that ingredients derived from new genetic engineering techniques, including synthetic biology, will not be allowed in the production or final product of foods and beverages that are certified organic. Synthetic biology is a new set of genetic engineering techniques that include using synthetic DNA to re-engineer organisms to produce substances they would not normally produce or to edit DNA so as to silence the expression of certain traits.The Board’s announcement follows a growing trend of companies stating that they will not use ingredients produced via synthetic biology. The Non-GMO Project, North America’s only third party verification program for non-GMO food and products, recently updated its standards so as to include synthetic biology and new gene editing techniques. Companies such as Ben and Jerry’s (BJICA: US), Three Twins Ice Cream, Straus Family Creamery, Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss, Nestlé (NSRGY: OTC US), and General Mills (NYSE: GIS) have committed to “…not source vanilla flavor produced through synthetic biology,” a product that is designed to replace natural vanillin flavoring from vanilla beans. Synthetic biology vanilla flavoring, introduced by Evolva (SWX: EVE) and International Flavors and Fragrances (NYSE: IFF) in 2014, is the first major synthetic biology ingredient to enter food and beverages, marketed as “natural vanillin.” Other companies that have pledged to avoid synthetic biology ingredients entirely include Nutiva and Dr. Bronner’s.“The Board’s hard-fought proactive stance on synthetic biology will both help preserve the integrity of organic standards and raise awareness about this virtually unregulated and unlabeled form of genetic engineering,” said Dana Perls, food and technology policy campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “It’s critical that organic standards treat new types of genetic engineering that are rapidly entering our food and consumer products as rigorously as the first generation of GMOs.”Like “traditional” GMOs, synthetic biology(link is external) ingredients are entering food and consumer products in absence of adequate health and environmental safety assessment, oversight and labeling. Many are being falsely marketed as “natural.” Products in development include synthetic biology stevia, saffron, coconut and cacao, meant to replace plant-based ingredients, many of which are currently produced by small farmers in the Global South. There is increasing concern that these farmers’ livelihoods may be displaced by synthetic biology ingredients. Other products include gene-silenced apples, CRISPR waxy corn and Cibus Canola oil, engineered with gene editing techniques.“The National Organic Standards Board has made clear that all kinds of genetic engineering are to be excluded from ‘organic.’ The public expects that government to actually assess the new foods that it is permitting on the market,” said Jaydee Hanson, senior policy analyst, Center for Food Safety. “Unfortunately, the government has failed to update its regulations to adequately assess these new kinds of genetically engineering. When the USDA approves that NOSB recommendations, consumers who want to avoid GMOs will be able to use the Organic Seal to know that the product is not a GMO.”Synthetic biology employs a new set of genetic engineering techniques that involve artificially constructing or “editing” genetic material such as DNA in order to create new forms of life, or to attempt to “reprogram” existing organisms. Despite growing concerns about the possible impacts of synthetic biology organisms on human health and the environment and a lack of independent safety assessment, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has allowed synthetic biology vanilla, DuPont’s CRISPR waxy corn and other similarly created food and cosmetic ingredients to enter the market without regulation. Existing regulations that identify GE crops and food ingredients as “Generally Regarded As Safe” use an outdated process with minimal testing requirements that rely on companies to self-evaluate the safety of their products.Source: 11.21.2016. Friends of the Earth. More information about synthetic biology can be found here(link is external).last_img read more

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