Amid talk of markets and regulation, federal officials and industry leaders hear a cautionary tale about the impacts of Vermont Yankee’s closureby Mike Faher/The Commons(link is external) At a May 19 nuclear power summit in Washington, DC, top-ranking federal officials and industry executives focused on market forces and government regulation. But Patty O’Donnell made sure the audience also heard about declining property values, underfunded nonprofits, and lost friends — all in the context of Vermont Yankee’s December 2014 shutdown. Her message was clear: If the pace of nuclear shutdowns accelerates, many other communities can expect to experience the problems that are plaguing Vernon and the surrounding tri-state area.“There is so much more to this story and so much more to this issue than just where the electricity’s coming from,” O’Donnell said. “There’s a real human aspect to this.”O’Donnell, a former state representative and Vernon Selectboard member who remains involved in town government, was invited to speak at the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Summit on Improving the Economics of America’s Power Plants.”The context of that discussion is the recent spate of plant-closure announcements in the U.S. In this region, Entergy Corp. is moving forward with plans to downsize its nuclear fleet: The company stopped power production at Vermont Yankee in December 2014 and has disclosed plans to close the FitzPatrick nuclear plant in Scriba, N.Y., in January 2017 and the Pilgrim plant in Plymouth, Mass., in May 2019.In each of those cases, Entergy has cited economic and competitive issues including high operational costs and low natural-gas prices.There also are governmental and regulatory issues, a point underlined at the May 19 meeting by Bill Mohl, who is president of Entergy Wholesale Commodities and the man who delivered the news of Vermont Yankee’s pending closure here in summer 2013.Mohl argued that nuclear power’s attributes — including a lack of air pollution — aren’t adequately valued in the energy market.“You need to put a price on carbon,” Mohl said. “You need to be able to value the carbon-free generation that nuclear provides.”Environmental impact also was on the mind of U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who said it will be difficult to achieve the nation’s carbon-reduction goals if nuclear generation continues to decline.“We are supposed to be adding zero-carbon sources, not subtracting or simply replacing by building [plants] to just kind of tread water,” Moniz said.In delivering the May 19 conference’s keynote address, Moniz mentioned the closure of Vermont Yankee and linked it to an overall decline in regional energy generation; an increase in reliance on natural-gas power generation; and an increase in carbon dioxide emissions.“That’s the kind of confluence of data that we would like to avoid more of,” Moniz said.O’Donnell later took the same podium, but sought to shift the focus to a different kind of impact from nuclear plant closures.Vermont Yankee has been and remains controversial statewide and locally, but there traditionally has been strong support in Vernon. O’Donnell said that support continues, even as the plant continues to downsize its labor force.“Vermont Yankee — Entergy — isn’t just a company to us. It’s a member of our family. And they’ve treated us that way all along the way,” O’Donnell said.Across the area, Entergy employees “coach our kids. They teach our kids,” O’Donnell said. “They serve on our Selectboards, our volunteer fire departments — they’re always there when we need them.”She also noted Entergy’s now-dwindling annual support for area nonprofits — support that has come in the form of monetary donations and volunteerism. “The people who worked at Vermont Yankee were so generous that they always gave to their community,” O’Donnell said.The town of Vernon has seen direct economic impact as tax revenue shrinks and home values decline in the wake of Vermont Yankee’s shutdown, O’Donnell told summit attendees. And she said there’s no replacing the nuclear plant’s lost wages: A 2014 study found that the average annual salary at Vermont Yankee was $105,000.“Anybody who thinks New England’s growing sure as heck hasn’t been in my area,” O’Donnell said. “Because there’s nothing. Vermont Yankee [jobs] were the highest-paid jobs in the state of Vermont, and they’re gone.”“I want to impress upon you how difficult it is for these communities,” she added. “It’s not only the town of Vernon that’s been affected. It’s our entire region.”O’Donnell also detailed the town’s recent courtship of a natural-gas-fired power plant — a work-intensive process that ended when energy giant Kinder Morgan suspended its controversial plans to build a gas pipeline nearby.“Now what do we do?” O’Donnell said. “We’re back to square one.”Several days after the conference, O’Donnell said she hoped she successfully translated the experiences of a small town for a national audience. Recounting the tone of the summit — “a sense of urgency” was a common theme — O’Donnell also found herself wondering why the nuclear industry has arrived at such a critical juncture.“You hear them saying the same things that we’ve said here in Vernon for a number of years,” she said. “It makes you stop and think: How did this happen?”Originally published in The Commons issue #359 (Wednesday, June 1, 2016).(link is external)
Related USA Triathlon has announced Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, as the 30th school in the USA, and 12th at the NCAA Division III level, to add women’s triathlon as a varsity sport.The commitment of the 30th school is a key step in triathlon’s journey toward becoming an NCAA Championship sport. USA Triathlon is now three-quarters of the way to its goal of securing 40 varsity programs by 2024.Deemed an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, triathlon has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability at the NCAA varsity level.“USA Triathlon is proud to welcome Guilford College to the women’s collegiate triathlon family, as the sport achieves another milestone on its way to full NCAA inclusion,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “Guilford is well-placed to compete regionally with other varsity programs in the Mideast region, while offering a liberal arts education that will attract talented student-athletes.”Guilford competes as part of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC). The school will have an in-conference rival in fellow ODAC member Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va., DIII), which announced in March that it would be adding the sport. Guilford is the third school in North Carolina to sponsor varsity women’s triathlon, joining Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C., DII) and Queens University of Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C., DII).The addition of women’s triathlon to Guilford’s varsity sport offerings is made possible through a grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation. The USA Triathlon Foundation Women’s Emerging Sport Grant is distributed to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement and sustain women’s triathlon programs at the varsity level.“Women’s triathlon is growing quickly among colleges and universities, and it’s growing in the greater Greensboro community,” said Sue Bower, Guilford College Director of Athletics. “With qualified and enthusiastic coaches already on staff and an ideal climate, we expect to provide a successful and enjoyable experience from the start. I’m grateful for USA Triathlon’s tremendous support in this exciting endeavour.”Marty Owens, Director of Track & Field and Cross-Country Operations at Guilford, will serve as the school’s Director of Triathlon. Brad Herndon, Head Coach of the Guilford women’s swim team, will serve as the Women’s Triathlon Head Coach.Marty Owens is a USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach and USA Track & Field Level II Endurance Coach who joined Guilford’s staff last August. He has coached triathletes of various levels competing in sprint- to ultra-distances, through his private business. A 2015 USA Triathlon All-American, Owens has twice competed in the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and placed second at the 1997 Wildflower Long Course Triathlon.Brad Herndon, who also recently completed his first season at Guilford, is a three-time IRONMAN finisher. He is a USA Swimming-certified coach and holds a Level 4 certification from the American Swimming Coaches’ Association. In addition to his coaching duties at Guilford, Herndon also coaches the Greensboro Community YMCA Makos Club Swim Team.The coaching and operations staff will recruit for one season and begin varsity competition in 2020.Women’s triathlon is an autumn/fall sport, and the varsity season includes three Regional Qualifiers followed by the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. All races are sprint-distance, featuring a 750m open water swim, draft-legal 20km bike and 5km run.Women’s Varsity Collegiate Triathlon Programs (as of June 13, 2019):NCAA Division IArizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.)East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tenn.)Hampton University (Hampton, Va.)University of San Francisco (San Francisco. Calif.)University of South Dakota (Vermillion, S.D.)Wagner College (Staten Island, N.Y.)NCAA Division IIAmerican International College (Springfield, Mass.)Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C.)Black Hills State University (Spearfish, S.D.)Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction, Colo.)Daemen College (Amherst, N.Y.)Davis & Elkins College (Elkins, W.V.)Drury University (Springfield, Mo.)King University (Bristol, Tenn.)Montana State University Billings (Billings, Mont.)Queens University of Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.)St. Thomas Aquinas College (Sparkill, N.Y.)Southern Wesleyan University (Central, S.C.)NCAA Division IIICalvin College (Grand Rapids, Mich.)Coe College (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon, Wis.)Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va.)Guilford College (Greensboro, N.C.)Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.)Milwaukee School of Engineering (Milwaukee, Wis.)North Central College (Naperville, Ill.)Northern Vermont University-Johnson (Johnson, Vt.)Transylvania University (Lexington, Ky.)Trine University (Angola, Ind.)Willamette University (Salem, Ore.)www.usatriathlon.org/ncaa
Allister’s first recruiting class shinesKaitlyn Richardson and Tyler Walker have led the charge for the junior class.Daily File Photo; Jaak JensenMinnesota infielder Tyler Walker attempts to steal a base against Wisconsin on April 7, 2013, at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium. Jared ChristensenApril 23, 2014Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintWhen head coach Jessica Allister arrived on campus four years ago, she inherited a program which hadn’t placed in the top four of the Big Ten in more than a decade.Now, four years later, the Gophers softball team is ranked 13th in the nation, has won 33 of its first 41 games and is in line to finish with the best regular season in program history.And much of that success stems from Allister’s first recruiting class, which entered its junior season this year.That class is led by All-Big Ten infielders Kaitlyn Richardson and Tyler Walker.Richardson, whose lofty .444 batting average is the highest on the team and third-highest in the conference, has paced the team at the plate for much of her career. Walker, whose .395 average is sixth best in the Big Ten, hasn’t been far behind in terms of offensive production.Allister said the coaching staff had to quickly throw together a recruiting class after they arrived on campus and said they were fortunate it’s worked out.“We put together a class of seven players in just two months,” she said. “It was absolutely crazy.”A unique quality of that class is that Walker and Richardson are both from the West Coast — the same part of the country that Allister calls home.Allister, a graduate of Stanford and former assistant coach at Oregon, said her West Coast ties helped her with recruiting Richardson. “There were a couple coaches with whom I have very good relationships who came to me and said, ‘We can’t believe this girl is still available. You have to come take a look,’” she said.Allister followed that bit of advice, and since then, Richardson has developed into one of the best players in the country.Walker, on the other hand, had already committed to the Gophers before Allister was in charge. She said Allister’s vision for the program reaffirmed her decision to come to the Twin Cities.“When Coach Allister came along with the plans she had for the program, I knew for sure, 100 percent, there was no place I’drather play.”That vision has helped the softball program grow, but sophomore catcher Taylor LeMay said the success isn’t all about recruiting — she credits Allister with being able to develop quality talent, too.“When I got to [Minnesota], I was very raw,” she said. “I had never really had great coaching before, but Coach Allister has shaped me into a much better player than I was before.”A further testament to Allister’s player development skills is in the way the current junior class has developed. Still, both Richardson and Walker found success as freshmen – evidence of the talent Allister has brought to the program.Tonight, the Gophers will showcase that talent in a doubleheader against North Dakota at Jane Sage Cowles Stadium.It’ll be a quick turnaround after that before conference play resumes with a three-game home series against Penn State this weekend.
Share on Twitter Pinterest Share Email LinkedIn According to the researchers, a shorter campaign cycle with less time for media saturation might allow voters to experience a greater balance of a candidate’s policy positions and character. This would lead to better-informed voters because of more attention on policy issues. Further, increasing the number of debates in an election cycle, according to the study, decreases the incentive for politicians to run on moderate platforms.Methodology:For this study, the authors developed a mathematical model of an election in which parties nominate candidates with policy preferences ahead of a campaign that produces information about their overall characteristics independent of policy. The mathematical model used the tools of game theory, which allowed researchers to describe strategic situations and understand strategic incentives in a mathematically rigorous way. They then solved the equations generated by the model, resulting in a robust prediction about the level of political extremism that political parties select, and how this level of extremism changes with the length of the political campaign.“Over the next eight months our country will likely judge our next president, not only on his or her policy proposals, but also on his or her television performance in debates and speeches, and our perception of his or her character. These other dimensions may be relevant to the candidate’s capability to lead, but unfortunately, there is a link between our ability to learn about these dimensions and candidates ideological extremism. Because we started thinking about our next leader so early, the moderate policies many voters want may not be on the table.” Today’s longer campaign cycles, filled with numerous televised debates and constant news reporting and social media coverage, are causing the rise of extremist politicians, according to a new study from the University of Miami School of Business Administration, just published in the American Economic Journal: Economics.The research, which utilized game theory, finds that longer campaigns, which offer voters more information on the candidates via 24-hour news coverage and social media, turn voters’ attention more toward a candidate’s character – such as trustworthiness and how he or she delivers speeches and exchanges debate barbs – and away from his or her stance on policy. With this in mind, politicians now have less incentive to moderate their messages, a tactic often used in order to bring swing voters to ballot boxes as they tend to vote for more moderate candidates.“Our research shows real impact associated with longer, more informative campaigns, and perhaps a reason why we are seeing candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders doing so well within their parties this late in the game,” said Raphael Boleslavsky, assistant professor of economics at the University of Miami School of Business Administration, who conducted the study along with Christopher Cotton of Queens University. “Candidates base their platforms on how to capture the majority of voters relative to their opponent so our research suggests that extremism is likely something we will see more as campaign cycles continue to get longer and longer.” Share on Facebook
Demonstrations in the wake of an announcement that general election voting will be delayed in certain Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) cities included vandalism at some of Beni’s Ebola facilities that sent some patients awaiting test results fleeing into the community.In its daily update today, the DRC health ministry said protests in Beni and Butembo severely disrupted the Ebola response, hampering vaccination, safe burials, and lab functions in Beni, and the usual volume of follow-up on health alerts.Vandals damage facilities in BeniAccording to a CNN report today, police fired tear gas to break up protestors who blocked roads and burned tires in Beni, a day following an announcement from the country’s election commission that voting in the long-delayed general election will be pushed from Dec 30 to March in three cities, including Beni and Butembo in North Kivu’s outbreak area.On Twitter today the health ministry said demonstrators vandalized facilities inside the transit center in Beni where 24 patients with suspected infections were under evaluation. It said the damaged unit is separate from the Ebola treatment center (ECT) where patients with confirmed illnesses are treated.The ministry said it is still evaluating the extent of damage at the transit center and that demonstrators also stole chairs and tables from the location. In addition, demonstrators partially burned tents housing safe burial teams.Of the 24 patients at the transit center, 3 were in serious condition and have been transferred to the ETC to wait for their test results. Of the other 21, 17 had already tested negative on their first tests and were waiting to take their second test and 4 were waiting for the results of the first test.The ministry said medical teams are in contact the families of patients who fled the transit center and that a temporary structure will be built to take care of them and to isolate newly suspected case-patients in Beni.In its regular daily update, the health ministry said 11 patients returned later in the afternoon and were placed in extra tents at the ETC.”Although these patients are still traumatized by the events that occurred in the morning, they came back because they understand that a fast and adequate care will increase their chance of survival if they prove to be contaminated by the Ebola virus,” the health ministry said.Six newly confirmed casesIn other outbreak developments, the health ministry today reported six more cases from four locations: Kalunguta (2), Oicha (2), Beni (1), and Komanda (1). The new illnesses lift the overall outbreak total to 591, which includes 543 confirmed cases and 48 classified as probable.Health officials are still investigating 12 suspected Ebola cases; however, the health ministry noted that protests severely limited surveillance operations and very few alerts could be investigated in Beni and Butembo.One more death was reported, involving a person from Beni who died in the community. The death puts the number of fatalities at 357.See also:Dec 27 CNN storyDRC health ministry Twitter accountDec 27 DRC statement
Elise Olivas leads the Topper Volleyball team on to the floor to face the Santa Fe High Demons in a match played Aug. 29 in Griffith Gym. The Toppers came off a two game winning streak and hoped to keep the momentum going but the Demons had other plans and defeated the the Toppers 3-1. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com Ariel Edkin spikes the balk between Laila Pierpont and Jorja Chambers in the 3rd set. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com Elizabeth Atencio bumps a serve in the first set as Eden Schmierer backs her up. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com Michaela Gonzales and Natalie Gallegos block a spike by Leila Bernardino in the 3rd set. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com Eden Schmierer makes a spike attempt in the 2nd set towards Ainsley Reynolds-Smith and Courtny Brookover. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com Elise Olivas sets the ball for a spike by Natalie Gallegos in the first set. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com
For me, last Thursday was Bingham day. I spent the morning interviewing the former senior law lord about a centre for the study of the rule of law to be established in his name. In the afternoon I dipped into a book of essays written in his honour by more than 50 of his friends and admirers. And in the evening I was at Gray’s Inn to see him accept a handbound presentation copy of this 900-page liber amicorum with a speech that demonstrated both lightness of touch and a deep feeling for legal history. The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law is to be established in London by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law – once the necessary funding has been raised. It will be dedicated to the promotion of the rule of law in its international aspects, developing the work that formed the foundation of Bingham’s judicial career. And here I must declare an interest as a member of the institute’s appeal board: it was in that capacity that I filmed an interview with him for the institute’s website. There are not many retired chief justices who can chat so engagingly about the rule of law – the nearest thing we had, he said, to a ‘universal, secular religion’. But how could a group of academic lawyers in London solve problems ranging from climate change to the control of cyberspace? Surely these were matters for international agreement? ‘I’m not supposing for a moment that a whole lot of lawyers are going to dictate what the nations should decide,’ Bingham told me. ‘But it’s highly desirable, before decisions are made on these questions, that they should be very fully explored.’ There was great variation, for example, on how different countries tackled the problems of international terrorism. But some people, I suggested, felt that the rule of law was enforced by minorities at the expense of the majority. Bingham accepted that human rights charters were there to protect minorities because, to a large extent, majorities could look after themselves. But he pointed out that the European Court had said ‘time and time again’ that there needed to be a balance between the rights of the individual and the rights of the community. How, though, can the majority protect itself against potential attack by a suspected terrorist? Bingham responded by alluding to the law lords’ most recent ruling on control orders. Even an alleged terrorist was entitled to a fair hearing, he said. The suspect needed to know the thrust of the case against him and should have a reasonable opportunity to answer it. ‘The difficult question here is to draw the line between a hearing that is fair and a hearing that is not.’ The former senior law lord accepted that risk of international terrorism made it harder to persuade people of the importance of the rule of law. ‘But I also think it makes it even more important to adhere to it; and to accept that, even in times of crisis, there are some things which are not permissible in a civilised society – like resort to torture.’ Future generations of law students will no doubt regard it as perfectly commonplace to summon up a 20-minute interview with a recently retired judge at the click of a mouse. It is sad that we cannot peer equally clearly into the minds of his predecessors. And although serving judges have always delivered public lectures, it’s still rather unusual to find so many of them writing so freely in a single book. As Sir Sydney Kentridge QC said at the launch of Tom Bingham and the Transformation of the Law, it is ‘infused with a very warm affection for Lord Bingham’. Many of the contributors take his views as their starting point. Though still something of a pot pourri – a term that springs to mind because a few of the essays are published in French – the book is immensely rich. Anyone reading it from cover to cover will be well informed on all the great issues of the day, though some caution may be needed: Kentridge described the work, published by OUP at £95 and 3½lb, as ‘an ideal bedside book for lawyers with strong wrists’. In response, Bingham was typically modest about his own contribution to the law. ‘We flicker across the stage, we enjoy a brief period of illumination and then we join, in the wings, the noble army of our predecessors who, like us, tried to lay a few stones on the long, grey wall of the English common law – well knowing that our successors will knock a few of them off in a year or two.’ Not so, says one contributor – citing several cases where Bingham’s view ‘is to be preferred to that of the majority’. Another, Lady Hale, agrees that ‘even when Bingham is in the minority, one often has a sneaking sense that history will prove him right.’ History, of course, is important to Bingham. He concluded his acceptance speech by debating when it would have been most exciting for an English lawyer to have lived. ‘Some might say: riding round the shires with Henry II in the days when the Royal writ was being established; or taking part in the great constitutional debates of the 17th century; or laying down the elements of equity in the 18th century; or being one of the great Victorian masters of the common law in the 19th century. ‘My own view is that we are extraordinarily privileged and fortunate to have lived – and practised as lawyers – now.’ Joshua Rozenberg’s interview with Lord Bingham can be viewed in full at: www.biicl.org
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Get your free guest access SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited access Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community
France: On January 23 RATP was due to inaugurate its station on RER Line D serving the Stade de France stadium.RATP has announced plans to provide mobile telephone coverage at all main interchange stations, and all metro Line 1 stations, by the end of the year; stations are being fitted out by Bouygues Telecom, SFR and France Telecom.Germany: On December 20 BVG inaugurated tram services over a 750m extension from Weidendammer Brücke to the Berlin U-Bahn and S-Bahn interchange at Friedrichstra§e.Luxembourg: Bombardier has demonstrated one of its Saarbrücken cars in Luxembourg in support of plans for a tramway; LRVs would run through from CFL tracks onto a 10 km north-south tram route through the city centre.Poland: Hyder Consulting is part of a consortium led by Price Waterhouse carrying out a review of engineering requirements for a 15 km rapid tram route across the city of Krakow.Singapore: GEC Alsthom has won a S$265m contract to build 25 six-car EMUs for the Land Transport Authority’s 20 km North East line; first delivery is due in early 2001. Groundbreaking for tunnelling took place on November 25.Spain: Valencia Railways (FGV) has presented the regional government with a 1998 investment plan that includes Pts5·7 to complete the Alameda – Avinguda section of metro Line 5 and Pts900m for the extension of Line 4. Pts1bn has been earmarked for the acquisition of additional light rail vehicles.USA: Baker Heavy & Highway Inc, a subsidiary of Michael Baker Corp, has won a $14·5m contract to lay 11route-km of track on Washington’s Green line – the last section of Metro’s 165 km system.A groundbreaking ceremony was held on December 4 for Marta’s $45·3m North Springs station, the final stop on the North line due to open in December 2000. BART has installed colour CCTV on 80 of its cars to reduce graffiti and vandalism, which cost the agency $1·6m a year.St Louis region transit planners are examining options for a planned 12 km light rail extension to Shrewsbury; limited funds of $350m make an underground route from Forest Park through University City and Clayton unlikely – a surface option would cost about $319m. The line is planned for completion in 2004.Salt Lake City’s TRAX light rail line could open early, as work is six months ahead of schedule; UTA has confirmed that opening could well be before the scheduled inauguration date in March 2000.