NVU to expand distance learning with $389K USDA grant

first_imgNorthern Vermont University,Vermont Business Magazine A new USDA grant of approximately $389,000 will enable the new Northern Vermont University (the official name of Johnson State College and Lyndon State College as of July 1, 2018) to develop a distance-learning network that will increase live course offerings and delivery methods for students throughout Vermont and the country. With both mobile and fixed videoconferencing technology, the one-year grant will fund delivery of a range of courses and connect NVU and its two campuses, Johnson and Lyndon, to Vermont Technical College, and Vermont high schools and adult learners around the US. The grant, from the USDA Rural Utilities Service office, was awarded in January to Johnson State College, and is given through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program, which supports broadband to help communities access education and health care.Lyndon State College Campus. Courtesy photo.By the fall, the grant will support real-time, online courses through Northern Vermont University Online, NVU’s distance-learning division. The grant will support distance-learning classes for adult learners, campus-based videoconferencing courses shared by the Johnson and Lyndon campuses, dual-enrollment courses for high school students, and Vermont Tech nursing classes.“We’re increasing the variety of courses and providing that synchronous delivery mode that a lot of students want and don’t currently have access to,” NVU Associate Dean of Distance Education Programs Bobbi Jo Carter says.The grant will help the Vermont State Colleges System and the state meet goals of increasing higher education access, college degree completion rates and workforce development opportunities for Vermonters.“One of the major pieces people are really excited about is the partnership we have with Vermont Tech,” Carter says.The grant will fund the restoration of a dedicated classroom for Vermont Tech to deliver nursing courses to students in Lamoille County, an option that was discontinued in 2013.  In addition to the Vermont Tech courses, classes for adult learners will be available through desktop conferencing, so students can interact with a live class from anywhere they have an internet connection. And 28 Vermont high schools will receive new technology so dual-enrollment students can take college courses for credit while they’re at school.“The grant allows us to expand our offerings through different partnerships with different institutions. It allows us to serve that section of the population that really needs that live aspect but is geographically located so they can’t easily get to the places where they can take the course. And we will be able to coordinate with workforce development groups throughout the state,” Carter says.Trainings, conferences and informational sessions could be offered to groups like first responders in a videoconferencing room at NVU-Johnson or NVU-Lyndon.The new videoconferencing network will allow efficiencies such as course-sharing between Johnson and Lyndon after the transition to NVU.“With unification, we can potentially offer our students so many more opportunities,” Carter says. “But it isn’t feasible to expect students to travel back and forth between the two campuses…Now we’ll be able to connect them.”The grant also will support a connection between the NVU campuses and Sinte Gleska University, located on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. In addition to increasing course options for students at both universities, the partnership could lead to cross-cultural, hands-on learning experiences for students.  On July 1, Johnson State College and Lyndon State College will become Northern Vermont University, a two-campus institution of higher education that combines the best of both colleges’ nationally recognized liberal arts and professional programs under a single administration. Driven by a mission to provide a high-quality, accessible, inclusive education for students in the state, the region, the nation and online, NVU is recruiting for its first class, which starts in the fall. Source: JOHNSON, VERMONT — Northern Vermont University NorthernVermont.edu(link is external). 2.16.2018last_img read more

McClaughry: Sixteen pointed questions for 2018 candidates

first_imgby John McClaughry Here are sixteen incisive questions that citizens might want to pose to candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and the legislature as Election Day 2018 approaches:1.   School Spending Control: Do you believe the State should take control of all K-12 public education, reorganize school districts, mandate higher pupil to staff ratios, and enforce rules to control school spending?2.      Paying for Education:  Do you support increasing income or sales tax rates to further subsidize residential school property taxes?3.      Parental Choice:  Do you support protecting parental choice in education and expanding it to all pupils and parents?4.       School Consolidation: Do you support Act 46 of 2015, that requires consolidation of town school districts into larger unified districts?5.      Minimum Wage: Do you support a state law requiring that all employers pay their employees $15 an hour by 2020?6.      Parental Leave: Do you support mandating employers of more than ten employees to offer twelve weeks of parental leave per year, for pregnancy, birth, adoption, or serious illness, paid for by a payroll tax paid by all covered employers?7.      Energy Mandate: Do you support the State adopting whatever regulations, mandates, subsidies and taxes may be required to make 90% of all energy used in Vermont come from renewable sources, such as wind, solar, and hydro, by 2050?8.      Carbon Tax: Do you support enactment of a carbon tax on fossil fuels, such as natural gas, heating oil, gasoline, diesel fuel and propane, with the net revenues used to subsidize renewable energy production and the electric bills of low income and rural Vermonters (The ESSEX Plan)?9.      Land Use Regulation: Do you support making a proposed development achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions (to combat “climate change”) a condition for obtaining a permit under Act 250?10.  Pension Fund solvency: Do you support the voting additional funds beyond the “Annual Required Contributions” to the State Employees and Teachers Retirement Funds, in order to work down the present $4.5 billion unfunded liability?11.  Health Insurance Mandate: Do you support the State levying special taxes or fines, or suspending drivers, hunting and fishing, and other licenses, upon individuals who refuse to purchase state-approved health insurance on the Vermont Health Connect exchange?12.  Health Care Reorganization:  Do you support creating a mandatory-participation “All Payer” health care system, whereby Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance carriers pay a large “Accountable Care Organization” of hospitals, clinics and doctors to manage the health care of the families they cover?13.  Gun Control: Do you support repeal of the provision of Act 94 of 2018 that makes it illegal for an individual to possess a firearms magazine holding more than 10 rounds for a rifle or 15 rounds for a handgun (unless he or she possessed the magazine before October 1)?14.  Mandatory seat belt usage: Do you support allowing law enforcement to issue tickets to adult drivers, who are not otherwise committing an offense, for driving without a buckled seat belt?15.  Marijuana: Do you support setting up a state-regulated system for the retail sale and taxation of marijuana?16.  Ballot Reform: Do you support changing election law so that voters would cast a single “one big choice” vote for their preferred Governor-Lt. Governor team , and the legislature would elect the Treasurer, Secretary of State, Auditor and Attorney General as they do the Adjutant General?Try out the questions that interest you on your candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, House and Senate. If they can’t give you a coherent reply, look for others who can.John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute (www.ethanallen.org(link is external))last_img read more

Donovan challenges federal exemptions of mercury products

first_imgVermont Business Magazine In a petition to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals(link is external), Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan challenged a decision by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to exempt several large categories of mercury products from inventory reporting. Mercury(link is external) exposures at high levels can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune systems of people of all ages, and mercury in the bloodstream of developing babies and young children may harm their nervous systems and ability to think and learn.Earlier this summer, the EPA issued its final rule(link is external) (mercury rule) on the reporting requirements for mercury products under federal law. The law requires a complete and accurate inventory of mercury supply, use and trade in the United States. EPA’s mercury rule will exempt any product that contains a mercury-added product as a component of the larger product.  Examples of products containing a mercury-added product include a mercury battery in a watch or toy, or a mercury switch or relay in a lamp or pump. Many of these products are imported and are not manufactured in the U.S. Under the mercury rule, manufacturers of these mercury-added products will not have to report important information on the uses and amount or quantity of mercury contained inside.“Vermonters have a right to know what is inside the products we use,” said Attorney General Donovan. “Our mercury labeling laws allow Vermont to run one of the best state programs to reduce mercury exposure. The EPA’s new mercury rule places Vermonters at risk and takes a step backwards by eliminating the reporting requirements for some of the largest uses of mercury.”Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore strongly agreed that Vermont should take a lead in challenging EPA’s rule: “Vermont has long been a leader in mercury regulation. More than 20 years ago, Vermont became the first state to implement legislation that required manufacturers to label certain mercury-added products sold or distributed in Vermont to inform consumers of mercury content and proper disposal in an effort to reduce exposure to this potent neurotoxin. The changes being proposed to EPA are in direct opposition to the steps we have taken to reduce the risks mercury poses to Vermonters’ health.”The mercury rule will also exempt large producers and importers of mercury and mercury-added products (2,500 pounds of elemental mercury or 25,000 pounds of mercury compounds) and will allow reporting to occur less frequently.For more information on mercury(link is external) and Vermont’s mercury-added product manufacturer requirements(link is external), including labeling, please visit the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Mercury Education and Reduction Campaign website:  https://anrweb.vt.gov/DEC/mercury/merc.htm(link is external)Source: Vermont AG 9.18.2018last_img read more

Low levels of the hormone vasopressin linked to social deficit in children with autism

first_imgA brain-chemistry deficit in children with autism may help to explain their social difficulties, according to new findings from the Stanford University School of Medicine.The research team found a correlation between low levels of vasopressin, a hormone involved in social behavior, and the inability of autistic children to understand that other people’s thoughts and motivations can differ from their own.The research will be published July 22 in PLOS ONE. Share on Twitter LinkedIn Share Emailcenter_img Pinterest Share on Facebook “Autistic children who had the lowest vasopressin levels in their blood also had the greatest social impairment,” said the study’s senior author, Karen Parker, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.The findings raise the possibility that treatment with vasopressin might reduce social problems for autistic children who have low vasopressin levels, a hypothesis that Parker and her team are now testing in a clinical trial.However, the new research also showed that children without autism can have low vasopressin levels without displaying social impairment, Parker noted; in other words, autism is not explained by a vasopressin deficit alone.Investigating vasopressinAutism is a developmental disorder that affects 1 out of every 68 children in the United States. It is characterized by social and communication deficits and repetitive behaviors. The new study examined a social trait that psychologists call “theory of mind”: the ability to understand that others have different perspectives. Poor “theory of mind” makes it harder for people with autism to empathize and form relationships with others.Vasopressin is a small-protein hormone that is structurally similar to oxytocin. Like oxytocin, it has roles in social behavior. Vasopressin also helps regulate blood pressure.In the new study, the researchers first verified that vasopressin levels in the blood accurately reflected vasopressin levels in the brain by measuring the hormone’s levels simultaneously in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid of 28 people who were having the fluid collected for medical reasons.They then recruited 159 children ages 3-12 for behavioral testing. Of these children, 57 had autism, 47 did not have autism but had a sibling who did, and 55 were typically developing children with no autistic siblings. All of the children completed standard psychiatric assessments of their neurocognitive abilities, social responsiveness, theory of mind, and ability to recognize others’ emotions, which is known as affect recognition. All children gave blood samples that were measured for vasopressin.In all three groups, children had a wide range of vasopressin levels, with some children in each group having low, medium and high levels. Children without autism had similar scores on theory of mind tests regardless of their blood vasopressin level, but in children with autism, low blood vasopressin was a marker of low theory of mind ability.last_img read more

FABTECH set for 35,000 attendees

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

Versum shareholders approve Merck merger

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

Petrobras Extends Skandi Vitória Contract

first_imgPetrobras has extended the contract for Skandi Vitória with two years from September 2013. The extension of the charter contract is done in line with the current market.The vessel is owned through a joint venture formed by DOF Subsea, a subsidiary of DOF ASA together with Technip.Skandi Vitória is the first pipe-lay vessel built in Brazil, equipped with vertical and horizontal pipe-lay systems, a 250 mt crane and 2 ROVs. The vessel is capable of operating in water depths up to 3,000 meters.Press Release, August 08, 2013last_img read more

The economy: Plan B or no Plan B, that is the question

first_imgThe government has been consistently saying that there is no Plan B but with the faltering economy is the chancellor really going to say nothing in the autumn statement next month? But then, is he really going to do a U-turn?The government is worried about economic growth and it is clear why. GDP fell 0.5% in the weather affected final quarter of last year, rose 0.5% in the first quarter of the year and second quarter economic growth was only 0.1%. Effectively, the economy has been stagnant for nine months. Looking forward, the signs are ominous: manufacturing output has fallen for three months in a row; financial institutions are cash-rich, which we are obviously all very happy about, but they are unwilling to invest due to the uncertainty; unemployment rose to 2.57m in the last quarter, which is not going to do anything to help consumer confidence or spending.So what can be done? The Bank of England reduced interest rates to 0.5% two and a half years ago. Reducing this further will make little difference. The Bank of England injected another £75bn of quantitative easing, which makes more money available to financial institutions for lending. However, for this to make a difference, they need to be more willing to lend.The government’s autumn statement on 29 November will be an interesting insight into whether government is serious about jump-starting the economy. Ideally, if you want to make the best of this then you would put it into areas that give the most, and quickest, benefit for economic activity. This is basically repair and maintenance. It is quick to get off the ground, with framework contracts already there anyway, and it is labour intensive so gets people working.Also, the government could do more to bring in private investment as, according to Plan A (not that there is a Plan B), government spending on construction is set to fall 20% in four years. The Nine Elms development in London is using private finance, as is Crossrail, and with government underwriting risk on projects private finance could be made more use of.So, back to the questions, is the chancellor going to say nothing and let the economy slide or do a U-turn?Well, it is most likely is that he will bring forward spending from three or four years down the road and argue that it will be funded by efficiency savings and the like, so it doesn’t affect the deficit reduction plan, so there will be some more spending in the next 18-24 months. However, it won’t be on repair and maintenance. The government likes shiny new high profile projects so expect a few housing, transport and energy infrastructure top of the agenda. Just don’t expect it to jump start construction, or the economy, any time soon…last_img read more

Crowley deal on the Horizon?

first_imgReports state that the talks are part of Horizon’s plans to sell all three of its Jones Act routes – San Juan, Alaska and Hawaii – to different buyers for each of these markets.Industry commentators have said that if Crowley bought Horizon’s port facilities, it would not need to make improvements to its port facilities to receive its two new ships, El Coquí and El Taíno, but would just move over to Horizon’s facilities at the port.However in an official statement, Crowley said that its plans “have not changed”.”We are building two new, LNG-powered con-ro ships at VT Halter Marine, and we are talking with the Puerto Rico Ports Authority about making improvements to our existing Isla Grande terminal in Puerto Rico to accommodate those ships when they are delivered and put into service in 2017,” said Crowley.www.crowley.comwww.horizonlines.comlast_img read more

Texas man trapped in ATM slips notes to customers begging for help

first_imgTexas man trapped in ATM slips notes to customers begging for help CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) A Texas man who became trapped inside an ATM slipped notes to customers via the receipt slot pleading for them to help him escape, police said Thursday.The contractor became stuck Wednesday when he was changing a lock to a Bank of America room that leads to the back of the ATM, Corpus Christi police Lt. Chris Hooper said. He couldn’t let himself out of the room because he didn’t have a keycard on him and was unable to notify bank employees for help.Photo via KZTV“Apparently he left his cellphone and the swipe card he needed to get out of the room outside in his truck,” Hooper said.When he realized customers were retrieving cash from the machine, he passed notes to them through the ATM receipt slot.One read, “Please help. I’m stuck in here and I don’t have my phone. Please call my boss …”Some customers appeared to dismiss the notes as a gag, Hooper said. But one called police, who detected a faint voice coming from inside the ATM.An officer kicked in the door to the room and freed the man, whose name has not been released.“Everyone is OK, but you will never see this in your life, that somebody was stuck in the ATM. It was just crazy,” Richard Olden, a police senior officer, told KRIS-TV. Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. SHARE Published: July 13, 2017 1:44 PM EDT Updated: July 13, 2017 1:59 PM EDT last_img read more