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Caregiver and his employer charged with Medicaid fraud

first_imgA joint investigation by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, has resulted in a caregiver and his employer being charged with billing Vermont Medicaid for services that were never provided. Attorney General William H. Sorrell announced today that Donald Crawford, age 48, of Bellows Falls, Vermont, and Jessica Kingsbury, 33, were each arraigned on September 28, 2010, in Vermont Superior Court, Criminal Division, Windsor County, on one felony count of Medicaid Fraud.According to papers filed in court, Mr. Crawford is accused of invoicing ARIS Solutions, the agency that processes timesheets for Vermont Medicaid waiver services, for services that were not provided, resulting in payment to him in an amount of $14,769.04 from the Vermont Medicaid Program. Ms. Kingsbury is accused of aiding and abetting Mr. Crawford in the filing of the fraudulent invoicing. Both parties each face a potential fine of up to $1,000.00 or an amount equal to twice the amount of payments obtained, or up to ten years in prison, or both. The court imposed standard conditions of release that govern the parties’ conduct while their cases are pending.Source: Attorney General, September 29, 2010last_img read more

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TD Bank employees to volunteer at the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf

first_imgTD Bank,Recently, the TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank donated $35,000, equivalent to 87,500 pounds of food or 70,000 meals for families in need, to support the Vermont Food Bank. The Vermont Foodbank has a network of 280 partners around the state’food shelves, meal sites, shelters, senior centers and after-school programs’that reach as many as 86,000 Vermonters in need of food assistance.On Thursday, February 17, 2011, local TD Bank employees will volunteer at the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, the Foodbank’s largest network partner, to assist with warehouse inventory, stock shelves, help clients complete paperwork and pick out their groceries.WHAT: Volunteers are a crucial part of every program at the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf. The dedicated hearts and hands of the community help Chittenden’s staff complete the countless tasks that go into feeding more than 12,000 people every year. TD Bank employees will assist with warehouse inventory, stocking shelves, helping clients complete paperwork and pick out their groceries in an effort to help fight hunger in Vermont.WHEN: Thursday, February 17, 20111:30 p.m. ‘ 2:30 p.m.WHERE: Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf228 North Winooski AvenueBurlington, VT 05401(802) 658 – 7939last_img read more

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Leahy marks Sunshine Week with FOIA hearing

first_imgThe Congress has also made good progress in strengthening FOIA.  Last year, the Senate unanimously passed the Faster FOIA Act ‘ a bill that Senator Cornyn and I introduced to establish a bipartisan Commission to study FOIA and to make recommendations to Congress on ways to further improve FOIA.  We will reintroduce this bill later this week.  As Americans from every corner of our Nation commemorate Sunshine Week 2011, they have many good reasons to cheer.  I am pleased that one of President Obama’s first official acts when he took office was to issue a historic new directive to strengthen FOIA.  Just yesterday, the Department of Justice launched the new FOIA.gov website, which compiles all of the Department’s FOIA data in one online location. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) held a hearing Tuesday on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the nation’s premier open government law.  The nation is celebrating Sunshine Week, an observance of the importance of an open and transparent government.The Vermont Legislature is going through the process of rewriting its open meeting and open records laws (ACLU explantaion). ‘The right to know is a cornerstone of our democracy,’ said Leahy.  ‘Without it, citizens are kept in the dark about key policy decisions that directly affect their lives.  Without public access to government information, officials can make decisions in the shadows, sometimes in collusion with special interests, escaping accountability for their actions.  In the digital age, FOIA remains an indispensable tool in protecting the people’s right to know.Leahy is a longtime advocate of open, transparent government, and has been a leader in Congress in pushing for reforms to update and strengthen FOIA.  He is the co-author of the OPEN Government Act, which was signed into law in 2007, and which made the first major reforms to FOIA in more than a decade.  He is also the co-author of the OPEN FOIA Act, which required greater transparency for legislative exemptions to FOIA.  The legislation was signed into law in October 2009. Member statements and witness testimony, as well as a webcast of the hearing, are available online. # # # # # Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),Chairman, Committee On The JudiciaryHearing On ‘The Freedom Of Information Act:  Ensuring Transparency And Accountability In The Digital Age’   March 15, 2011Today, the Committee holds an important hearing on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  When Congress enacted FOIA more than 40 years ago, this watershed law ushered in a new and unprecedented era of transparency in government.  Four decades later, FOIA continues to give citizens access to the inner workings of their government and to guarantee the right to know for all Americans. I hope that the Congress will quickly enact this good government legislation.  There is also reason to cheer the recent unanimous decision by the Supreme Court in Federal Communications Commission v. AT&T Inc., concluding that corporations do not have a right of personal privacy under the Freedom of Information Act.  I am pleased that, in reaching this decision, our highest court honored congressional intent about the narrow scope of the personal privacy exemption to FOIA. These FOIA victories have made our Government more open and accountable to the American people.  But, our Government is still not as open and accessible to its citizens as it could ‘ and should ‘ be.Implementation of FOIA continues to be hampered by the increasing use of exemptions ‘ especially under section (b)(3) of FOIA.  Last year, Senators Grassley, Cornyn and I worked together on a bipartisan basis to repeal an overly-broad FOIA (b)(3) exemptions in the historic Wall Street reform bill, so that the American public will have access to important information about the state of our financial system.It is also essential that the American people have a FOIA law that is not only strengthened by reform, but properly enforced.  A report released yesterday by the National Security Archive found that, while there has been some progress in implementing the President’s FOIA reforms, only about half of the Federal agencies surveyed have taken concrete steps to update their FOIA guidance and assess their FOIA resources.  FOIA delays also continue to be a problem.  Twelve of the agencies surveyed had pending FOIA requests that were more than six years old, according to the report.  That is simply unacceptable.I am pleased that we have representatives from the Department of Justice and the Office of Government Information Services to discuss the Obama administration’s efforts to address these concerns and strengthen FOIA.  We are also fortunate to have a distinguished panel of FOIA experts to provide valuable perspectives on the importance of FOIA in guaranteeing the public’s right to know. I have said many times before ‘ during both Democratic and Republican administrations ‘ that freedom of information is neither a Democratic issue, nor a Republican issue.  It is an American issue.  I value the bipartisan partnership on FOIA matters that I have shared with Senator Cornyn over the years.  I will continue to work with Senator Cornyn, Senator Grassley and others on this Committee to advance freedom of information, so that the right to know is preserved for future generations.  I thank all of the distinguished witnesses that are appearing before the Committee today.  I look forward to today’s discussion. The Attorney General has also issued new FOIA guidance to help make our government agencies more open to the American people.  Last year, the Obama administration also issued another FOIA memorandum instructing federal agencies to update their FOIA training and guidance. The right to know is a cornerstone of our democracy.  Without it, citizens are kept in the dark about key policy decisions that directly affect their lives.  Without public access to government information, officials can make decisions in the shadows, sometimes in collusion with special interests, escaping accountability for their actions.  In the digital age, FOIA remains an indispensable tool in protecting the people’s right to know. WASHINGTON (Tuesday, March 15, 2011) ‘  # # # # #last_img read more

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Roger Allbee appointed to Union Institute Board of Trustees

first_imgUnion Institute & University (UI&U), a private, non-profit university based in Montpelier, has announced the appointment of Roger Allbee to its Board of Trustees. Allbee is a leader in the advancement of agriculture in the United States and former secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets. ‘Roger Allbee’s knowledge, experience, expertise, and lifelong commitment to Vermont will help Union make a lasting, positive impact on higher education initiatives in Vermont and beyond,’ said Roger H. Sublett, president of Union Institute & University. ‘We are honored that he has chosen to serve on Union’s Board of Trustees.’ Allbee was appointed secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets in January 2007 by former Vermont Governor Jim Douglas. As secretary, Allbee administered one of the most diverse and publically watched agencies in Vermont, overseeing all facets of the state’s agriculture including animal health and welfare, agricultural development, water quality and nutrient management, international trade and trade policy, and food safety.  Before serving as secretary, Allbee was the executive director for the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Services Agency for the State of Vermont. In this role, he was responsible for the execution of farm loan and farm program delivery to Vermont farmers and managed several offices throughout the state of Vermont. During his tenure as executive director, the Vermont FSA loan team received an USDA FSA Administrator’s Award. In addition to Allbee’s roles with the state of Vermont and the USDA, he also served as a senior international business consultant on agricultural trade policy and as a professional staff member of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture. He has also served as vice president of the former Farm Credit Banks of Springfield, Mass., and as an extension specialist at Cornell University.Allbee’s earned his B.S. in agricultural economics from the University of Vermont, and a master’s in agricultural economics from the University of Massachusetts. He has completed the Cornell University Agricultural Executives Program, and the Harvard Business School Agribusiness seminars. He served in Special Weapons of the U.S. Army with a rank of captain, and has received numerous awards including the Honor Award from the Soil and Water Conservation Society of America.Union Institute & University is a private, accredited university that has, since 1964, redefined higher education by placing learners at the center of their own education. Union serves more than 2000, self-motivated, socially conscious adults in rigorous faculty- mentored programs without interrupting professional, family, and community commitments. UI&U offers individualized programs of study leading to the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. In addition to its distance learning programs, academic centers are located in Cincinnati (OH), Los Angeles and Sacramento (CA), Miami (FL), and in Montpelier and Brattleboro (VT).www.myunion.edu(link is external) / Union Institute & University/ 62 Ridge St., Suite 2/ Montpelierlast_img read more

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In restructuring, PG&E ‘will have to cater to customers who have other ways to meet their power needs’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wall Street Journal:When it emerges from what is expected to be a long and complex chapter 11 reorganization, it’s likely to be a very different business—no longer the sprawling provider of natural gas and electric service to 16 million Californians.While wildfire liabilities that PG&E pegged at more than $30 billion were the main factor behind its bankruptcy filing, the San Francisco-based company faces far broader challenges. Long a utility accustomed to having a monopoly, in the future it will have to cater to customers who have other ways to meet their power needs.The traditional business model of electric utilities is under siege as homeowners, corporations and new community groups seek to generate or purchase power for themselves, a trend that is particularly advanced in California. All the while, PG&E has become deeply intertwined with California’s renewable energy and carbon-reduction goals, requiring it to sign expensive long-term contracts while also facing political pressure to keep rates from rising too fast.All options are going to be on the table in a bankruptcy proceeding, experts say. The possibilities include breaking up the company, selling off its natural-gas business or shedding some of its more than 100 hydroelectric dams. San Francisco and other cities have also said they want to explore running their own utilities in what has been PG&E territory.All options are going to be on the table in a bankruptcy proceeding, experts say. The possibilities include breaking up the company, selling off its natural-gas business or shedding some of its more than 100 hydroelectric dams. San Francisco and other cities have also said they want to explore running their own utilities in what has been PG&E territory.“There’s a larger issue at hand regarding how utilities are coping with new technology,” Mr. Peskoe said. “Maybe this is an opportunity for the industry to think about this differently.”PG&E said in the bankruptcy filing that it wants the ability to end hundreds of long-term power contracts with wind and solar farms, a move that could hurt the nation’s renewable-energy industry. PG&E has $42 billion in contractual commitments to buy electricity, more than half for wind and solar power to meet California’s aggressive renewable-energy goals. NextEra Energy Inc., a Florida utility with a large renewable-power-generation business has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to assert jurisdiction over these contracts. The commission ruled last week that it would review the matter alongside the bankruptcy judge.California Gov. Gavin Newsom has also expressed worries about the potential cancellation of the contracts, which could hurt the state’s ability to meet aggressive goals to cut greenhouse-gas emissions and combat climate change.More($): Wildfires Drove PG&E to Bankruptcy, Where Utility Must Change to Survive In restructuring, PG&E ‘will have to cater to customers who have other ways to meet their power needs’last_img read more

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IEA: Renewable generation capacity expected to climb by 1,200GW in next five years

first_imgIEA: Renewable generation capacity expected to climb by 1,200GW in next five years FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Global supplies of renewable electricity are growing faster than expected and could expand by 50% in the next five years, powered by a resurgence in solar energy.The International Energy Agency (IEA) found that solar, wind and hydropower projects are rolling out at their fastest rate in four years. Its latest report predicts that by 2024 a new dawn for cheap solar power could see the world’s solar capacity grow by 600GW, almost double the installed total electricity capacity of Japan. Overall, renewable electricity is expected to grow by 1,200GW in the next five years, the equivalent of the total electricity capacity of the US.“This is a pivotal time for renewable energy,” said the IEA’s executive director, Fatih Birol. “Technologies such as solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind are at the heart of transformations taking place across the global energy system. Their increasing deployment is crucial for efforts to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, reduce air pollution, and expand energy access.”The Guardian reported earlier this month that a renewable energy revolution could end the world’s rising demand for oil and coal in the 2020s, decades ahead of forecasts from oil and mining companies.Renewable energy sources make up 26% of the world’s electricity today, but according to the IEA its share is expected to reach 30% by 2024. The resurgence follows a global slowdown last year, due to falling technology costs and rising environmental concerns. However, Birol warned that the role of renewables in the global energy system would need to grow even faster if the world hopes to meet its climate targets.The IEA expects solar energy to play the biggest role in jumpstarting fresh growth in global renewable energy because falling costs are already below retail electricity prices in most countries. The cost of solar power is expected to decline by a further 15% to 35% by 2024, spurring further growth over the second half of the decade.More: Renewable energy to expand by 50% in next five years – reportlast_img read more

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Wind and solar continue to win the global electricity-cost war

first_imgWind and solar continue to win the global electricity-cost war FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg New Energy Finance:In terms of the long-term trajectory for coal, BloombergNEF has become significantly more bearish than the IEA. Its 2019 New Energy Outlook, or NEO, published in June, saw global coal-fired electricity output peaking as early as 2026, and then declining 4% by 2030 and by as much as 53% by 2050.The other side of the coin in generation during the decade just ending has been the meteoric rise of wind, and particularly solar. Back at the time of the Copenhagen conference at the end of 2009, almost no one would have imagined that solar power – with just 25 gigawatts of capacity operating worldwide at that point, all of it at a significant cost premium to other technologies – would become the most installed generation source of the new decade.However, that is exactly what happened. The report Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2019, published last month by UN Environment Programme and Frankfurt School and based on data and analysis from BNEF, estimated that over the 2010-2019 period, some 638 gigawatts of solar power will have been added, outpacing coal’s 529 gigawatts of net new additions, wind’s 487 gigawatts and gas-fired generation’s 438 gigawatts.That stellar performance by solar has come about, of course, in large part because of cost declines – declines that would also have seemed almost inconceivable 10 years ago. BNEF’s latest Levelized Cost of Electricity Update, covering the second half of 2019 and published last week, showed that the all-in cost of generation for solar photovoltaics without tracking systems has tumbled 83% since 2009, reaching just $51 per megawatt-hour. That is a global benchmark – the levelized cost is even lower in some locations.That new figure, and a closely matched equivalent for onshore wind of $47 per MWh, down 49% over the decade, means that two-thirds of the world population are living in countries where either solar or wind is now the cheapest choice for electricity generation in terms of all-in costs.More: Clean Energy’s Decade Nearly Gone, And Its Decade Aheadlast_img read more

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Baxter State Park Officials Scold Jurek for A.T. Celebration

first_imgThere has been no shortage of fanfare and support from the running and outdoor communities in the wake of Scott Jurek’s historic, record-setting performance on the Appalachian Trail. Nearly every major media outlet has covered the incredible feat, and social media has been ablaze for several days with congratulatory comments from well wishers.But there is another perspective on Jurek’s capture of the A.T.’s new “fastest known time.” Purists say he missed the point, that he rushed through a trail that’s meant to slow hikers down and put them more in touch with the natural world, all in the name of gamesmanship and competition.Others have gone a step further, essentially accusing Jurek of bastardizing the Appalachian Trail in pursuit of commercial gain. The most authoritative member of this camp is Maine’s Baxter State Park, which houses Baxter Peak and the Mount Katahdin, the northern terminus of the A.T.In a Facebook post published this morning, park officials accused Jurek of littering, drinking alcoholic beverages in public places, hiking with an oversized group, facilitating non-permitted media coverage within the state park boundaries, and drew attention to the help he has received from his corporate sponsors.Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 5.20.21 PMThe following a verbatim statement pulled directly from the official Baxter State Park Facebook page. To view this statement on their Facebook page click here. Ultramarathoning in Baxter Park – another perspective.Our Facebook page is a great place to celebrate the nature of Baxter State Park. On occasion, we need to use this platform for serious discussion.Scott Jurek’s recent completion of the Appalachian Trail in the shortest time on record is a remarkable physical accomplishment. With all due respect to Mr. Jurek’s ability, Baxter State Park was not the appropriate place for such an event.Let’s be clear and concise, Scott Jurek’s physical abilities were recognized by corporations engaged in running and outdoor related products. The race vehicle used to support Scott in his run, as well as Scott’s headband, clearly displays these corporate sponsors. The sponsors are providing money and equipment to support Scott’s run in exchange for advertisement and engagement that they expect will protect or increase their market share and improve their profits. Included in this exchange are media companies such as “The Game Changers, LLC” of Laguna Beach CA, who were hired to capture video and photographic coverage of Scott’s run to enhance the opportunities for commercial benefit from his run.When Scott arrived at Baxter Park to complete his run at the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, he brought all of this to Baxter Peak, in Maine’s largest wilderness.Mr. Jurek and the corporate sponsors were careful not to mention in the media coverage that one of the unfortunate outcomes of the celebration party at Baxter Peak at the completion of the event were the three summons issued to Mr. Jurek by a Baxter Park Ranger for the drinking of alcoholic beverages in public places (BSP Rule 7 and Maine State General Law), for littering (BSP Rule 4.5) and for hiking with an oversize group (BSP Rule 2.2). In addition, media personnel were issued a summons for violation of a commercial media permit which prohibited filming within 500′ of Baxter Peak. Not much to be proud of there.An additional discouraging observation. The Appalachian Trail provided the challenge and backdrop for this event and consequently, provided the conduit for this event to land in Baxter Park. The profile of the AT is large enough to attract the corporate sponsorship necessary to support and carry such an event. The AT is apparently comfortable with the fit of this type of event in its mission. The formal federal designation and authority of the Appalachian Trial does not extend into Baxter State Park. The AT within the Park is hosted at the consideration of the Baxter State Park Authority. The Authority is currently considering the increasing pressures, impacts and conflicts that the Appalachian Trail brings to the Park and if a continued relationship is in the best interests of Baxter State Park.Thousands of people, including Mainers and others from all over the world, visit Baxter Park and hike in the Park’s wilderness, including a climb to Baxter Peak. People celebrate their accomplishment, often with their families and often many times over, quietly and with appreciation for this precious gift left to us in perpetuity by Percival Baxter. These “corporate events” have no place in the Park and are incongruous with the Park’s mission of resource protection, the appreciation of nature and the respect of the experience of others in the Park. We hope for the support of the AT and BSP communities to help us steer these events to more appropriate venues in the future.How do you feel about Baxter State Park’s response to Jurek’s post record-setting celebration? Let us know in the comments below. Photo Courtesy of Luis Escobarlast_img read more

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WATCH: Pro Cycler Endures Hard Crash Then Stumbles Through Oncoming Traffic

first_imgAfter making it through a gauntlet of fellow bikers traveling at dangerously high speeds, a neutral support official helped Skujins re-mount his bike, and the 25-year old cyclist proceeded to carry on with the tour.Shortly thereafter, however, a team car pulled alongside Skujins and persuaded him to exit the race. According to Cycling News, Skujins was then taken to a nearby hospital where he was treated for a broken collar bone and a concussion. Skujins’ sponsors, Cannondale and Drapac, are said to be implementing a more thorough concussion protocol in response to the incident. Professional cycler Tom Skujins took a hard fall during the AMGEN Tour of California. As shown in the video below, in the immediate aftermath of the severe crash, the clearly dazed and disoriented Latvian attempted to re-mount his bike before falling a second time, then dangerously staggering his way through a slew of oncoming bikes, motorcycles and even a speeding support car.last_img read more

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A Liberty University Homecoming Event: The Deep Hollow Half Marathon and 5k

first_imgLynchburg, VA has history tied to trail running and very few events capture the “grassroots” feeling of a trail half marathon like the Deep Hollow Half Marathon and 5k. The half marathon course was developed in 2007 and the local running community continues to embrace the event. The initial course included the old “Deep Hollow Trail”, on the beautiful Liberty Mountain Trail System, from which the race initially got its name. That trail no longer exists (though the race name has stuck), having been incorporated into what is now “Horton’s Loop”, named after the ultra-running legend and Liberty University Exercise Science professor himself, David Horton.Liberty University manages the 5,000-acre trail system where the race takes place. The half marathon course features a diverse blend of single-track trails and mountain roads (see 2017 course guide). With nearly 2,000 feet of elevation change throughout the 13.1-mile course, it is a brutal though rewarding challenge. This event is the most popular race in the series and draws experienced trail runners from all over Central Virginia.Deep Hollow Half Marathon and 5k is a premier event and is worth the trip to Lynchburg. As a Liberty University Homecoming event, the race always draws an impressive crowd and creates a spectacular race day environment. Great competition, a safe course, and an encouraging community make this an excellent event to be a part of. The 5k course provides an opportunity for all runners to succeed and reach their goals, while the half marathon course gives even the most experienced runners an exciting challenge. Be sure to add this to your fall race line-up! last_img read more

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