As The Disco Biscuits prepare to once again descend on their hometown of Philadelphia from February 2nd-4th at The Fillmore with support acts Aqueous, Swift Technique, and Tom Hamilton’s American Babies in tow (purchase tickets for the upcoming run here), we decided to re-listen to their first jaunt at the venue – which opened in October of 2015 – from last February, to whet our appetites. The Biscuits are no strangers to bringing the party to Philly, and their three night run just months after the venue opened was certainly something special, to say the least.Starting the 2/5/16 show off with “Pilin’ It High” was a the right choice, as you could tell Barber was feeling it from the get-go. “Strobelights & Martinis” got the dance party started, which led into a monster “Air Song” that eventually dropped into a super edge-y “Vassillios,” to be followed by a “Moshi Fameus” jam that had those in attendance amped up. The sudden break into what turned out to be a 30-minute “Magellan” was essentially the icing on the cake for this most ridiculous of first sets.The Disco Biscuits – 2.5.16 The Fillmore, Philadelphia PA – Set 1:I: Pilin’ it High, Strobelights & Martinis > Air Song > Vassilios > Moshi Fameus > MagellanThe second set on 2/6/16 was like one of those late 90’s / early 2000’s Biscuits sets of lore, where the band was firing on all cylinders and just making your head spin with their mind-bending style of jam. “Little Betty Boop” to start the set melded into one of those trance-fusion jams that are almost too difficult to keep up with, that eventually meandered into an inverted “Crickets.” Basically, the set was like all-out-war with Barber shredding and some truly unique Magner flourishes on the keys, and the nod to Ozzy Osbourne with a wild “Crazy Train” jam was pretty, pretty, prettyyyy fresh (check the 38-minute mark of the video).“Story of the World” followed “Boop,” and saw a nice, extended segment before a fire “House Dog Party Favor” ended the set in proper form. “Magellan Reprise” saw a nice sing-along from the rabid, and very loyal tDB fanbase in one of the more laid-back moments of the set. And then a 24-minute “Basis For a Day” happened….20+ years into it, and tDB are still proving why they are the in the elite category of the jam scene. Just some seriously epic stuff from the Philly-bred band.The Disco Biscuits – 2.6.16 The Fillmore, Philadelphia PA – Set 2:II: Little Betty Boop > Crickets (inverted) > Little Betty Boop > Story of the World, House Dog Party Favor E: Magellan Reprise, Basis for a Day***Purchase tickets to the show here. For updates and additional show information, check out the Facebook Event page.***[cover photo courtesy of The Disco Biscuits and Adam Winokur]
There are a lot of things that supposedly go better together but can be argued. Some say chocolate and peanut butter clash, cookies and milk just makes soggy cookies. But some just can’t be argued, especially when you back them up with facts.The Dell EMC hyper-converged (HCI) portfolio, which includes VxRail appliances and VxRack rack-scale systems, have been integrated with Dell PowerEdge Servers. So what does that mean for customers? It means additional customer uses cases while providing more flash capacity. This concerted effort will allow customers to further move the needle toward HCI in the core data center and remote/branch offices.Dell Technologies is #1 in servers for a reason- they bring the most advanced server infrastructure with latest processors, more cores, and more storage. One of the major benefits gained for VxRack is more flash. For example, new PowerEdge can deliver 17TB of useable flash compared to previous version with 7TB. That means a lot more flash in the same footprint. Next, is the ability to make use of DAS Cache which helps with performance (I/Os) of applications such as Microsoft SQL,etc (VxRack FLEX). Finally, existing customers can add PowerEdge to current systems, protecting their previous investment.To give you an idea of what a VxRack System can consist of in a single floor tile, let’s look at some numbers->VxRack FLEX with Dell EMC ScaleIO and Dell PowerEdge can provide:800 CPU Cores19TB RAM428TB useable SSD512 x 10g portsand the full Dell EMC factory built and support experienceThat’s all in a single floor tile. As a result, it is a perfect choice for core data centers where simplicity and scale are required- nothing else in the HCI market can even come close.This update of the VxRack family does a lot for our customers. Imagine a hyper-converged solution for the core data center that is capable of running practically any type of workload all in a single stack at scale. VxRack System supports multiple node personas (FLEX, SDDC, Neutrino), each leveraging different software stacks to address the unique requirements of both traditional and cloud native applications and workloads- running on Dell PowerEdge Servers.Be sure to check out some of the latest VxRack System material to learn more:VxRack System with FLEX ESG White PaperVxRack System InfographicVxRack System Video Overview- HCI at scale VxRack System Overview page
WASHINGTON – The night before Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, then a member of the House of Representatives, was set to cast a ballot on the Affordable Care Act in 2010, he received a phone call from one of his constituents. The voice on the other end of the line was University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, and he wanted to advise Donnelly on health care reform, the senator’s communications director Elizabeth Shappell said in an email Tuesday. But Hesburgh didn’t tell Donnelly, a 1977 alumnus and a 1981 graduate of the Law School, how to vote. “Fr. Ted simply told then-Congressman Donnelly to vote his conscience,” Shappell said. Donnelly cast his ballot in favor of the legislation that next day. Hundreds of thousands congregated on the National Mall on Monday to watch President Barack Obama swear his oath of office and begin a second term as America’s commander in chief. Now, as the tourists leave, those who work in and around the federal government remain to walk the halls of the White House, the floors of the House and Senate and the streets of the nation’s capital. Among them are a number of Notre Dame graduates who have chosen to pursue careers in public service at the federal level. Their presence in the capital and government is one that reflects the call of a Notre Dame degree – a call to devote one’s life to serving others. Donnelly began his career on Capitol Hill in 2006 in the House of Representatives. As he builds relationships with other legislators, he said there is a certain respect associated with his Notre Dame education. “Primarily so much of what we do here is based on the relationships you have with one another,” Donnelly told The Observer in an interview. “When you work with other legislators, your word is your bond. So those are the kinds of things that when people look at you, they say, ‘Can I count on them to be great partners in this? Will they work hard to make sure it all works?’ And Notre Dame teaches you all those things.” A government undergraduate and a law school graduate at Notre Dame, Donnelly lost his first race for the House in 2004. He was successful in 2006 and began his career in Washington, a city he said he had only visited a handful of times before on school trips with his children. When Donnelly was a student at Notre Dame in 1976, Republican Sen. Dick Lugar was elected to his seat to represent Indiana. Thirty-six years later, Donnelly is succeeding Lugar, stepping into the senator’s highly contested seat as a Democrat. “The reason I ran was I thought that by doing it, I could make a difference for our country, and that’s what we’re taught at Notre Dame, is to try to make a difference,” he said. “And that’s what I try to do.” Donnelly began his term in the Senate as fiscal cliff negotiations rattled Capitol Hill. His background at Notre Dame has prompted him to again approach the country’s woes with his conscience, just as Hesburgh recommended to him years ago. “In regard to fiscal issues, part of the approach I have is that we have a moral obligation to my children, to the grandchildren we may have someday, to the younger people in this country that we should not be permitted to burden you with debt that we’ve run up,” Donnelly said. “This is a moral issue. … This is intergenerational theft if we don’t do this right.” In the whirlwind of the new term, Donnelly is finally almost done with the process of setting up his office in the basement of the Russell Senate Office Building. He joked that his office has always been a “way station” for Notre Dame students and graduates away from South Bend. Among them is 2007 alumna Elizabeth Shappell, who was once student body president and played flag football with Donnelly’s daughter. She now runs media communications for his office. Shappell said the student interns and other workers that enter their office from Notre Dame bring a certain level of energy and leadership. They are often required to spend hours taking calls from the senator’s constituents, answering their questions and passing their needs to his staff. “They bring not only a fantastic work ethic and a high intelligence level and the capacity to get work done in a very efficient way, but a great attitude and a high intelligence level that you know they’re in it for the right reasons,” she said. These volunteers often move farther in politics and join the ranks of others from Notre Dame in government, Donnelly said. And those ranks include some important names. Four graduates were elected to the House in November – Democrat Peter Visclosky in Indiana and Republicans Peter King in New York, Michael Kelly and Keith Rothfus in Pennsylvania. 1993 graduate Rob Nabors works as White House director of legislative affairs and is Obama’s chief congressional liaison. These names, the high-profile elected officials and government members, are not the only Notre Dame names in Washington. But they are the tip of a legacy Notre Dame is paving for itself among American leadership, bringing the values of one dome to another. John Sturm has a firm handshake and a knack for storytelling. He should – he was the manager of the Notre Dame student radio stations when he was an undergraduate in 1969 and a member of the Blue Circle Honors Society, a service club comprised of student leaders across campus. Sturm has been in Washington for years and did work in government as a lawyer for the Federal Communications Commission briefly after he graduated law school at Indiana University. But he spent the majority of his career with the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), serving as its president for 16 years and lobbying Congress on behalf of the newspaper industry until he retired in 2012. He is now the associate vice president of federal and Washington relations at the University, a new position created this past summer. Sturm, a registered lobbyist, represents Notre Dame’s interests in Washington by trying to share with elected officials that the school is “so much more than Saturday afternoons.” “The great thing about working with the government, around the government, is the chance to have an affect on public policy,” Sturm said. “The most important thing is to represent the interest of your client or your employer to the best of your ability.” While he is not a politician by trade, Sturm “works the Hill” to help find grants and funding through for University research through the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense and other agencies. He is also active on other higher education issues and policies in student aid, tax policies related to charitable deductions to the University and other legislative debates that affect Notre Dame. “When you represent Notre Dame, it’s a marvelous opportunity to present to the elected officials what Notre Dame really stands for, the notion of doing good as well as providing a great education and great research activities and efforts.” Sturm said Hesburgh offered “a voice of moderation and good sense,” as well as an example for Notre Dame graduates who become involved in any kind of political or government work in Washington. “The old line was, ‘Fr. Hesburgh is everywhere except Notre Dame,’” he said. “That’s not a criticism. It’s just that he was very busy here in Washington and a lot of other places around the world because he was … not only Notre Dame’s president but an ambassador for the Catholic faith, for the University, and the best known cleric there was in public service.” “It’s thinking outwards instead of inwards,” he said. Condoleezza Rice never wanted to be in politics. She wanted to be a pianist. “I started my undergraduate years as a piano major but soon realized that I was good but not quite good enough for a concert career,” she told The Observer in an email interview. “I decided to change my major and wandered into a course at the University of Denver on international politics taught by Josef Korbel, who was [former Secretary of State] Madeleine Albright’s father. Through Dr. Korbel, I found my passion for the Soviet Union and my life’s work.” When she graduated from Denver in 1974, Rice traveled to Notre Dame to pursue a graduate degree. Her experience in South Bend was key to cementing her growing love of international issues, she said. “I decided to do my master’s degree at Notre Dame because the University had a very strong reputation in Soviet studies, economics and international politics,” she said. “It was the perfect combination for me.” Even for a woman who would later serve as a Secretary of State, the idea of settling in a new and unfamiliar place was daunting to Rice. “I landed very late at the airport and was frankly a little unnerved,” she said. “It was my first time away from home. Then, driving into campus, I saw the Golden Dome and, from that moment on, I knew that I was in the right place.” As a student in the 1970s, Rice came to Notre Dame as the University began to integrate women into its campus. Female graduate students at the time lived in Lewis Hall with the Sisters of the Holy Cross – the dorm doubled as a convent and a residence hall. “I also remember something rather silly,” she said. “The women’s dorms had laundry facilities in the basement. The men had their laundry picked up and done each week. At the time, I don’t remember wanting to comment on it but I certainly would have now.” Despite the challenges of integration, Rice said the University made “rapid progress” toward successful coeducation. “I’ve been particularly impressed at the extraordinary success of women’s athletics – basketball, soccer and other sports,” Rice said. “I cheer loudly for both the sons and daughters of Notre Dame.” Rice graduated from Notre Dame in 1975 and then pursued a doctoral degree from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of International Studies. She taught political science at Stanford University, and her work eventually brought her to Washington. In 1989, she became director of Soviet and East European affairs with the National Security Council, later serving in a number of advisory positions for both President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush, including National Security Advisor. She became the first woman appointed as Secretary of State in 2004, and she served from January 2005 to 2009. Rice, who has returned to her teaching post at Stanford, said her Notre Dame education has continued to stay with her throughout her work in government. “The further I have progressed in my career, the more opportunity I have had to champion causes and shed light on humanitarian issues,” she said. “This sense of duty comes from numerous points in my life, one being that Notre Dame stressed the importance of religious integrity and the philanthropic spirit.” Like other Notre Dame graduates, Rice cited Hesburgh, who was University president while she was a student, as an example for her work in international affairs. Hesburgh himself championed humanitarian issues on an international level and served on numerous government committees. “Father Hesburgh encouraged us to think about those who were less fortunate,” she said. “In fact, we had a day of fasting and donated the money to good causes. This experience reminded me to think not just about high politics but about the good that can be done if we are focused not on ourselves but on those who are truly in need.” Junior Wendy Hatch is not yet a graduate of the University, but she too is in Washington right now. She is a student in the Washington Program, a semester-long experience working, studying and living in Washington D.C. The alternative study abroad program is designed for students with an interest in politics or journalism. Hatch, a political science and Chinese double major, wants to work in international politics. She stood in the crowd in front of the Capitol on Monday, watching from a distance as the president swore his oath of office. She was far from the Capitol steps, and a tree blocked her view of the nearest big-screen TV. But she, like many Notre Dame students before her, could still see something meaningful in Washington – a future. “In four years, we could be one of those people sitting in one of those chairs … next to President Obama,” Hatch said after the ceremony. “We could be senators, representatives, in Congress, in someone’s cabinet. We’re smart, we’re capable. “If we wanted that position, if we wanted to be that person, we could be.”
As juniors, Saint Mary’s students dedicate a weekend to their moms. This past weekend, Saint Mary’s seniors turned their attention to welcoming their dads to campus for father-daughter events as part of Senior Dad’s Weekend.Senior class president Lauren Osmanski and senior class vice president Tori Wilbraham worked together to plan this year’s Senior Dad’s Weekend.Senior Mary Kate McLaughlin said the weekend provided Saint Mary’s seniors with spend quality time with their dads and an opportunity to create lasting memories with fellow Belles.“It was hilarious to be able to see the girls and their dads interacting,” McLaughlin said. “It was an entirely different dynamic than Junior Mom’s Weekend.”The events began Friday in Stapleton Lounge in Le Mans Hall with a wine and cheese reception for the Belles, their dads and Saint Mary’s professors.Senior Sarah Hossfeld said she enjoyed the reception the most because it was the moment when all of the dads were able to meet one another and professors.“I never thought my dad would get to meet some of my favorite nursing professors except for at graduation,” Hossfeld said. “I was so glad that the first reception was so inviting and fun, and we also got our gift bags there with a Saint Mary’s Senior Dad’s Weekend beer mug and T-shirt.”The evening continued at O’Rourkes Public House on Eddy Street where Belles and their dads gathered to unwind together in a pub setting, Wilbraham said.On Saturday, Wilbraham and Osmanski planned Notre Dame Stadium tours beginning at noon. The Belles and their dads toured the locker room, saw the Play Like a Champion Today sign and walked on the field, Wilbraham said.“I know that was definitely my dad’s favorite part of the weekend,” Hossfeld said. “When he walked out onto the field, he said it was the most beautiful sight his eyes had ever seen. It was awesome to share that moment with him, and I know many of the other girls agreed that that was one of the coolest events of the whole weekend.”Following the stadium tours, the fathers and daughters were invited to O’Rourke’s to watch Notre Dame play Arizona State, Wilbraham said. Afterwards, a dinner and auction were held at the Hilton Garden Inn Gillespie Center.Julia Brehl “This was the first time we’ve ever planned a dinner for daughters and their dads, which was a huge success,” Wilbraham said. “We were sorry we had to shut it down when it got late because all of the girls were having so much fun dancing with their dads and enjoying the photo booth. We hope we started a new tradition with the dinner.”Wilbraham said College President Carol Ann Mooney attended the dinner, along with Vice President for Student Affairs Karen Johnson. The auction, which included prizes such as front-row graduation tickets, Notre Dame football tickets, a spring break basket and Chicago Blackhawks tickets, raised $13,000 that will go toward senior week.“We also announce our new senior class campaign, called 90 for 90,” Wilbraham said. “We are trying to get 90 percent of students to donate towards the senior class gift fund, representing the 90 million dollars the College has raised for this year’s ‘Faith Always, Action Now’ campaign.“We already have over 55 percent of the senior class participating, so that was a huge success for us.”The weekend’s events concluded on Sunday with mass at the Church of Our Lady of Loretto.McLaughlin said she was glad to see everyone having such a great time with their dads, and it was an unforgettable weekend.“I loved showing my Dad all around South Bend and taking him to our favorite places to go out as seniors,” McLaughlin said. “We had so much fun together at all of the different events. It was just a perfect weekend.”The weekend gave students an opportunity to do something they don’t often have a chance to, especially while they’re away at school.“It’s not too often we get to spend one-on-one time with our dads,” Wilbraham said. “It makes me so happy that it was such a success.”Tags: father-daughter, senior class gift, senior dads, senior dads weekend, senior weekend
As the cold rolled in two weeks ago, pipe bursts flooded areas all around Notre Dame’s campus.First was the third floor of the Duncan Student Center. On Jan. 31, at approximately 2:50 p.m., a sprinkler main erupted, causing damage to floors one and two. All inside the building were required to evacuate. The damage was quickly cleaned up, and the center was reopened the next morning.Next was the Main Building. On Feb. 1 at 12:30 p.m., a sprinkler head broke near the elevators on the first floor. The first floor lobby area and the elevators were closed for maintenance for the remainder of the weekend.Later that day, the Fitzpatrick and Cushing Halls of Engineering met a similar fate. A water leak in Fitzpatrick was reported about 7:30 p.m., according to an email from University spokesperson Dennis Brown. Both Fitzpatrick and Cushing were evacuated for safety reasons but were reopened the next day.Paul Kempf, senior director of utilities and maintenance, said such incidents were not unique to Notre Dame, but tend to be commonplace in extremely cold weather.“With nearly 11 million gross square feet of facilities, there is a lot of exposure, problem areas typically being building entries, areas that are more exposed to cold temperatures or places where leakage of cold air freezes fire protection sprinklers, heating water or potable water,“ Kempf said in an email.Kempf said these weak areas were made particularly vulnerable by the plummeting temperatures, which neared all-time lows.“With extreme temperatures last week, most of campus facilities have never seen such temperatures, so weak spots never before stressed were revealed,“ he said.Pipe bursts and other leaks caused by cold weather are not typically harmful to people but can often cause property damage, Kempf said.“Damage is frequently a function of volume of water, leak location and value of the impacted areas,” he said. “A vestibule leak that essentially runs outside at grade is minimal versus a leak in a high rise or a special space.”Though all four buildings were reopened relatively soon, additional cosmetic work may be needed to repair walls and floors damaged by floods.“Depending on the extent of water damages and the resulting damage, [cleaning] may range from simply gathering the water to more extensive cleaning, dehumidification, and removal of damaged finishes,“ he said. “This work is performed either by ND staff or a third party contractor that specializes in restoration services.”The University has been active in addressing pipe bursts and has taken precautionary measures to prevent future damage, Kempf said.“We evaluate every freeze that happens and address air leakage, piping that may have been installed in areas more prone to freezing, or ping that needs freeze protection,“ he said. “This past week we had staff ‘round-the-clock responding to cold calls, keeping heating systems operating and inspecting areas is concern.“Tags: pipe burst, Polar Vortex, Utilities and Maintenance
Anyone raising or interested in raising meat goats will find good information at theMiddle Georgia Goat Producers meeting Aug. 5 in Montezuma.Goats produce more income than more recognizable Georgia farm products, including oats,grapes and strawberries, according to the University of Georgia Extension Service.But the fledgling meat-goat industry is just getting organized. The new MGGP group istrying to help the business, which mainly attracts people with small farms.Morning Meeting in MontezumaThe Montezuma meeting will be at the Ladies Clubhouse across the tracks from RailroadStreet. It will begin at 9 a.m. and end by noon.To learn more about it, call Joe Oaks at (912) 472-7847 during the day or Bill Haas at(912) 987-1789 after 7 p.m.
Fire ant research is not a hot topic in the scientific community because effective control products are available, but fire ants can kill people, so management of this pest remains an ongoing issue, according to Will Hudson, University of Georgia entomology professor.“It’s a measure of the state of entomology. We used to have a fair amount of fire ant research going on in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences,” said Hudson, who has studied the control of turf insects for the past 30 years. “But fire ants are still important because other ants aren’t going to kill you. If you are allergic and you get stung by a whole lot of fire ants, you could die.”Lately, fire ant mounds have been popping up in pastures and in rows along roadsides. Hudson said that a few days of warm weather, followed by rain, make the right conditions for the ants to begin stirring.“They are active during warm spells all winter long,” he said. “If we have another cold spell, they will just stay in the ground. Any pest that can get inside a structure or go underground can survive year-round in Georgia.”Hudson says homeowners can “get by” treating for fire ants twice a year. Bait treatment should be applied in southern and central Georgia in April and October to eliminate existing colonies and their mounds, but reinvasion can occur any time, he said. Four to six months later, the mounds will reappear, which means homeowners should treat for the pests twice a year, about six months apart.“Fire ant bait has to be put out when the ants are actively foraging,” Hudson said. “There are a couple of new baits that work quickly, in 48 hours instead of three to four weeks, but you’ll pay extra for those.”In places like athletic complexes or large corporate landscapes, the main goal is usually to eliminate the mounds and reduce the number of ants on the property, says Hudson. For these situations, there are a variety of baits intended for large areas“If you need to get rid of the mounds and all of the ants, a different strategy must be used,” Hudson said.In this case, he recommends applying a contact insecticide to eliminate worker ants. Treatments range from a pyrethroid insecticide, such as bifenthrin, which is relatively inexpensive and controls ants for a few weeks, to fipronil, which costs about $250 an acre and controls ants for up to a year.“(Fipronil) isn’t for homeowners, although it can be applied in home landscapes by commercial applicators. It’s perfect for playgrounds or picnic areas where the goal is to get rid of all the ants,” Hudson said. “Just eliminating the mounds isn’t good enough in these situations.”Fire ants are still a problem for farmers, too.“They mess up the hay harvest because the mounds dull mower blades and throw dirt into the equipment. They also build mounds under and in bales in the field,” Hudson said. “And you wouldn’t think of them as being a pecan orchard problem, but they are.”Fire ants forage in pecan trees and feed on the honeydew produced by aphids. The fire ants protect the aphids by keeping beneficial insects — parasites and predators of the aphids — away, which creates problems for pecan growers, Hudson said. The aphid population builds up quickly, which requires the grower to treat with an insecticide.For more information on controlling fire ants, read UGA Extension Bulletin 1191, “Managing Imported Fire Ants in Urban Areas,” at extension.uga.edu/publications.
The Vermont Department of Labor announced today that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March 2009 was 7.2 percent, up one-tenth of a point from the revised February rate and up 2.6 points from a year ago. Unemployment rates for Vermont s 17 labor market areas ranged from 4.3 percent in Hartford to 12.1 percent in Newport. Local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. For comparison, the March unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 7.9 percent, up one-tenth of a point from February 2009 and up 2.9 points from a year ago. When seasonally adjusted, March job levels fell by 2,100 jobs or -0.7% from February and by 13,300 or -4.3% from March of 2008. Only Healthcare (+400 or 0.9%) and Education (+200 or 1.5%) showed seasonally adjusted increases in jobs over the month. Job losses tabulated from our business survey continued in March, indicating that our labor market continues to suffer during this recession. said Patricia Moulton Powden, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Labor. However for the second month in a row, our household survey indicates that our employment picture is seeing some stabilization. As the federal stimulus dollars aimed at jump starting job growth flow into the State, we hope to see the labor market improve. Job losses tabulated from our business survey continued in March, indicating that our labor market continues to suffer during this recession.Job GrowthMarch is often a volatile month for job counts as changes in weather and the Easter holiday can impact seasonal hiring patterns. Before seasonal adjustment, Total Non-Farm (TNF) jobs fell by 1,900 and by 13,400 or -4.4% on an annual basis. The only private sector showing a monthly seasonal increase was Healthcare & Social Assistance. Only Healthcare (+1,300 or 2.9%) and Education (+200 or 1.5%) showed significant annual improvement. Manufacturing, (-650 or -2.1%) and Leisure & Hospitality, (-1,200 or -3.5%) showed significant job loses over the month.Employment GrowthVermont s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate grew one-tenth of a point to 7.2 percent in March as a result of small increases in the both the number of unemployed, (+500 to 25,800) and the number of employed Vermonters, (+400 to 333,200). Vermont s observed March seasonally adjusted employment, unemployment levels and unemployment rate were not statistically significant from February. For comparison purposes, the US seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 8.5 percent, up four-tenths of a point from the revised February value of 8.1 percent. The preliminary estimates of nonfarm jobs for March, and the revisions to the estimates for November 2008 through February 2009, incorporate substantive changes made in the Current Employment Survey estimation procedures. These new procedures are designed to bring the aggregate monthly change in jobs for individual states into closer alignment with the change in national job counts reflected in the estimates produced and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a result of these changes, the November 2008 and forward estimates may not be totally comparable to previous months’ data. The impact of these changes in methodology will be better understood when we are able to make comparisons to Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. We expect to make these comparisons in May of 2009. For details of these changes, please contact Andy Condon at the Vermont Department of Labor at 802-828-4153 or [email protected](link sends e-mail).
Experiencing the vastness of the northern Grand Canyon, wrapping arms around giant sequoias, and marveling at archaeological mysteries are just a few of the experiences cherished by millions of people each year in U.S. National Monuments.The designation of National Monuments is a long-standing tradition started by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 to preserve historic lands and put them under the protection of federal agencies such as the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management. These lands are in the crosshairs of the current administration: Last month, President Trump signed an executive order to review the boundaries of 27 National Monuments to determine whether they are “consistent with the intent of the Antiquities Act.” The National Monuments under review consist of those created since 1996 by Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama.President Obama, during his eight years in office, created and expanded a total of 34 National Monuments—one of which is the first target to be reviewed. Bears Ears National Monument in Utah has become a flashpoint for the National Monument rollbacks. Some of Utah’s conservative leaders are pressuring President Trump to shrink or rescind the National Monument, while indigenous, outdoor, and conservation communities are advocating for the continued protection of public lands. Bears Ears was designated on December 28, 2016, making it Utah’s newest National Monument. Bears Ears gets its name from twin buttes that stand tall, side by side, and can be seen from miles away with appearance of a bear’s ears. Just an hour northwest of the world renowned Four Corners Monument, Bears Ears spans 1.35 million acres of land for over 2,000 square miles of pure adventure and exploration shielded from the threats of mining, drilling, or any type of tampering. Obama’s designation of Bears Ears preserved 100,000 archaeological sites, thousands of Native American cultural sites, and the recreational treasures of Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch, and Indian Creek.If the historical and cultural significance wasn’t enough, Bears Ears is a recreational haven for outdoors enthusiasts. It is home to world class rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, canyoneering, whitewater paddling, and skiing. It is the protection of glorious lands like these that allows us to hold onto our connection to the past and enjoy the outdoors without inflicting harm on wildlife, ecosystems, and the land they thrive on.The future of Bears Ears will soon be determined as Secretary Zinke is required by the Executive Order to submit a recommendation on the monument’s future by June 10 and further, he will need to formally make a recommendation regarding the other 26 monuments under review by August 24.Blue Ridge Outdoors signed on to the letter below drafted by The Conservation Alliance, a nationwide network of businesses and organizations who support the protection of public lands. We hope you will join us in urging your elected officials to support America’s national monuments:May 25, 2017Dear Secretary Zinke,On behalf of 88 outdoor industry companies, thank you for the opportunity to comment on Monument Review, MS-1530. The Conservation Alliance is a group of more than 200 outdoor industry companies nationwide that manufacture and sell products for use in the outdoors. As engaged stakeholders that depend on the wild landscapes where our customers recreate, we strongly oppose any executive action that would reduce or rescind any National Monument under review.The Bears Ears landscape is exactly the kind of place the Antiquities Act intended to protect. It is rich in cultural history and archaeological sites, which inspired a historic coalition of tribes to band together to push for its designation. This tribal coalition remains staunchly opposed to any changes to the monument boundaries. The region also boasts world-class rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, canyoneering, whitewater paddling, and skiing. Whether it be climbing in Indian Creek, paddling the San Juan River, or backpacking in Grand Gulch, the iconic recreation opportunities within the monument directly benefit the outdoor industry and its customers. Bears Ears National Monument is a place where outdoor enthusiasts have the opportunity to respectfully explore a protected landscape where past and present intersect.Bears Ears National Monument can also help sustain a local recreation-based economy. According to a new study by the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation generates $12 billion in direct consumer spending and supports 122,000 jobs in Utah.The process that led to the designation of Bears Ears National Monument was thorough and transparent. For more than 80 years, a wide array of decision makers presented proposals seeking permanent protection of all or part of this worthy landscape. The final boundaries closely resemble those proposed for legislative protection in the Public Lands Initiative (PLI), led by Representatives Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz. The PLI boundaries were drawn to include, not exceed, the acreage necessary to preserve the rich cultural heritage, ecological values, and recreational opportunities found in the area.The Conservation Alliance did not ultimately support the PLI legislation because it included provisions that undermined bedrock conservation laws, and the management of federally protected lands. However, groundwork and maps drawn throughout the three-year PLI process significantly influenced the boundary that would ultimately define Bears Ears National Monument. The PLI process incorporated perspectives from not only the tribal coalition, the outdoor industry, and conservation groups, but also San Juan county residents. We are confident that any credible review of the Bears Ears designation will confirm that the boundaries are more than justified.Thank you for reviewing the decades of hard work and thoughtful consideration that culminated in the designation of Bears Ears National Monument, and for making the time to visit the region. We hope that your experiencing this landscape first-hand will help lead you to recommend that President Trump leave the Bears Ears National Monument fully intact.We look forward to working with you to steward America’s greatest public land treasures in a manner that allows future generations of Americans to enjoy these wild places. The Bears Ears National Monument is an iconic place worthy of protection for its cultural and recreation values. Preserving Bears Ears is an investment in our economic future.Sincerely,Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and members of The Conservation Alliance
The climate and demographics of snowsports are changing. About the writer: Backcountry skiing could be the solution to getting more people into the mountains. It’s a lower barrier to entry, with the major competency being the ability to put one foot in front of the other, albeit with a shortened gait, properly distributed weight, and the endurance to make it to the top of the mountain. You can avoid the cost of uber-technical clothing, lift passes, and the things that make resort skiing less attractive today. With human powered snowsports, you can trek in virgin snow and experience nature without the flashing lights of over commercialization. In the backcountry of places like Dolly Sods, New German State Park, and Canaan Valley, you have the license to slow down, listen and connect. Two major factors are transforming the snowsports industry: demographics and climate. The Appalachian region has seen a steady decline in annual snowfall over the past five years. According to Telluride CEO Bill Jensen, about 30% of ski areas will not last the next 5 seasons. However, the question remains: how do we get into the backcountry and earn our turn? The “tele-dancer” and places that cater to him might offer a way in. After moving to Western Maryland, my regular practice was migrating upstate to Baltimore and DC every weekend. I longed for the concrete jungle, shopping, restaurants, and more importantly, more people who looked like me. On one such trip, driving through Sideling Hill, a scenic ridge five miles west of Hancock, Md., I was accosted by a view of the valley, so commanding and so beautiful was it that I had to pull over and admire God’s creation. That was the day my love affair with the outdoors began. It led me to meet some of the most fantastic people who introduced me to the world skiing and winter sliding sports. Ski bindings that allow you “unlock” the heel in order to maintain the dexterity required to walk/climb up a mountain are a prerequisite for backcountry skiing. For a very long time, telemark skis were the gold standard for going off-piste or skiing outbounds in any environment not designated strictly cross country ski areas. From Canaan Valley, W.Va., and Sugar Bush, Vt., “tele” skiing trickled into the Appalachian range and has endured under the feet of some great ambassadors of the style. Participation numbers for this discipline is reported to be on the decline, but it still remains in our areas. Mandela Echefu is a writer, photographer, and avid outdoor enthusiast based in Cumberland, Md., and dedicated to getting more people outside. Some of his work can be seen on Instagram @mandex_22 and www.pacelinehome.wordpress.com Minorities account for a small part of people going out to play in the outdoors, and changes in the industry’s approach can either limit or welcome new curious entrants. These are an exploration of how some skiers are joining in on the backcountry craze. Skiing is largely a white sport. 65% of visitors to ski resorts in 2017 were Caucasian, according to the Snowsports Industry Associaiton (SIA). So the recent growth of African Americans on the slopes is exciting. And as the baby boomers and Gen Xers begin to retire their skis, millennials have not been as eager to follow in their ski tracks—at least in the traditional sense. They aren’t seeking traditional lift serviced ski resorts with extravagant winter weekend vacations and lofty lift pass charges. No longer are people willing to pay $100 for long lines and slow lifts only the ski a run that lasts less than ten minutes, which is typical for the amount of vertical available at our resorts in this region. The Tiv people are a tribe from southeast Nigeria, they are known by their characteristic zebra-striped fabric, unique to them and called the “Anger” (āŋgé:). The other thing they are known for is “Tsuwetsele”, the cat dance. The rhythmic, dragged-out movement of the body akin to the expert process of transferring one’s weight while switching leading foot during a tele-turn. Like telemark skiing, it is beautiful and harder than it looks. I am relatively new to skiing, with a total of about six years under my belt. This is mainly because I spent the first half of my life in Nigeria and did not see snow for the first 18 years of my life. Skiing only started after I started exploring the lush jagged Appalachian mountains of Western Maryland. As my interest in skiing and winter sports grew, I became an avid skier and a member of the National Ski Patrol). But I could never quite get the picture of that beautiful skier dancing down the trail, and doing that fancy thing with his heels out of my head. Right or wrong, the general consensus is that black people have the “rhythm “gene. I have met few black people who do not know how to dance. It is therefore no surprise that I was fascinated the first time I saw a skier practically dancing down the slopes—alternating his leading ski while releasing his trailing heel, and dropping into a quasi-kneeling position. Most will agree that telemark skiing is a beautiful sight to see. Generally, the new expectation is fun for the duration of the expedition… And no one is having fun siting on a slow lift chair, hence the alternative, earning your turns – skinning up and skiing down. Sales in backcountry gear increased by over 50% in 2016. Equipment like AT binding, touring boots, split boards, and beacons to name a few are receiving significant cash flow in R&D and marketing. This is great for lovers of winter sports. In this corner of the country, we are known for our grit, our ability to hold on to tradition and eschew change. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the Whitegrass Ski Touring Center in Canaan Valley. Whitegrass’ nostalgic ski lodge is where I was initiated into the nirvana of quiet treks up snow-covered trails, exploring boundless miles of terrain with untouched snow. Whitegrass has been a premier location for those seeking to escape the hassle of resort skiing or take a trip back in time when skis were ten feet long, boots were tampered leather, and GoreTex did not even exist. Whitegrass, though lacking in altitude, more than makes up for it in solitude. The silence only found after a big snowfall—that quiet that reintroduces one to himself. Here in true Appalachian fashion, “the spirit is strong.” Today’s world is changing, both in a literal and philosophical sense. Winter sports are a sector, grappling with the direct effects of that change. Here, leaders and participants have had to evaluate and adjust their expectations of the utility gained from playing in the mountains when the mercury drops and most people opt for cozying up on the couch, binge watching Netflix series, and awaiting the return of the robins. This is further complicated by the universal need to do more with less, less annual snowfall, less time and less financial investment into an industry where everyone is not fully represented. Over time I have learned nuances of efficiently propelling oneself up the mountain. I have mastered the herringbone technique and even familiarized myself with the secret stashes of communal moonshine on the mountain. Above all, I have learned how to dance down a snow-covered hill: freeing the heel, getting low, and letting it flow.