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Vermont’s Wood Products Industry Gets a Boost

first_imgThe Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) and the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association (VWMA) teamed up to produce this comprehensive, user-friendly guide for architects, builders and institutional purchasers throughout New England.The Resource Manual gleams with sleek photos of everything from lustrous pine conference tables to graceful maple staircases and contains detailed information for well over 50 Vermont wood products manufacturers. The Resource Manual highlights Vermont wood products manufacturers that sell or are capable of selling to institutional or large volume buyers and has been mailed to over 700 architects, builders, and institutional purchasers throughout New England. It’s also intended to help building professionals source FSC certified products for the growing number of LEED® building projects underway in the region.For Mike Rainville, President of the Board of the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association, This is an opportunity to make builders and designers aware of the breadth of product and skills that exist within the state. The industry is made up of a lot of separate, independent businesses and the Resource Manual helps to show there is something significant here, even if it is tucked away in all corners of the state. In addition, the Resource Manual is a potential foot in the door for wood products producers who may not have supplied institutional purchasers and green builders to date.Rainville hopes the new Resource Manual will lead to other large purchase orders, like the one Lyndon Furniture in Lyndonville secured back in July. Upon learning about the chance to bid on the American Cancer Society’s new Manhattan headquarters, a staff member packed his displays and headed for the Big Apple. Three weeks later, Lyndon Furniture sealed a deal valued at $200,000 to furnish all 60 rooms in the building including the five floor Hope Lodge for cancer patients. The American Cancer Society is striving for the “LEED® Platinum” standard under the U.S. Green Building Council’s rating system for their new building.”Vermont’s forests and forest products sector are important for ecological, cultural and economic reasons,” stated Ed Delhagen, the Deputy Director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF). “Vermont’s forests have largely re-grown after heavy deforestation during the 19th century, but they are still threatened by development and climate change. It’s important for Vermont to retain vital, working forests.” The forest products sector has experienced ups and downs and its fate impacts many communities. According to a report released by the VSJF in 2005, 15 Vermont communities are dependent on forest products businesses.It was in this context that Ed Delhagen, working with the Office of Senator Leahy, created the Cornerstone Project in 2000. Cornerstone worked to harness the purchasing power of Vermont’s major institutions like the University of Vermont, Middlebury College, the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services to buy Vermont-made forest products. The Resource Manual is the culmination of the first round of work of the Cornerstone Project and provides users with quick references for their furniture, architectural millwork, windows/doors, plywood/panels, and lumber needs.According to the federal General Accounting Office, every dollar spent on locally milled timber creates approximately $3.50 of value to local communities. And every $97,000 spent on Vermont wood products creates one full time manufacturing job in the state. According to Delhagen, one of Middlebury Colleges recent projects pumped $3.5 million back into the local economy for the wood products industry alone.The market for green building products and services now exceeds $7 billion per year nationally, offering unprecedented prospects for small, green certified wood producers to flourish. “By acting now, Vermont is capitalizing on the opportunity to become a key supplier of sustainable wood products, all while boosting our economy, preserving our environment and adding jobs in our rural communities,” said Delhagen.Delhagen predicts that FSC certified wood will command a greater share of the wood products market. He points to the fact that there are now more than 24,000 U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® accredited professionals who specialize in green building, and more than 3,000 buildings on their way toward green certification, including the New York’s residential tower known as The Solaire, Goldman Sachs’ new headquarters, and Battery Park billed as the City’s first green neighborhood. The Resource Manual identifies companies that make products using wood certified under the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).The manual itself was printed locally on FSC certified paper at Villanti & Sons Printers, Inc. (Williston). Delhagen says of the Manual, “With the rapidly rising interest in green building and buying local, were helping Vermont wood manufacturers to access new markets, improve their bottom line and add jobs.”The Resource Manual is also available in PDF format at www.vermontwood.com(link is external) or www.vsjf.org(link is external). A jpeg image of the Manual is available by contacting [email protected](link sends e-mail)last_img read more

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Runaway athletes

first_imgAthletes run during the Men’s Marathon athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 21, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNISUganda’s top athletes; Kipsiro, Acon, reveal why they never vanished Kampala, Uganda | RONALD MUSOKE | How do you keep a young, ambitious, and poor athlete at an international event in a rich country that promises hope of a better life from vanishing? Ugandan officials in charge of athletes confront this dilemma often and are expected to devise ways around it.A common tactic is to withdraw and keep the athletes’ passports as soon as they are presented to the competition area to have them verified. Then they mount very tight guard duty around the athletes at all times.But, as the escape from camp of six of the 69 athletes that represented Uganda at the recent Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia confirmed, the holding net sometimes either breaks or is punctured. The athletes vanished – three of them without their passports.Months before the athletes set off for Australia, the president of the Uganda Olympic Committee; William Blick, in January issued some threats.“We are not going to tolerate such incidents where athletes disappear when they go for international events,” Blick told Xinhua, a Chinese news agency, “We shall act tough and start stopping associations whose athletes vanish from taking teams for international events.”He also spoke about a code of conduct that athletes would have to sign. Federations also said they are coming up with stringent sanctions to punish officials who might be conniving to help athletes disappear. But it was all bark and no bite and failed to deter the vanishing athletes. Weeks after going through the nightmare of losing the athletes, Beatrice Ayikoru, who led Uganda’s team to the Gold Coast Games, still attempts to put a brave face on it.“No Ugandan athlete has vanished yet,”she told The Independent on April 26, “Their visas are still valid until May 15.”Ayikoru is right, technically speaking. But for many observers, including Nicholas Muramagi, the General Secretary of the Uganda National Council of Sports (NCS), it is obvious the athletes are not returning home soon.Muramagi is perturbed because he thinks the 69 sports men and women that were flagged off last month to compete in the XXI Commonwealth Games got what many athletes who vanish always claim to lack – money. Muramagi says this contingent was probably the best facilitated in Uganda’s recent history. They each got a relatively hefty upkeep of Shs7 million.Muramagi blames the disappearance of the athletes on laxity of one technical official who dropped his guard. He failed to retain the passports of three athletes. But what about the other three athletes who ran off with their passports? Muramagi appears to have no answer.“That is now beyond the control of those officials,” he says, “All this is brought about by a lack of career guidance.”Share on: WhatsApp Pages: 1 2 3 4 5last_img read more

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