Tony Winner Kelli O’Hara on Why Her Broadway Turn in Kiss Me, Kate Will Be Good for Her Soul

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on June 30, 2019 Front Row Watch’s Front Row segment on O’Hara! Kelli O’Hara on Front Row with Paul Wontorek (Photo by Caitlin McNaney) Kelli O’Hara & Will Chase at the 2016 benefit concert of Kiss Me, Kate (Photo by Emilio Madrid-Kuser) Since her Tony triumph in King and I, O’Hara has been receiving acclaim for TV work—playing the mother of a suicide victim on the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why as well as an Emmy-nominated turn on the boundary-breaking web series The Accidental Wolf. After the darkness of her recent work, she is looking forward to living in the joy of Kiss Me, Kate, starting February 14 at Studio 54.“The idea of going to do a musical comedy for a while is actually not just a career move,” she explains. “But it’s going to be an emotional move that is good for my soul.” Star Files  Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 7:15Loaded: 0%0:00Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently behind liveLIVERemaining Time -7:15 1xPlayback RateChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. View Comments Fans can catch O’Hara in director Bartlett Sher’s The King and I, filmed live at the London Palladium last summer, when it hits movie theaters on November 29 and December 4. O’Hara herself will not be attending: “Heck no! I tend not to do that unless I go home and go to bed for the rest of the day! But I’m proud that we recorded it because I think it was beautiful. The theater kind of looked like the grandness of the sets. It all fit together so beautifully.”O’Hara reunited in London with Broadway co-stars Ken Watanabe as the King and Ruthie Ann Miles as Lady Thiang. Miles kept her commitment to the production months after surviving the auto accident that killed her four-year-old daughter and unborn child. “I think [King and I director] Bart Sher kind of forced her, in a way, to just get up and come” O’Hara says. “And I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but she showed up and she was gorgeous.”center_img Kelli O’Hara Kelli O’Hara (Photo by Caitlin McNaney) Over two decades on the stage, Kelli O’Hara has built a formidable career, and is one of the leading musical stars of her generation. And after six (!) nominations, the legit powerhouse finally landed a Tony Award in 2015 for playing Anna in The King and I, a performance she just reprised in London’s West End. For her first time back on the boards since that triumph, O’Hara has a chosen a lusty musical comedy role: Lilli Vanessi in Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate.“She’s larger than life,” O’Hara says. “But I want to try to put every bit of humanity that I can into her.” Vanessi is a vain actress forced to hit the road in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, playing Kate opposite the Petruchio of her warring ex-husband, Fred Graham (Tony nominee Will Chase). “I want to really get inside the love story,” she explains. “And why they’re both still hanging on because obviously they are.” Related Shows Kiss Me, Kate  Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 4:59Loaded: 0.00%0:00Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently behind liveLIVERemaining Time -4:59 1xPlayback RateChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedEnglish Audio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. Bonus: Watch O’Hara sing “So In Love” from Kiss Me, Kate The 1948 classic, the first to ever named Best Musical by the Tony Awards, was last seen on Broadway in an acclaimed 1999 revival starring Brian Stokes Mitchell and the late Marin Mazzie, which O’Hara attended when she was an aspiring performer. “I can see her in my mind,” she remembers, calling the Tony-nominated performance “brilliant.” “She was just so spunky and energetic.” Mazzie’s final Broadway performance was as Anna in The King and I, replacing O’Hara at the end of her run in 2016 during her battle with ovarian cancer. “She’s such a hero of mine,” O’Hara says. “The idea of doing [this show] helps me honor her in some way.”Inspired by husband-and-wife stars Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, Kiss Me, Kate gleams great comedy from the tumultuous relationship between Lilli Vanessi and Fred Graham. But some of the famous scenes, like when Fred puts Lilli over his knee and spanks her, require review in 2019. No wonder director Scott Ellis has enlisted Tony-nominated writer Amanda Green to join the creative team and adjust the original book by legendary librettists Sam and Bella Spewack. “We just want it to be the best version that we can do,” O’Hara says. “We’re going to try to make it fresh, we have great ideas. It’s gonna be exciting.”last_img read more

Jocelyn Bioh’s Romantic Comedy Nollywood Dreams Sets Full Casting for Off-Broadway Run

first_imgSandra Okuboyejo(Photo provided by DKC/O&M) MCC Theater has announced complete casting for Nollywood Dreams, a new play by Jocelyn Bioh set to make its world premiere next month. The previously announced production, directed by Saheem Ali, will begin previews on March 19 and open on April 13 at the Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space.The cast will include Sandra Okuboyejo (Hamilton) as Ayamma, Charlie Hudson III (A Raisin in the Sun) as Gbenga, Ade Otukoya (Shades of Blue) as Wale Owusu, Emana Rachelle (Insecure) as Fayola, Zenzi Williams (Bioh’s School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play) as Adenikeh and Lortel nominee Nana Mensah (Man From Nebraska) as Dede.Set in 1990s Lagos, Nigeria, where the Nollywood film industry is exploding and taking the world by storm, the play centers on Ayamma (Okuboyejo), who has dreams of stardom while working at her parents’ travel agency alongside her lovable and celebrity-obsessed sister Dede (Mensah). When Ayamma lands an audition for a new film by Nigeria’s hottest director Gbenga Ezie (Hudson), she comes head to head with Gbenga’s former leading lady, Fayola (Rachelle). Tensions flare just as sparks start flying between Ayamma, the aspiring ingénue, and Wale (Otukoya), Nollywood’s biggest heartthrob.Nollywood Dreams will feature scenic design by Arnulfo Maldonado, costume design by Dede Ayite, lighting design by David Weiner, sound design by Palmer Hefferan and projection design by Alex Basco Koch.The production is scheduled to play a limited run through April 26. Nollywood Dreams Related Shows View Commentslast_img read more

Santino Fontana on His Quarantine Routine and Critical Review of Goodnight Moon

first_img View Comments Last summer, Santino Fontana was fresh off of his first Tony win for playing Michael Dorsey and Dorothy Michaels in Broadway’s Tootsie. Though the world looks completely different one year later (“It’s been six months since I’ve washed my body,” he joked.), Fontana is still finding ways to keep in touch with his castmates. “We do Zoom cocktails often,” he said. Fontana says his quarantine days look a lot like most. “I look at the news and try not to throw up or cry,” he told Beth Stevens on #LiveatFive. “Then I have breakfast, call some friends, go for a walk, donate money to political causes I support, check in with someone different every day, go for a drive.” Santino Fontana (Photo compilation by Ryan Casey for Though Broadway and theaters remain shut down due to the pandemic, Fontana is still performing—mostly for benefits. This is nothing new for the actor, who has been performing since he was a child. “I was one of those kids that like forced my friends to be in plays in the garage,” he said. He went on to share some of his notable roles growing up: Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, Jesus in Godspell, J. Pierrepont Finch in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.As previously reported, he is set for The Pack–Short Comedies by Eugene Pack on August 16 to benefit Guild Hall in East Hampton. Fontana will also play a priest in a star-studded reading of Judgment Day on August 22 to benefit both Barrington Stage Company and The Actors Fund. He also appeared in Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen’s powerful COVID-19-centric play The Line, which is available to stream on YouTube through September 1. “I feel like plastic surgery is going to go through the roof because everyone is staring at themselves all day now,” he joked about the proliferation of Zoom performances and meetings. “The Line was the first production I’ve done [in quarantine] that felt like a play—but in close-up. It wasn’t edited. We were all there, doing it all live. It ended up feeling great being a part of something like that. Any type of connection with other actors has been a godsend. If I can help raise money for places, then I want to do that.”In addition to keeping his onscreen skills sharp for great causes, Fontana has been spending a lot of time with his 11-month-old daughter Grace. While he is clearly enjoying fatherhood, he does have some criticism for one ubiquitous children’s book: “I have some dramaturgical issues with Goodnight Moon. ‘Goodnight nobody.’ That’s one of the pages. ‘Goodnight nobody!’ What?”  No word on changes Fontana would like to make to the beloved bedtime story or his thoughts on the next page: “Goodnight mush.”Watch the full #LiveatFive: Home Edition episode below!Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 34:23Loaded: 0.49%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -34:23 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedEnglishAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. Santino Fontana & Lilli Cooper in “Tootsie” (Photo: Matthew Murphy) Star Files Santino Fontanalast_img read more

Chroma certified a “green partner” by Sony

first_img“Sony is looking at the environmental impact of the product we’re sending out the door,” said Chroma’s Health, Safety and Environmental Manager Chip Siler. “They want to know what chemicals, if any, are contained in these products and whether or not they are hazardous. They want to know how these chemicals are controlled through their lifetime – from the production of the part all the way through its disposal at the end of its life. European laws are much more strict about this than the U.S., and we market to Europe. But we’re doing this – and Sony’s doing this – because we’d like to make the world a better place.” Sony is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, communications, and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets.Learn more about Chroma Technology at is external) and the Sony Green Partner Environmental Quality Approval Program at is external). Continuing in its mission of manufacturing while protecting the global environment, it was announced on March 15 that Chroma Technology Corp. of Bellows Falls, Vermont has been certified a Green Partner by Sony Corporation. “When I looked over the requirements, we were probably doing 90 percent of what they wanted or more,” Siler said. “But when I had to find test data and lab reports that confirmed and certified what we’re putting in our filters, I found it scattered. Sony allowed me to organize what we do in a manner that anybody can follow.” Being green is nothing new for Chroma. It made certain that its manufacturing processes and support equipment were consistent with its strong conservation principles when it built a new, energy-efficient plant in 2003. And most of the procedures Sony requires from its Green Partners are already in effect. Bellows Falls. 3.28.2012. Chroma manufactures precision optical microscope filters and coatings for biomedical research laboratories all over the world. An employee-owned company, it has satellite sales offices in Germany and China. It employs 99 people and in 2011 saw sales of $24 million. For the past three years, it has been on Inc. Magazine’s 500/5000 list of the country’s fastest-growing private companies as well as on WorldBlu’s global “List of Most Democratic Workplaces.”last_img read more

White House recognizes NRG Systems CEO Jan Blittersdorf as Champion of Change for renewable energy

first_imgâ Jan has done so much for women in our industry,’said Kristen Graf, executive director of WoWE. â Not only is she a visible role model of leadership and innovation, but she is committed to encouraging the development of a diverse workforce. She truly is an inspiration for all of us hoping to make a difference in the renewable energy field.â â Itâ s certainly a great honor to be recognized as a White House Champion of Change,’said Blittersdorf. â I am humbled to share the company of other talented and dedicated leaders who are advancing a renewable energy future. Despite the headwinds pushing against our progress, I will continue to work to bring renewable energy into the fore as a mainstay source of power.â The White House Champion for Change initiative seeks to recognize ordinary Americans doing extraordinary work in their communities and industries to further education and innovation in our nation. Each week, different individuals are recognized for their efforts. For more information, visit is external). â Jan is a change agentâ ¦with her at the helm, AWWI carves out new ground to find solutions to wind’s impact on wildlife, and brings industry and conservation partners together to think differently, creatively and innovatively toward a clean energy future,” said Abby Arnold, executive director of the American Wind Wildlife Institute. Blittersdorf was also credited for her work chairing the American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI) and her service on the board of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), where she serves as chair of the public affairs committee. Jan Blittersdorf, President and CEO of NRG Systems, was recognized as a Champion of Change for renewable energy at the White House today. Blittersdorf learned late last week that she had been one of ten persons selected nationally. During this afternoonâ s award ceremony at the White House, Blittersdorf spoke on a panel with other renewable energy leaders who were also recognized as Champions of Change. Blittersdorf was a founding member of AWWI, an organization devoted to facilitating timely and responsible development of wind energy, while protecting wildlife and its habitat. Under her leadership as chair, AWWI has played a critical role in submitting joint comments from conservation groups and the wind industry for the recently released land-based wind energy guidelines proposed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. â Supporting homegrown sources of renewable energy is a key part of the Presidentâ s all-of-the-above energy strategy to create jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and strengthen national security,’said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. â The leaders weâ ve selected as Champions of Change are helping to grow our economy, reduce pollution in our communities, and position America as a world leader in clean energy.â Blittersdorf was honored not only for her work leading NRG Systems, a manufacturer of measurement systems for the renewable energy industry, but also for her work supporting the advancement of women in the wind industry. She was nominated for the award by Kristen Graf, executive director of the Women of Wind Energy (WoWE), an organization dedicated to the education and professional advancement of women to support a robust renewable energy economy. Blittersdorf has been active in WoWE since its inception. Blittersdorf became CEO of NRG Systems in 2004 after serving as vice president and CFO. In 2010, she became sole owner of NRG Systems, one of only a few independent, women-owned companies in the wind energy industry. About NRG SystemsNRG Systems’measurement equipment can be found in 150 countries on every continent, serving electric utilities, renewable energy developers, turbine manufacturers, and research institutes. The Hinesburg company, celebrating 30 years in business, has been nationally recognized for its LEED gold-certified manufacturing facilities and its employee best-practices. For more information, visit is external). About Women of Wind EnergyWoWE was founded in 2005 to support the education, professional development, and advancement of women in the wind industry. Since that time, WoWE has grown to an organization with 35 local chapters in the US and Canada and a growing grassroots network of more than 2,000 women and men. The organization is supported through hundreds of volunteer hours and the generous contributions of individual members, the American Wind Energy Association, and a large number of leading wind energy companies. For more information, visit is external). NRG Systems. 4.19.2012.last_img read more

House energy committee faces logjam of choices on programs – and how to fund them

first_imgby Andrew Stein March 5, 2013 Vermont lawmakers have tossed a variety of proposals into a ‘ kitchen sink’ draft bill aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions and improving energy efficiency.Rep. Tony Klein. Photo by Roger CrowleyBy the end of next week, Rep. Tony Klein, D-East Montpelier, who chairs the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee, said H.216 would be whittled down and voted out of his panel.Right now, a hefty 55-page spread is on the committee’ s table, including $17 million in appropriations; an order to adopt biomass pellet standards; a study on renewable heating and cooling methods; and a cost-benefit analysis for expanding the state’ s electric vehicle capabilities, among other items.But there’ s one central ingredient missing from the current draft: A big chunk of revenue.The original version of the bill, introduced by the committee’ s vice chair Rep. Margaret Cheney, D-Norwich, included a half-percent increase in the gross receipts tax on heating fuel, which funds the state’ s low-income weatherization program. According to a report released by the state-organized Thermal Efficiency Task Force, raising the gross receipts tax rate from 0.5 percent to 1 percent on the retail sale of fossil fuels for heating purposes would generate $15.9 million annually ‘ up from $7.97 million.However the tax was struck from the latest draft, and the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association welcomed the change.‘ There is much relief that there will not be an attempt to increase the cost of heating fuel through a tax,’ Matt Cota, director of the association, said on behalf of dozens of fuel dealers.Klein cautioned that the notion is not entirely off the table, as the committee prepares to consider a wide range of revenue options early next week.Gov. Peter Shumlin proposed in his budget a tax on so-called ‘ break-open’ tickets to raise $17 million in revenues for thermal efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. But after the Legislature’ s Joint Fiscal Office ran the numbers, its staff estimated that a 10-percent excise tax on the lottery-like games would only generate $6.5 million in new state revenues.Klein said the tax on break-open tickets would be in play next week. While Klein is not keen on a gross receipts or excise tax on fuel, he said the money needs to come from somewhere, if the state is going to stop pouring dwindling dollars from the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) into homes that can’ t hold heat.‘ I know that it’ s going to be very, very difficult to raise the revenue for these programs in the current state that Vermont’ s budget is in, and with all of the valuable programs that are underfunded and vying for the revenues available,’ he said. ‘ I’ m going to fight hard, but I’ m not real optimistic we’ ll be successful.’The one revenue measure currently in the bill that the fuel dealers association supports is the removal of a gross receipts tax exemption for fuel dealers that sell less than $10,000 worth of heating fuels. According to state figures, the number of dealers, who apply for that exemption totals close to 70.While the source of the proposed $17 million is up in the air, the draft bill mirrors Gov. Peter Shumlin’ s budget proposal for how to spend it, calling for allocating $6 million to thermal efficiency initiatives, $6 million to shore up Vermont’ s Low Income Heating Assistance Program and $5 million for the state’ s Clean Energy Development Fund.The $6 million in proposed annual thermal efficiency funding doesn’ t keep pace with the roughly $267 million paid out over seven years that the Thermal Efficiency Task Force recommended. That is the amount the task force said the state should spend from 2014 to 2020, if it is to meet a statutory goal set five years ago. That Vermont statute, enacted in 2008, set a bar of ‘ substantially’ improving the energy efficiency of 80,000 homes ‘ or one quarter of all the Vermont homes ‘ by 2020.Staunch advocates of the task force’ s recommendations say the investment would more than pay off.Ben Walsh is an energy advocate for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group and a member of the task force. He pointed to the environmental and economic benefits of launching the program as recommended by the task force, which found that every $1 of public investment in such programs would create more than $5 in benefits.‘ We feel like this bill would be a good step in the right direction, but not nearly enough,’ he said. ‘ We’ d still be leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in savings on the table and millions of tons of CO2 going into the atmosphere. The bill does a lot of good things, but it isn’ t nearly what we need to see as a state.’The vice chair of the committee, Cheney, said that the $17 million figure is still in flux. But if she has anything to say about it, the state would allocate more to thermal efficiency and renewable energy projects.‘ That amount does not reflect what the programs actually need,’ she said. DRAFT BILL H 216last_img read more

Americans paid less for gasoline in first quarter 2013

first_imgWith gasoline prices generally down recently as the “winter mix” is sold off in anticipation of the higher cost “summer mix,” consumers in the US saw gasoline prices steam to a record average price in February, but the motor fuel market cooled considerably in March. Contrary to public perception, average first quarter 2013 gas prices averaged below 2012 numbers, GasBuddy reported Wednesday. Meanwhile, Vermont gasoline prices are down for the week, the month and for the year, just as they are on average nationally.In fact, Americans paid about 30cts gal less for gasoline in the most recent Easter Weekend than they paid over the same period in 2012. Gas prices averaged just over $3.64 gal on Good Friday and may dip further in coming days. Consumers paid just over $3.93 gal on Easter Weekend last year. GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan estimates that each penny per gallon translates into about $3.6 million per day in cost differences based on typical demand numbers. Hence, consumers are saving about $108 million each day when current costs are compared to last year.The average first quarter 2013 price, compiled by GasBuddy, was $3.548 gal, compared with a $3.584 gal price level in the first quarter of 2012. As recently as 2009, the first quarter gasoline price averaged under $1.90 gal, so these are still stiff numbers when compared with 21st century historical values. Ten years ago, U.S. gasoline prices averaged under $1.59 gal for the same period.GasBuddy ranked 363 distinct ‘ Metropolitan Statistical Areas’ or MSAs, and found two U.S. markets that actually averaged less than $3 gal during the entire first quarter. Fortunate motorists in Casper and Cheyenne, Wyoming found an average first quarter 2013 price of $2.87 gal and $2.955 gal, respectively, down about 16cts gal from last year. The Rocky Mountain region was the most attractively priced area of the country, thanks in part to relatively cheap North American crude availability for refiners.In all, 300 Metropolitan Statistical Areas saw cheaper first quarter prices for gasoline than in 2012, with two MSAs showing no statistically significant change. More expensive markets in 2013 included locations in Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. The most expensive market in the country was the Honolulu area, but the outright price of $4.157 gal this year was just 3cts gal above the 2012 number.Highest prices were generally witnessed along the New England coastline as well as Florida, California and the Pacific Northwest and the cheapest prices were in the Rockies and Great Plains.Diversity in gasoline pricing approached record levels. GasBuddy estimates that a discriminating shopper could save an average $1.13 per gallon in Washington, DC, for example. Other markets that saw huge differences between best prices and the top of the market included California, where motorists could slash costs between 50cts/gal to as much as $1.00/gal if they fueled based on the cheapest price available.Despite the recent downtrend, GasBuddy is reluctant to say that motorists have seen the peak pricing level for gasoline in 2013. Hot spots which could see local gasoline price spikes include Great Lakes’ states and Northeastern metropolitan areas, for example. Prices could swing dramatically in the heartland thanks to extensive spring maintenance for Midwestern refineries, and the East Coast could be impacted by sagging foreign imports of is external)last_img read more

LCBP releases Vermont/Quebec flood resilience report

first_imgThe Lake Champlain Basin Program has released the report Flood Resilience in the Lake Champlain Basin and Upper Richelieu River. The report presents results of an LCBP flood conference held in 2012 at the request of Vermont Governor Shumlin and Québec’s (former) Premier Charest, following the spring 2011 flooding of Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River Valley. This new report provides a comprehensive review of the 2011 flooding impacts and includes specific recommendations to help inform flood resilience policies and management strategies to reduce the impact of major floods anticipated in the future.The report stresses that identifying, restoring, and protecting existing floodplains, whether they are adjacent to Lake Champlain or its tributaries, are important steps to help lessen flood damage in the future. By ensuring that tributary river flood waters can flow unimpeded into floodplains in the watershed, a lower volume of stormwater, sediments and nutrients will be delivered to Lake Champlain in times of flood. The recommendations also include the establishment of lakeshore protection zones to ensure bank stability, reduce flood damage, and protect water quality and habitat.In addition to hosting technical workshops in Québec and New York, the LCBP hosted a two-day conference in Vermont in 2012 to help inform this report. The document includes a summary of both 2011 flood events, and the impacts to humans, community infrastructure, and the Lake Champlain ecosystem. The report also outlines 15 policy recommendations and identifies critical information data gaps for the three jurisdictions to consider for increasing our resilience to future flood events in the region.Read Flood Resilience in the Lake Champlain Basin and Upper Richelieu River (en Francais).last_img read more

Opinion: Help our students reach higher

first_imgby Rebecca Holcombe and Scott Giles Fifty years ago, on November 8, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Higher Education Act of 1965 into law. This historic act marked our first commitment to universal access to higher education, and represented one of the great achievements of the Civil Rights movement. Reflecting on the momentous occasion, President Johnson proclaimed, “This legislation passed by this Congress will swing open a new door for the young people of America. For them, and for this entire land of ours, it is the most important door that will ever open – the door to education. And this legislation is the key which unlocks it. To thousands of young men and women, this act means the path of knowledge is open to all that have the determination to walk it.”Unfortunately, for too many Vermonters this is a journey still unfulfilled. Our nation, once the international leader in access to higher education, has fallen below the average for developed nations in less than 13 years.Despite having one of the highest levels of high school completion in the country, Vermont’s college-going rates lag behind those of the nation as a whole, and lag the most for boys whose parents did not go to college.Having just returned from the White House “Reach Higher” summit, a gathering of education leaders from across the country, we had an opportunity to discuss strategies and best practices to enable more students to pursue the education and training they need after high school.New data from the Vermont Student Assistance Corp. suggests when parents support and encourage their children to pursue post-secondary education, and when students have had exposure to higher-quality education, including advanced math (algebra II or higher), they are as likely to persevere in college as are students from more affluent backgrounds whose parents also went to college.What can parents do?  Parents can help their children understand that completing a degree or nationally recognized certification opens up valuable opportunities beyond high school. Parents can talk with their children in middle school as they are forming their aspirations and expectations. And most of all, parents can emphasize that their children deserve the kinds of opportunities that come with postsecondary education.  What are we doing? New education policy tools in Act 77 of 2013 and the Education Quality Standards provide the tools and opportunities to better support postsecondary aspirations in our young people. Act 77 gives our children access to college courses while they are in high school, so they can all see themselves as capable and worthy of postsecondary education. Act 77 also provides opportunities for work-based learning and career and technical education, which is where many of our first-generation boys can develop high levels of skill, especially in mathematics, through applied learning.Starting this school year, every seventh grader will have a personalized learning plan, developed by educators in collaboration with the student and parents. The planning process should help students clarify their aspirational goals beyond school, then map out the courses and opportunities to learn and provide the support each child needs to realize those goals.It’s a collective effort. Together we can help keep children on track by strengthening their commitment to pursue higher education. Vermont’s future economic and civic vitality depends on it, because better-educated Vermonters:Earn more, pay more in taxes and save more for retirement;Have better health outcomes and are more likely to have time to invest in their communities;Raise children who are more likely to perform well in school and pursue college themselves; andHave higher employment rates and fewer demands for social services.And on that historic occasion 50 years ago, President Johnson’s closing remarks made a promise we must uphold:“I want you to go back and say to your children and to your grandchildren, and those who come after you and follow you–tell them that we have made a promise to them. Tell them that the truth is here for them to seek. And tell them that we have opened the road and we have pulled the gates down and the way is open, and we expect them to travel it.”Rebecca Holcombe is secretary of the Vermont Agency of Education. Scott Giles is president and CEO of Vermont Student Assistance Corp.last_img read more

Champlain Housing Trust purchases property from UVM

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The Champlain Housing Trust announced today that it has purchased the Ethan Allen Apartments in Essex from the University of Vermont. The property, with 31 apartments in 11 buildings, was sold for $3.9 million. “We are excited to acquire this property, and appreciate UVM’s desire to work with us to eventually create more affordable homeownership opportunity,” said Michael Monte, chief operating and financial officer for Champlain Housing Trust (CHT).The organization will offer existing tenants an opportunity to sign a new lease in June. Eventually, 19 of the 31 apartments will slowly be converted to affordable homeownership through CHT’s shared equity program.The remaining twelve apartments will remain for rent, and will provide future flexibility for CHT to address affordable housing needs for people in need.”Champlain Housing Trust have been ideal partners to work with on the sale of Ethan Allen Apartments,” said Annie Stevens, Vice Provost for Student Affairs at UVM. “We know that Champlain Housing Trust will be excellent stewards of this property and that they are committed to providing a smooth transition for the student residents and their families as well as assistance for their ongoing affordable housing needs.”CHT is receiving financing for the purchase through Community Housing Capital, a national Community Development Financial Institution which serves as a direct lender to members of the NeighborWorks America network, like CHT. Most recently, Community Housing Capital financed a similar rental-to-homeownership initiative of CHT’s in Burlington’s south end. The university is also financing a portion of the sale.The Champlain Housing Trust, founded in 1984, is the largest community land trust in the country. Throughout Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties, CHT manages 2,200 apartments, stewards 565 owner-occupied homes in its signature shared-equity program, offers homebuyer education and financial fitness counseling, provides services to five housing cooperatives, and offers affordable energy efficiency and rehab loans. For more information, visit is external).last_img read more