The Vermont Chamber of Commerce will hold a press conference in Room 10 at the State House on Monday, December 15 at 10:30 AM to release the Top Five Economic Development Initiatives for 2004.Paving the way to job creation and retention, the initiatives focus on: permit reform, competitive business climate, tax policy to ensure business investment, energy costs and taxes, and travel and tourism.Recognizing that the legislative climate is ripe for compromise, Vermont Chamber Board Chair Kevin O’Donnell of The Old Tavern at Grafton and Vermont Chamber Government Affairs Committee Chair Jim Pratt of Cabot Cooperative Creamery will confirm the need for the Chamber initiatives, based on experience and business member feedback.The new President of the Vermont Chamber, Duane Marsh, will be available, as well as Vermont Chamber Board Members, Government Affairs Committee members, and senior Chamber staff.
Photo courtesy Virginia Department of Game and Inland FisheriesBy Jessica PorterGreat Smoky Mountains National Park and Shenandoah National Park are two of the most densely bear-populated sections of the trail. Yet very few bear-related incidents occur in these popular parks each year. “We’ve had no human bear conflicts in 30 years,” says Karen Beck-Herzog, public affairs officer and lands coordinator for Shenandoah National Park.But there was one fatal encounter that occurred in the Smokies in 2004. Young bears that are recently away from their mothers’ care are more prone to act predatory, especially in the spring when food can be challenging to find, which was the case in this situation, says Dana Soehn, management assistant of public affairs for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Situations like these are very rare: 9 million people visit the Smokies every year.Though black bears in the Southeast don’t fully hibernate and are active all year, hikers most often report bear encounters in the spring and the fall, says Laurie Potteiger, information services manager of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. In the spring, black bears are just waking up from winter and looking for food. Much of their food is not available yet, so they are very active foraging. In the fall, they are preparing for the winter and on the hunt for acorns, making sightings common.Improper food storage is one of the most common ways to wind up with an unwanted bear encounter. Hang food from a tree limb approximately 10 feet high and 6 feet from the tree. “If the bag is hung too low, you completely defeat the purpose of it,” says Potteiger. She advises that all food and scented items, including toiletries, should go in the bag.The parks use aversive conditioning—including noisemakers, firecrackers, and pellet guns— to discourage troublesome bears from becoming habituated to humans. “We want to keep our bears wild; we don’t want them to feel comfortable approaching people,” says Soehn.In the Smokies, there are typically about 20 bears per year not deterred by these methods, says biologist Bill Stiver. The park will then capture the bear and remove a tooth to tag it and document its health and age, hoping the process is so unpleasant that it will work as a greater deterrent. If the bear returns after being released, it’s captured again and moved to a more isolated location.If a bear gets too close…Make noise and spread your arms to look as big as possible.Back up slowly to create space between you and the bear.Don’t look it in the eye. In the extremely rare case that the bear acts aggressively, stand your ground and do not run.If it attacks, fight back using any weapon (like trekking poles or rocks) that you can find.
Sunshine Coast Daily 16 September 2014A RESPECTED pediatrician and vice-president of the leading advocacy body for prevention of child abuse and neglect says leaving babies in long-day care can be a form of child abuse.Dr Sue Packer, Canberra’s 2013 Citizen of the Year, also believes lack of communication between parents and their children when young could be a contributing factor to Australia’s alarming rate of depression and suicide in youths.“There is a looming risk for children brought up in an untested environment (long-day care),” she said.“They are a social experiment now. We will see how much alternative care they than cope with without compromising development.”Dr Packer was a contributor to pamphlets on display at Nambour General Hospital last week titled Alternatives to Smacking Children.While Dr Packer does not support smacking a child, even a controlled smack, she said what was more damaging was the lack of attention children got.“More than anything that is changing in Australia is the connected time parents spend with their children,” she said. “It is plummeting.“Which is more damaging, the occasional smack or level of attention? I would say the level of attention.”Dr Packer questioned why parents were having children when they did not want them and enjoy them.Her sharpest criticism was levelled at parents who put their children in long-day care when they were less than a year old.“Babies in care from six weeks of age we are learning – and there is amazing research – how this affects the development of the right side of the brain,” she said.Dr Packer referred to the work of Professor Allan Shore, a leading neuroscientist at the University of California, who has done research into how parent-child interaction plays a key role in shaping the right side of infants’ brains.Dr Packer said a lack of parent-child interaction was more harmful than the occasional slap on the wrist with a hand.http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/long-day-care-formofabuse/2388138/?ref=hsChildcare worker admits ‘daycare can be abuse’Sunshine Coast Daily 17 September 2014A CHILD care industry insider says she supports the notion that long day care can be a form of child abuse.And the Sunshine Coast worker, who asked to remain anonymous, believed many others in the industry, who witnessed the trauma some children go through when left for long days, felt the same.“Some kids are dropped off at 6.30am and don’t get picked up until after 5pm,” she said.“You see these kids and you go ‘you poor little things’, particularly when all the other parents are picking their kids up.“They are always at the door waiting, looking. It is really sad.http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/day-care-can-be-abuse/2389726/?ref=hs