Public hearings on Vermont permit process in October

first_imgDeb Markowitz, Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and Ron Shems, Chair of the Vermont Natural Resources Board, are holding public hearings in October on improving Vermont’s environmental and land use permitting processes. The purpose of the hearings is to hear from Vermonters about what works and what needs improvement in the ANR, Act 250 and municipal permitting and appeals processes. ‘It is important to hear from the public,’ said ANR Secretary Markowitz, ‘so we can address real issues people are experiencing in our environmental permitting process.’ Public input is sought on the following questions:How can each permit process best assure predictability and timeliness? How can each permit process best assure transparency and citizen input? What environmental permit processes can be consolidated? How can we avoid duplication in the permit process? How can we lower expenses in the permit process? Should the process be the same for a routine environmental permit (e.g., wastewater) as for a more complex permit (e.g., an Act 250 permit for a large project)? Are there other procedural issues in the environmental protection process to address?‘Our goal is to improve the permitting process where it needs fixing, without reducing environmental protection,’ said NRB Chair Ron Shems. Markowitz and Shems will be making recommendations to the Legislature in January 2012.The public hearings are being held around the state, as follows:Comments are also being accepted in writing and by email. For details, see: http://www.nrb.state.vt.us/news.htm(link is external) or contact Melanie Kehne at the Natural Resources Board at 802-828-3305.##last_img read more

Is playoff speculation the Lakers’ latest distraction?

first_img Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions “While we keep talking about the playoffs, we need to worry about the present time of how we can win these games,” forward Brandon Ingram said. “How we can just be locked in on the one day and the one game and the one practice that we have before a game and our preparation.”That narrowing of scope might reflect how the Lakers view their winnowing odds to actually make it to the postseason. Analytics website FiveThirtyEight posts it at 16 percent. ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (3.1 percent) and Basketball Reference’s Playoff Probabilities (2.9 percent) are less kind. Although those projections might be skewed more negatively by the 18 games that James has missed so far, even in context they paint a bleak picture of the Lakers’ postseason odds.Focusing on the day-to-day can keep players from being bogged down by the magnitude of their challenge. Still, forward Kyle Kuzma said there’s some merit to looking ahead as well.“A little bit of both,” he said. “You don’t want to think about it because you can be really stuck into it, but at the same time thinking about it could be a motivation just because we have a lot of competitive guys in this locker room and most of us like adversity and this is a challenge.”But seeing certain games as must-wins, as do-or-die moments, does it make the Lakers play tighter? It could have been interpreted that way in Memphis: Between the 7:07 and 1:35 marks in the fourth quarter, Ingram was the only Laker to score a basket (James made four free throws, but also missed two attempts from the field during the span). Even though the Lakers agreed that they expended more effort and played more together, they couldn’t win – which is a troubling thought.It remains to be seen how much the Lakers believe in their puncher’s chance. Recently acquired Reggie Bullock, for one, said he was still hoping they could escape the FedEx Forum with a W when he made a jumpshot with 10 seconds left, cutting the gap to three points. He said he’ll carry that bearing with him as long as the Lakers still have a chance to make it past the regular season – no matter what the media says.“Yeah, I never really been into reports, what people are talking about and things like that,” Bullock said. “I just focus on my household, the people I’m fighting with. Those aren’t the people fighting here with my brothers.”LAKERS STILL HOLDING OPEN A ROSTER SPOTIt’s coming up against the March 1 deadline for buyout candidates to still be able to compete for a playoff team, and yet the Lakers have not made a play to use their 15th roster spot.The spot was created when the team traded Michael Beasley and Ivica Zubac for Mike Muscala, and General Manager Rob Pelinka later told reporters that the Lakers could be judicious in using it to sign a helpful piece. But with several candidates already off the market (Markieff Morris, Enes Kanter) and others – most notably Carmelo Anthony – still waiting to be picked up, it’s getting to be a late hour for the Lakers to use it.It’s possible that more players will become available by week’s end as lottery-bound teams buy out end-of-bench players.Walton has no control over who the Lakers will sign, but he said Monday he’s talked to Pelinka and team president Magic Johnson about the opening and that they’re actively looking into how to fill it.JAMES ENTERS TOP 10 IN ASSISTSWith 11 assists against the Grizzlies, James entered the top 10 in NBA career assists – and earned a distinction wholly his own.Related Articles Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed center_img It might be the nature of losing. It might be the nature of LeBron James. But after every recent Lakers loss, his words ring the loudest.On Monday night as he tried to make sense of a 110-105 defeat in Memphis, James was asked if the noise around the team’s push for a playoff berth has become a distraction. His soundbite carried.“At this point, if you are still allowing distractions to affect how the way you play then this is the wrong franchise to be a part of,” he said. “And you should just come and be like, ‘Listen, I can’t do this.’ Like, seriously, if you’re distracted by playoff pushes after all the stuff that’s been talked about this year, nah. Just come and do your job.”It was meant as a dismissal – a statement that the Lakers (29-31) have been through more challenging obstacles this year than the media speculating that they could miss the postseason. But the question might be a valid one. James now has 8,535 career assists, averaging 7.8 during his 16 NBA seasons, passing Andre Miller on the all-time list for 10th. He’s more than 400 behind ninth place, former Laker Gary Payton. After that, he’d be chasing his friend, Rockets point guard Chris Paul, who is eighth but still trying to vault up the list himself.James is now the only player to rank in the top 10 in both NBA career scoring and assists. The No. 5 scorer of all time (32,162), James is within striking distance of Michael Jordan (32,292) before the end of the season. The closest top-10 assist player to the top 10 scoring list is Oscar Robertson, who is sixth all-time in assists (9,887) and 12th in scoring (26,710). AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersCoach Luke Walton seemed to take it a little more seriously, saying he could see how the team was under the gun to find some quick cohesion with just 22 games left.“Pressure – could be,” he said. “That’s a possibility.”For the last month, no team has been under a greater microscope – which is pretty much a given for both the biggest franchise in the NBA and the league’s biggest star. And in two road games in which the Lakers had a chance to get back over .500 against teams with losing records, they flinched, dropping them to 4-10 in their last 14 games.Just as the Lakers headed into the All-Star break limping after a 2-4 trip, Walton spoke of stirring his team to do “something special” with a late, improbable run that would vault them back into the top eight teams in the Western Conference. The idea of the run, in one school of thought, would help inspire them.The disheartening road swing through Memphis and New Orleans has only made such a run more improbable. Three games behind the eighth-place San Antonio Spurs (33-29), with both Sacramento (31-29) and Minnesota (29-31) in the running, the Lakers haven’t drummed up confidence that they’re the special squad in that pack. Several players said they’re not thinking about making a charge back in the standings as much as they are the only next game. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more