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Lisman: A pathway to economic renewal and shared prosperity

first_imgVermont can do better.  Vermonters deserve better.  Vermont will do better if we coalesce around the need for economic renewal and share prosperity.Bruce Lisman is a resident of Shelburne and is the founder of Campaign for Vermont. Broadening the definition of manufacturing, provide a broader array of support for those that make things here, and become the state of “efficient manufacturing.” by Bruce Lisman I believe that economic growth and shared prosperity is the best way forward for Vermonters. A dynamic and broad-based economy offers a cure for issues of poverty, hunger, and upward mobility. It can provide the resources to protect and enhance our environment and improve our infrastructure. Vermont can be an economic powerhouse of its own definition.Vermont’s economy is stagnant. The demographics of our state are broadly known and are negative. Those demographics have already impacted our public education system, our state college system, our work force, and the half of our counties experiencing population declines. It isn’t pretty and can get worse unless we do things differently.History doesn’t have to be a guide to the future and in America, solutions often come on the heels of creativity and innovation. That isn’t usually a government’s domain, but it sure can work hard to create conditions that encourage innovation and growth.Campaign for Vermont issued a strategic plan that offers essential building blocks for a renewed economy. It’s comprehensive and takes the long view and requires hard work and human-sized solutions for human-sized problems. This would include:    A competent, transparent, and accountable government—one that is in a continual state of improvement. Re-defining the value of our extensive higher education industry and focus on retaining the 43,000 students who annually attend our colleges. Training, improving, and enlarging our workforce – it’s the true lynchpin of shared prosperity. Reimagining the importance of our considerable number of small businesses, and create a better understanding of who they are and how we can truly help them. Bringing coherence, efficiency, simplicity, and funding for economic development agencies. The inclusion of affordability as an essential theme in State governance.    With a “platform for growth” in place, there is significantly greater leverage for economic renewal strategies, which would include:. Building a broad-based and lasting coalition in support of a more dynamic economy and shared prosperity Building a calling effort on our largest employers that will illuminate their needs and wants while building strong relationships. Better connecting the links between ideas to patents and patents to revenue and revenue to jobs. Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and eliminating the benefit cliffs, and thereby providing true economic resources for working class Vermonters – President’s Obama and Reagan have endorsed this program’s value. Reform of our education system—of quality, governance, and funding.  A strategic plan that highlights goals and steps to reach those goals with an accompanying strategic budget that would define the cost of achieving those goals. Budget growth that more closely relates to available resources, making policy decisions more predictable.  last_img read more

St Joseph’s Orphanage case concludes with no charges as statute of limitations expires

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Attorney General TJ Donovan, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George, Vermont State Police, and the Burlington Police Department today announced the conclusion of their criminal investigation into the former St Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington. No charges will be brought involving the Orphanage, which closed in 1974.Due to the statutes of limitation, which limit the timeframe during which criminal charges can be brought by the state, only the crime of murder would have been prosecutable due to the passage of time since the events of the allegations. Sufficient evidence to support a murder charge was not found.This concludes an investigation that began in September of 2018. A nearly 300-page report describing the allegations, investigation, and the St. Joseph’s Orphanage Restorative Inquiry was released today.In August 2018, a lengthy article in BuzzFeed News(link is external) described abuse and murder allegations by former residents of the St. Joseph’s Orphanage. The Orphanage was in operation from 1854 to 1974 on North Avenue in Burlington, Vermont. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, the Sisters of Providence, and Vermont Catholic Charities all played some role in its operation.In response to the article, investigative partners, including the Attorney General’s Office, Office of the Mayor of Burlington, Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office, Vermont State Police, and the Burlington Police Department, formed the St. Joseph Orphanage Task Force.Over the past two years, the Task Force interviewed individuals who came forward with allegations related to the Orphanage. As part of its investigation, the Task Force also gathered and reviewed documents and other potentially corroborating materials and visited the site of the Orphanage to determine whether there was evidence of crimes.In addition to the investigation, the Task Force began a restorative inquiry to further the healing of the former residents of the Orphanage and the greater community. This process, led by an independent restorative justice professional, remains ongoing. More information about the St. Joseph’s Orphanage Restorative Inquiry can be found here(link is external).“I want to thank the Task Force for their work to investigate these horrific allegations,” said Attorney General Donovan. “To the victims I want to say, the legal system designed to protect the most vulnerable failed you and did not protect you when you were children living at the St. Joseph’s Orphanage, and for this I am sorry.”“The former residents of St. Joseph’s have shown immense bravery as they have shared their stories and engaged in the painful work of accountability,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “This work allows our community to memorialize, honor, and learn. I am grateful to them, and to all who have worked on this criminal investigation and restorative process to deliver a measure of overdue justice and resolution.”“This investigation and subsequent process highlights yet another way that our systems detrimentally failed the very people they were designed to protect. Every survivor who chose to come forward, those who chose not to, and those who did not have the chance to, deserved better. They deserved to be safe, and when they were not, they deserved to be heard. I hope this process allows some sense of restoration and peace for every one of them,” said Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George.“We commend and honor the survivors,” said Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, director of the Vermont State Police. “The bravery you have shown not only by coming forward but that you have displayed throughout your lives is truly inspiring. We thank you for sharing your truth, and we hope that by doing so, you have helped prevent something like this from ever happening again.”“Police exist to keep people safe, and we can never turn away from calls for help, nor from our neighbors telling us about their pain. Part of our role is assuming some of that burden on behalf of the people we’re sworn to protect. For me, one of the most salient moments in the many interviews we conducted came when a survivor stated ‘it felt good to be able to tell people what really happened.’ I am awed by the survivors, and the strength they have shown in coming forward, in grappling with old pain that often haunts them still. We owe them our belief, even when we cannot give them resolution through the law or the courts. We owe them the dignity of their truth, even when that truth can’t result in the outcomes we normally seek. Perhaps most importantly, we owe them a promise that we will do all we can to prevent anyone being harmed in the ways they describe again,” said Jon Murad, Acting Chief of the Burlington Police Department.The Task Force wishes to acknowledge the former residents who suffered abuse at the Orphanage, both those who have shared their memories with the Task Force and those who have chosen not to: We hear you. We see you. We support you.A copy of the St. Joseph’s Orphanage Task Force’s Report can be found on the Attorney General’s Office’s website in three parts: Part 1(link is external), Part 2(link is external), and Part 3(link is external). The report’s appendices are available in six parts: Appendices Part 1(link is external), Appendices Part 2(link is external), Appendices Part 3(link is external); Appendices Part 4(link is external), Appendices Part 5(link is external), and Appendices Part 6(link is external).STATEMENT FROM THE FORMER CHILDREN OF ST. JOSEPH’S ORPHANAGEDecember 14, 2020I would like to introduce to you Walter Coltey, and I am Brenda Hannon. We were askedto represent the “Voices of St. Joseph’s Orphanage,” an adult group of 30+ memberswho are the last surviving generations of children abused at St. Joseph’s Orphanage inBurlington, Vermont.We were the forgotten ones, the children who had to suppress and hide our trauma justto survive all those years ago. Revisiting those memories and giving voice to the sexual,physical and mental abuse perpetrated on us required a reluctant courage none of usknew we had. On behalf of the Voices of St. Joseph’s, we are here today to have ourvoices heard and share our goals from the Restorative Justice Inquiry process and whatwe hope will be accomplished as a result of our difficult testimony.Kaiser Permanente and the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Preventionconducted a national study regarding ACE, or “Adverse Childhood Experiences.” Theydetermined that children who endured severe trauma in their early lives will, inadulthood, likely experience substance abuse, obesity, depression, heart disease andother physical, social and behavioral ailments resulting in a shortened lifespan. That hasbeen true for many of us.Imagine what it must have been like to be a scared young child, removed from your onlyfamily, and sent into an institutional setting to live with other children from similarlydifficult backgrounds. Shut off from contact with the outside world, you were put in thecustody of intolerant strangers with little or no training in child care. Some of them wereactually sadistic.Life was unthinkable for thousands of children placed in that orphanage. We sufferedphysical, mental and, in some cases, sexual abuse. We were threatened andpunishment was harsh, swift, and extreme. Oh the horrors! We were beaten with rods,locked in dark closets and trunks, and forced to eat our own vomited food. Some weresexually molested, this by the same people professing to be agents of God: Catholicnuns, priests, Edmundites, and other workers at the facility. Some children did notsurvive their time there; they simply “disappeared.”The orphanage was closed in the late 1970s without anyone ever bringing tolight what really went on inside its walls. Then, in the mid-1990s, when some of ourtruths began to emerge, some of us brought lawsuits against the diocese. Sadly, thosecases were thrown out due to technicalities or legal grounds; some former orphans wereeven paid hush money (a pittance, really) to keep them quiet! The effect of these failedsuits in the 1990s was profound; having the hope that justice would be served only tohave it dashed felt like being victimized all over again. We were suppressed andintimidated again by those in power and standing in the community.Now, thanks to an extensive report produced in 2018 for Buzzfeed, written by ChristineKenneally, the State Attorney General’s Office has conducted an investigation into ourclaims about what happened at St. Joseph’s Orphanage. The truth deserves to be aired;cover up tactics should be widely exposed.We acknowledge no one can give us back our childhood, take away the pain and shamewe endured, nor untangle the mental and physical struggles many of us have had todeal with in our adult lives. However, we CAN and WILL hold those accountable: theBurlington Catholic Diocese, Vermont Catholic Charities, the Sisters of Providence andyes, the state’s child protection services agency. They are responsible for whathappened to us and to those who could not speak for themselves. We are determined tobe heard and find justice.The Voices of St. Joseph’s Orphanage does seek reparation through the followingactions. We want:1. Face-to-face meetings with leaders from these named institutions: the Sisters ofProvidence, the Catholic Diocese of Burlington, Vermont Catholic Charities andthe State of Vermont child protection services. We want an acknowledgementthat what we say happened to us did indeed happen, and a sincere apology.2. The above-named Catholic entities shall demonstrate the depth of that apologyby a) creating a fund to pay for the healing therapies of any former orphanageresident who requests it, b) releasing all records related to the operation andsupervision of St. Joseph’s Orphanage and c) providing all and complete familyrecords, no redactions, to any former resident who requests it.3. We request that The Vermont State Legislature, upon reading the report, a)acknowledges the harm we experienced, and b) to better protect vulnerablepeople of all ages who face abuse of any kind, work with us to enact laws thatremove the Civil Statute of Limitations for physical and mental abuse.4. By the release of The Criminal Investigation Report today; the public will beinformed a) about the horrors that went on at St. Joseph’s, b) that it was coveredup by The Catholic Diocese for decades, c) what may still be hidden remainsunknown, but can be further uncovered; and d) encourage any individual whoworked for or lived at the orphanage that has testimony to add, to please comeforward. With the release of this Criminal Investigation Report today, we aremoving in the right direction. We will have further reflections on the report in thecoming days.Walter Coltey and I will help the media to contact those who want to tell their stories. Tofind out more about the Restorative Justice, contact Marc Wennberg,[email protected](link sends e-mail). If you would like to receive a copy of The Voices of St.Joseph’s Orphanage statement, email me at [email protected](link sends e-mail).Statement from the St. Joseph’s Orphanage Restorative InquiryDecember 14, 2020“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not belived again.” (Maya Angelou)Overview: The St. Joseph’s Orphanage Restorative Inquiry (SJORI) was launched in April of 2019to understand and document the events of the St. Joseph’s Orphanage through the voices,experiences, and stories of those most impacted (former residents); and then facilitate inclusiveprocesses of accountability, amends-making, learning, and change. SJORI is guided by a set ofrestorative principles and values that inform all of our work.SJORI is an Initiative of the Burlington Community Justice Center, a division of the Communityand Economic Development Office (CEDO) of the City of Burlington. SJORI is supported by anAdvisory Team comprised of agency stakeholders, victim advocates, and restorative justicepractitioners. The Advisory Team meets monthly to advise and support the consultant in thedevelopment of the Inquiry. SJORI has been funded by a grant from the Vermont Center forCrime Victim Services (VCCVS) and matching/In-kind funds from the Burlington CommunityJustice Center/City of Burlington.To date, SJORI has connected with thirty-one former residents of the Orphanage to both listento their stories and experiences, and understand their needs and requests. Since March of2020, more than half of these former residents have chosen to attend weekly group meetingsthat take place online. The weekly meetings have supported the group in building relationshipswith each other; finding comfort and solace in their shared experiences as survivors of theOrphanage; and articulating and approving their collective goals for the Restorative Inquiry.These goals include:1) Face-to-face meetings with leaders from these named institutions: the Sisters ofProvidence, the Catholic Diocese of Burlington, Vermont Catholic Charities and the Stateof Vermont child protection services. We want an acknowledgement that what we sayhappened to us did indeed happen, and a sincere apology.2) The above-named Catholic entities shall demonstrate the depth of that apology by a)creating a fund to pay for the healing therapies of any former orphanage resident whorequests it, b) releasing all records related to the operation and supervision of St.Joseph’s Orphanage and c) providing all and complete family records, no redactions, toany former resident who requests it.3) The Vermont State Legislature, upon reading the report, a) acknowledges the harm weexperienced, and b) to better protect vulnerable people of all ages who face abuse ofany kind, work with us to enact laws that remove the Statute of Limitations for physicaland mental abuse.4) Make public the St. Joseph’s Orphanage Task Force Criminal Investigation Report, so thepublic is informed a) about the horrors that went on at St. Joseph’s, b) that it wascovered up by The Catholic Diocese for decades, c) what may still be hidden remainsunknown, and d) encourage any individual who worked for or lived at the orphanagethat has testimony to add, to please come forward.Former residents are also taking part in a number of other Restorative Inquiry initiatives,including: a participant-informed history of the Orphanage; an effort to establish amonument/healing space for the countless children who passed through and were impacted bythe Orphanage; an ongoing Writers’ Group; and an upcoming oral history project incollaboration with the Vermont Folklife Center. Each of these initiatives was started at therequest and inspiration of former residents.Next Steps: With the release of the St. Joseph’s Orphanage Task Force Criminal InvestigationReport, we are now entering the next phase of the Restorative Inquiry. Although there will beno criminal charges stemming from the Orphanage’s egregious harms and coverup, the lack ofprosecution does not absolve our collective responsibility. In fact, an honest and reflectivereckoning is long overdue.The Restorative Inquiry will facilitate this reflection and reckoning through a series of dialoguesand events. These include the following:1. Responsible Institutions Engagement: Several former residents have requested the opportunityto sit down with representatives from the institutions who had direct responsibility over theoperation and supervision of the Orphanage. The former residents want the opportunity toshare the enduring memories and impacts from the Orphanage, and have their questionsanswered. The former residents also want to be acknowledged, believed, and met with genuineremorse and willingness to make amends.SJORI invites the following institutions to come forward and meet this request of the formerresidents: Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington; Vermont Catholic Charities; and Sisters ofProvidence, Montreal, Quebec. (Representatives from the Vermont Department of Children andFamilies [formerly Department of Social Work] have already taken up the invitation and aremoving forward in a collaborative spirit.)2. Legislative Engagement: From the beginning of the Inquiry, the former residents have clearlyexpressed that they want to ensure that the harms they experienced at the Orphanage neverhappen again to another vulnerable child. SJORI has reached out to a group of Vermontlegislators to begin a dialogue with former residents and collaboratively explore potentialchanges to laws and statutes that will help prevent future harms, including changing statute oflimitations in civil court for physical abuse.3. State and Community-Based Agencies Engagement: Many of the participants in the RestorativeInquiry were placed at the Orphanage by the State of Vermont. The former residents want toensure that future children are never again placed in harmful environments by any agency thatis charged with caring for vulnerable children and families. SJORI is planning a January meetingbetween representatives from the Department of Children and Families and former residents toshare experiences and wisdom, and explore the parameters of this value-driven work.4. Community Engagement: Responsibility for the failures of St. Joseph’s Orphanage extendbeyond the institutions that directly managed and supervised the former child center. TheOrphanage functioned with explicit community consent and support, and was celebrated for itswork of ‘caring for homeless and dependent children’. In order to set the record straight, SJORIis working with the former residents on a number of initiatives that will ensure that their truthtellingstories and experiences are memorialized and shared with the public.Each of these engagements seeks to: acknowledge, validate and learn from the experiences ofthe former residents; respond to their needs and requests; and work to ensure that nothing likethis ever happens again. We invite vested parties and the broader public to meaningfullyengage in this work. With these efforts, we have one more opportunity to finally honor this lastgeneration of ‘orphans’ who through tenacious resilience and a firm sense of justice, have comeforward to speak their truth.If you would like to learn more about the Restorative Inquiry, go to:https://www.stjosephsrjinquiry.com/(link is external)Marc Wennberg, [email protected](link sends e-mail)802-522-7394Source: MONTPELIER – Vermont Attorney General 12.14.2020last_img read more

Licensed conveyancers forced into online price publication

first_imgDame Janet ParaskevaFirms will be monitored to ensure they comply with the new rules and further assessments will be made of the new approaches to ensure they are beneficial. CLC chair Dame Janet Paraskeva said: ‘The firms we regulate will be facing new requirements and we expect them to be open and transparent. But we do not want to be overly prescriptive in how they can take advantage of this new era of transparency – we are looking to firms to find their own approaches which fit best with their business models and styles of service.’ The SRA has made clear that it favours mandating firms to publish prices online and has suggested this could start for certain types of work, such as conveyancing, wills and personal injury. Solid proposals are due to be published imminently. The regulators’ push to increase transparency comes following the recommendations of the Competition and Markets Authority, which found consumers needed more information about pricing following a year-long study of the legal sector in 2016. Conveyancers will be required to publish their service standards and prices online, a niche regulator has confirmed. The Council for Licensed Conveyancers today announced it will mandate that firms increase the information they put in the public domain as part of a push to improve transparency and consumer choice. The decision comes as the Solicitors Regulation Authority ponders whether to impose similar requirements on solicitor firms after competition watchdogs highlighted what they said are gaps in public understanding about pricing in the legal sector. The CLC, which consulted on how to improve consumer choice last year, will also encourage its firms to go beyond minimum requirements to differentiate themselves better. This could include opening data to third-party feedback platforms and price comparison websites, although this will not be mandatory. A further consultation on the details of the reporting requirements begins today and reforms are expected to be in place, subject to approval by the Legal Services Board, by the end of this year. CLC firms will have to make cost information, including any referral arrangements in place, readily accessible on their website and in alternative formats on request. Best practice guidance, along with cost estimate templates, will be provided to ensure quotes are comprehensive and comparable. #*#*Show Fullscreen*#*#last_img read more

Chikungunya now an epidemic in the Caribbean

first_img 22 Views   no discussions Tweet Share Share NewsRegional Chikungunya now an epidemic in the Caribbean by: – May 1, 2014center_img Sharing is caring! Share ORANJESTAD, Aruba (CMC) – The head of the Caribbean Public Health Authority (CARPHA), Dr James Hospedales, has declared that the Chikungunya virus has reached epidemic proportions in the Caribbean.“By definition this is an epidemic since it represents an unusual number of cases of this problem where we would never have it before,” Dr Hospedales told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).The mosquito-borne illness was first detected in the Caribbean in December 2013, in St Martin, and last week Antigua and St Vincent and the Grenadines became the latest countries to declare an outbreak.According to Dr Hospedales, as of April 28, there were 4,108 probable cases in 14 countries across the region.He also stated that Caribbean countries have been putting measures in place to address the spread of the virus.“PAHO (the Pan American Health Organisation) since 2012 had done a preparatory briefing, in July of last year we convened a Caribbean-wide virtual meeting of the chief officers in the countries in the labs, to highlight this emerging threat and to adjust our surveillance protocols and laboratory testing to have early detection.“In December, once it came into the region we established an incident management team, and that has regular contact with the countries, with PAHO, with the French and so on,” Hospedales said.Chikungunya is spread by the Aedes Egypti mosquito, which also spreads dengue fever.Hospedales noted there are steps that can be taken to contain the disease.“Our main recommendations are to continue to educate members of the public on the current situation, and get accurate information to avoid confusion.“It is very important to inspect homes and communities to eliminate potential vector breeding sites for the Aedes Egypti mosquito,” he said.He also advised that people who are sick with fever and suspect they may be suffering from dengue or Chikungunya, should use an insect repellant and sleep under a mosquito net.“This is not a severe disease, in that people don’t die from it, whereas dengue can kill you, but Chikungunya has more long term a significant per cent of people will have joint pains one year, two years afterwards,” Hospedales said.To date the Chikungunya virus has been confirmed in Anguilla, Aruba, Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Barthelemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Maarten (Dutch) and St Martin (French).Caribbean Media Corporationlast_img read more