MOST READ For sure, North and South Olympic rivalry runs deep.The North boycotted the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul and instead hosted the World Festival of Youth and Students, a sort of socialist equivalent, the following year. The Koreas tried marching together under a “unification flag” in three Olympics, but that didn’t stick. The blue-and-white flag last flew at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy.North Korea isn’t a big Winter Olympics country to begin with. It has only sent teams to eight and won only two medals: a silver in 1964 and a bronze in 1992. Both were won by women, in speed skating and short track skating.Still, it’s not unprecedented for the North to send athletes to major competitions in the South.Kim sent a full team to the Asian Games in Incheon in 2014 and dispatched three of his top lieutenants to attend the closing ceremony and meet with the South’s unification minister. Whatever progress was made in those talks seems to have dissipated soon after the trio went home, however.ANY CHANCES OF GOLD?Well, not really.It isn’t entirely clear if Kim intends to send athletes to Pyeongchang or just officials.There might still be some wiggle room, but only two athletes, pair skaters Ryom Tae Ok and Kim Ju Sik, are qualified to go. Skating to the Beatles’ song “A Day in the Life” for their short program, the two won North Korea’s first medal — a bronze — at the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan in February last year.Nevertheless, Kim Jong Un likes sports. Scottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Cone Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ The answer probably lies somewhere in between.But why, after a year marked by the test of his country’s most powerful nuclear bomb to date and a record number of missile launches, is Kim starting off 2018 by proposing talks across the Demilitarized Zone?FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkWHAT’S ON THE TABLEKim stressed in his speech that 2018 will be an important year for the Korean nation. FILE – In this Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, file photo, the official emblem of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games is seen in downtown Seoul, South Korea. With little time to spare, North and South Korea are preparing to discuss Kim Jong Un’s offer to send a delegation to next month’s Winter Olympics. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)TOKYO— With little time to spare, North and South Korea are preparing to hash out Kim Jong Un’s offer to send a delegation to next month’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.Skeptics are calling the offer, floated by Kim during his annual televised New Year’s address, a cynical tactic to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul, while optimists see it as a sign of hope that Kim has decided to dial back his defiance and come in from the cold.ADVERTISEMENT Meralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals Brian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense Westbrook triple-double leads Thunder past Clippers Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Following the example of former Soviet bloc countries like East Germany, Kim has elevated the role of sports to a new level for North Korea, lavishing praise and rewards on medal-winning athletes while the official media catalogues each win in international competition as proof of the nation’s ideological superiority and physical grit.“Upon receiving the New Year Address made by respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, sportspersons in the DPRK are filled with firm determination to achieve fresh victory,” its state-run news agency reported Tuesday, using the acronym for the North’s official name.The report went on: “It is the determination and will of all sports officials, players and coaches to produce more excellent results in international games this year.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next The North will be marking the 70th anniversary of its Sept. 9 founding and the South’s hosting of the games, Kim said, “will serve as a good occasion for demonstrating our nation’s prestige” and “we earnestly wish the Olympic Games a success.”To that end, he suggested Pyongyang send a delegation and “adopt other necessary measures.” He presented all of it in a familiar framing — saying the Korean people must work together on their own toward reunification to “frustrate the schemes by anti-reunification forces within and without.”In North Korea-speak, that means anti-Pyongyang hardliners in the South and the United States and its allies.Kim did not say what kind of a delegation he has in mind. But North Korea quickly restored a hotline with the South that had been cut off for two years to allow communications to resume. South Korean President Moon Jae-in applauded the gesture and the two sides are set to meet on Tuesday at the border village of Panmunjom for the time since December 2015.TAKING SEOUL’S TEMPERATUREADVERTISEMENT OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours LATEST STORIES Just about the time the Olympics will be wrapping up and the Paralympics getting underway, tens of thousands of U.S. and South Korean troops would normally be staging the world’s biggest annual war games.This year, however, Moon convinced President Donald Trump to postpone them until everything is over.The exercises feature the United States’ most advanced weaponry and in recent years have included training for “decapitation” strikes on Kim himself. In his New Year’s address, Kim pointedly referred to that, claiming the U.S. can’t launch an attack “on me or our country” now that North Korea has a viable nuclear deterrent.Kim would love to see the war games called off for good. Or at least scaled down.With their postponement, he might believe Moon may be willing to go further down that path. And if Moon isn’t, Kim can say he tried and use that as a justification for launching more missiles or space-bound rockets and maybe even trying another nuclear test later this year.The bottom line: it never hurts to take Seoul’s temperature every now and then.Engaging directly with Seoul does, in fact, tend to complicate things for Washington. Sanctions, meanwhile, are taking their toll. Easing tensions would give Kim breathing room to boost the domestic economy.One of his key projects — also mentioned in the New Year’s speech — is developing tourism in the Wonsan-Kumgang area on North Korea’s east coast. Kim already built a luxury ski resort there and doesn’t want to see it go to waste. With Trump’s North Korea travel ban now in effect, Pyongyang might be thinking of wooing tourists from the South.Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, had some success with that idea from the late 1990s until 2008, when a South Korean housewife was shot dead for wandering into a restricted zone.UNUSUAL, BUT NOT UNPRECEDENTED Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
26 March 2007South Africa has reaffirmed its commitment to promote maths, science and technology in high schools, with the government announcing a plan to deploy both local and foreign teachers qualified in those fields to the country’s 6 000 schools.Speaking at the 8th Aggrey Klaaste Maths, Science and Technology Educator of the Year Awards in Midrand last Thursday, Education Minister Naledi Pandor added that her department aims to retain competent teachers and encourage new teachers into public education through a programme of incentives, including bursaries and rewards.“Maths, science and technology are now more important than they have been in our recorded history,” Pandor said, adding that their importance was also highlighted in the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (Asgi-SA).Asgi-SA aims to increase economic growth to 6% per annum between 2010 and 2014, while also halving unemployment and poverty by 2014.In order to achieve this, critical skills and sectors have been identified. These include the skills of engineers and the information communication technology (ICT) sector, which both require a strong knowledge base of maths and science.The apartheid government neglected these very skills in its education system for black South Africans.“If we don’t have these teachers in our country, we must get teachers from outside,” Pandor said, adding, “We can’t have any high school without these teachers.”Pandor noted, however, that the present government had come a long way in repairing the damage that apartheid had caused to the education system.In order to fast-track maths and science skills, the department embarked on the Dinaledi schools initiative in 2001, which aims to increase access to maths, science and technology, and to promote and improve results for these subjects in under-privileged communities.There are currently 400 high schools across the country, which offer maths and science at higher-grade level and have qualified teachers.Source: BuaNews
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Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Jerry HagstromDTN Political CorrespondentWASHINGTON, D.C. (DTN) — After the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday approved a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said the bill “sends a strong message to the Senate. The people that look to our markets for integrity don’t care about political wins and losses. They expect us to conduct the business of this committee.”Peterson noted, “The CFTC authorization expired in 2013, so it is overdue, and I’m glad we are on a bipartisan path to get it done.” Although the CFTC has continued to function normally under appropriations bills, Peterson also said that Heath Tarbert, the new CFTC chairman, “is also keen to have his agency formally reauthorized.”Tarbert in a press release praised the committee’s action and said, “The sound regulation of our derivatives markets, which see more than $4 trillion in notional activity each day, is critical to the health of the U.S. economy and the pocketbook of every American. These markets help inform the price of everything from food and gasoline to home mortgage interest. Today’s bipartisan action highlights the importance of the work done at the CFTC and represents a significant first step in the legislative process. I look forward to working with members of both parties in both chambers to see a bill through.”For the most part, the bill continues the CFTC’s previous authorities, but it also reinforces its fraud authority, establishes an Office of the Chief Economist and expands the office of Minority and Women Inclusion.House Agriculture Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit Subcommittee Chairman David Scott, D-Ga., noted that the bill also will establish and maintain a paid internship program for students from 1890s historically black colleges and universities, schools that serve Hispanic and Latino students, 1994 tribal colleges, and those schools that serve the territories.The bill also contains a digital commodities section, but House Agriculture ranking member Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said, “Today’s legislation continues the important work of reauthorizing the agencies and programs in our jurisdiction, but I do want to caution that we are not breaking much new ground. This bill does not address important issues around the emerging world of digital assets, especially those digital commodities that fall within our committee’s jurisdiction.”Three freshmen Democrats claimed credit for provisions in the bill.Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said in a news release that the bill contains her provision that would bring clarity to the determination of which commodity broker assets will be used to cover the costs of equity claims during bankruptcy proceedings. Specifically, the Spanberger provision would require that a commodity broker’s cash, securities, or other property be classified as customer property to help pay the net equity claims of a broker’s public customers following the broker’s bankruptcy.“Amid widespread trade worries, the American futures market currently faces tremendous financial uncertainty. In this unstable economic climate, agribusinesses in central Virginia and across the country are always looking to better protect themselves against the consequences of unpredictable fluctuations in the market,” said Spanberger. “Today, the House Agriculture Committee passed my bill to bring more clarity to the CFTC’s commodity broker bankruptcy rules.“By streamlining these regulations, we are giving producers more certainty as they look to expand their operations and invest in new facilities, equipment, and employees,” Spanberger said.Peterson said in the news release that “Spanberger’s provision in the reauthorization legislation would give our country’s agribusinesses some much-needed peace of mind during bankruptcy proceedings, and I was glad to see her bill pass with strong bipartisan support.”Spanberger noted her provision is endorsed by the Virginia Agribusiness Council and the National Futures Association.Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, said, “This legislation includes language from my Whistleblower Programs Improvement Act, which strengthens protections for whistleblowers that report wrongdoing or violations of commodities law. We should be protecting folks that do the right thing by reporting market manipulation or fraud, not exposing them to being fired if they speak up.”Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., said the bill contains her provision “to ensure that church retirement and healthcare plans are not regulated the same way for-profit corporations are — allowing churches to provide their employees with the healthcare they need and the retirement savings they have earned.”Conaway commented, “We’ve included new protections for charitable organizations and church retirement plans so they will not be subjected to regulations designed for Wall Street, as well as ensuring the protection of customers’ hard-earned assets in the case of a commodity broker bankruptcy.”Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at [email protected] him on Twitter @hagstromreport(CCSK)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.
The notion that a village can produce as much energy as it consumes is not new in Germany, nor is it exclusive to this country that has set aggressive targets for renewable energy use. In the mid-1990s, for example, the Austrian village of GÃ¼ssing began implementing strategies to use local biomass to produce electricity and heat, and the Danish island community of Samsø installed wind turbines to meet its electrical needs.In recent years, however, the idea of Bioenergiedörfer, or “bioenergy villages,” seems to have captured the public imagination in Germany. Last month I attended a conference called “Bioenergy Villages 2014” that provided a great overview of the bioenergy village movement in Germany. Energy security and affordabilityAlthough bioenergy villages have characteristics in common with one another, they may differ widely in form. As one speaker at the conference put it, “The commonality of bioenergy villages is their broad individuality.” In other words, there is not one prescription for success. Bioenergy villages vary in organizational structure, raw materials used, technology installed, and financing models employed. However, these communities tend to have common goals.The most frequently expressed motivation for developing a bioenergy village is to ensure the future availability and affordability of energy supplies. Second on the list is to keep money in the local economy. A quote that surfaced several times during the conference comes from 19th century German cooperative pioneer Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen: “Das Geld des Dorfes dem Dorfe” — “the village’s money to the village.”While environmental concerns certainly play a role in the development of bioenergy villages, surveys reveal that the potential environmental benefits — particularly with regard to climate change — tend not to be the most compelling motivator for many people. RELATED ARTICLES Germany’s Plus-Energy TownVÃ¤xjö, Sweden, is a Model of Sustainability Could we do it here?What lessons do Germany’s bioenergy villages hold for the U.S.? I have been pondering this question with regard to my own community and region. I live in a section of the Connecticut River Valley that was once characterized by thriving manufacturing communities — the so-called Precision Valley. I see similarities between the villages — some of them struggling — in New Hampshire and Vermont with which I am familiar, and many of the rural villages I have seen in Germany — especially those in the former East Germany.The challenges of translating Germany’s success with bioenergy villages to New England are admittedly substantial. Germany’s rural villages tend to be very compact, surrounded by open farmland. Americans like to spread out. Although the German government has not specifically targeted bioenergy villages for financial support, many of the Energiewende’s programs encourage investment in the renewable energy systems on which bioenergy villages are based.Technologies that are common in Germany, such as biogas installations (roughly 8,000 to date), village-scale cogeneration plants, and district heating systems, have not been widely implemented in the U.S. Lower retail electricity prices in the U.S. make cogeneration potentially less attractive, and the availability of natural gas has undoubtedly hampered development of the biogas industry.Culturally, Germans generally seem to value consensus and cooperative action more than we do in the U.S. This cultural bias can be seen in the realm of national politics as well as in local communities.Despite the differences between Germany and the U.S. in the geographic, political, technological, and cultural landscapes, the fundamental lesson that I take from Germany’s bioenergy village movement is that success is possible, and even likely, given sufficient commitment from residents. The details of historic New England villages becoming net positive producers of energy will undoubtedly differ from those of Germany’s Bioenergiedörfer, but the compelling benefits will be similar. Every year, thousands of visitors descend on JÃ¼hnde to be educated and inspired. These days the town produces over twice as much electricity as it consumes. The citizens are now participating in an electro-mobility pilot project that is exploring ways to use the excess power to serve local transportation needs.The examples of JÃ¼hnde and other early adopters of the bioenergy village concept have encouraged communities throughout Germany to pursue similar strategies. During the past nine years, the knowledge base to support the development of bioenergy villages has grown rapidly. The local and region-wide economic benefits of these villages have also been well documented. There are currently about 150 communities in Germany that are officially registered as bioenergy villages. Hundreds more are in the planning phases. ARTICLES BY ANDREW DEY A Construction Trade Fair in GermanyVisiting a District Heating Plant in AustriaA Visit to a German Home CenterA German Deep-Energy RetrofitGermany’s Energy RevolutionAn Energy-Efficiency Conference in Germany Coming up with a definition for “bioenergy village”Determining the precise number of bioenergy villages in Germany is difficult because there is not a single, broadly accepted definition of the term, and because communities are developing their capabilities rapidly. On a website called “Toward the Bioenergy Village”, Germany’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture lists the following criteria for bioenergy villages:At least 50% of the community’s energy needs (electricity and heat) are supplied by locally produced bioenergy (typically silage plants and/or wood chips);Local citizens are actively involved in developing the ideas and making the decisions;The biomass used as a resource is owned at least partially by the villagers, and is grown and harvested locally, in a sustainable manner;Other renewable energy sources may supplement the generation of power and heat from biomass;Energy efficiency and energy conservation measures are regularly considered and implemented;Value is created locally, and the benefits extend regionally.A complementary framework for defining bioenergy villages is provided by one of the organizations that sponsored the conference, the Institute for Applied Resource Management. This organization views the development of bioenergy villages in terms of the following five pillars:Electricity production;Heat production;Energy efficiency;Land-use management;Civic engagement. Phased developmentBioenergy villages are typically developed in phases. In its recently published “Guide to the Practical Implementation of Bioenergy Villages” (Bioenergiedörfer: Leitfaden fÃ¼r eine praxisnahe Umsetzung), Germany’s Institute for Renewable Resources (Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe) lists these phases as:Initiation;Preliminary Planning and Groundwork;Detailed Planning and Construction;Operating and Optimizing;Further Development.The initial idea for a bioenergy village may come from individuals, from a group within a village, from an agricultural cooperative, or from a local business. The initiators undertake a preliminary assessment of the energy needs of the community, and the potential for these needs to be served by renewable resources. Local residents are surveyed to gauge their interest in participating, and to clarify their motivations. Ideally during this initial phase, a foundation of trust within the community is recognized and strengthened.Specific questions that are addressed include:Does the village have sufficient biomass potential to sustainably support the production of electricity and heat, without competing for other important needs?Is there strong interest among the residents to be connected to a district heating network?Are there large heat sinks within the community, such as a swimming pool, a school, large town buildings, or industrial facilities that could be integrated into the network?Are infrastructure projects such as street improvements, water/sanitation upgrades, or fiber optic installation being planned that could be combined with the burial of district heating pipes?On what areas should a feasibility study focus, how should the study be funded, and who within the community will oversee that process? Andrew Dey’s background includes carpentry, contracting, and project management. For the past six years he has provided construction consulting services to clients in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts. He is passionate about retrofitting existing buildings — including his own house — for greater energy efficiency. His blog is called Snapshots from Berlin. Feasibility studyThe “Detailed Planning and Building” phase typically starts with commissioning a comprehensive feasibility study that forms the basis of ongoing planning. The feasibility study outlines the extent of the heating network and the capacity of the heating plant. It includes financial, technical and environmental parameters such as annual operating costs, ROI, pipe dimensions, transmission losses, cost increases, and CO2-savings. The calculations include an estimate of the cost of the heat to be supplied to buildings on the network.In Germany, such feasibility studies might cost â‚¬15,000 to â‚¬30,000 ($20,000 to $40,000), and take three to six months to complete. While the feasibility study is underway, financing for the project can be lined up. Based on the feasibility study, agreements are executed with the biomass suppliers, the contractors who will build the energy production and distribution systems, and the consumers of the heat and power. With the appropriate contracts in place, the design and engineering are finalized, and construction can begin.“Operating and Optimizing” a village-scale energy system requires ongoing training of personnel, troubleshooting issues that arise, and adjusting the system for optimal performance. As new buildings are constructed and more resources become available, additional buildings can be connected to the district heating network. Improvements to the efficiency of system components are also made — for example by reducing the heating requirement of buildings in the village, or improving the efficiency of pumps.“Further Development” takes many forms, including the implementation of innovative technologies and programs (process heat for commercial/industrial use, eco-tourism, electro-mobility, etc.), the installation of photovoltaic arrays and wind turbines, the construction of additional biogas generators and cogeneration plants, and region-wide outreach and education. How big an investment is required?Data available from bioenergy villages that have been operating for years are available to help guide these initial discussions. For example, the time-frame required to plan and implement a biogas generation plant coupled with cogeneration and a district heating network is typically two to four years.The initial capital investment for such systems may be between 0.5 and 4 million Euros ($700,000 to $5,500,000). The capital that a village cooperative typically invests is between â‚¬50,000 and â‚¬500,000 ($70,000 and $700,000). The price that a building owner might pay to connect to the district heating system ranges from â‚¬0 to â‚¬12,000, with an average cost of about â‚¬4,000 ($5,500).Typically between 50% and 80% of the buildings in a village are connected to the district heating network. Heating costs for residents connected to these networks have been ranging from â‚¬100 to â‚¬400 ($140 to $550) per year. In terms of land-use, between 100 and 500 hectares (between 250 and 1,200 acres) of forest are required when forestry waste is used to fuel a central boiler, and between 50 and 300 hectares (between 125 and 750 acres) of cultivated land can supply a biogas generator with the silage plants that are typically combined with manure. These numbers are wide-ranging because they depend on a variety of factors such as the size of the village, the configuration of the buildings, and the resources available.During the “Preliminary Planning and Groundwork” phase, working groups are typically formed to focus on specific areas such as management, technology, biomass, financing and communications. The working group on management develops models for owning and operating the energy systems, and establishes the appropriate legal entities.The technology working group researches options, visits existing bioenergy installations, and narrows the choice of technologies.The biomass working group confirms with local producers the sustainable supply of biomass, and develops logistics for harvesting, storage and delivery.The financing working group investigates subsidies and grants, contacts local banks, and assesses the potential for direct investment from members of the community.As skillful communication is a cornerstone of successful bioenergy villages, the working group on communications develops and implements a communication plan that encourages participation, emphasizes transparency of process, provides educational resources, and addresses specific concerns of the residents. Allaying local concernsWhile these phases provide a convenient outline for planning the development of a bioenergy village, the reality is not so neat or predictable. Challenges to the process — both legitimate and ill-informed — can arise at every stage. Doubts will be raised about the projected costs, the efficiency and reliability of the installations, the potential environmental impacts, and disruption due to truck traffic.The Bioenergiedörfer movement in Germany has accumulated a wealth of experience to allay these concerns. Additional guidance is provided by studies of bioenergy villages that have identified common factors contributing to success, including:One or more Zugpferde (“draft horses”) — citizens who tirelessly champion the project;A strong sense of community spirit and trust;Clear and frequent communication, and transparent processes;Broad and strong engagement of community members;A comprehensive and reliable feasibility study;Efficient and determined planning and implementation;Relatively low connection costs to the district heating system;Resultant heating costs that are competitive with (or lower than) the status quo.One additional success factor is the ability of bioenergy village residents to see their community as a role model that can instruct and inspire other villages in the region and beyond. Several presenters at the conference suggested that a critical mass of experience and capability is being reached that could significantly accelerate the development of bioenergy villages.However, this optimism was tempered at the conference by pointed references to the government’s current discussions about revising the law that provides financial incentives for renewable energy production — the so-called EEG 2.0. In order to try to curb what many perceive as unsustainable increases in the retail cost of electricity, the government may cut some of these incentives. Biogas installations and cogeneration plants are seen as potential losers in these negotiations. A village that produces twice as much power as it consumesThe first village in Germany to be officially recognized as a bioenergy village was JÃ¼hnde, in the state of Lower Saxony. In 2005, a cooperative within this village of 780 inhabitants and 450 cows built a biogas production facility fueled by silage plants and manure. The gas from this plant is burned in a communally owned cogeneration plant that provides electricity and heat to buildings in the village. Eventually a wood chip-fired boiler was added to the district heating system to provide supplemental heat (see Image #2, below). Scaling the conceptAs the number of bioenergy villages in Germany increases, attention is increasingly being paid to scaling these efforts to regions, towns, and cities. The conference presenters showcased a number of towns and cities that have built on the concept of the bioenergy village. These larger communities typically have multiple cogeneration units fueled by biogas and natural gas that provide heat and power to neighborhoods and to complexes of buildings such as hospitals and schools. Photovoltaic arrays and wind turbines often contribute to the supply of locally produced power.In addition to being broadened geographically, the concept of bioenergy villages is being recognized as having diverse demographic benefits. I was struck at this conference, as I have been at others here in Germany, by the way in which themes relating to social justice are brought into discussions about renewable energy and energy efficiency. (Any American who thinks that Obama is a socialist should try living in Europe for a while).Like many other countries, Germany is seeing a general migration of young people from rural to urban areas. By creating jobs and fostering innovation, bioenergy villages provide opportunities for rural youth. The conference presentations highlighted numerous examples of villages that have been re-energized and re-capitalized through their own efforts.At the other end of the demographic spectrum, retirees in these villages are often living on fixed incomes that have been outpaced by increases in the cost of electricity and heat. Stabilizing the cost of utilities is particularly helpful to the elderly and the poor, who spend a relatively high proportion of their income on these basic necessities.While the measurable benefits of bioenergy villages are well-documented, a less tangible but oft-mentioned outcome is the sense of empowerment that is shared by the villagers. Communities take pride in creating their own electricity and heat, in reducing Germany’s dependence on foreign energy suppliers (read: Russia, lately), and in helping to achieve the goals of the country’s ambitious Energiewende, or Energy Transition.
The Albany City (Ga.) and Dougherty County commissions at a rare joint meeting Tuesday approved the local share of funding needed to relocate a National Guard readiness center to Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) Albany, a move designed to strengthen the active-duty installation.Albany and Dougherty County each will contribute $200,000 to the cost of building the new armory now located in Albany; Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) previously included $1.1 million in the state’s supplemental fiscal 2016 budget for the project, reported the Albany Herald.“This has been a long time coming, but it will have a lasting impact on our community for years to come,” said Jeff Sinyard, a member of the Georgia Military Affairs Coordinating Committee and the Southwest Georgia Alliance. “It will strengthen the Marine base’s ties with our community, it will enhance our standing in the event of a future BRAC and it will build momentum for future opportunities on the base,” said Sinyard, who also is a former chairman of the Dougherty County Commission.Relocating the National Guard facility — in conjunction with the August 2014 move of a Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic to MCLB Albany — will improve the installation’s competitiveness in a future base closure round, said Ed Cassity, a member of the Georgia Military Affairs Coordinating Committee and the Southwest Georgia Alliance.“Being an efficient, multitasking installation is essential to competitiveness,” said Cassity, a retired major general. “Your financial support today demonstrates to the governor and to the Corps that Albany and Dougherty County are ready to step up to the plate,” he said. Dan Cohen AUTHOR