Grand Re-opening Celebration at Sports & Fitness Edge of EssexEssex, Vermont/ September 17, 2007- On September 22, 2007 the Sports & Fitness Edge hosted a GRAND RE-OPENING celebration at their Essex location. All were welcome to attend this event at 4 Gauthier Drive in Essex.This event will showcase the newly renovated facility, which includes a large state-of-the-art fitness space featuring brand new equipment and a cardio theater, in addition to three new studios for group fitness classes. Kids & Fitness, our licensed preschool, has been enlarged and expanded to provide high quality childcare for more local families.A substantial part of this renovation project included the addition of Physical Therapy Center of Vermonts 4th and largest location where patients can take advantage of the innovative Healing Waves Program” as well as the existing physical therapy programs and services. On September 22nd the staff will offer tours of this new center.Other events taking place on September 22nd include the launch of Les Mills BodyPump classes. Trained instructors will be teaching these classes on Saturday at 10 am and 2 pm, and all are welcome to register 879-7734.Sports & Fitness Edge is also hosting a Health & Activity Fair as part of the Grand Re-opening celebration. This community event is free and open to the public, and features a bouncy castle, door prizes, and tables full of information about other health and wellness-related businesses and organizations in Vermont.For more information on the Grand Re-opening and Health & Activity Fair at Sports & Fitness Edge of Essex, contact Mike Feitelberg at 658-0001 or firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail). About Sports & Fitness Edge, Inc. — Sports & Fitness Edge, Inc has provided fitness opportunities to the community since 1966. Members are welcome at any of the five locations that are run by the company. In addition, there are three Kids & Fitness Preschool facilities that provide child care for local families. The Physical Therapy Center of Vermont was founded in 2001 and offers an extensive list of rehabilitation services at four different locations. Go to www.sfedge.com(link is external) for more information.
Rep. Peter Welch supported and the House passed legislation late Wednesday to address a projected shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund by restoring $7 billion in federal transportation funding to the states. HR 3357 prevents an 85 percent reduction in Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funding, which would have reduced Vermont s share from $134 million to $20 million in 2010.The cut would have forced Vermont Agency of Transportation to shut down all new FHWA construction, resulting in the loss of 998 jobs, according to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. A recession is no time to cut federal highway funding and layoff hundreds of workers, Welch said. This bill ensures that Vermont can continue to rebuild its roads and bridges and maintain good-paying jobs.
Citizens Bank,Citizens Financial Group, Inc has announced it set a company record for new checking accounts opened by Citizens Bank and Charter One customers during a one-week period. From October 3 through October 9, 2009, Citizens opened tens-of-thousands of new checking accounts throughout its 12-state retail footprint, surpassing its previous one-week record in 2007 by nearly 200 percent. We are committed to simplifying our customers busy lives by making banking easier, said Vice Chairman Martin Bischoff, who heads Consumer and Business Banking at Citizens Financial Group. Our recent offers have enabled us to attract tens-of-thousands of new Citizens Bank and Charter One customers. As part of our focus on exceptional service, we look forward to providing our customers helpful banking solutions to achieve their financial goals.Last week, Citizens began offering new customers up to $220 for opening a checking account. Through the offer, which ends November 13, 2009, customers earn: $50 for enrolling in direct deposit; $25 for making five online bill payments; $25 for making five debit or credit card transactions and up to $120 a year with Green$ense, which rewards customers for helping the environment by reducing paper-based transactions.Launched last October, Green$ense rewards customers $0.10 for each electronic payment they make, up to $10 per month and $120 per year. Unlike other incentive programs, Green$ense deposits cash directly into a customer s checking account on a monthly basis, providing greater savings and spending flexibility. And, rather than limiting cash payouts to debit card transactions, customers enrolled in Green$ense earn money for debit card purchases (signature and PIN), online bill payments and recurring payments, making it the most robust program of its kind in the industry.In addition to Green$ense, Citizens has created other helpful solutions for customers. HomeBuyer Savings℠ and CollegeSaver℠ are two new innovative products that put an extra $1,000 in the pockets of Citizens Bank and Charter One customers who are saving for two significant life events purchasing homes and funding their children s college education. Since launching the products in April 2009, Citizens is opening about 1,000 Homebuyer Savings and CollegeSaver accounts every week.With HomeBuyer Savings, customers receive the $1,000 towards their new home when they save a minimum of $100 per month for 36 months and finance their home with Citizens Bank or Charter One. At the end of three years, customers can use their accumulated savings towards a down payment with the additional $1,000 applied against their closing costs.CollegeSaver enables customers who save a minimum of $25 per month until their child is 18 to earn a $1,000 bonus plus interest for opening an account by their child s sixth birthday. Customers receive the $1,000 bonus plus all the accrued interest when the child turns 18.In addition to Citizens helpful products, it offers customers free Fit CheckupsSM, one-on-one consultations with bankers who can help them select the products and services that best fit their borrowing and savings needs. Citizens has provided nearly 2 million Fit Checkups since it began offering them in February of 2008. Customers can learn more about Citizens products and special promotional offers at citizensbank.com or charterone.com, or by visiting their nearest branch.About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is a $153 billion commercial bank holding company. It is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and, through its subsidiaries, has 1,480 branches, approximately 3,600 ATMs and approximately 23,000 employees. Its two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 12-state branch network under the Citizens Bank brand in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, and the Charter One brand in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. CFG has non-branch retail and commercial offices in about 40 states. It is one of the 10 largest commercial banking companies in the United States ranked by assets as of June 30, 2009. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc). CFG s Web site is citizensbank.com. Source: Citizens Financial Group.
BioTek Instruments,This morning at the Opening Ceremonies of the Vermont Business & Industry EXPO, organized by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Governor Jim Douglas presented the highly anticipated Deane C Davis Outstanding Vermont Business of the Year Award to BioTek Instruments, Inc of Winooski. BioTek is the 20th winner of this annual award that was conceived by Vermont Business Magazine and the Chamber in 1990.In an effort to recognize and honor Vermont s best companies, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Business Magazine created the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Business of the Year Award in 1990. Named for the former Governor of Vermont, this annual award honors a Vermont business that shows an outstanding history of sustained growth while displaying an acute awareness of what makes Vermont unique.BioTek Instruments, Inc. is a privately held and family-run business that was founded in 1968. The organization develops instruments used to facilitate the drug recovery process and to aid in the advancement of life science research. This evolving company is committed to continued financial growth, the welfare of its employees and reducing the company s impact on the environment, making it a strong contender for this prestigious award. BioTek s dedication to its employees, the community, and the environment is impressive, said Betsy Bishop, President of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. This company exemplifies the spirit of Vermont business and is most deserving of the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Business distinction.Aside from the Winooski location, BioTek maintains offices in Germany, France, Switzerland, the UK, Singapore, China, and India. All locations combined employ nearly 300 people, 259 of whom are located in Vermont. Since 2005, a 52 percent increase in its workforce encouraged BioTek to build a cutting-edge laboratory, adding 8,000 square feet to the Winooski property. With growing workforce numbers, the employee record reports an impressive retention rate with the average tenure of a BioTek employee exceeding 10 years and 18 percent averaging more than 20 years.The company has also shown great strides in sales and growth over the past five years. Since 2005, BioTek sales have increased 78 percent, a striking number given the recent economy. BioTek has demonstrated many unique qualities that made it stand out in the crowded field of applicants seeking this highly respected award, said John Boutin, Publisher of Vermont Business Magazine. The company s proven track record of success is to be commended.BioTek management offers an open-door policy for the staff, encouraging thoughts on policy adjustments to decrease costs or increase employee satisfaction. Annual reviews are holistically approached, based on the individual in the present, past and with a focus on the future. BioTek also promotes continued education by offering 100 percent tuition reimbursement and a Bonus Pool that pays a uniform amount to each person, since every employee is considered an equal contributor to the company.BioTek s commitment to employees is apparent and so is its dedication to the community. The organization encourages all staff to participate in community programs in order to strengthen the bond with the local community.Listed in the top five principals of BioTek s mission statement is a pledge to reduce the company s overall impact on the environment. In 2008, the company created a team of employees dedicated to continually promoting employee involvement in cleaning up its procedures. The Green Team coordinates with Efficiency Vermont and Chittenden Solid Waste District to ensure the preservation of Vermont s natural environment. Since the team was established, BioTek expanded its original recycling program, upgraded its buildings to meet strict environmental codes, created a composting policy and switched to recycled, compostable materials. Employees are also encouraged to carpool to work or receive financial reimbursement for using a bicycle.In order for a business to win the award, they must show growth in sales or employment, commitment of company resources for participation in community projects, encouragement of employees to be involved in community events, recognition of the importance of the environment to the state as a natural and economic resource, and addressing employee concerns/needs to create a positive work environment for all employees. The business must have also been based in Vermont for at least 10 years.Many Vermont companies exemplify the standards by which the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Business Award nominees are judged, but only three could be distinguished as finalists for this 20 year-old award. The three finalists for this year s Deane C. Davis Outstanding Vermont Business Award were: BioTek Instruments, Inc. of Winooski, The Foley Family of Companies of Rutland, and Small Dog Electronics of Waitsfield.Photo 1: BioTek Instruments, Inc. receives the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Business of the Year Award presented by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Business Magazine during the Opening Ceremonies of EXPO. From the left: Governor Jim Douglas, Adam Alpert Vice President of BioTek, Briar Alpert President and CEO of BioTek, John Boutin-Publisher of Vermont Business Magazine, and Betsy Bishop-President of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.Photo 2: BioTek Instruments, Inc. receives the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Business of the Year Award presented by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Business Magazine during the Opening Ceremonies of EXPO. From the left: Governor Jim Douglas, Briar Alpert President and CEO of BioTek, Adam Alpert Vice President of BioTek, and John Boutin-Publisher of Vermont Business Magazine.Photo 3: Vermont Business & Industry EXPO Opening Ceremony Ribbon Cutting. From the left: Vermont Chamber President Betsy Bishop, Governor Jim Douglas, and Vermont Chamber Board Chair Mark Saba.The Vermont Chamber of Commerce, the largest state-wide private, not-for-profit business organization represents nearly every sector of the state’s corporate/hospitality community. Our mission is to create an economic climate conducive to business growth and the preservation of the Vermont quality of life.Source: Vermont Chamber of Commerce. 5.26.2010###
For his work to understand how to build better robots, Joshua Bongard, a researcher at the University of Vermont, received Friday the highest award given by the US government to young scientists.President Barack Obama announced Bongard as one of 94 winners of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers on Sept. 26.Bongard received the award today at a ceremony at the White House. Bongard is only the second researcher in UVM history to receive the PECASE award, which provides $500,000 in research funds over several years.At a ceremony Friday in the White House, President Barack Obama announced UVM robotics researcher and assistant professor Joshua Bongard as one of 94 winners of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest award given by the U.S. government to young scientists. After the ceremony, Bongard displayed the award. To his right is Dr. John P. Holdren, the President’s science and technology advisor and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. To his left is Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy, assistant director for Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation.Inspired by evolutionBongard’s far-reaching work looks to nature for ideas. “The goal is to borrow ideas from neuroscience and evolution to help us build better and more intelligent robots,” he says.So far, scientists have had little success in building resilient machines that can continually perform behaviors that are fairly simple but require ongoing adaptation to changing conditions ‘ like paving a road or cleaning up a toxic dump. But Bongard is on a mission to make them.”The prevailing approach to create such machines is to copy physiological and neurological systems observed in animals, and build them into robots,” Bongard notes. “This raises the issue however of what, from among the infinitude of existing biological structures, should be copied.”Instead of guessing, Bongard has innovated systems in which computer programs copy the dynamics of biological evolution and replay them in a virtual space with numerous generations of synthetic creatures ‘ something like a highly sophisticated video game.The resulting algorithm yields ideas for robots that have optimized their neurological structures ‘ and their behaviors and body plans ‘ over many generations of being tested by virtual evolution, instead of human guesswork.With these ideas in hand, Bongard and his students can then build actual robots in their workshop that are adaptable and capable of responding to novel challenges.”My long-term goal is to give back to neuroscience and evolutionary biology, to give us a different tool to investigate: why does intelligence evolve?” Bongard says. “Under what conditions will intelligence evolve? Could we ever consider a machine to be intelligent, or is intelligence something limited to biological organisms?”Presidential visionRecognizing this kind of innovative work, the PECASE awards “embody the high priority the Obama Administration places on producing outstanding scientists and engineers to advance the Nation’s goals, tackle grand challenges, and contribute to the American economy,” the White House wrote in a press release.In 1996, the National Science and Technology Council was commissioned by President Clinton to create a program that would support and honor outstanding scientists and engineers early in their research careers ‘ from this council came the PECASE award.Each year, more than a dozen federal departments and agencies nominate scientists and engineers whose early accomplishments “show the greatest promise for assuring America’s preeminence in science and engineering and contributing to the awarding agencies’ missions,” the White House press office wrote.”It is inspiring to see the innovative work being done by these scientists and engineers as they ramp up their careers ‘ careers that I know will be not only personally rewarding but also invaluable to the Nation,” President Obama said in the White House release. “That so many of them are also devoting time to mentoring and other forms of community service speaks volumes about their potential for leadership, not only as scientists but as model citizens.”An innovatorBongard, an assistant professor of computer science in UVM’s College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, was one of 21 nominees presented by the National Science Foundation for the most recent round of awards.Bongard’s research has received national and international attention, and has been featured in Wired magazine, the Boston Globe, The Voice of America, Popular Science, and many other outlets. He also received a fellowship from Microsoft Research in 2007 for research related to self-healing robots ‘ one of five given nationwide. He was named by MIT as one of the world’s top innovators under 35.”This award allows me to continue with my basic scientific research, but it also allows me to create tools that draw many people into my research beyond my graduate students,” Josh Bongard says. “Through this award, we’re developing a web interface that will allow people to perform evolutionary robotics experiments without having a background in evolution or robotics.”UVM. 10.14.2011###