Governor Jim Douglas yesterday received a letter from Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, James Oberstar (D-MN) commending Vermont for ranking first in nation for “the percentage of wastewater infrastructure Recovery Act funds put out to bid, under contract, and underway.” Vermont has committed all of its wastewater infrastructure funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).“The entire Recovery Act team, from our Office of Economic Stimulus and Recovery to the Department of Environmental Conservation, has done a tremendous job ensuring that we are getting these critical infrastructure funds into our communities and creating jobs expeditiously,” said Governor Douglas. “When Congress passed the Recovery Act last year, it was up to the states to implement much of the funding. We are doing our part to get the money into our economy quickly, while being responsible stewards of the public’s resources.”Wastewater infrastructure projects funded through ARRA include the Twin Oaks stormwater project in South Burlington, the combined sewer overflow elimination project in Springfield and a solar panel installation project at the wastewater treatment plant in Montpelier, among others. Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Justin Johnson said of the state’s work, “With a combination of smart work and good sense, Vermont was able to identify good projects and get the stimulus funds obligated quickly and efficiently.”Source: Governor’s office. 5.7.2010###
Number eight Heaslip has relinquished the permanent leadership role he fulfilled during Ireland’s Six Nations under Declan Kidney last season. No sooner had he ceded the honour to second row O’Connell though, he found himself back in command. Munster’s 34-year-old totem O’Connell is still recovering from calf trouble, and is not deemed fit to start against the South Sea islanders on Saturday. O’Connell takes a seat on the bench, leaving Leinster loose forward Heaslip back in immediate charge. Admitting the captaincy was a ‘tough decision’, Schmidt also confirmed Jonathan Sexton has been left out of Saturday’s squad as a precaution against his ongoing hip complaint. Racing Metro fly-half Sexton is expected to be fit for Ireland’s Australia clash on November 16. Heaslip pledged to lead or follow with equal ambition. The 29-year-old explained: “Obviously you would like to be captain all the time, but Joe made the decision he did. New head coach Joe Schmidt has named talisman lock Paul O’Connell as his skipper for the impending autumn series. Heaslip has been installed as vice-captain – but will actually take the armband in Saturday’s Samoa clash at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. “I’m really proud at being vice-captain, really proud of when I was captain during the Six Nations, and I’m proud of the chance I’m getting this week to lead the team out. “There were probably as many as eight candidates for the captaincy, and in my experience of successful teams, it’s not any one player that’s the leader, it’s the group, the core, that’s really important in terms of showing how we do our business. “Joe said ‘this is what we’re doing, would you like to be vice captain’. “I jumped at it with both hands, then went straight over to Paul, shook his hand and said ‘congrats skip’. “I’m delighted for Paul, he doesn’t change in what he says or what he does, whether he’s captain or not. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge of leading the team out this week, then hopefully I’ll get the chance to step out behind Paul – both are a great honour. “Just as long as the team go well I’m a very happy man.” Decorated British Lions centre Brian O’Driscoll would have been firmly in that eight-strong captaincy shake-up. But Heaslip confirmed the 34-year-old ruled himself out of the running. O’Driscoll has pledged to retire at the end of the season – but Heaslip joked it is not worth ruling out a change of heart. He continued: “You never know with Brian, there could be chance for one more year after this season. “Is he going to go as long as Simon Shaw or Brad Thorne even? He’s maybe counting on that! “I suppose the decisions he’s made haven’t been easy, but he thinks quite a lot outside of himself. “A lot has changed for him since even this time last year; he has a kid to think about as well, there’s a big life outside of rugby when you finish up too.” Elsewhere in Schmidt’s first seletion, Paddy Jackson got the nod to start at fly-half in Sexton’s absence. O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy win selection in the centres – meaning the midfield duo will rack up a combined 200 caps when they step out at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. Fast-developing Leinster front-rower Jack McGrath will win his first cap at loosehead prop against the Samoans. The 24-year-old was called up to the Emerging Ireland squad to play in May’s Tbilisi Cup, the inaugural round-robin tournament also including Georgia, a South Africa President’s XV and Uruguay. Schmidt has also named versatile Leinster back-three Dave Kearney on the bench, who will win his first cap if he takes the field. Kearney could even line up alongside brother and starting full-back Rob, if he comes on at wing. Press Association Jamie Heaslip is unfazed at being overlooked for Ireland’s full-time captaincy.
Pellegrini is proud not only of the position City are in heading into their final game of the Barclays Premier League season but of the manner in which they have got there. Pellegrini has advocated an attractive brand of attacking football all season and, despite criticism his approach was too reckless at times, he has rarely deviated. Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini will celebrate one of his greatest achievements if his side clinch the title this weekend. With City now realistically needing just a draw against West Ham on Sunday to secure a second title in three seasons, his methods are close to receiving significant vindication. The Chilean said: “I repeat, the reality is the way we did it is one of my best achievements in this season. “The first thing I can say is we chose the right squad for what we needed to do this year.” Pellegrini now expects his side, which moved two points clear of Liverpool at the top by beating Aston Villa 4-0 in midweek, to complete the job against the Hammers. He knows the possibility for jitters still exists, however, and will want his players to follow his ice-cool example. Pellegrini has betrayed little emotion all season and that is an approach he has honed from experience, having been “different” in his younger days. “I think when I started this career I had, absolutely, a different character,” the 60-year-old said. “As a player I was a different character to the one I am today but to prepare to be a manager I think you must change a lot of things. “You have to understand you are not a player and have another attitude with the players.” Asked if he does suffer from nerves, the former Malaga coach said: “I know how to control (them) – it is different. “After so many years, it is very important to control your emotions because when you have to take decisions under emotion normally you do it the wrong way. “I think it is very important of the manager to be calm, to try to repeat what we did the whole year. “I expect to win. We are thinking not of winning one point but just winning the match, and the best way to do it is to play the way we always do.” Pellegrini has a fully-fit squad available with Sergio Aguero back in contention after a groin injury. Aguero, top scorer with 28 goals in all competitions this season, missed the game against Villa after limping out of the action at Everton last weekend. Pellegrini said: “The whole squad is fit for Sunday. It is very important, always for a manager, if you have your whole squad and choose from all your players.” Press Association