Smart phone apps

first_imgIs there an unwanted insect or plant on your farm or in your garden that you don’t recognize? The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has an app for that.Invasive species trackers at the UGA Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health have developed a suite of apps to help farmers, forestry personnel and home gardeners identify strange unwanted pests. They can now identify their problem pests in the field, rather breaking away to sit down at a computer and look it up.Apps developed by the center’s technology director Chuck Bargeron and his co-workers provide direct links to different databases specializing in informing and educating the public about invasive species, those not native to an area that has been introduced and causing damage to agriculture and forestry. Such species include the kudzu bug that munches on soybeans and the spotted wing drosophila which affects blueberry crops.“For the IOS platform, we’ve had more than 25,000 downloads of apps. The most successful one was the first one we did which was for Florida, which was focused primarily on pythons in south Florida. It’s probably been the most successful because it had the most press coverage when it first came out,” Bargeron said. The University of Florida partnered in this app becoming available.The app is one of 17 the center has developed. It provides different apps for different parts of the country because, for example, farmers in the Western United States aren’t concerned with the same species that growers in the Southeast are concerned with. Working a regional perspective allows users to focus on species in their geographic area.The latest app developed was a collaborative project between Bargeron and Michael Toews, a UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences entomologist on the Tifton campus. It’s an app that Toews’ research technicians use in the field as they study stinkbugs. The technicians can count the number of stinkbugs they see, record it in the app, save it and then export the information as an Excel spreadsheet. According to Bargeron, the days of Toews transcribing all handwritten sheets are a thing of the past.Bargeron and members of the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health have had great success with database web-based resources of information, especially after the pictures image archive were added to the website in 2001. When Keith Douce and David Moorhead, — co-directors of the center formally known as Bugwood Network, — launched the website in 2001 they added pictures from 35mm slides. Approximately 3,500 pictures were available. As more and more people began using the website and recognizing its value, they started sharing their own pictures. The database of pictures increased greatly in the 12 years since the website was started. Now, more than 200,000 pictures from more than 2,000 photographers are in the systems database.These resources have also changed the way forestry and agriculture classes are taught. An entomology professor at Texas A&M told Douce the resources caused him to completely restructure how he teaches his classes.According to Douce, the center website generated 9.3 million users last year and 260 million hits.For more information, visit the website at bugwood.org.last_img read more

Governor Douglas announces more than $3 million in economic development grants

first_imgA dairy processing plant in Brattleboro; a food processing center in Hardwick; a slaughterhouse in Westminster; and a Barre facility that recycles furniture and other goods for distribution to needy Vermonters were among more than $3 million in job creation grants announced today. At a ceremony at Recycle North s new facility in a former granite shed in Barre, Governor Jim Douglas announced the award of $3.3 million in Community Development Block Grants for those projects, as well as others. These grants are a great resource for companies, municipalities and organizations looking to grow and answer their unique challenges and needs, said Governor Douglas. I m pleased to honor each of these recipients today with grants that will help with planning, redevelopment, expansion, handicap accessibility and more. These recipients are very deserving of our support. All of today s recipients are making a positive and important contribution to our economy and our state s well-being. These projects will create jobs and opportunities, Governor Douglas continued. The town improvements being funded with these grants will put Vermonters to work and improve our communities. The specialty food products and opportunities being created and expanded with this money will help create jobs and give Vermonters a chance to realize their entrepreneurial dreams. Access to meat and dairy processing equipment is essential to farmers, especially during this difficult economic time. And certainly access to affordable housing that is close to schools and services is something I ve been very supportive of.Today s grants were awarded to the following towns, businesses and organizations:$650,000 implementation grant to the Town of Hardwick to be sub-granted to Northern Enterprises for construction of the Vermont Food Venture Center 2, a multi-purpose food processing facility in the Hardwick Industrial Park. 19 jobs will be created of which 10 will be to individuals with low- to moderate- incomes.$648,000 grant to the Town of Westminster to be loaned to Vermont Meats to retrofit and equip an existing facility located on Back Westminster Road to be utilized as a meat and poultry slaughter and processing facility. 15 jobs will be created of which 12 will be available to low- and moderate- income individuals.$600,000 implementation grant to the Town of Brattleboro to be loaned to Commonwealth Yogurt to purchase specialized equipment for a Class II Dairy Processing facility. Using conventional, rBST free, and organic milk the facility will produce cultured products, primarily yogurt for private label retail and wholesale customers as well as co-pack production for major national brands. 25 jobs will be created of which 14 will be low- to moderate- income individuals.$590,000 grant to the Town of Randolph for Randolph Area Community Development Corp to rehabilitate the former Ethan Allen plant. This project called Salisbury Square redevelopment is a mixed use, mixed-income project that will include 22 homes, 14 rental units and 1200 square feet of office space on the blighted property adjacent to downtown.$300,000 grant to the Village of Swanton to be given as a deferred loan to Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont to construct 16 units of affordable rental housing known as Blake Commons. The vacant in-fill lot is situated near services, schools and recreation making it an ideal location for new housing.$294,820 grant to the City of Barre to be sub-granted to ReCycle North to purchase and renovate a historic granite shed in downtown Barre, cleanup contamination on the site, create classrooms and training spaces, and develop an efficient marketplace for reuse and processing areas to distribute goods to people in need. 10 jobs will be created of which 6 will be filled by low-to-moderate income individuals.$200,000 grant to the City of Montpelier to be sub-granted to Home Share of Central Vermont for service in Washington County and expanding into Orange and Lamoille Counties. This will allow Home Share to support 80 home share matches which will directly benefit 196 individuals.$30,000 planning grant to the Town of Hartford to be sub-granted to the Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation to create a plan for the redevelopment of Prospect Street in White River Junction.$24,900 access modification grant to the Town of Randolph to provide accessibility to the Randolph Municipal Building and bring it into full ADA compliance with state and federal regulations.$20,000 planning grant to the Town of Brighton to develop a plan to integrate the Island Pond commercial downtown with Island Pond Lake front by re-designing and improving the existing 5-acre Lakeside Park.The Agency awards the competitive grants based on recommendations of the Vermont Community Development Board and approval of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Kevin Dorn.For information about the Vermont Community Development Program, please see the Agency of Commerce and Community Development website at: http://www.dhca.state.vt.us/VCDP/index.htm(link is external)Source: Governor’s office, July 7, 2009last_img read more

Dominica government will continue its foreign policy in 2012

first_img Share LocalNews Dominica government will continue its foreign policy in 2012 by: – January 3, 2012 Share Tweet Sharing is caring!center_img Share 4 Views   no discussions Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says Dominica will continue its stance on foreign policy in 2012 despite criticism from opposing forces about government’s foreign policy decisions as they were done in the best interest of the country.“Our foreign policy drove our national policy. When I came into office in 2004 my first decision was to indicate to government that from hence forth, we will be devising and defining our own foreign policy. We have been pursuing that with great vigor and great benefits to our country. We have gone into non-traditional areas; we have been criticized for it but people are now seeing the benefits of these relations. We recognize that we have been doing things from a principle stand point. The rest of my colleagues may not agree but we stand on our principle positions. There are many people in Dominica who are still in the 70’s and 80’s but we are in the 21st century and those who are caught up in the 80’s and 70’s, that’s a matter for them. The country is moving ahead,” he said.He said it is time that Dominica leads the way.“We are not taking on fights that we have no business for. Those who criticize us have come around and understood why government took certain decision. We are seeing the benefits. In the past Dominica was the last to do something, in many respects we are the first,” he added.Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more