Governor Shumlin announces safety improvements for Route 4 in the Hartford area

first_imgFollowing a recent increase in the number of serious motor vehicle crashes on US Route 4 in the Hartford-Woodstock area, including four fatalities in recent months, Governor Peter Shumlin today announced that the Agency of Transportation will install portable message boards reminding drivers to be alert and focus on safety, pave deteriorated stretches of the roadway surface, install centerline rumble strips in appropriate areas, conduct an engineering review to determine what further safety treatments may be warranted, and work with local officials on proposed improvements. ‘My heart goes out to the families of those injured or killed on Route 4, or any other Vermont road,’Gov. Shumlin said in an afternoon stop at the Hartford Police Department, with Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell, Rep. Alison Clarkson, AOT Deputy Secretary Sue Minter, and others. ‘We will work with communities in this area to determine what safety measures make sense for Route 4. I also remind people to drive with caution and stay alert to prevent accidents.’ ‘The lives of our citizens are at stake,’said Sen. John Campbell. ‘Our obligation is to act now.’ Gov. Shumlin and Minter met with local emergency and town officials, including Hartford Police and Fire Chief Steve Locke and Woodstock Town Manager Phil Swanson, to discuss the increase in Route 4 accidents. The Governor outlined the state’s short-term assistance, including safety signage and paving, and pledged to work with local officials and emergency staff as conversations about longer-term solutions move forward. Gov. Shumlin said it’s not clear why Route 4 has been the scene of an unusually high number of accidents this spring, but if structural changes are needed, that will be determined and work will be scheduled.‘I cannot stress enough how important it is for drivers to slow down and pay attention on this road,’Gov. Shumlin said. ‘And as we head into summer, that need for caution extends across the state.’last_img read more

All eyes on Rio… Solos and USA Cycling partner up

first_imgSolos and USA Cycling have partnered ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games to enable athletes and members of USA Cycling (USAC) ‘access to state-of-the-art, high-performance Solos smart eyewear, which integrates innovative heads-up display and audio technologies.’The partnership covers USAC’s developmental programs and the road and track USA Cycling Teams for the 2016 season, including the Rio Olympic Games. Solos adds that its ‘smart eyewear empowers cyclists with the critical performance data they need to train with precision and achieve peak performance without breaking stride.’“The Solos Smart Glasses offer a cutting edge tool for the continued success of USA Cycling athletes when training, and will play an integral role in our developmental programs and the USA Cycling Team on the road and track,” said Jim Miller, USA Cycling Vice President of Athletics.“This technology is especially vital with our women’s Olympic pursuit team in their Rio preparations and would be perfect for any road training program.”“The Solos Team has worked directly with Olympic cyclists to ascertain the critical feedback required for smart eyewear in a minimalist, functional and fashionable design,” said Dr Ernesto Martinez, Director at Solos.“The key insights included keeping it lightweight, streamlined, intuitive to operate and keeping the rider’s eyes on the road. These design pillars are evident throughout Solos, giving riders exactly what they need and nothing that they don’t.”“We are always looking for technologies to help improve and push the limits of our athletes’ performance, on the road and on the track, especially aiming at our goal for gold in Rio 2016,” added Andy Sparks, Director of Track Cycling Programs, USA Cycling.He continued, “We worked in conjunction with the SOLOS team from the ground up to develop a wearable technology that could be a game changer in the industry and have a great impact across the board.”Solos is positioned as an ultra-lightweight performance Smart eyewear streamlined for aerodynamics, style and comfort. Solos notes that it allows cyclists to easily access real-time performance data from their smartphone or wearable sensors on its high-resolution heads-up display with ‘an image three times larger than premium bike computers’.“As soon as I put them on, I can suddenly see all of my favorite data without looking down at my computer,” said Sarah Hammer, two- time Olympic Silver medalist, 2016 World Champion and 2016 Olympic Team Member. “The screen is a big information giver without impairing my vision or being distracting; I can really focus on my ride and training… honestly, it just feels natural.”Solos displays performance metrics such as heart rate, speed, power, pace, cadence, distance, duration and other Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible data. The Solos app captures, streams and syncs data, allowing cyclists to customize workouts while keeping track of target performance levels. It also supports existing training programs and new tool development that enables users to see progress and heighten performance capabilities.Solos will be available to pre-order in May 2016 for a retail price of US$499. USA Cycling members have exclusive early pre-order access and a 25% discount. Individuals can sign up at for the discount and ordering details.Recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling is the official governing body for all disciplines of competitive cycling in the United States, including BMX, cyclo-cross, mountain bike, road and track.As a membership-based organization, USA Cycling comprises 64,000 members; 3,000+ clubs and teams; and 34 local associations. The national governing body sanctions over 2,600 competitive and non-competitive events throughout the US each year and is responsible for the identification, development, and support of American cyclists.The mission of Solos is to ‘create unique performance-enabled devices meant to inspire athletes to their greatest potential’. By creating optimal head-up displays and simplified accessibility to performance data, Solos focuses on catering to today’s dedicated athletes. The Solos’ vision is to be ‘lighter, smaller, smarter and better, all while delivering innovative, safe and intelligent solutions.’ Solos is a brand of Kopin Corporation.Kopin Corporation is a leading developer and provider of innovative wearable technologies and solutions for integration into head-worn computing and display systems to military, industrial and consumer customers. Kopin’s technology portfolio includes ultra-small displays, optics, speech enhancement technology, system and hands-free control software, low-power ASICs, and ergonomically designed smart headset reference systems. Kopin’s proprietary components and technology are protected by more than 300 global patents and patents Relatedlast_img read more

States’ report card highlights threat of weather, infectious diseases

first_imgToday Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), a Washington, D.C.–based health advocacy group, in its annual report card ranking states’ preparedness for public health threats, noted that the leading challenges this year took the form of natural weather disasters, including hurricanes Harvey and Irma.”Preparedness was weather-related this year,” said John Auerbach, MBA, the president and chief executive officer of TFAH, in a press conference. “But preparedness is inconsistent across states.””As a nation, we—year after year—fail to fully support public health and preparedness,” Auerbach added in a TFAH press release. “If we don’t improve our baseline funding and capabilities, we’ll continue to be caught completely off-guard when hurricanes, wildfires, and infectious disease outbreaks hit.”The report also noted that preparedness in general—including for infectious disease threats—was down among states compared with last year, and preparedness is being undermined by underfunding. Experts also underscored the problem of vaccine hesitancy.”What it takes to prepare for bioterrorism, major disease threats or major disasters is also essential to respond to ongoing health threats,” TFAH said in the report. “The bad news is that the accomplishments achieved to improve public health and preparedness for all hazards are being undermined due to severe budget cuts and lack of prioritization.”Half of states scored 5 or lowerAccording to the TFAH report, US states and territories experienced 15 separate weather and climate disaster events, each with losses exceeding $1 billion, and that excluded recent wildfires in California. Hurricanes Harvey and Maria alone killed nearly 200 people, displaced thousands in Texas and Louisiana, and produced catastrophic flooding and major public health emergencies.Celeste Philip, MD, MPH, surgeon general and secretary of the Florida Department of Health (Florida Health) said her state faced Zika last year and then Hurricane Irma this year—major public health crises that have tested Florida Health’s ability to  rapidly respond to a situation.”Federal investment is critical for building a public health infrastructure that has the capacity to prepare for and recover from weather and other hazardous situations,” Philip said in the TFAH report.The report card is based on 10 key indicators of public health preparedness. Half of all states scored a 5 or lower (out of 10), with Alaska scoring the lowest (2), and Massachusetts and Rhode Island scoring the highest (9). Delaware, North Carolina, and Virginia each scored 8 out of 10. Florida received a 6.That is down from last year, when Massachusetts scored a 10, North Carolina and Washington state scored a 9, only 9 states scored 5 or lower, and no state scored lower than 3.But Auerbach said the report card, a 116-page document called “Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism,” is not a comprehensive analysis.”Some of the states lacking several of the indicators have protected the public well this year,” said Auerbach. “But the report card is necessary to provide the public a better understanding of preparedness.”Focus on federal fundingThroughout the press conference, Auerbach emphasized the lack of federal funding for public health threats. Time and again, Auerbach said, an emergency, whether it’s in the form of Zika or wildfires, leaves states scrambling for federal dollars.”Federal funding has been cut by more than half since 2002,” Auerbach said. In 2002, federal officials spent $940 million on health emergencies. In 2017, that number dropped to $667 million.In the report card, TFAH called for a complementary Public Health Emergency Fund to provide immediate surge funding for specific actions regarding major emerging threats.Auerbach said that money is crucial, especially because only 19 states plus Washington, DC, increased or maintained their public health budgets this year. Last year 26 states increased or maintained public health funding.Public health funding commitment was the first indicator of a state’s preparedness. Other indicators included national health security preparedness, public health department accreditation, antibiotic resistance efforts, flu vaccination rates, enhanced nurse licensure compact participation, United States climate alliance, public health laboratories, and paid sick leave laws.Addressing undervaccinationKaren Remley, MD, MBA, CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) spoke during the press conference about the need for more vaccination efforts across the country, citing outbreaks of measles and whooping coughs as costly public health crises that could have been avoided with routine immunizations.”The AAP maintains that vaccines are safe, effective, and save lives,” Remley said. Only 20 states reported vaccinating more than half of their populations against seasonal influenza, a rate that climbed from 10 states in last year’s report.Auerbach and Remley said that states across the nation had to focus on—in addition to vaccination—antimicrobial resistance, calling it one of the biggest threats facing the public. Twenty states plus Washington, DC, had 70% or more of hospitals reporting that they met antibiotic stewardship program core elements in 2016.See also: Dec 19 TFAH press releaseDec 19 TFAH “Ready or Not?” reportAug 30 CIDRAP News story “Experts: Avoid unneeded tetanus shots in wake of Harvey”Apr 20 CIDRAP News story “US preparedness index finds sluggish, uneven response”last_img read more