The announcement of the 2016 Laetare Medal recipients, Vice President Joe Biden and former Speaker of the House John Boehner, came with no lack of controversy in the Notre Dame community, and one of the strongest responses came in the form of a national petition opposing Biden as a candidate for the medal.Allison Gower, the campaign manager of the national petition against the Laetare Medal decision, said the petition was a result of Notre Dame alumni and Catholics expressing their disapproval of Biden as an appropriate candidate. The petition was created by Sycamore Trust, an alumni organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the Catholic identity of the University of Notre Dame.“These people are angered because they feel Biden goes against many Catholic principals and beliefs the award should uphold,” Gower said in an email. “For example, Biden does not support pro-life policies and is for same-sex marriage. The petition declares, ‘We should seek to honor those who act to protect human life and dignity, from conception to natural death, who respect true marriage and the family,’ which they feel Biden does not.”Bill Dempsey, the creator of the petition and member of Sycamore Trust, said the group rarely proposes petitions, but that this was a particularly egregious case that he felt the group needed to combine their voices of protest and share their reasons.“This action is even more objectionable than was the honoring of President Obama, who is not Catholic and whose opposition to the Church, so far as it was known at the time, was limited to abortion,” Dempsey said in an email. “Vice President Biden’s opposition is broad. He is the highest-ranking Catholic pro-choice politician who also supports same-sex marriage, public funding of embryonic stem cell research and the Obamacare contraception mandate that Notre Dame is fighting in court. [Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades] is plainly right in condemning Notre Dame’s action as scandalous.”Dempsey said the decision to award Biden the medal shows that Notre Dame does not take seriously the Church teachings that Biden rejects.“Notre Dame’s action will confirm in their error Catholics who share Biden’s dissenting views and arm dissenting Catholic politicians in their opposition to Church position,” Dempsey said. “Besides, what I find incomprehensible is that [University President Fr. John Jenkins] would take this action knowing full well that it would once again open a breach with Notre Dame’s bishop and once again bring strife into an occasion that should be one of unalloyed celebration for graduating seniors and their families.”Gower said the original goal of the petition was 1,000 signatures. However, as of April 6 the petition has over 2,400 signatures that range from members of the Notre Dame community to people in foreign countries.Dempsey said Sycamore Trust did not propose rescinding the award because they thought it would be futile.“What we hope is that the fellows and trustees will take appropriate action to insure against a repetition and to repair relations with Bishop Rhoades,” Dempsey said.Tags: Commencement, Joe Biden, John Boehner, Laetare Medal, petition
Ed Colodny, long-time member of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra board was recently named honorary chair of the VSO Endowment Campaign. In January, the VSO governing board announced that it has launched a major campaign to raise $3.5 million, and that it had already raised $2.6 million toward that goal. The VSO is so vital to the cultural–and economic–well-being of Vermont, Colodny says. Can you imagine the void if the VSO were not here? I am honored to serve as honorary chair of this effort, and ask all who benefit from the VSO to join in this important campaign.Colodny, a Burlington native, served the Burlington community as interim president and chief executive officer of the Fletcher Allen Health Care, and prior to that, as interim president and chief executive officer of the University of Vermont. He was president and chief executive officer of US Airways before becoming chair of the board of Comsat Corp, leader in global satellite and digital networking services. Colodny has served on numerous boards around the country. Ed Colodny loves this music and believes in this orchestra, says VSO board chair. Ken Squier. We could not have a better leader for this endowment effort. To have someone who has meant so much to all the state in this role is so meaningful and truly an honor for us all.The VSO has brought music to all corners of Vermont for 75 years. It was founded in the fall of 1934, when Vermont s scattered musical forces, including musicians, farmers, bankers, plumbers, and teachers, joined together to become the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. The organization became the first state-supported orchestra in 1939, and over the years as other state orchestras performed from music halls, the VSO continued to bring music to historic and beautiful outdoor locations around the state. Today, under the leadership of Jaime Laredo, the orchestra has become a great professional orchestra.During the 2007/2008 season the Orchestra reached an audience of 61,358 in 161 communities, including 28,198 school children through its popular SymphonyKids outreach program in Vermont schools. Overall the Orchestra produced 339 performances and events statewide 296 of the events were offered free of charge to the audience.For additional information about the VSO Endowment Campaign, please contact the VSO at 2 Church Street, Suite 3B, Burlington, Vermont 05401 or call 800-876-9293, ext. 25. For information about forthcoming concerts, please visit VSO website at www.vso.org(link is external).
NRG Systems Inc,Jan Blittersdorf, CEO/Owner of NRG Systems (www.nrgsystems.com(link is external)), was recently named chair of the American Wind Wildlife Institute (AWWI) (http://www.awwi.org/(link is external)). As a first order of business, Jan attended a meeting in February with top White House officials to discuss new wind energy siting guidelines issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. â ¢ The development, with the Nature Conservancy, of a unique landscape assessment tool designed to identify sensitive wildlife habitat and areas that are likely to have low wildlife risk where wind energy development could be prioritized;â ¢ Launch of pilot study to build a comprehensive research information system, gathering existing wind-wildlife data to support critical scientific research and analysis;â ¢ The release of Enabling Progress (http://www.awwi.org/initiatives/mitigation.aspx(link is external)), a report that provides a review of current wildlife related mitigation practices employed in the United States and how those practices might relate to future wind energy development.‘From the outset, Jan’s collaborative style and vision have provided clear direction to this group,’ says Abby Arnold, AWWI executive director. ‘With her as chair, we will continue to benefit from her leadership and advance our vision of furthering wind energy and addressing potential wildlife impacts.’Jan Blittersdorf previously served as AWWI vice chair.The eight non-profit partner organizations of AWWI include: Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club and Union of Concerned Scientists. In addition to NRG Systems, the remaining ten AWWI industry and utility partners include: American Wind Energy Association, BP Wind Energy, GE Energy, Horizon Wind Energy, Iberdrola Renewables, Pacific Gas & Electric, Renewable Energy Systems Americas, Ridgeline Energy, Shell WindEnergy, and Vestas Americas.For more information about American Wind Wildlife Institute, visit www.awwi.org(link is external).About NRG SystemsNRG Systems’ wind measurement equipment can be found on every continent in more than 140 countries, serving electric utilities, wind farm developers, research institutes, and government agencies. The Hinesburg (VT) company, founded in 1982, has been nationally recognized for its LEED gold-certified manufacturing facility and its employee best-practices. For more information on NRG Systems, Inc., visit www.nrgsystems.com(link is external).# # #
Ghana- born former France Captain Marcel Desailly wants Ghanaians to desist from putting pressure on Michael Essien to end his self-imposed exile from the Black Stars.The Chelsea ace last played for the Black Stars in June 2011 during a 201 2 Nations Cup qualifier before a knee injury picked during pre-season training with his club sidelined him for six months.Essien made a return to active football before the turn of the year 2011 but asked to be excused from international duty.He was left out Ghana’s squad for the 2012 and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals.It was expected that the former Real Madrid player would have announced his imminent return after last Saturday’s charity football match dubbed the Game of Hope organized by the Michael Essien Foundation but that was not to be.“It is his own decision, he got three very big injuries where he could have completely stop football,” said Desailly. “Two of the injuries he had was caused by going into national team and playing on bad field which has created a lot of problem for him.“I think we should leave him in peace and I’m not sure he will be able to answer, yes he wants to come back but his body doesn’t want, he has to stick to one competition.“Unfortunately the choice is not there for him, from the heart yes is Ghana, yes he will be there but from the physical aspect I’m not sure he can handle it.”