By David Dill. Now that we are about halfway through the summer construction season, many Vermonters have become aware that the Agency of Transportation is replacing all the road signs along Vermont’s interstate system. This work has prompted many questions, the most common is why?Understandably, many motorists believe that our old highway signs are just fine and that the money we are using to replace these highway signs could be better spent repairing bridges, expanding public transit and paving roads. I too would prefer to put every available dollar into these kinds of high-priority programs, but we do have to address our other responsibilities as well.The bottom line is that from an engineering and safety perspective, those old signs are not OK and the state must replace them. Here is why.Congress recently directed the Federal Highway Administration to adopt a national standard for retro-reflectivity for traffic signs and pavement markings. These new standards, which were established in 2008, apply to all roads open to public travel. Compliance with these new retro-reflectivity rules is a requirement that VTrans must meet by 2015 to continue to receive the critical federal-aid highway funds that come to Vermont.Federal-aid highway funds make up $250 million of the state’s $595 million transportation budget, and are used in all facets of the state’s highway, bridge and public transportation programs.The goal of this new reflectivity mandate is to provide signs that are legible during all times of day and weather conditions. This is largely accomplished through the retro-reflectivity of the sign sheeting. The expected life of this sheeting is approximately 15 years. Many of the signs on our interstate system are at least 20 years old, and some that were recently replaced on northern portions of I-91 were the original signs from way back in the 1960s and 70s.The posts and foundations for these signs are also being replaced. All new signposts are designed to be “breakaway” if struck by a vehicle. This modern technology is a valuable safety tool that will prevent injury and save lives. On the financial front, these sign projects do not tap funds that could otherwise be used for bridge, public transit or pavement projects, so they are not in conflict with those programs. Instead, the new signs are 100 percent federally funded with money called “Section 148 Highway Safety Improvement Program” funds, which can only be spent on safety-related projects.Sign improvements are one of several allowable project categories under Section 148. The federal government identified sign retro-reflectivity as an important safety feature, which led to the Highway Administration’s adoption of the mandate requiring states to upgrade their existing signs. As a result, VTrans, over the next few years, will replace all traffic control signs on a system-wide basis, prioritized by sign age, which is why the northern section of I-91 was completed first, followed by the current I-89 projects. The rest of the interstate system will follow so that we complete the work by the federally mandated 2015 deadline.David Dill is the Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Transportation8.4.2010
Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionThere ought to be a law that prohibits naming public spaces after living politicians. Those spaces belong to all of us — not just to the political party that happens to be in power at that particular time. Turning public spaces into advertisements for a political brand is reprehensible and undemocratic.For a case in point, consider the actions of the all-Democrat Niskayuna Town Board after Democrat Supervisor Joe Landry, a 10-year incumbent, was booted out of office last November by Republican Yasmine Syed, a political newcomer. She left him in the dust more than 500 votes behind. Yet, the Town Board’s reaction was to vote to rename the town’s ball fields after him. What a travesty. That land is community property — not Democrat (or Republican) property.Syed swamped Landry by an official tally (provided by the Schenectady County Board of Elections — a very helpful outfit) of 3,774 to 3,021. These results are even more impressive when you consider the fact that registered Democrats in Niskayuna outnumber registered Republicans by 6,287 to 4,044.The fact that Landry’s two running mates on the Democratic ticket won re-election to the Niskayuna Town Board makes it clear that voter dissatisfaction was aimed directly at him. So the vote was not against a particular party. It was a vote against a particular person (and for a strong opponent). To then affix his name to a public space defies logic and fair play.Peter Van AveryNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:Niskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusPuccioni’s two goals help Niskayuna boys’ soccer top Shaker, remain perfectFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?
Mark Johnson coached the Wisconsin women’s hockey team to its first national championship last season, largely in part to the team’s stellar goaltending. The success of the Badgers’ goalies was often overshadowed and overlooked by the success of Wisconsin’s offensive attack, which outscored opponents 155-51 in the 2005-06 campaign.Their impact, however, cannot be overstated. Sophomore Jessie Vetter, senior Christine Dufour and the newly departed Meghan Horras all competed with each other for playing time, and the multi-goalie system could not have worked out better. There were just four losses among them in the span of 41 games.Johnson employed the system at the start of last season, letting Dufour and Horras split starts each series while Vetter learned and adjusted to college hockey. After Vetter received her first start in January, it became a three-way fight for playing time.The coaching staff, impressed with Vetter’s play, handed more and more starts to Vetter. And Dufour, although she continued to play well, was victim to the hot goaltending of Horras and Vetter.Dufour made just four starts from last December to the end of the season and did not appear in the playoffs. Vetter went on even to claim Horras’ spot during the playoffs and was named the playoffs MVP. She had the start in five of the seven playoff games, including the final game to beat Minnesota for the national title.Johnson is trying that same system again this year, and it seems to be working just as well as it did last season. Vetter and Dufour are now splitting starts every series as freshman Alannah McCready learns, adjusts and waits her turn.”They’ve (Vetter and Dufour) taught me a lot already,” McCready said. “[They’ve taught me] to just keep working hard, that this is much different than high school … and that it’s going to be harder and [you] can’t get down on yourself.”When asked if McCready would get a start in the foreseeable future, Johnson simply said, “Right now, no.”In Vetter’s two victories, she has allowed two goals, both of which came in an 8-2 victory this weekend. And in a statistic that defies logic, Vetter leads the conference in shorthanded points, as she recorded two assists on shorthanded goals scored by the Badgers.Dufour has put up nearly identical numbers as Vetter, although Dufour holds a slightly higher save percentage, and she has also allowed two goals, one in each start.In short, both have performed very well so far this season.”They’re just working on what they’ve been working on up to this point,” Johnson said. “They both work hard in practice and I like the competition between them and they push each other. They’re competing for ice time just like a lot of our players are … what I like up to this point is their work habits.”They’ve both played very well, but we want to make sure they stay involved,” Johnson added. “If for whatever reason we feel that one of them is playing better or matches up better against a particular opponent…then we might make changes.”With the two of them competing for starts, it was a question as to whether the competition could be a distraction. But both players said they believe a little competition can be a good thing.”I’m just working on improving each game,” Vetter said. “[Competing against Dufour] definitely makes you bring your best game … because each game you have to play well, because you never know when you might play again.””We’re both playing really well,” Dufour said. “And we’re both competing against each other, so we have a good relationship.”Both players were quick to give credit to their defense and penalty kill, which has been a key so far this season, particularly in this past series against St. Cloud State. There were a combined 25 penalties between the Badgers and Huskies, resulting in a multitude of powerplay chances for both sides.”We have a very good defense, and a lot of experienced [defenders] coming back,” Vetter said. “They’re doing a very good job of letting us see the puck, and if we don’t, they’re getting rid of any second chance opportunities for the other team.”While most of the attention the Badgers receive will go to big-name players like reigning Player of the Year Sara Bauer or scoring machine Jinelle Zaugg, it’s always important to remember the most crucial, and often most forgotten player on the ice: the one between the pipes.
Reminder: Check back for frequent updates during the week, especially with so many injuries leaving ranking slots up in the air. For more individual RB analysis, click here.MORE WEEK 16: Waiver pickups | FAAB planning | Stock watch | Snap counts | Fantasy playoff tipsWeek 16 Fantasy PPR Rankings: RBsThese rankings are for full-point PPR leagues.RankPlayer1Christian McCaffrey, CAR @ IND2Saquon Barkley, NYG @ WAS3Nick Chubb, CLE vs. BAL4Leonard Fournette, JAX @ ATL5Ezekiel Elliott, DAL @ PHI6Chris Carson, SEA vs. ARZ7Joe Mixon, CIN @ MIA8Kenyan Drake, ARZ @ SEA9Devonta Freeman, ATL vs. JAX10Le’Veon Bell, NYJ vs. PIT11Marlon Mack, IND vs. CAR12Alvin Kamara, NO @ TEN13Mark Ingram, BAL @ CLE14Phillip Lindsay, DEN vs. DET15Todd Gurley, LAR @ SF16Mike Boone, MIN vs. GB17James Conner, PIT @ NYJ18Austin Ekeler, LAC vs. OAK19Melvin Gordon, LAC vs. OAK20Raheem Mostert, SF vs. LAR21Aaron Jones, GB @ MIN22Dion Lewis, TEN vs. NO23James White, NE vs. BUF24David Montgomery, CHI vs. KC25DeAndre Washington, OAK @ LAC26Adrian Peterson, WAS vs. NYG27Miles Sanders, PHI vs. DAL28Kareem Hunt, CLE vs. BAL29Patrick Laird, MIA vs. CIN30Devin Singletary, BUF @ NE31Kerryon Johnson, DET @ DEN32Myles Gaskin, MIA vs. CIN33Tarik Cohen, CHI vs. KC34Ronald Jones, TB vs. HOU35Peyton Barber, TB vs. HOU36Nyheim Hines, IND vs. CAR37Duke Johnson Jr., HOU @ TB38Carlos Hyde, HOU @ TB39Jamaal Williams, GB @ MIN40Matt Breida, SF vs. LAR41Jalen Richard, OAK @ LAC42Latavius Murray, NO @ TEN43Sony Michel, NE vs. BUF44Royce Freeman, DEN vs. DET45Dare Ogunbowale, TB vs. HOU46Chris Thompson, WAS vs. NYG47Darwin Thompson, KC @ CHI48Ameer Abdullah, MIN vs. GB49Spencer Ware, KC @ CHI50LeSean McCoy, KC @ CHI51David Johnson, ARZ @ SEA52Jaylen Samuels, PIT @ NYJ53Tevin Coleman, SF vs. LAR54Rex Burkhead, NE vs. BUF55Boston Scott, PHI vs. DAL56Khari Blasingame, TEN vs. NO57C.J. Prosise, SEA vs. ARZ58Gus Edwards, BAL @ CLE59Giovani Bernard, CIN @ MIA60Tony Pollard, DAL @ PHI61Frank Gore, BUF @ NE62Brian Hill, ATL vs. JAX63J.D. McKissic, DET @ DEN64Malcolm Brown, LAR @ SF65Javorius Allen, NYG @ WAS Dalvin Cook’s going to steal a lot of the Week 16 RB rankings headlines, but it’s really a simple situation. Be it Cook, Alexander Mattison or Mike Boone starting against the Packers on Monday Night Football, you’ll want to play the starter in your fantasy championships. So, let’s move on and get into some other questions when it comes to our Week 16 fantasy RB PPR rankings.After watching James Conner and the Steelers on Sunday Night Football in Week 15, you might have a lot of questions about his usage. So do we. But he averaged 5.3 yards per carry, and as long as he doesn’t do anything to bother his shoulder, we’d expect him to get more runs in Week 16 against the Jets and keep up a similar efficiency. He’s also the type of guy who can catch at least a few passes, so you can rely on him in PPR. You can also count on Todd Gurley against a 49ers defense that just allowed Devonta Freeman some running room. Injuries have depleted that San Francisco group, and Gurley also catches passes and should be better than that bad matchup. WEEK 16 NON-PPR RANKINGS:Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | KickerDevin Singletary, on the other hand, worries us. You could look at it one of two ways. One: Joe Mixon rushed for more than 60 yards in the first quarter against New England in Week 15. Two: New England has a great defense. There is a third wrinkle thrown in — Frank Gore ran for 109 yards against the Pats in Week 4 when Singletary was hurt, but there’s enough issues with the Buffalo offense as a whole to expect struggles and give reason to stay away from Singletary.WEEK 16 PPR RANKINGS: Wide receiver | Tight endIf you choose to bench Singletary, you’ll need another option. Picking up Mattison and/or Boone from Minnesota is one approach. You could also see if Kerryon Johnson (knee) is available, as he looks likely to be activated from Injured Reserve and had shown an improved pass-catching ability early in the season. There’s also PPR favorite Patrick Laird from Miami, who should have a chance to score against the Bengals in Week 16 and should also get his usual four or five catches.WEEK 16 DFS LINEUPS:FD Cash | FD GPP | DK Cash | DK GPP | Y! Cash | Y! GPPIn general, though, Week 16 is not the time to mess around too much. You’ve gotten to championships on the backs of probably a few strong RBs. Count on them to take you to glory unless a matchup is too good to avoid.MORE WEEK 16 DFS: Stacks | Values | Lineup Builder