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Experience Charlottesville and Albemarle County at Its Natural Best, No Matter the Season

Experience Charlottesville and Albemarle County at Its Natural Best, No Matter the Season

first_imgWhen it’s time to rest up after your outdoor adventures, our area boasts the full range of lodging options, from resorts and boutique hotels, to remote bed and breakfasts and everything in between.  Enjoy the outdoors at an easy pace along a riverside trail, on a hike to a ridge or peak, from the seat of a bike, afloat on one of our rivers, relaxing comfortably in the shade at a winery with a clear view of a sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains… however you’d like to appreciate our spacious countryside, we can point you in the right direction. In an effort to ensure the safety of all, wearing a face covering is now mandatory in all public spaces. Local restaurants, shops and attractions have implemented comprehensive plans to ensure that your visit is both exceptionally enjoyable and appropriately responsible. Visit by car in order to maintain a comfortable social distance and maximize mobility for the duration of your trip: everything mentioned above and detailed below can be enjoyed within a 25-minute drive of downtown Charlottesville. Our part of Virginia has safely reopened. Join us when you can! This video, produced in May 2020, features must-see local landmarks and a socially distanced performance of “Space for Days” by Kendall Street Company (a Charlottesville-based band). The most spectacular season in our part of Virginia in terms of natural beauty has to be fall. Leaves near the peaks of the mountains begin to change in late September. Peak fall color usually arrives in mid to late October. Visit Carter Mountain Orchard, from which you can see the entirety of downtown Charlottesville below and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west in all their fall splendor. And, of course, for the ultimate perspective on the area, float overhead in a hot-air balloon.  Be sure to spend some quality time in our parks and natural areas during your visit. The highest and most iconic trails can be found in the Blue Ridge Mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway or Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. Try the Humpback Rocks Trail, a steep, short hike to a 360-degree view atop the rocky peak. There you’ll see as much of the Shenandoah Valley and the mountains of Albemarle County as you would out of the windows of a private jet. The ever-popular Saunders-Monticello Trail, adjacent to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and Carter Mountain Orchard, is another excellent place for a hike, no matter the season. Put the Rustic Highland Trails at nearby James Monroe’s Highland high on your list for consideration as well. Kayak, tube, raft, or paddleboard on the James or Rivanna Rivers. The Rivanna is calm and wide, lined with shaded rocky banks, and close to the heart of downtown. The James, broad and beautiful, is our biggest river. On your way to or from the James, stop by Scottsville’s quaint, historic downtown for a drink or a bite to eat. From the Rivanna, try the pedestrian mall in the heart of Charlottesville, an eight-block stretch of shops, restaurants, cafes and public art. It’s a great place to enjoy a socially-distanced outdoor lunch, dinner or morning coffee. Don’t worry about bringing your own equipment to either river. Look to the Rivanna River Company at the Rivanna, and James River Runners or James River Reeling and Rafting near the James for any rentals you may need. Tubing on the James River Carter Mountain Orchard Cover Photo: Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards Sunset at Humpback Rocks Should you have any questions when planning your visit, give us a call, visit our website, or stop by one of our visitor centers to speak with our knowledgeable travel specialists. Plan your trip today at www.visitcharlottesville.org. The USA Cycling National Team trained here in Charlottesville and Albemarle County prior to the 2015 UCI Road World Championships for a reason. Scenic and hilly, our roads make for perfect training grounds. The southern end of Skyline Drive, the road at the center of Shenandoah National Park, meets with the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway just west of Albemarle County, and either route is perfect for an intense bike ride. Find flatter, breezier trails and roads closer to the city. The roads and trails in and around downtown Charlottesville are excellent for biking, running, hiking and walking with friends or family.  last_img read more

Romanian regulator to expand pension fund corporate investment

Romanian regulator to expand pension fund corporate investment

first_imgBobocea told IPE the association had been discussing potential changes with the AFS for some months.These include reviewing the risk coefficients of the asset classes pension funds can currently invest in.“This would ultimately lead to more direct investment in stock,” he said.For example, while the limits state that funds can invest between 0% and 70% in government bonds, in practice, the numerous valuations force medium-risk funds into investing 60-65% into state securities.The APAPR has also proposed the possibility of buying and trading corporate bonds, currently restricted to “regulated stock markets”, on the OTC market, and allowing interest rate risk hedging and other uses of derivatives.“The current legislation is restrictive and only allows for some forex hedges,” said Bobocea.The AFS’s announcement follows on from prime minister Victor Ponta’s statements to the Romanian press in July that appeared to rule out either a Hungarian-style nationalisation of the second-pillar funds or a Polish-style expropriation of their government bond assets.These spectres were raised last year following rumours the government intended to review the second pillar’s performance with the IMF.Ponta has since stated that he wanted to find, along with the European Commission and IMF, a solution enabling the funds to expand their investments beyond government bonds in ways that would benefit the real economy.He told the Romanian financial weekly Capital that while the Hungarian solution produced good results in the short term, in the medium term, it would prove a mistake. Romania’s financial supervisory authority (AFS) has announced it intends to review the regulations for private pension funds to increase their direct investment in the real economy, primarily via listed equities and corporate bonds.According to the authority, the second and third-pillar fund investments in Bucharest Stock Exchange (BSE) listed companies totalled RON2.73bn (€617m).The funds are large shareholders in the recent major state-owned company IPOs on the BSE, with 20.6% in nuclear power plant Nuclearelectrica, 22.8% in natural gas producer Romgaz and 18.6% in electricity distributor Electrica, as well as holding significant stakes in other strategically important companies.Mihai Bobocea, adviser to the board of the Romanian Pension Funds’ Association (APAPR), added that, according to the association’s estimates, pension funds now account for 10% of the BSE’s trading volume.last_img read more

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Celtics’ Rajon Rondo talk basketball over breakfast

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Celtics’ Rajon Rondo talk basketball over breakfast

first_imgBOSTON >> The two men once faced each other in physically intense battles that both defined the Lakers-Celtics rivalry and determined NBA championships. But on Thursday morning, there Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Celtics guard Rajon Rondo sat together for breakfast at The Paramount in Beacon Hill.“It was delicious,” said Bryant, though the breakfast involved more than just enjoying toast and orange juice. Bryant joked he and Rondo had a “mutual intervention” surrounding their respective team struggles. In reality, Bryant reported having a “basketball geek conversation” that entailed revisiting the Lakers and Celtics trading NBA titles in 2008 and 2010. Bryant’s nostalgia quickly turned to sarcasm when he was asked what he thinks of Rondo as a future teammate once he becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason. “We get along extremely well and see the game in similar fashion in terms of our aggressiveness and mind-set,” Bryant said. “It’s good to get together with him.”Lakers coach Byron Scott couldn’t fathom the idea of having dinner with a Celtics player during his time with the Lakers during their Showtime Era. “I’m still real old school,” Scott said. “I don’t have breakfast with Danny (Ainge) and all those guys.”Scott spoke too soon. Ainge, the Celtics president of basketball operations, interrupted Scott’s post-game press conference and asked, Byron, wanna do breakfast in the morning?“When you come to L.A. Danny,” Scott responded, “we’ll go to breakfast.” But when he played, Scott believed the personal animosity toward the Celtics enhanced his performance. “You do have to have a certain dislike for your opponent to go out there and try to kill him and beat him,” Scott said. “We looked at ourselves as our family. Anyone out of that circle was an enemy.”But in a few months, perhaps Rondo could morph from a Lakers’ enemy to a Lakers’ star. “I’ve never thought about having any future teammates before,” Bryant said before the Lakers’ 113-96 loss on Friday to the Celtics at TD Garden.Rondo offered similar sarcasm, saying, “He called me an (expletive), and I said the same thing. Just two (expletive) having breakfast.” The Celtics could trade Rondo before the Feb. 19, 2015 trade deadline to receive assets instead of allowing their star point guard to leave next summer for nothing. But a deal involving the Lakers seems complicated. The Lakers owe one first-round draft pick to Phoenix as part of the Steve Nash trade two years ago, assuming they do not land a top-five pick. The Lakers have also acquired a draft pick as part of the Jeremy Lin trade from Houston, which dumped salary to pursue Chris Bosh. But the Lakers will have enough cap room this summer to sign Rondo, who makes $12.9 million and averages 8.3 points, 10.9 assists and 7.4 rebounds per game. Bryant maintained he did not recruit Rondo during breakfast. But the Lakers’ star called Rondo “extremely intelligent.” Bryant praised Rondo’s playmaking and also gushed how he could rebound despite being listed at 6-foot-1.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

250 youth empowered to fight HIV through tennis sport

250 youth empowered to fight HIV through tennis sport

first_imgOrganisers pose for photos with semi finalists and winners of the youth tennis tournament.Kampala, Uganda  | THE INDEPENDENT |  250 Ugandan youths have completed a program designed to empower youth through the sport of tennis while also providing HIV/AIDS education.  Dubbed the Arthur Ashe Tennis Program, the initiative was implemented by the U.S. Mission in partnership with the Tartan Burners Athletic Club, the Uganda Tennis Association (UTA), and the Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV&AIDS (UNYPA).  The Program provides HIV/AIDS education and awareness, in honour of fallen African American tennis player, Arthur Ashe, the first and only African American male to win the U.S Open and Wimbledon singles titles. Ashe was the world number 1 tennis player in 1968.  Ashe learned in 1988 that he had contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion and became an HIV/AIDS activist. He started the Ashe Arthur Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS. In 1993, Ashe died of AIDS-related pneumonia.  The US Embassy holds the youth tennis program annually to honour his legacy of “fighting for racial equality and HIV awareness.  The program sponsored tennis clinics and HIV/AIDS education in Hoima, Gulu, Arua, Jinja and Fort Portal, where Tennis instructors teach tennis skills to the youth aged 13-18, and Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV&AIDS holds sessions on HIV/AIDS education.  This climaxed with a Grand Finale at the Lugogo Tennis Court in Kampala, where the US mission organized a youth tournament final and exhibition doubles match between Uganda and USA players on Saturday afternoon.  Christopher Krafft, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala explains that the Mission launched the Arthur Ashe Tennis Program to coincide with the US celebration of Black History Month, a period to commemorate the contribution of various African Americans in various disciplines.  Krafft says that HIV is still a significant health problem and that everyone must take personal responsibility to reduce the spread of the disease. It is estimated that 1.4 million Ugandans are living with HIV.  Some of the youths who attended the grand finale of the program told Uganda Radio Network-URN that the program was empowering and that they are prepared to lead campaigns for an AIDS-free generation. Jovas Natukunda and Karen Namatovu lauded the US Mission for sponsoring the program while Reagan Odongkara, who is a student of Gulu High School says that he will encourage his peers to abstain or use condoms in order to avoid HIV infections.    During the event, Moses Nsubuga alias Supercharger shared his journey, loving with HIV and leading a positive, inspirational life since 1994.  Meanwhile, one Shakira, a young girl born with HIV asked youths to take charge of their lives by living responsibly. She says that much as they encourage infected persons to take their medication among other tips, it is best not to contract the virus. Phil Dimon, the Spokesperson of the US Mission says that he hopes that the program will be held annually and also spread beyond five districts in the near future. He however says that the continuity of the program will depend on the availability of funds.  The US Mission allocated 92 million Shillings for the inaugural Arthur Ashe Tennis program which catered for the tennis clinics and activities for the grand finale. *******URNShare on: WhatsApplast_img read more

And,They’re Off!

And,They’re Off!

first_imgBy John BurtonMonmouth Park opens May 12 for its 67th seasonOCEANPORT – Those celebrating the start of a new racing season at Monmouth Park acknowledge, it’s been a tough year already.“It’s been quite a challenge,” said Dennis Drazin, the lawyer representing the New Jersey Horsemen’s Association, which will be operating the track.Drazin of Red Bank took the opportunity at a press conference and celebration prior to this week’s opening day to offer a brief overview of the struggle to ensure that the track, now under private sector ownership, would continue to operate.“You don’t know how close we came to shutting down Monmouth Park,” Drazin said.Drazin represents the association, which has control of the track through its management company, Darby Development LLC.The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operated the track since 1985, had been in negotiations for some time, looking to hammer out a deal with the horsemen’s association that would allow the track’s continued operation. Gov. Chris Christie has said the state should get out of the racetrack business as tracks continued to see attendance dwindle and revenue decline. There had been widespread speculation that the track would close if no deal were struck.Among some of the hurdles that had to be jumped was getting support from the various entities needed to operate the track so plans could move forward, Drazin said.The track has been undergoing some aesthetic renovations in preparations for the season.“We haven’t been able to do all the renovations we wanted to this year,” Drazin said.In the future, he said, there will be a miniature golf course and a boardwalk-like attraction. The association plans to reconsider building a water park attraction.The strategy is to make the racetrack more of a family destination.“All of this is vital for the future,” Drazin said.Among the immediate changes for the season will be to catering and food service. “I don’t want to be critical,” Drazin said. “But we needed a change.”BAM Management, LLC will be responsible for food service this year with executive chef Erik Weatherspool, who gained some notice by winning on The Food Channel show Chopped.“We’re changing a lot of things,” the chef said.Weatherspool worked for about a decade at Joe and Maggie’s Bistro, Long Branch, and owned and operated Bistro 44, in Toms River. “The food will speak for itself,” he said.One of the big questions involves whether other types of gambling will be allowed at racetracks, Drazin said. That won’t likely happen for “five years, at least.”The reason is the Christie administration is working to revitalize the Atlantic City gaming industry, he said.“The future may very well include gambling in the northern part of the state,” but for now, “We need to focus on the revenue stream we have,” Drazin said.“We have to focus on the competitive product we have here at Monmouth Park.”Joseph Irace, Oceanport Borough Council president, who was on hand for the conference and luncheon said, “I think it’s a big positive,” what is going on at the track.“I see more excitement than we’ve seen in the last few years,” Irace said.The track is important for Oceanport, as it contributes about 28 percent of the town’s tax base and is its largest employer. Horse breeding is an important part of the county’s heritage and economy, Irace said.As for the horses, Mike Sedlacek, a trainer and owner of six thoroughbreds from Florida, said he has been spending the last few years running his horses exclusively at Monmouth Park, and living in Howell for the season.“I like Monmouth and was a little nervous,” about its prospects, he said. “Where would I go now?”last_img read more

Man Jumps As Flames Engulf Red Bank Home

Man Jumps As Flames Engulf Red Bank Home

first_imgBy John Burton |RED BANK — Firefighters on Thursday afternoon battled a blaze that engulfed a West Side residence.Borough fire companies responded to a call that came in at approximately 3:09 p.m. reporting a fire at 16 Leonard St. That call indicated there was an individual trapped inside the structure, said Police Capt. Michael Clay.Clay said that as of 4 p.m., there was a report of one injury from a male in the home and trapped on the second floor. His injuries were not deemed life threatening and the victim was transported to an area hospital for observation, Clay said.Neighbor Jake Rademacher alerted his neighbor to the fire. Photo by Jay CookJake Rademacher, whose Bridge Avenue backyard abuts the Leonard Street property, said he was taking out the trash and smelled smoke. “And then I heard a big ‘whuump’ and saw the flames start shooting out of the building.”Rademacher said the flames quickly grew and spread through the two-story building with an attic. “And I then saw him in the second story window,” Rademacher said of the victim. “I told him to jump because you ain’t got a choice.”Fire Marshal Stanley Sickels, who was on the scene, said the fire moved quickly in the older home. “It was moving up through the walls into the attic,” he said, as firefighters continued on Thursday afternoon to quell the still visible flames that appeared to have destroyed the home.Sickels wouldn’t speculate at this time as to the fire’s origin or cause. “We’re still gathering statements, getting information for the ongoing investigation,” he said.Borough fire companies received support from Middletown’s River Plaza fire company and from Sea Bright and Fire Haven departments.According to borough tax records, the home is owned by William and Shirley Sharkey.last_img read more

Hawks sweep Leafs, edge Green and White in another one-goal nail biter Sunday in Fruitvale

Hawks sweep Leafs, edge Green and White in another one-goal nail biter Sunday in Fruitvale

first_imgThe Nelson Leafs have played very well for most of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League seasons.Unfortunately, very well won’t get the Green and White to the top of the Neil Murdoch standings.The Leafs saw its losing streak climb to four games after Beaver Valley Nitehawks – the Murdoch Division leaders — edged Nelson 4-3 Sunday afternoon in Frutivale.Beaver Valley, winning Friday in Nelson by the identical 4-3 margin, has won five of six games this season against the Leafs.Nelson also lost 6-4 to Castlegar Saturday in the Sunflower City.“It was a tough weekend for the boys but I think it was a good learning weekend,” Leaf head coach Frank Maida said Sunday. “Our team got a good eye opener to where we need to be on a consistent basis against two good teams in our division.”Craig Martin’s second-period power play goal, the fourth of the game for the odds-on favourite to win the KIJHL’s rookie of the year award, proved to be the winner as the Hawks escaped with its fourth one-goal victory over Nelson in six attempts.Twice Beaver Valley rallied from one-goal deficits.Nelson led as Nelson 2-1 in the first period on goals by Linden Horswill and Dallon Stoddart.After Martin tied the game at the end of the first 20 minutes, Max Mois busted out of a four-game goalless streak to give the Leafs a short-lived 3-2 advantage in the middle frame.Martin then scored twice on the power play, the winner coming with 6:38 remaining in the second.Beaver Valley out shot the Leafs 33-26 in the game as Mike Vlanich out dueled Nelson rookie goalie Patrick Defoe in the nets. The game was Defoe’s first start in a few games and the Leaf rookie did not disappoint the coaches.“Patrick played very well,” Maida exclaimed. “He played solid and steady and make some timely big saves when we needed them. I was very happy with Patrick’s performance after not having played for a few games.”The weekend sweep increases Beaver Valley’s lead in the Murdoch to 14 points over the Leafs.The Hawks hold a five-point advantage over Castlegar Rebels, the team Beaver Valley meets in a home-and-home series when the teams return from the Christmas break, Dec. 29 in the Sunflower City.“We feel finishing first in the division is very important,” said Beaver Valley head coach Terry Jones when asked about the weekend series against the Leafs. “We really hate to have to play (Nelson or Castlegar) in the first round (of the playoffs). Over the past few years that’s what we had to do . . . which means you have to go through to tough rounds to get out of the division.”WEEKEND NOTES: The win for Beaver Valley, 27-5, runs their unbeaten streak to 13 games. . . .Craig Martin has been a Leaf killer this season. During the six games the Beaver Valley winger has 11 goals and three assists. Two games Martin has scored four and three goals. . . .Friday, Scott Morriseau scored three times and rookie Brenden Heinrich added a pair to lead Castlegar past the Leafs. Daylen Pearson and Tyler Jones each had three assists as Castlegar finally defeated former teammate Andrew Walton. Four Leafs — Nick Newman, Matti Jmaeff, Cameron Dobransky and J.J. Beitel — replied for Nelson. . . .Nelson had three affiliate players in the lineup this weekend — defenceman Cole Arcuri Friday, forward Colton Dawson Saturday and defenceman Andrew Miller Sunday. . . .The four-goal performance by Martin lifts the Beaver Valley sniper into second spot in goals behind Creston’s Brandon Formosa. The Thunder Cat forward has scored 30 times. Martin is fifth in league scoring, nine points behind KLIJHL leader and teammate Ryan [email protected]last_img read more

Expert Eye – New Liverpool man is like ‘a young Thierry Henry’

Expert Eye – New Liverpool man is like ‘a young Thierry Henry’

first_imgLiverpool’s surprise move for Queens Park Rangers striker Loic Remy looks to be close to completion after reports emerged that the Frenchman will travel to the United States to meet up with the club and conduct his medical this week ahead of an £8.5m move.The signing of the 27-year-old is the latest of the summer for Brendan Rodgers, who looks to be putting the pain of losing star man Luis Suarez behind him.Remy has been in high demand over the past few months and his transfer to Anfield will mark something of a coup for Liverpool, especially given the reported interest from Arsenal.Below, we take a look at what the experts have to say about him.He has shown he knows where the net is. He is also a proven goalscorer in the Premier League. When you sign a player who is proven, particularly when it comes to putting the ball in the back of net, that is a good thing.Steve Nicol on Liverpool selling Fabio Borini and moving for RemyIf he goes to the right team, he’s capable of scoring 15 to 20 Premier League goals next season.QPR manager Harry Redknapp commenting on what Liverpool should expect from RemyHe can also play several positions and fully use the depth and quality all on his own. He gives us the opportunity to have different attacking options.France manager Didier Deschamps on on why he selected him for the World CupHe would provide a perfect option. His versatility doesn’t provide Brendan Rodgers with too much of a headache. You could play him in a three with out on the left so I don’t think that will be an issue.Mark Lawrenson on how he would fit in at LiverpoolRemy improves all the time. He reminds me of a young Thierry – his runs and the speed at which he playsArsene Wenger on Remy’s styleLiverpool fans, what do you think about the arrival of Loic Remy? Comment below… Loic Remy is set to join Liverpool 1last_img read more

Health care goes high tech in South Africa

Health care goes high tech in South Africa

first_img21 April 2016The innovative Electronic Bed Management System (eBMS) had reduced patient waiting times for beds by at least two hours at some hospitals in the Steve Biko Academic Cluster in Pretoria, said the Gauteng department of health at the official launch on 19 April.During the pilot phase at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital earlier this year, the system proved successful and it was decided to roll out the eBMS throughout the cluster.On average, 27.7 million patients visit hospitals across South Africa’s Gauteng province annually and there has been a shortage of beds.What is an electronic bed management system?The project is about managing hospital beds in the context of high demand on public health #eBMS— MECHealthGP (@GautengHealth) April 19, 2016See more:Already, staff members have commended the new system.“Hospital personnel are using the information gleaned from eBMS to make both long- and short-term decisions that have led to some hospitals seeing a reduction in patient waiting times and better ward and staff utilisation,” the department said.How it workseBMS allows hospital staff to view bed availability within their hospital on a large display screen. Because of its cloud-based technology, the information can even be accessed via the internet on computers or mobile devices such as phones and tablets.“This system can tell us where we should take casualty patients immediately, this is based on real time information” – MEC Mahlangu #eBMS— MECHealthGP (@GautengHealth) April 19, 2016Better careKalafong Hospital clinical manager Dr Khin Htwe said management was using eBMS to make reallocation decisions about ward beds.“We have split not frequently used wards to move beds to a ward that is always busy,” added Htwe. “Having had the system in place since early January, Kalafong has already seen a two-hour reduction in their casualty waiting times.” It helped to improve patient care because of increased transparency.Gauteng emergency medical services will also use the system when transporting patients to hospitals, which will lead to better co-ordination of it services.MEC for Health Qedani Mahlangu said the introduction of this system was part of initiatives by the department to improve health care provision through the use of technology.She anticipated the system would be fully implemented across the province by the end of 2016.MEC Qedani Mahlangu, addressing the #eBMS launch event. “This technology is crucial for hospitals and @GautengEMS ” pic.twitter.com/6Qe1EBUjOa— MECHealthGP (@GautengHealth) April 19, 2016Source: South Africa.info reporterlast_img read more

Ranking States’ Energy Efficiency Programs

Ranking States’ Energy Efficiency Programs

first_imgThe fifth edition of the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, announced on October 20, shows that Massachusetts and California essentially switched places, with Massachusetts now in the top spot and California ranked No. 2. But the lines between these distinctions are, happily, pretty thin, because the top two states – and all of the other states ranked in the top 10, for that matter – seem aggressively predisposed to programs that encourage investments in energy efficiency systems and environmentally sound practices.The day the ACEEE ranking was released, for example, the California Air Resources Board announced that it had unanimously adopted state-administered cap-and-trade regulations, stricter air pollution controls, and goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Increased energy efficiency will be one of the principal, operative concepts of this program, which will allow utilities to pass on the cost of compliance to ratepayers but also includes a mechanism to prevent price spikes.Parsing the rankingsIn addition to Massachusetts and California, this scorecard’s top 10 includes New York (no change in rank since the 2010 scorecard), Oregon (which shared the No. 3 spot last year), Vermont (no ranking change); Washington State and Rhode Island (which share the No. 5 spot with Vermont); Minnesota and Connecticut (no ranking change in either case); and Top 10 newcomer Maryland, which is one of the six most improved states in the overall ranking.Also among the most improved over the past year: Michigan, Illinois, and Nebraska, whose utilities have advanced significant energy saving programs, and Alabama and Tennessee, which joined Nebraska in adopting stringent building codes. (Twenty-nine states developed and/or implemented building code to improve energy efficiency in 2011, up from 20 in 2010 and up from 10 in 2009, according to the ACEEE.)Alabama, the ACEEE noted, also ranked among the 10 states most in need of improvement.Earning points and offering answersMany states below the top 10 have been shown impressive leadership in reducing energy use, the ACEEE says. Along with the $4.5 billion states budgeted in 2010 for electricity efficiency programs have come not only ambitious energy saving goals but policy commitments and technical research to support them. The scorecard is intended to not just highlight these advances but provide a “road map for states to advance energy efficiency in residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors.”Scores are pegged to six policy and performance areas: 1) utility and public benefits programs and policies; 2) transportation policies; 3) building energy codes; 4) combined heat and power; 5) state government initiatives; and 6) appliance efficiency standards. Each state can earn up to 50 points, with point awards weighted to the potential energy saving impact in each area, the ACCEE says. Total scores ranged from 2.5 to 45.5.The 10 states most in need of improvement are: North Dakota; Wyoming; Mississippi; Kansas; Oklahoma; South Carolina; West Virginia; Missouri; South Dakota; and, as noted above, Alabama. The lineup in this grouping has changed some since 2010, with South Carolina and South Dakota moving onto the list and Louisiana and Nebraska moving off the list and up in the rankings. Click here to download the full, 120-page report.last_img read more