Vermont Research: Vermont's COVID response, solar and wind goals, radon regulation

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Vermont Research: Vermont's COVID response, solar and wind goals, radon regulation

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 11:11am -- tim

 

High marks for state’s COVID-19 approach
Vermont, along with Montana and Idaho, showed the greatest improvement in reducing the spread of COVID-19, according to a new report analyzing data after March 24th and before April 21st. The study reports that how much improvement states showed could not be attributed to the density of infections around March 24th, nor to the population size of the state. See the Official Vermont State models here.
Solar & wind can meet Vermont’s goals
Vermont can meet its ambitious energy and emissions-related goals with less than 1% of its land area occupied by wind and solar PV infrastructure using a wide variety of infrastructure ratios and siting strategies, according to a recent article. The article uses Vermont as a case study for methods for states and governments to achieve aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.
Hospital driving time & health outcomes
Driving time from rural hospitals to UVM’s tertiary care center is not associated with clinical outcomes among transferred MICU patients, according to a recent study. However, race plays a large role in risk of mortality, with a significant survival advantage associated with patients identifying as white.
Phosphorous rich soil samples
Recent soil samples taken in the Winooski Valley area were excessive in phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium, most likely due to the application of soil amendments. Other tests show a significant increase in potassium when compared to earlier samples taken in the area. These excess nutrients increase the risk of runoff into nearby bodies of water like Lake Champlain and the Winooski River. Learn more about sustainable gardening techniques and the study here.
Radon regulation
A recent survey of Vermont parents of K-12 children found that there is overwhelming support for radon regulation in schools. While only 51% of parents believed that radon affects the lungs and only 39% identified it as a carcinogen, 91% believed their children’s schools should act to address elevated radon levels and 87% supported mandated mitigation. The survey results suggest that parents of young children may be strong advocates to encourage legislative action.

 

Urine fertilizer skepticism
Research participants from Brattleboro involved in a study utilizing fertilizers made from human urine for re-use in agriculture were open to the practice, but concerned about the public perception among their customers. However, an overwhelming majority of participants believed that public perception could change with proper dialogue and education. Another recent study looks at manuresheds across the country and identifies every county in Vermont as potential nitrogen sinks, either due to a crop nitrogen deficit or a fertilizer nitrogen surplus.

 

Shingle vaccine rates lead nation              
Vermont has the highest percentage of adults over 60 vaccinated against shingles (zoster vaccine), according to a new report. 51.8% percent of Vermonters aged ≥60 years in 2017 were vaccinated against the virus, making it one of only two states (along with South Dakota) to have over half of this population vaccinated. 9.3% of adults aged 50–59 were vaccinated against the virus.
Forest industries economic benefits
The first 50-state economic contribution analysis for logging and pulp & paper finds that Vermont profits from a variety of forest economics industries. The report finds that Vermont has the lowest economic contribution from paperboard container manufacturing in the country, but generates a substantial output from other forest economics industries such as paper mills, paper board mills, forestry, commercial logging, sawmills and wood preservation. 
Schools should talk about guns
77.2% of Vermont educators and personnel at schools grades 7-12 either agreed or strongly agreed that access to firearms is an important topic for schools to discuss with students, according to a recent survey. Additionally, respondents in healthcare-related school roles (nurses, counselors, etc.) were more likely than those in administrative or teaching roles to believe it was their role to talk with students about their access to firearms.
Unexpected Diplorickettsia species found
Recently, researchers identified an unexpected Diplorickettsia species closely related to the tickborne pathogen D. massieliensis was found in the microbiome of an Ixodes scapularis tick in Vermont. However, it is unknown whether this strain has the ability to infect mammalian hosts and its transmissibility via tick bite.

 

Recent edition of MudSeason podcast
Lisa Holmes is a political science professor at UVM who studies federal judge appointments. On a recent episode of MudSeason she talks about Mitch McConnell’s drive to appoint more judges and the inability of Democrats to have any impact. Emma Bipart-Butler tells the story of one of the first and most successful outdoor pedestrian malls in the US. in a podcast featuring Bill Truex,  one of the founders of the Church Street Marketplace.

 

Center's Lifetime Achievement Award
Kevin Graffagnino a prolific writer and scholar won the Center's top award at an on-line ceremony Thursday. For more info see the website and video here. Samuel Blair won the George B. Bryan award for a paper on the cultural landscape of maple sugaring, and Lucia Possehl won the Andrew E. Nuquist Award for her honors thesis on Vermont's Response to the Opioid Epidemic.

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The Vermont Research News is a bi-monthly curated collection of Vermont research -- focused on research in the Vermont "laboratory" -- research that provides original knowledge to the world and research that adds to an understanding of the state's social, economic, cultural and physical environment.