Today, Governor Jim Douglas announced that Vermont received nearly $2.5 million in additional contingency FY2008 funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The news came as the federal government released the remaining $120.7 million in LIHEAP contingency funding for FY2008 to all states.Prior to this latest funding award, Vermont had received roughly $16.9 million in LIHEAP funding in FY2008. This new contingency award brings Vermont’s total LIHEAP appropriation in FY2008 to nearly $19.4 million. “The release of additional LIHEAP contingency money for this fiscal year shows that the message the Northeastern governors, and our congressional delegations, have brought to our federal partners is resonating,” said Governor Jim Douglas. “While the $2.5 million awarded to Vermont is a nice down payment, our state’s low-income working families and seniors on fixed incomes depend on the full funding of this program to help us keep every Vermonter warm this winter.”CONEG Governors continue to call on the President and Congress to fully fund LIHEAP at the authorized level of $5.1 billion for this fiscal year to ensure states can meet the needs of low-income families faced with the skyrocketing cost of heating their homes this winter. That will require Congress to appropriate an additional $2.5 billion before they adjourn at the end of the month.”Through the Fuel and Food Partnership, the Governor, legislators and community organizations are doing a great deal to meet the needs of the low-income Vermonters who will be most impacted by the high cost of home heating fuel this winter,” added Cynthia D. LaWare, the Secretary of the Agency of Human Services. “This influx of funds from the federal government could not have come at a better time. It is essential however for the federal government to fully fund the LIHEAP program at the $5.1 billion level to ensure that we best serve Vermonters in need.”Thanks to the financial commitments made by Governor Douglas and the Legislature, last year Vermont provided the most generous LIHEAP benefit in the country. Low-income households responsible for heating their homes received an average fuel assistance benefit of $1,362 last winter. But as home heating costs skyrocket, full funding of LIHEAP is critically important.
With Stoke 13 points clear of the Barclays Premier League drop zone after beating Newcastle 1-0 last weekend, Hughes can afford to turn his attention to next season and some potential transfers for the summer even as he prepares for Saturday’s trip to Cardiff. The 34-year-old striker Olic remains top of the wishlist with his contract expiring at Wolfsburg, and Hughes insisted a deal could still happen despite reports that he was set to remain in Germany. “There is no doubt that he is a real outstanding talent, and there is no reason why he can’t enjoy the best years of his career here with us. “I am delighted to have been able to tie him down to a long-term deal.” The acquisition of Ireland is one of several deals Hughes has done over the past few months which he believes stand Stoke in good stead going forward. “We have added a bit more quality in the final third this season,” he said. “Marko (Arnautovic) has been superb for us, as was Oussama (Assaidi) too until he picked up his injury. “Obviously Peter Odemwingie has made an impact in the short time he has been here as well. “You have to give a lot of credit to the lads that I inherited because they have really impressed me with their attitudes and work ethic, and of course, their obvious qualities too.” “Ivica Olic is a player that we like and one that we are pursuing,” Hughes said. “There have been one or two reports in the media saying this, that and the other, but for as long as we see the deal as one that we could complete then we will remain in the hunt for his signature. “He is a quality player and somebody I have met on a few occasions, and I really like him. He has played at the top level for the duration of his career, he possesses incredible pace and he is technically very, very good. “We have to give the guy time to make the decision that he feels is right. “It isn’t dead in the water yet – he just needs time to make what will be a key decision for him.” One signature which has been sealed is that of Ireland, who initially joined the Potters on loan from Villa but has now signed a long-term deal after making the switch permanent in January. Hughes, who got the best out of the Irishman during their time together at Manchester City, believes the 27-year-old can become a key player for Stoke in the coming years. “I have always felt that Stephen needs stability in his life and he is going to get that here now,” he said. “He has a good structure around him and he has good people working with him on a daily basis. Mark Hughes has revealed he remains in the hunt to sign Ivica Olic but reckons Stoke’s best bit of business might already be done after Stephen Ireland agreed a long-term deal. Press Association
Petr Cech will not feature in the north London derby this weekend Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny will not recover in time to face Tottenham Hotspur this weekend.Koscielny picked up an injury in the warm-up prior to Arsenal’s defeat to Swansea City at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night, while Cech pulled up with a muscle problem after running to defend a late corner.And, predictably, Arsenal fans cannot believe their misfortune as the title slips further out of their reach. Have a read of their reaction to the news that Cech and Koscileny will not feature in the north London derby… 1