Vermont Attorney General William H Sorrell has announced that his office sent letters to owners of sixty five rental properties in Winooski requesting that they demonstrate compliance with the Vermont lead law at the properties. The landlords have been given 90 days to show that they are in compliance with the law.“Winooski, like most of Vermont, has an aging housing stock,” said Attorney General Sorrell. “Approximately 80% of Vermont’s rental housing units were built prior to 1978, when lead based paint was being actively marketed and widely applied. Two out of every three lead poisoned children are living in pre-1978 rental housing. Landlords need to ensure that their properties are safe and in compliance with Vermont law, and these letters represent a chance for the landlords to work with us toward that goal.”These mailings continue the lead poisoning prevention efforts of the Attorney General’s Office state-wide. Since the fall of 2008, the Attorney General’s Office has sent letters to large landlords in 11 of Vermont’s 14 counties. The mailings to Winooski landlords were not based on number of properties owned, rather, the Winooski mailings focused on specific streets in the downtown Winooski area: East Allen Street, Main Street, Mallet’s Bay Avenue, West Allen Street, West Canal Street, Weaver Street, Maple Street, Elm Street, Franklin Street and Weaver Lane.“By August, anyone driving into or out of downtown Winooski should be able to appreciate the efforts of the property owners to bring their properties into compliance,” Attorney General Sorrell continued. “A person driving down one of these streets will be able to see that peeling and deteriorated paint on the outside of these buildings has been repaired. And tenants living in these properties should also see changes on the interior including: the cleaning of common areas, repair of peeling paint and placement of window well inserts in non-vinyl windows.”The Attorney General’s plans for Winooski have been welcomed by the city’s legislators. “I fully encourage this effort to protect the youngsters of Winooski from the dangers of lead paint and improve the city’s housing stock,” said Representative Clem Bissonette. Representative Kenneth Atkins added, “I wholeheartedly support the reduction of lead paint in our community and hope that Winooski landlords will take advantage of this opportunity to work with the State.”Landlords in Winooski (and Burlington) can contact the Burlington Lead Program at 802-865-LEAD (5323) or visit the website of the City of Burlington Community and Economic Development Office’s Housing Division at: www.cedoburlington.org/housing/housing_main.htmfor(link is external) more information and assistance with the Vermont lead law. The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board’s lead hazard reduction program operates on a state-wide basis and can be reached by calling 802-828-5064 or online at: www.vhcb.org(link is external).For information concerning Vermont’s lead in housing law, the duties of owners, managers, and sellers of pre-1978 housing, and for copies of court documents from recent enforcement actions involving lead, see the Attorney General’s website at: http://www.atg.state.vt.us(link is external) and click on “Lead.”Source: Vermont Attorney General, April 22, 2010
People’s United Bank,People’s United Financial, Inc today announced net income of $24.1 million, or $0.07 per share, for the third quarter of 2010, compared to $16.0 million, or $0.04 per share, for the second quarter of 2010, and $26.8 million, or $0.08 per share, for the third quarter of 2009. Included in both this quarter’s and the second quarter’s results are pre-tax merger-related expenses, core system conversion costs and one-time charges totaling $5.3 million and $23.2 million, respectively. Excluding the effect of these items, net income would have been $27.7 million, or $0.08 per share, for the third quarter of 2010 and $31.8 million, or $0.09 per share, for the second quarter of 2010. Third quarter 2010 earnings reflect a modest increase in the net interest margin despite pressure associated with the historically low interest rate environment and the company’s asset sensitive balance sheet, and an increase in the provision for loan losses.As previously reported, People’s United Financial completed its acquisitions of Financial Federal Corporation on February 19, 2010 and Butler Bank on April 16, 2010. Accordingly, Financial Federal’s and Butler Bank’s results of operations are included as of the respective acquisition dates, and prior period results have not been restated to include Financial Federal and Butler Bank.The Board of Directors of People’s United Financial declared a $0.1550 per share quarterly dividend, payable November 15, 2010 to shareholders of record on November 1, 2010. Based on the closing stock price on October 20, 2010, the dividend yield on People’s United Financial common stock is 4.7 percent.”We began the third quarter by successfully completing our core system conversion and commencing the process of rebranding our branches throughout New England to People’s United Bank,” stated Jack Barnes, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We also announced the acquisitions of Smithtown Bancorp, Inc. and LSB Corporation, both of which are expected to close in November, pending regulatory and shareholder approvals, and our integration plans for these acquisitions are well under way.”Barnes added, “Our performance this quarter continues to reflect the benefits from our focused commercial, wealth management and retail banking strategy. While growth in the commercial banking portfolio was offset by declines in residential mortgage and consumer lending, we are pleased by our strong pipeline for both commercial and residential mortgage loans.”Barnes concluded, “The strength of our capital and liquidity, asset quality and earnings, as well as the fact that our balance sheet remains funded almost entirely by deposits and stockholders’ equity, continue to set us apart from most in the industry.””On an operating basis, excluding merger-related expenses, core system conversion costs and one-time charges, earnings were $28 million or 8 cents per share this quarter,” said Paul D. Burner, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “Significant drivers of the company’s performance in the third quarter were an improvement in the net interest margin and higher net loan charge-offs. The net interest margin improved 5 basis points to 3.73 percent, primarily attributable to higher investment income and a reduction in our cost of deposits.”Regarding the increase in net loan charge-offs, Burner commented, “Two construction loans accounted for $9.8 million, or 45 percent, of this quarter’s total. These loans had been previously identified and carried specific reserves totaling $9.0 million at June 30, 2010.”Loans acquired in connection with acquisitions have been recorded at fair value, including a reduction for estimated credit losses, and without carryover of the respective portfolio’s historical allowance for loan losses. As such, selected asset quality metrics have been highlighted to distinguish between the ‘originated’ portfolio and the ‘acquired’ portfolios. For the originated loan portfolio, representing all loans other than those acquired, non-accrual loans totaled $251.4 million at September 30, 2010, and the ratio of originated non-accrual loans to originated loans was 1.77 percent, compared to $219.7 million and 1.56 percent, respectively, at June 30, 2010. Non-accrual loans in the acquired loan portfolios, which represent those loans acquired that meet our definition of non-accrual but for which the risk of loss has already been considered by virtue of our estimate of acquisition-date fair value and/or the existence of an FDIC loss-share agreement, totaled $59.4 million at September 30, 2010.Non-performing assets totaled $312.0 million at September 30, 2010, up from $284.5 million at June 30, 2010. Non-performing assets equaled 2.18 percent of originated loans, REO and repossessed assets at September 30, 2010 compared to 2.01 percent at June 30, 2010. At September 30, 2010, the allowance for loan losses as a percentage of originated loans was 1.21 percent and as a percentage of originated non-accrual loans was 69 percent, compared to 1.23 percent and 79 percent, respectively, at June 30, 2010.Third quarter net loan charge-offs totaled $21.8 million compared to $17.8 million in the second quarter of 2010. Net loan charge-offs as a percent of average loans on an annualized basis were 0.57 percent in the third quarter of 2010 compared to 0.46 percent in this year’s second quarter. The level of the allowance for loan losses is unchanged from June 30, 2010.In the third quarter of 2010, return on average tangible assets was 0.48 percent and return on average tangible stockholders’ equity was 2.7 percent, compared to 0.32 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, for the second quarter of 2010. At September 30, 2010, People’s United Financial’s tangible equity ratio stood at 17.8 percent.Conference CallOn October 22, 2010, at 11 a.m., Eastern Time, People’s United Financial will host a conference call to discuss this earnings announcement and our acquisition announcements. The call may be heard through www.peoples.com(link is external) by selecting “Investor Relations” in the “About Us” section on the home page, and then selecting “Conference Calls” in the “News and Events” section. Additional materials relating to the call may also be accessed at People’s United Bank’s web site. The call will be archived on the web site and available for approximately 90 days.3Q 2010 Financial HighlightsSummaryNet income totaled $24.1 million, or $0.07 per share.Operating earnings were $27.7 million, or $0.08 per share.Net interest income totaled $175.8 million.Net interest margin increased 5 basis points from 2Q10 to 3.73%.Average securities increased $759 million and average short-term investments decreased $642 million from 2Q10. Total investment income increased $3.0 million from 2Q10.Average deposits increased $97 million and the interest cost on deposits declined 4 basis points from 2Q10.Provision for loan losses totaled $21.8 million.Net loan charge-offs totaled $21.8 million in 3Q10.Non-interest income totaled $75.9 million in 3Q10 compared to $76.8 million in 2Q10.Non-interest expense totaled $194.2 million in 3Q10 compared to $209.8 million in 2Q10.3Q10 and 2Q10 include a total of $5.3 million and $7.9 million, respectively, of merger-related expenses and core system conversion costs.2Q10 includes $15.3 million of one-time charges related to the former CEO separation agreement.Effective income tax rate was 32.5% in 3Q10 and 32.1% in the first nine months of 2010.Excluding a $1.2 million non-taxable BOLI death benefit recorded in 2Q10, the income tax rate was 32.6% in the first nine months of 2010.Commercial BankingAverage commercial banking loans, excluding acquired loans, increased $88 million from 2Q10 to $9.6 billion.Non-performing commercial banking assets, excluding acquired non-accrual loans, totaled $205.1 million at September 30, 2010, a $23.1 million increase from June 30, 2010.The ratio of originated non-accrual commercial banking loans to originated commercial banking loans was 1.59% at September 30, 2010 compared to 1.36% at June 30, 2010.Net loan charge-offs totaled $18.2 million, or 0.69% annualized, of average commercial banking loans in 3Q10, compared to $16.5 million, or 0.62% annualized, in 2Q10.Retail & Business BankingAverage residential mortgage loans totaled $2.5 billion, a $74 million decrease from 2Q10.Net loan charge-offs totaled $1.2 million, or 0.20% annualized, of average residential mortgage loans.The ratio of originated non-accrual residential mortgage loans to originated residential mortgage loans was 3.68% at September 30, 2010 compared to 3.40% at June 30, 2010.Average home equity loans totaled $2.0 billion, a $12 million decrease from 2Q10.Net loan charge-offs totaled $1.3 million, or 0.26% annualized, of average home equity loans.Average indirect auto loans totaled $176 million, an $11 million decrease from 2Q10.Net loan charge-offs totaled $0.3 million, or 0.59% annualized, of average indirect auto loans.Wealth ManagementWealth Management income increased $1.0 million from 2Q10.Investment management fees decreased $1.0 million (reflecting the timing of certain annual fees) and insurance revenue increased $2.0 million (reflecting the seasonal nature of insurance renewals).Assets managed and administered, which are not reported as assets of People’s United Financial, totaled $17.1 billion at September 30, 2010 compared to $16.4 billion at June 30, 2010, primarily reflecting new business acquired during 3Q10 and market appreciation.People’s United Financial, a diversified financial services company with $22 billion in assets, provides commercial banking, retail and business banking, and wealth management services through a network of nearly 300 branches in Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and New York. Through its subsidiaries, People’s United Financial provides equipment financing, asset management, brokerage and financial advisory services, and insurance services.Certain statements contained in this release are forward-looking in nature. These include all statements about People’s United Financial’s plans, objectives, expectations and other statements that are not historical facts, and usually use words such as “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe” and similar expressions. Such statements represent management’s current beliefs, based upon information available at the time the statements are made, with regard to the matters addressed. All forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause People’s United Financial’s actual results or financial condition to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by such statements. Factors of particular importance to People’s United Financial include, but are not limited to: (1) changes in general, national or regional economic conditions; (2) changes in interest rates; (3) changes in loan default and charge-off rates; (4) changes in deposit levels; (5) changes in levels of income and expense in non-interest income and expense related activities; (6) residential mortgage and secondary market activity; (7) changes in accounting and regulatory guidance applicable to banks; (8) price levels and conditions in the public securities markets generally; (9) competition and its effect on pricing, spending, third-party relationships and revenues; (10) the successful integration of acquired companies; (11) success in addressing management succession issues in a timely and effective manner; and (12) possible changes in regulation resulting from or relating to recently enacted financial reform legislation. People’s United Financial does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.Access Information About People’s United Financial at www.peoples.com(link is external).Source: People’s United Financial, Inc. BRIDGEPORT, Conn., Oct 21, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ —
Source. 12.21.2010. AllEarth Renewables, Inc. www.allearthrenewables.com(link is external)AllEarth Renewables, Inc. is a Vermont company that specializes in the design, manufacture and installation of complete grid-connected wind and solar renewable energy systems that lessen dependence on nuclear and fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The company’s goal is to provide turnkey products that harness the power of wind and sun for homes and businesses while creating sustainable, well-paying jobs. The Town of Hinesburg, Vermont and AllEarth Renewables, Inc. of Williston, Vermont have partnered to install 31 AllSun Trackers on Lagoon Road, south of the town’s wastewater treatment plant. Over the course of a year, the 141 kilowatt photovoltaic array is expected to produce 200,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electrical energy which will provide over 45 percent of the electricity used by town-owned meters.Hinesburg is quickly becoming the solar capital of Vermont. According to the Renewable Energy Atlas of Vermont, this project is the largest municipal solar installation in the state. When combined with other solar electric projects installed by Hinesburg residents and businesses, Hinesburg leads Vermont towns with over 500 kilowatts of solar photovoltaic capacity which produces enough electricity for over 75 homes.‘The Hinesburg community has been very active improving energy efficiency and rolling out renewable energy installations from solar trackers to small-scale wind turbines to solar powered parking lights,’ said Alex Weinhagen, Hinesburg’s Director of Planning & Zoning. ‘This solar tracker installation is another excellent example of how the Town of Hinesburg is moving forward the conversation and the actual implementation of Vermont’s emerging energy future. Together with community members and our business partners, the Town is demonstrating that local and distributed renewable energy generation can and does work.’‘Hinesburg has taken an important step towards energy independence and is leading the way for other Vermont towns,’ said David Blittersdorf, President and CEO of AllEarth Renewables. ‘This project shows great foresight on the part of Hinesburg town government by finding an economical use for land that was otherwise not being utilized.’The AllSun Tracker is a complete grid-connected solar electric system which consists of photovoltaic panels mounted on poles installed in the ground. The system uses a GPS (Global Positioning System) and a dual axis rotation to keep the solar panels at a perpendicular angle to the sun’s rays throughout the day. This maximizes the amount of light reaching the panels, which in turn maximizes the amount of energy generated, providing as much as 40% more electricity than fixed panel installations of the same size. More than 340 AllSun Trackers have been installed in Vermont to-date, creating over one million watts of renewable power capacity.
US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) today helped mark the opening of a solar energy project at the Camels Hump Middle School in Richmond, one of the greenest public schools in Vermont.‘The solar project here at Camels Hump is a step forward as we work to transform our energy system in Vermont and across this country,’ Sanders told more than 350 students who joined him to celebrate the project’s completion.‘Thank you for what you are doing. You are a model for the state,’ he added. ‘The reason that today is important is that your school is doing something no other school is doing in Vermont. You are helping lead the way.’The 507 solar panels will generate enough electricity to cover about 25 percent of the school’s annual energy use and save $25,000 each year in electricity costs based on current prices. ‘What you are showing is what a community and a school can do to combat global warming, clean up our air, move us toward energy independence and create jobs,’ the senator said.The Richmond middle school solar project is one of the biggest at any public school in New England. The panels were manufactured in California and installed by a Vermont company.Also speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony today was Vermont Public Service Commissioner Liz Miller. ‘I want you all to go home tonight and tell your parents, ‘Wow, this is what we are doing,’‘ she told the students. Miller said she hopes that as more schools install arrays of solar panels, they will compete with each other about who is producing more electricity.Camels Hump now has the largest solar array at a public school in Vermont, but significant progress has been made at other schools throughout the state in making the transformation to renewable energy systems. For example, Vermont has 47 schools that heat with efficient biomass, instead of oil.Sanders is a member of the Senate energy and environment committees. He chairs the Green Jobs and the New Economy Subcommittee. He helped secure $274,000 from the Department of Energy to pay for half of the solar panels at the Richmond middle school. The state of Vermont contributed $250,000 and Green Mountain Power, as part of its Solar on Schools program, put $20,000 toward the pilot project.Sanders also secured funding to help 10 other Vermont schools install photovoltaic solar systems. Richmond, 11.4.2011
West Virginia Mine Lays Off Most of Its Workers FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Exponent Telegram (Clarksburg):A mine in Marion County has idled almost all its workers.Enough workers are on hand at the Federal No. 2 mine to prevent the mine from flooding and to keep it ready to reopen, but “it’s a minimal, skeletal crew,” said Phil Smith, communications director for the United Mine Workers of America.The mine is owned by ERP Compliant Fuels, which did not reply to a request for comment.Smith said he understood that the mine was idled because of adverse geological conditions and market issues.About 260 people lost their jobs when the mine was idled, Smith said. Another 59 were laid off a few months ago, he said.Federal No. 2 is the only mine owned by ERP, so workers do not have another mine to transfer to, Smith said.More: Federal No. 2 mine in Marion County idles most workers
TransAlta begins commercial operation of Alberta’s first battery storage project FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Saur Energy:TransAlta Renewables has announced that its 10 MW WindCharger battery storage project began commercial operation on October 15, 2020.WindCharger is Alberta’s first utility-scale, lithium-ion energy storage project and utilizes Tesla Megapack technology. It has a nameplate capacity of 10 MW and total storage capacity of 20 MWh. This technology can be fully charged in approximately two hours and will be powered by the company’s Summerview II wind farm, making it a truly renewable battery energy storage system. WindCharger did not require any new infrastructure investments as it is an entirely behind-the-fence project.The project, which was acquired from TransAlta Corporation (TransAlta) in August of this year, has a total capital cost of approximately USD14.5 million, with approximately 50 percent being funded through the support of Emissions Reduction Alberta. As part of the acquisition, TransAlta will pay a fixed monthly capacity charge for the right to operate and dispatch the battery in the Alberta market.TransAlta Renewables is among the largest of any publicly traded renewable independent power producers (IPP) in Canada. Its asset platform and economic interests are diversified in terms of geography, generation and counterparties and consist of interests in 23 wind facilities, 13 hydroelectric facilities, seven natural gas generation facilities, one solar facility, one natural gas pipeline, and one battery storage project, representing an ownership interest of 2,537 megawatts of owned generating capacity, located in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, the states of Wyoming, Massachusetts, Minnesota and the state of Western Australia.More: TransAlta announces commercial operation of Alberta’s first utility scale battery storage project
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Roanoke Times:The Mountain Valley Pipeline has once again pushed its completion date back and the project cost up.Equitrans Midstream Corp., the lead partner in a joint venture of five energy companies that has faced widespread environmental problems while building the natural gas pipeline, made the announcement Tuesday.Rather than completing construction early next year as planned, the company is now targeting a full in-service date “during the second half of 2021,” a news release stated. The cost, which was estimated to be $3.7 billion when construction started in 2018, now stands at between $5.8 billion and $6 billion. The latest increase was attributed largely to the more costly task of continuing construction through the winter, which Mountain Valley plans to do in order to make up time lost to legal challenges.Despite the latest setback, Equitrans chairman and CEO Thomas Karam remained bullish on the project during a conference call to discuss third quarter results with financial analysts. “Our confidence has not changed because of these expected challenges, at all,” he said.Pipeline opponents, however, were encouraged by the latest news. They hope a sustained legal attack will eventually force Mountain Valley to cancel the project — as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline did in July — and help turn the tide to renewable energy.Although the project is two years behind schedule, it has far more pipe in the ground than Atlantic Coast did when it decided to fold.[Laurence Hammack]More: Another delay, cost increase for the Mountain Valley Pipeline Developer Equitrans raises cost of contested Mountain Valley Pipeline to $5.8 billion
Creighton Cutts loves water. He started The Dolphin Project in the 1980s, worked with sperm whales and sea turtles in the 1990s, and has volunteered with various Riverkeepers for nearly two decades.Creighton is also a candle maker. As the founder of Bee Natural, he hand-carves and presses 100% natural beeswax into luminaries.Fire and water usually don’t mix. But Creighton found a way to combine his passion for protecting rivers with his day job.Creighton is traveling to every major river in the Southeast to shoot photos of his candles on the water. He donates the photos to the local Riverkeeper, and for every candle he sells from that watershed, he donates 25% of the profits to the local Riverkeeper.His floatoshoot tour will be headed to the Nantahala River and French Broad River on November 12-13. View images from previous floatoshoots and follow the floatoshoot tour here.
Dream ChaserNever give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about, Winston Churchill famously said.For Natalie DeRatt, that was going to the Olympics. In 2012, the former University of North Carolina–Asheville running star missed that dream for the track and field team for Britain, but the fire to compete for the podium still burned. So when an opportunity for a spot on the USA Bobsled and Skeleton team came, she took it and ran.“Everything was just laid out, and it was an opportunity I saw as my last chance,” says DeRatt. “I’ve come so close before, and I think if I had not followed through I would have regretted it.”Running and racing were in her blood. Both parents competed and still do internationally at orienteering, and like them she had a spirited streak pushing her through high school and into college where she shined. In 2010, she became UNCA’s first and only student-athlete to earn a spot at NCAA championships.After graduating in 2011, she trained for the British team trials in the summer of 2012, but after setbacks and traveling logistics ran her worst race time of the year. She decided that her racing career was over.“I needed a break from track,” says DeRatt. After six months, though, she was already getting itchy feet again, “I soon needed a new goal and a new outlet.”“I don’t think anyone grows up saying they want to race bobsled, though,” says Keith Scruggs, sports performance specialist at Acceleration Sports Institute at Greenville Health System and also DeRatt’s coach. Typically the racers he sees like DeRatt come from previous lives as track and field athletes, football players, softball athletes, and even volleyball athletes.Scruggs and DeRatt’s friendship started back in 2006 when they both competed for UNCA. Scruggs played baseball, but due to multiple injuries, he was about to pack his bags.“She came up to me and said, ‘You should try the hammer,’” recalls Scruggs. “I grew up playing football and baseball, not track and field, so my first thought was hammer and nails.” Regardless, Scruggs tried out, performed well, and joined the team with DeRatt.Scruggs was then able to return the favor last December by suggesting she compete in the Greenville bobsled combine, which he hosted, for August 2014. DeRatt agreed, and then asked him to be her coach. The duo set to work training DeRatt to be ready for her first competition in eight months.Despite the snow and ice aspect of bobsled, most of the actual training is sprint running and weight lifting, both of which are DeRatt’s fortes. “Bobsled is so similar to track and field in training that technically I’ve been preparing my whole life,” says DeRatt. The bobsled track, however, was a different story.“The first day was horrific,” DeRatt says. Bobsleds race down mile-long, curving courses and can reach speeds of over 75 mph with up to five gs of pressure. The experience is like riding ‘the Intimidator’ at North Carolina’s Carowinds amusement park—except you first have to help push your 400-lb part of the coaster 54 yards before jumping in and enjoying the ride, which actually means getting bruised from several impacts.“The veteran bobsledders always tell you the start’s horrible and not to quit,” says DeRatt. The rides did get better with each session, and soon she found the sport exhilarating. She also decided it could be another chance to make the national team.To make it onto the team, athletes must compete in a four-part test series that looks at strength and speed. Athletes gain points based on performance, and a specific number and ranking allow them to move to the next tier. The first two tiers have combines all over the region, and the third and fourth have a couple major spots.The regional combine Scruggs hosted was DeRatt’s first stop on the way to national team trials. She needed 450 points to advance. DeRatt killed the competition, earning 532 points and winning overall by 17 points.She won the next two competitions, and by November, DeRatt found herself in Park City, Utah competing for an Team USA spot in bobsled. It felt eerily similar to being in Britain two years earlier competing for a track spot.“It really brought me back to my track days just to that race scenario,” says DeRatt. “I got really really nervous and really really excited.” Competing against her were athletes such as Lauryn Williams, who was one of only five Olympians to medal in both the Summer and the Winter Games with track in 2004 and 2012 and bobsledding in 2014. Her 2014 teammate Elana Meyers was also there vying for a spot on Team USA. DeRatt reflects, “It was nice to feel those nerves again when racing against those people.”Just a year after she started training, DeRatt put everything she had into that race on the ice. The course was steep and smooth, and when the buzzer hit she and her driver Jazmine Fenlator raced with everything they had.She only had to wait a few hours before the announcement came, and her name finally rang out among the members of the 2014-2015 USA Bobsled and Skeleton Team.“All of those hours I gave in my whole life—every six a.m. and after school/after work workout—felt okay when I heard my name over the intercom,” says DeRatt.There are still many more a.m. workouts and competitions between now and 2018’s Olympic Games, but DeRatt looks forward to it all. “I believe that if you work hard you are going to get what you want,” says DeRatt. “If you have an opportunity you owe it to yourself to take that.”
Control is a fleeting thing.Being a kayaker, I should have known that, but as I charged the rapids in the GoPro Mountain Games Steep Creek Race in Vail, Colorado, I felt very much in control. I was in the best shape of my life, racing a specially designed boat that I helped create, as part of a career that I loved. The cable cam zipping above me, the crowd on the side of the river, and the announcer’s echoing voice made me feel like a rock star.As I powered past the halfway point in the course, I lined up an innocuous five foot drop. I wasn’t worried about this rapid after nailing the line in practice all week, but as I dropped in, my body twisted in a strange way. I lost balance and started rolling left, extending my paddle reflexively in an attempt to save the flip. As I braced, the end of my blade caught a rock, and jerked my arm violently. With the paddle lodged, my boat and body kept going, and I felt and heard my shoulder ripping apart as my arm rotated past where it ever had before.I knew how serious shoulder injuries were for kayakers. They almost never heal on their own, dislocating again and again, and even with surgery, they often still spell the end of a competitive career. As I rolled up with my other arm, the crushing disappointment of the situation quickly turned to primal fear in the face of a chaotic river. I was in the middle of an angry class V rapid with only one functioning arm. With my left shoulder grinding and shooting pain, I placed the paddle on my good side and realized that I was probably about to get mangled and much more hurt. I felt extremely vulnerable. Any semblance of control was long gone.Miraculously, I floated straight and true through all three heinous drops, waves and holes crashing over me from all directions, and popped out within sight of the finish line. As I doubled over and cradled my arm, the announcer went silent, and my friends who had just finished their runs stared at me in horror. There wasn’t much to say. The party was over.I slowly slipped back to consciousness in the surgery room to my girlfriend Ashley sitting beside me, and nonsensical words coming out of the doctor’s mouth. The world was hazy and the whole left side of my body was numb from my fingers to my chest. Ashley and I slowly walked out to her car, and I felt hollow and without purpose. That began a four week period where I needed a lot of help to get even basic tasks done. Taking a shower, cutting a steak, putting jeans on, or signing a check—every painful action required assistance.While I sat at home doing hours and hours of PT, my athletic relevancy slipped away. Friends stopped calling to go paddling or biking; they didn’t want to rub it in that they were having fun while I was hurt. The paddling community forgot about me. Silence can be deafening.The primary solace from these worries and the pain of my injury was drugs. I found myself looking forward to the high dosage of Percocet prescribed to me every day, and I can now see why these chemicals cause such big problems for people. I didn’t feel sorry for myself when I was high, but I also knew that road led nowhere good.Then, suddenly, it was as if the momentum of my life redirected.The endless physical therapy hours started to slowly pay off, with motion returning to the shoulder joint one agonizing degree at a time. My therapist approved me to go trail running. The endorphins of motion sparked my brain and filtered everything through a more positive lens.There are two ways to approach any setback in life: you can blame that event and let it defeat you, or you can acknowledge it as an opportunity to explore things in life that might have been overlooked. I did my best to shift to the latter as time went on. And the drug bottle stayed on the shelf.My injury was a reminder to have compassion for those who live their entire lives with challenges far greater than my petty (and temporary) discomfort. Best of all, the downtime gave me the opportunity to cement every important personal and professional relationship that I had, most especially my relationship with Ashley.I’ve experienced some very intense things in my life, but nothing that I have ever done on the river has come close to the intensity of kneeling in front of her on a panoramic mountain ridge just before sunset and asking her to be my bride.