Boris Johnson admitted this week to having experimented with drugs in his younger days, snorting cocaine and smoking marijuana, which he says “was jolly nice.”Oxfordshire MP’s have been quick to criticize Johnson. Lib Dem Evan Harris called Johnson a hypocrite given his party’s tough stance on drug related crime.”Tory policy, trying to appear tough on drug-taking, does not permit a defence of youthful indiscretion so Boris Johnson really has to explain why he is not seeking to prosecute himself to the full extent of the law that he wishes to impose on everyone else,” he said.Harris said he himself had never taken drugs. Others were less forthcoming–David Cameron and Andrew Smith (Oxford East’s Labour MP) both declined to comment.Johnson’s party, meanwhile, seemed unconcerned. Ann Ducker, president of South Oxfordshire Conservative Association said: “It was all a long time ago and he is very much against drugs now. We will certainly not be asking for his resignation or anything like that.”
The People’s United Community Foundation, the philanthropic arm of People’s United Bank, announced today that it has awarded $10,000 to Habitat for Humanity International Inc. ‘ Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity, and has awarded $5,000 to the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS).The Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity constructs simple, decent, affordable houses in partnership with families who currently live in substandard and unsafe conditions and who have no possibility of obtaining a home through any conventional means. ‘The donation from People’s United Community Foundation will assist in paying for infrastructure work on 11 acres of land in Manchester, Vermont on which 22 single-family homes will be built,’ noted Richard Malley, Executive Director of Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity. ‘We are pleased to be able to support Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity and their Jennifer Lane building project in Manchester,’ said Michael Seaver, Officer, People’s United Community Foundation, and President of People’s United Bank in Vermont. ‘Quality housing is something all Vermonters need in order to raise their families. Through this Habitat for Humanity project, 22 families are able to achieve this goal.’ COTSThe People’s United Community Foundation also announced today that it has awarded $5,000 to Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) for their Homeless Prevention program. The Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) provides emergency shelter, support services, and housing for people who are homeless or marginally housed in Vermont. COTS advocates for long-term solutions to end homelessness and believes: in the value and dignity of every human life; that housing is a fundamental human right; and that emergency shelter is not the solution to homelessness. In 2004, COTS began offering a limited Homelessness Prevention Fund that provided emergency, one-time grants to prevent people from losing their housing. As the need grew, the program evolved to keep up with the demand, and in October of 2008, this effort led to the creation of the Housing Resource Center (HRC) ‘ a ‘one stop shop’ for people seeking affordable housing and rental assistance. Often times low-income households end up in emergency shelters due to unforeseen events beyond their control, such as a job loss, unexpected medical bills or a major car repair. HRC staff identifies individuals and families in financial trouble and links them with resources before they are evicted or face foreclosure action. They also maintain an ongoing list of housing that is available for rent and work with a network of more than 50 landlords who rent to COTS clients. In its first three years of operation, the HRC has helped 1,507 households with homeless prevention and security deposit grants and loans. This represents 3,664 individuals, 1,542 of who are children. ‘We are so grateful for the support of People’s United Community Foundation,’ said Rita Markley, COTS Executive Director. ‘COTS will use the generous donation to help families and individuals avert the financial and personal devastation associated with homelessness.’ The Jennifer Lane project utilizes 11 acres of land on which 22 single-family homes will be built. Eleven of the homes will be offered to families that earn no more than 60% of Bennington County’s median income, $37,000 for a family of four. In addition, Bennington Area Habitat has partnered with Vermont Traditional Builders who will build 11 additional homes and will sell them at no profit to families that earn no more than 125% of the median income, $77,000 for a family of four. The Jennifer Lane project helps families with no homeownership options and who have very few viable housing options to rent or purchase homes in or near Manchester. ‘We are pleased to partner with COTS in their efforts to reduce homelessness’ said Michael Seaver, Officer, People’s United Community Foundation and President of People’s United Bank in Vermont. ‘Just one small unforeseen event can cause job loss, foreclosure or the inability to pay for food or heat. By supporting the Homeless Prevention program through COTS, we hope to provide stability for low-income individuals and families in Vermont.’ About People’s United Community FoundationEstablished in 2007, People’s United Community Foundation was formed to help support programs and activities that enhance the quality of life for citizens in the communities that People’s United Bank serves. With special emphasis on programs designed to promote economic self-sufficiency, education and improved conditions for low-income families and neighborhoods, the funding priorities of the Foundation include: community development, youth development, and affordable housing.About Bennington Area Habitat for HumanityTo learn more about the Jennifer Lane project, please contact www.benningtnonareahabitat.com(link is external), or call 802-367-1000. The Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity affiliate has completed 12 homes and now provides housing for over 60 area residents.
Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD) has delivered two 1000m Atom Mk1 work-class remotely operated vehicle (ROV) systems to JFD.The Atom systems, equipped with ultra-compact launch and recovery systems (LARS) and SMD purpose-designed control and workshop cabins, provide a complete turnkey solution which is essential for JFD in providing its customer, the Indian Navy, with reliable equipment for on time critical missions.Optimised for submarine rescue operations, each Atom system carries three emergency life support pods for delivery to a submarine forming the intervention element of the 3rd generation submarine rescue system.Ben Sharples, India project director, JFD, said: “At JFD, we believe in the power of improvement and the importance of collaboration and we have been pleased to work together with SMD on developing these new technologies. SMD’s Atom ROV systems play an important part in our new 3rd generation submarine rescue systems, and in advancing our ultimate aims of driving down time to first intervention, protecting life at sea, and improving the standards of safety for submariners around the world.”The small size and lightweight design of Atom was an important factor for JFD in the selection process, as the entire system must be air transportable for rapid response. During factory acceptance, SMD were able to demonstrate Atom’s thrust capability to JFD representatives at their facility in North Shields, Newcastle using its 64 cubic metre in-house test tank.Mark Collins, managing director ROV Systems, stated: “This has been a significant project for SMD that has seen us deliver two submarine rescue specification Atom ROV systems successfully to a high profile client in the defence sector. Significantly it shows that SMD can provide optimised work class ROV power and capability in a very small package that is light enough for air transportation and fast deployment. Ease of use and reliability were also key requirements which SMD are able to demonstrate through a long track record in a diverse range of sectors. We look forward to continuing our new partnership with JFD to support their current and future needs in the defence underwater arena.”