MONTPELIER Today the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC)and other parties filed legal paperwork challenging an Act 250 permit thatapproves the construction of a new Wal-Mart store in the town of St. Albans. VNRC, Others, Challenge St. Albans Wal-Mart Permit In the motion, the partiescontend that the District 6 commission the local panel that hears Act 250cases in the St. Albans area ignored its own findings when it granted thepermit. For instance, the commissionfound that the store would pollute a nearby brook, would increase trafficcongestion, and could cost as many as 200-297 jobs and cause over 40 businessesto close in St. Albans City. The commission also heard that the projectsdeveloper would pave over prime agricultural soils and that it was questionablewhether the developer would properly reduce the impact of losing those soils.Despite the fact that the commission stated it agreed with all this evidence,the commission granted a permit for construction anyway. If the commission lets thepermit stand as issued, the parties could appeal the case to the EnvironmentalCourt. The conclusions reached bythe commission are simply not supported by their own findings, said SteveHolmes, VNRCs deputy director. The decision is riddled with inconsistenciesand seems to ignore the evidence. ### In their motion to alter, theparties ask the commission to deny the permit for failing to meet several Act250 criteria. Joining VNRC in filing theMotion to Alter the Act 250 permit is alocal group known as Northwest Citizens for Responsible Growth (NWCRG) andnearby farmers Marie Frey and Richard Hudak. All have been granted party status in the Act 250 process. Web: Also under the permit,Wal-Mart would pay St. Albans City $500,000 to compensate for negative impactsto the city. That, according to Holmes, is a pittance compared with what otherlarge developers have paid other communities. Wal-Mart agreed to pay PimaCounty (in Tucson, Arizona) $35 million roughly two percent of retail salesover 25 years to build a 123,000 square foot store. And, 20 years ago theCity of Rutland and the developer of Diamond Run Mall in Rutland Town executedan agreement as part of an Act 250 permit to provide over $3 million in directand indirect impact fees to offset and mitigate adverse effects of the projecton the city. For example, in their April 4decision authorizing the permit, the district commission heavily criticized afiscal and economic impact study of the regional impact of the store done by Wal-Marts consultant, sayingthe analysis contained flaws and omissions and in part is not credible. Nevertheless, the commission issued thepermit relying almost entirely on the consultants report, which estimated only40 lost jobs and 12 lost businesses in St. Albans City. The proposed store would bethe largest in Vermont at 146,755 sq ft. It is proposed for Route 7 near exit20 off I-89. A smaller Wal-Mart store of 100,000-square-feet was proposed forthe same site in the 1990s and was denied in part because of impacts onsurrounding communities. The Messenger editorial said &as the city pursues its negotiationswith Wal-Mart, could a deal be struck in which the city and Wal-Mart wouldagree to a set percentage of gross sales being due the city? The store isexpected to generate sales of $60 million a year, if one percent were dedicatedto the city, thats $600,000 a year. About VNRCThe Vermont Natural Resources Council is an independent, nonprofit research,education, and advocacy organization founded in 1963 to protect Vermontsenvironment, economy, and quality of life. Nearly 6,000 households, businesses,and organizations support VNRCs mission. Closer to home, an editorialin the St. Albans Messenger onDecember 1, 2006, suggested that Wal-Mart pay a considerably higher fee to St.Albans City than the amount in the recently granted permit. The Messenger has consistently editorialized in support of Wal-Martbuilding a store in this location.
Former MLB pitcher and 1993 AL Cy Young winner Jack McDowell alleged in a radio appearance Friday morning that the White Sox had an illegal sign-stealing operation at old Comiskey Park in the late 1980s, and that Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa was the instigator of the scheme.Speaking to WFNZ-AM in Charlotte, where he serves as baseball coach for Queens University, McDowell said the White Sox had a camera zoomed in on opposing catchers and a light in an outfield Gatorade sign that could be controlled from the manager’s office and would presumably let hitters know which pitches were coming. McDowell, a three-time All-Star, pitched in parts of 12 MLB seasons with the White Sox, Yankees, Indians and Angels, compiling a career record of 127-87 with a 3.85 ERA and 27.8 bWAR. In his 1993 Cy Young season, McDowell went 22-10 with a 3.37 ERA and 4.4 bWAR. He’s been coaching at Queens since 2018.Listen to his full interview with WFNZ here. “I’m going to whistle-blow this thing now because I’m getting tired of this crap,” McDowell told the station.RIVERA: MLB must be consistent in sign-stealing punishmentsMcDowell then said that La Russa, who managed the White Sox from 1979 to 1986, was the one who had the system installed. McDowell debuted with Chicago in 1987, the season after La Russa left.Former MLB Pitcher Jack McDowell shared his thoughts on the @MacAttackWFNZ on the Astros cheating scandal, plus has a whistle-blower story of his own involving Tony La Russa…..@Buster_ESPN@Ken_Rosenthal @JeffPassan @JonHeyman @RealMichaelKay @Joelsherman1 pic.twitter.com/IHnGzm9zBW— WFNZ-AM/FM (@wfnz) January 17, 2020″He was also the head of the first team … with people doing steroids,” McDowell said, referencing La Russa’s decade-long stint as manager of the Oakland A’s, which included managing infamous steroid users Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. “Yet he’s still in the game making half a million. No one’s gonna go after that.”La Russa worked the past two seasons in a front-office role with the Red Sox (who are also under investigation on allegations of illegal sign-stealing) after a stint in a similar role with the Diamondbacks. He was recently hired by the Angels as a senior adviser. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014 after a stellar managerial career that included three World Series titles — one with the A’s and two with the Cardinals.”This stuff’s getting old, where they target certain guys and let other people off the hook,” McDowell said. ” … Everybody who’s been around the game knows all this stuff.”McDowell’s comments on the ’80s White Sox came as he explained that illegal sign-stealing has been happening for decades, but that players, managers and MLB itself have collectively decided to look the other way, much like the steroid era.”Nobody wants to throw anybody under the bus,” he said.These allegations are the latest act in a sign-stealing drama that has enveloped MLB. Just this week, Astros mananger AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were each suspended for a year — and later fired — as punishment for Houston’s illegal sign-stealing in recent seasons. Fallout from the Astros’ case extended to the Red Sox, who parted ways with manager Alex Cora because of his involvement in Houston’s cheating as a bench coach during the 2017 season (and presumably for his yet-to-be announced role in the alleged misdeeds the Red Sox committed). Ripples also extended to New York, where the Mets and new manager Carlos Beltran ended their relationship before it really began after Beltran was named in MLB’s report on the Astros’ cheating for his actions as a player in 2017.