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Merrigan Meets Joins Leaders for Clean Energy Economy Forum

Earlier this week I participated in an Obama Administration Clean Energy Economy Forum in Arlington, Virginia with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewables Cathy Zoi, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly, and former U.S. Senator John Warner. Read more »

USDA’s Forest Service Provides 2009 Capitol Christmas Tree to Be Lit Today

As we approach the end of the year, millions of Americans are counting their blessings and many are bringing Christmas trees into their homes to celebrate the season.  At USDA, the Forest Service helps with the nation’s holiday traditions by providing a tree to be displayed as the Capitol Christmas Tree.  This year’s tree, a 65-feet tall Blue spruce, will be will be officially lit today at 5:00 PM EST by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Kaitlyn Ferenick, a 7th grade student from Arizona. Read more »

USDA Forest Service Employee One of Four Finalists for President’s SAVE AWARD

Earlier this year, the President launched the SAVE Award – a program that offers every federal employee to chance to submit their ideas for how government can save money and perform better.  In just a few weeks, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) received over 38,000 submissions, many of which will be implemented in the coming months.  Now for a twist, the “final four” SAVE Award ideas were selected as finalists and will be voted on beginning today.  Voting is open to federal employees as well as the general public. Watch President Obama’s open call for votes here. Read more »

Groundbreaking Event Held to Celebrate
 Winterport, Maine Water District Recovery Act Upgrades

Despite the chilly air and light frost, the atmosphere at the Groundbreaking Ceremony I attended last month for the Winterport Water District was warm as partners greeted one another and remarked on the terrific project they were about to break ground upon. Read more »

Red Cloud Indian School Uses Recovery Act Funds to Spark Advancement

The Red Cloud Indian School is located about five miles north of Pine Ridge, South Dakota.  The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Shannon County are often listed as being among the poorest areas in this Nation.  Within this Third World environment the school provides a safe learning environment for Native American students.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that President Obama signed into law in February will help provide a much-needed economic boost to this rural area.  Recently, I joined Area Director Tim Potts to present the School with federal funds totaling $941,000. The money will be used to provide teacher housing, a new heating and cooling system and a sewer lift station at the school. The money is a combination of Recovery Act funds and dollars from USDA Rural Development’s standard allocation to South Dakota. Read more »

Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook Delivers Keynote Address at Indian Country’s Arizona Construction Conference

USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook was in Phoenix last week and addressed Native American contractors regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) as well as the many programs Rural Development has to offer including the additional programs that came with the 2008 Farm Bill. Read more »