Recovery Blog

Recovery Funded Cheyenne River Health Center to Open in December

Posted in Agency News, Recovery Projects/Awards, Tribal News by on November 30, 2011

HHS LogoThe newly constructed Cheyenne River Health Center in South Dakota, is a 138,542 square foot facility that will provide health services for 9,300 American Indians. The hospital was built with $84.5 million from the Recovery Act, broke ground in May 2008 and is set to open in December.  The facility replaces the former Eagle Butte Indian Health Services (IHS) Hospital, which was unable to meet the needs of the community. New staff quarters for health care providers are also being built as part of this project.

The Recovery Act has provided $500 million through the IHS for the construction of priority health care facilities, building maintenance and improvement, water and wastewater sanitation projects, the purchase of medical equipment and health information technology.  IHS projects include, the replacement of the Eagle Butte Health Center and also the Norton Sound Regional Hospital in Nome, Alaska. The new facility in Nome will serve 10,000 Alaska Native spread across 44,000 miles. Together the projects have been funded with $227 million in Recovery Act funds.

You can learn more about this project by visiting the HHS website.

View a description of quarterly activities related to the construction of the Cheyenne River Health Center, or see the recipient summary for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

Getting 50 Tons of Toxic Chemicals Out of the Ground

Posted in Agency News, Recovery Act by on November 29, 2011

Cleaning up contaminated groundwater at the Lowell, Massachusetts site of a former chemical plant has been accelerated as a result of $20 million in Recovery Act funds from the Environmental Protection Agency.

When Silresim Corporation went out of business in 1977, it left behind 30,000 decaying drums and large storage tanks filled with toxic chemicals, which leaked into the groundwater.  The drums and tanks have since been removed, but state and federal officials have been working to clean up the contamination for almost 30 years.

Using advanced technology, which Recovery funds helped to buy, officials expect to remove more than 50 tons of chemicals from soil and water within nine months – a process that would normally take much longer.

Nobis Engineering, Inc., a local firm, is prime contractor for the work.

Watch EPA’s video about this project.

Targeting a Health Threat

Posted in Agency News, Recovery Projects/Awards by on November 22, 2011

Insulin BottleDiabetes afflicts nearly 24 million Americans, and another 79 million have an increased risk for the disease. It is the seventh leading cause of death among all Americans and is a major cause of other deadly diseases. Annual healthcare costs associated with diabetes total $174 billion.

Because of these concerns, the Department of Health and Human Services has provided more than $500 million in Recovery Act funds to universities, hospitals, and related institutions to conduct research into diabetes. The goals are two-fold:

  • Increase understanding of causes and treatments of the disease
  • Invest in health information technology that can lead to better and more efficient care and prevention

Type 2 diabetes accounts for at least 90 percent of all cases. Two Recovery funded research projects – by University of Michigan and University of Virginia, respectively – are exploring the genetics of diabetes:

  • A study building on recent discoveries of common genetic variants that contribute to type 2 diabetes
  • A study to identify genetic contributors to diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors in African Americans, who are at elevated risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease

HHS, Diabetes and the Recovery Act

Traffic Eased in Fresno California with New Stretch of Expressway

Posted in Recovery Projects/Awards, State News by on November 21, 2011

Kings Canyon ExpresswayThe California Department of Transportation recently announced completion of a new six-mile stretch of expressway for the southeast area of Fresno.

The $68 million project, paid for in part with $18 million of Recovery funds, added a four-lane section of highway to Kings Canyon Expressway, also known as State Route 180 East – a heavily congested traffic artery connecting different parts of Fresno County.

“The route serves as the primary agricultural goods movement corridor in eastern Fresno County and is of growing importance for commute travel from the surrounding rural areas and neighboring communities to the Fresno metropolitan area,” says California DOT.

The new expressway “will significantly reduce traffic congestion,” the agency adds.

Recovery funded transportation activity in California

Photo of the Week – Road Work in Morro Bay, California

Posted in Photo of the Week by on November 14, 2011
Road Work in Morro Bay

Photo contributed to the Flickr group by MBCivil

A shortage of thermoplastic striping led to the choice to use “Bots Dots” as an alternative to striping on this ARRA-funded project on North Main Street in Morro Bay.

Renovating the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall

Posted in Recovery Projects/Awards by on November 3, 2011

Reflecting Pool Under Construction

The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool – a popular site for tourists in the nation’s capital – is undergoing a $31 million renovation thanks to a Recovery award from the Department of the Interior. Prime contractor Corman Construction of Annapolis, MD, has removed leaking concrete slabs on the bottom of the pool and is installing a new water circulation system and new storm drains. Nearly 108,000 square feet of surrounding walkways will also be improved. Work is expected to continue into 2012.

You can see quarterly activities reported by the recipient and more information about this project by visiting the Award Summary.

Project Spotlight – High Speed Internet Improvements in Eastern Colorado

Posted in Recovery Projects/Awards by on November 1, 2011

Recipient: Plains Cooperative Telephone Association, Inc.

Award Amount: $1,672,080

The recipient reported that these Recovery funds would be used to:

  • Update facilities to offer high speed internet to 13 remote communities in Eastern Colorado.

The majority of this proposed funded service area is farm and ranch land. Within the area there are 1,096 households, 272 businesses, and 42 critical community facilities including 5 schools, 1 medical facility, 10 public safety entities, 4 community support organizations, and 22 government facilities. The project will cover 1,974 square miles (an area larger than the state of Delaware) with 1,000 miles of fiber optic cable.

The recipient reported that as of 9/30/2011:

  • Engineering and tabulations on the Eastern half of the project were almost finalized
  • The contract for the IP routing equipment was approved, ordered, delivered and is in the process of being installed
  • Negotiations with the chosen equipment vendor have been completed
  • Boring of the state highways on the Western half of the project has started
  • Fiber is scheduled to be shipped the third week in November
  • Construction is set to begin the first week in December

Project Status: Less than 50% complete

To see how funds were distributed between the project’s prime and sub recipients and to learn more about the project check out the Project Summary or enter your zip code to find Recovery projects near you.

You’ve Filed a Fraud, Waste, & Abuse Complaint – Where Does It Go?

Posted in Accountability by on October 27, 2011

InspectorsGeneralSealYou’ve notified the Recovery Board that you suspect fraud, waste and abuse involving a Recovery project.  What happens to your complaint?

The Board’s fraud analysts review every complaint received. First, they try to determine if, in fact, Recovery funds are involved and, if so, which federal agency issued the award.

The analysts then focus on the company or companies involved, looking for information that may not have been apparent or available to government officials when the award was issued. Analysts also check whether any company has a criminal history or has ever been debarred from working with the government.

When all possible information has been gathered and analysts have determined the allegation is substantive, a report is sent to the Inspector General of the agency that issued the award; the Board will follow up with the IG until the complaint has been reviewed and/or the matter closed.

You may or may not be contacted by the Inspector General’s office. That might be due to the sheer volume of complaints received or because you provided all information needed. In either case, your complaint is treated seriously.

VIDEO: Who’s Tracking the Money

Details on Fraud, Waste, Abuse

How to file a fraud, waste, abuse complaint

Guadalupe River Project Wraps Up

Posted in Agency News, Recovery Projects/Awards by on October 19, 2011

Photo by: USACE Sacramento District

Construction of a new railroad bridge funded by the Recovery Act in San Jose, California is almost complete. The new bridge will replace an older lower bridge that blocked floodwater and often caused the Guadalupe River to flood and is scheduled to be completed in November 2011.  This is the last piece of  a decades-long U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) project to reduce flood risk for the city.

Visit the USACE Sacramento District Flickr page to view photos of the project’s progress as of October 5, 2011.

Photo of the Week – SRS P Reactor Sealing

Posted in Photo of the Week by on October 12, 2011
SRS P Reactor Sealing

Photo Contributed to the Flickr Group by Savannah River Site

Marc Sharpe, who was a senior reactor operator at P Reactor in the mid-1980s, carries a time capsule containing items that reveal Site and national current events into P Reactor. Dr. David Moody, U.S. Department of Energy-Savannah River Operation Office Manager, is walking behind him.

With investments from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. Department of Energy and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC, (SRNS) sealed the access to the historic P and R Reactors as part of footprint reduction and legacy cleanup at the Savannah River Site.

At P Reactor today, Dr. David Moody, DOE’s Savannah River Operations Office Manager and Marc Sharpe, a reactor operator at P Reactor in the 1980s, were the last people to exit the P Reactor before its final opening was welded shut.

“The Recovery Act enabled us to accomplish a remarkable feat,” Dr. Moody said. “In just two years we successfully and safely delivered a fitting end to these relics that led our nation to a Cold War victory. For that we are proud.”

“P and R Reactors have been instrumental to SRS’s history for nearly 60 years. The Recovery Act provided the means to showcase proven and emerging technologies and to use the talents of our dedicated workforce,” said Garry Flowers, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions president and chief executive officer. “Sealing access to P and R Reactors is perhaps the most visible milestone reached as work continues to complete closure of the P and R Area Operable Units, rendering the availability of both areas for future new missions.”

Inside the P Reactor’s opening, Dr. Moody and Mr. Sharpe placed a time capsule, about the size of a 5-gallon paint bucket, containing items that depict both the history of SRS, as well as items that show current events in the region and the nation.

In addition to the Record of Decision (ROD) issued by DOE, the Environmental Protection Agency (Region IV), and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control which initiated the reactor decommissioning project, other materials included a copy of People Magazine on the Royal Wedding and other news items.

During his 30-year career at SRS, Marc Sharpe, was a reactor operator at P Reactor. He sat in the “pot,” a term reactor operators used to describe the control room. In the late 80s, Mr. Sharpe helped with its shut down. And this morning, he walked away from the reactor he helped deactivate and decommission.

Recovery Act funds were used to deactivate and perform in situ, or in place, decommissioning of these two reactors. The underground areas and vessels of both reactors were grouted in place to 0-foot elevation with an estimated 260,000 cubic yards of concrete grout. The two structures are expected to stay in their present state for 1,400 years.

Notable projects that contributed to the closure of the P & R areas include: deactivation and decommissioning (D&D) of P and R Reactors; soil and groundwater remediation, building and operation of the Batch Plant Facility to produce the special concrete used in reactor grouting; and the remediation of P and R Area Ash basins, which received coal-fired power plant ash and waste during the operation of the reactors.

P Reactor boasted a record of never having a lost-time injury from the time it reached criticality in 1954 until it was shut down in 1988. R Reactor was the first fully functioning reactor at the Site. It became operational in 1953 and was shut down in 1964 when it was no longer needed for the nation’s defense.

To see more photos of Recovery projects or add your own photos, visit the Flickr Group.


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