Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont,Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont announced today that it will contribute $150,000 to support relief activities for Vermonters who suffered losses as a result of flooding due to Hurricane Irene. ‘Our state has suffered a disaster of historic proportions, but Vermonters have responded with extraordinary compassion and support for those who have suffered the most because of the terrible flooding that occurred,’ said BCBSVT President and CEO Don George. ‘As the state’s only Vermont-based health plan, it is important to BCBSVT and to its more than 340 employees to do as much as we can to support our neighbors in the difficult weeks and months ahead.’ Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, a non-profit company located in the central Vermont community of Berlin, will donate $150,000 to the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund. The Fund, created by the United Ways of Vermont in cooperation with the executive board of the Vermont Voluntary Organizations Action in Disaster and Vermont Emergency Management, is earmarked to support the long term needs of those most affected by the flooding. George said the donation is unprecedented for BCBSVT, but was decided upon because of the breadth of the losses that occurred because of Hurricane Irene-related flooding and the unique challenges faced by those who lost their homes and belongings. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is the state’s only Vermont-based health insurer and is the largest private health plan in Vermont. The non-profit company employs more than 340 people and provides health care benefits for more than 160,000 Vermonters. More information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is available on the Internet at www.bcbsvt.com(link is external) Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is an independent corporation operating under a license with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.
Valentin Roberge was adjudged to have fouled Victor Anichebe despite only minimal contact and even Irvine admitted the decision was “soft”. Berahino struck from the spot and added a second after 74 minutes but Sebastian Larsson snatched a point for the Black Cats by rounding off a fine move five minutes from time. Irvine said: “The first game of the season is always special because you’ve spent a long time working towards it. “But it was special for me as well, to do it in the Premier League was something different. The actual occasion was similar to a big game elsewhere.” Record £10million signing Brown Ideye did not get off the bench. Irvine said of the Nigerian: “He’s been with us for a week. He is in good condition physically but I think it would be a big ask for him, physically and in understanding what we need him to do. “He is still getting to know the names of everyone. It is asking a lot to throw someone into a Premier League game at that point.” The contest, between two of last season’s relegation battlers, was an entertaining affair. Sunderland boss Gus Poyet was pleased with the resilience of his side and saw marked improvement in their attitude. He said: “Last year, after conceding the second goal, maybe we would have collapsed and conceded three or four. “There is a little bit better, stronger mentality in the team. “If you see the reaction of the players on the pitch when we score and the celebration, coming back and trying to go again, I think it is a good sign for the future.” Poyet gave a debut to his £10million midfielder Jack Rodwell, who is looking to rekindle the early promise he showed at Everton after two frustrating seasons at Manchester City. The 23-year-old played 68 minutes before being replaced by Jordi Gomez. Poyet said: “He started well and then we killed him for 20 minutes without the ball. We made him only defend, which of course is going to help us, but we need to give him the ball. “In the second half I was very pleased – (it was) the Jack Rodwell we want to see, driving with the ball, getting to the edge of the box, winning (the ball), turning, passing. “I was tempted to leave him on the pitch for a bit longer but I think it was enough and I think he will get better and better.” Press Association The highly-rated 21-year-old underlined his talent with both Baggies goals in their season-opening 2-2 draw with Sunderland in the Barclays Premier League. The England Under-21 striker caught the eye with nine goals last season and Irvine is anticipating more this term. The downside to headline-grabbing performances is that other managers might be alerted to make a move before the end of the summer transfer deadline, but Irvine is confident the club would not consider a sale. Irvine said: “I think everybody should know about him already, but I can’t see any way this club would be interested in letting Saido go. You can’t let top young English talented players go. “It could be a very big season for him. He is a terrific lad, he is very talented and he works very hard at his game. He is a pleasure to work with. “He has got a love for football and with the talent and professional attitude he has got, I think he could be a very good player for this season and beyond.” Irvine himself is under pressure to hit the ground running at the Hawthorns having been the club’s surprise choice as new head coach. The Scot was David Moyes’ assistant for five years at Everton but his only previous spells as a manager, at Preston and Sheffield Wednesday, were outside the top flight. His reign did not start well as Lee Cattermole fired Sunderland ahead with a superb long-range strike after just five minutes. But the hosts then settled and deserved their equaliser before the break, although it came in fortuitous circumstances after the award of a contentious penalty. West Brom boss Alan Irvine has warned rival clubs they have no chance of prising Saido Berahino from his grasp this month.
McIlroy and McDowell have been regular partners in team events since 2009, winning three of their four matches in the Seve Trophy and also representing Ireland in the World Cup that year and in 2011. The Northern Irish duo have also played six times together in the Ryder Cup, including the very first match at Medinah two years ago, but with a record of t wo wins, three losses and one half, European captain Paul McGinley said they were not a formidable pairing “written in stone”. McIlroy and McDowell have taken half a point from two fourball matches in the Ryder Cup, with two wins and two defeats in foursomes. “Foursomes I think is different. I think we could still play foursomes really well together,” McDowell added. “I love playing off his tee shot, as anyone would, 350 down the middle works everywhere, every week, as he’s shown that lately. “I would really embrace the opportunity to play perhaps foursomes with Rory at some point this weekend. We are both up for it. And like Paul says, though, he feels like I could be best used somewhere else and Rory certainly can play with anyone. We’ll certainly do what’s best for the team.” McIlroy and McDowell were kept apart for the first official practice session on Tuesday, with McIlroy alongside Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer while McDowell paired with Victor Dubuisson and Henrik Stenson. It looks increasingly likely that McDowell will partner Dubuisson in the fourballs, with McIlroy and Garcia another possible combination. And although McDowell reiterated that the court case involving McIlroy and his former management company – which McDowell is leaving under far friendlier terms at the end of the year – had made their relationship stronger, he conceded things had changed on the course. “Our personal issues have been well documented the last couple years and I believe that we’ve both come out of the other end of that probably better friends than we were going into it,” McDowell told his pre-event press conference on Tuesday. “So our personal issues are not a problem this weekend, that’s a fact. “I think tactically, Rory and I’s golf dynamic has changed significantly from the first time we ever played together back in 2009 at the Seve Trophy, when perhaps the older brother/younger brother leadership role that maybe I had with him, that’s changed. “He’s the world’s number one player. He’s a four-time major champion (winning the Open and US PGA this year). The dynamic between him and I is changed forever. He would now be the leader of the two of us and perhaps the dynamic doesn’t work as well as it did in the past. “Perhaps I’m the kind of guy that needs that leadership role a little bit, who needs to feel like he is on at least on a level with the guy he’s playing with. “I’ve spoken to McGinley about this as well because he felt like himself and (Padraig) Harrington were the same way. They gelled well as a partnership in their early days, but when Harrington became the star (winning three major titles), the dynamic changed from a tactical point of view. It just didn’t work so well anymore. So I kind of feel that’s kind of the way Rory and I are viewing this week.” McDowell, who was succeeded as US Open champion by McIlroy in 2011, added: “I’ll be the first to admit it. At Medinah a couple of years ago, I found the better ball format very difficult with him because he likes to go first, I let him at it, and I kind of come second. “He’s standing there beating it 350 (yards) down the middle and I put my tee in the ground thinking there’s not really a lot of point in me hitting this tee shot. I find myself throwing myself at it and literally it didn’t help my game much at Medinah playing better-ball with him.” Graeme McDowell admits Rory McIlroy’s status as the biggest name in golf means their Ryder Cup relationship has changed forever. Press Association