by John Herrick vtdigger.org
The Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee is drafting a bill to increase the per ton trash disposal fee to fund the state’s universal recycling overhaul, which is set to phase in this summer.
To honor her lasting legacy and continuing environmental work by Vermonters, Green Mountain Power today called for nominations for the 2014 GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award, named for famed osprey advocate Meeri Zetterstrom.
The GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award was created in 2010, and is presented annually to one person, business, group or non-profit to honor a significant contribution to Vermont’s environment. It will be accompanied by a $2,500 donation to the winner’s environmental cause.
If you had any doubts, be assured that reasonable people have been heeding the warnings of local officials and weather experts and have wisely elected to avoid the snow and ice covered roads. Especially in the eastern half of the country where many states have been pounded with anywhere from 10 inches in Alabama to as much as 24 inches of snow, (MD, PA) many schools and businesses have been out over the last month, electing to stay safe at home.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc, (NASDAQ: GMCR), based in Waterbury, Vermont, is again partnering with Italy's largest coffee company, Luigi Lavazza SpA. They announced today that they have reached a multi-year agreement to bring the authenticity of Italy's favorite coffee to K-Cup packs for the Keurig hot brewing system.
The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA Vermont) announces the release of a short film, Organic Matters, about the importance of organic food and agriculture to human and environmental health. This 9-minute video features certified organic farmers across Vermont talking about why they believe in certified organic, how it defines their approach to their land and to food production, and why organic is important to the overall food movement.
The second meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience was held last week in Los Angeles, even as winter storms in Washington forced a government shutdown and a historic drought in California lead to an emergency declaration. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin was appointed to the Task Force by President Obama in recognition of his leadership in the national discussion on climate change and resilience.
The Hempest, a Boston based chain of hemp clothing stores with one in Burlington, has their sites set on greener pastures, and according to them, nothing is greener than industrial hemp. Since 1995, the company has offered a plethora of hemp goods for men and women, as well as hemp accessories, food and body care. Their website, Hempest.com, boasts "the largest selection of hemp clothing on the planet".
How would a city, state, or country handle a disaster in which hundreds of thousands of people were exposed to radiation? When the number of people involved exceeds the capacity of nearby hospitals, how would a community know who to treat? In a new scientific review published on February 12, 2014 in Radiation Environmental Biophysics, Dartmouth researchers say that by examining a person’s teeth or fingernails with specialized equipment, it is possible for first responders to estimate radiation exposure and identify those with the highest risk of illness.
The Vermont Community Foundation has announced nine grants totaling $494,584 for the second year of its Food and Farm Initiative, designed to connect Vermont’s local food movement with the fight against hunger. The second round of grants represents a 60% increase in funding over the first year, thanks to growing support from donors.
The new Dion Family Student Center and Quad Commons Residential Hall at Saint Michael’s College is one of the most energy-efficient buildings in Vermont. Over the calendar year this 80,000 square-foot complex is expected to use 77 percent less energy than a comparable new building, based on computer energy models developed by the project’s mechanical engineer, LN Consulting.
Expanding Vermont’s worldwide reputation as an insurance pioneer, Governor Peter Shumlin today signed the Vermont Legacy Insurance Management Act (LIMA). This law creates specialized Vermont insurance companies that would acquire commercial policies from other companies wishing to get old policies off their books enabling them to use capital reserves for new initiatives.
US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) provided an overview on federal education policy in testimony today at the Statehouse before the Vermont House and Senate education committees.
Sanders, a member of the Senate education committee, focused on ways to expand pre-kindergarten and make college more affordable.
The Orvis Company, Inc, of Manchester, Vermont, has announced the four recipients of its annual Customer Matching Grant program. Targeted to raise $360,000 or more, these grants are the cornerstone of Orvis’s annual commitment of 5 percent of its pre-tax profits to protecting nature. In total, Orvis will raise and contribute more than $1 million to conservation initiatives in 2014.
Route 802, Summit Technologies and VTEL Data Networks, Inc have entered into a master services agreement to deliver a unified network of community Wi-Fi hotspots and hotzones throughout Vermont.
The Wi-Fi locations will provide secure access to the Internet with initial connection speeds of up to 100MB.
A weekend crowd of nearly 6,000 spectators cheered and rang cow bells to encourage the over 30 world class jumpers from around the United States and Europe to fly off the 90-meter Olympic sized Harris Hill ski jump in Brattleboro this weekend.
The Slovenia ski jumper Miran Zupancic won the FIS Cup, the Pepsi Challenge and the Fred Harris Memorial Tournament. He posted a 264.5 to lead a 1-2-3 finish for Slovenia, outdistancing the field. Slovenia jumpers have taken home four of the last 10 Fred Harris Memorial Trophies.
by Anne Galloway vtdigger.org A proposal that would dramatically change the structure of public education is gaining traction in the Vermont Legislature. School boards would be consolidated into smaller units that would govern larger groups of students, if a plan now in the House continues to build momentum. The House Education Committee is considering the elimination of the state’s 60 supervisory unions and “realigning” the state’s 282 school districts into 30 to 60 districts.
Green Mountain Power, based in Colchester Vermont, has reported that its customers experienced shorter outages and more reliable power service during 2013, according to a reliability report filed with the Public Service Department and the Public Service Board.
The Vermont housing market continues to out-perform most of the rest of New England. The RE/MAX of New England January Monthly Housing Report shows Vermont experienced a boost in total transactions, up 10.2 percent, while median price increased just slightly at 0.08 percent year-over-year. Pending sales were up 24.3 percent year-over-year.
Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) is warning consumers about a telephone scam that preys on utility customers. Like other cooperatives across the country, VEC has received reports from customers who are being contacted by scammers asking for credit card information.
by Laura Krantz vtdigger.org
Lawmakers are clear that they don’t want drivers on drugs, but they’re not sure what to do about it and are beginning to run out of time this session. The House Judiciary Committee last week said it may consider setting standards for drugged driving.
The committee plans to hear from four experts about DUI Wednesday morning, according to its online schedule.
by Tom Brown vtdigger.org The Vermont Senate next week is set to take up a bill that would prohibit the use of hand-held cellphones and other devices while driving. The House gave final approval Friday to a slightly amended H.62, which requires that drivers employ hands-free technology, such as Bluetooth, when using their cellphones while driving.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center has treated three men with a recently FDA-approved treatment, which offers new options for men whose prostate cancer has spread to their bones. The treatment’s trade name is Xofigo® (or radium-223 dichloride). It is an alpha particle-emitting radioactive therapeutic agent with an anti-tumor effect.
by Anne Galloway vtdigger.org Vermont is one of three states that does not require public officials to disclose financial information, and it is one of eight states that does not have an ethics commission, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
by Anne Galloway vtdigger.org
The state auditor is asking for the Legislature to approve a $488,000 addition to his office on State Street. Doug Hoffer says that now that his office is fully staffed — he has 15 full-time workers in his employ — the 1,740 square foot building is no longer big enough. One employee is working in a hallway; another is housed in a building next door and the conference room has been partitioned into two offices.
With unusually cold winter weather gripping much of the nation, the Vermont congressional delegation wants the Obama administration to clamp limits on propane exports to bring down skyrocketing prices for the home heating fuel.
by Hilary Niles vtdigger.org
A House panel is creating a new penalty structure for violations of Vermont’s open meeting laws and finalizing changes that would clarify how state law applies to electronic meetings and online collaboration.
Proposed new language in the statute also would require public bodies convicted of violating the law to reimburse plaintiffs for legal costs. Currently, that option applies to public records violations, but not to open meeting violations.