Secretary of State Jim Condos announced today that Vermont’s Elections Division will be conducting a random audit of the 2014 general election results. The audit will include six towns - a 50 percent increase from previous years. “Voting is one of the most important responsibilities and privileges that comes with being a citizen. Ensuring the election process is both honest and accurate is as important as voting itself,” stated Secretary Condos.
Reginald Riendeau, a logger from Orleans, will pay $60,000 in civil penalties for violating Vermont’s water quality and heavy cut timber laws. The court-approved settlement requires Mr. Riendeau to comply with a harvest plan for any new logging activity and to give notice to the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation before any new logging activity for the next three years. “There is no excuse for not protecting water quality on logging jobs,” said Attorney General Bill Sorrell. “Our forests are a vital part of our environment and economy.
The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has approved $6.3 million in loans for economic development projects totaling over $16.5 million throughout Vermont. Creation of more than 100 new jobs throughout Vermont is projected within three years of completion of the financed projects.
Vermont Health Connect, Vermont’s health insurance marketplace, kicked off the Open Enrollment period on Saturday. The marketplace allows Vermonters to compare options, see if they qualify for free or reduced-cost health plans, and enroll in the plans that meet their needs and budget. Open Enrollment, a three-month period is the time when Vermonters can change health plans – if they want to.
Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow opened for skiing and riding on Sunday, November 16. Four Okemo Mountain School students were the first in line to earn first-chair bragging rights. They ripped through a banner that welcomed snow-loving guests to the start of winter and Okemo’s 2014/2015 season. Okemo opened with top-to-bottom skiing and riding on 11 trails serviced by four lifts. Okemo Vice President and General Manager Bruce Schmidt served pastries and coffee to skiers and riders waiting for the official start to the season.
by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Vermont exports are down, the task of entering the export market can be daunting for a small Vermont company and some Vermont companies have been, frankly, ripped off by foreign entities. But a new-to-Vermont effort is generating intensive interest and initial success for a program called ExporTech.
ExporTech was started by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to bolster local exporting efforts for small companies and support the local exporting landscape.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Wednesday was presented with the WASH Advocate Award for his strong support for ending the global safe drinking water crisis. In a presentation in the US Capitol, Leahy was joined by Vermont advocates Carolyn Meub and Barbara Carris of Pure Water For The World. Also on hand was his wife, Marcelle Leahy, a Registered Nurse. In one of Leahy’s visits to Haiti to inspect relief efforts funded by Leahy’s panel in the aftermath of the massive 2010 earthquake, she visited a project headed by the Vermonters.
Improvements to Maple Street Apartments in Hardwick have made this 16-unit, senior housing development a warmer, safer and more attractive place to live--but not before the residents had to contend with the dust, noise and inconvenience of living through the 13-month rehabilitation process. To both mark the completion of the renovations and recognize the residents for their patience and cooperation, the two nonprofit owners of Maple Street Apartments treated the residents to a thank you luncheon on Thursday.
by Hilary Niles vtdigger.org Management of Vermont’s 9-1-1 emergency communications service will transition to FairPoint Communications in 2015. The North Carolina-based company, plagued by residential service complaints and, since October 17, a union strike throughout Northern New England, won a competitive bid for the five-year contract that took effect November 5. FairPoint will have nine months to implement its system and transition from the current provider, Intrado Inc, of Colorado.
The Village Revitalization Initiative – a cooperative effort between Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and the Preservation Trust of Vermont – is drawing more national recognition as the recipient of a National Trust for Historic Preservation Richard H Driehaus Award for the preservation and restoration of Vermont’s historic buildings and communities, in downtowns across the state. The award to the Trust and to Leahy was presented at the annual National Preservation Conference in Savannah, GA, on November 13.
Champlain Community Services, Inc has announced an award of $100,000 over three years from The Gibney Family Foundation of South Burlington. The grant represents an investment that enables CCS to fully launch its School2Work career development initiative for high school students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. School2Work partners with area high schools and businesses, and a number of partner agencies, to offer career development, industry-specific training, and job placement in the competitive economy,” said Michelle Paya, director of supported employment at CCS.
Vermont Business Magazine New weekly unemployment claims in Vermont were down for the first time in six weeks. Claims had been very low during the summer, but took off in early October. Levels this year had been running consistently lower than those of last year, but are now nearly the same. For the week of November 8, 2014, there were 833 new, regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance in Vermont. This is a decrease of 89 from the previous week's total, and 31 fewer than they were a year ago.