“Teaming up with Green Up is a win-win-win. Vermont wins, Green Up wins and the team mate wins,” reported Melinda Vieux, President of Green Up Vermont.
When Governor Deane Davis in 1970 proclaimed the first of its kind statewide clean-up, he was gratified by the resounding response to his call for a “volunteer army of thousands of citizens” to pick up roadside litter. Thirty-nine years later, Vermont’s forces continue to mobilize, with more than 15,000 expected for Green Up Day, Saturday May 2.
Senate leadership today recommended over $14 million worth of savings in labor costs. The Senate is opposed to Governor Douglas’ proposal to lay off an additional three hundred and twenty employees and asks the Vermont State Employees Association (VSEA) and the Douglas Administration to move forward with negotiations. Senate leadership has put forward the recommendations to the VSEA and the Administration and urges them to move forward with their negotiations. The Senate's recommendations include ten ongoing furlough days, freezing the cost-of-living increase a
Merchants Bancshares, Inc. (Nasdaq: MBVT), the parent company of Merchants Bank, announced today that its Board of Directors declared a dividend of 28 cents per share, payable May 14, 2009, to shareholders of record as of April 30, 2009. Merchants plans to release earnings on or about April 29, 2009.
Governor Jim Douglas announced today that up to $6 million dollars in lower-rate operating loans will be made available through VEDA for farmers struggling during the economic downturn.
The loans, provided through State Fiscal Stabilization Funds in the Recovery Act, will provide working capital to farmers as they enter the busy planting season in the midst of a national credit squeeze. Volatile energy and commodity prices have caused further concern for the agricultural community in recent months.
Camels Hump Middle School is well on its way to hosting a $500,000 solar installation that could serve as a statewide model for power generation and renewable energy education. Thanks in large part to federal funding secured by Senator Sanders and grants from the state's Clean Energy Development Fund and Green Mountain Power, the Chittenden East school district will convert the roof of the 37 year-old school into a 72kW solar array.
The state of Vermont continues to have the lowest foreclosure rate in the country, according to a national rating firm. RealtyTrac(R)(http://www.realtytrac.com), the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, today released its U.S. Foreclosure Market Report(TM) for Q1 2009, which shows that foreclosure filings -- default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions -- were reported on 803,489 properties in the first quarter, a 9 percent increase from the previous quarter and an increase of nearly 24 percent from Q1 2008.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will today be holding two public sessions to discuss the criteria by which it awarded the Vermont Yankee power plant its highest rating – green. In its Annual Assessment Letter dated March 4, 2009, the NRC said that “overall, Vermont Yankee operated in a manner that preserved public health and safety and fully met all cornerstone objectives.”
The Vermont House gave final approval April 15 to legislation that will significantly increase the number of wetlands — nature’s water filters — that will be protected under Vermont law.
The bill, H.447, will require inaccurate state wetlands maps to be updated and also mandate better protections for wetlands.
US Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) today announced Ascension Technology Corporation (Milton, VT) has been awarded a $2,359,000 USAF contract for additional development of its phasorBIRDTM optical tracker. phasorBIRD instantly tracks a pilot's head movements (using emitters on a helmet or headset) for target acquisition and reception of mission-critical information.
Burlington-based Blodgett Corporation, the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial ovens, continues to expand its US presence through a new partnership with KFC. Blodgett will provide energy efficient ovens to over 5,000 KFC restaurants across the country to make KFC’s new Kentucky Grilled Chicken (KGC) product. With annual sales already over $71 million, and employing 160 local workers, Blodgett’s new deal with KFC is expected create more local jobs, according to information provided by the company.
The Board of Directors of the Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA) has appointed Diane Leach interim president of the Association. The appointment will become effective upon Molly Lambert's departure from the organization. Lambert has been recommended by Senator Patrick Leahy for appointment by President Obama as State Director for Rural Development for Vermont and New Hampshire.
The economist contracted by the Legislature for consultation and analysis has sent a scathing report back to the Joint Fiscal Office in regards to a bill before the Senate Finance Committee called "Vermont Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (S.137)." Tom Kavet is an economist from Williamstown. As part of his introduction, he says, "Virtually none of the proposed programs that reduce revenues or increase spending represent any net economic stimulus benefit to the State." He questions essentially all of the measures as benefitting near-term economic stimulus.
Union Bankshares, Inc. (Nasdaq:UNB) today announced financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2009. The Company reported net Income of $1.27 million or $.28 per share compared to $1.41 million or $0.31 per share for the comparable period in 2008.
Congressman Peter Welch announced a $792,000 federal grant Wednesday to fund the acquisition of mountaineering equipment for the Vermont National Guard. Welch made the announcement at the Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho, alongside Brigadier General John Farnham. Vermont’s 86th IBCT (MTN) is the U.S. Army’s only conventional unit designated as a Mountain Infantry Brigade.
Week Ending April 11, 2009. There were 1,438 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance last week, an increase of 68 from the week before. Altogether 18,492 new and continuing claims were filed, 8 less than a week ago and 7,799 more than a year earlier. The Department also processed 2,058 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 79 more than a week ago. In addition, there were 1,202 Second Tier claims for benefits processed under the EUC08 program which is an increase of 18 from the week before.
Moscow Mills Manufacturing and Foster-Miller, Inc of Waltham, MA, have announced a major new non-lethal system for stopping small boats such as those used by pirates, drug traffickers and terrorists. The companies are working in conjunction with the Pentagon's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate program in Quantico, VA, and the US Coast Guard to move the project into even more widespread usage.
Governor Jim Douglas announced today that the Department of Public Service (DPS) will award $2.57 million from the Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) for renewable energy projects throughout the state. The goal of the CEDF is to increase the development and deployment of combined heat and power (CHP) technologies and renewable energy generation.
“I am pleased to announce $2.57 million in grant awards for the development of clean, renewable energy in Vermont,” said Governor Jim
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) will present Mr. Ted Castle, owner and president of Rhino Foods, the 2009 Terry Ehrich Award for Socially Responsible Business Practices at its annual awards dinner scheduled for May 4th. Rhino Foods of Burlington started in the 1980s as a small frozen custard stand in the Champlain Mill in Winooski.
The great state of Vermont tops the list of US state breweries per capita based on the Brewers Association’s count of operating breweries and the 2008 population estimates found at www.census.gov. The fortunate citizens of Vermont have a brewery for every 32,698 people. There are 19 breweries and 621,270 citizens in Vermont.
Microcheck has announced that it is working with scientists at Applied Biosystems, a division of Life Technologies Corporation, to further enhance Applied Biosystems’ validated libraries that provide the most complete information for microbial identification in pharmaceutical manufacturing. These libraries contain information about bacteria and fungi, enabling users of Applied Biosystems’ MicroSEQ® Microbial Identification System to perform accurate identifications.
Governor Jim Douglas today announced that Vermont will receive more than $20 million in economic recovery funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency to create jobs through water infrastructure and air quality projects.
“These stimulus funds will put local contractors and engineers to work as we plan and build out the projects,” the Governor said. “There is a tremendous need for these economic recovery funds. We’ve identified $380 million in drinking and clean water projects in Vermont.”
Passengers on the Amtrak Vermonter can take advantage of a reduced ticket price and a variety of lodging specials when traveling between any two Vermont stops on the train’s daily route.
Amtrak and the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing are offering “Downtowns by Rail,” which includes a special passenger rate of $12 on the Amtrak Vermonter. In addition, 15 lodging properties in communities along the route have put together special packages to encourage overnight and multiday stays in Vermont’s historic downtowns.
In its March 2, 2009 issue, BusinessWeek, using data from market researcher J. D. Power & Associates and the magazine itself, named KeyBank #11 and the top-named bank on its list of top 25 “Customer Service Champs.” In receiving this award, KeyBank joins a group of companies known for excellence in customer service, including Amazon.com, Lexus, Apple, LL Bean, JetBlue and Nordstrom.
Secretary of Administration Neale F Lunderville announced today that Vermont’s General and Education Funds were above target and the Transportation Fund was below target for the March. General Fund revenues exceeded target for the month as compared to the consensus revenue target revised in mid-January. The General Fund revenues of $69.91 million for the month of March 2009 were +$7.75 million or +12.47% above the $62.16 million consensus revenue forecast for the month.
It just got a little cheaper for Green Mountain Power customers to support new renewable energy. The Vermont Public Service Board approved GMP's request to lower the premium its customers voluntarily pay to support the development of renewable energy in Vermont. Under the GreenerGMP program, customers can now opt to pay three cents per kilowatt hour more than their normal rate to support renewable energy projects. The fee had been four cents per kWh.
"Our GreenerGMP program gives our customers
Contrary to its motto - 'Freedom and Unity' - the state of Vermont is one step closer to tightening its current smoking ban by prohibiting the use of tobacco and other smoking products in all workplaces throughout the state.
The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association says the freedom of all Vermont citizens - smokers and non-smokers alike - is at stake and state legislators should be spending their time on issues that truly matter - like jobs and the economy.
The House vote overriding the governor’s veto on same-sex marriage provided a stunning example of how much the debate on the subject has changed in the past nine years. To have 100 representatives vote to override is a remarkable demonstration of the sea change that has taken place.
The adoption of the marriage equality act this year also serves as an example of the wisdom of the Supreme Court in 1999: They had a pretty good feel for the shape of the political landscape a decade ago.
Senator Shumlin today announced the development of a state of the art health care billing system. The system will include health care insurance cards, a health care payment card and an established network where providers and payers can connect via a central hub. This new structure will fix our broken and confusing collections system by
improving efficiency and saving Vermonters money.
Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch announced Thursday the release of $24 million in federal stimulus funds to Vermont.
The five grants were authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which President Obama signed into law on February 17. Vermont is expected to receive more than $700 million from the ARRA.
The grants announced this week support a variety of programs, including support for food pantries and shelters, child care, vaccines for children, drinking water improvements and pollution cleanup efforts.
Vermont Public Radio has been honored with the top regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in broadcast journalism. VPR was honored in nine different categories, the most the station has ever received.