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Senate leaders recommend $14 million in cost cuts to avoid layoffs

Thu, 04/16/2009 - 12:30pm -- tim

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 and individual step increas

$6 million VEDA loans to help farmers with seed and fertilizer costs

Thu, 04/16/2009 - 11:58am -- tim

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 to serve as test site for solar program

Thu, 04/16/2009 - 10:26am -- tim

Related Company: Green Mountain Power CorpCamels 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.

Vermont still lowest foreclosure rate in nation, US up 9 percent

Thu, 04/16/2009 - 10:08am -- tim

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.

Statement on Nuclear Regulatory Commission's performance review of Vermont Yankee

Thu, 04/16/2009 - 9:54am -- tim

Related Company: Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee LLCThe 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.”

Milton's Ascension Technology gets $2.4 million USAF contract

Thu, 04/16/2009 - 9:07am -- tim

Related Company: Ascension Technology CorpUS 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.

Blodgett to supply over 5,000 KFCs with energy-efficient ovens

Wed, 04/15/2009 - 1:35pm -- tim

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.

Captive insurance association names Diane Leach interim president

Wed, 04/15/2009 - 1:29pm -- tim

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.

Legislative economist questions state's stimulus plans

Wed, 04/15/2009 - 1:20pm -- tim

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.

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