US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said he is “disappointed” by today’s announcement of only a 1.7 percent increase in the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security beneficiaries and disabled veterans. The cost-of-living adjustment is one of the smallest increases since the automatic annual adjustments were adopted in 1975. (There was no increase in benefits in 2010 or 2011.)
by John Herrick vtdigger.org The Legislature next session will decide whether electric utilities should be required to sell renewable energy to customers, rekindling a debate over the price Vermont consumers will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The creation of a renewable portfolio standard would establish by law how much electricity generated from wind, solar and other renewable resources utilities must be sold to customers.
Governors and lawmakers in state capitals across the nation continue to take major steps to lower energy costs, reduce pollution, and save consumers money by increasing their states’ energy efficiency, according to the findings of the 8th edition of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The report found that in 2014 Massachusetts (#1) continues to edge out California (#2) as the most energy-efficient state in the nation for the fourth year in a row.
by John Herrick vtdigger.org Green Mountain Power will be required to constantly monitor sound coming from wind turbines, which could provide the most detailed assessment yet of a noise issue concerning some residents living near wind farms. The Vermont Public Service Board fined the utility $1,000 last week for exceeding sound limits it placed on the Kingdom Community Wind farm, which was approved in 2011. In place of a larger civil penalty, regulators asked the utility to implement a continuous sound-monitoring program for one year.
Joined by Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, tech business owners, economic development officials and others at Ello in Burlington, Governor Peter Shumlin Wednesday touted the upcoming 2014 Vermont Tech Jam being held on Friday and Saturday, and highlighted Vermont’s growing high-tech industry and national recognition. “We’re at Ello today because this company – the hottest new social media site since Facebook -- is a great example of this booming part of our economy,” Shumlin said. “Ello is not alone.
The US Department of Energy awarded more than $3.1 million in grants to two Vermont companies to help make solar energy more affordable and accessible. The Department of Energy awarded a $1 million grant to Faraday in Middlebury and $2.1 million to Norwich Technologies in White River Junction. These funds are part of more than $53 million awarded by the Energy Department to advance 40 research and development projects throughout the United States. The projects are designed to drive down the cost of solar energy and bring innovative ideas to the market more quickly.
Former US Secretary of State and retired four-star US Army general Colin L Powell will observe Veterans Day at Norwich University and deliver the Fall 2014 Todd Lecture Series talk on campus at 7 pm in Shapiro Field House. Both Tuesday, November 11 events are free and open to the public. Distinguished by his public service over the course of his 50-year career, Powell has held senior military and diplomatic positions across four presidential administrations.
Vermont Business Magazine FairPoint Communications in a statement issued a statement reiterating its commitment to providing high-quality customer service as it implements and ramps up its contingency plans during the strike by two unions that began last Friday. FairPoint said it is concerned with activities and incidents that have alarmed individuals and obstructed customer service.
Vermont home sales were up, but median prices decreased in September from the same time last year. For New England, year-over-year sales increased by 0.6 percent according to The RE/MAX of New England September Monthly Housing Report. Pending sales were up 37.2 percent over September 2013. Month-over-month, the cooler weather has helped to contribute to a seasonally-expected decline of -15.8 percent in home sales, with pending sales up 11.3 percent. Across the region, homes are staying on the market an average of 4 additional days, while median price is down -5.3 percent on average.
The board of Emerge Family Advocates, Inc, has agreed to resign after ensuring that essential services would be maintained through a group of Upper Valley nonprofits, the Vermont Attorney General announced Monday.
The SBA Vermont District Office is accepting nominations for its annual small business awards, including the Small Business Person of the Year award. Previous Vermont winners include Ben and Jerry’s, Switchback Brewing Company and Vermont Teddy Bear Company.
The categories are as follows:
Small Business Person of the Year
Criteria: Individual or partners who own a small business, which has increased sales, profits and employees, and been in business for three years.
The Vermont Superior Court, Washington Unit, issued a decision Tuesday concluding that the Republican Governors Association (RGA) violated Vermont law by accepting contributions in excess of $2,000 during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign. The RGA claimed it should be exempt from contribution limits because it qualified as an independent-expenditure-only committee.