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USDA to invest $45 million to improve water quality in Lake Champlain

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 11:22am -- tim

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that up to $45 million will be provided to protect and improve soil and water quality in the Lake Champlain Basin in Vermont over the next five years. In recent years, Lake Champlain has been plagued by blue-green algae blooms that periodically become toxic. The algae blooms are the result of degraded water quality, primarily due to phosphorous pollution. Phosphorus can affect water quality by enabling excessive aquatic plant and algae growth, which can contribute to fish die offs and other environmental impacts. 

FairPoint and unions at impasse, company implements proposals

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:32am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Following months of negotiations between FairPoint and its northern New England Unions, and after talks remained deadlocked more than three weeks after the prior collective bargaining agreements expired, the company announced Wednesday that it will implement its final proposals, which have been repeatedly rejected by the unions. FairPoint said in a statement that this action is permitted by federal labor law when there is no meaningful prospect for a negotiated settlement.

Primary Roundup: Who won in contested House, Senate primaries

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 4:02pm -- tim

by Tom Brown vtdigger.org Becca Balint’s first political foray is likely to result in her landing one of only 30 state Senate seats. Balint, of Brattleboro, bested former Agriculture Secretary Roger Allbee by about 500 votes Tuesday to secure one of two spots on the Windham County Democratic ballot in November. With no Republicans in the race, Balint and incumbent Senator Jeanette White, the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s primary, are favored to claim victory in the November 4 general election.

Alleged murderer found dead at Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 3:56pm -- tim

According to a statement released by the Vermont STate Police, yesterday, at approximately 9:35 pm, the Vermont State Police received a call regarding a death of an inmate at the Southern State Correctional Facility (SSCF) in Springfield, VT. A detective from the Vermont State Police Criminal Division in D Troop responded to the correctional facility to investigate. The inmate, identified as Sylvester Labartino age 71 of Hubbardton, VT, was awaiting trial for the murders of Christopher and Shane Plummer on February 12, 2014, in the town of Hubbardton.

Affordable rental housing still elusive for extremely low-income Vermonters

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 3:15pm -- tim

A new report released jointly by the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition and the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), shows how difficult it is for Vermont’s lowest income renters to find housing that is affordable to them in the current rental market. The report, Housing Spotlight: The Affordable Rental Housing Gap Persists, shows that there were just 39 rental homes affordable and available for every 100 extremely low income households in Vermont in 2012, the last year for

Teacher’s Retirement Board approves fossil fuel-free fund for 403(b) plan

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 2:51pm -- tim

The Vermont State Teacher’s Retirement Board of Trustees has approved the addition of a fossil fuel-free mutual fund investment option for the 403(b) plan. State Treasurer Beth Pearce said the addition gives more choices to teachers who want to invest supplemental retirement dollars in Socially Responsible Investments. The board approved the addition of the Pax World Global Environmental Markets Fund (PGINX) at their August board meeting.

Vermont Gas to pay VELCO $450,000 to use its right-of-way

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 8:40am -- tim

by John Herrick vtdigger.org The state’s transmission utility has set a price for Vermont Gas to use its utility corridor as part of its natural gas pipeline extension through Addison County. Vermont Gas spokesman Steve Wark said last week the company intends to pay $450,000 for about 51 acres within the utility corridor. The price includes access roads, he said. The company plans to route sections of a 41-mile pipeline extension through a utility corridor owned by Vermont Electric Power Co, or VELCO.

Shumlin to step in if Vermont Gas pursues eminent domain

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 7:43am -- tim

by John Herrick vtdigger.org The Shumlin administration intends to hire an independent appraiser to assess the value of landowners’ property taken through eminent domain for the construction of a natural gas pipeline through Addison County. Governor Peter Shumlin sent a letter to three lawmakers on Monday stating his concern and disappointment with Vermont Gas’ rollout of its natural gas pipeline. The company has started construction of a 41-mile pipeline extension from Chittenden and Franklin counties to Middlebury.

TRORC awarded Disaster Recovery Funding for Flood Resiliency Projects

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 7:29am -- tim

The Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission in the Upper Valley of Vermont is using $99,900 to assist in infrastructure repair and upgrade to culverts damage by Tropical Storm Irene. Irene damaged a significant portion of town-owned infrastructure across the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee region. During the storm, countless undersized culverts were severely damaged or destroyed, leading to many roads being washed out isolating residents and disrupting economic activity.

UVM launches online graduate certificate in environmental public health

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 6:56am -- tim

As part of its graduate public health offerings, the University of Vermont is offering a new online Environmental Public Health graduate certificate program to give students the opportunity to study environmental public health, epidemiology, public health and health policy, as well as electives in environmental risk and communication, food systems and public health and environmental public health law.  

Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative will treat six rivers and three river deltas to control sea lamprey populations

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 6:43am -- tim

The Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative (Cooperative) will be applying lampricides to portions of six tributaries and three delta areas of Lake Champlain during the months of September and October. The US Fish and Wildlife Service, Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will be treating the Boquet, Ausable, Little Ausable, Salmon, and the Great Chazy rivers in New York and Lewis Creek in Vermont as part of the Cooperative’s long-term sea lamprey control program for Lake Champlain.

A Series of How to Start Your Own Business workshops by VtSBDC Sept-Nov

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 6:08am -- tim

The Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC.org)  as part of its many business services is offering several workshops for those thinking about starting their own business – taking their idea and turning it into a full-fledged venture.  The workshops on -  “How to Start Your Own Business” are held at various locations around the state.

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