by Anne Galloway vtdigger.org The Hardwick Electric Department board voted on Nov. 13 to accept an additional 125 kilowatts of renewable power from small scale net metering projects or 2 percent more than the previous net metering cap, according to a press release from the utility.
In June, the local utility stopped allowing new customers to feed renewable power into the grid. At that point, Hardwick Electric Department had reached the 4 percent level recommended by the state. Now that cap is set at 6 percent.
by Anne Galloway vtdigger.org A legislative committee rejected a proposal on Thursday from the Shumlin administration that would allow nurses to forcibly medicate psychiatric patients.
The irony is, they already do.
Hospitals in Vermont follow federal regulations for treatment of psychiatric patients. Under Centers for Medicare and Medicaid rules, registered nurses can involuntarily restrain, seclude and medicate patients.
The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) approved $10.3 million in commercial development financings, leveraging additional investment of $16 million to help support commercial projects totaling $26.3 million. The Authority also approved $6.1 million in agricultural and drinking water system improvement loans, bringing total VEDA financing approvals for the last three months to $16.4 million.
The State of Vermont has reached a settlement with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Action Fund (“PPNNE Action Fund”) after investigating a campaign finance complaint regarding its activities in the 2010 general election cycle. PPPNNE Action Fund will pay a penalty of $30,000.
The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs today advanced legislation to expand access to health care and dental care at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The panel also approved a package of other bills, including measures to help veterans find jobs and shield veterans from benefit disruptions in the event of another government shutdown.
by Alicia Freese vtdigger.org Representative Peter Welch, D-VT, is on board with President Barack Obama’s decision to allow individuals to extend their current health insurance plans for one year — and with Governor Peter Shumlin’s preliminary decision to table a delay in implementation of Vermont’s mandatory health care exchange program.
Vermont businesses seem to be taking a deliberate approach to the state's new health insurance marketplace, according to a local CPA firm. The Certified Public Accounting firm of Davis & Hodgdon Associates CPAs located in Williston, Vermont, conducted a survey earlier this month regarding the impact of Vermont’s new healthcare exchange system on Vermont-based businesses.
Vermont Telephone Company (VTel) and Google have teamed up to offer digital literacy training opportunities and free computer equipment to 400 underserved Vermont homes, with a special focus on low-income households and senior citizens who are new to the Internet.
The VTel-Google Chrome program offers a free Google Chromebook to eligible new VTel Internet customers, and free digital literacy training sessions taught by an experienced VTel trainer.
Attorney General William Sorrell announced today that his Office, along with the Attorneys General of 36 States and the District of Columbia, entered into a $17 million settlement with Google Inc. for bypassing security settings on Apple’s Safari web browser in 2011 and 2012. $467,000 of which will go to Vermont. “Privacy on the internet is an increasingly serious issue,” said Sorrell, “and attempts by companies to violate consumers’ privacy expectations in exchange for profit will not be tolerated in Vermont.”
The University of Vermont’s Board of Trustees Executive Committee today authorized the administration to enter into a new collective bargaining agreement with the union representing employees in its Police Services Department.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Committee member Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) joined together Monday to introduce legislation to protect businesses and innovators who are being improperly targeted by so-called “patent trolls.”
Barbara Grimes, who has led the Burlington Electric Department for 15 years, announced her retirement as General Manager today in a letter to Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger. Grimes will step down at the end of her current Mayoral appointment on June 30, 2014.
New unemployment claims increased for the third consecutive week to over 800. For the week of November 9, 2013, there were 864 new, regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance in Vermont. This is an increase of 81 from the previous week's total, and 84 fewer than they were a year ago.
by Alicia Freese vtdigger.org Vermont students show little change in the latest nationwide reading and math test results. As in past years, the state’s fourth- and eighth-graders rank among the highest in the nation on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
Dealer.com, a leading provider of marketing and operations software and services for the automotive industry, today announced it ranked 185 on Deloitte's 2013 Technology Fast 500 list. Recognized for achieving 44 percent revenue growth last year, Dealer.com has established a track record for developing effective, targeted digital advertising technology and marketing software for the automotive industry. This marks the fifth consecutive time Dealer.com has been acknowledged on this prestigious list.
by Alicia Freese vtdigger.org State officials confirmed Thursday that 3SquaresVT, the state’s food stamp program that has been plagued by high error rates in recent years — will be penalized for the third year in a row.
The penalty for failing to accurately distribute food benefits is not a mere slap on the wrist. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which administers the program at the national level, is expected to make the state pay its steepest fine yet: $370,000.
KeyBank and FreePressMedia have announced six finalists in the 2013 Build a Stronger Vermont Grant Competition. The finalists were chosen by a panel of judges and will be put to a public vote to determine three winners that will take home prizes ranging from $10,000 to $25,000. The finalists are all Vermont nonprofits that provide financial education or workplace development to advance economic self-sufficiency.
by Hilary Niles vtdigger.org Statewide education tax rates are likely to increase from 3 cents to 7 cents next year as Vermont struggles with spending that outstrips recent revenue growth. To alleviate the strain long-term, lawmakers are considering a restructuring of education funding.
Bunker Hill Capital, a leading Boston based private equity investor in lower middle market companies, announced Thursday that it has acquired Hubbardton Forge, LLC, a Castleton, Vermont, based premier designer and manufacturer of branded hand-forged premium lighting fixtures, from Lineage Capital LLC, also based in Boston.
General Fund revenues totaled $109.13 million for October 2013, +$1.86 million or +1.74% ahead of the monthly target, as the vital personal income tax was $2.2 million ahead of expectations. Year to date, General Fund receipts were $425.43 million, +$2.29 million or +0.54% above the cumulative target, and +$20.28 million (+5.01%) ahead of the same period for the prior fiscal year (FY 2013). Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding released the October 2013 General Fund (GF) revenue results today. October is the fourth month of fiscal year (FY) 2014.
The Agency of Education has announced that Vermont has been selected to participate in a project called the “STEM Equity Pipeline.” The purpose of the project is to develop strategies to increase female student participation and completion in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related programs offered in the regional career technical education (CTE) centers through root cause analysis, action planning and professional development.
by Andrew Stein vtdigger.org President Barack Obama proposed an “administrative fix” Thursday that would allow Americans to keep their current health insurance plans for one more year.
The president also said, “State insurance commissioners still have the power to decide what plans can and can’t be sold in their state.”
Thursday night, Gov. Peter Shumlin indicated that his commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation would reserve that authority and not allow Vermonters to extend their current plans for another year.
Vermont Health Connect Navigators and officials are participating in and hosting upcoming events to talk to Vermonters about new health coverage options. More than 200 Navigators are available in communities throughout the state to help Vermonters learn more, enroll in a plan, and access financial help through Vermont Health Connect. Small employers and their employees can also turn to Navigators for help in determining their best health coverage options.
Lyndon State College has received a gift of 72 solar panels and associated heat pump equipment from Sticks and Stuff, the hardware and home supply store that recently purchased the Indoor Recreation of Orleans County (IROC) facility in Derby, Vermont. LSC plans to use the donated panels to heat the 25 meter swimming pool on campus. The panels will be mounted on the Rita Bole Gymnasium roof - - adjacent to the pool building - - sometime early next summer.
The Champlain Housing Trust and TD Charitable Foundation announced today the investment of a $100,000 grant to a housing and community development effort in Burlington’s Old North End. The award is just one of 25 grants made from TD Charitable Foundation’s Housing for Everyone competition, and is the only one recognized in Vermont.
by Hilary Niles vtdigger.org Tax-exempt organizations in Vermont can look at a one-year reprieve from legislative debate over how much they should pay in property taxes, but the delay brings the state’s Education Fund no closer to capturing new revenues to pay for its increasing needs.
The Washington Superior Court has ordered Reginald Riendeau of Orleans to address water quality issues at his logging operation on his 250-acre property in Albany, Vermont. The preliminary injunction order stems from a lawsuit filed by the State alleging that Mr.
The Essex County Sheriff’s office is planning a special dedication of a memorial to the late Deputy Sheriff Ruby Rainault who was killed in a motor vehicle crash 10 years ago while on patrol conducting Occupant Protection Safety checks.