Current News

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USDA Rural Development will present funding awards to seven area organizations to benefit Vermont s Northeast Kingdom on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at 2 pm. The grants, given out nationally to small businesses in federally designated Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) zones, aim to spur economic development and create or save jobs in rural areas.

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Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration Commissioner Paulette J Thabault announced today that she has ordered BCBSVT to return $3 million in premium refunds to subscribers to conclude the Department s investigation into the excessive compensation paid to former CEO, William Milnes. The Company agreed to enter into a stipulation and accept the requirement to return money to subscribers, rather than contest the matter in administrative hearings.

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Draker Labs, a leading provider of monitoring solutions for institutional and commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) systems based in Burlington, Vermont, has been selected by Photovoltaic Systems Manufacturing (PSM) to monitor PV systems that will be installed at 14 Arizona-based schools. Phoenix-based Salt River Project (SRP), one of the nation s largest public power providers, is funding the installation and maintenance of the rooftop-mounted PV systems. SRP will provide teachers with training and classroom materials related to renewable energy education. Data collected from Draker s monitoring solutions will be available to students and faculty, allowing them to apply real-world data in a variety of classroom applications.

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For the week of May 29, 2010, there were 839 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance, a decrease of 133 from the week before. Altogether 10,898 new and continuing claims were filed, a decrease of 391 from a week ago and 4,122 fewer than a year earlier. The Department also processed 3,586 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 135 fewer than a week ago. In addition, there were 2,266 Second Tier claims for benefits processed under the EUC08 program, which is a decrease of 100 from the week before. The Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/. Previously released Unemployment Weekly Reports and other UI reports can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/lmipub.htm#uc

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The state has awarded nearly $350,000 in Municipal Planning Grants to thirty-eight communities across the state to help them plan for growth and development. Officials at the Vermont Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development announced the Municipal Planning Grants of up to $15,000, which can be used for a variety of planning projects.
These grants support the planning activities that are at the heart of Vermont s Smart Growth strategy, said Tayt Brooks, Commissioner of the Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development. While the budget crisis has curtailed the amount available, these investments will help promote economic activity, community development and housing in our downtowns and village centers, while protecting Vermont s working landscape.

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Senator Patrick Leahy says a new $54,745,988 US Army contract with Goodrich for additional units of the company s groundbreaking helicopter maintenance diagnostic system, produced by the firm s facility here, shows the advanced system has quickly taken its place as a key maintenance feature of US military helicopter programs.
Leahy just two months ago joined Goodrich employees here to mark shipment of the 2000th system, at that point achieving more than $100 million in helicopter diagnostic system contracts for the Vermont facility.

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Comcast and One Economy will be joined by elected officials and community leaders on Friday, June 4 at 2:30 PM at the Boys & Girls Club of Burlington to kick off a major digital learning and service initiative that teaches teens and young adults from diverse, low-income backgrounds how to use broadband technologies and put that knowledge to work to increase digital literacy in the greater community.
WHO: U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, Governor Jim Douglas, Mary Alice McKenzie, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Burlington, David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, Comcast Corporation, Doug Guthrie, Senior Vice President, Comcast’s Western New England Region, Pam Mackenzie, Area Vice President, Comcast Vermont, Karla Ballard, Vice President of Social Innovations for One Economy, 20 Burlington-area teens enrolled in Digital Connectors program.
WHEN: Friday, June 4 at 2:30 PM

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State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding will announce a new statewide financial literacy program for elementary-age children Wednesday, June 3 in Burlington at 11:15 am. The Reading is an Investment program aims to increase school book collections in personal finance, give teachers and librarians related curricular resources, and encourage students to read books that teach money concepts.
Spaulding will be joined by C.P. Smith School Library Media Specialist Shannon Walters and teacher Sue Clark and her third grade class. Phil Daniels, Market President for TD Bank, also will speak.

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The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing next week to examine how recent court decisions and federal liability caps influence corporate behavior, affect American taxpayers, and provide justice to victims, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Tuesday.

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With about 1,500 Vermont National Guard members deployed in Afghanistan, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Major General Michael Dubie today announced continued funding for a model outreach initiative and a new childcare program.
“When these soldiers were deployed, Vermonters made a promise to them that we would do our best to protect them and their families when they were in combat and when they returned,” Sanders said. “All of us should be very proud that Vermont has come up with programs that have become, in some ways, a model for America.”
At a press conference at Camp Johnson, the senator and the Vermont National Guard adjutant general detailed how $2.4 million in federal funds allotted at Sanders’ request is continuing a Vermont outreach program that has become a model for other states.

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Two start-up companies, one a sales firm and the other a wood products manufacturer with plans to reopen the shuttered Stanley Tool Plant in Pittsfield, have been authorized to earn up to $230,094 in Vermont Employment Growth Incentives. The one firm would re-start the former Stanley Tool plant in Pittsfield.
The companies, if they grow in or locate in Vermont, could create 41 new jobs over the next five years, according to officials with the Vermont Economic Progress Council, which authorized the incentives late last week.
The Original Vermont Wood Products, Inc. was authorized to earn incentives totaling $100,604. The start-up company plans to re-start production at the former Stanley Tool plant in Pittsfield and bring most of the Stanley employees back to work.
They would lease the plant and equipment and make wood component parts for other customers. They also plan a new line of custom post caps, trellises, pergolas and wood sheds.

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WPTZ-TV and WOKO-FM were winners of the Best in Show awards in the 2010 VAB Commercial of the Year competition. The awards were announced during the VAB s 55th Annual Convention May 27 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier.
More than 195 entries were submitted by radio stations, TV stations and local advertising agencies for the VAB awards, which remains the only regional competition of its kind.
Multiple first-place award winners included television stations WCAX, WVNY and WPTZ. WJEN-FM in Rutland and WWFY-FM in Barre each won multiple first place awards in the radio competition, and Shadow Productions and Mt. Mansfield Media both took home multiple awards in the ad agency contest.
WPTZ won Best in Show among all television entries for "Contraptions," a commercial for the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center in Burlington.
WOKO-FM won Best in Show for radio for "Cupholder," a commercial for Treadway Service Center.