Current News

by tim

The most recent Dodge Report analysis of construction contracts shows that Vermont is ahead of where it was a year ago because of heavy investment in highway and bridge building, much of which is due to federal stimulus funding. While residential and commercial construction continue to show weakness, those components are showing some rebound from the depths of the recession over the last 12 months. In all, both the most recent month ($76.1 million) reviewed (September) and the year-to-date ($852.9 million) data show that total construction contracts are ahead of where they were in 2008. The McGraw-Hill Dodge Reports look at construction projects under contract to determine future construction spending.

by tim

Sovernet's recent 3rd Annual Harvest Walk raised $16,440 for the Vermont and New Hampshire Foodbanks. Surpassing their goal by more than 50 percent, Sovernet attributes this year's success to tremendous support for the event, as well as to an increased awareness of the foodbanks' mission in challenging times.

by tim

The current economic downturn is not sidetracking state-level efforts to make the most of energy efficiency as the cheapest, cleanest and quickest of all energy resources, according to a 50-state scorecard on energy efficiency policies, programs, and practices from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Vermont was ranked number 6 in the nation.
The 2009 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which ranks states in six categories, concludes that the 10 states doing the most to implement energy efficiency are: California (1); Massachusetts (2); Connecticut (3); Oregon (4); New York (5); Vermont (6); Washington state (7); Minnesota (8); Rhode Island (9); and Maine (10).

by tim

US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has brought together Obama administration officials, Vermont state lawmakers and the state Department of Mental Health commissioner to discuss federal funding for the Vermont State Hospital. Restoring the hospital’s certification could yield $10 million or more a year in federal reimbursements for the facility that the state now spends more than $20 million annually to operate and maintain.
The state hospital in Waterbury first lost its federal certification in 2003, regained it in 2004, but lost it again in 2005. The lack of certification makes the facility ineligible to claim Medicare or Medicaid reimbursements that could cover more than half of the hospital’s costs.

by tim

The US Senate late Tuesday approved and sent to the President s desk a bill that includes Senator Patrick Leahy s extension of the investor visa program that has attracted millions of dollars in economic development to Vermont, creating hundreds of jobs. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program, which is operated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has generated more than a billion dollars of investments, creating tens of thousands of jobs in states and communities across the country since it was established in 1993. Leahy has led in extending the Regional Center pilot program, and introduced legislation last year to permanently authorize the program. There now are 72 Regional Centers across the country, including Vermont s, which is run within Vermont s Department of Commerce and Community Development.

by tim

The sudden and immediate closing of the Champlain Bridge connecting Chimney Point, Vermont, to Crown Point, New York, has prompted Governor Douglas to direct Transportation Secretary David Dill to begin immediate planning and preparation for extended additional ferry service. Service will begin as soon as possible should the inspections now underway conclude that the bridge will need to remain closed indefinitely while repairs are being made. The bridge carries about 3,400 vehicles a day, which will now have to travel north or south to cross the lake.

by tim

Congressman Peter Welch on Tuesday called for legislation allowing young people to stay on their parents health insurance policies until the age of 27. At a press conference at the University of Vermont s Waterman Lounge in Burlington, Welch said that comprehensive health reform legislation should make coverage affordable and accessible for the nation s largest group of uninsured people. In 2007, 13.2 million young people 30 percent of that age group were uninsured.
Allowing young people to stay on the family health insurance plan will provide peace of mind to parents and affordable health care to young people, Welch said. As they leave high school or college, many young people find themselves unable or unwilling to buy health insurance leaving them at risk of serious illness or injury. This common sense legislation will save families money, reduce the risk of medical debt and keep people healthy.

by tim

On October 22, 2009 the Vermont Community Foundation will host a Kick-Off event for Middlebury Unplugged, an energy challenge for downtown Middlebury businesses. The Kick-Off, open to the public, will begin at 7:30 a.m. and will offer energy-saving tips to local business and residential home owners. At the end of the event, Middlebury Unplugged coordinators will hand out energy monitors and data-logging software to businesses, so that they can track their electrical usage in real time at no cost.

by tim

Responding to requests from citizens for information and answers about the impacts of industrial wind projects, Vermonters for a Clean Environment (VCE) has organized a forum on wind and energy issues faced by communities in Rutland County and around Vermont. The Forum will take place Thursday evening, Oct. 22, at the West Rutland Town Hall, starting at 7 pm.
"VCE is committed to providing information about issues of concern to Vermonters who are facing big wind turbine projects," said Annette Smith, Executive Director of VCE. "We are looking forward to a lively discussion about Vermont's energy future, as well as learning from qualified experts about noise and health problems associated with living near big wind turbines."

by tim

Susan Bartlett, Democratic candidate for governor, announced today that she has hired three people to work for her campaign. David Heller will serve as Bartlett’s political media consultant and handle all of her campaign advertising; Alan Secrest will serve as her campaign pollster; and John Bauer will work on message development, fundraising and data management.
“This is the beginning of the team we will build for a successful grass-roots campaign for governor, one where I will focus meeting and speaking directly with voters about my priorities – creating jobs, promoting economic development and improving our schools,” Bartlett said. “I view the campaign as a job interview. David, Alan and John will help me share my vision, credentials and strengths with the people of Vermont.”

by tim

Dealer.com, based in Burlington, Vermont, the global leader of online marketing solutions for the automotive industry, today announced that it ranked number 214 on Technology Fast 500, Deloitte LLP s ranking of 500 of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America. Rankings are based on percentage of fiscal year revenue growth during the five year period from 2004 2008. Dealer.com grew 629 percent during this period. Dealer.com s CEO, Mark Bonfigli, credits employee dedication and the company's advanced technology platform with the 629 percent revenue growth over the past five years.

by tim

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas today announced the creation of a Health Care Cabinet, to help coordinate Vermont’s nationally recognized health reform initiatives across several agencies and departments and to help implement any health reforms that may be enacted at the federal level in the near future. The Cabinet will be comprised of representatives from agencies and departments with jurisdiction over health care services, policy, regulation and implementation, among other responsibilities.

Southern Vermont AHEC and Governor’s Institutes inspire future healthcare leaders
A Passion to Do the Right Thing: Michael Monte and the Champlain Housing Trust
Vermont Historical Society awarded IMLS grant
American Meadows and High Country Gardens support community organizations by donating unsold plants resulting in 0% organic waste
UVM taps Tim Rademacher to lead research at Proctor Maple Research Center