Current News

by tim

Governor Douglas announced today that Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) will issue free $50,000 term life insurance policies to benefit children of eligible working families in the Vermont, at no cost to the families - MassMutual pays the premiums through its philanthropic LifeBridge program.
People who are eligible may apply for free life insurance at the Greater Burlington YMCA, located at 266 College St., Burlington, VT on Saturday, February 28th, from 10:00 a.m. 2:00 p.m. Eligible individuals should call the YMCA at 802-862-9622 ext. 122 to schedule their 15-minute appointment to apply. APPOINTMENTS ARE REQUIRED.

by tim

The Chittenden Solid Waste District is temporarily suspending sales of compost products from its subsidiary, Intervale Compost Products (ICP), located on Intervale Road in Burlington. Low levels of a substance known as benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) have been found in the compost. While this substance is pervasive throughout the Burlington area, there are no State or Federal standards for its presence in compost. Sales have been suspended as a precautionary measure while the State and CSWD determine whether or not there is cause for concern. Intervale Compost Products is still accepting compostable material during regular business hours.One of a family of compounds known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), BaP is a carcinogen and has been traced to none other than the leaves and yard trimmings brought to the Intervale and to CSWD Drop-Off Centers by residents and businesses in the area.

by tim

William Maclay Architects & Planners won first place in the large buildings category of the Efficiency Vermont Better Buildings by Design 2009 competition for their work on the recently completed green building for wind manufacturer NRG Systems. The Waitsfield architectural firm was recognized by the judges for their “innovative and integrated design approach towards energy efficiency and high performance building.”

by tim

RealtyTrac(R) (www.realtytrac.com), the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, today released its January 2009 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report(TM), which shows foreclosure filings -- default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions -- were reported on 274,399 U.S. properties during the month, a 10 percent decrease from the previous month but still up 18 percent from January 2008. The report also shows one in every 466 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing in January.

by tim

If the Vermont transportation budget goes a little farther this year, and if the winter roads are a little clearer during storms, thank the Lyndon Institute of Applied Meteorology (LIAM) and the five students working with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) to make that happen. Thank the road crews, too.
Since last fall, Kyle Blount (Peacedale, R.I.), Steve Breault (Wakefield, Mass.), Joshua Redinger (N. Scituate, R.I.), Tyler Southard (Rockland, Me.) and Matthew Clegg (Biddeford, Me.), all LSC meteorology majors, have been sending weather predictions to VTrans. The Agency, in turn, uses the information to help determine the best time at which to send out the plow, sand or salt trucks, often just before the storm hits. The weather information can help saves lives through improved road conditions, as well as save money in the long run.

by tim

The Vermont Public Service Board, in an order praising public outreach efforts and utility planning in southern Vermont, has approved a series of transmission upgrades designed to improve electricity reliability in Vermont and across the region.
The 122-page order, issued late Wednesday, approves construction of a 345-kilovolt transmission line between Vernon and Vermont Electric Power Company’s (VELCO) Coolidge Substation in Cavendish. The board also approved a new substation in Vernon and an expansion of the Coolidge Substation. These components are collectively known as “the Coolidge Connector.” To address local reliability problems on Central Vermont Public Service’s system, the board also approved a new Newfane substation and an approximately one-mile 345 kV loop between Newfane and the planned 345 kV Vernon-to-Cavendish line. The combined projects are known as the “Southern Loop Project.”

by tim

The state today announced more than $182,000 in 15 matching grants to projects for the restoration and preservation of historic buildings across Vermont, including two in the town of Windsor, the birthplace of Vermont.
Standing in front of the historic Stephen Jacob House, whose owner, Historic Windsor Inc., received a $7,690 grant to install a new roof to protect the building, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Community Development Jim Saudade congratulated the grant recipients.
“These are difficult times, but we are continuing this administration’s commitment to historic preservation,” Saudade said. “Preserving our past is an important part of keeping Vermont a special place not only for our residents, but for the visitors who come and help support our tourism economy.”

by tim

Montpelier, Vt Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Roger Allbee, in collaboration with New York Agriculture Commissioner Pat Hooker and Pennsylvania Agriculture Commissioner Dennis Wolff (the principal members of the Northeast Dairy Leadership Team), yesterday sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting that he immediately implement Section 1509 of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008. This Act calls for the establishment of a Federal Milk Marketing Order Review Commission.
This action is in response to the downturn dairy farmers are facing that could be detrimental to the dairy industry in Vermont, the Northeast and the nation. Due to a complicated and antiquated milk pricing structure, one state acting alone can do very little to address the volatility of milk pricing.

by tim

Week Ending February 7, 2009. There were 1,377 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance last week, an increase of 38 from the week before. Altogether 16,794 new and continuing claims were filed, 546 more than a week ago and 6,352 more than a year earlier. In addition, the Department processed 1,858 claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008, an increase of 42 from last week. 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

by tim

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) will build Vermont s largest solar array on top of the distribution center of its Green Mountain Coffee facility in Waterbury. Construction of the 100 kW photovoltaic array is expected to begin in the spring of 2009 and be completed by summer.
The solar array is the result of an innovative partnership between the coffee company, the State of Vermont, Green Mountain Power, and groSolar, North America s premier provider of solar energy solutions. The electricity generated by the approximately 530 solar panels will produce a small percentage of the total electricity Green Mountain Coffee needs for its production facilities in Waterbury. Company officials say the greater benefit is in showing what is possible for the future.

by tim

Army programs making strides in endangered species protection, historic preservation, waste reduction, environmental restoration, sustainability, and pollution prevention earned Pentagon recognition in January as the Department of the Army announced the winners of its highest honors for environmental stewardship and sustainability.
Seven installations, three teams, and one individual will receive Secretary of the Army Awards for their environmental and sustainability program achievements. This year's winning accomplishments include: designing a multi-phase ethnographic oral history collection project, achieving significant waste and emissions reductions, securing special legislation that returns state timber revenues to the Army, construction of a photovoltaic array to reduce dependence on fossil fuel, and implementing performance-based contracting to save the Army millions of dollars in cleanup costs.

by tim

In the endless barrage of bad economic news and near-daily layoff announcements, one marketing company specializing in the design and production of custom stickers, labels and magnets is choosing to focus on the positive. Websticker.com (http://www.websticker.com), a division of Freely Creative, Inc. (http://www.freelycreative.com), is making some bold choices that fly in the face of the recession -- and set it apart from other printing services.