Current News

by tim

Vermont Public Service Board approves FairPoint-Verizon deal
The Vermont Public Service Board finally approved, February 15, 2008, the massive deal between FairPoint Communications and Verizon to buy the 1.6 million telephone landlines in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. However, the Vermont regulators added another $31.7 million in stipulations to the $2.7 billion deal.

FairPoint's initial reaction to the new stipulations was guarded, in that the North Carolina company was not sure that Verizon would go along with the add-ons.

Verizon would be required to pay $25 million for a performance enhancement plan that would spend up to $12.5 million a year to upgrade service if some milestones were not met. Also, Verizon would have to deposit $6.7 million in an escrow account to fund the removal of dual utility poles around the states.

by tim

Lake Champlain Chocolates (LCC), a gourmet Vermont chocolatier and maker of a gourmet line of organic chocolates was selected as "Best Milk Chocolate" in a taste test of more than a dozen varieties of organic chocolates.

In a recent taste test hosted at Martha Stewart's Body + Soul Magazine, organic chocolate bars from more than a dozen different manufacturers were tested in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and "wild" categories. At the completion of the taste test, Lake Champlain Chocolates was chosen at the best milk chocolate "bar none." Amongst the positive reviews, the milk chocolate bar was described as "a buttery treat that's as rich as a slice of chocolate cake."

by tim

MONTPELIER, Vt. - Officials from the agencies of Agriculture, Food and Markets and Natural Resources announced today joint funding of $700,000 over the next three years to help draw down a $14 million backlog in federal funding for on-farm projects that will improve water quality and accelerate efforts to address phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain.

Testifying before the Senate Economic Development Committee, agency officials said that will ensure numerous projects are immediately undertaken this field season - with dozens more ready to be implemented over the next several years.

The spending plan, which will use state capital funds, has the support of Governor Jim Douglas, who said Vermont has an obligation to fund projects to clean Vermont waters.

by tim

Statewide
Technology Project Unveils New Website
ConnectVermont Project Includes Fiber optic, Wireless,
Online Information
MONTPELIER
– The project responsible for bringing wireless Internet access to
highway welcome centers; putting tourism information online; and bringing
motorists road condition reports now has its website.
Officials said
the ConnectVermont program’s new website at www.connectvermont.com
would not only help visitors and Vermonters learn more about its many high-tech
services but provide another way to access them.
“This
website really shows how the ConnectVermont project is making a difference in
people’s lives,” said Robert T. White, who is the project’s
director within the Vermont Agency of Transportation. “From vacationers
looking for a cultural event using wireless internet at a welcome center to a

by tim

According to a recent study by the Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteering among college students has increased by 20 percent in recent years. A renewed spirit of civic engagement is evident as more students demonstrate their compassion, commitment, and creativity by serving others all across the country, including the Green Mountain State.

On February 11, 2008, the Corporation recognized four Vermont schools for exemplary community service. Norwich University, Castleton State and St. Michael's Colleges and the University of Vermont were named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

by tim

MONTPELIER - The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) today announced that it will dip further into its dwindling road salt reserves to loan salt to municipalities for the remainder of the winter, which has been a particularly severe and has strained both state and local salt supplies.

VTrans Secretary Neale Lunderville said all VTrans Maintenance Districts will loan salt to their regional municipalities until the District's supply reaches 25 percent of capacity, which is less than a 48-hour supply. The Districts will curtail loans when this threshold is met, but will again loan salt once supplies can be replenished.

VTrans divides the state into nine Maintenance Districts. Currently, two Districts are unable to loan salt because they have already reached the 25-percent threshold. To date, VTrans has loaned salt to more than 65 municipalities and two state colleges.

by tim

South Burlington, Vt. - (Feb. 13, 2008) - The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 300 recently announced an intensive construction foreman's training session for its members.

The five-week course, coordinated by the union's Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, follows the "project control system" methodology, a mechanism that allows managers to efficiently execute the work being performed. Core subjects covered include installation, documentation, administration and supervision. Classes run from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Feb. 23, March 1, March 8 and March 15 at Local 300's South Burlington union hall on Gregory Drive.

by tim

Bill Brady, President of the McLure Group of Essex Jct., VT, was the recipient of numerous awards for McLure Moving & Storage, given at the Arpin Van Lines 2007 Convention, held in Tucson, AZ.

Mclure Moving and Storage has over 90 years of Local, National and International moving history. But in their first full year of service in the Arpin Van Lines Family they were honored as the "Best New Prime Agent".
Bill Brady also received the "Greatest COD Sales Volume award in his class as well as the Arpin International "Domestic Booking Agent of the Year".

by tim

Cong. Delegation announces funding for White River VA expansion
WASHINGTON (Monday, February 11) – Vermont’s Congressional Delegation – Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), and Rep. Peter Welch (D) – announced today that the White River Junction VA Medical Center has been awarded $900,000 for designing a new imaging center and expanding its radiology services. The medical center will be eligible for an additional $6 million for construction next year.
The funding will allow the VA to plan and design the 6,996 sq. ft. expansion and renovation to the current facility. The project will enhance radiology services for veterans and provide space for a permanent MRI machine.

by tim

Vermont Chamber of Commerce Endorses
Verizon/FairPoint Communication Transaction
The Montpelier, VT The Vermont
Chamber of Commerce announced February 11, 2008, its endorsement of the FairPoint/Verizon
transaction. The Vermont Chamber of Commerce supports the agreement
recently reached between the two companies, and looks forward to the Vermont
Public Service Board (PSB) approval in the near future.
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce
has been monitoring the proposed Verizon sale of its land line assets to
FairPoint since the deal was initially announce. Addressing the financial
aspects to ensure that FairPoint has the necessary capital and the ability
to guarantee superior service in Vermont has been a central requirement.
To address concerns about their
financial stability, FairPoint restructured its proposal to counter concerns

by tim


As Foreclosure And Affordable
Housing Crisis Spreads&

Leahy Announces $1.2 M.
In Grants
To Vermonts
NeighborWorks Centers
To Sustain Their
Affordable Housing Development
And Ownership Counseling

. . .
Leahy Helped Create 1st NeighborWorks Organization In Vermont In 1993

WASHINGTON (Thursday, Feb. 7) Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
announced Thursday that Vermonts five NeighborWorks organizations are
getting $1.2 million in NeighborWorks America grants. According to
NeighborWorks America, a federally funded nonprofit housing organization, their
partnership with the Vermont NeighborWorks organizations will help invest $46
million into Vermont communities this year to stimulate economic development
and bring more affordable housing opportunities to Vermonters.

by tim

BURLINGTON, Vt. Leandro A. Vazquez of Charlotte has been named to the Board of Trustees of Champlain College.

Vazquez is an investment manager specializing in the commodity hedge fund business and structured financial products. He works mainly with European markets.

Vazquez is married to Amy P. Vazquez and they have two sons, Leandro Jr., 9, and Santiago, 6. Both attend Charlotte Central School.

Vazquez attended the University of Vermont and is an alumnus of Lynn University. He is an active Vermonter who enjoys cycling, skiing, hiking, hunting and fishing.