Current News

by tim

Report: State Could Improve Policy, Offset Oil Costs
NRDC Report Says Transportation Planning Can Buffer Automotive Fuel Costs
Vermont could be doing more to protect its citizens from the high costs
of fuel oil for our cars and trucks, according to a new report released
by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a national environmental
group.
States that adopt laws to promote clean and efficient vehicles, prevent
sprawl, and invest in public transit, are helping protect their citizens
from high oil prices, according to the report, "Fighting Oil Addiction:
Ranking States' Oil Vulnerability and Solutions for Change."
"Based on this report, the results for Vermont are mixed," said Brian
Shupe, the sustainable communities director and energy co-director for
the Vermont Natural Resources Council. "Despite our green image and
reputation for forward-thinking policy, this report shows that Vermont

by tim

Berlin, VT - More than 100 Vermont non-profit organizations have received grants totaling $205,000 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) in the first half of 2008, the states largest health insurer announced today.

The funds are granted to improve health education and promote healthy lifestyles, and for direct services. BCBSVT executives cited the connection between improved health and lower health insurance rates as the incentive for its support and collaboration with community-based organizations receiving the grants. Individual grants typically range between $250 and $2,000.

by tim

Vermont Nonprofits Receive More Than $200,000 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont for Health Improvement Projects
Berlin, VT - More than 100 Vermont non-profit organizations have received grants totaling $205,000 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) in the first half of 2008, the state's largest health insurer has announced.
The funds are granted to improve health education and promote healthy lifestyles, and for direct services. BCBSVT executives cited the connection between improved health and lower health insurance rates as the incentive for its support and collaboration with community-based organizations receiving the grants. Individual grants typically range between $250 and $2,000.

by tim

Douglas urges special session over Safe Communities legislation
(July 21, 2008) Official Statement of Governor Douglas on a Special Session and Senate Hearings on Safe Communities Legislation:
I met this afternoon with Senator Shumlin and Speaker Symington to urge them to support a special session to pass a civil confinement law to prevent the release of violent sexual predators, an expanded sex offender registry to empower parents with more information and a Jessica's Law for Vermont to ensure convicted pedophiles are off our streets and behind bars for a very long time.
We should take immediate action in these areas. Unfortunately, progress is impeded by a lack of support from Speaker Symington and Senator Shumlin.

by tim

Stantec helping Vermont Tech build new fire training facility
NORTH SPRINGFIELD VT (July 22, 2008) TSX:STN; NYSE:SXC
Local engineering firm Stantec is helping Vermont Technical College build new training equipment for its Fire Science degree program.
Engineers from the company's North Springfield and South Burlington offices are designing the site's new access road, parking, water main and storage tank, and electrical services for the equipment, which will serve as a "live-burn" training center for firefighters in training at Vermont Tech, the Vermont Fire Academy and local community fire departments. Stantec is also managing the site's permitting, including that related to Act 250 and stormwater management.

by tim

Symington, Shumlin say "false claims" made by PSD over Yankee request
(July 21,2008) During the 2008 session the legislature put in place a collaborative process between the Department of Public Service and a Public Oversight Panel for design and implementation of the independent safety assessment of Vermont Yankee. This Panel is critical to the legislature's upcoming consideration of Vermont Yankee's future.
We are disappointed to learn that the Department of Public Service has chosen not to supply the Panel with the necessary information to evaluate the safety inspection of Vermont Yankee and treated them with a level of disrespect that is unacceptable.

by tim

Vermont Achieves Record Safety Belt Use
Earns $3.7 Million in Additional Transportation & Public Safety Funding
Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Jim Douglas today announced that the state's Click It or Ticket campaign has resulted in a record safety belt use rate of 87.3% in Vermont and an additional $3.7 million for the state's transportation and public safety programs.
Governor Douglas said this is the highest safety belt use rate ever documented in Vermont.

by tim

On July 1, Jeffrey Wimette started a three-year term as the union's business manager and financial secretary. Wimette, who holds a degree in architectural engineering from Vermont Technical College, previously served as assistant business manager. He has been a licensed Local 300 electrician since 1999 and has an extensive military history with the United States Army Reserves. Wimette currently resides in Bristol with
his wife and three children.
I am honored that our membership placed its confidence in my leadership capabilities and pledge to further cultivate this organization with the
full cooperation of our signatory employers and existing members, Wimette said. In today's economic climate, unions will certainly ensure that working Vermonters are employed by socially responsible businesses that pay a living wage, healthcare and retirement benefits.

by tim

Merchants Bancshares Inc Declares Dividend, Election of Danaher as New Bank Director
SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT-Merchants Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: MBVT), the parent company of Merchants Bank, has announced that its Board of Directors declared a dividend of 28 cents per share, payable August 21, 2008, to shareholders of record as of August 7, 2008. Merchants plans to release earnings on or about July 30, 2008.

by tim

Springfield, VT Rep. Peter Welch joined representatives from the Southern Vermont Health and Recreation Center (SVHRC) to announce $121,000 in federal funding he recently secured.
The funding will support the Recreation Center's highly successful community health programs.
I am pleased this federal support will help the Recreation Center continue to improve their community health and wellness programs. The center provides an invaluable service to the region and serves thousands of area residents young and old, said Welch.
Welch added, My goal is to help match federal support with priorities identified by communities around the state.
Joining Welch was former State Senator Edgar May, SVHRC's Executive Director Christian Craig, Chair of the SVHRC Board George Lamb, SVHRC Board Member Bob Flint, and other members of the community.

by tim

Governor Douglas and CONEG Rally Regional Support for Senator Sanders' LIHEAP Bill
Urge Federal Government to Provide Billions in Additional LIHEAP Funding in FY2008
Waterbury, VT-The Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG), chaired by Governor Jim Douglas, has urged the federal government to increase-by billons-federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding in FY08.
The Governors lent their support to Senator Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) efforts to provide an additional $2.73 billion in FY2008 funding for LIHEAP in regular program and contingency funding.
Further, they supported House-led efforts to increase funding for the program by $3.12 billion, which would fund the program at its fully authorized level and is an important step toward addressing the substantially increased demand for LIHEAP assistance in the wake of skyrocketing home heating prices.

by tim

Jobless rate drops two-tenths to 4.7 percent
Montpelier -- The Vermont Department of Labor announced today that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June 2008 was 4.7 percent, down two-tenths of a point from the revised May rate of 4.9% and up nine-tenths of a point from a year ago.
"Vermont's labor market showed mixed results in June with annual job growth essentially flat, but a drop in unemployment rate due to a relatively strong start to the summer employment season" said Patricia Moulton Powden, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Labor. "National and regional economic conditions may make job growth a challenge in the short-term."