by John McClaughry The 2020 general election campaigns are now under way, and it’s time for citizens to smoke out where candidates stand on issues that they will face in 2021, if not sooner. I say “smoke out”, because most candidates are notoriously gun shy about telling voters where they stand. That’s in part due to their limited understanding of the actual issues, and their anxiety about having to coherently defend any clear position. But the voters have a right to know. So here are sixteen timely questions, fairly stated, that voters need to try out on candidates seeking their vote. If the candidate can’t handle at least most of these, he or she likely is not well prepared to handle the job they’re seeking.
Vermont Business Magazine Mt Ascutney Hospital and Health Center (MAHHC) has announced that its entire staff of employees at all locations have been named as Employees of the Month for August 2020. The monthly award recognizes employees who have demonstrated sustained service excellence in their respective departments and have displayed compassion, a caring approach, and continuous hard work within their community.
Vermont Business Magazine The State of Vermont committed to track clean water efforts in the Lake Carmi watershed and report on investments and results annually as part of the Lake Carmi Crisis Response Plan. The Lake Carmi Clean Water Progress Report details clean water projects and investments from State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2016 to 2019. State and federal watershed investments reduced an estimated 251 kilograms (kg) of phosphorus loading in SFY 2019, which is approximately 41% of the phosphorus reduction required to meet the Lake Carmi Phosphorus Total Maximum Daily Load. Nearly all of the quantifiable phosphorus reductions in the Lake Carmi watershed have been associated with the agricultural sector.
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health is warning of high heat and humidity the next few days including for primary election day on Tuesday. The VDH also reported today that there were three new cases of COVID-19 and a total of 14 since Friday for a statewide total of 1,462. No one is currently hospitalized for the novel coronavirus.
Vermont Business Magazine The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today $7.8 million in direct assistance grants to 340 fire departments nationwide through the agency’s FY2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant COVID-19 Supplemental program (AFG-S). The AFG-S Program includes grants to the following fire departments in Vermont: Norwich, VT – Fire Department - $2,795; Middlebury, VT – Fire Department - $2,566; Underhill-Jericho, VT – Fire Department - $8,655.
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont House and Senate Committees on Appropriations are seeking public input on the Governor’s Recommended FY 2021 State Budget and will hold a public hearing on Thursday, August 27, 2020 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday, August 28, 2020 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. via videoconferencing. The Committees will take testimony on the Governor’s recommended State Budget at the above date and time. Anyone interested in testifying should sign up in advance of the hearing through the following online form: https://legislature.vermont.gov/links/public-hearing-happ, no later than August 26.
Vermont Business Magazine The Fair Labor Association (FLA) announced today that its board of directors voted to accredit the social compliance program of Burton, a Burlington-based, privately held, snowboarding and mountain lifestyle company founded in Vermont in 1977. Accreditation by the FLA recognizes that Burton has systems in place to identify and remediate unfair labor practices in its global supply chain. Burton manufactures products in 72 contract factories in 10 countries and one owned prototyping facility in the United States.
Vermont Business Magazine As part of FEMA's relief effort, more than $11.6 million in federal Disaster Relief Funds have been granted to Vermont. As of August 3, the federal government provided a significant amount of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the state, including more than 783,000 gloves, 211,000 N95 respirator masks, 70,000 face shields and 100,000 non-surgical gowns.
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) has selected two leading Vermont renewable energy companies, Catamount Solar of Randolph and Northern Reliability of Waterbury, to construct VELCO's Pinnacle Ridge Solar and Storage Project at the Company's headquarters in Rutland, Vermont. Work is well underway on this project that includes a 500 kW solar array tied to a 1.2 MWh energy storage system designed to reduce VELCO's energy use at times of high-cost, peak system demand and increase electric grid stability.
UVM President Garimella to Burlington Mayor Weinberger As you know, we worked closely with Governor Scott’s office and in consultation with the Vermont Department of Health, as well as our own internationally recognized public health and infectious disease experts, in the development of UVM’s plan. I am proud to say that it not only meets the Governor’s standards, it exceeds many of them, and is one of the most stringent plans of any university in the nation. On Friday, Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine also expressed his confidence in our approach.
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Student Assistance Corp released survey results today that capture the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has affected college enrollment plans among Vermont students. While most rising and current college students still plan to enroll this fall, the survey suggests that the pandemic’s financial toll on families, through job losses and the like, is creating significant angst about students’ ability to pay for higher education. The vast majority of students surveyed – 90% of first-year students and 85% of returning students – reported that they still planned to enroll in college in the fall of 2020. However, when asked if their plans would change if they had to take most of their classes online, more students (19%) reported that they would delay or cancel enrollment, with 13% of respondents undecided. Students of color were nearly twice as likely as white students to report wanting academic support to successfully complete online classes.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) The President wants to reopen schools, but opposes funding for schools to make them safe. The President thinks the virus will just disappear, but opposes funding for testing and tracing. The President promises that vaccines will be available by November, but opposes funding for vaccine development, distribution, and to make the vaccine affordable to everyone. The President says that the virus “is what it is,” but he opposes funding for hospitals and other health care providers to support the front line workers who care for victims of the virus.