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Vermont Yankee expects to have contract by Friday, House Energy Committee passes clean-up costs bill

Mon, 03/23/2009 - 9:41am -- tim

Entergy Vice President Jay Thayer told the House Natural Resources Committee last Friday that Entergy will have a proposal for the Vermont utilities by the end of this week. Thayer had previously told the Legislature that a contract proposal would be presented before the break for Town Meeting in early March. Legislative leaders have indicated that lawmakers would not take up a bill to extend the Vermont Yankee contract beyond 2012 until Entergy presented a contract. Even now, the leaders are skeptical that a bill would move forward so late in this year's session.

Oversight Panel clears Vermont Yankee to continue operation

Mon, 03/23/2009 - 9:41am -- intern

The Yankee Public Oversight panel has issued a report clearing the nuclear plant to continue operation, despite the recent cooling tower collapse and condenser leaks.  The panel reached a similar conclusion as a group of state-hired auditors.  However, the report did say that Entergy Nuclear, the owner of Vermont Yankee, needs to review its management style and have its condenser replaced.  According to the report, the plant ranks in the bottom 25% of nuclear plants nationwide.  

Blue Cross Blue Shield executive gets $7.25 million in 2008

Mon, 03/23/2009 - 9:39am -- intern

The former president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, William R. Milnes Jr, retired at the end of 2008 after taking home $7.25 million in salary, bonuses, and retirement cash.  Of that sum, roughly $900,000 was listed as salary and bonuses; the remainder, $6.3 million, was additional compensation commonly known as a golden parachute.
News of Milnes compensation package coincides with a back-and-forth battle in Montpelier on how to finance public health-care programs in the weak economy. 

7th Annual Vermont Workplace Safety Conference & Governor’s Awards

Mon, 03/23/2009 - 9:30am -- tim

Excellent professional development opportunity for HR and Safety Staff.  Topics include:  "Incorporating Safety into Construction & Maintenance Contract Documents"; Material Handling Ergonomics Tool Demonstration; Supervisors as Safety Leaders Panel;  Healthy Employees/Safer Employees: Wellness, Incentives and ROI; and the Governors Safety Awards. Sponsored by: the Partnership in Safety (Project WorkSAFE, Green Mtn. Coffee Roasters, VT Small Business Development Center and the Vermont Safety and Health Council).

Putney, Brattleboro get $700,000 in grants for housing, historic store

Mon, 03/23/2009 - 9:27am -- tim

Two grants totaling nearly $700,000 will help preserve an historic general store and create affordable housing in Windham County, Governor Jim Douglas announced Friday.
At a ceremony at the Putney General Store, Douglas announced a $200,382 grant to the Town of Putney to assist in repairing the fire-damaged building, and a $480,000 grant to the Town of Brattleboro for an affordable housing project in West Brattleboro.

Welch announces $380,000 grant for downtown St Albans

Mon, 03/23/2009 - 9:24am -- tim

Representative Peter Welch announced Monday a $380,000 grant for a comprehensive economic revitalization project in downtown St. Albans.
The federal grant, which Welch secured for the city, will help St. Albans improve sidewalks, streetlights and signage and make other aesthetic upgrades to Main Street and Taylor Park. The project is intended to make downtown St. Albans safer for families and more attractive to businesses.

Vermont receives $756K in carbon credits, governor announces $188,000 in Climate Change Grants

Fri, 03/20/2009 - 11:47am -- tim

Governor Jim Douglas today announced Vermont has received $756,000 in the latest round of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auctions and that 17 energy efficiency projects across the state have received $188,000 in the first round of funding from the Vermont Community Climate Change Grant Program.

Vermont Public Television receives national award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Fri, 03/20/2009 - 11:17am -- tim

Vermont Public Television (VPT) has received a My Source Community Impact Award for Education from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). VPT president John King accepted the award at a ceremony March 7th in Washington, DC. The ceremony was part of the CPB/PBS-hosted Council of Chief State School Officers Legislative Conference. Also attending was Vermont s commissioner of education, Armando Vilaseca.

Two views on closing the capital gains loophole in Vermont

Fri, 03/20/2009 - 7:24am -- tim

The Vermont Legislature is considering closing the capital gains loophole to help offset the state's General Fund budget deficit. Here are two opinions on that issue currently being considered by the Vermont Legislature. Legislators already have closed a loophole in the business carry forward tax loss area, where a company cannot move into Vermont anymore and recognize a state-level tax loss from previous years that was incurred elsewhere.

HHS makes $551,000 in stimulus funds to support Vermont hospitals

Fri, 03/20/2009 - 7:12am -- tim

Building on President Barack Obama s efforts to ensure access to health care for millions of uninsured Americans, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today announced that Vermont can access an additional $551,000 authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help pay hospitals to treat their most vulnerable patients.

State Board of Education announces election of officers; James, Stokes retain top positions

Fri, 03/20/2009 - 6:57am -- tim

The State Board of Education elected officers at its March 17 meeting, the Department of Education announced today. Tom James of Essex was re-elected Board chair, and Ruth Stokes of Williston was re-elected vice-chair.
James was appointed to the Board by Governor Douglas in February 2005 after filling an unexpired term. A retired IBM executive, James has served as a member of the Essex Planning Commission, the Essex Town School Board, the Essex Town Selectboard and the Essex Rotary. His State Board term will end in 2011.