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McClaughry: Stumbling into battle against climate change

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 4:09am -- tim

by John McClaughry The Vermont House is struggling to deliver a Clean Heat Standard bill to comply with a carbon dioxide emission reduction mandate that the legislature itself declared in 2020. In that year, in the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), the legislative majority mandated that Vermonters take large, painful steps to drive down their carbon dioxide emissions by eighty percent just 27 years from now. That reduction would be Vermont’s share of the global reductions enthusiastically agreed to by President Obama and 193 other nations in Paris in 2016, to combat “climate change”. In December 2021 the GWSA- created Vermont Climate Council – our climate government within the government – produced its Climate Action Plan. It proposed urgent steps to drive down emissions from transportation and heating, that together constitute around 75% of emissions. The 11-state Transportation and Climate Initiative was supposed to tax gasoline and diesel fuel to stimulate people to switch to electric vehicles. That grand scheme soon collapsed when the governors involved learned that businesses and motorists would not accept a hefty and rising carbon tax on motor fuel.

Del Trecco: Crucial funding for health centers

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 3:38am -- tim

by Michael Del Trecco, President, VAHHS I had the honor last week of attending a health care roundtable with Senator Peter Welch and United States Department of Agriculture undersecretary for rural development Xochitl Torres Small. Representatives from Senator Bernie Sanders’s and US Representative Becca Balint’s offices also attended, as did leaders from Vermont’s health care community. We came together to celebrate recent Emergency Rural Healthcare Grants (ERHC) and Community Facilities (CF) funding for hospitals and health centers, most recently Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) and Copley Hospital.

The Arbors at Shelburne receives 'Circle Award' for second year

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 3:09am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Benchmark, the largest senior housing provider in New England, today announced that The Arbors at Shelburne, a Benchmark Mind & Memory and residential care community, has received the Benchmark 2023 Circle Award for the second year. The Circle Award is an annual award recognizing the Benchmark community that consistently achieves the highest resident and family satisfaction through surveys. At the company’s 20th Annual Awards Gala held on March 9, 2023, The Arbors was recognized over 64 other Benchmark independent living, assisted living and Mind & Memory Care communities throughout the Northeast.

Man dies after ATV falls through ice in Swanton

Mon, 03/27/2023 - 10:13pm -- tim

Vermont State Police The victim in this incident is identified as Donald P. “Jonesy” Jones, 82, of Richmond. He died Monday evening at Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans. His body will be transported to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington for an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death. Per standard protocol, the death is being investigated by a detective trooper with the Vermont State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations. The death is not considered suspicious. Emergency crews responded to a call at 2:17 p.m. for a report of a man through the ice several hundred feet offshore in the vicinity of the intersection of Church and Hance roads. Rescuers including the Swanton Village Fire Department located the victim, an 82-year-old man from Richmond, and brought him to shore about 30 minutes after the initial call.

M&A activity push February tax revenues 15.4% over targets

Mon, 03/27/2023 - 3:58pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Secretary of Administration Kristin Clouser today released Vermont’s revenue results for February 2023. For the fifth month in a row, both the General Fund and the Transportation Fund ended with revenue above target. The Education Fund bounced back from its prior month miss to surpass the February target by $1.3 million. Year to date, all three funds remain ahead of their respective targets as adopted by the Emergency Board at its January 17, 2023 meeting. The state’s General Fund, Transportation Fund, and Education Fund receipts in February were a combined $203.6 million, or 15.4%, above monthly consensus expectations. This continues the trend of the first eight months of the fiscal year, where combined revenues across all three funds were 6.3% above the consensus target set at the July 2022 Emergency Board meeting.

Guarino, et al: Early childhood educators have the courage to care

Mon, 03/27/2023 - 2:26pm -- tim

by Kelsey Guarino As early childhood educators, our work always focuses on the children, and we honor the unique and wonderful stage of early childhood. We’re highly trained and we center our practice around play-based, developmentally-appropriate learning. We’re grateful to do this work every day – but we’re not sure if we can continue. Right now, many early childhood educators are barely scraping by. Most early childhood educators are women, and chronic under-funding of the child care system as a whole, has suppressed our compensation for decades – disproportionately affecting women of color. A bachelor's degree in early childhood education leads to the lowest paying career of any college major.

Statement from Goddard College on UAW staff union strike

Mon, 03/27/2023 - 2:21pm -- tim

Goddard College is deeply committed to the well-being of its UAW (Local 2322) Union staff and respects the right of the Union to engage in concerted activity, including the right to strike. However, we are disappointed by the decision by the UAW Staff Union to strike on Friday (March 24, 2023) as we believed that the Union and the College had made significant progress in negotiations over the past week and seemed very close to a final settlement. Goddard College had been working closely with the Union to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement since the Spring of 2022. The existing CBA eventually expired on June 30, 2022. The College offered a 3% salary increase to take effect January 1, 2023, but the Union was unwilling to agree to language regarding management rights that is standard in almost every CBA in the United States. The College has also repeatedly invited the Union to use the facilitation of a federal mediator to settle our differences, but the Union has consistently refused.

Gasoline prices still trending lower

Mon, 03/27/2023 - 9:55am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Average gasoline prices in Vermont fell 2 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.37/g today. Prices are down 7 cents from a month ago and down 84 cents/g from the same time last year. The cheapest price in the state is $2.99 in Middlebury and the most expensive is $3.69 in Derby. The national average price of gasoline has fallen 2 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $3.39/g today. The national average is up 7 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands 84 cents per gallon lower than a year ago, according to GasBuddy. The national average price of diesel has fallen 5.9 cents in the last week and stands at $4.19 per gallon.

Copeland Hanzas holds inaugural meeting of Town Clerk Advisory Committee       

Mon, 03/27/2023 - 9:25am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Secretary of State Sarah Copeland Hanzas held the first meeting of the newly reconstituted Town Clerk Advisory Committee (TCAC) at the Hartford Municipal Building in White River last Tuesday.  Reconvening the committee, which has not actively met for over a decade, was a priority for the secretary as she settles into her first term in office. The committee make-up aims to be representative of clerks across the state. The 13 clerks that sit on the committee hail from both big and small municipalities and include both veteran clerks and those new to the office. 

Farm to School & Early Childhood Vision Grant Now Accepting Applications

Mon, 03/27/2023 - 4:46am -- tim

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Farm to school and early childhood is a broad term. It defines a variety of efforts aimed at educating and engaging children and young adults on the connections that exist between agriculture, nutrition, community and health. The Vision Grant is designed to support innovative projects that engage youth in exploring those connections and addressing contemporary problems such as climate change, food insecurity, food sovereignty, health disparities, and racial injustice. A total of $150,000 is available through this competitive funding opportunity. The minimum award is $5,000 and the maximum award is $50,000. Schools, school districts, early childhood educators, afterschool programs, and non-profits working in partnership within the Vermont Farm to School and Early Childhood Network are eligible to apply.

Sanders' HELP Committee staff scorn Starbucks labor policies

Mon, 03/27/2023 - 3:50am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The US Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee (HELP), chaired by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), released the following report by its majority staff: "Over the past 18 months, Starbucks has waged an aggressive and illegal union-busting campaign. That campaign has been directed and led by Howard Schultz, the multi-billionaire CEO and founder of Starbucks. Under Schultz’s leadership, Starbucks has adopted an aggressively anti-union stance that is reflected in Schultz’s public statements, the company’s communications to workers, and its scorched-earth approach to blocking unionization activity."