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Vermont tourism officials anticipating strong summer

Fri, 05/08/2009 - 9:13am -- tim

tourism officials are expecting an excellent summer travel season and will launch an aggressive marketing campaign in major metropolitan markets to draw more visitors to the state. Commissioner Bruce Hyde pointed to the continued steady performance of the Rooms and Meals tax as one of the positive indicators of the strength of Vermont’s tourism industry, despite the current economic climate.  Rooms and Meals tax revenues to date for fiscal year 2009 are down by only 3 percent compared with the same period in 2008, a year that had the largest increase in those revenues in a decade.

Legislature using budget bill to save St Johnsbury prison

Fri, 05/08/2009 - 5:15am -- tim

The Legislature has included in the state budget language intended to keep open the prison in St Johnsbury. Among the Douglas Administration's budget reduction proposals was closing the Northeast Regional Correctional Facility and laying off most of the employees. The inmates likely would be sent to prisons out of state. It costs the state less to pay another state to house inmates than to incarcerate them in Vermont. The House and Senate Appropriations Conference Committee included language that would require the governor to get legislative approval before he could close the prison.

Vermont Labor Department extends unemployment benefits

Fri, 05/08/2009 - 4:54am -- tim

The Department of Labor announced today that it will begin paying Federal-State extended unemployment compensation program benefits (EB) next week. EB provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment compensation to eligible unemployed workers. Vermont is joining 26 other states that have triggered on the EB program. As part of the federal stimulus package, the federal government will pick up all of the EB costs.

Army awards General Dynamics $37 million Bradley contract

Thu, 05/07/2009 - 11:09am -- tim

The US Army Contracting Command in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, has awarded General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products an order of approximately $37 million to produce reactive armor tile sets for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Deliveries are expected to begin in December 2009. General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products is a business unit of General Dynamics. The program will be managed from General Dynamics' Burlington Technology Center in Vermont.

Chloramine study bill passes Senate, House agreement expected

Thu, 05/07/2009 - 11:02am -- tim

Yesterday, on a voice vote, the Vermont Senate passed legislation that studies alternatives to chloramine in drinking water. The bill, a revised version of H. 80, outlines an engineering study of disinfection methods that the Champlain Water District (CWD) and other water districts in the state could use instead of processes that rely on chloramine as a secondary disinfectant.

VTrans announces $170,000 in walk-to-school awards

Thu, 05/07/2009 - 10:44am -- tim

The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) today announced that 30 schools will receive a total of $170,000 in Planning and Program Development grants through the Agency s Safe Routes to School program. Competition for funding was solid, as VTrans received 13 applications representing 35 schools for a total request of $225,000.
The grants will be used by schools to help them form travel plans that will identify the barriers (both cultural and physical) that prevent students from walking and bicycling to school.

Bruegger's, GMCR help give T riders their reward

Thu, 05/07/2009 - 10:33am -- tim

On the morning of Wednesday, May 13, an estimated 20,000 T riders in Boston will be rewarded for their environmentally-friendly decision to use public transportation with the help of two Vermont companies. Volunteers from TransFair USA, the non-profit that certifies Fair Trade Certified ¢ products in the United States, will distribute free coupons to be redeemed for hot or iced Fair Trade Certified ¢ Green Mountain Coffee® at Bruegger s Bakery-Cafés, plus a coupon worth $2.50 off a package of Green Mountain Coffee at local grocery stores.

Northern Power Systems launches Wind for Schools package

Wed, 05/06/2009 - 10:11am -- tim

Northern Power Systems, Inc. (, a next-generation wind energy company and leading manufacturer of community wind turbines in Barre, today unveiled a Wind for Schools package that will help more schools produce their own wind power and engage their students and communities in realizing the benefits of renewable energy.

New York bank to open office in Burlington

Wed, 05/06/2009 - 10:04am -- tim

NBT Bank, NA, of Norwich, NY, is planning to open a commercial lending office on Bank Street in Burlington. The office will be located in the former Vermont National Bank building, which more recently was used by Chittenden Bank. The bank's parent company, NBT Bancorp, announced it was moving into Vermont yesterday during its annual shareholders' meeting. The Binghamton (NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin quoted CEO Martin Dietrich as saying the office would open in either the second or third quarter of this year and could expand further into Vermont eventually.