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Governor signs bill to encourage biomass energy production

Tue, 05/26/2009 - 12:53pm -- tim

Governor Jim Douglas today signed into law H. 152, An Act Relating to Encouraging Biomass Energy Production.  The Biomass bill creates a biomass energy development working group to investigate and recommend fiscal and regulatory incentives for biomass energy, as well as guidelines and standards for maintaining forest health, procurement standards and other policy considerations for biomass development in Vermont.

New program to develop strategies for Medicaid/Medicare dual eligibility

Tue, 05/26/2009 - 10:04am -- tim

As the nation debates health reform options, Governor Jim Douglas today announced that Vermont was chosen to participate in Transforming Care for Dual Eligibles, a national initiative that will test innovative models for people who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid . Vermont will join six states in developing and implementing strategies to improve care and control costs for dual eligibles, a high-need population with individual health care costs nearly five times those of other Medicare beneficiaries.

Public hearings to address the budget

Tue, 05/26/2009 - 10:01am -- tim

Ahead of a June 2 special legislative session, legislative leaders and the Douglas Administration will hold public forums to inform the public about the budgetary issues. Douglas vetoed the $4.5 billion budget and has offered his own alternative. Before the Legislature would take up Douglas' changes, it will first have to vote to sustain or override the veto. As with the gay marriage veto that the Legislature overrode in early April, the budget showdown could come down to a single vote.
Public Hearings to Address Budget
Wednesday, May 27

Pizzagalli awarded $8 million contract for Fletcher Allen building

Fri, 05/22/2009 - 10:13am -- tim

Pizzagalli Construction Company of South Burlington started work this week on a new Radiation Oncology facility on the Medical Center Campus at Fletcher Allen Health Care.  The $8 million project, designed by Cannon Design, will include approximately 23,000 square feet of new construction.  The total cost of the project, including the structure and new medical equipment, is $19.3 million. It will be built into the hillside on the east side of the Ambulatory Care Center.

Governor Douglas vetoes Vermont Yankee decommissioning bill

Fri, 05/22/2009 - 9:20am -- tim

Governor Jim Douglas today issued a veto of H436, An Act Relating to Decommissioning Funds of Nuclear Energy Generation Plants. The legislation sought to guarantee that Vermont Yankee owner Entergy Corp ensure that it would have sufficient funds to close up the plant once it stops producing electricity. Entergy had counted on investments to cover the cost, but the stock market retraction has resulted in those funds suffering. The original license expires in 2012.

Douglas budget contains additional $850,000 for marketing Vermont as tourist destination

Fri, 05/22/2009 - 8:48am -- tim

Officials in the tourism and hospitality industry said they were pleased that the alternative budget approach proposed by Governor Jim Douglas contains an additional $850,000 to market the state. With the summer tourism season unofficially kicking off over Memorial Day Weekend, Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Bruce Hyde said the money couldn t come at a better time.

Unemployment drops slightly to 7.1 percent

Fri, 05/22/2009 - 8:36am -- tim

The Vermont Department of Labor announced today that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March 2009 was 7.1 percent, down one-tenth of a point from the revised March rate and up 2.5 points from a year ago. Unemployment rates for Vermont s 17 labor market areas ranged from 4.2 percent in Hartford to 10.9 percent in Newport. Local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. For comparison, the April unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 7.7 percent, down two-tenths of a point from March 2009 and up 2.9 points from a year ago.

VAB honors Vermont commercial of the year winners

Fri, 05/22/2009 - 7:12am -- tim

Rutland radio station WDVT and Colchester television station WVNY won top honors in the 2009 Vermont Association of Broadcasters “Commercial of the Year” competition.
More than 160 entries were received from radio stations, television stations and advertising agencies around Vermont. The awards were presented earlier this month at the VAB Convention at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier.

MMU students win statewide business plan competition

Fri, 05/22/2009 - 7:05am -- tim

Present and former MMU business/entrepreneur students get rave reviews speaking at the 25th VT Business and Industry EXPO at the Sheraton Hotel - May 20th --plus MMU team "Hearts for Haiti" takes 1st place in the statewide business plan competition  - presented by Comcast and Governor Douglas - winning $1,000 and will donate the funds to the Vermont Haiti Project to help others in need - in Haiti - for clean drinking water.

Speaker Smith announces public hearings on budget proposals

Thu, 05/21/2009 - 11:01am -- tim

Speaker Shap Smith today announced that he and Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin have asked money committees and chairs to hold public hearings next week on the Governor Douglas newly submitted budget. They have also asked that Douglas' proposals, announced Tuesday, be submitted in budget form. The governor's proposal cuts about $42 million from the $4.5 billion budget the Legislature passed two weeks ago.

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