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Unemployment rate hits 7 percent; job counts off 1,000

Fri, 03/27/2009 - 8:01am -- tim

The Vermont Department of Labor announced today that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2009 was 7.0 percent, up two-tenths of a point from the revised January rate and up 2.6 points from a year ago.
Unemployment rates for Vermont s 17 labor market areas ranged from 4.5 percent in Warren-Waitsfield to 12.3 percent in Newport. Local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. For comparison, the January unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 7.7 percent, up one-tenth of a point from January 2009 and up 2.9 points from a year ago.

Anita Hill to reflect on 'Choosing America's Better History' at Bennington Center for the Arts on April 23

Fri, 03/27/2009 - 6:22am -- tim

In 1991, Anita Hill was thrust into the public spotlight when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee during then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas confirmation hearing. The legacy of her testimony includes an increased awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace today. Hill, now a law professor at Brandeis University, has continued to speak widely on social and political issues facing our world.

Study says energy efficient homes can save $2,000 a year

Fri, 03/27/2009 - 5:02am -- tim

The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) released a study analyzing the total energy usage of very energy efficient homes constructed in Proctorsville. The results demonstrate that high levels of energy efficiency make a substantial difference in the cost of owning a home.
Bruce Whitney of the Rockingham Area Community Land Trust (RACLT) in Springfield commented, The amount of savings generated by these extremely efficient homes is incredible. They truly make homeownership affordable.

Governor Douglas Announces SmartVermont: Economic Recovery Investment Plan

Thu, 03/26/2009 - 10:45am -- tim

Governor Douglas today announced a bold new economic plan to build SmartVermont by laying the foundation for a 21st century economy.  The proposals will invest $17.1 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF) to leverage nearly $160 million in direct support to new and exciting companies looking to grow and expand in the Green Mountain State as well as much needed support for existing Vermont employers.  Initiatives will be largely administered by the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) which leverages private capital to max

$10.3 million for Vermont energy efficiency grants

Thu, 03/26/2009 - 8:48am -- tim

More than $10.3 million for Vermont energy efficiency and conservation projects was awarded today, Senator Bernie Sanders announced. 
The funds are Vermont s share of $3.2 billion included in the economic stimulus bill for a Sanders-sponsored Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program. 
Helping states, cities and towns go forward with energy efficiency and sustainable energy projects will reduce carbon emissions, lower energy costs and create good-paying jobs, Sanders said. 

Welch announces energy efficiency program to retrofit millions of homes and buildings

Thu, 03/26/2009 - 8:47am -- tim

Representative Peter Welch introduced an energy efficiency bill today designed to retrofit millions of homes and commercial buildings and increase efficiency by 20 percent or more nationally.
Welch outlined the bill at a Capitol Hill press conference Thursday with many of the bill’s 30 cosponsors and representatives from national efficiency, contracting and environmental groups.

GMP & IBM put Old Man Winter to work cutting energy use

Thu, 03/26/2009 - 7:31am -- tim

The cold weather from this winter was greeted warmly by officials at IBM in Essex, which has started using frigid winter air to help produce the chilled water it needs to operate the plant s high-tech manufacturing facilities.
The new system, called Free Cooling, integrates cold air into the plant s large climate control system to produce 50% of its winter-cooling needs. By taking advantage of the plentiful wintry air, IBM can shut down some of its large chillers, resulting in a projected savings of $400,000 per year in electric costs.

Panel of professional athletes to discuss issues of sustainability in sport April 7

Thu, 03/26/2009 - 7:16am -- tim

On Tuesday, April 7, at 6:30 p.m., a panel of sports professionals and environmental advocates will participate in a discussion at Middlebury College titled Jocks and Treehuggers: Pro Athletes on Sustainability. The event is free and open to the public and will take place in Room 216 of McCardell Bicentennial Hall, located on Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125).

Statement of Governor Douglas regarding same-sex marriage

Wed, 03/25/2009 - 10:44am -- tim

Statement of Governor James H Douglas Regarding Same-sex Marriage: The urgency of our state s economic and budgetary challenges demands the full focus of every member and every committee of this Legislature.  Ensuring that the federal recovery money is spent wisely, that the state budget is balanced and responsible, and that we do all we can to help our employers compete and create jobs is my top priority. 

Statement by legislative leaders regarding the governor's intention to veto same-sex marriage bill

Wed, 03/25/2009 - 10:14am -- tim

Today, Governor Douglas announced his intention to veto S115, which has not completed the legislative process.
The governor s announcement today undermines the legislative process is disrespectful to Vermonters who come to the people s house to weigh in on the important matters of our time, said Speaker Shap Smith.  History will judge Jim Douglas on the wrong side of this issue.
Today is a sad day for Vermont, said Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin.  The governor may choose to veto a bill, but he cannot veto love and commitment.

New weekly unemployment claims decrease

Wed, 03/25/2009 - 9:49am -- tim

Week Ending March 21, 2009. There were 1,070 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance last week, a decrease of 298 from the week before. Altogether 18,691 new and continuing claims were filed, 69 more than a week ago and 7,861 more than a year earlier. The Department also processed 1,968 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 30 more than a week ago. In addition, there were 1,088 Second Tier claims for benefits processed under the EUC08 program which is an increase of 36 from the week before.