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Welch votes against bill to expand small business grants to large firms

Thu, 07/09/2009 - 5:06am -- tim

US Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont) on Wednesday voted against a bill that he said would harm Vermont s small businesses by diverting key federal funding to larger, venture capital-backed firms. The Enhancing Small Business Innovation and Research Act of 2009 (H.R. 2965), which passed Wednesday afternoon on a vote of 386 to 41, reauthorizes the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The bill rewrites the definition of small businesses to allow large corporations to compete for this vital seed money, effectively crowding out true small businesses.

Douglas, top Obama Administration officials to lead H1N1 flu preparedness summit

Thu, 07/09/2009 - 5:04am -- tim

Governor Douglas will join via interactive television U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, Education Secretary Duncan, and White House Homeland Security Advisor Brennan today for an all-day H1N1 Influenza Preparedness Summit with representatives from 54 states and territories.  Vermont officials participating in Washington, DC include AHS Secretary Rob Hofmann, VDH Commissioner Dr. Wendy Davis and Vermont Homeland Security Unit Director Captain Chris Reinfurt.

Health insurance rates hold steady for Catamount Health Insurance program

Wed, 07/08/2009 - 10:54am -- tim

Commissioner Paulette Thabault of the Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration (BISHCA) announced that her Department has received no 4th quarter rate increase requests for Catamount Health Insurance.  The state-subsidized health plan is sold by both Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Vermont and MVP Health, and neither has filed for an increase since the inception of the program in October 2007.  Commissioner Thabault said, The rates are so far holding steady.  That speaks well for the early success of Catamount as a public/private partnership to provide afforda

Vermont's economic competitiveness ranks 49th in nation

Wed, 07/08/2009 - 10:16am -- tim

According to a new study from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Vermont s economic outlook now ranks 49th out of 50 states. The second edition of Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index offers a roadmap for economic recovery based on state policies that have a proven impact on growth. High personal income taxes, high property taxes, along with some of the highest labor costs in America all hurt Vermont s economic outlook.

Weekly unemployment claims fall again, lower than last year

Wed, 07/08/2009 - 9:46am -- tim

For the Week of 08/01/2009. There were 785 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance last week, a decrease of 45 from the week before. Altogether 12,752 new and continuing claims were filed, 324 fewer than a week ago and 5,423 more than a year earlier. The Department also processed 3,862 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 63 more than a week ago. In addition, there were 749 Second Tier claims for benefits processed under the EUC08 program, which is an increase of 8 from the week before.

Gaz Metro part of major wind energy project in Quebec

Wed, 07/08/2009 - 9:07am -- tim

Boralex Inc and Gaz Metro Limited Partnership have learned that the minister of Quebec's Natural Resources and Wildlife, Nathalie Normandeau, has approved for their two wind power projects in the northeast part of the province. The installed capacity of the facilities is 272 megawatts. Gaz Metro owns both Vermont Gas and Green Mountain Power.

Shearer buys Lewis Motors in South Burlington

Wed, 07/08/2009 - 5:50am -- tim

Long-time Burlington auto dealer Bill Shearer acquired Lewis Motors in South Burlington effective July 1, 2009, adding three new brands to the Shearer family of dealerships in Vermont. The current location on Shelburne Road will be retained, but each brand will have its own dealership identity.  The names will be changed to Shearer Acura, Audi South Burlington and Volkswagen South Burlington.
"Acura, Audi and Volkswagen are flagship brands that have become mainstays in Vermont.  The Lewis family has set a solid foundation for their future" said Shearer.

$5.9 million in grants will create, restore housing in Springfield, Johnson, Bellows Falls

Tue, 07/07/2009 - 12:01pm -- tim

Douglas administration officials announced three major affordable housing grants on Tuesday that will create or restore housing in Springfield, Johnson, and Bellows Falls. At a ceremony at the Rockingham Canal House in Bellows Falls, Deputy Commissioner of Housing and Community Affairs Tayt Brooks presented a grant for $3.5 million to Stewart Property Management, which will be used to assist in the purchase and rehabilitation of Rockingham Canal House, a 41-unit affordable senior housing property. 

Welch announces $100,000 grant for community policing in Saint Albans

Tue, 07/07/2009 - 10:16am -- tim

Rep. Peter Welch announced $100,000 in federal funding for the St. Albans Police Department at a press conference Tuesday morning in Houghton Park.
The Welch-secured Community Oriented Police (COPS) grant will be used to fight increased drug activity in the region. The funds will help the St. Albans Police Department upgrade and improve communications equipment and make use of Mobile Data Computer Terminals.

Governor Douglas announces more than $3 million in economic development grants

Tue, 07/07/2009 - 9:59am -- tim

A dairy processing plant in Brattleboro; a food processing center in Hardwick; a slaughterhouse in Westminster; and a Barre facility that recycles furniture and other goods for distribution to needy Vermonters were among more than $3 million in job creation grants announced today. At a ceremony at Recycle North s new facility in a former granite shed in Barre, Governor Jim Douglas announced the award of $3.3 million in Community Development Block Grants for those projects, as well as others.