Mysterious purple traps are part of an effort to defend Vermont from a potentially devastating pest

first_imgThe purple traps work by attracting Emerald Ash Borers through two different lures that hang inside the prism; one smells like ash leaves and the other smells like ash bark. The purple color also helps to attract the beetles. The traps are made of corrugated plastic and coated with very sticky, non-toxic glue that captures all sorts of insects. The traps will be monitored throughout the summer and will be removed in the fall.    As part of an effort to protect Vermont from a highly invasive and destructive insect, the Agency of Agriculture and the USDA Department of Animal and Plant Inspection Service are once again hanging purple, prism shaped box traps from trees across the state. The traps are being set to detect the presence of a metallic green beetle called the Emerald Ash Borer, which has devastated trees in 15 states but so far has not invaded Vermont. The traps do not attract the beetle, but instead serve as detection tools to determine if this harmful pest is present. Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) is an exotic beetle first found in the United States in 2002. Adult beetles cause relatively minimal damage, but the larvae cause devastation to ash trees by feeding on the inner bark, destroying the treeâ s ability to transport water and nutrients.  To date, the insect has not been found in our state, although it has been identified south of Montreal in Canada, and west of Bennington in Albany County, NY. Emerald Ash Borer is believed to have first entered the US via wood packing materials shipped from Asia. The purple traps do not pose a threat to humans, pets, or wildlife; however, the glue is extremely sticky. If you find a fallen trap, record the trap number from the tag and call 802-828-4546.  Vermont Agency of Agricultre, Food and Markets. 4.30.2012. â Vermonters may spot these purple traps hanging from trees throughout the state and wonder what purpose they serve,’according to Jon Turmel, Vermontâ s Chief State Entomologist. â We want people to know this is part of an effort to protect Vermont from a potentially devastating pest.âlast_img read more

Glaxosmithkline to pay Vermont $2 million as part of largest healthcare fraud settlement in US history

first_imgVermont Attorney General, July 2, 2012 Attorney General William H. Sorrell announced today that Vermont will receive approximately $2 million from pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as part of the largest healthcare fraud settlement in US history.Under the terms of the settlement, GSK will pay to the states and the federal government a total of $3 billion to resolve criminal and civil allegations that GSK unlawfully marketed certain drugs for uses for which the drugs were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); made false representations regarding the safety and efficacy of certain drugs; offered kickbacks to medical professionals; and underpaid rebates for various drugs paid for by Medicaid and other federally-funded healthcare programs.Specifically, the states and federal government alleged that, as far back as 1998, GSK engaged in the following activities:Marketing the depression drug Paxil for off-label uses, such as use by children and adolescents;Marketing the depression drug Wellbutrin for off-label uses, such as for weight loss and treatment of sexual dysfunction, and at higher-than-approved dosages;Marketing the asthma drug Advair for off-label uses, including first-line use for asthma;Marketing the seizure medication Lamictal for off-label uses, including bipolar depression, neuropathic pain, and various other psychiatric conditions;Marketing the nausea drug Zofran for off-label uses, including pregnancy-related nausea;Making false representations regarding the safety and efficacy of Paxil, Wellbutrin, Advair, Lamictal, Zofran, and the diabetes drug Avandia;Offering kickbacks, including entertainment, cash, travel, and meals, to healthcare professionals to induce them to promote and prescribe Paxil, Wellbutrin, Advair, Lamictan, Zofran, the migraine drug Imitrex, the irritable bowel syndrome drug Lotronex, the asthma drug Flovent, and the shingles and herpes drug Valtrex; andSubmitting incorrect pricing data for various drugs, thereby underpaying rebates owed to Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs.In addition, as part of the settlement, GSK will plead guilty to federal criminal charges that it violated the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (â FDCAâ ) by introducing certain drugs into interstate commerce without proper labeling, and failed to report clinical data regarding Avandia to the FDA. According to Attorney General Sorrell, this settlement is â further proof that Vermont will not tolerate marketing violations by the pharmaceutical industry, and will work closely with other states, whistleblowers, and the federal government to aggressively investigate reports of industry misconduct as they arise.â  last_img read more

Vermont statewide school assessment results show some improvement

first_imgVermont elementary and middle school students made significant gains in writing compared to the previous year, while Vermont high school students fell back slightly, according to the fall results from the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) released today by the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE). Vermont public school students in grades three through eight and grade eleven were tested in reading and mathematics. In math and reading, it was the Vermont high school students who saw improvement, while the lower grades were essentially flat. Students in grades five, eight and eleven were also administered writing assessments. The tables that follow provide a comparison of this year’ s test scores to the results that were released a year ago.  ReadingMathGrade LevelFall 2012Fall 2011Fall 2012Fall 2011Elementary/Middle School (3-8)73%74%65%65%High School (11)74%73%38%36% WritingGrade LevelFall 2012Fall 2011Elementary School51%46%Middle School 66%59%High School 46%48%The percentage of fifth graders who scored in the proficient range in writing increased five percentage points, from 46% proficient in 2011 to 51% proficient in 2012. Writing at the eighth grade level, proficient scores increased seven points, from 59% last year to 66% this fall. The percentage of high school students who scored in the proficient range dropped two points, from 48% to 46%. Test scores for reading and math have not changed significantly from 2011. The percentage of students in grades three through eight who scored in the proficient range in reading went down one percentage point, from 74% in 2011 to 73% in 2012. Reading results at the high school level were the exact opposite of elementary/middle results, with the percentage of students scoring in the proficient range increasing one point, from 73% in 2011 to 74% this year. Math scores at the elementary/middle level were unchanged at 65% of students scoring in the proficient range. Math results for high school students went up two percentage points, from 36% proficient last year to 38% proficient in the most recent results. ‘ High school mathematics continues to be high on the Agency’ s and Governor’ s list of priorities. While we only saw a slight increase in high school math scores, our educators are serious about improving our students’ understanding and passion for math,’ said Secretary of Education Armando Vilaseca. ‘ If Vermont’ s students are going to be ready to continue their education beyond high school and be successful in the 21st century, they’ re going to need stronger math skills and knowledge. A 2% increase is not enough.’ Vilaseca said. Michael Hock, AOE State Director of Educational Assessment, pointed out that writing is the bright spot in this year’ s results. ‘ The importance of writing skills cuts across all areas of the curriculum,’ Hock said. ‘ For example, we know that our most successful schools have writing programs that focus on all content areas, even math and science. The impact of these programs is consistently evident in those schools’ test scores.’  The NECAP exams are given in collaboration with Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. These exams are designed to specifically assess how well Vermont students have learned the skills and content contained in Vermont’ s Grade Expectations. This is the seventh year of results on the NECAP exams for grades three through eight, and the fifth year for grade 11. As required under the No Child Left Behind Act, a Science assessment is given each May in grades four, eight and eleven. For the complete data of 2012 NECAP scores, visit: http://education.vermont.gov/new/html/pgm_assessment/data.html#necap(link is external).  For school-by-school results, visit: http://education.vermont.gov/new/html/pgm_assessment/performance/necap_p…(link is external). % Proficient % Proficientlast_img read more

EPA presses state for more details on Lake Champlain cleanup

first_imgby John Herrick vtdigger.org The Environmental Protection Agency wants to see a stronger commitment from the state to clean up Lake Champlain. In a letter to state environmental and agriculture officials last week, the EPA pressed for more details on a plan to reduce phosphorus loading into Lake Champlain. The feds asked the state to provide specific policy commitments, timelines and details, including outcome measures and the delegation of authority.DEC Commissioner David Mears. VTDigger photo‘In general, you know, it was a sobering letter in that EPA is asking for a lot of additional detail,’ said David Mears, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, who is part of the team orchestrating the cleanup.Last fall, the department and the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets released a draft plan for restoring the Lake Champlain Basin. The EPA ordered the state to revise its total maximum daily load (TMDL), which sets targets for phosphorus loading into Lake Champlain, or face federal funding cuts and tightened regulations for facilities around the lake, among other regulatory pressures.Phosphorus from sewage, farm runoff and stormwater is blamed for fueling algae blooms that persistently crop up in areas of the lake.With a plan in place, the EPA wants details and commitments by the end of March. After the proposal is finalized, the EPA will decide whether to approve the plan as soon as this summer.‘They want to know timelines by when we would implement these programs, what it would take to implement them in terms of authority ‘ whether we have the authority or not, how do we get it if we don’t. And also resources: what do we need to implement, in terms of staffing or helping to put money out on the ground for our partners,’ Mears said.The letter calls on the agencies to ‘provide final policy commitments in a basin-wide scale implementation plan,’ including a commitment letter from Gov. Peter Shumlin by the end of April.‘They recognize this is going to be a multiyear process, but there has to be a down payment this year; there has to be a demonstration of good faith,’ said Anthony Iarrapino, a lawyer with the Conservation Law Foundation, which has long advocated for lake cleanup.This year’s major water quality bill, H.586, is being reviewed in the Committee on Fish, Wildlife & Water Resources. The bill would alter agriculture and livestock practices and require new road and bridge standards, among other provision, to limit phosphorus runoff into Vermont’s water bodies.Mears said many of the state’s agencies are on board with the proposal, which would apply new water runoff standards across the state. Many lawmakers support the concept of cleaning up the lake, but need to see more details before they enact legislation, Mears said.The letter asks that the cleanup proposal include a plan that acknowledges the realities of climate change, such as higher intensity rainfall. Specifically, the proposal should include phosphorus projections outlined by previous EPA reports that detail several climate scenarios.‘These measures will be a critical component of the implementation of a revised Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the lake,’ David Deegan, a public affairs officer for the New England Region of EPA, wrote in an email to VTDigger. ‘EPA’s letter applauds the scope and ambition of the Proposal while noting that aggressive application of all the measures will be needed to achieve water quality standards in the lake. The letter also lays out EPA’s expectations for the remaining planning for the TMDL as well as implementation after issuance by EPA later this year.’The letter says that current water quality models suggest that all the state’s proposals would have to be fully implemented to achieve required water quality standards set by the EPA.‘What I took the letter to basically say is that this is a good start, but it doesn’t go far enough,’ Mears said. ‘But, I think in terms of not going far enough, it was more that they wanted some more detail about the proposal, rather than they wanted some new initiatives added on to it.’EPA LETTERPHOTO: Silt flows heavily into Lake Champlain during a record flood in May 2011. Photo courtesy governor’s office.last_img read more

City $23 million off the hook in Burlington Telecom settlement with CitiBank

first_imgMayor Miro Weinberger announced Monday that the City of Burlington and Citibank have reached a Mediated Settlement Agreement in the Burlington Telecom lawsuit, which will settle the $33-plus million lawsuit for $10.5 million, plus a share of BT’s future value.  The settlement is expected to be funded largely from BT revenues and non-City sources and will avoid removal of BT’s fiber optic system.  Earlier today, federal district court judge The Honorable William K Sessions, III, granted the parties’ joint request to stay the litigation to allow for implementation of the settlement agreement, following City Council approval and Vermont Public Service Board action.  ‘I am pleased to announce to the people of Burlington that with this agreement, there is now for the first time a clear path to resolution of our BT challenges,’ said Mayor Weinberger.  ‘The agreement ‘ once completed in the months ahead ‘ will accomplish all the goals the City has pursued over the past two years.’ The Administration’s long-stated BT goals have been to:Protect taxpayers from further BT-related losses;Maintain BT service for its more than 4,000 customers;Preserve BT as a telecommunications competitor to maintain affordable Internet, cable, and telephone services for Burlington residents and businesses;Restore Burlington’s credit rating; andSecure, if possible, the opportunity for recovery of a portion of the $16.9 million spent by the City prior to 2010. Additionally, in the last year, the Administration added the goal of securing the right partner for BT that is committed to working with the City on its BTV Ignite economic and community development initiative. This agreement will give the City the opportunity to achieve all these goals through a settlement that includes the following major elements:The $33+ million Citibank lawsuit will be dismissed fully in exchange for $10.5 million of payments to Citibank from the following funding sources: o    Approximately $6 million in bridge financing from a special situation lender ‘ the terms of this financing, which will be secured entirely by BT revenues and assets, currently are under negotiation (paragraph 4.1(i) of Settlement Agreement); o   $1.469 million from co-defendant McNeil, Leddy & Sheahan, P.C. law firm and/or its insurance carrier (paragraph 4.2 of Settlement Agreement);o   $981,000 from BT revenues that have been paid to Citibank or into a court escrow since early 2012 (paragraphs 4.1(iv), 4.3, and 4.5 of Settlement Agreement);o   $250,000 of additional payments from BT revenues that will be made to Citibank between now and the closing of this settlement (paragraph 4.1(vi) of Settlement Agreement);o   $500,000 from the City of Burlington’s insurance carrier (paragraph 4.1(v) of Settlement Agreement) ‘ this payment is in addition to the costs of defending the City in the litigation over the past two plus years; ando   An anticipated approximately $1.3 million payment from the City of Burlington (paragraph 4.6 of Settlement Agreement). §  It is anticipated that this payment would be financed in large part by BT revenues. §  This amount could increase and other City funding sources may be required depending on the amount of bridge financing finally negotiated. §  The Settlement Agreement contemplates this contribution being prioritized for repayment to the City at the time a permanent financial partner for BT is found.The settlement contemplates that the terms of the bridge financing will give the City an appropriate period of time to find the right partner for BT.  At the time of an eventual transaction, it is anticipated that the City will receive a percentage of any net proceeds, additional funds available after repayment of the lender’s principal and costs and Burlington’s new $1.3 million participation.  These future net proceeds of the City will be split evenly with Citibank and will provide the opportunity for partial repayment of the $16.9 million previously expended. The City of Burlington and Citibank also agreed to a number of important milestones that the City must meet to complete the Settlement Agreement (paragraph 5 of the Settlement Agreement).  Those milestones include:·         City Council approval of the settlement no later than February 28, 2014;·         Continuing monthly payments from BT revenues to Citibank until agreement is completed;·         Securing a special situation lender to finance up to $6 million of the settlement ‘ this financing will be secured only with BT revenues and assets; and·         Public Service Board approval, for which the City will file no later than March 15, 2014.  ‘The City of Burlington owes a great debt to the citizen members of the former Blue Ribbon Committee who recommended in 2010 the wise course of action that led to this moment,’ added Mayor Weinberger.  ‘I also want to thank Terry Dorman of Dorman & Fawcett ‘ this agreement simply would not have been possible without his firm’s skillful work to stabilize BT’s finances and operations and to secure a bridge lender.  It would not be possible to make today’s announcement without the willingness of Citibank to pursue in the coming months the path forward laid out in the agreement.’ Mayor Weinberger was joined at today’s announcement by both citizen and City Council members of the Burlington Telecom Advisory Board (BTAB), created from what was formerly known as the BT Blue Ribbon Committee (BRC). City Council President and BTAB member Joan Shannon stated:  ‘Today, the big, dark cloud that has hung over the City of Burlington for four years is breaking up, and the sun is beginning to shine through again.  I cannot thank our negotiating team enough for their hard work to get us to this point.  I also want to thank the Citibank participants for their commitment to the negotiating process and for entering into this agreement with the Burlington team.’ City Councilor Karen Paul, also a BTAB member, stated:  ‘This settlement represents an outstanding outcome ‘ the best possible outcome ‘ for taxpayers and for Burlingtonians who believe that BT is an important economic and community development asset for the City.  Given the huge risks the City faced in the lawsuit, I could not be more pleased with the terms of this settlement.  I am grateful to Mayor Weinberger for his ability to direct a complicated and very trying negotiation and garner this result for our City.’ City Councilor Vince Brennan, also a BTAB member, stated:  ‘This news will create an opportunity for BT to move forward and seek the true potential it has to offer for the residents of Burlington.  Even as we talk about a dark cloud being lifted, the residents and subscribers’ of BT never gave up.’ David Provost, former member of the BRC, current member of the BTAB, and Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration at Champlain College, added:  ‘This settlement represents the fulfillment of the goals for BT that the Blue Ribbon Committee laid out in 2010.  Stabilization of the operations of BT is in place, and today the future payment obligations have been restructured to position BT to meet the future needs of residences and companies throughout the City of Burlington.’   The settlement was reached following two days of mediated negotiations that took place in Burlington at the law offices of Downs Rachlin Martin (DRM) on January 21 and 22, 2014 and was executed on January 30.  Mayor Weinberger led a City negotiating team that included:  BTAB member Pat Robins, Executive Chairman at SymQuest Group. Inc.; Terry Dorman, Principal at Dorman & Fawcett; City Attorney Eileen Blackwood; attorney Marc Heath of DRM; and attorney Thomas Melloni of Burak, Anderson & Melloni.  Attorney Richard Cassidy of South Burlington served as the federal court-appointed mediator during both the January 2013 and 2014 negotiations. After the agreement was conceptually reached but before it was finalized, the Mayor briefed the Board of Finance and other City Councilors on the agreement in a Board of Finance executive session on January 27.  The Mayor expects to request City Council approval of the agreement in open session no later than February 28 and, if approved by the Council, the City will file its PSB petition no later than March 15.PHOTO: Burlington City Council members Vince Brennan (from left), Karen Paul and Joan Shannon join Mayor Miro Weinberger to announce a settlement between Burlington Telecom and Citibank. Photo by Hilary Niles/VTDiggerSource: City of Burlington 1.3.2014 AGREEMENTlast_img read more

$700 million of White Gold: What snow and skiing mean to Vermont’s economy

first_imgSkiers and riders rejoiced over major March snowstorm Vulcan last week, but they aren’t the only ones that benefit from snowfall and cold weather in Vermont’s green mountains. Even those that are dreaming of summer in Vermont reap the economic benefits of our official state sports, as they bring in major spenders from surrounding states and generate hundreds of millions of tax revenue dollars.Vermont’s ski and snowboard industry draws over $700 million in statewide spending each winter season. Think that money just gets spent at the mountains? Think again. Two-thirds of that spending occurs off-mountain in surrounding villages and towns, supporting many local businesses with the ski economy running deep throughout our communities. Those significant winter traveler expenditures generate another $700 million in indirect spending, totaling nearly $1.5 billion in economic benefit for Vermont’s economy.A substantial component of the visitor spending triggered by major snow accumulations is found in the rooms and meals tax revenues, with the influx of winter visitors booking lodging reservations in Vermont and excitedly seeking out a taste of our great local foods and brews. These tax revenues top $120 million annually, with the winter season generating a significant portion of that critical revenue stream.Vermont ski and snowboard resorts also spend over $200 million with nearly 3,000 Vermont companies to stay operational. They employ over 12,000 people seasonally and are responsible for 22,000 indirect jobs off-mountain.  In addition, the seven ski areas on state land generate over $2.5 million in lease payments to the state, which pays for about half of the annual state parks operating budget.So whether a winter enthusiast or not, when you see those white flakes falling from the sky, know that there are dollar signs hidden in their complex structure and that all Vermonters benefit from the white gold of winter.Source: Ski Vermont 3.18.2014last_img read more

Mach7 Technologies awarded a US Patent for handheld medical imaging modality

first_imgMach7 Technologies,Vermont Business Magazine Mach7 Technologies has been awarded a United States Patent for handheld medical imaging modality.  Core to Mach7’s iModality mobile application, this technology strengthens and advances Mach7’s leadership position in enterprise image management and further demonstrates the company’s belief that the patient should always be at the center of care delivery. Mobile Technology Advanced Through an Enterprise Imaging Platform The Patent covers any mobile device that can capture and upload imaging data into a patient’s electronic medical record (EMR). Using the patented technology, Mach7’s iModality mobile application brings the power and sophistication of Mach7 Enterprise Imaging Platform to mobile devices. The HIPAA compliant solution enables clinicians to securely capture medical imaging data including photos, videos, and notes using a web-enabled smart device (e.g., iPhone, iPad), send to an archive via Mach7 Enterprise Imaging Platform, and link to an EMR for immediate access. iModality enables rapid mobile healthcare in the hands of patient-facing clinicians and moves image management closer to the point of care delivery speeding diagnosis and  facilitating care collaboration. “I feel honored and privileged to work with an accomplished engineering team focused on truly advancing the industry and making a difference in people’s lives,” commented Eric Rice, chief technology officer, Mach7 and one of the Patent authors. “From our earliest days, innovation has been at the heart of this company and the Patent award underscores the strength of the technology our team develops to power the future of enterprise imaging.” The current Mach7 Technologies Patent authors include: Eric Rice, CTO, left, and Alexey Ulanov, Chief Engineer Mach7 Technologies is a global provider of enterprise image management systems that allow healthcare enterprises to easily identify, connect, and share diagnostic image and patient care intelligence where and when needed. Mach7’s award-winning platform delivers image management including rapid record identification, integration, synchronization and routing, advanced clinical viewing, and optimized vendor neutral archiving. Mach7 has locations in the U.S., Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. Visit www.mach7t.com(link is external).Burlington, VT – January 13, 2016 – Mach7 Technologieslast_img read more

Injured service members brave the cold for fun on ice

first_imgWounded Warrior Project A special gathering for wounded veterans who endured the elements to learn a new, unique skill in Vermont. Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) invited a group of WWP Alumni to tighten their ice leashes, pull on the gloves, and brave the chill to learn the basics of ice climbing. WWP’s Alumni program is one of 20 free programs and services offered to injured service members, their families and caregivers. Through social gatherings like these, WWP works to help wounded veterans find each other so they can heal through the power of bonding and camaraderie. Many returning service members face similar challenges readjusting to civilian life; spending time with other combat veterans who have shared experiences is a significant part of their recovery.Zekiel Brunketurner, Army veteran and WWP Alumnus, said the event went very well. “It was a lot of fun. I had never gone ice climbing before,” Zekiel said.Scaling new heights. (PRNewsFoto/Wounded Warrior Project) Photos copyright Northern Lights Rock and IceUnited by positive attitudes and a spirit of adventure, ice climbing professionals provided all the necessary equipment to the injured combat veterans. In addition to learning the basics, participants were instructed on climbing techniques and safety considerations for a special task that allowed them to put their new training to use: taking on the ice wall.For this kind of task, having a partner-in-bravery helps. “It was a totally new thing for me, but I got to learn a new skill with other warriors,” said Zekiel.Knowing he has access to WWP sports activities is critical for Zekiel. He said, “I feel like there is real support out there and an avenue for outdoor and recreational opportunities. This has given me much-needed inspiration to move forward and do good things. WWP has been incredible for me.”Conquering an ice wall is one way for WWP Alumni to realize they can achieve and maintain independence. During the month of January 2016, WWP engaged with 16,315 warriors through various Alumni program events, activities and outreach efforts. Another important WWP opportunity is the Independence Program (IP). The chief goal of IP is to break down barriers that might limit an injured service member’s access to resources and activities in his or her community.IP is designed for wounded, injured, and ill veterans who rely on their families and/or caregivers because of moderate to severe brain injury, spinal cord injury, or other neurological conditions. The realization that he or she can live on their own terms is significant in any wounded veteran’s recovery.About Wounded Warrior ProjectThe mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt., Feb. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —last_img read more

Eight projects get $2.9 million in Vermont Community Development Grants

first_imgProjects will improve housing, services and flood resilience in eight communities Vermont Business Magazine Brownfield clean-up and re-development in Richmond and Montpelier, and energy efficient affordable housing in Bennington and Hardwick, are among the eight projects receiving more than $2.9 million in grants from the Vermont Community Development Program announced today. “From Waitsfield to Wheelock, communities across Vermont will use these grants to build affordable housing, clean-up contaminated sites for re-development, expand services to their residents, restore historic buildings, and make their communities more resilient”, said Governor Peter Shumlin. “We are excited to support this array of community projects, and thank all the people and organizations working hard every day to improve the lives of Vermonters and the communities we call home’, commented Patricia Moulton, Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.“While targeted to the needs of lower income Vermonters, Community Development Block Grants address the needs of communities and represent a true partnership between the federal, state and local government,” said Department of Housing and Community Development, Deputy Commissioner Josh Hanford. The projects include expanding childcare, parenting classes and family support services in Rutland, creating and improving affordable housing in Bennington and Hardwick, and assisting with flood recovery in Hancock, Montpelier and Waitsfield.Vermont’s congressional delegation has been steadfast in supporting the funding that makes the program possible. In a joint statement, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said: “At its core, this program is about transforming communities by creating opportunities for Vermonters. These projects mean new homes for our neighbors, more childcare for children and working families, and reinvigorated downtowns. They will play diverse and critical roles in our communities, from improving flood mitigation to ensuring town offices are ADA accessible.  These federal investments will empower Vermonters to offer a much-needed helping hand to community members who need it most, and we congratulate each of the recipients.” The state awards approximately $7 million annually in competitive grants through the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development. The grants are funded through the federal Community Development Block Grant Program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.For information about the Vermont Community Development Program, please see the Agency of Commerce and Community Development website at:http://accd.vermont.gov/strong_communities/opportunities/funding/vcdp(link is external)$350,000         Town of Bennington- Deferred loan to Applegate Housing Limited Partnership to rehabilitate a 104-unit mixed-income property. 93 units will be available to households at or below 80% of Area Median Income. Proposed improvements to the property include repairs to water and sewer lines, accessibility and code upgrades, new roofs, siding, windows, and insulation, as well as converting the existing heating oil system to a bio-mass heating system.$358,250         Town of Hancock- Grant to assist in replacing an undersized culvert, on Churchville Road, causing damage and road closures during high-water, with a larger bridge structure capable of passing a 100-year storm event.$300,000         Town of Hardwick- Subgrant to the Lamoille Housing Partnership to purchase and install 13 new, energy efficient modular-built homes on vacant lots at the Evergreen Manor Mobile Home Park in Hardwick.  All homes will be affordable to families earning less than 80% of Area Median Income.$850,000         City of Montpelier- Grant to repair and rebuild the historic granite block retaining wall, at 1 Taylor Street, damaged by flooding in 2011. The project will also remove and dispose of contaminated soils, allowing the long planned multimodal transportation center and bike/pedestrian path project to proceed.The Richmond Creamery in 2012. UVM photo. To read story click on picture$500,000         Town of Richmond- Subgrant to Buttermilk, LLC to demolish four derelict buildings and remediate the former Richmond Creamery property. The brownfield site requires extensive cleanup due to the following sources of contamination: asbestos, lead paint, mold, ammonia, PCB’s, PAH’s, and metals. The redevelopment plan involves a net zero mixed-use development with office space, housing, public services, and retail space.$257,000         City of Rutland- Subgrant to Rutland County Parent Child Center (RCPCC) to complete Phase III of a five-year strategic plan to rehabilitate a building that has been unoccupied for 20 years. The project will serve an estimated 1,610 persons, all with income less than 50% of Area Median Income. The building will be used to expand RCPCC’s programs, including parenting classes for the community and a larger space for their Learning Together program, focused on pregnant and parenting youth who are working toward their high school diploma. The rehabilitation will involve roof work, improvements to the HVAC system, new windows, doors, floors, and painting.$264,182         Waitsfield Village Meeting House- Grant to assist the Waitsfield Village Meeting House flood proof the building and construct life safety and ADA/accessibility improvements. The project will include stabilizing and flood proofing the basement and moving all mechanical and electrical system components out of the basement to locations more than 2 feet above a 100-year flood.$30,000           Town of Wheelock- Grant to hire professional consultants to complete the planning and construction documents for the redesign and renovation of the Town Hall/offices to be ADA compliant.last_img read more

Weekly unemployment claims fall back to mid-winter levels

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The post-winter recreation layoffs appear to be subsiding, if a little earlier than usual, and weekly unemployment claims are back to about where they were in January. Claims fell last week, but are still slightly ahead of numbers from the same time last year, as the disappointing winter tourism season ended sooner due to a historically warm winter. For the week of March 26, 2016, there were 639 claims, down 155 from the previous week’s total and 71 more than they were a year ago. By industry, claims fell evenly across most sectors. Altogether 7,299 new and continuing claims were filed, a decrease of 103 from a week ago, and 154 fewer than a year ago.The Department processed 0 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08).The Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/(link is external). Previously released Unemployment Weekly Reports and other UI reports can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/lmipub.htm#uc(link is external)Vermont’s unemployment rate held at 3.4 percent in February, as the labor force and total employment increased, along with a decrease in the number of unemployed. SEE STORY.NOTE: Employment (nonfarm payroll) – A count of all persons who worked full- or part-time or received pay from a nonagricultural employer for any part of the pay period which included the 12th of the month. Because this count comes from a survey of employers, persons who work for two different companies would be counted twice. Therefore, nonfarm payroll employment is really a count of the number of jobs, rather than the number of persons employed. Persons may receive pay from a job if they are temporarily absent due to illness, bad weather, vacation, or labor-management dispute. This count is based on where the jobs are located, regardless of where the workers reside, and is therefore sometimes referred to as employment “by place of work.” Nonfarm payroll employment data are collected and compiled based on the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, conducted by the Vermont Department of Labor. This count was formerly referred to as nonagricultural wage and salary employment.last_img read more