Weekly unemployment claims fall under 1,000

first_imgThere were 876 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance in Vermont last week. Claims continued to subside after a spike over the holidays and are back under 1,000 for the first time this year. By comparison, new claims last summer were running under 500. In this latest report, new claims decreased 341 from the week before and are 39 above last year’s total.Altogether 10,256 new and continuing claims were filed, a decrease of 36 from a week ago and 2,577 fewer than a year ago. The Department also processed 1,538 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 25 fewer than a week ago. In addition, there were 626 Second Tier claims for benefits processed under the EUC08 program, which is 2 fewer than the week before. 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 fell three-tenths to 5.1 percent in December. See story HERE.last_img read more

Vermont named one of Advanced Placement’s top ten states

first_imgAP and STEM EducationAn additional focus of the Report is on the participation of students in AP courses in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines. The numbers of students who are taking AP STEM courses and succeeding in them continued to increase. The experimentation and problem solving introduced through AP STEM course work and exams support national efforts to increase student achievement in these subjects. Research shows that students who took AP math or science exams were much more likely than non-AP students to earn degrees in physical science, engineering, or life science disciplines ‘ fields leading to some of the careers essential for America’s future prosperity. Vermont placed in the top ten states with its graduates participating in AP and scoring a 3 or higher on an AP Exam (21.4 percent). Maryland once again led the nation with the highest percentage. While the national percentage of high school graduates who participated and succeeded in AP is 18.1 percent, 19 states exceeded that national average. The full list of the top 10 states is:Maryland (27.9 percent )New York (26.5 percent)Virginia (25.6 percent)Massachusetts (25.5 percent)Connecticut (25.3 percent)Florida (23.9 percent)California (23.4 percent)Colorado (22.3 percent)Vermont (21.4 percent)Utah (20.7 percent)Vermont also achieved one of the top 10 largest positive changes in the percentage of high school graduates participating and succeeding since 2001:Maryland (13.1 point increase)Massachusetts (10.9)Connecticut (10.8)Florida (10.5)Minnesota (9.7)Maine (9.6)Vermont (9.5)Washington (9.3)Arkansas (9.1)Virginia (9.1)Florida remains the only state in the nation with a relatively large population of Hispanic/Latino graduates ‘ nearly one in four graduates is Hispanic/Latino ‘ that has achieved 100 percent AP equity and excellence for that population. 27.6 percent of the AP Exam takers in the class of 2011 scored a 3 or higher on a STEM exam. Achieving Equity and ExcellenceIn 2011, the College Board initiated the AP District of the Year awards to honor districts that simultaneously expanded access to AP while maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning a 3 or higher on AP Exams. Last year’s winners ‘ Chicago Public Schools, Illinois (large district); Colton Joint Unified School District, California (medium district); and West New York School District, New Jersey (small district) ‘ are prominently featured in The 8th Annual AP Report to the Nation and microsite. The 2011-12 recipients of the AP District of the Year awards are Polk County Public Schools, Florida (large district); Val Verde Unified School District, California (medium district); and Copiague Public Schools, New York (small district). More information about these districts can be found on pages 29’31 of this year’s Report. “The AP community is comprised of tens of thousands of individuals who play a pivotal role in helping high school students realize their full potential, and I offer my sincere thanks to each of them.” Traditionally Underserved Students Underrepresented in APIn the class of 2011, the numbers of traditionally underserved minority students participating and succeeding in AP continued to increase. However, these students remain underrepresented not only in AP classrooms but also among Americans earning a college degree. Equitable preparation for AP and increased AP course-taking opportunities are vital efforts that must be made. Research consistently shows that minority and low-income students who earn a 3 or higher on an AP Exam are more likely than their peers to earn higher grades in college and to earn a college degree within five years. To assist individual schools, districts, states, and the higher education community in achieving the nation’s education goals, The 8th Annual AP Report to the Nation outlines strategies for helping each group increase rigor, promote equity, and support STEM (see pages 26’27). At the same time, 12.1 percent of graduates in the class of 2011 participated in AP but did not have a successful experience, indicating that these students were unprepared for the rigor of AP. This confirms that just as not all high school students are ready for college, not all high school students are ready for AP, and greater emphasis should be placed on preparing students in the pre-AP years (typically grades 6’10) for the rigors of AP and college. About the Advanced Placement ProgramThe College Board’s Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) enables willing and academically prepared students to pursue college-level studies ‘ with the opportunity to earn college credit, advanced placement or both ‘ while still in high school. Through AP courses in 34 subjects, each culminating in a rigorous exam, students learn to think critically, construct solid arguments, and see many sides of an issue ‘ skills that prepare them for college and beyond. Taking AP courses demonstrates to college admission officers that students have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them, and research indicates that students who score a 3 or higher on an AP Exam typically experience greater academic success in college and are more likely to earn a college degree than non-AP students. Each AP teacher’s syllabus is evaluated and approved by faculty from some of the nation’s leading colleges and universities, and AP Exams are developed and scored by college faculty and experienced AP teachers. Most four-year colleges and universities in the United States grant credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of successful AP Exam scores ‘ more than 3,600 institutions worldwide annually receive AP scores. In the last decade, participation in the AP Program has more than doubled and graduates succeeding on AP Exams has nearly doubled.  In May 2011, nearly 2 million students representing more than 18,000 schools around the world, both public and nonpublic, took 3.4 million AP Exams. “The engaging, hands-on learning that takes place in AP courses requires students to think critically, construct solid arguments, and see many sides of an issue ‘ all skills that prepare students for college and beyond. We encourage educators and parents to help all prepared students take an AP course in high school.”center_img Students With Potential for Success Lack Access to APThis year’s Report features new analyses based on PSAT/NMSQT®  performance, suggesting that nearly half a million students did not take the AP Exam(s) during high school for which they had exhibited the academic potential to succeed.  Among 771,000 PSAT/NMSQT takers in the class of 2011 with high academic readiness for AP (i.e., a 70 percent or greater probability of scoring a 3 or higher), nearly 478,000 of these students did not take an AP Exam for which they had demonstrated potential. In particular, American Indian/Alaska Native, African American and Latino students with high levels of readiness for AP were much less likely than their white and Asian peers to take a recommended AP Exam. Trends in AP® Participation and PerformanceAcross the nation’s public high schools, 18.1 percent of graduates in the class of 2011 participated in AP and earned at least one AP Exam score of 3 or higher (see Figure 2). The percentage of graduates participating and succeeding in AP is a testament to the conviction of many educators that more students deserve access to rigorous course work in high school and will succeed if given the opportunity. About the College BoardThe College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of more than 5,900 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success ‘ including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools.For further information, visit www.collegeboard.org(link is external). “These data confirm the need to continue expansion of AP opportunities for prepared and motivated students, because hundreds of thousands of U.S. students have indeed been academically ready for the challenge of an AP course but lacked the opportunity, encouragement, or motivation to participate,” said Trevor Packer, senior vice president of AP and College Readiness. College Board. 2.8.2012 “Given the tremendous success of the hundreds of thousands of AP students in the class of 2011, we must remember and recognize the dedication of the many educators who make it possible,” said College Board President Gaston Caperton. Advanced Placement® Results for the Class of 2011 AnnouncedIn an era when more than 35 percent of college freshmen and sophomores require remediation and less than 40 percent of college freshmen will earn a degree in four years, educators are increasingly using the high standards embedded within Advanced Placement® courses to help more high school students develop the critical thinking skills and content knowledge essential for college success. Research indicates that students who succeed on an AP Exam during high school typically experience greater academic success in college, experience lower college costs and are more likely to earn a college degree than their peers. New data released today by the College Board as part of The 8th Annual AP Report to the Nation show a continuation of a multiyear trend: In all but four states, more public school graduates participated in the Advanced Placement Program®. As a result of this expansion, a higher percentage of high school graduates succeeded on AP Exams, affirming the vision of educators that many more students deserved access to this type of course work.last_img read more

Deadline for Vermont private non-profits to apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans is March 15

first_imgThe US Small Business Administration reminds Private Non-Profit Organizations (PNPs) in Vermont that March 15 is the deadline to submit Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications. The loans are available from the SBA because of the severe storms and flooding that occurred from April 23 through May 9, 2011.Eligible non-critical PNPs located in Addison, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orleansand Washington counties in Vermont are eligible to apply to the SBA.  Examples of eligible non-critical PNP organizations include, but are not limited to food kitchens, homeless shelters, museums, libraries, community centers and colleges.The SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs such as ongoing operating expenses for eligible non-critical PNP organizations.  This assistance is available regardless of whether the organization suffered any physical property damage.  Loan amounts can be up to $2 million, and the interest rate is 3 percent with terms up to 30 years.  The SBA sets loan amounts and terms based on each applicant’s financial condition.To obtain disaster loan information and application forms, call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or send an email [email protected](link sends e-mail).  Applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov(link is external).  Completed applications should be mailed to:  U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Forth Worth, TX 76155. PNPs affected by the disaster may also apply for disaster loans electronically from SBA’s website athttps://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/(link is external).The filing deadline to return economic injury applications is March 15, 2012 .For more information about the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program, visit our website at www.sba.gov(link is external). ATLANTA, Feb. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —last_img read more

Vermont Tech Respiratory Therapy Program Partners with VIT to be featured at national conference

first_imgVermont Technical College. 3.30.2012. An innovative virtual learning partnership between Vermont Technical College’s Respiratory Therapy Program and Vermont Interactive Technologies (formerly known as Vermont Interactive Television, and commonly referred to as VIT) will be featured at the United States Distance Learning Association’s (USDLA) 25th annual national conference in St. Louis in May. ‘This program has resulted in a unique and highly successful distance learning recipe that blends synchronous and asynchronous learning with just the right measurement of in-person classes, virtual classes via video, and online content,’ said Tara Lidstone, executive director of VIT, Vermont’s largest public videoconferencing network. Last year, VIT received the USDLA Best Practices award and was also recognized internationally as a Computerworld Laureate.Students in the Respiratory Therapy Program learn to treat patients of all ages, from premature infants to the elderly. Health conditions that require respiratory care include asthma, emphysema, chronic obstructive lung disease, pneumonia, cystic fibrosis, infant respiratory distress syndrome, and conditions brought on by shock, trauma, or postoperative complications.The Respiratory Therapy Program is based on the Williston campus and reaches out to students throughout the Northeast Kingdom. Lectures are delivered from VIT studios in Williston and Newport. Students at the remote site can attend all classes and labs within their community. All students must travel to hospitals in Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire for their hands-on experiences. In 2011, the national professional journal ‘Respiratory Times’ featured the program’s innovative, blended learning model. ‘Our unique distance learning program is truly a ‘win-win,’‘ said Faye Tolar, Vermont Tech’s program director for respiratory therapy. ‘We have provided many Vermonters with employment in areas where unemployment is very high, and we have provided rural hospitals with respiratory therapists. The program has been able to meet the needs of patients throughout Vermont, especially in and around Burlington, and hospitals in neighboring cities in New York and New Hampshire.’last_img read more

Governor Shumlin presents 25,000th VTStrong license plate to Vermont’s emergency responders

first_imgGovernor Peter Shumlin was joined today by firefighters, store owners, ski area representatives and others in celebrating the sale of the 25,000th â I Am Vermont Strong’license plate, marking the half-way mark in a campaign to sell enough plates to raise $1 million for the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund. Money from the license plate sales is earmarked for Vermont families impacted by flooding in 2011, as well as the Vermont Foodbank. The Governor reminded Vermonters that the need for assistance following the devastating spring floods and Tropical Storm Irene remains strong. â I am urging people to continue to support their neighbors who suffered damage to their homes during last yearâ s storms by buying a VTStrong license plate,’Gov. Shumlin said. â These plates reflect the spirit that makes Vermont strong and the funds are critical in helping Vermonters recover from the devastation of the May and August flooding.â  The $25 plate can be affixed to the front of most vehicles or bought as souvenirs. The goal is to sell 50,000 plates to raise $1 million for the Disaster Relief Fund, and the Governor bought the first plate in February to present to the Corliss family of Berlin, whose mobile home was destroyed by flood waters. Today the Governor bought the 25,000th plate, presenting it to Barre Fire Department Capt. Keith Cushman and thanking all emergency responders across the state for their help during the 2011 storms. â Vermontâ s firefighters, emergency responders, police officers, National Guard troops and others stepped forward to save lives and property during both storms,’Gov. Shumlin said, presenting the plate to Capt. Cushman. The historic plate will remain on a Barre fire truck for a period of time before being shared with other departments across the state, and eventually donated to the Vermont Fire Academy for display. Firefighters from Montpelier and other local units were on hand today for the event. The Governor noted that the St. Johnsbury Fire Department has purchased â I Am Vermont Strong’plates for its fire trucks, and the Barre firefighters plan to do the same. Shumlin also thanked the organizations and individuals who have been selling the plates, including member of the Vermont Ski Areas Association and the Vermont Grocers Association (Price Chopper took 1,750 plates and is the biggest purchaser; Shaw’s, Maplefields and Hannaford’s also have made large purchases). In addition, he thanked businesses like National Life and others that have stepped forward to help with Irene and flood recovery in other ways.The Vermont Disaster Relief Fund was created following the spring flooding a year ago. When Irene struck Vermont in August, Gov. Shumlin formalized and established a governing body for the fund, which is chaired by David Coates of Colchester. The fund is the primary vehicle for providing disaster assistance to individuals.Governor’s office 4.5.2012last_img read more

City of Burlington advances Act 250 permit amendment over public’s control of Waterfront Park

first_imgMayor Miro Weinberger today highlighted the City of Burlingtons efforts to enhance the publics use and control of Waterfront Park through amendments to its Act 250 permit filed by the Citys Parks and Recreation Department.  The Citys efforts to protect public event opportunities at Waterfront Park continued yesterday morning when the City appeared at a prehearing conference before the District 4 Environmental Commission of the Vermont Natural Resources Board.  The District Commission heard requests for party status from residents who live near Waterfront Park, as well as from several organizations that sponsor events at Waterfront Park.    I take very seriously the importance of defending the publics use of Waterfront Park against those who would seek to impose greater limitations on the peoples most important park, said Weinberger.  Our amendment is about who should decide the details about when and how Waterfront Park is used.  My position is that the people of Burlington should decide who uses the park, as well as when and how they use it the City is seeking to return control to the people of Burlington.  Burlington’s waterfront is the people’s waterfront, the people’s front yard, said Bryan Aubin, Ward 4 City Councilor and member of the City Council Parks, Arts, and Culture Committee.  It is important that the people of Burlington have the right to control the opportunities of this great space for the betterment of all residents.  This amendment will allow the City to do just that.Other Waterfront Park stakeholders, including the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center, Local Motion, and RunVermont, are supporting the Act 250 permit amendment.Ensuring the vibrancy and active use of the Burlington waterfront and Lake Champlain is a high priority, said Kate Neubauer, Executive Director of the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center.  For over 18 years, the City of Burlington has been a key partner of the Community Sailing Center.  We look forward to continuing our work with the City, local organizations, and our community members to improve the access and enjoyment of this signature resource.We Burlington residents have invested significant time and money over the last two decades to make the waterfront the front porch of our community, said Chapin Spencer, Executive Director of Local Motion.  Its become a wonderful place where we can all come together to celebrate, recreate, and access Lake Champlain.  As Local Motion and many others continue to partner with the City to make the waterfront even better, it makes sense to have our City, not Montpelier, control the future of our most prized area.   RunVermont is eager to participate with our City partners, including City Hall, Burlington businesses, and Burlington residents, in an updated process that will recognize the changing conditions and demands on one of the Citys most prized assets, Waterfront Park, said Peter Delaney, Executive Director of RunVermont.  The revitalization of a process that was developed almost two decades ago is long overdue and should reflect the concerns of today, as well as project the demands into the future.  We look forward to a collaborative process that will allow everyone involved to create a vibrant, active environment to be enjoyed by all.     Both Spencer and Delaney attended Tuesdays preconference hearing on behalf of Local Motion and RunVermont, respectively. The idea of amending the Waterfront Park Act 250 permit has deep roots. In April 2000, the Burlington City Council authorized the Parks and Recreation Department to seek an amendment to the Act 250 permit removing conditions that unduly restrict the use of Waterfront Park for public events.  (Please see attached Resolution Relating to Exception from Rules for Waterfront Park, adopted by City Council on April 24, 2000.) Our goal is to clean up and modernize an old permit, to bring control back to the people of Burlington, said Jesse Bridges, Director of the Burlington Department of Parks and Recreation.  The outdated conditions contained in the existing Act 250 permit stem from the Parks and Recreation Commission having adopted them in 1993.  Under Act 250, these antiquated conditions may only be modified by the Act 250 District Commission.  Circumstances and opportunities have changed since our original permit was approved, continued Bridges.  Waterfront Park has become an incredibly successful venue for all types of events from athletic competitions and concerts to activities for our children and non-profit fundraising events.  Theres been something for everyone in our community, and the people of Burlington are looking more and more for these types of events and activities that bring our community together.  The City intends to continue to regulate events at Waterfront Park to ensure safety and the neighborhoods quality of life, but the City seeks to have those regulatory decisions reside with the people of Burlington.                          Through its permit amendment application, the City of Burlington seeks to enhance local control of Waterfront Park by putting decision-making approval of when and how the park is used in the hands of the City instead of the District Environmental Commission appointed by the governor.  To read Burlingtons application, please visit: http://www.anr.state.vt.us/ANR/ACT250/Act250.aspx(link is external) and enter 4C0863-4. The City will continue to maintain an active Waterfront Advisory Event Selection Committee made up of neighbors, event producers, business owners, and City staff including Fire and Police.  The committee serves as the backbone for public engagement and oversight on waterfront park events.   We are a service-oriented department that relies on feedback and communication from the public to move forward, added Bridges. In partnership with the Advisory Event Selection Committee, the Burlington Parks and Recreation Department is seeking to responsibly manage our own park.  This active and engaged group provides the infrastructure to hear and respond to issues, as well as to gauge support and needs for upcoming events.  As a representative group of citizens, it will serve as our able partner in managing the park into the future. The City of Burlingtons Waterfront Park management structure and public input opportunities are as follows: ·         Waterfront Park is managed by the City of Burlington Parks and Recreation Department with oversight by the Parks and Recreation Commission.·         The Mayor of Burlington appoints the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, and the appointment is confirmed by the City Council.·         The City Council appoints five Parks and Recreation Commissioners, who hear from the public and advise the Department on all Parks and Recreation matters including the use and management of Waterfront Park.  The Commission meets on the third Tuesday of every month at the Parks and Recreation offices at 645 Pine Street. Meetings begin at 5:00 PM with a public forum held at 5:30 PM.  Any City resident is eligible to seek a Commission appointment.·         The Waterfront Advisory Event Selection Committee is assembled by the Parks Department with oversight provided by the Parks Commission with representation from various constituent groups, including the adjoining neighbors.  The committee advises the department and City on issues related to waterfront events, reviewing both the upcoming and past seasons schedules.  They currently meet twice per year with public forum opportunities at all meetings. I welcome and encourage anyone interested in how Waterfront Park is used and managed to take advantage of the opportunities for public input and involvement at the local level, added Weinberger.  Upon approval of the Citys amendment application, I will seek City Council action establishing guidelines for the membership and protocols of the Waterfront Advisory Event Selection Committee.Source: Mayor’s office. 12.19.2012last_img read more

Bruegger’s Bagels Celebrates the Big 3-0

first_imgBruegger’s Bagels, Inc,Brueggers Bagels celebrates 30 years of serving up its fresh-baked, New York-style bagels by adding new flavors to its lineup of nearly 20 bagel varieties and by inviting its Facebook fans to bring back some retired favorites. For those who crave something new, Brueggers Bagels latest flavor the Five Grain Everything Bagel will appear in bakeries starting today through May 7. Nostalgic bagel lovers can visit the Brueggers Bagels Facebook page for a chance to bring back a flavor blast from the past. Old-time favorites like Trail Mix, Cranberry Orange, Marble Rye, Pretzel and more will be on the ballot, and the bagel with the most votes will return to the Brueggers Bagels menu for a limited time this year. For 30 years, weve been the only national chain to offer bagels that are baked fresh all day in each of our locations, said Brueggers Executive Chef Philip Smith. We are always focused on the future innovating and refining our guests experience — but this anniversary gave us a chance to let our loyal guests tell us what they have loved all along. Voting ends Feb. 7. In the meantime, Brueggers Bagels fans have some new reasons to visit their local bakery. Along with the hearty Five Grain Everything Bagel, the bagel bakery will bring back all-time favorite Maple cream cheese to its exclusive lineup of natural, 100-percent Vermont-made cream cheese flavors. As a complement, Brueggers Bagels will add its French Toast coffee to the menu, perfect to warm up a cold day with flavors of maple syrup and just a touch of cinnamon. All Brueggers Bagels coffee blends are made with Arabica beans roasted to perfection and brewed fresh throughout the day. Brueggers Bagels will also feature a hearty breakfast sandwich for winters crisp mornings  its classic egg, bacon and cheese sandwich on a sesame bagel. The all-day breakfast sandwich is also great with the featured Five Grain Everything bagel with its savory mix of spices and seeds. Brueggers Bagels is the only bagel bakery chain in the country that fresh-bakes New York-style bagels in each of its locations, using the same recipe developed nearly 30 years ago by company founders. Everything on the menu is handcrafted, including the bakerys New York-style bagels baked fresh on-site each day, its signature made-in-Vermont cream cheese, and its custom-made breakfast and lunch sandwiches and salads. About Bruegger’s Enterprises, Inc.Bruegger’s Enterprises, Inc. (BEI), a leader in the fast-casual restaurant segment, operates 304 Brueggers Bagels bakeries in North America. Renowned for its award-winning bagels, Bruegger’s offers a wide variety of freshly prepared breakfast and lunch options made with high-quality, simple ingredients served with its unique brand of hospitality. Bruegger’s is dedicated to the communities it serves and supports charitable causes locally and nationally. BEIs parent company, Groupe Le Duff, SA, is the worlds second-largest company in the bakery-café sector. Founded in 1983, BEI is headquartered in Burlington, Vt. For more information, please visit www.brueggers.com(link is external) or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/brueggers(link is external). (BURLINGTON, Vt.) Jan. 9, 2013  Brueggers Bagelslast_img read more

Weakened toxic chemicals bill could die in Senate

first_imgby John Herrick vtdigger.org(link is external) A House version of a bill to regulate toxic chemicals in children’s products will not have an easy time in the Senate, the bill’s lead sponsor said. “I think we’ve budged as far as we can go,” said Senator Ginny Lyons, D-Chittenden, who introduced the legislation. House lawmakers Wednesday voted to strike several Senate changes expanding the scope of S.239, including Lyons’ amendment allowing the health department to require manufacturers to label or remove chemicals it considers harmful from products that children come into contact with.Related storyHeavy-hitters fight bill.(link is external)Rep. David Deen, D-Westminster, chairman of the House Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources, worked with industry representatives this session to limit the program’s scope to products marketed to children 12 and under.“If it were my personal choice as opposed to making a public policy that affects all of the manufactures in Vermont … I would want anything a kid could possibly touch in the bill,” Deen said. “In order to facilitate manufacturing in the state of Vermont, that’s an incredible burden.”Sen. Ginny Lyons, D-Chittenden. Photo by John Herrick/VTDiggerWith three days left before planned adjournment, Lyons said the House changes will not fly in the Senate. The changes return the bill to the original House version, she said, and were not part of an agreement ironed out over the weekend with House lawmakers.“If they are going to go back on that agreement that would be unfortunate,” Lyons said. “It would do exactly what people who are opposed to the bill want to have happened. And that would be to kill it.“Would you rather kill the bill or kill the children?” she said.The Shumlin administration does not want to create a program that burdens manufacturers and supports the more lenient House version of the bill.“It’s just not clear,” said Justin Johnson, deputy secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources, referencing the Senate’s definition of children’s products.“It’s really important to use that as it goes forward … that it be clear,” Johnson said. “In order to protect kids and do what the bill wants to do, you don’t want to be caught all the time arguing back and forth about what it means.”He said a “workable” bill is one that achieves a maximum benefit to public health and a minimal cost to manufacturers and the state to administer the program. This means adopting legislation consistent with existing state programs, he said.“An out-of-state company, frankly, has the option to say ‘I’m not going to sell here,’ if they think the burden is too high,” Johnson said. “We’re not the biggest market in the world. An in-state company, on the other hand, is here, and what do they do?”Industry representatives, who have lobbied hard against the bill this session, support the House’s version of a program intended to “harmonize” with Washington state’s reporting program.“It’s easier to comply with,” said Bill Driscoll, vice president of the trade organization Associated Industries of Vermont. “We oppose setting up a statewide regulatory regime. But between the two, we prefer the House version.”Andy Hackman, a lobbyist for the Toy Industry Association, said he opposes a Senate amendment that requires manufacturers to report to the health department all chemicals “present in” products sold in the state. This is a change from only chemicals “intentionally added” to products.This would be a large departure from Washington state’s program and would require manufacturers to report a wider range of chemicals that may not pose a threat to human health, he said. The bill also sets up a biannual $200 reporting fee to support the program.The House voted Wednesday to return the bill’s language to “intentionally added.”Janet Doyle, a representative for IBM, said she opposes a Senate amendment that would give the health commissioner authority to determine whether certain chemicals are considered trade secrets and therefore exempt from the reporting requirement.“I would question the commissioner’s background and ability to make that judgment,” Doyle said.Lyons’ amendment this week gave the health commissioner full authority to regulate chemicals. The previous House version required a working group set up under the bill to first make a recommendation on whether to regulate chemicals. The House reinstated that clause Wednesday.House Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources vice chair Rep. Jim McCullough, D-Williston, supports the Senate’s version. He warned the bill would “disappear into a black hole” if the House did not concur with its counterpart, which, he said, “has the greater wisdom” on the issue.In the latest version of the House bill, the working group is composed of scientists, a Vermont business and toy industry representative, two public health advocates and other members appointed by the governor. Both the House and the Senate agree the working group strikes a balance between industry and public health advocates.Lyons said it is a sad day when the state does not have the support that it needs to protect children from toxic chemicals.“There are more lobbyists in this building than we’ve ever seen before,” she said. “We know that the American Chemistry Council and the Toy (Industry) Association is working in 50 states to keep state from having any regulation on toxic chemicals on consumer products and apparently it’s working. And it’s working from the top down in our government.”last_img read more

State awards $270,000 to support clean energy and food scrap recycling

first_imgCasella Waste Systems Inc,Casella Resource Solutions and Grow Compost have both been awarded Clean Energy Development Fund grants ($139,000 and $131,549 respectively) from the Vermont Public Service Department (PSD) for two pilot projects to demonstrate the anaerobic digestion of food scraps. PSD collaborated with the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) and the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) to design the program and develop the agreements with the two companies.  PSD also worked with Green Mountain Power who contributed $70,000 of refunded nuclear insurance monies to allow the PSD to make it possible to support the two projects to advance statewide renewable energy and recycling goals.Both projects will use funds to collect and process leftover food scraps from businesses and institutions and deliver them to farm-based anaerobic digesters where they will be used to produce heat and power.  Casella will bring material to the digester at Blue Spruce Farm in Bridport and Grow Compost is delivering to Vermont Technical College’s digester in Randolph.“To meet our state’s energy needs we need to find sources of sustainable and environmentally sound power.  The Public Service Department is pleased to be able to support not only renewable energy generation, but also on-farm anaerobic digestion and food scrap recycling,” said Christopher Recchia, Commissioner of the Public Service Department.“Vermont agriculture has led the nation in many ways.  For instance, we have more on-farm manure digesters compared to our number of cows than any other state.  These two pilot projects will help create a new model to guide how food scraps can be used as a safe and valuable resource for farmers who operate digesters, keeping Vermont’s farmers at the forefront of renewable energy,” said Chuck Ross, Secretary of the Agency of Agriculture.“These are two great projects,” stated Deborah Markowitz, Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources. “Vermont’s Universal Recycling law sets the stage for Vermonters to take valuable materials – like food scraps – out of our waste stream. Anaerobic digestion will let us use these materials to produce heat and power. What a great way to demonstrate the multiple benefits from recycling our natural resources: projects like these not only produce renewable energy, but they save on our limited landfill space, they promote clean water and help us fight climate change through reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”For more information about Universal Recycling, visit www.recycle.vermont.gov(link is external) or contact your local solid waste management entity.Source: Vermont Public Service Department. January 21, 2015last_img read more

Secretary of State Jim Condos announces candidates for Vermont presidential primaries

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Secretary of State Jim Condos announced today that, following yesterday’s 5 pm deadline, 14 candidates have qualified to be placed on the ballot in Vermont’s Presidential Primary. Ten candidates have qualified for the Republican ballot and four candidates for the Democratic ballot. Vermont law requires any candidate seeking to have his or her name printed on the ballot of a major party presidential primary to file petitions signed by no fewer than 1,000 registered Vermont voters, along with a $2,000 filing fee. Vermont’s primary will be held on Tuesday, March 1, 2016. The deadline to register to vote in the primary is Wednesday, February 24.The Republicans qualifying for placement on the ballot in Vermont were:Jeb BushBen CarsonChris ChristieTed CruzCarly FiorinaJohn KasichRand PaulMarco RubioRick SantorumDonald J. TrumpThe Democrats qualifying for placement on the ballot in Vermont were:Hillary ClintonRoque “Rocky” De La FuenteMartin J. O’MalleyBernie SandersVermont law requires any candidate seeking to have his or her name printed on the ballot of a major party presidential primary to file petitions signed by no fewer than 1,000 registered Vermont voters, along with a $2,000 filing fee. Vermont’s primary will be held on Tuesday, March 1. The deadline to register to vote in the primary is Wednesday, February 24.Anyone registering for the first time or in a new town can now do so online at www.olvr.sec.state.vt.us(link is external).Once registered, voters can access and update information about their registration and polling place on the My Voter Page at www.mvp.sec.state.vt.us(link is external).Also of note is a Constitutional Amendment passed in 2010 allowing 17 year olds who will turn 18 by the November election to register and vote in Vermont’s Presidential Primary. This will be the second presidential election in which this amendment has been in effect.last_img read more