Monthly Archives December 2020

FairPoint efficiencies expected to result in $6.6 million annualized savings

first_imgConsolidated Communications,FairPoint Communications, Inc (Nasdaq CM: FRP) says it is continuing to improve its operations. Along with expansion of broadband services, it has reduced employment by 78 through buyouts and layoffs. The location of the employment reductions were not announced.”We’re making good operational gains and we are proud of the 8.4 percent gain in broadband subscribers in 2011 ‘ the highest percentage gain among our industry peers,” said FairPoint CEO Paul Sunu.Earlier in March, FairPoint offered employees, who are members of the Communications Workers of America, an opportunity to take advantage of early retirement incentives. Forty-six employees were accepted for this voluntary retirement program, which takes effect March 30. The company believes this effort will result in expected annualized operating expense savings of approximately $3.8 million, with the full benefit realized in 2013. The company expects to provide severance or incentive payments of approximately $2.3 million.Additionally, FairPoint is expecting to realize further savings by consolidating operational functions. Thirty-two non-represented employees will be leaving the company as their positions are eliminated. The expected result is annualized operating expense savings of approximately $2.8 million and severance payments of approximately $400,000. “The telecommunications industry is transforming rapidly and FairPoint is positioning itself to compete,” Sunu said. “We continue to be optimistic about our business strategy, including progress being made on the regulatory front. As we continue to align for the future, FairPoint is focused on our customers and the exciting challenges in the telecommunications marketplace.” CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/last_img read more

ECFiber expands broadband service to another 300 residences

first_imgECFiber,ECFiber’s August 1 investment closing has brought its 2012 total to over $1.3 million, all from local citizens. These funds will be used to extend its fiber-optic network to unserved areas of Chelsea, Vershire, Thetford, Norwich, Tunbridge and Strafford. ECFiber estimates that it will more than double its subscriber base in this build-out.ECFiber has developed an innovative funding method to extend its network, relying largely on local citizens. These funds are interest-bearing loans that enable build-out to local neighborhoods within and across member towns. Anyone able to invest as little as $2500 helps ECFiber reach all households along designated routes. To date, no government or taxpayer monies have been used in this effort.ECFiber chooses routes that maximize the available funds to reach the greatest possible number of unserved businesses and households. So far ECFiber’s service has reached parts of Bethel, Royalton, Barnard and Pomfret, with construction on-going.ECFiber is committed to serving 100% of the households, businesses and civic institutions in the 23 member towns. It is extending its network in phases, pursuant to the amount of local funding it is able to raise.ECFiber is a group of 23 towns working to build a community-owned, subscriber-funded Fiber-to-the-Home network to provide phone, and ultra-high-speed internet services to 100 percent of the homes and businesses in the member towns. ECFiber 8.14.2012last_img read more

Green Mountain Mustard’s Garlic & Oregano Mustard wins silver at the 2013 World Wide Mustard Competition

first_imgRICHMOND, VT (April 30th, 2013) Were not going to win over 300 mustards from 18 countries are entered into the competition! Thats what Michael Adams, owner of Green Mountain Mustard in Richmond, VT, thought as he entered two mustards in the World Wide Mustard Competition in March. Lo and behold, Green Mountain Mustard won a silver in the Garlic category at the 2013 World Wide Mustard Competition held at the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, WI.Only last year, Garlic & Oregano mustard was simply an idea. Adams and his parents wanted to create a limited edition flavor exclusively for the Vermont Garlic Festival in 2012. After creating a couple test batches, they thought they had the right combination and created their own version of Garlic and Oregano mustard. The mustard contains ten cloves of garlic per jar. Its a garlic lovers dream condiment.After loyal Burlingtonbased customers protested its exclusivity to southern Vermont and pleaded for the garlic mustard to make its debut at the Burlington Farmers Market last summer, Adams gave in to the pressure and produced another run of the popular flavor. Today, the Garlic and Oregano mustard has been added to the regular lineup of mustards. Its starting to rollout to retailers across the state and will be available at the Burlington Farmers Market this summer.Green Mountain Mustard, founded in 2010 by Michael Adams, is Vermonts Local Mustard. Many of their mustards are made with local ingredients, including mustard seed, eggs, butter, and of course, maple syrup. Mustards are available at over 50 retailers across New England and can be found at fairs and festivals throughout the summer. For more information, visit read more

Vermont senators throttle US Supreme Court over campaign finance ruling

first_imgThe Supreme Court Wednesday issued its ruling in McCutcheon v Federal Election Commission.  In a 5-4 decision, the Court, once again, reversed long-standing precedent and declared aggregate limits on campaign contributions in elections to be unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment.“Four years after the US Supreme Court handed down its controversial Citizens United decision, five justices once again have decided to rule on the side of moneyed interests and against the American people,” Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) said in a statement following the ruling. “As Justice Breyer warned in his dissent, ‘Taken together with Citizens United v Federal Election Comm’n, today’s decision eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic  legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.’  I could not agree with him more. “With this latest shock to our electoral system, the divided Roberts court again chose to dismantle campaign finance laws which had protected hardworking Americans for decades.  This ruling will empower billionaires to drown out the voices of everyday Americans in all future campaigns, threatening all states, and especially smaller states like Vermont.  It is yet another blow to a democracy for all Americans.  As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I intend to hold a hearing about the impact of these alarming Supreme Court decisions that have eviscerated our campaign finance laws.”Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) also blasted the Supreme Court, saying in a statement: “Freedom of speech, in my view, does not mean the freedom to buy the United States government. “The ruling gives wealthy donors like the billionaires Charles and David Koch more power to influence elections. An earlier ruling in Citizens United v FEC resulted in a record $7 billion being spent in the 2012 election cycle, including at least $400 million by the Koch brothers alone. “What world are the five conservative Supreme Court justices living in? To equate the ability of billionaires to buy elections with ‘freedom of speech’ is totally absurd. The Supreme Court is paving the way toward an oligarchic form of society in which a handful of billionaires like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson will control our political process.” At issue in the latest case was a limit on how much donors may give to all candidates and political organizations during a two-year federal election cycle. The cap now is $123,200. That includes a separate $48,600 limit on contributions to individual candidates during 2013 and 2014. A separate $2,600 limit on how much one individual may give to any specific candidate for Congress in any election is not directly at stake in this case. The latest ruling comes on the heels of a 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, which threw out campaign funding laws that limited what individuals and corporations could spend on elections. Since that ruling, campaign spending by Adelson, the Las Vegas casino magnate, the Koch brothers and a handful of other billionaire families has “fundamentally undermined American democracy,” Sanders stated. Sanders has proposed a constitutional amendment to overturn that ruling and make clear preventing quid pro quo corruption is not the only reason we should regulate campaign finance. His amendment and a companion measure in the House by Rep Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) would make it clear that the right to vote and the ability to make campaign contributions and expenditures belong only to real people.The amendment would effectively prevent corporations from bankrolling election campaigns. Congress and states would have specific authority to regulate campaign finances by, for example, limiting donations, requiring disclosure of donors or creating public-financing systems for campaigns.Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos released this statement: “I find today’s Supreme Court ruling to strike down aggregate campaign contribution limits to be a disheartening blow to those of us who, on the state level, are working hard to keep corruption out of politics and ensure fair and transparent elections. This ruling, along with the 2010 Citizens United decision, clearly illustrates a disturbing trend that allows the wealthiest voters to have the loudest voice. “Justice Clarence Thomas stated that he would have stripped away all contribution limits – this is the absolute wrong attitude for Americaand it is certainly the wrong attitude for Vermont. “This extremely worrying trend in court rulings only strengthens my personal conviction that we can do better when it comes to transparency in campaign finance. If the Supreme Court is determined to strip away Vermont’s ability to limit campaign contributions than I will redouble my own efforts to work with and support the Vermont legislature in making sure that the people ofVermont have the ability to track every penny that enters the political system in this state.center_img “Vermonters, and all Americans, should have the right to know who is influencing or trying to buy elections.” “Furthermore, these court rulings tie the hands of state legislatures when it comes to limiting campaign finance contributions.last_img read more

Vermont is open for skiing and riding

first_imgWith Killington Resort leading the way, Vermont is officially open for the 2014-15 ski and ride season. Resorts all over Vermont have been taking advantage of great snowmaking temperatures to lay down the white stuff, along with some help from Mother Nature. Find out all the resorts’ opening dates and what they are doing to prepare for another stellar snow season. Nearly all Vermont ski resorts are scheduled to open before December 1.Tentative Opening Dates:OPEN – Killington Resort: November 3, 2014 for passholders & November 4, 2014 for publicOkemo Mountain Resort: Saturday, November 15, 2014Stowe Mountain Resort: Saturday, November 22, 2014Sugarbush Resort: Saturday, November 22, 2014Mount Snow Resort: Wednesday, November 26, 2014Stratton Mountain: Wednesday, November 26, 2014Bromley Mountain: Friday, November 28, 2014Smugglers’ Notch Resort: Friday, November 28, 2014Jay Peak Resort: Saturday, November 29. 2014Bolton Valley: Saturday, December 13, 2014Mad River Glen: Saturday, December 13, 2014 (Earlier if possible.)Pico Mountain: Saturday, December 13, 2014Suicide Six: Friday, December 19, 2014Magic Mountain: Saturday, December 20, 2014Killington ResortVermont is open for skiing and riding, and Killington Pass Holders have been sampling first turns since Monday, November 3. The general public is set to join them as of Tuesday, November 4, and the Mountain Operations team plans for more snowmaking and terrain expansion as conditions permit. The North Ridge area, including an early season terrain park on Lower Reason, invites advanced skiers and snowboarders, and the Peak Lodge welcomes all for fresh food and mountain vistas.Okemo Mountain ResortOkemo’s target opening day for the 2014/2015 ski and snowboard season is November 15. While the resort’s operations team has been busy with the installation of a new six-pack bubble chairlift (with heated seats!), Okemo’s snowmaking crew has had a busy summer too. Okemo’s Operation Snowburst(link is external) returns for a second season of snowmaking improvements with the addition of 100 new energy-efficient HKD tower guns and snowmaking pipeline upgrades. Operation Snowburst Part 2 follows a $1 million snowmaking investment that allowed Okemo to open early with top-to-bottom skiing and riding last winter. Utilizing energy-efficient, state-of-the-art technology allows Okemo to maximize its water-pumping ability and snowmaking potential from the very start of the season.Stowe Mountain ResortStowe Mountain Resort’s state-of-the-art snowmaking operations have been supplemented by a three-year $9.8 million dollar snowmaking expansion. Totals for the 3 year project include; over 100,000 feet of new snowmaking pipe (almost 20 miles), 615 HKD SV10 tower guns, 150 Ratnik Baby X-2 land frames, 20 SMI Super PoleCat snow fan towers, 8 HKD Turbo snow fan towers and a new 3,000 gallon-per-minute booster pump house on Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. In addition to supplementing its already superlative snowmaking, the improvements allow Stowe to operate with greater energy efficiency. The new snowmaking increases potential for more early-season terrain and enhances overall snow quality.Sugarbush ResortSugarbush Resort has scheduled opening dates of Saturday, November 22 for Lincoln Peak and Friday, December 19 for Mt. Ellen. Snowmaking at Lincoln Peak is already underway, and the resort is finishing up the installation 351 new Snow Logic, HKD, and Ratnik snowguns. These new upgrades should provide more terrain earlier in the season for skiers and riders. Over $1 million in electrical and mechanical upgrades to several of the resort’s lifts have been made, and Sugarbush added a Piston Bully 600 to its biodiesel grooming fleet. Mount Snow ResortIn preparation for its 60th anniversary season, Mount Snow has undergone an unprecedented snowmaking upgrade highlighted by the installation of 645 new state-of-the-art, low-energy snow guns. These guns will benefit from the new snowmaking control system called SmartSnow, which is the same system used to monitor the snowmaking operation in Sochi, Russia that was installed specifically for the 2014 Winter Olympics.  Three brand new snow cats will be welcomed to the fleet, as well.  Mount Snow plans to fire up their upgraded snowmaking system once temperatures permit and will shoot to open with top-to-bottom terrain for all ability levels on or before Thanksgiving. is external)Stratton Mountain ResortWith another 350 of the latest energy efficient models in Stratton’s arsenal of snowmaking tower guns, which now numbers more than 1,110, skiers and riders can look forward to a stellar early season that starts on November 26.Opening weekend events include the Thanksgiving Day Gobble Gobble Wobble 5 K that last year brought out 300 runners and walkers, many donning festive costumes,  après ski with The Peacheaters, Allman Brothers tribute band, playing live in Grizzly’s and late night with DJ Joe Bell. Stratton Village is the place to be for holiday shopping with winter’s best brands in outerwear, gear and accessories. Visit is external) for a complete line-up of events.Bromley MountainAs Bromley looks forward to opening day on November 28, team Snowmageddon is out on the hill connecting hoses and putting the finishing touches on the installation of 78 new HKD tower guns. Thanks to the extensive upgrades this season, including the new, high efficiency tower guns, plus a true Snowmaking Energy Index and a new tool to manage compressed air, called the Intelli-flow Controller, Bromley looks forward to having more ski & ride terrain on opening day than ever before, and all without the help of diesel powered compressed air, a first in Bromley Snowmaking history.Smugglers’ Notch ResortSmugglers’ plans to kick off ski and ride operations on Friday, November 28, 2014, the day after Thanksgiving, with intermediate terrain on Sterling Mountain available for skiers and riders to enjoy with early season lift ticket and lodging pricing. This season, Smugglers’ completed the transition of its snowmaking fleet to more than 400 high efficiency snowguns. This investment enhances the snowmaking product for skiers and riders, allowing more snow to be made at a wider temperature range, and improving the early and late season coverage with greatly reduced energy costs. ( is external))Bolton ValleyBolton Valley Ski Area, Vermont’s affordable and convenient big mountain skiing located less than 30 minutes from Burlington, anticipates opening for the 2014-2015 season on Saturday, December 13, weather permitting. Bolton Valley expanded snowmaking efforts on Beach Seal and Hard Luck this summer, which will allow snowmakers to make more snow on these trails and open them earlier in the season.“We’ll be looking for a window of snowmaking temperatures in late November or early December that are sustainable,” said Josh Arneson, director of sales and marketing.In addition, on average, Bolton Valley receives more than 300 inches of natural snow annually. Bolton Valley officials will be announcing opening day plans, which typically include a public snowboard demo, skiing Santas and more.  Mad River GlenMad River Glen, America’s only skier-owned mountain plans to open for the 2014-15 ski season for the December 13-14 weekend. That being said, Mad River Glen is famously reliant upon natural snow with only 15% of the terrain covered by snowmaking, so the actual opening date is a bit amorphous. As the old-time Vermonters always sat; Hard tellin’ not knowin’! Mad River Glen will open as soon as Mother Nature allows from Thanksgiving weekend on so the best bet is to keep an eye on their website is external) for the latest prognostications.Pico MountainPico Mountain is set to open December 13, 2014, but deals on season passes(link is external), student passes(link is external) and early season ticket packs(link is external) are available right now. The classic Vermont resort anticipates a first day on the slopes with United Way Day, an annual tradition in support of Pico’s involvement with the local community. With new passes for college students, new ticket options for all ages and prime discounts with the Killington Express Card(link is external), 2014-15 is setting up to be a winter of great snow with even better deals.Suicide SixSuicide Six’s target opening day for the 2014/2015 ski and snowboard season is December 19. Excited about their partnership with Efficiency Vermont they are removing 80% of old snow guns and replacing them with new efficiency ones allowing for the ability to have 50% snowmaking coverage this year. Also new are two terrain parks; a beginner friendly “Kids Zone” and a more advanced park. One of the biggest events this year will be held on Saturday, January 3, 2015 when they host the 25th Anniversary of the Mtn Dew Vertical Challenge – a  free, fun race open to all ages and abilities. Bring Friends, bring family and join in on the fun and excitement of this race series. is external)Magic MountainThis fall season has been one for the record books at Magic. They hosted two outstanding volunteer days, that have greatly improved the lower mountain glades. The Red Chair has undergone an extensive overhaul, from a new engine and electrical system to all new bearings for the shiv trains. This season they are moving our Hocus Pocus terrain park onto Carumba. There will be new features as well as a brand new layout for a dedicated terrain park. Opening day will be December 20th, so be sure to venture down the road less traveled. is external)Source: Ski Vermont 11.4.2014. PHOTO: Killington gives them a lift on Monday, November 3, 2014.last_img read more

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont offers Web tools to aid businesses during open enrollment

first_imgOpen enrollment for Vermont Health Connect-qualified plans begins on November 15 and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont has an array of Web tools to help small businesses quickly and easily enroll their employees into qualified health plans. Employers will continue to enroll their employees directly through health plans like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, rather than through Vermont Health Connect.To make enrollment a smooth process for businesses, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont created a website that employers can use to securely enter their employees’ information and plan choices. The new functionality is part of the Employer Resource Center, a secure site that employers can use to manage accounts with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont. Businesses that are renewing coverage with BCBSVT will even have current employees and their plan choices pre-populated so that adjustments for 2015 can be made easily and efficiently. For employers that do not have changes for 2015, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont will automatically renew the group’s coverage.“Vermont employers will have the option of offering a full choice of nine Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont health plans to their employees – everything from our Blue Rewards health and wellness plans to our standard platinum, gold, silver and bronze plans,” said Bobby-Jo Salls, BCBSVT’s manager of consumer support and business support services.Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont also has enhanced its Plan Comparison and Plan Finder tools to help employees determine which plans best fit their needs.“The Plan Comparison tool allows site visitors to view side by side comparisons of their current plan and other coverage options,”  Salls reports. “The Plan Finder tool lets visitors enter household income, family size and health needs information to match a qualified health plan to their preferences. This year, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont added a Plan Finder function that allows employees to also enter employer health plan contribution amounts to help them choose,” she notes.“We heard great feedback last year about our Web tools and we wanted to offer them again, but with some added features. These tools can make the important decision between health plans a little easier for employees, and make the enrollment process cleaner for employers,” Salls adds.As always, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont has a team of specialists available to help people understand Vermont Health Connect plans and answer any questions they may have. Call them at (800) 255-4550 or email them at [email protected](link sends e-mail).Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is the State’s only Vermont-based, not-for-profit health plan, providing coverage for about 240,000 Vermonters. It employs about 340 Vermonters at its headquarters in Berlin, a branch office in South Burlington and its Information and Wellness Center in South Burlington’s Blue Mall, and offers group and individual health plans to Vermonters. More information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is available on the Internet at is external).  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is an independent corporation operating under a license with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.Source: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont 11.11.14 is external)last_img read more

Latest news on Lake Champlain

first_imgLake Champlain Committee (LCC) July is National Lakes Appreciation Month — a great time to immerse yourself in water and dive into lake issues. The Early Summer Ripples E-news from LCC talks about the State of the Lake, why Lake Champlain beaches are north of river outlets, and how degraded water quality affects property values. You’ll also find updates on LCC’s work, calendar of events, a journal excerpt about a paddle down the lake, and lake news from near and far. Boater Safety Course Now On-lineAs of last May, all New York State boaters born after May 1, 1996 had to complete a boater safety course in order to legally operate a motorboat. Read more… Pollution Reduces Property ValuesFor the second time in seven years a Vermont town has lowered the assessed value of lakeside property due to pollution, according to Vermont Public Radio.  Read more… Water Advocates Flood DCLCC Executive Director Lori Fisher spent a few days in Washington DC last month with colleagues from the America’s Great Waters Coalition. Organized by the National Parks Conservation Association and the National Wildlife Federation, the Coalition includes representatives from many great waters across the nation.  Read more… Other Lake News from Near and Far New Lake George Septic Regs Stowe Reports for “Doodie”Few of us like picking up dog poop. For many dog owners it’s the least favorite task of pet ownership. Pet poo may seem benign but those left behind stools are nasty to step in and bad for waterways. Pet waste contains disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and lots of excess nutrients that can close a beach to swimming, trigger weed and algae blooms, and foul water. Read more… Walmart Fined Over Fertilizer SalesMega retailer Walmart was fined $98,000 by New York State for selling phosphorus fertilizer without appropriate signage. As a result, and to avoid future such fines, Walmart has agreed to remove all phosphorus lawn fertilizer from its store shelves. The law restricting the use of phosphorus fertilizer on lawns went into effect in New York in 2012.  Read more… Get Your Guidebook and Travel the Trail!The 2015 edition of the Lake Champlain Paddlers’ Trail guidebook is out! It’s jam-packed with helpful information for great adventures on the water including site descriptions and chartlets for 43 Trail locations (with access to over 600 campsites), launch site listings, natural history articles, safety and stewardship tips, equipment check lists and more!  Read more… What’s the State of Lake Champlain?The Lake Champlain Basin Program released their 2015 State of the Lake report on June 30. The report states that, “although water quality trends in Lake Champlain are cause for concern. . .more than 85% of Lake Champlain’s water is consistently of excellent quality and another 13% of the water is usually in quite good condition. In the remaining 2% of the Lake, conditions are seasonally alarming. Read more… LCC’s Blue-green Algae Monitoring Program UnderwayHats off to the great group of dedicated blue-green algae monitoring volunteers who are reporting on water quality from over 80 Lake Champlain shoreline locations, six sites on Lake Carmi and one on Lake Iroquois. LCC has trained over 300 individuals this season to identify blue-green algae, including state and municipal recreational staff and water treatment system operators.  Read more… Birds Along The Lake May is always a wonderful month for bird-watching along Lake Champlain. Migrants stream along the shores and wetlands as they wing their way to breeding grounds in the region and points north.    Read more… The Town of Lake George has adopted new regulations that will make it easier for residences to install septic systems. Read more… A Day at the BeachSand and waves, suntan lotion, bathing suits, a child’s plastic pail and shovel for building castles. Spending a day at the beach is a long standing summer tradition, but did you ever wonder why there aren’t more beaches? Why do beaches form along some coves on Lake Champlain but not others? Most of Lake Champlain’s beaches have two things in common, they are north of outlets to large rivers and they face south. Read more… If You Don’t Like the Weather. . . Just wait a minute; it will change. In our last Enews we noted how low the lake had been for a prolonged time. What a difference a month makes. June rainfall set records in some parts of the Champlain Basin and the lake level is still above average for this time of year.  Read more… July 25 – Regatta for Lake ChamplainThe Regatta for Lake Champlain is the most unique race in the region. It is the only race hosted on Burlington’s Waterfront, giving spectators a beautiful view of almost 50 sailboats, usually arriving under spinnakers (the colorful kite-like sail) into the harbor silhouetted against the Adirondack Mountains. Read more… Lessons From the FloodPonds can be an aesthetic addition to a property, but they also pose a danger during times of flooding. Ponds built within floodplains become magnets for rising waters. Read more… Nature Note – SoaringEver notice the amount of time gulls can spend floating over the lake without flapping their wings? On a windy day, they use up flowing drafts of air caused by waves to stay aloft. Wind is slower near the water surface due to friction and the higher you are above water, so sometimes you will see a bird speed rapidly away as it increases elevation.  Read more… Paddling Down the LakeIn late June, LCC members John Little and Jim Wakefield headed down the lake in a handcrafted canoe on a paddle to New York City. Both are science teachers and experienced outdoorsmen, and they have paddled many waterways together. Read John’s account of the first leg of their journey on LCC’s site. Read more… September 13 – Lake Champlain Open Water SwimIf you’re a distance swimmer, consider participating in the 3.76 mile open water swim across this year. This second annual race across Lake Champlain begins in the Village of Essex, New York and ends at the public beach in Charlotte Vermont. Read more… Over 5,000 Find a Better Way to GoIn May, more than five thousand people joined in the Way to Go Smart Trip Challenge and chose healthier, more earth-friendly transportation alternatives to driving alone. Together these commuters saved at least 300,773 miles, 12,215 gallons of gasoline, and over 110 tons of carbon. Read more… Upcoming Events Bottled Water E. Coli ContaminationA California based bottling company issued a voluntary recall for 14 brands of bottled water. All of the brands had been bottled at a spring in Auburn, Pennsylvania which may have been contaminated with E. coli.  Read more…last_img read more

EPA, State of Vermont announce public meetings to discuss plan to restore Lake Champlain

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Vermont are holding a series of public meetings in August to discuss new pollution reduction targets – often referred to as a TMDL – to prevent pollution from flowing into Lake Champlain and its tributaries. The meetings will be moderated by the Lake Champlain Basin Program. All interested persons are encouraged to participate. The meetings will be held in St Albans on August 26 and in Rutland and South Burlington on August 27. Lake Champlain Basin Phosphorus Clean Water Act TMDL Public MeetingsSt. AlbansAugust 26, 2015, 6:00 to 8:00 PMBliss Room, St. Albans Historical Society, 9 Church Street, St AlbansSouth BurlingtonAugust 27, 2015, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PMBurlington Doubletree, 1117 Williston Road, South BurlingtonRutlandAugust 27, 2015, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PMFox Room, Rutland Free Library, 10 Court Street, RutlandThese meetings will allow the EPA to present the Lake Champlain phosphorus reduction plan called a “Total Maximum Daily Load” (TMDL) that will place a cap on the maximum amount of phosphorous that is allowed to enter the Lake and still meet Vermont’s water quality standards. EPA and the State anticipate releasing the TMDL by August 14, which will begin a 30-day public comment period.For information or for a copy of the TMDL following the anticipated August 14th release:EPA information on Vermont Lake Champlain Phosphorus TMDL: is external)VTDEC Restoring Lake Champlain Page: is external)Source: EPA 8.10.2015last_img read more

Governor cuts Christmas tree for Montpelier office

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Vermont’s Christmas tree industry received one of its early customers yesterday when Governor Peter Shumlin arrived at Isham’s Family Farm in Williston to select and cut a tree for the state Pavilion Office Building in Montpelier.  The Governor’s annual tree-cutting event not only signals the start of tree-hunting season for many Vermonters, but also draws some well-deserved attention to Vermont’s robust Christmas Tree Industry, which supplies over 134,000 trees to Vermonters and customers throughout New England and as far away as Bermuda.Governor Shumlin, Chuck Ross and Mike Isham. Courtesy Vermont Ag AgencyShumlin was joined by farm owner Mike Isham, a fifth generation farmer, whose family has owned Isham Family Farm since 1871. The farm was conserved with the Vermont Land Trust in 2002 by Mike’s father, David Isham. Today, the farm operates a diverse business, which includes hosting weddings and events in its historic, restored barn. Isham Family Farm also offers their own maple syrup, a pick-your-own berry patch, pumpkins, sweet corn, and a sunflower maze.“What could be better than kicking off the holiday season at such a beautiful Vermont farm!” said Shumlin. “We have so much to be thankful for this holiday season, especially our farmers, who help keep Vermont beautiful! I wish all Vermonters a happy and healthy holiday season.”“Isham Family Farm is an outstanding example of how farmers are becoming more innovative – expanding into new ventures and creating authentic, agricultural experiences for their customers,” said Chuck Ross, Vermont’s Ag Secretary. “Businesses like this preserve the working landscape, while also creating economic opportunities for farm families. They also help promote Ag Literacy by bringing the next generation of Vermonters closer to agriculture.”Isham’s Family Farm is one of 288 tree farms throughout the state of Vermont that collectively cultivate over 3,600 acres of trees, according to the USDA’s 2012 agricultural census.last_img read more

Selig: Senator Leahy brings program HOME

first_imgby Gus Seelig, Executive Director, Vermont Housing & Conservation Board Last summer, US Senator Patrick Leahy helped break ground in Brattleboro for Red Clover Commons – 55 new apartments to replace housing for seniors and persons with disabilities that was severely damaged by Tropical Storm Irene and remains in harm’s way. In the fall, Governor Peter Shumlin was in Waterbury to hand keys to Tim and Aimee Smith along with their two young sons. Mr. Smith works in Vermont’s growing energy sector and was delighted to find an affordable home at the new South Main Apartments. These developments, along with 28 new homes in Woodstock, 14 new units for seniors in a historic building in Rutland, 28 renovated apartments in the heart of Lyndonville, 23 apartments under construction in Hinesburg and 24 units planned in Bennington, have much in common. They all provide housing lower-income Vermonters can afford and all were made possible by state funding from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board that was matched by a federal program called “HOME.” Ground breaking at Red Clover Commons in Brattleboro, 55 new apartments for elders being developed by the Brattleboro Housing Authoirty and Housing Vermont. Left to right, Gus Seelig, Executive Director, VHCB; Chris Hart, Executive Director, Brattleboro Housing Authority; Senator Patrick Leahy. Courtesy VHCBThe recent good news of a budget compromise in Washington includes the survival of the HOME Investment Partnership Program, which was nearly eliminated. It is easy to get discouraged by the recurring impasse in D.C. and it can be difficult to follow the alphabet soup of program acronyms. But it is essential for Vermonters to understand how critical federal housing dollars are to the state’s ability to create and fund housing developments that help communities revitalize and grow. Tight rental markets are severely limiting housing availability in many parts of the state.  Vermont is battling homelessness and we need to produce more homes for our workforce.  Calls for more housing are getting louder and come from the business community as well as educators, advocates and others. Vermont’s ability to respond greatly depends on federal funding.For more than 20 years, Senator Leahy has steadfastly supported HOME and the Community Development Block Grant, another program crucial to rural communities. Each year he gathers support from his fellow senators and advocates for the programs from his seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee. He also works with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure these programs are well attuned to Vermont. This year the House dramatically reduced and the Senate at first acted to virtually eliminate the HOME Program. Senator Leahy and his exceptional staff led the successful fight to restore funding and save the program.Governor Peter Shumlin joined this effort. He worked other New England Governors, Republican and Democrat alike, in urging Congress to support HOME.   The Vermont Mayors Coalition also weighed in to explain how vital the program is to their communities. Construction crews are now building 28 new affordable apartments in downtown Barre.  It is unlikely the project would have moved forward without the HOME program.  In Montpelier, plans are in the works to create housing in the upper floors of the French Block on Main Street. These and similar opportunities around the state will not be realized without state and federal investments, including through HOME. Throughout his career, Senator Leahy has used his seniority, political acumen, strategic ability and alliances to champion community development and housing programs important to Vermont. The victory on HOME is likely to translate to more than $15 million in federal housing funds for Vermont over the next five years, enabling approximately 30 housing developments totaling more than 1,000 new units and creating thousands of jobs. This is great news to begin the new year.  Senator Leahy deserves all our thanks for his quiet and effective work to bring HOME back to Vermonters and their communities.Watkins School Apartments in Rutland, developed by the Housing Trust of Rutland County, provides 14 new apartments for seniors in two buildings–an historic school house and a newly constructed addition. Photo by Laz ScangasSouth Main Apartments in Waterbury – Downstreet Housing & Community Development and Housing Vermont completed 27 apartments in a historic building at the state office complex in Waterbury, adding a wing to Ladd Hall. Sally McCay photoDownstreet Apartments, Barre – Well underway on Summer Street in Barre are 27 new family rentals – the development is expected to be complete this spring and will also house the offices of Downstreet Housing & Community Development. Housing Vermont joined Downstreet as co-developers.Bright Street Cooperative, Burlington (architectural rendering of the site) The Champlain Housing Trust and Housing Vermont are developing 42 new apartments in a three-story apartment building with smaller-scale townhouse-style units along the streets. Amenities will include an underground parking garage, common room, laundry, garden space and a small playground.Canal Street Housing for Veterans, Winooski. The Committee on Temporary Shelter constructed a new building with 28 apartments for veterans. COTS provides a full-time, live-in residential manager and programming for residents in 16 transitional housing units and connects veterans with other service providers in the community. There are also 12 apartments of affordable, permanent housing, where veterans receive preference in placement.last_img read more

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