Month: January 2021

Temporary Delays Planned for Interstate 91 in Hartford starting May 19

first_imgTemporary Delays Planned for Interstate 91MONTPELIER – The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) beginning May 19 will conduct a series of temporary delays along Interstate 91 just south of the I-89/I-91 interchange so that work crews can set beams for a new bridge that will cross over the roadway.The bridge is being constructed by the Greater Upper Valley Solid Waste District, who is erecting the structure so trucks can access a new landfill from Route 5 in Hartford.Delays along the Interstate will affect travel both north and southbound for two days and last about 15 minutes each. The first closure will begin at 9 a.m. Monday, May 19. Motorists wishing not to be delayed should seek alternate routes.The schedule is as follows:·       Monday, May 19 at 9:00 a.m. Northbound.·       Monday, May 19 at 10:00 a.m. Northbound.·       Monday, May 19 at 11:00 a.m. Southbound.·       Monday, May 19 at 1:00 p.m. Southbound.·       Tuesday, May 20 at 9:00 a.m. Northbound.·       Tuesday, May 20 at 10:00 a.m. Northbound.·       Tuesday, May 20 at 11:00 a.m. Southbound.·       Tuesday, May 20 at 1:00 p.m. Southbound.John ZicconiVTrans Communications DirectorTelephone: 802.828.1647 ¨ Fax: 802.828.3522 ¨ Email: john.zicconi@state.vt.us(link sends e-mail)last_img read more

Lt. Governor Dubie Declares Home Heating Emergency

first_imgLt. Governor Dubie Declares Home Heating EmergencyWHEN: Wednesday, June 11, 2008 at 10:00 a.m.WHERE: Lt. Governors Office, Vermont State House, MontpelierWHO: Northeastern Vermont Area Agency on Aging Director Ken Gordon will join Lt. Governor Dubie.(MONTPELIER) Citing the sharply rising cost of home heating oil, Lt. Governor Dubie today will call for immediate action at the state level to draft emergency plans to assist Vermonters who are unable to adequately heat their homes this coming winter.He will also call for action to address the growing cost of delivering home-based services and meals to home-bound elders.last_img read more

Peter Freyne, 1949-2009

first_imgSeven Days,Peter Freyne never missed a deadline in the 13 years he worked for Seven Days. He delivered his political column, “Inside Track,” every Tuesday by 4 p.m. and was never subtle about it. Shortly after emailing his article, Freyne would show up at the office to answer questions, argue, check last-minute facts and, depending on his mood, terrorize our staff. His column was the last thing we squeezed into the paper before sending it to press. So it’s ironic – not to mention premature and terribly sad – that Peter Freyne left this Earth early on a Wednesday. After battling cancer, seizures and a strep infection that spread to his brain, he died peacefully at Fletcher Allen Health Care at 12:26 a.m. today – six hours after our weekly deadline.Did he have a hand in the timing of his final departure, knowing the news would break just after the paper went to bed? We wouldn’t put it past him to go out with a poke. Freyne, 59, came out of the bar-stool school of journalism, along with his hero, Chicago newspapermen Mike Royko. He never went to school to learn to be a political c olumnist, but brought his considerable and diverse life experiences to a fun and informative “Inside Track” that originated in the Vanguard Press, Burlington’s original alt weekly, in the late ’80s. Freyne was the rare reporter who could skewer a politician in print and have a drink with him two days later. Many of his “victims” became his sources – and in some cases, friends. Freyne gave up drinking and smoking. And Vermont journalism has been a lot less lively since he retired last June. Here’s a video that Eva Sollberger made of Freyne right after that, when Seven Days readers once again named him the state’s “Best Print Journalist” in our annual Daysies survey. His passing marks the end of an era. He may have planned that, too. – Seven Days Co-editor Pamela Polston.Peter Freyne and former Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle at the corner of Church and College in 2004. Photo by Robert Smith.POSTED BY SEVEN DAYS ON JANUARY 07, 2009 AT 07:11 AMhttp://7d.blogs.com/blurt/2009/01/draft-peter-freyne-19492009.html(link is external)[embedded video: http://blip.tv/file/1151166(link is external) ]For a selection of Peter’s VBM articles, click here.last_img read more

Union Bank’s Stewart honored by Vermont Bankers Association for 50 years of service

first_imgUnion Bank s Duwella Stewart was honored by the Vermont Bankers Association for her 50 years of service in local banking with Union Bank.  During her tenure at the Bank, she has served as Personal Banker, Teller, Special Project Supervisor (Union Bank Calendars), Bookkeeper, Proof Operator and more.  She has also been involved in the Bank s local fund raising initiatives, including the Lamoille Area Cancer Network, the March of Dimes and many others. Duwella s knowledge and experience in our community and within Union Bank is remarkable, states Ken Gibbons, Union Bank President. We are pleased that the Vermont Bankers Association has recognized Duwella s ongoing contribution to community and local banking.Ms. Stewart resides in Morrisville.Union Bank, with headquarters in Morrisville, Vermont, offers deposit, loan, trust and commercial banking services throughout northern Vermont and New Hampshire.  As of March 31, 2009, the Company had approximately $421.8 million in consolidated assets.  The Company operates 14 banking offices and 29 ATM facilities in Vermont, plus a branch and ATM in Littleton, New Hampshire.Photo caption: Ken Gibbons presents Duwella Stewart with VBA AwardSource: Union Banklast_img read more

At Fairfax farm, Welch outlines plan to address dairy price volatility

first_imgDuring a Friday afternoon press conference with Vermont dairy leaders in Fairfax, Representative Peter Welch outlined new legislation to prevent volatility in the dairy industry and help Vermont farmers. At the McNall family farm in Fairfax, Welch announced he will introduce the Dairy Price Stabilization Act next week with Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA). The bill seeks to stabilize the milk market by creating a disincentive for farmers to rapidly increase their herd size when prices increase.“Following last year’s devastating dairy price crisis, the need for a plan to match supply with demand is clear. To delay in addressing the enduring challenges of price volatility is to leave Vermont farmers vulnerable to a system that simply is not working,” Welch said. “Introducing this bill is just a first step, but it is an important step. Working together, we will refine it to ensure that it works for dairy farmers – in Vermont and throughout the country.”The legislation calls on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to determine on a quarterly basis the capacity for growth in the dairy market. Producers who exceed the percentage increase allowed by the USDA would pay a market access fee, which would be distributed to all farmers.The bill empowers farmers by allowing them to vote on whether to enact the program and, three years after it commences, to vote on whether to continue it. Farmers would sit on a 30-member board that would advise the Secretary of Agriculture on the implementation of the program.Welch was joined at the announcement by statewide dairy leaders, including Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Roger Allbee, Amanda St. Pierre and Bill Rowell of Dairy Farmers Working together, St. Albans Cooperative Creamery board president Ralph McNall, Agri-Mark director Robert Foster and representatives of Dairylea/Dairy Farmers of America.Allbee said, “I am pleased to join Congressman Welch today as he indicates his support for the Growth Management bill. This is an important first stage in the debate. This is critically needed to reform national dairy policy. In the Northeast, and increasingly across the country, it is well recognized that the current federal pricing system is broken, and that growth management is needed to reduce the extreme price volatility that exists that is bringing economic havoc to farmers, their families, and our rural landscape. I applaud Rep. Welch for taking action today in supporting this legislation.”Source: Welch’s office. 4.16.2010# # #last_img read more

Governor Shumlin announces $300,000 award to help Pete’s Greens

first_imgPete’s Greens at Craftsbury Village Farm,Governor Peter Shumlin, joined by officials from Craftsbury and Pete Johnson, today announced a $300,000 award to help Pete’s Greens rebuild after a devastating fire in January. The award, recommended by the Vermont Community Development Board, goes to the Town of Craftsbury, which will loan the money to Pete’s Greens.  The loan and interest will be repaid over 10 years. ‘This award is an important step in supporting not only a significant organic farm, but a local community that also suffered as a result of that fire,’ Governor Shumlin said. ‘Pete’s Greens is a key player in Vermont’s value-added agricultural market.’ The grant is one of several recommended by the VCDP Board and approved earlier this month by Lawrence Miller, Secretary of Commerce and Community Development.  The Governor announced the other awards, which included a $600,000 grant for the Samaritan House homeless shelter in St. Albans, on Monday. ‘The Vermont Community Development Program is an essential tool for helping businesses create jobs for Vermonters,’ said Secretary Miller. ‘The grants are funded by the federal Community Development Block Grant program which was recently cut by more than 16 percent.  We urge Congress to preserve this critical program.’  The January fire at Pete’s Greens destroyed the barn, which was central to Pete’s operation, and all its contents, including farm vegetable washing and processing equipment, walk-in coolers, freezers, tractors and supplies. Also lost were 200,000 pounds of stored vegetables and 40,000 pounds of frozen produce and meats.   A certified organic vegetable farm, Pete’s Green sells wholesale to restaurants and markets in Vermont, Massachusetts and New York. It also runs a year-round CSA.  Pete Johnson, the sole owner, started the business in 1995. Johnson said he plans to rebuild and expand, hoping to be back in operation for the 2011 growing season.  Insurance proceeds, a VEDA loan and donations will rebuild the barn.  VCDP funds will be used to replace equipment and farm materials and help restore and create 10 jobs.Source: Governor’s office.last_img read more

The final gavel falls on 2011 session; Shumlin praises lawmakers for advancing his agenda

first_imgby Anne Galloway, www.vtdigger.org(link is external) May 7, 2011  The gavel fell late Friday afternoon ‘ a week ahead of schedule ‘ on what Governor Peter Shumlin called ‘the most successful session that I have witnessed.’With much bonhomie, the House and Senate adjourned thier business for the first half of the biennium. Leadership congratulated their members on finishing a week earlier than scheduled. It was the first Friday adjournment in memory; typically sessions drag past the 16-week deadline and the gavel falls into the wee hours of a Saturday.This year, however, was different. In lots of ways.Shumlin set out a legislative agenda in January that the Democratic majority in the House and Senate followed nearly to a T. Because the governor served most recently as the Senate President Pro Tempore, he has strong working relationships with Sen. John Campbell, the new pro tem, and House Speaker Shap Smith. Though disputes erupted on the Senate floor, and there were intense debates in the House over the tax and health care bills, the disagreements between the three leaders were handled behind-the-scenes in closed door meetings. In contrast, during the Douglas administration, the governor and Statehouse leaders engaged in public fights over tax policy.The Democrats passed legislation that sets the stage for the fulfillment of the governor’s campaign promises ‘ his ambitious health care reform plan, renewable energy, telecommunications legislation and a tight budget with a very modest tax bill. The legislation passed with few alterations to the original templates set out by the Shumlin administration.Shumlin, in speeches to the House and Senate, gave Smith and Campbell credit for that achievement.Though members of the GOP and the Progressive parties often objected to elements of the legislation, they didn’t have the numbers in either the House or the Senate to amend or defeat bills. What influence they did exert was in committee.In his farewell address to representatives, Smith took care to emphasize his attempts to include tripartisan points of view, and he praised the four leaders of the House GOP and Progressive caucuses.‘The fact that we are going home today is a tribute to the four of you,’ Smith said.Smith led the House with an efficiency that, in the last several days of the session, seemed almost machine-like. With few exceptions, work in the House in the final week was confined to bills that would ultimately pass into law this year. In the last two days of the session, House and Senate conference committees met and committees of jurisdiction huddled to consider last-minute amendments to their bills, as the main body of representatives worked methodically on the floor, passing bills and sending them to the Senate or the governor.Martha Heath presenting the budget on the House floor. VTD/Josh Larkin‘We have passed a balanced budget for 2012,’ he said, ‘and done it (sic) without the rancor in many other places. We have dealt with difficult decisions with cordiality, sometimes some rancor, but largely by building consensus among the different views.’Lawmakers in the House and the Senate were both haunted by what Sen. Randy Brock, R-Grand Isle/Franklin County, dubbed another ‘Pete the Moose’ moment. (Last year a wildlife management policy designed to spare the life of a moose kept in captivity at a game farm was quietly inserted into the budget bill. The law had to be done-over this session.)In the interest of avoiding another hasty decision they might regret later, the Senate on Thursday sent a provision that would have enhanced public participation in environmental enforcement proceedings to the Judiciary Committee for further consideration.On the floor of the House on Friday, Rep. Oliver Olsen, R-Jamaica, didn’t want to be surprised again. After Rep. Martha Heath, D-Westford, presented the conference committee’s budget on the floor of the House, Olsen began by asking her to confirm that Pete the Moose was nowhere in this year’s budget. She confirmed it with a smile.The budget and tax bills were the most controversial pieces of legislation this session.The miscellaneous tax bill and the budget, which resolving a $176 million budget gap for fiscal year 2012 through $88 million in cuts, $60 million in one-time funding, $24 million in new taxes and $9 million in revenues. About $4 million of one-time money was put into the Agency of Human Services caseload reserve fund.In the waning hours of the session, the money bills were contentious in the Senate and continued to drive debate in the House. The Senate gave final confirmation of the budget and tax bills on Thursday morning after late night negotiations over a 38-cent hike in the cigarette tax per pack.On the House floor Friday, the budget passed overwhelmingly after objections were raised by several members. One of the nay votes was cast by Olsen, who objected to a $23 million permanent reduction in the transfers from the general fund to the education fund. He said that when the budget was discussed earlier in the year, he had understood the transfer reduction would be for this year only. Olsen regretted the increase in property taxes that school districts would need to make up for lost state funding. Heath replied that earlier discussions had not specified whether the reduction would be temporary or permanent, and that if school districts cut the $23 million dollars that they were asked to cut under Challenges for Change, no tax hike would be needed.Paul Poirier, I-Barre City, was stymied earlier this session when he introduced a bill to raise income taxes on the wealthiest 5 percent of Vermont residents. Friday afternoon, he wasn’t even allowed to talk about it. Poirier questioned Heath about the projected deficit in the following year’s budget, which she put at $70 million to $71 million.Poirier tried to ask what he said was a final question, ‘Would considering a progressive income tax thatâ ¦’ Rep. David Deen, D-Westminster, cut Poirier off with a point of order, saying that the House was discussing the budget, not taxes, and for fiscal year 2012, not the following years. After a consultation at the Speaker’s podium, Poirier agreed to drop that line of questioning.Paul Poirier and David Deen discuss a point of order as Lucy Leriche watches. VTD/Josh Larkin‘Mr. Speaker, the budget before you reflects our difficult fiscal reality,’ Heath said. ‘With the dark clouds of the cuts at the federal level looming, and the reality of a slow economic recovery facing us, it is a responsible, balanced proposal that reserves money to help deal with the fiscal challenges ahead, meets the challenge of filling the projected $176 million budget gap, and at the same time, retains essential services for our citizens.’The health care reform bill, which sets up a process and a board for creating a single-payer style system, remained contentious to the end. In order to shepherd the bill through final passage earlier this week, lawmakers pulled an amendment that would have narrowly defined a Vermont resident. Activists said the provision would have excluded undocumented foreigners from the new Green Mountain Care system.Though most Democrats supported the health care bill with a few notable exceptions in the Senate, Sen. Dick Mazza, D-Grand Isle, and Sen. Bobby Starr, D-Essex-Orleans, it became the most partisan issue in the Statehouse this session.In the House, particularly, the vote was along strict party lines. In an atmosphere of mutual admiration and good feelings, how do you celebrate one of your proudest accomplishments when not one member of the minority party voted for it? In his farewell address, Smith gave the GOP a peace offering. He seized on a post-vote pledge by Rep. Anne Donahue, R-Northfield, that even though she had voted against the bill, she would collaborate to make the program a success.‘I believe that we have shown the way on health care,’ Smith said. ‘I know that we disagree about the bill, but what I want to say is I’and I believe the administration’will accept the invitation of the member from Northfield. Going forward, we will all work to ensure that we have as strong a process as possible so that we bring the cost of health care under control but also meet a goal that I believe we all share, although we may have different ways of getting there, and that is ensuring that all Vermonters have access to health care.’The declaration from the Speaker was met by a standing ovation’though some Republicans were slow to join in and appeared uncomfortable.Smith also highlighted a bill designed to reduce the number of repeat DUI offenders. When the law goes into effect, someone guilty of a second DUI, if tested with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.16 percent or higher, will face close to a no-tolerance policy of drinking and driving for the following three years. During that time, a BAC as low as 0.02 percent, instead of the usual 0.08 percent, will make them guilty of driving under the influence. In addition to the lower threshold for second-time convictions, the bill beefs up alcohol treatment programs for incarcerated offenders.Many of the legislators who praised the bill talked about the loss of people they knew who had been killed by someone driving after drinking. Emotions were running high, all in support of the bill. In an unusual move, majority leader Lucy Leriche, D-Hardwick, asked for a roll call vote. The time-consuming process of calling the roll of 150 House members is usually reserved for issues that are both significant and divisive, so that voters can hold individual legislators accountable in future election contests. But in this last roll call of the session, for several minutes, representative after representative called out ‘Aye’ in support of the bill, until it was declared passed, 138-0.Though Democratic leaders began the session calling for greater transparency in government, Smith did not single out their partial accomplishment on that front. A strengthened public records law passed earlier this week, but differences between the House and the Senate kept the legislature from passing a stronger open meetings law. When asked after adjournment, Donna Sweaney, D-Windsor, declined to say exactly what the sticking points were, referring only to ‘a number of issues’ they could not resolve. She hopes to use the upcoming forums on transparency that Secretary of State Jim Condos is organizing as a listening tour on open meetings, and she hopes some of her committee members will join her.As part of the final ceremonies, leaders of all three parties took turns thanking each other and, by name, the staff who keep the Legislature and the building running.The Legislature adjourned until one of three dates: June 7 (if they need to assemble for a veto override vote), Oct. 18 (if the speaker and the president of the senate choose to call them together), or Jan. 3, 2012 Anne Galloway is editor of vtdigger.org Editor’s note: Carl Etnier contributed to this report. This story was updated at 7:32 a.m. May 7, 2011.last_img read more

Vermont Country Store reports most venues ‘open for business’

first_imgVermont Country Store,The Vermont Country Store, among the state’s top visitor destinations, is open for business. Both of its stores in Vermont, at Weston and Rockingham, were spared the destruction from Irene and are easily accessible from all major routes. However, other busineses in the same communities were not as fortunate and many lost their homes to rushing water.The national news showed images of devastation to Vermont but thanks to the herculean efforts of so many Vermonters and kind folks from other states we are happy to report that the clean up is well under way and visitors are returning. The response and the concern continue to be overwhelming and is a reminder that the inherent goodness in people is wonderful. The hardest hit communities are working together to get back to normal as soon as possible, to be ready to welcome the millions from across the country to enjoy the spectacular fall foliage that Vermont offers. In fact, most of the Inns, B&Bs and attractions that leaf peepers enjoy are open as well.Eliot Orton, proprietor of The Vermont Country Store, points out some essential truths about Vermont and Vermonters. He said, ‘Vermont is open for business. The Vermont Country Store is open for business. And while we’ve been blessed to have been spared the worst of Irene, make no mistake ‘ these are a people and a community that won’t give up. In fact, we are all committed, more than ever, to make this fall’s visitor experience better than ever.’Visitors can use www.VisitVT.com(link is external) as a resource for real-time information on everything related to visiting Vermont in addition to links, FB pages, Twitter and Text feeds to allied/partner resources including destinations, status of roads and highways and more.Open for Business: Proprietors of The Vermont Country Store, standing outside their flagship store in Weston, Vt., were spared the wrath of Tropical Storm Irene and are ready to welcome visitors. Pictured (from left) are Eliot, Lyman, Cabot and Gardner Orton. (Photo: Business Wire)About The Vermont Country StoreIn 1946, Vrest and Ellen Orton printed their first catalogue’just 12 pages and 36 products’and mailed it to the folks on their Christmas card list and sixty-five years later continues to be Orton family owned. As Purveyors of The Practical and Hard to Find, The Vermont Country Store operates as a multichannel merchant through its mailed catalogs, e-commerce web site and two retail stores in Weston and Rockingham, Vermont. For more information, please visit www.VermontCountryStore.com(link is external).last_img read more

Vermont homes sales down for month, up over last year

first_imgIn August 2011, New England posted an 8.9 percent increase in sales compared to August 2010, indicating that the housing market continues to recover. Vermont helped fuel the surge, with year-over-year home sales up 18.8 percent. However, it was also the only state in the region to post month-to-month declines in both units sold, -6.7 percent, and median price, -3.3 percent.Connecticut was also the only state to experience month-to-month gains in both units sold, up 6.6%, and median price, up 1.7 percent. Maine also experienced New England’s largest increase in units sold, with month-to-month sales up 8.4 percent. However, the median price took a hit, dropping -6.6 percent. Month-to-month home sales in Massachusetts actually dropped -3.0 percent. However, when comparing August 2011 to August 2010, home sales were actually up 2.6 percent. New Hampshire’s 8.0 percent surge in month-to-month home sales was second only to Maine. Rhode Island helped fuel the surge, with year-over-year home sales up over 31% in the Ocean State. Month-to-month home sales were also up 7.6 percent.‘We’re pleased to see an increase in transactions in August without any artificial stimulus,’ said Jay Hummer, Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of New England.’ Although the housing recovery will continue to hit bumps along the way, it is slowly returning despite tighter lending because of continued low interest rates.’He said low interest rates continue to help the market rebound.last_img read more