$25,000 Villageof Waterbury: Grant to develop a comprehensive plan, includingeconomic development and housing options, for the future growth of WaterburyVillage and identify strategies for implementation of the plan. Two towns, Sutton and Bridport, will each receive roughly$30,000 in grant money to study the feasibility of setting up a wood or fiberfuel pellet production plant in those towns. “Assisting older adults in the Bennington area withday care means they will be able to live more independent lives outside ofnursing homes, closer to their families,” Governor Douglas said. Implementation Grants$412,498 Townof Middlebury: Subgrant to Addison County Community Action Group torehabilitate the Hill House Group Home on 290 Route 7 North. The home providestransitional supportive housing services to mentally ill homeless persons. A $297,500 grant to Meadowlane Housing Associates andHousing Foundation Inc. will be used to purchase and rehabilitate 20 units ofaffordable housing and create 16 additional new units of affordable elderlyhousing. “These grants will rehabilitate affordable housing;create new elderly housing units and adult day care; help plan for responsiblefuture housing projects and promote job creation in Vermont,” GovernorDouglas said. A $200,000 grant to the Town of Bennington will be used byBennington Project Independence for the construction of a State certified,not-for-profit Adult Day Care center serving Bennington County and thesurrounding region. “Our existing affordable housing stock must bemaintained, but we must also expand that, including housing for our agingpopulation,” Douglas said. “And we must encourage the production ofnew housing that working Vermonters can afford.” For information about the Vermont Community Development Program,please see the Agency of Commerce and Community Development website at: www.dhca.state.vt.us/VCDP/(link is external) $250,000 Townof Colchester: Grant to Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies(VCET) to support the start-up operations of their Colchester Facility and itstechnology based business incubator program. “These eight units of housing are critical to meetingthe needs of these extremely vulnerable Vermonters,” Governor Douglassaid. “In addition, the septic failure at the facility will be addressedby connecting to municipal sewer and water, and energy efficiency and ADAimprovements will be made.” The Village of Waterbury and City of Montpelier will eachuse $25,000 grants for planning, the former for economic development andhousing plans, and the latter for work on a mixed use development on the siteof the former Salt Shed on Stone Cutters Way. MILTON, Vt. – Creating affordable housing, jobs, andalternative energy sources in Vermont were on the agenda as Governor JimDouglas on Monday announced the award of $1.3 million in community developmentgrants to ten communities. The $1,345,498 in Vermont Community Development Programgrants will also leverage $10,152,714 in other private and public resources, hesaid during a ceremony in Milton. $50,000 Townof Warren: Grant to provide accessibility to all three floors of theWarren Town Hall by installing an elevator and bringing it into ADA compliancewith state and federal regulations. A $250,000 grant to the Town of Colchester will besub-granted to the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET), anincubator affiliated with the University of Vermont, to support the expansionof services in a new facility in Colchester. $29,996 Townof Bridport: Subgrant to Addison County Regional Planning Commissionto study the feasibility of producing fiber fuel pellets and the viability of afiber fuel pellet production plant in Addison County. The Town of Middlebury was awarded the largest grant,receiving $412,498 to rehabilitate the Hill House Group Home, which provideshousing and other services to the homeless who are struggling with mentalillness or substance abuse. $200,000 Townof Bennington: Subgrant to Bennington Project Independence for theconstruction of a State certified facility, not-for-profit Adult Day Careserving Bennington County and the surrounding region. The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Developmentawards the competitive grants based on the recommendation of the VermontCommunity Development Board and approval of Secretary Kevin Dorn. -30- Governor DouglasAwards $1.3 Million In Community Development GrantsTenCommunities To Receive Funds For Housing, Economic Development Projects Finally, the towns of Warren and Worcester will receive$50,000 and $25,504 respectively to make renovations to their Town Halls tobring them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). “By working with more new businesses to help themcreate jobs at its new Colchester location, the Vermont Center for EmergingTechnologies will help entrepreneurs in our state bring their ideas to themarketplace, and employ their neighbors,” Governor Douglas said. “These grants represent an investment in greentechnology that could pay huge dividends later in terms of jobs and ourenvironment,” Governor Douglas said. Planning Grants$30,000 Townof Sutton: Grant to conduct a feasibility study of the Old BurkeLumber Mill site for reuse as a wood-chip and wood-pellet production facility. AccessibilityModification Grants $25,000 Cityof Montpelier: Grant to continue studying the feasibility ofimplementing the Riverside Center as a mixed use development on the site of theformer Salt Shed on Stone Cutters Way. “These grants will make an important public space– the Town Hall – accessible to all residents for importantactivities like Town Meeting and conducting government business,”Governor Douglas said. “Waterbury is a growing community, and this grant willhelp it plan for growth that is responsible and that ensures futureprosperity,” Governor Douglas said. “Montpelier’s StoneCutter’s Way has been a wonderful example of redevelopment incorporatingretail and office spaces, and this grant will help further that effort.” $297,500 Townof Milton: Subgrant to Meadowlane Housing Associates and Housing FoundationInc. to acquire and rehabilitate the existing 20 units of affordable housing atMeadowland Apartments in order to modernize the facility and to meet currentlife/safety code requirements. Also planned is the development of 16 additionalnew units of affordable elderly housing on the same parcel. $25,504 Townof Worcester: Grant to provide accessibility to the Worcester TownHall and bring it into full ADA compliance with state and federal regulations.
A new booklet, “How Burlington Became an Award Winning City: An Historical Summary of Burlington’s Economic Development Efforts with a Vision for the Future 1983-2008 ” is a chronicle of major economic development efforts in the City, highlighting a handful of particular programs and projects as well as some of the many awards that have been received. Included are sections containing Five-Year Goals, Priorities and Lessons Learned over 25 years.On Line version:http://www.cedoburlington.org/business/25%20years%20final%20book.pdf(link is external)”Burlington’s many accolades and successes have resulted from active City government, an engaged citizenry, and committed local businesses, non-profits and other organizations,” said Mayor Bob Kiss. “CEDO’s role in supporting and leading the City’s economic and community development efforts has been vital and this publication recognizes their 25 years of work for the people of Burlington. If Burlington did not have a CEDO office today, we would all be demanding that one be created.”This year marks the 25th anniversary since Mayor Bernie Sanders created CEDO, Burlington’s Community & Economic Development Once. The newly established once had an unusually broad mission: to foster economic vitality; preserve and enhance neighborhoods, quality of life and the environment; and promote equity and opportunity for all of Burlington’s residents. Over the past 25 years, CEDO has worked diligently towards those goals; accomplishing much, suffering some setbacks, and receiving quite a few accolades along the way. In fact, in the *eld of community and economic development, CEDO is often cited as a model of how an engaged municipal government can play an active role in helping create and maintain a livable city and foster a healthy and vibrant local economy. In recent years, it has been repeatedly suggested that CEDO write its story’ to be used as a teaching aid and promotional tool, as well as a guide for other city governments.In support of its mission, CEDO works in partnership with citizens, the public and private sector, and other city departments to strengthen the quality of life in Burlington’s neighborhoods, pre-serve and develop decent, safe, and affordable housing opportunities; maintain and improve the vitality of Downtown, the Pine Street area and neighborhood business districts; encourage a thriving small business sector; foster job growth and employment opportunities; increase civic engagement and citizen participation; support the delivery of human services; and revitalize Burlington’s waterfront. CEDO has developed an extensive reach into the community and has partnered with most of the non-pro*t organizations operating in the City. CEDO is funded through federal and State grants, and through the Housing Trust Fund.CEDO’s Economic Development Division distributes an international, award winning Guide to Doing Business in Burlington along with the Chittenden County Resource Guide; maintains an available commercial space database; and provides free individualized technical, *nancial, and location assistance. CEDO is Burlington’s hub for information and assistance for all things business. Whether it is assistance with the permitting process, forms to *le, gap *nancing, assessing the region’s resources, or simply a desire to discuss a business plan, CEDO is here to help.The booklet, How Burlington Became an Award Winning City: An Historical Summary of Burlington’s Economic Development Efforts with a Vision for the Future, 1983-2008, is available, free of charge, at the CEDO office in City Hall.
Vermont students posted a strong showing on the 2010 College Board Advanced Placement (AP) exams and Scholastic Assessment Tests (SAT), as well as the 2010 ACT exams, ranking fifth in the nation, the Department of Education announced today.The AP program offers high school students college-level courses in a variety of subject areas. In all, 3,677 Vermont students participated in the AP program (up 5.2 percent from 2009) and took 6,057 AP exams (up 5.3 percent from last year). According to the College Board, Vermont continues to increase the number of students taking AP courses even as student enrollment is declining overall.AP exams are scored on a scale of one (lowest score) to five (highest score). Sixty-two percent of Vermont exams were scored at three or higher. A score of three or above is considered demonstrating college-level mastery of the content.Vermont students continue to perform above the national average on the SAT exams. Since 2009, Critical Reading increased by one point to 519 (compared to 501 nationally), Mathematics increased by three points to 521 (compared to 516 nationally) and Writing stayed the same at 506 (compared to 492 nationally).In addition, 70 percent of Vermont high school seniors took the exam, with the number of SAT test-takers in the 2010 high school cohort in Vermont decreasing from 5,306 to 5164.More females than males take the SAT exam in Vermont, and gender gaps still remain by subject area, with males excelling in Math and Reading, and females excelling in Writing. Females scored an average of 516 in Critical Reading compared to 522 for males; 504 in Mathematics compared to 541 for males, and 511 in Writing compared to 500 for males.The ACT college admission and placement exam tests student skills in Reading, Writing, Math and Science. The scores from those exams are averaged to create a composite score. Vermont’s high school graduates in the class of 2010 earned an average composite score of 23.2 on the ACT, up from 23.1 last year and up from 22.5 in 2006. A total of 2,054 Vermont graduates took the exam, or 26 percent of that class. Vermont’s average ACT score of 23.2 is higher than the national average of 21.0 and ranked fifth in the country. According to ACT, Vermont high school graduates outperform the national averages across all subject areas in terms of college readiness and scores. Source: Vermont DOE. 9.13.2010
National Life Group,Employees of National Life Group donated more than 2,000 books to an inner-city school in Maryland, helping to fuel the principal’s ambitious dream of bringing 10,000 books into his school.‘I believe reading is the foundation for everything,’ says Herman Whaley, principal of the 200-student Capitol Heights Elementary School, located on the Maryland border with Washington, D.C. ‘If you are not a good reader you are going to struggle.’The 2,000 books were presented at a school assembly in December at which students, in a format akin to a television game show, answered book-themed questions.‘You have to celebrate reading and books the way we celebrate our athletes,’ says Whaley. ‘You have to be a cheerleader and celebrate it so it becomes contagious, like you are celebrating a sporting event like the Super Bowl.’The partnership with National Life Group was born in a community group set up by Whaley to brainstorm ideas for nurturing literacy in the area schools.National Life Group is a family of financial service companies that offer life insurance, annuities, and investment* products and services. Life Insurance Company of the Southwest (LSW), a member of National Life Group, is a leading provider of 403(b) and 457(b) tax-deferred retirement plans, primarily in the K-12 school marketplace, including Capital Heights Elementary School.‘This idea to work with National Life to enhance our school library and classroom libraries came to fruition at our community think tank meeting,’ said Whaley. The suggestion came from Rosette Barner-Wiley, a former teacher who is a member of Whaley’s community group and who also sells National Life’s 403(b) retirement products.She contacted Lewis Smith, who is National Life’s director of 403(b) services. Smith, based in Dallas, and Matt DeSantos, who is National Life’s vice president of marketing and business development and is based in Montpelier, organized book drives at both the Montpelier and Dallas campuses of National Life Group.Both Smith and DeSantos were on hand when the 2,000 books were delivered to the school.Smith told the students that books played a critical role in his life and he talked about ‘the places you can go when you read,’ adding, ‘There are certain things people cannot take away from you when you are growing up ‘ and when you are grown up ‘ and that’s what you have up here (pointing to his head), what you learn, where your imagination takes you, what you have right here in your heart.’DeSantos told the students that the best TV is in their minds. ‘It is using your imagination,’ he said. On the importance of reading, he added, ‘It’s about dreams. No one can take it away from you.’The school has launched a Read 25 program to support each student in reading and discussing at least 25 books every school year.Whaley has taken the Read 25 program one step further and initiated an additional goal to get 10,000 books into his school.The 2,000 books were delivered without charge by ABF Freight System, Inc. of Williston, Vt.‘While ABF is a company with a global reach, our people work and live in local communities across the map ‘ communities just like Montpelier and Capital Heights. For this reason it means so much more to know that we can serve the very communities where we live by supporting worthwhile causes such as this one,’ said Russ Aikman, director of marketing and public relations at ABF.###About National Life Group – www.nationallife.com(link is external)National Life Group is a family of financial service companies that offer life insurance, annuities, and investment* products and services. Life Insurance Company of the Southwest (LSW), a member of National Life Group, is a leading provider of 403(b) and 457(b) tax-deferred retirement plans, primarily in the K-12 school marketplace. LSW offers traditional fixed and indexed annuities to educators and employees in more than 7,000 school districts, including several of the largest and smallest school districts in the country.National Life Group® is a trade name of National Life Insurance Company, Montpelier, Vt., Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, Addison, Texas, and their affiliates. Each company of National Life Group is solely responsible for its own financial condition and contractual obligations. Life Insurance Company of the Southwest is not an authorized insurer in New York and does not conduct insurance business in New York.*Securities and investment advisory services are offered solely by Equity Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC, a member of National Life Group, One National Life Drive, Montpelier, Vermont 05604. 800-344-7437.
The Vermont House of Representatives yesterday passed H. 254, a bill to protect Vermonters against deceptive business practices. The practices outlawed in H.254 include, misleading consumers into authorizing on-going credit card charges, adding unwanted charges to residential or business phone bills, and out-of-state companies masquerading online as a Vermont florists.‘Businesses actively attempting to perpetrate scams on Vermonters is simply unacceptable,’ said Speaker Shap Smith. ‘This bill will outlaw a number of the unscrupulous strategies some out-of-state companies use, as well as strengthen the security of the state’s personal information database.’The key components of H. 254 include:Protection against Misleading Business Practicesâ ¢ Phone Bill Cramming: The bill makes it illegal to charge consumers for goods or services in a phone bill unless they are explicitly authorized; legitimate supplemental phone bill charges are still protected.â ¢ Discount Membership Charges: The bill requires that consumers be notified of their right to cancel membership, requires periodic reminder notifications that the consumer is subscribed and prohibits membership programs lasting longer than 18 months.â ¢ Masquerading: The bill will make it an unlawful and deceptive act to advertise as a ‘local’ or ‘Vermont’ florist if the business isn’t currently located in Vermont. This will protect both consumers and the Vermont florist industry, which is threatened when revenue is siphoned to out-of-state online-order flower businesses.Notification of Security Breachesâ ¢ In the event of a security breach’when consumers’ personal data is lost or stolen’the bill requires the data collector to notify the Vermont Attorney General. Consumers already receive mandatory notification, but notifying the Attorney General will improve law enforcement’s capacity to act on the security breach.Information Technology Securityâ ¢ Strengthens the security of data held by state-level agenciesâ ¢ Clarifies that the Agency of Administration is responsible for Information Technology Security regimens.The bill passed the House unanimously. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.Source: Speaker’s office. 3.30.2011
As road workers open up access to the most remote and damaged areas and home repairs are made in the wake of Hurricane Irene, Central Vermont Public Service is asking customers who can now take service to contact the company. ‘As we said, we have restored power to all customers that we could access and that could safely take electrical service, but as state inspectors and licensed electricians sign off on re-energizing additional homes and businesses, or as they become accessible, we are asking customers to call CVPS at 1-800-649-2877 so we can reconnect service,’ spokeswoman Christine Rivers said. Any electrical apparatus, such as electrical panels and breakers, must be replaced if they were submerged in flooding. An electrician cannot approve such equipment for reconnect by simply inspecting it, it must be replaced. CVPS is waiving all fees for temporary service connections required due to the storm. The fee is normally $80. Some customers in the most remote areas remain inaccessible due to road washouts, but road crews are improving access for utility vehicles daily. Due to repairs made in areas where road access is still challenging, CVPS also reminds customers that there may be some delay in outage restoration going forward in those areas, until road access is permanently improved. CVPS officials continue to urge the public to take precautions around utility work. For our safety as well as your own, slow down when you see utility workers on the roads, and please consider the following: The safety of CVPS workers on the road depends on your patience and care.Follow directions given by traffic control flaggers. They are paid to keep everyone safe.Respect traffic cones and other barrier devices. They are the only thing between your vehicle and CVPS workers and equipment.Drive slowly through utility-controlled traffic areas, even if there appears to be enough space to drive at state-posted speeds.Give 100 percent of your attention to the road. Do not be distracted by cell phones, music, eating or drinking beverages while driving through a utility work area.
Secretary of State Jim Condos announced today that records relating to the first hundred years of the Vermont Constitution, including proposals of amendments, are now available online at: http://vermont-archives.org/publications/publicat/pdf/Council_of_Censors…(link is external) Some examples are displayed below.Secretary Condos noted, ‘The records of the Vermont Council of Censors, 1777-1870 provide unique insights not only into the evolution of our state constitution but also on persisting issues such as the nature of representation, constitutions, and citizenship.’ The Council of Censors was a constitutional body of thirteen men, elected to one year terms every seven years. It had the authority to review the actions of state government in the preceding seven years to see if they conformed to constitutional requirements. It also was the sole body that could propose amendments to the constitution. Proposed amendments would then be presented to a constitutional convention for ratification or rejection. The publication of the Council’s records was originally done in 1991 under then Secretary of State Jim Douglas. The Council’s journals were transcribed and annotated by Paul Gillies and Gregory Sanford. Secretary Condos explained that, ‘Putting Gillies and Sanford’s work online reflects our enhanced opportunities for distributing information through technology. It is part of my commitment to making public information as broadly available, for free, as we can.’ The Censors successfully proposed two-year terms of office; the creation of a state senate; and their own replacement with the current amendment process, though with a ten-year time lock as opposed to the current four years. The Council also foreshadowed the current make-up of the House of Representatives when in 1856 it proposed replacing town-representation with a 150 member chamber based on population. While their proposals failed at the time, their system of proportional representation was essentially adopted in 1965. The debates surrounding even the Council’s failure are fascinating. The 1869 Council’s debates over extending the vote to women followed along the lines of 20th Century debates over the equal rights amendment. The Council’s proposal in support of women’s suffrage lost in convention 1 to 233. ‘Making records on the evolution of our state constitution widely accessible is important to our civic education, as students and as Vermonters,’ said Condos. The online presentation is full-text searchable, easing the ability to search issues over time. Source: Secretary of State, December 15, 2011 Selections from the Records of the Council of Censors, 1770-1870 On Women’s Suffrage ‘We believe that woman, married or unmarried, was made to be the companion of man and not his mere servant; that she has the same right to control her property that he has to control his; that she has the same right to aspire to any occupation, profession, or position, the duties of which she is competent to discharge, that he has. A right is worth nothing without the power to protect it. The ballot alone can do this.’ July 28, 1869 (p. 642)On the Creation of a Senate ‘With these views, we propose, as a safeguard against hasty and improvident legislation, and to remedy, in some degree, the inequality of representation in the most numerous branch of the legislature, a Senate as a substitute for the present Council. The Senate to consist of thirty members, to be apportioned to the several counties, as near as may be, in the ratio of population–providing however, that each county shall have, at least, one Senator.’ January 16, 1835 (p. 374)On the Disadvantage of Annual Sessions of the Legislature ‘Your committee are of the opinion that a careful scrutiny of the history of our State Legislature for the past twenty years will show that in most cases our public legislation has been confined to trivial matters, and that no important changes have been made in our laws as often as once in two years, nor indeed for much longer periods. Such scrutiny will also show that in many instances, such changes as have been made, have been had unadvisedly, so that no inconsiderable part of the business has been to undo and repeal what had been so hastily done the year before. In this view your committee are of opinion that we have had too much legislation; that the continual tinkering of the laws, by making amendments one year and repealing them the next, and the numerous minor modifications of our statute which our legislation has produced, have not been profitable to the State.’ July 29, 1869 (p. 645) Foreshadowing Current Use In our enquiry, “whether the public taxes have been justly laid and collected in all parts of this commonwealth,” we are of opinion, that the act passed by the legislature in October 1797, laying a tax of one cent per acre, on all lands in this state indiscriminately,” was unequal and unjust. It is a principle universally allowed, that property ought to be taxed in proportion to its real value, and annual income; and though it is impossible by any general rule to do perfect justice, yet the mode that makes the nearest approach thereto is to be preferred. The taxing the wild and uncultivated mountains per acre, equal to the lands of the highest cultivation, or covered with elegant buildings, can bear no proportionate estimate, either in value or income. Feb 4, 1800 (p. 170)On the People’s Role in Amending the Constitution It is evident that the people at the present time take but little interest in amending their Constitution, nor have they since 1850. They have become so indifferent that it is a matter of doubt whether one in ten really knows and understands what our Constitution is, or how it is amended; and the question arises, is it best or expedient to perpetuate and continue a system so little understood, and in which so little interest is manifested? It should be brought home nearer to the people; they should have a direct influence, instead of an indirect and remote one. This is an age of improvement, and a republican government is never wiser nor better, in our State, at least, and at the present time, than the people who elect it; and such a government fails to answer its design when the people become indifferent to its workings. The people of Vermont are at the present time vastly more intelligent, better informed, better educated than formerly, and no good reason exists in the opinion of the minority for not trusting them directly in the final amendments to their Constitution. July 31, 1869 (pp. 659-660)On the Purpose of a Constitution ‘Again it is urged that the Council of Censors is a body unknown to sister states, and has arrived at that “respectable old age” in our own that entitles it to funeral honors. We are unable to see any force in this argument. The very soul of an organic law–of a constitution for a commonwealth, is permanency. The people demand some permanent law so that legislatures of partisan bias shall not trample upon the rights of minorities.’ August 3, 1869 (p. 680)