Burlington City Council takes up three different F-35 resolutions

first_imgby Anne Galloway www.vtdigger.org(link is external) Vince Brennan, a Progressive member of the Burlington City Council, has offered a resolution opposing the Air Force proposal to bring F-35s to the Burlington International Airport based on the environmental impact of the jets on the region.The main issue is noise. In his resolution, Brennan asserts that the peak noise level for the jets will be 115 decibels ‘19 decibels higher than the peak noise level for Vermont National Guard F-16 planes that now fly out of the airport. People hear that decibel increase as â four times louder’he says.Brennan presented his resolution at the Burlington City Council meeting Monday night. City Councilors Vince Dober, a Republican, will offer a proposal to support the Air Force proposal, and Joan Shannon, a Democrat, will introduce a resolution that is somewhere in between.Brennanâ s resolution refers to Col. Rosanne Grecoâ s 17-page analysis of the voluminous Air Force environmental impact statement. Greco, the chair of the South Burlington City Council and former strategic planner for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Defense Department, detailed the key impacts of the EIS in her report and ultimately urged her colleagues to vote against the F-35 proposal. They rejected the F-35 base in a 4-to-1 vote.In his 1,679 word resolution, Brennan says the F-35A is a weapon for â penetrating enemy air space and delivering 18,000 pounds of air-to-ground bombs and air-to-ground missiles rather than primarily for saving Vermonters during natural disasters, like Hurricane Irene, or defending the US from attack.âMichael Dubie, adjutant general of the Vermont National Guard, told reporters last week that opponents were using â fear or exaggeration’to block the planes. The Associated Press reported that 100 people in Winooski protested against the F-35s on Thursday.VTDigger.org received a copy of Brennanâ s resolution in advance of the meeting tonight (Monday).Here is a sampling from the proposal that addresses noise levels:Whereas under the FAA program, the airport has so far purchased 120 homes near the airport in South Burlington for demolition because the F16 and other airport noise reached or exceeded that 24-hour average 65 dB threshold, and that once healthy neighborhood of affordable houses has been turned into a wasteland; andWhereas the Air Force draft EIS shows that basing the F-35A here will place 1366 additional houses and 2,863 more people in Burlington, South Burlington, Winooski, Williston and Colchester within the 24-hour average noise level that caused the purchase for demolition of those 120 affordable houses; andWhereas the airport recently announced that it would purchase no more homes; andWhereas although F-16 noise is quite high, the Air Force draft EIS shows the present-day 24-hour average 65 dB contour from F-16 noise barely skirts edges of Winooski and Burlington while the F-35A will put half of Winooskiâ s houses and Burlington houses along Calarco, Chase, Rumsey, Barrett, Mill, Grove, and Patchen roads, and along portions of Pearl and Riverside, within that incompatible-with-residential-living contour; andWhereas the table on page BR4-18 of the Air Force draft EIS shows that the peak noise level for the F-16 is 94 dBA and for the F-35A it is 115 dBAâ a difference of 21 dBAâ when each plane takes off and reaches 1000 feet above ground level; andWhereas according to the numbers in the Air Force draft EIS the decrease in property values for houses experiencing the 21 dB increase in loudness is likely to be in the range from 11% to 42%; andWhereas the Air Force draft EIS raises serious questions about safety as it states that â it is possible that projected mishap [crash] rates for the F-35A may be comparable to the historical rates of the F-22A’and numbers in the draft EIS show that in its early years the F-22A had a â most severe’mishap rate 7 times higher than the current rate for the F-16; andWhereas the draft EIS makes clear that the Burlington airport was a preferred location because air quality in the Champlain Valley is in â attainment’with air quality standards and therefore the Air Force can more conveniently bring the F-35A to Burlington than it can to competing Air Force bases whose already fouled air and â non-attainment’status present difficult hoops for the Air Force to jump through to achieve compliance with the Clean Air Act; andWhereas the draft EIS shows that the negative effect of basing the F-35A in South Burlington will fall disproportionally on low income and immigrant communities. June 18, 2012 www.vtdigger.org(link is external)last_img read more

Vermont Health Connect Navigators to raise awareness of new health coverage options at community events

first_imgThursday, September 12, 2013 – 2:00pm -3:30pmCommunity College of VT (CCV) – 1 Abenaki Way, Winooski, VTSpectrum Youth & Family Services will host a table at CCV Winooski. When and Where:        Friday, September 6 ‘ 5:00pm – 8:00pmCity Market – 82 S. Winooski Avenue, Burlington, VTThe Community Health Center of Burlington will host a table outside of City Market.  Saturday, September 7 ‘7:00am ‘ 10:00pmOld Home Days – 169 Main Street, Plainfield, VTThe People’s Health & Wellness Clinic will host a table at Plainfield’s Old Home Days. Thursday, September 12, 2013 ‘ 5:30pm ‘ 6:30pmCharleston Elementary School – 255 Center School Road, West Charleston, VTNorth Country Hospital will host a table at the Charleston Elementary School Resource Fair. Saturday, September 7 ‘ 11:00am – 2:00pmBay Park – 596 Lake Road, St. Albans, VTThe Champlain Office of Economic Opportunity will host a table at the St. Albans Town Celebration. Thursday, September 12, 2013 ‘ 8:30am – 10:00amMt. Snow Resort – 39 Mount Snow Road, West Dover, VTThe Vermont Chamber of Commerce and the Mt. Snow Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce are co-hosting a forum for small businesses. Tuesday, September 10, 2013- 7:30am – 9:00amBrattleboro Retreat -75 Linden Street, Brattleboro, VTThe Vermont Chamber of Commerce and the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce are co-hosting a forum for small businesses. Tuesday, September 10, 2013- 7:30am – 9:00amMarty’s 1st Stop – 421 Rt. 2 E., Danville, VT 05828The Vermont Campaign for Health Care Security will host a table in front of Marty’s 1st Stop. Wednesday, September 11, 2013 – 4:00pm – 7:30 pmKellogg Hubbard Library – 135 Main Street, Montpelier, VTThe Vermont Campaign for Health Care Security is hosting a table in front of the library. Thursday, September 12, 2013 ‘ 10:00am – 11:30amRiver Arts – 74 Pleasant Street, Morrisville, VTThe Lamoille Region Chamber of Commerce is hosting a forum for small businesses. The Vermont Health Connect Navigators will be available at upcoming events to talk to Vermonters about the new health coverage options coming this fall. More than 200 Navigators are available in communities throughout the state to help Vermonters learn more, enroll in a plan, and access financial help through Vermont Health Connect. Small employers and their employees can also turn to Navigators for help in determining their best health coverage options.Opening this October, Vermont Health Connect will offer a new way for Vermonters to find a health plan that fits their needs and budget. Vermonters will be able to compare plans side-by-side, determine if they are eligible for public plans and, for many, access financial help to lower the cost of their plans. Assistance is available on-line, by phone, or in-person. More information about the Navigators is available at www.vermonthealthconnect.gov(link is external).Who:                            Vermont Health Connect Navigators Thursday, September 12 – 8:00am ‘ 9:00pm and Friday, September 13 -7:00am ‘ 9:00pmTunbridge World’s Fair ‘ Route 110, Tunbridge, VTNavigators from the Vermont Coalition of Clinics for the Uninsured, Community Action Council, and Gifford Medical Center are hosting a table at the Tunbridge World’s Fair. Saturday, September 7 ‘ 11:00am – 2:00pmCity Market – 82 S. Winooski Avenue, Burlington, VTThe Community Health Center of Burlington will host a table outside of City Market.  Wednesday, September 11, 2013 – 12:00pm – 1:30 pmO’Brien Community Center – 32 Malletts Bay Avenue, Winooski, VTThe Fletcher Allen Health Assistance Program is providing a healthy lunch and an overview of Vermont Health Connect. Thursday, September 12 and Friday, September 13, 2013 ‘10:00 am – 1:00 pmVBSR Office – 255 S. Champlain Street, Burlington, VTThe Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) Navigators are hosting their Open Office Hours series for individuals and employers. Wednesday, September 11, 2013 – 12:00pm – 1:30 pmWebinar – https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4501872647316391424(link is external)VPIRG, Navigators and State staff are facilitating the Enrolling Your Community in Vermont Health Connect webinar for anyone interested in Vermont Health Connect. Friday, September 6 ‘ 4:00pm – 9:00pmSEABA Building – 404 Pine Street, Burlington, VTPPNNE will host a table at the South End Art Hop event. Friday, September 13, 2013 ‘10:00am – 3:00pmBennington Car Show – Willow Park, Bennington, VTThe Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a booth at the Bennington Car Show.last_img read more

Opinion: H883 and universal achievement

first_imgChamplain College,by Dave Finney, President, Champlain College The state Legislature is working on a bill to reduce the number of school districts in Vermont, from the current 273 to between 45-55. On average, today’s school boards in Vermont focus on the education of only 300 children. The bill (H883) would create a better governance structure for public education, which would result in greater student opportunities and lower costs. While there are many facets to this bill, the following points are very clear:·         School choice within the traditional academy structure and local control will be preserved·         Educational opportunity will improve as districts share advanced courses and other offerings·         High quality early childhood education will be more accessible for all children·         Educational quality will improve as local regional districts work with teachers and community members to ensure a broad curriculum to meet student needs·         Administrative overhead will be shared by school districts, linked to a regional boardSome have argued that the legislature shouldn’t alter our current system school districts. They believe that local control is of paramount importance. They argue that we have a system that is great and should not be adjusted. I believe the opposite to be true. Many public schools in Vermont provide their students with a high quality education, and undoubtedly there are pockets of excellence in teaching and curriculum. But, we are not creating artisanal products in public education. For our democracy to survive and for our society to prosper, there must be universal achievement in all towns, for all children. Alarmingly while Vermont spends high per child, and while our children achieve well compared to other states, nearly half of our children are not proficient in reading by fourth grade. In general, US students demonstrate poor educational outcomes compared to students in other developed nations. As a nation we are failing to prepare the next generation to compete effectively in an interconnected global economy. Vermont should be part of America’s solution to this problem.Each year at Champlain we enroll several hundred new freshmen who represent the best students coming out of our public schools in Vermont and throughout the country. They are smart and they are driven to succeed. They are also, on average, very poorly educated. Most have little idea of how to study, how to write effectively, or how to apply statistical analysis to arguments they read in popular media. They lack foundational knowledge and skills. Fortunately, we are able to remedy these issues and then move them forward to college level work.H883 advances the cause of universal achievement in Vermont. Our ill-prepared children need more from us. I urge the legislature to pass this bill and do the right thing for our young people.Champlain College President David F Finney is a director of the Vermont Business Roundtable. He is retiring from Champlain after nine years on June 30, 2014. Donald J Laackman, president of Harold Washington College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, will become the College’s eighth president.last_img read more

Vermont Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence applications due by Feb 2, 2015

first_imgApplications are now being accepted for the 2015 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence. The annual awards honor the actions taken by Vermonters to conserve and protect natural resources, prevent pollution and promote sustainability.Applications are encouraged from: Business, Industry and Trade or Professional Organizations Applications must be received electronically, no later than Monday, February 2, 2015. Applications materials are available for download here(link is external). For questions or to obtain email copies of the application, contact Gary Gulka at [email protected](link sends e-mail), or by phone at: 802-522-0215. Teachers and Students Institutions (such as Schools, Hospitals and Municipalities) Public Agencies Individual Citizens Environmental, Community and Non-Profit Organizationslast_img read more

State offers incentives to develop solar energy programs in Windham County

first_imgThe Vermont Public Service Department (PSD) and its Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) seek proposals from qualified financial institutions with a physical presence in Windham County that offer loans to residential customers interested in development of the Windham County Solar Finance Program (SF). The SF Program seeks to accelerate the deployment of solar energy technologies including solar PV and solar hot water in Windham County. Applicants should propose how they would use the available funds for a credit enhancement(s) to expand access to private finance for residential solar systems in Windham County. The RFP will offer up to $300,000 to stimulate new or expanded renewable energy lending to homeowners with credit ratings deemed satisfactory by the selected financial institution(s) due to the credit enhancement provided by the CEDF/State of Vermont.The 2 megawatt Winstanley solar project was completed in Brattleboro in October 2014. (L-R) Mark Bettis, VP of Sales and Marketing for REC Solar, Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott, Adam Winstanley, Principal of Winstanley Enterprises, and Andy Cay, President of Integrated Solar. STORY Courtesy photo.For the first time, a portion of CEDF funds must be deployed in a certain county. The agreement between the State and Entergy Vermont Yankee, which resulted in the CEDF receiving over $5.3 million in April of 2014, requires at least 50 percent of the funds the CEDF received from Entergy Vermont Yankee to be spent in, or for the benefit of, Windham County. This represents a significant opportunity for Windham County to address the local effects of the closure of the Vermont Yankee power plant as well as the county’s energy and economic future.The State of Vermont has a goal of meeting 90 percent of energy needs across all sectors from renewable sources by 2050. The Vermont Public Service Department (PSD) and its Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) seek to engage one or more financial institutions (FIs) located in Windham County, Vermont to develop the Windham County Solar Finance Program. As part of the fund’s strategy to help meet state goals, the SF Program seeks to accelerate the deployment of residential solar energy technologies in Windham County.This program will provide an opportunity for one or more private lenders to initiate new—or to expand their existing—lending activities to homeowners in Windham County seeking finance to install residential solar systems. This initiative will help the award recipient(s) gain or increase exposure to the growing solar market, and learn more about how to expand lending for clean energy to serve homeowners in southern Vermont. The intended results include increased rates of investment in solar systems, increased supplies of net-metered renewable power, and greater confidence among financial institutions leading to more participation in this market segment. In addition, increased investment in residential solar technologies will support the growth of jobs and economic opportunity in Windham County, a primary interest of the CEDF under this program.This RFP intends to help reduce credit risks associated with financing home energy upgrades such as solar PV or solar hot water for Vermonters with diverse socio-economic backgrounds to increase market penetration of solar technologies. To spur participation, the CEDF will support credit enhancements offered by one or more finance institutions selected through this competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) to help them lower their risks while generating performance data for their local market. As lenders gain more experience with solar products, services and vendor arrangements, we expect a transition to self-supporting, cost effective finance in lieu of CEDF incentives.This program is sponsored by the Vermont Public Service Department, as part of the state’s effort to achieve the goals set forth in the 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP), and the Clean Energy Development Fund in accordance with its Five Year Strategic Plan. This initiative is a part of the broader focus on Windham County detailed in the CEDF FY 2015 Annual Program Plan & Budget Allocations report. This program will add a new set of finance options available to consumers interested in solar energy in the southern part of the state.RFP PROCESSTo develop the Windham County Solar Finance Program, the CEDF will initiate a staged process. First, the CEDF intends to negotiate the lending terms and credit enhancement features of the Solar Finance Program with one or more Financial Institutions (FIs) that respond to this RFP to create a streamlined customer experience for residential solar lending. Second, the CEDF will engage with the chosen financial institution(s) to address key program design considerations such as marketing and evaluation of program effectiveness.This solicitation is funded with monies from the State of Vermont Public Service Department’s Clean Energy Development Fund. The funding available through this competitive RFP is provided from a payment to PSD from the state’s agreement with Entergy Vermont Yankee. Respondents will be subject to standard state grant making and reporting requirements including, but not limited to, financial reporting, periodic project monitoring, documentation of incurred costs, and access to records. Reporting requirements will include select milestones and metrics documenting loan performance, size and power production of financed installations, and program effectiveness to be established at the time of the award.Awards for the Windham County Solar Finance Program will be made through this competitive RFP process. Upon completion of the selection process, the CEDF may, at its discretion, enter into a grant agreement with one or more eligible entities to develop the Windham County Solar Finance Program. Terms for distribution of the funds shall be established with the award recipient(s). If included in the successful proposal, administrative and program development costs for approved expenses will be reimbursed subject to standard state procedures.The CEDF reserves the right to make necessary changes or adjustments to the program design, deadlines, RFP, or to any statements made in this RFP at any time. Further, the CEDF reserves the right to amend, alter, or terminate this Request for Proposal process at any time. Changes to the RFP will be posted on the CEDF website at: http://publicservice.vermont.gov/topics/renewable_energy/cedf(link is external) . Respondents are encouraged to thoroughly review this RFP.DEADLINEProposals must arrive at the Public Service Department by 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, December 23, 2014. This RFP is for credit enhancements not to exceed $300,000 to create the Windham County Solar Finance Program. Applicants mailing a proposal should allow adequate time to ensure receipt of their proposal by the deadline. One original signed hard copy, four additional hard copies, and an electronic copy of the proposal (which may be emailed or submitted on CD or USB flash drive) must be delivered to the Vermont Public Service Department. Proposals and questions should be addressed to:Edward DelhagenVermont Public Service Department112 State StreetMontpelier, VT 05620-2601Phone: (802) 828-4099Email: [email protected](link sends e-mail)All questions must be submitted in writing via email with the subject line, “Windham County Solar Finance RFP Question” or delivered by U.S. Mail to the address above. Questions regarding the RFP will be accepted until Monday, November 24, 2014. Responses to questions will be posted on the CEDF website at: http://publicservice.vermont.gov/topics/renewable_energy/cedf(link is external).Hard copies and electronic copies of proposals must arrive at the Public Service Department by 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday, December 23, 2014.Questions regarding the Request for Proposals (RFP) will be accepted until Monday, November 24, 2014. Questions must be submitted in writing via email with the subject line, “Windham County Solar Finance RFP Question” or delivered by U.S. Mail to the address below. Responses will be posted on the CEDF website at: www.publicservice.vermont.gov/topics/renewable_energy/cedf(link is external)last_img read more

BCBSVT launches option for non-subsidized individuals to direct enroll in Vermont Health Connect

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) has begun notifying non-subsidized individuals with BCBSVT plans purchased through Vermont Health Connect that they will be able to enroll directly with the health plan when open enrollment begins on November 1, 2015. Individuals and families currently enrolled through Vermont Health Connect that do not receive state or federal subsidies like tax credits or premium assistance are invited to give BCBSVT a ‘heads up’ if they plan to enroll directly through the health plan for 2016 coverage.“BCBSVT is pleased to offer non-subsidized customers the option of directly enrolling with us.” said Don George, President and CEO. “Our enrollment and billing capabilities are reliable and easy to use.”Current, non-subsidized Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont members can give a ‘heads up’ now by either going online to www.bcbsvt.com/headsup(link is external) or call our Consumer Support team at (800) 255-4550. In-person assistance is available in Berlin or South Burlington locations Monday – Friday 8:00 to 4:30 with no appointment needed.Individuals that are not currently BCBSVT customers can directly enroll after November 1 by visiting www.bcbsvt.com(link is external).Individuals and families that enroll directly for 2016 coverage will forego all State and Federal subsidies or cost sharing reductions during that plan year. There are no additional processing costs or fees associated with direct enrollment.Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is the state’s oldest and largest health insurer, providing coverage for about 250,000 Vermonters. It employs about 400 Vermonters at its headquarters in Berlin 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 www.bcbsvt.com(link 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 Vermontlast_img read more

Vermont bank robbers arrested in Florida, Maine

Vermont State Police The Vermont State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations for the Middlesex Barracks have concluded a lengthy investigation into the two armed robberies that occurred at the Northfield savings bank in the town of Waitsfield on 4/28/15 and 5/5/15. Investigators have identified Andrew Place (dob: 1/1/86) and James McCausland (dob:7/2/88) as being responsible for both armed robberies.  Investigators learned that Place entered the bank with a handgun during both incidents while McCausland waited outside and drove the getaway vehicle.Andrew Place, left, and James McCausland. Courtesy VSPArrest warrants were issued by the Washington County Superior Court on 7/10/15 for both subjects.  Place has been charged with two felony counts of assault and robbery and McCausland has been charged with two felony counts of accessory to assault and robbery.Based on information gleaned relative to both subjects being homeless and transient the Vermont State Police requested and was granted assistance by the Us Marshal’s in locating and arresting Place and McCausland for the armed robberies.  Andrew Place was arrested by the US Marshals in Florida and is currently being housed at the Broward County Corrections awaiting extradition back to Vermont.  James McCausland was arrested in the State of Maine on unrelated charges and is also awaiting extradition back to Vermont.Background information from May 5, 2015 VSP Press Release:  http://vtstatepolice.blogspot.com/2015/05/enhance-suspect-picture-55-waitsfield.html(link is external) read more

People’s United Community Foundation awards $45,000 in funding

first_imgPeople’s United Bank,Vermont Business Magazine The People’s United Community Foundation, the philanthropic arm of People’s United Bank, has announced today that it has awarded $2,500 to Mobius for their Quality Mentoring System (QMS). This brings the Foundations giving in Vermont during February to $45,000, including the Graham Emergency Shelter, Samaritan House, Zack’s Place, The Mentor Connector, and the Vermont Foodbank.QMS is a national evaluation system developed by MENTOR (The National Mentoring Partnership) to ensure that mentoring programs are meeting all of the best practices in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring. In collaboration with Vermont mentoring programs, Mobius – a statewide nonprofit supporting more than 140 adult-to-youth mentoring program sites serving 2,300 mentor pairs – has adjusted this national system to fit the local needs of the Vermont mentoring community.In order to qualify for funding through the Vermont Mentoring Grants, programs must successfully complete the QMS every three years. Mobius works collaboratively with program staff throughout the year to complete this process.“We are proud to partner with People’s United to bolster the important work that mentoring programs are doing across Vermont,” said Mobius Executive Director Chad Butt. “This grant will help us to ensure that mentors are well supported and that youth are receiving the full evidence-based benefits of having a mentor.“Mobius is an incredible resource in our community,” said Michael Seaver, Officer, People’s United Community Foundation and President, People’s United Bank, Vermont.  “With their Quality Mentoring System, we can feel confident that our mentoring agencies are maintaining high standards for their programs.”It also has awarded $5,000 to John W. Graham Emergency Shelter Services Inc. of Vergennes.The funding brings the total grant amount from People’s United Community Foundation to the organization to $17,000.Since 1980, the John Graham Shelter has served individuals and families as Addison County’s only full-time homeless service provider. The organization provides food, shelter, and housing, support services to help transform lives, and prevention and intervention for people in crisis to address the complex issues that clients face in order to attain permanent housing.People’s United Community Foundation also has awarded $10,000 to Samaritan House in St. Albans.Samaritan House assists homeless individuals and families in obtaining sustainable housing by providing temporary shelter, transitional housing and collaborative support services within the counties of Franklin and Grand Isle. The grant from People’s United Community Foundation will fund housing and support services such as rental subsidies, job training and development, budgeting and credit repair assistance.The funding brings the total amount given to the organization by People’s United Community Foundation to more than $42,000.“This much-needed donation from People’s United Community Foundation will allow us to help folks transition out of homelessness and into permanent housing and self-sufficiency,” said Linda Ryan, Executive Director, Samaritan House.“Samaritan House offers critical support to individuals and families throughout Franklin and Grand Isle Counties,” said Michael Seaver. “We are proud to continue our role as a community partner in helping Vermonters obtain and maintain permanent housing and the necessary skills and resources to become self-reliant.”“Having a warm place to lay your head at night is something many of us take for granted,” said Michael Seaver, Officer, People’s United Community Foundation and President, People’s United Bank Vermont. “Unfortunately, the fastest growing homeless population throughout America is our children. We are pleased to continue our support for the important work of caring shelters like John W. Graham, which ensure that there is a warm place for everyone.”“In the past year, we have had a lot of success in helping homeless families find housing. Now we want to give them the support they need to keep their apartments and remain permanently housed,” said Elizabeth Ready, Executive Director, John W. Graham Emergency Shelter. “We plan to work with families on an ongoing basis to make sure that they have housing well into the future.” The People’s United Community Foundation has also announced that it has awarded $3,000 to Zack’s Place Enrichment Center of Woodstock.Zack’s Place provides people of all ages with special needs opportunities for community engagement, education, vocational programs, and recreational activities. The funding from People’s United Community Foundation will support the ZP Greeting Card Business, which teaches clients art, computer, writing, reading, marketing, and a variety of other skills.“Our participants are crafting a product that they can share with friends, family, and the community, aiding in their job skill development and increasing their self-confidence,” said Dail Frates, Executive Director, Zack’s Place Enrichment. “By creating and selling their own greeting cards, they are able to experience a business model from beginning to end and carry the skills over into job positions in the community.”“Individuals are learning valuable job skills through the greeting card business program,” stated Michael Seaver.  “We are pleased to support a program that is uncovering hidden abilities and aiding in the creation of part-time employment for these individuals.” It also has awarded $3,500 to The Mentor Connector in Rutland, Vermont.The Mentor Connector, a formal mentoring program, pairs youngsters in the Rutland area with adult mentors of the same community.  Mentors and mentees are matched according to their similar interests and the mentor becomes a trusted adult friend with a long-term, consistent commitment to provide guidance and support.The funding brings the total grant amount awarded by People’s United Community Foundation to the organization to $19,000.“Peoples United Community Foundation makes the ongoing support to mentors and their mentees possible and we are so grateful for the continued assistance that helps local youth learn skills involved with everyday life, things we refer to as ‘soft skills,” said Christopher Hultquist, Executive Director, The Mentor Connector.  “This is one-on-one attention and guidance in the specific areas of need and mentees also get assistance with career exploration and college opportunities.”“We are pleased to continue to assist The Mentor Connector in their efforts to bring in additional mentors for their Dropout Prevention program,” said Michael Seaver. “We have been longtime supporters of mentor programs throughout Vermont as it is critical in these times that our future citizens are prepared to succeed.”Earlier this month, the People’s United Community Foundation announced that it had awarded $20,000 to the Vermont Foodbank for the purchasing and distribution of food.The Vermont Foodbank was founded in 1986 in response to an increased need for emergency food assistance among low-income households in central Vermont.  At that time, the Vermont Foodbank distributed to eight food shelves in the central Vermont area.  Today, there are 225 network partners statewide that receive food from the Vermont Foodbank for local distribution.The grant brings the total amount awarded by People’s United Community Foundation to the organization to $120,000.“The donation from People’s United Community Foundation will help the Foodbank continue to provide food to thousands of our Vermont neighbors in need,” said John Sayles, CEO of the Vermont Foodbank.  “We are so grateful for the steadfast support and partnership of the People’s United Community Foundation, which has acted as a constant and strong voice in the fight against hunger.”Demand for charitable food had never been greater. In fact, the Vermont Foodbank distributed nearly ten million pounds of food to 153,000 people in need in 2015.  This year, one in four Vermonters is expected to access a food shelf or meal site at some point.“Many of us take for granted that we can walk into a grocery store and purchase what we need for the week or even just the day,” said Michael Seaver.  “We are pleased to be able to continue our partnership with the Vermont Foodbank and provide $20,000 to aid in securing and distributing healthy food for Vermonters in need.”Established in 2007, People’s United Community Foundation was formed to help support programs and activities that enhance the quality of life for citizens in the communities that People’s United Bank serves. People’s United Bank, founded in 1842 and serving customers from New York to Maine through a network of more than 400 branches, is the largest independent bank headquartered in New England. The Foundation places special emphasis on programs designed to promote economic self-sufficiency, education and improved conditions for low-income families and neighborhoods. The funding priorities of the Foundation include community development, youth development, and affordable housing.Source: People’s United Community Foundationlast_img read more

Review: Rusty DeWees, Jim Douglas, cross-dressing and politics

first_imgby Timothy McQuiston Vermont Business Magazine Rusty DeWees, actor and Vermont icon, continued his Winter Star Series at the Stowe Town Hall last weekend by bringing in former Governor Jim Douglas and banjo whiz George Woodard for an evening of merrymaking and history, which included a Vermont trivia contest. They also plugged their books and other stuff. So in that spirit we offer this review, of the review.DeWees, who grew up in Stowe, of course is most famous for his one-man performance as “The Logger.” He’s also been on TV and in the movies, but it’s his over-the-top take on back woods Vermont for which he’s best known.It was also a Republican-centric evening. In fact, it’s possible that every Republican in the state of Vermont was in attendance in the upstairs meeting room of the historic building. We suspect this for three reasons:1) The room boasted many former Douglas lieutenants, including Tim Hayward, Neale Lunderville, and Mike Smith (everyone seemed to forget to wear their “Feel the Bern” buttons);2) Much of the gentle ribbing was directed toward each other and at the expense of Democratic politicians (perhaps more than gentle if you were Peter Shumlin, Barack Obama or Joe Biden’s hair plugs; to be fair, George W Bush and Dick Cheney were prodded, as was Stowe Representative Heidi Scheuermann, who supposedly had spent time just before the show canvassing for votes in the cemetery behind the Town Hall. Other than the headliners, the biggest applause was reserved for lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate Phil Scott);3) The Town Hall was near capacity (as Rusty would say: “You’ll git that joke on the way home.”)Rusty DeWees, left, and former Vermont Governor Jim Douglas, in their regular attire, at the Stowe Town Hall, February 27. Vermont Business Magazine photo by Timothy McQuiston.Douglas, 65, has held many political positions, including state Treasurer and Secretary of State, and was elected a state representative from Middlebury soon after graduation (he has lost only one race). He boasts a phenomenal memory. He also enjoys good wit and a good story well told (Rusty: “GeeIM, where were you born?” “Well,” Douglas answered in his familiar baritone as he adjusted his glasses, “Springfield, Mass. I wanted to be born in Vermont, but I thought I should be near my mother.” Cue the drum roll. “What was it like after you were done bein’ governor?” “Well, you know you’re not governor anymore when you get in your car the next morning and it doesn’t move.”).While bantering on stage, DeWees chugged some sort of clear liquid directly from a Barr Hill Gin bottle, while Douglas, who would naturally prefer copious cups of black coffee, had to make do with lemon tea and honey as he gamely fought through a bought of laryngitis.The first half of the evening was dedicated toward Douglas’ career, with DeWees and Douglas rifting on his book, reminding everyone how cheap the former governor is (for the birth of his son he waited until midnight to take his wife Dorothy to the hospital, despite her already being in labor, because he didn’t want to pay for an extra day), and finishing with a Q&A from the audience.When asked what he was most proud of as governor, Douglas said that he wanted to be a dedicated, hard-working chief executive and he believes he achieved that; he also was proud of the success of his health care plan (Blueprint for Health, aimed at overall wellness and to improve care for people with chronic illnesses).He was also asked if he would run for US Senate if Bernie Sanders became president.In the intermission that followed, and before the audience participated in the trivia contest, DeWees entertained those eating cookies and drinking cockTALES by pitching his sponsors, especially, but not limited to, Aubushon Hardware (“Fun to say, hard to spell” Awbuchon, Aubuchon) with helper Beth Gadbois flinging Darn Tough Socks, bars of chocolate and jars of arnica rub into the audience while he spoke hyperbolically about the people and the products “…run down to the Green GodDESS for a Tree Hugger breakfast sandwedge” or “…hike up the MouINN road to the BawDY Lounge.”The second half of the program was dedicated to frivolity. DeWees and Douglas cross-dressed, with Rusty coming out in a shirt and tie and Douglas donning a Logger-type kit, replete with red-checked vest and blue jeans, though with a Governor Douglas flair: the pants didn’t quite reach the top of his boots, and were pressed into what looked like drywall corners.Four audience members volunteered to answer the Vermont history questions, but DeWees couldn’t entice any women to get on stage, not even “them CraftsBERRY girls.”Sampling of Trivia Questions (answers below):What was Jim Douglas’ major in college?Instead of Middlebury, he almost went where to college (and why not?)When did Vermont join the United States to become the 14th state?What is the state drink?Three vice presidents were born in Vermont, who were they (hint, two became prezEEdent)?Who are the three Olympic skiers from Stowe?Who was the first governor President Obama met with in the Oval Office?How many times has Douglas slept in the White House?Previous to Peter Shumlin, who was the last native-born governor?The area near the roundabout at the northern intersection of the Morrisville bypass is known as what (it’s got a Dunkin’ and all manner of development)?Answers:1) Russian, the Cold War was going on; 2) Dartmouth, but back then there weren’t any girls; 3) 225 years ago TODAY! March 4, 1791; 4) Milk; 5) Chester Arthur (1881), soon followed by Levi Morton (1889, former ambassador to France who drove the first rivet during the assembly of the Statue of Liberty) and Calvin Coolidge (1921); 6) Tiger Shaw, 1984, 1988; Billy Kidd, 1964; Marvin Moriarty was 17 in 1956; 7) Jim Douglas, who helped the president move back into place one of the famous striped couches after the press left; 8) George W Bush invited Mr & Mrs Douglas five consecutive years for a total of 10 nights, the last of which was in the Lincoln Bedroom, “I remember it was an uncomfortable bed;” 9) Deane Davis, 1969; 10) Little Williston; 11) Douglas’ only loss came against Patrick Leahy in a tight 1992 US Senate race; 12) Apparently when one has been in politics for more than 40 years the words “Yes” and “No” get scrubbed from one’s vocabulary. After going on for some time about the dysfunction in Washington and the lack of camaraderie among Senate colleagues, Governor Douglas indicated that he would not run for US Senate if it became available (at least that’s what we think he said, maybe.)Rusty DeWees’ Winter Star Series concludes this weekend, March 4 & 5 at the Stowe Town Hall with “The Logger and the Fellers.” The comedy and music program begins at 7:30; admission is $25.last_img read more

Condos: Good government solutions and earned trust

first_imgby VT Secretary of State Jim Condos Smart, focused and efficient government helps Vermonters, so why does it seem that levels of frustration and distrust are at an all-time high? I believe that listening to your customers, cutting red tape, finding efficiencies, and increasing transparency are all keys to earning that trust. At the Secretary of State’s Office, we serve Vermonters in many ways, including: overseeing the state’s elections, registering its businesses, licensing its professionals, managing its records, providing information, assistance and educational materials related to municipal and open government laws. We balance these critical priorities with Vermonters’ ability to afford them – ensuring fee revenue is spent wisely.  Recent news about broken contracting practices, failed Information Technology (IT) projects, and budget deficits are discouraging and don’t inspire confidence.      In my time as a City Councilor (18 years), State Senator (8 years), and Secretary of State (5+ years), I’ve heard it all regarding government reforms and efficiency. I am encouraged by recent conversations about change and meaningful reform. However, experience tells me – be skeptical – good intentions often become superficial calls to action that do not translate to real structural, long-term solutions. The Secretary of State’s Office has worked hard to fulfill its mission while upholding high standards, increasing efficiency while providing quality customer service. Our talented staff works smart and implements creative and flexible solutions to business problems.We have successfully completed four technology projects by focusing on solutions meeting the needs of the customers and the agency while improving cohesiveness and integration, creating efficiencies and reducing redundancies. We have implemented a new website and major overhauls of IT systems for three Divisions – Professional Regulation, Corporations, and Elections. These projects reduce processing times, eliminate paper/postage, and increase the public’s access to information.  Our implementations succeed because we “measure twice and cut once.” Before we go out to bid on a project, we study and improve our business processes and focus on customer service, and public protection.Government must review its mission, strategy, and processes, then streamline as necessary to right-size its programs.  Regulation should be risk-based and implemented only when absolutely necessary.  It’s not acceptable to follow a process because “we’ve always done it that way.” With every existing practice, we must ask “Why?” and “What are we trying to accomplish?”More than 30 years’ experience in the business sector taught me the value of listening to customers and front-line staff to achieve excellence in customer service.  This instills confidence and trust, providing for stability and predictability. I’ve spent countless hours talking about transparency in towns across the state, aimed at improving openness and accountability. Transparency in government drives:·        Measurable results and outcomes – engaging in clear and respectful exchanges with external and internal customers and stakeholders;·        Breaking down government silos – ending the old entrenched ways which will allow us to pool resources;·        Public confidence – by letting the sun shine in, we achieve greater accountability, prevent overspending and inappropriate contracting; and·        An authentic culture of accountability in government – as the Vermont Constitution demands!There are many opportunities for the State to listen to Vermonters, streamline its programs, and open its doors to inspection, constructive criticism, and improvement. By focusing on our core functions and mission, we improve the essentials. Hard work, efficiency and common sense solutions are not Republican, Progressive or Democratic values; they are Vermont values. Here at the Secretary of State’s office, we work hard every day to uphold these values and strive to promote confidence in government through excellent customer service, innovation, and accountability.I believe if our government is transparent, accountable and focused, it can improve Vermonters’ lives and earn their trust and respect.last_img read more