Middlebury College, Norwich University to compete in Solar Decathlon 2013

first_imgSenator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and Congressman Peter Welch (D) Thursday said the selection of Middlebury College and Norwich University to compete in Solar Decathalon 2013, accounting for ten percent of the entire field of 20 schools selected by the U.S. Department of Energy, burnishes Vermont’s already prominent place on the renewable energy map. The 20 teams from colleges and universities across the United States and from around the world will now begin a two-year process to build solar-powered, highly energy-efficient homes that combine affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence.  Throughout the two-year process, the teams will design, build and test their homes before reassembling them at the Solar Decathlon 2013 competition site, in Orange County, Calif.  As part of the Solar Decathlon, teams compete in ten different categories, ranging from best architecture and engineering to energy production for heating and cooling, while gaining invaluable real-world experience in a growing global industry.  Last year, Middlebury College was the first Vermont school to compete in the Solar Decathlon.  Using local Vermont products and a New England farmhouse design, Middlebury came in fourth out of 19 schools in the 2011 Decathlon and was also the first school without an engineering or architecture department to compete on its own. Also announced Thursday was the news that the competition will be moved from the National Mall in Washington, D.C. —  where it has been held since 2002 — to the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif., where  the 20 student teams in the fall of 2013 will showcase their solar-powered houses,  highlighting renewable energy systems and energy-efficient technologies, products and appliances that are already available to homeowners.  Leahy said, ‘Vermonters are proud of Middlebury and Norwich and to be home to such strong contenders.  It is a testament to the strength of these schools that their designs were chosen to compete against teams from around the world.  Vermont’s innovators already are helping to shape America’s energy future.  We wish them luck and all of us in the Green Mountain State will be closely following their progress.’ Sanders said, ‘I congratulate Middlebury College and Norwich University on being selected by the Department of Energy as two of the 20 competitors in the 2013 Solar Decathlon. This competition challenges students to build attractive and energy-efficient solar homes that demonstrate that solar energy is affordable and practical. Middlebury students did a great job constructing a solar home to compete in this competition last year, and I look forward to both the Middlebury and Norwich entries in 2013.’ Welch said, “Vermont schools like Middlebury and Norwich are leading the effort to find pragmatic, affordable ways to reduce energy use and save people money. As we work to chart a new energy future, one thing we can all agree on is that using less energy is a good place to start. Efforts like the solar decathlon are integral as we work to make progress. Congratulations to both schools and I wish them the best of luck.”(THURSDAY, Jan. 26) ‘last_img read more

FairPoint Communications sells payphone operations

first_imgConsolidated Communications,FairPoint Communications, Inc (FRP) has agreed to sell its payphone business in northern New England, including Vermont, to Pacific Telemanagement Services (PTS).  PTS is the single largest payphone provider in the country, operating nationwide.”Payphones have seen dramatic decreases in usage over the last decade and the trend is likely to continue,” said Ajay Sabherwal, executive vice president and chief financial officer. “We believe we can best deploy our resources to focus on our core lines of business including bringing more broadband service to northern New England.”  The American Public Communications Council estimates there are fewer than 500,000 payphones in the United States, down from 2.6 million in 1998, and independent payphone service providers ‘similar to PTS ‘operate 90 percent of them.In recent years, other telecom companies have also exited this business, including Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.FairPoint operates approximately 4,000 payphones across northern New England. The payphone business accounts for only about $1 million in annual revenue and due to the decrease in usage is becoming increasingly unprofitable.   PTS will purchase monthly access from FairPoint for any payphones it continues to operate after the deal is closed.  FairPoint and PTS expect the deal will close later this year. CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/last_img read more

NCH Wellness Center joins with North Country Supervisory Union employees

first_imgNorth Country Hospital,On May 31, the Wellness Center at North Country Hospital and the North Country Supervisory Union signed an agreement that will now allow 10  local schools and education centers to be granted Corporate Memberships to The Wellness Center. With this Corporate Membership, approximately 500 local employees of the North Country Supervisory Union will be able to take unlimited classes and workshops with The Wellness Center. Merrilyn Barry, Wellness Center Business Manager, Nancy Griffith, Business Administrative Assistant for North Country Supervisory Union (NCSU), and Mary Hoadley, Manager of the Wellness Center, sign agreement that will provide free Wellness Center Classes to all employees of NCSU. Mary Hoadley, Wellness Center Manager,said about this new arrangement with the North Country Supervisory Union.  â This is the first formal agreement we have had with schools in the area.  I am eager to welcome all the new members, and I look forward to working with the schools to enhance the wellness of those employees who participate.âNorth Country Hospitalâ s Wellness Center, located at 1734 Crawford Farm Road, Newport is open to the public and offers fitness classes, educational workshops and several types of support groups. Source: North Country Hospitallast_img read more

Governor Shumlin makes appointments to public boards

first_imgGovernor Peter Shumlin made the following appointments as of Dec. 28, 2012Selective Service Board:             APPROVED:  Paul Hinman, Ilse La Motte            APPROVED:  Phoebe McCosker, ThetfordStatewide Independent Living council: APPOINTED:  Whitney Nichols, BrattleboroAPPOINTED:  Claudia Pringles, MontpelierAPPOINTED:  Maureen Mayo, NorthfieldGovernors Commission on Employment of People with Disabilities: APPOINTED:  Jeremy Metcalf, Milton    State Rehabilitation Council: APPOINTED:  Laban Hill, BurlingtonDevelopmental Disabilities Council: APPOINTED:  Catherine Hybels, NorwichVermont Municipal Bond Bank: REAPPOINTED:  David Coates, ColchesterREAPPOINTED:  Kathryn Boardman, ShelburneGovernors Council on Energy and the Environment: REAPPOINTED:  Arthur Berndt, Sharon -CHAIRREAPPOINTED:  Jan Blittersdorf Blomstrann, BurlingtonREAPPOINTED:  Paul Burns, MontpelierREAPPOINTED:  Elizabeth CourtneyREAPPOINTED:  Brian Dunkiel, BurlingtonREAPPOINTED:  Monty Fischer, MontpelierREAPPOINTED:  Crea Lintilhac, ShelburneREAPPOINTED:  Scott Johnstone,REAPPOINTED: Charlie Kireker, WeybridgeREAPPOINTED:  Bill Stetson, NorwichREAPPOINTED:  John Warshow, MarshfieldREAPPOINTED:  Mary Powell, South HeroREAPPOINTED:  Ben Rose, WillistonREAPPOINTED:  Dorothy Wolfe, StraffordREAPPOINTED:  Robert Woolmington, BenningtonREAPPOINTED:  Jon Erickson, BurlingtonREAPPOINTED:  Andrea Colnes, East MontpelierLivestock Care Standards Advisory Council: APPOINTED:  Londa Nwadike, BarreVermont Labor Relations Board: APPOINTED:  Edward Clark, GuildhallREAPPOINTED:  Alan Willard, WoodstockJudicial Nominating Board: REAPPOINTED:  Kathleen Pellett, ChesterREAPPOINTED:  Joseph Watson, LiecesterDental Examiners: APPOINTED:  Mimi Kevan, RandolphBoard of Pharmacy: APPOINTED:  James Arisman, MarshfieldVermont Criminal Justice Training Council: REAPPOINTED:  David Fenster, Addison County States Attorneylast_img read more

Welch to announce bill to streamline student financial aid application process on Wednesday

first_imgVermont Student Assistance Corporation,With college acceptance letters beginning to arrive and Vermonters working to figure out how to finance a higher education, Representative Peter Welch on Wednesday will announce legislation to ease the burden of applying for federal financial aid for Vermont students and families.   Welch will make the announcement at the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) in Winooski with VSAC President and CEO Don Vickers, VSAC Executive Director Scott Giles, and a Vermont student and family working to navigate the student financial aid process.  The press conference will begin at 11:30 a.m. in the VSAC library. BURLINGTON, Vt. (Feb. 19, 2013) ‘ Welch’s officelast_img

Former oral surgeon sentenced for Medicaid fraud

first_imgAttorney General William H Sorrell has announced that Peter B Gray, age 54, of Dorset, Vermont, was sentenced on February 28, 2013, in Vermont Superior Court for Rutland County, on two felony counts of Medicaid fraud and two misdemeanor counts of false pretense. Gray, a former oral surgeon who practiced in Rutland, Vermont, was convicted on January 9, 2013, for fraudulently billing the Vermont Medicaid program for more expensive procedures than the procedures that he actually performed.Judge Theresa S. DiMauro sentenced Gray to six months to six years imprisonment, all suspended, except Gray will be incarcerated for 110 days in home confinement. Gray was also placed on four years of probation. In addition to standard conditions of probation, the Court imposed a special condition requiring Gray to participate in substance abuse and mental health counseling.Gray will also make restitution to the Vermont Medicaid program in the amount of $50,000. As a collateral consequence of his Medicaid fraud convictions, Gray will be prohibited from participating as a provider in the Medicaid program for at least five years. Gray’ s dental license is currently under suspension by the Office of Professional Regulation.‘ The Medicaid program plays a critical role in the delivery of quality health care to Vermont citizens,’ said Attorney General William Sorrell. ‘ Provider fraud costs us all money with no benefit to anyone’ s health. We hope this case serves as a strong deterrent to those providers who would take advantage of the system and lie about the care that they provide to Vermont Medicaid beneficiaries.’Vermont Attorney General, February 28, 2013last_img read more

Senate adopts Leahy amendment to invest in gigabit broadband networks in rural areas

first_imgSenator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) won passage of his amendment to the Farm Bill to establish a pilot program within the Rural Utilities Service Broadband Program to invest in broadband projects offering ultra-high speed gigabit Internet service in rural areas.  Leahy’s amendment was approved in a vote of 48 to 38, just before the Senate gave final passage to the Farm Bill in a vote of 66 to 27. Leahy said, ‘Next generation gigabit networks have the potential to transform rural areas.  Rural America has so much to offer, but without the great equalizer of high-speed Internet, rural communities cannot live up to their full potential.  Investing in next generation networks now will help ensure that rural areas do not fall even farther behind.’   Leahy’s pilot program will allow the Rural Utilities Service to invest in up to five ultra-high speed networks in rural areas over the next five years.  Leahy  believes Vermont would be an excellent candidate for one of the projects.  Gigabit Internet speeds are approximately 100 times faster than the average high-speed Internet connection.  High profile gigabit projects, including the Google Fiber project in Kansas City, are bringing public awareness to the capabilities of the next generation of broadband networks.  WASHINGTON (MONDAY, June 10, 2013) ‘Leahy’s officelast_img read more

FairPoint, unions making progress on settling strike

first_imgAllison Beck, Acting Director of the US Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), issued the following statement today on behalf of FairPoint Communications Inc, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), and the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The bitter strike affecting workers in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine began on October 17.Statement: “FairPoint Communications, Inc, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Council T-9 and the Communications Workers of America Local 1400, collectively agree to announce that the parties continue, with the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, to work towards new collective bargaining agreements and that progress is being made. Any statements or assertions made by any other party are not authorized by the Company or the Unions.”As is Agency practice, the FMCS is not releasing additional information regarding meeting dates and locations. In addition, the FMCS will have no further comment at this time regarding the status or substance of the negotiations.The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, created in 1947, is an independent US government agency whose mission is to preserve and promote labor-management peace and cooperation. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 10 district offices and 67 field offices, the agency provides mediation and conflict resolution services to industry, government agencies and communities.SOURCE: Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2015. PHOTO: FairPoint union members and supporters rally at the State House in November. 08-02-14 refers to the day the previous contract expired. VBM photo.last_img read more

Analysis: More jobs, lower wages

first_imgPublic Assets Institute Vermont employers added almost 20,000 jobs after the official end of the recession in June 2009. But most of that gain merely made up for lost ground. Before the recession, non-farm payroll jobs in Vermont peaked at 309,600 in June 2007. Last month, with employers adding 1,000 jobs, the total reached a new high of 314,700.Vermont’s jobless rate has remained among the lowest in the country for the last few years. But younger workers are not sharing that good fortune. According to US Census data, unemployment among men ages 20 to 24 was just under 8 percent in 2014, and about 10 percent for women in that age group. The jobless rate for 45-to-64-year-old women was about half the state average.Lower low wagesAfter accounting for inflation, many Vermont workers earned lower wages in 2014 than they did five years earlier. People at the top of the pay scale saw their real wages grow the most. Those at the bottom lost the most.RELATED: Vermont’s June unemployment rate unchanged at 3.6 percentSee more at: http://publicassets.org/library/publications/good-news-more-jobs-bad-news-lower-wages/#sthash.816N3Xob.dpuf(link is external)last_img read more

Phil Scott makes it official, enters race for governor

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott made it official Tuesday one day after WCAX-TV reported from the Northfield Labor Day Parade that Scott would run for governor. The popular contractor and race car driver is the second Republican to jump in following Bruce Lisman’s announcement last week. Last year’s runnerup to Governor Peter Shumlin is also considering a run. WCAX reported that businessman Scott Milne also said at the parade that he is still considering another run for governor. Meanwhile, the only Democrats to have declared so far are Speaker of the House Shap Smith and Google executive and 2010 candidate Matt Dunne.RELATED STORIESMatt Dunne announces he will run for governorBruce Lisman to run for Vermont governor as RepublicanShap Smith announces run for governorLieutenant Governor Phil Scott StatementAs you know, over the last several months I’ve contemplated how I can best serve Vermonters in the future.After much reflection, many conversations and much encouragement, I will be a candidate for Governor in 2016.  Let me be very clear, I’ve made this decision because I believe too many families and employers are on the economic edge.  For them to thrive and our state to prosper we must revitalize the fundamentals of a strong, healthy economy that expands the middle class, lifts wages, and attracts working families, entrepreneurs and new jobs.To make Vermont more affordable I am determined to restore fiscal responsibility and sustainable spending, bring state government into the 21st century and resist legislation — from taxes to household fees and monthly bills — that will increase the costs of living in Vermont.The experience of being a member of the minority the entire time I’ve served in the Legislature and as Lt. Governor has taught me that it’s important to consider all reasonable solutions, no matter what side of the aisle those ideas may come from. Open-mindedness is one of my values, and I’m proud to have served with others who share that core belief. Unfortunately, commonsense cooperation among a minority of public servants hasn’t been enough to steady and steer Vermont toward greater affordability. Too many have eagerly wagered our future on outdated or unproven policies, and continued to “double down” with your money when those bets haven’t paid off. The bottom line is this:  It is time for Vermont to move in a different direction, beginning with a change in the Governor’s office.I will be a steady hand at the helm, provide balanced leadership that values listening, stand up for working families and confront our crisis of affordability in meaningful ways. Practical leadership that delivers — instead of overpromising — will rebuild faith and trust in government and move Vermont forward in very positive ways. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll file the paperwork, assemble the team, and begin to raise the resources necessary to win. You can expect a formal announcement later in the fall.  In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you, and learning more from you, as I continue to travel across Vermont. Thank you for your encouragement and support.  Sincerely,Phillast_img read more