0

Gov Douglas Appoints New Connecticut River Commissioners

first_imgGovernor Jim Douglas has appointed Kenneth Bishop ofSpringfield and Norman Wright of Putney to serve on Vermont’s ConnecticutRiver Watershed Advisory Commission.Bishop, a lifelong dairy farmer, is president of the 550-member WindsorCounty Farm Bureau, and chairman of the Windsor County Agricultural Fair,which is held annually in Springfield. Bishop reports that his parents andgrandparents acquired 200 acres of prime agricultural land in Springfieldafter construction of the Bellows Falls Dam, and the family has farmedthere ever since. Bishop sold his herd in 1990.”I’ve worked all my life next to the Connecticut River as a farmer,”Bishop observes. “I have already learned a lot more about the river sincebeing appointed.”Norman Wright, a former state representative and commissioner of the Fishand Wildlife department, served until last year as chief executiveofficer of the Vermont Hospital Association. He is a member of theexecutive committee of Windham Regional Planning Commission and chair ofits Community Development and Housing Committee.”As a Vermonter and resident of the Connecticut River Valley for the lastfifty years, I see no other natural resource used and enjoyed by so many,”commented Wright. “We must preserve and protect it for the future.”Vermont’s fifteen-member Connecticut River Commission has worked with itsNew Hampshire counterpart since 1989 to guide growth and development inthe river valley. The diverse backgrounds of their commissioners are partof their secret to success.The Joint Commissions hold a monthly public forum to consider issuesaffecting the Connecticut River and its watershed. The most recent meetingdrew local officials, planners, and state land use regulators for adiscussion of how the valley bottom’s soils from glacial Lake Hitchcockcan affect land use. This month’s forum, scheduled for January 26, willfocus upon progress in developing the Connecticut River Birding Trail andupdating the Connecticut River Corridor Management Plan.last_img read more

0

Lyndonville Savings Bank announces results

first_imgLyndonville Savings Bank Increases Dividend&Again LYNDONVILLE, VT– Charles Bucknam, President of Lyndonville Savings Bank announced that the Bank will pay a dividend of $.12 per share on July 12, 2004 to stockholders of record June 23, 2004. This represents a 9.0% increase in the dividend and the fourth increase in the past year reflecting continued improvement in the banks earnings. Net income for the six months ended June 30, 2004 (un-audited) amounted to $650,737 compared to $450,314 for the first six months of 2003 representing a 44.0% increase. The annualized return on average assets was 0.89 in the first half of 2004 compared to 0.66 for the same period in 2003. Total assets were $149,857,012 as of June 30, 2004 compared to $138,606,035 as of June 30, 2003. According to Bucknam, the significant year-to-year improvement in earnings is a direct result of improvements in the quality of the banks loan portfolio, a strong investment portfolio, and higher levels of non-interest income. The improvement in earnings was achieved even as the bank and the industry in general, faced continued pressure on net interest margins with the Federal Reserves policy of maintaining historically low interest rates. Bucknam attributes the growth in assets to our staffs continued commitment to deliver quality service and products to customers. Lyndonville Savings Bank stock has recently traded in the $16.00 – $16.25 per share range. The current annual dividend yield is 3.00% based upon a $16.00 per share price. Lyndonville Savings Bank services its customers from branches in Lyndonville, St. Johnsbury, Derby, Vergennes, and Enosburg Falls.last_img read more

0

GMP shareholders approve sale

first_imgGREEN MOUNTAIN POWER SHAREHOLDERSVOTE IN FAVOR OF ACQUISITIONBY NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND ENERGY CORPORATION,A SUBSIDIARY OF GAZ MÉTRO LIMITED PARTNERSHIPCOLCHESTER, VT&. Green Mountain Power Corporation (NYSE: GMP) shareholders on October 31, 2006,overwhelmingly approved a proposed agreement and plan of merger with Northern NewEngland Energy Corporation (NNEEC) and its wholly-owned subsidiary Northstars MergerSubsidiary Corporation. The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2007,pending state and federal regulatory approval.This transaction has clear benefits for our customers, and, we believe, for the entire state ofVermont, said Chris Dutton, president and CEO of Green Mountain Power.As we seek energy sources to power Vermonts future, we recognize that we will have tocompete in a volatile energy market with large, sophisticated players. We believe our customerswill benefit from our new owners financial strength and market depth when we negotiate newpower contracts to replace the expiring long-term contracts with Vermont Yankee and HydroQuébec. In fact, immediately after the announcement of the acquisition, both S&P and Moodyscredit rating agencies upgraded the outlook on Green Mountain Power, said Mr. Dutton.NNEEC is a Vermont corporation and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gaz Métro LimitedPartnership (TSX-GZM.UN), a leading Québec energy company with a long history of investmentin Vermont. NNEEC has been the parent company of Vermont Gas Systems since 1986.The Board of Directors of Green Mountain Power approved this transaction because webelieve it provides a fair price to shareholders and will improve the financial strength of thecompany, said Nordahl Brue, chairman of Green Mountain Powers Board of Directors.Mr. Dutton said that the transaction will provide further benefits to customers through thecreation of the Green Mountain Power Efficiency Fund. The new Efficiency Fund will providemore than $9 million in benefits for Green Mountain Power customers, Mr. Dutton said. It willinvest in demand side management and other innovative efficiency programs, including, potentially,combined heat and power, district heating, distributed generation and renewable generation.Green Mountain Power will continue to be managed by its current leadership team and theCompany will continue to operate out of its existing offices in Vermont. Employees will beretained and the current labor contract with IBEW Local 300 will continue in place. The Companywill remain under the jurisdiction of state and federal regulators.More than 97 percent of the shareholders present or represented at a special shareholdersmeeting voted for approval of the merger agreement. The votes cast represented 72 percent of thetotal shares outstanding and eligible to vote. Authorization of the agreement and plan of mergerrequired approval by a vote of a majority of the outstanding shares.On June 22, 2006, Green Mountain Power Corporation and Northern New England EnergyCorporation announced a merger agreement whereby Green Mountain Power would become awholly-owned subsidiary of NNEEC in a cash transaction valued at approximately $187 million, or$35 per share.Gaz Métro is a major distributor of natural gas in Québec and the northeastern United States.In addition, the company operates businesses providing district heating and urban waterrehabilitation services in Québec and Ontario. As of the end of 2005, Gaz Métro had assets of morethan $2.5 billion (Canadian). Gaz Métro is also the parent company of Vermont Gas Systems,which has 115 Vermont-based employees. Gaz Métro currently has a strong credit rating that, inrecent years, has been higher than Green Mountain Powers current BBB rating.Green Mountain Power is a public utility operating company that transmits, distributes andsells electricity and utility construction services in the State of Vermont in a service territory withapproximately one quarter of Vermonts population. It serves approximately 90,000 customers.Forward-looking StatementsThis news release contains forward looking statements about Green Mountain Power. Statements that are nothistorical or current facts, including statements about beliefs and expectations are forward looking statements. Thesestatements often include the words may, could, would, should, believes, expects, anticipates,estimates, intends, plans, targets, potentially, probably, projects, outlook, or similar expressions. Theseforward-looking statements cover, among other things, anticipated future plans and prospects of Green MountainPower. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and Green Mountain Power undertakes noobligation to update them in light of new information or future events.Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, and many factors could cause actual resultsto differ materially from those anticipated, including those described in the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the yearended December 31, 2005, of Green Mountain Power, which you should read carefully, as well as the companys otherfilings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC). The following factors, among others, could causeactual results to differ materially from the anticipated results or other expectations expressed in the forward-lookingstatements: (1) the businesses of Green Mountain Power and NNEECs subsidiary Northstars Merger SubsidiaryCorporation may not be combined successfully, or such combination may take longer, be more difficult, timeconsumingor costly to accomplish than expected; and (2) governmental approvals of the merger may not be obtained,or adverse regulatory conditions may be imposed in connection with governmental approvals of the merger.– 30 —last_img read more

0

Vermont’s General Fund finishes year with surplus; Education, Transportation down

first_imgVermont’s General Fund finishes year with surplus; Education, Transportation downMontpelier, VT – Secretary of Administration Michael K Smith announced on July 18, 2008, the fiscal year 2008 revenue results for the state of Vermont: the General Fund surpassed fiscal year 2008 revenue targets by $9.87 million; transportation and education fund revenues were below target for the fiscal year.General FundSecretary of Administration Michael K. Smith today released General Fund revenue results for the final month of fiscal year 2008. End-of-year General Fund revenues totaled $1,199.57 million, $9.87 million above the cumulative General Fund revenue targets for FY2008. Secretary Smith noted, “Unlike many states struggling with general revenue fund deficits, Vermont ended the 2008 fiscal year with a revenue surplus. This is very good news. General Fund revenues, for the month of June, finished under -$0.68 million or -0.63% below the consensus revenue target for the month, but revenue strength throughout the year was strong and contributed to the surplus.”The revenue targets reflect the most recent fiscal year 2008 Consensus Revenue Forecast that was agreed to by the Emergency Board in April. The State’s Consensus Revenue Forecast is normally updated two times per year in January and July; this year, there was an additional meeting held in April. The next Emergency Board meeting is scheduled for July 29, 2008 at 2:30 p.m. in the Pavilion Building.The majority of the higher than projected, year-to-date, General Fund revenue can be traced to the two income taxes. The Personal Income Tax (+$11.82 million or +1.94%) and the Corporate Tax (+$1.70 million or +2.35%) both completed the fiscal year ahead of the year-to-date April consensus forecast. The Sales and Use Tax ended the fiscal year at $225.45 million, which was -$4.48 million or -1.95% below the yearly target, but up 1.33% from the prior year. The Rooms and Meals Tax ended the fiscal year at $121.03 million, which was -$1.67 million or -1.36% below the yearly target, but up 5.34% compared to the prior year.Transportation FundSecretary Smith announced that the Transportation Fund finished the fiscal year at $223.05 million, which was -$3.14 million below the yearly target. Four out of the five major components of the Transportation Fund, including the Gasoline Tax, the Diesel Fuel Tax, the MV Purchase & Use Tax, and Other Fees were below their respective targets for the fiscal year. The Gasoline Tax ended the year at $62.59 million, which was -0.18% below yearly targets. The Diesel Tax ended the year at $16.59 million, which was -3.03% below yearly targets. The MV Purchase and Use Tax ended the year at $52.69 million, which was -2.42% below yearly targets. Using reversions of carryforwards ensures ending the year without a deficit and with a full 5% Transportation Fund stabilization reserve. This fund finished the month of June 2008 at $23.80 million, which is -$1.67 million below the monthly revenue target.Education FundSecretary Smith reported that the Education Fund cumulative revenue will finish the fiscal year at $158.87 million, approximately -$3.40 million or -2.09% below the cumulative revenue forecast of $162.27 million for the fiscal year. As a result of expenditures coming in lower than anticipated, the Education Fund will end the year without a deficit and with a full 5% Education Fund stabilization reserve. The preliminary June non-property tax Education Fund revenue (which constitutes about 13% of total Education Fund receipts) was below expectations by -$0.97 million.Conclusion”Unlike many states, Vermont is very fortunate to end the fiscal year with a General Fund revenue surplus. The Transportation and Education Funds will also balance after final adjustments are made. All of these results will be considered very carefully by the Emergency Board when they meet later in July to review the State’s Consensus Revenue Forecast for Fiscal Year 2009,” noted Smith.last_img read more

0

Governor announces Climate Change Grant Program

first_imgGovernor announces Climate Change Grant ProgramFunds will help towns reduce energy use, save money and promote green jobsMONTPELIER (November 20, 2008) Governor Jim Douglas today unveiled the Vermont Community Climate Change Grant Program, which will make $360,000 available to local communities for improving energy efficiency, saving tax dollars and strengthening local economies.”Among the key recommendations of my Commission on Climate Change was the call to expand Vermont’s efficiency efforts,” Douglas said. “We’ve always had a tradition of coming up with some of the best solutions at the local level and I believe we need to foster that innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.”The funding for this initiative comes from the first installment of Vermont’s $1.8 million, five-year settlement payout against American Electric Power Corp., the nation’s largest operator of coal-fired power plants.Vermont currently has 60 town energy committees or comparable local volunteer groups helping their communities improve efficiency and promote renewable and low-carbon energy choices.”I know that Vermont municipalities and taxpayers are eager to reduce energy costs and minimize the impact of rising costs on property taxes.”The Agency of Natural Resources will administer the grant program. Up to $12,000 will be awarded for projects and local communities will be required to provide a 10 percent match.For more information and to download an application, visit the agency website at:http://www.anr.state.vt.us/air/Planning/htm/ClimateChange.htm(link is external), or call 802-241-3840.Background:Vermont and seven other states (Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island) and 13 citizen groups first sued American Electric Power Corp. in 1999 under the federal Clean Air Act.American Electric Power Corp. is the nation’s largest operator of coal-burning power plants. The settlement ended eight years of litigation in which the company admitted no wrongdoing.The settlement will apply to AEP’s entire system east of the Mississippi River, which consists of 16 plants with 46 electric generating units, located in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. The release of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides contributes to the formation of ozone and acid rain in Vermont.Vermont will receive five installments, each for approximately $360,000. In future years, the money will be used to fund programs that improve Vermont’s air quality, public health and the environment.Under a joint project with Vermont, New York has agreed to dedicate $500,000 of its 2009 share of the settlement to be spent on a fish and habitat restoration project for Lake Champlain.AEP must pay $60 million for projects designed to mitigate the effects of many years of excess pollution from its plants. In addition, AEP will have to pay a $15 million civil penalty to the United States.###last_img read more

0

Governor signs senior protection and financial services law

first_imgOn Monday, June 1, at the Waterbury Area Senior Center, Governor Jim Douglas signed into law H.222, An Act Relating to Senior Protection and Financial Services.  It contains several provisions to protect older Vermonters who purchase certain types of lending and insurance products.  The Governor was joined by area seniors, Administration officials, aging issues advocates, and representatives from the American Council of Life Insurers, the Vermont Mortgage Bankers Association and the Vermont Bankers Association, among others.Governor Douglas said, “As we all know, these are difficult economic times.  Life can be especially difficult for senior citizens on fixed incomes and reduced retirement savings.  It’s unfortunate that during economic turndowns we often see a rise in predatory and exploitive practices by a few bad apples.  This bill helps protect the financial resources of older Vermonters by prohibiting opportunistic and unscrupulous practices that take advantage of seniors’ financial fears and circumstances.  It also helps ensure that those conducting legitimate financial business with seniors are held to the highest professional standards and can offer products in a fair and regulatedmarket…”last_img read more

0

Federal emergency unemployment compensation in Vermont still up in the air

first_imgThe Vermont Department of Labor (VDOL) provided today information on the status of the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation 2008 (EUC 08) program.While discussions in Congress continue, Congress has still not acted on authorizing new entitlement under the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) program. EUC08 has two tiers for which Vermont currently qualifies. Tier 1 provides up to 20 weeks and Tier 2 provides up to 14 weeks of additional benefits. While individuals are still receiving EUC payments under their current Tier, absent Congress taking action, Vermont is not authorized to establish new EUC Tier entitlement. Qualifying new unemployment claimants will still be able to collect regular unemployment benefits of up to 26 weeks.At this time, the lack of an extension is currently impacting approximately 140 claimants per week who either have or soon will exhaust their regular benefits (26 weeks).The Vermont Department of Labor recognizes this is a difficult period for some who may have been counting on the additional benefits beyond the traditional 26 weeks. In the event Congress passes another extension, Vermont has developed a process where individuals may elect to continue filing for benefits using the weekly claims on-line application. This continuation of filing will enable Vermont to release payment upon passage to eligible claimants. Individuals in this situation are being provided a notice advising them to report to their nearest career resource center to set up their claim for continued filing.In addition, Federal Additional Compensation (FAC) stimulus payment of twenty-five ($25) dollars will be brought to complete phase out effective December 11, 2010. This means, based on federal law, no FAC will be paid beyond the December 11, 2010 date.The Vermont Department of Labor has 12 career resource centers and satellite offices that will continue to provide Vermonters assistance with job seeking skills and strategies including a compilation of occupational data for those interested in career changes or new entrants to the workforce. In addition, the Department continues their collaboration with Community College of Vermont to offer the Career Readiness Certificate training, free of charge, to Vermonters interested in bolstering their work readiness skills. The Department has a variety of federal and state training programs to assist unemployed individuals seeking work and/or employers needing to train new hires. Regional career resource center staff can assist folks interested in learning more about these opportunities. For a list of the Department’s resource centers and other information, visit www.labor.vermont.gov(link is external).last_img read more

0

Early educators bring message of quality education to statehouse

first_imgOver 175 women (and a few men) in blue t-shirts turned out at the state capitol today as early educators from across the state gathered to support legislation giving them a voice in making decisions to improve the quality of early childhood education.‘This is about children and the quality of care that we are able to provide. This is also about professionalism and respect for the 10,000 early educators who care for kids every single day,’ said Cathi Ste. Marie, who owns and operates a certified home care for 14 children in North Troy ‘I, and all the early educators here today are not babysitters ‘ we are professionals who care deeply about the children we are entrusted with. And our children will be better served if we are here as full partners in this process.’H.97 has received hearings in the House and has been endorsed by Governor Shumlin, former Governor Howard Dean, 53 Representatives and 11 Senators from all 3 major parties.The bill has also drawn support from parents and community members like Rebecca Haslam who spoke at today’s event on the value of early education to parents:‘I’m a first grade teacher, the former President of the Burlington Education Association, a member of the Vermont NEA, AND I’m the mother of a nine month old. I know kids. And I’m here today to say that early education is good for kids, good for families and essential to Vermont.’Legislators agreed on the importance of the legislation, and promised to double their efforts to move it swiftly through the committee process:‘Early education isn’t just good FOR business, it IS good business,’ said Tim Ashe a leading sponsor of the bill in the Senate. ‘Over 70% of our kids are in child care at least part time. The vast majority of those are private businesses with local customers and local employees. Passing this legislation is essential for our economy.’‘We know that our children are at a critical age for learning and cognitive development before they turn 5,’ explained Representative Mark Larson of Burlington. ‘We have to do everything we can to support them and make sure they get quality education and professional care at that age. I see H.97 as a vehicle to improving the system, as it allows early educators the opportunity to help shape the decisions that affect their businesses and the families they serve. That’s why I’m a sponsor of this bill and I have encouraged my colleagues to join me in supporting H.97.’last_img read more

0

New streambank restoration program helps homeowners

first_imgThe flood waters from the record breaking rainfall this spring have receded, but the damage is still visible for many homeowners that live near Lake Champlain and the many streams that feed into the lake. Vermont Organics Nursery’s Streambank Restoration Program is helping to restore and stabilize areas affected by flooding. Damaged areas are repaired, and land is stabilized against further damage and soil erosion using eco-friendly materials. BFA St. Albans students Zach Devoid and Isaac Devoid use organic burlap bags to repair a damaged streambank in St. Albans.Streambank Restoration includes: altering bank slopes to provide proper drainage, installation of energy dissipation devices constructed from field stones, and the use of organic burlap bags to help control erosion. Plants that help stabilize the soil and prevent it from becoming prone to soil erosion are grown at the Vermont Organics Nursery in St. Albans and placed throughout damaged banks.     The Streambank Restoration Program began this year with a small stream at the Vermont Organics Nursery. The stream feeds into Rugg Brook in St. Albans (an impaired watershed). After heavy rain this spring, the streambank was eroded and needed a 200 foot restoration of the banks and the channel. With an effective restoration in place, pollution impact to Rugg Brook is reduced, and water quality improved. A crew of Vermont Organics Nursery employees transformed the area with a variety of plantings including: aster, black eyed Susan, goldenrod, hairy alumroot, heartleaf foamflower, lobelia, ox-eye daisy, phlox, violet, and more.  Wetland species were planted in the water course and more upland species were planted on the banks. Plants that existed on the south side included: black cherry, boxelder, dogwood, elm, and poplar.  A fairly robust understory existed as well on the south side including: blue eyed grass, goldenrod, heartleaf foamflower, New England aster, rushes, sedges, sensitive fern, and St. Johnswort.  By establishing an effective root network, soil erosion will be reduced. Native plants do an efficient job of nutrient uptake as surface water intercepts the root system.  Utilizing good native herbaceous plants and a diverse army of species provides the best management practices for restoration, and an effective root network for soil retention.  Leadership was provided by UVM Environmental Engineering student and VOR intern Ryan Trudel and VOR’s Master Plant & Soil Scientist Sinclair Adam.  BFA St. Albans High School interns Isaac and Zach Devoid assisted with the project. Streambank Restoration. Vermont Organics Nursery  802-528-8512  email info@vermontorganics.com(link sends e-mail).last_img read more

0

Heavy wet snow knocks out power to 12,000 customers in eastern Vermont

first_imgAbout 12,000 CVPS customers are without power this morning. Heavy wet snow began building up and bringing down trees, tree limbs and lines primarily in Windham and Windsor counties around 4:30 a.m. A large transmission fault occurred at about 7 am, affecting more than 5,500 customers. Crews are working to sectionalize that problem, and restore power to those customers within the hour. The storm is expected to continue until early this afternoon, so we may also see additional outages this morning.‘Crews reported about 6 to 8 inches of heavy wet snow in Windsor and Windham counties,’ said spokeswoman Christine Rivers.The towns of Dummerston, Jamaica, Cavendish, Chester and Hartford were hit hardest earlier this morning, and now Woodstock Town and Village, among others are without power due to the transmission fault. We also have broken pole just outside the Riverside substation in Springfield.‘We will work as quickly as we safely can this morning to restore power to our customers, however we may see additional outages this morning, so numbers may go up,’ Rivers said. ‘Barring any large additional problems, power should be restored to customers by tonight.’Please check vtoutages.com and http://www.cvps.com/CustomerService/outages(link is external) for up-to-date power outage numbers by town, and page me if you need additional information.SAFETY — STAY AWAY FROM DOWNED POWER LINES Don’t touch or even go near downed wires! These wires can be energized and can cause serious injuries or death. If the line is blocking the road or in contact with a vehicle with people inside, call your local police or fire emergency number first. Then call CVPS. Instruct others to keep at least 50 feet away, and keep pets and livestock away as well.Assume all objects touching the power line are also energized. Never attempt to remove trees or limbs from any utility lines! Notify CVPS of the situation. CVPS offered several safety tips for coping with the outages:Treat any downed line as if it is live. Report the line to your local utility and fire department, stay at least 50 feet away from the line, and keep children and pets away as well.If using a generator, read and follow the owner’s manual before starting the generator. Never operate a generator inside any structure or near a structure. Use a transfer switch to ensure electricity is not accidentally fed onto a line where line crews must work.Keep freezers and refrigerators closed as much as possible to prevent food spoilage.If power goes out, turn off all electrical appliances except one light so you’ll know when service returns. Then, turn equipment back on slowly.CVPS 11.23.2011last_img read more