vermont

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont House has given final approval to a mid-fiscal-year budget adjustment that takes savings from Medicaid and uses the money to address other growing demands in human services.

The biggest new line item is more than $4.5 million for the ReachUp program, which helps people move from welfare to work. Others are $3.2 million for child development and about $2 million each for general assistance and mental health.

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont lawmakers will have money in mind for the next couple of days.

On Wednesday, the House is slated to take final action on a mid-year budget adjustment bill to respond to growing needs in human services.

Also Wednesday, the Emergency Board — made up of the governor and the four legislative money committee chairs — is scheduled to hear a new revenue forecast from two consulting economists.

Vermont environmental groups are urging the Legislature to keep efforts to stem climate change at the center of its agenda.

A half dozen groups sent representatives to a Statehouse news conference on Tuesday to speak on issues ranging from the need for more money to weatherize Vermonters' homes to a ban on tar sands oil running through a pipeline that crosses northeastern Vermont.

Julian Lim/Creative Commons

More carpooling, fuel economy, hybrids and electric cars may be good for the environment, but they're bad for state and federal transportation funds, which rely on taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel.

Now some states, including Vermont, are eyeing a "vehicle miles traveled" tax for bridge and road maintenance, where you pay not based on how much fuel you burned, but how far you went.

Jim Bowen / Flickr

Republicans in the Vermont House and Senate are trying to get out in front on the issue of super-PACs, and the influence they're having on political campaigns.

Representatives Kurt Wright of Burlington, Ron Hubert of Milton and Tom Koch of Barre Town were among those speaking at a news conference Thursday where they outlined legislation they said would bring greater transparency to funding for political campaigns.

The GOP has long championed entitlement reforms.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Vermont representative Peter Welch tells Alan Chartock that Medicare should not be tampered with.

Despite President Obama’s re-election, Democrats were unable to re-take the House.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Vermont representative Peter Welch tells Alan Chartock that Republicans must work with the other side sooner or later.

Despite President Obama’s re-election, Democrats were unable to re-take the House.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Vermont representative Peter Welch tells Alan Chartock that Republicans must work with the other side sooner or later.

After a housing authority in Southern Vermont failed to pass an inspection by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development earlier this year, the agency must now submit a corrective plan to federal authorities to address its inadequacies. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

The Bennington Housing Authority was initially notified by mail this month that it was designated as “substandard”, and now has until December 30th to submit a corrective plan to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development Region 1.

Liz Montaquila is a spokeswoman for HUD…

Archer Mayor is the author of the highly acclaimed, Vermont-based series featuring detective Joe Gunther, which the Chicago Tribune describes as "the best police procedurals being written in America." In the new book, Paradise City, Joe Gunther investigates Vermont burglaries and a murder leads him to Northampton, Massachusetts.

Edward and Jo Hopper first discovered Vermont in 1927, making day trips from the Whitney Studio Club's summer retreat for New York artists in Charlestown, New Hampshire. In 1935 and 1936 the Hoppers again traveled to Vermont, this time from their summer home in Cape Cod, in Edward's continuing search for new places to paint.

During these quests they identified the White River and what Edward considered to be Vermont's "finest" river valley, and they returned there for longer visits in 1937 and 1938, boarding at Robert and Irene Slater's Wagon Wheels farm in South Royalton.

The state of Vermont is notifying towns still struggling financially from Tropical Storm Irene repairs that it will give out payments early while those towns await federal reimbursement for repairs.

The accelerated payments are for town highways and payment-in-lieu-of taxes, which are normally given out in October; current use payments, which are typically sent out in November; and state aid to education payments, which are normally dispersed in December.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin is saying it may be quite a while before the state knows how much it will get from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for repairs from Tropical Storm Irene.

Shumlin on Wednesday is outlining plans for the state to go ahead with revamping its mental health system and renovating its state agency office complex.

The effort comes in response to flooding from Tropical Storm Irene 54 weeks ago, which forced the closure of the Vermont State Hospital and the surrounding office complex in Waterbury.

The trial for a Vermont man charged with kidnapping and killing his 12-year-old niece in 2008 is at least a year away.

A federal appeals court in New York has sent the case of Michael Jacques back to Vermont for trial.

Jacques has pleaded not guilty to the death of Brooke Bennett. Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York recently turned down a defense request to reconsider its decision allowing prosecutors

WAMC

Governor Peter Shumlin says Vermont has become a national leader in how to respond to natural disasters and there's little he'd change about the state's handling of flooding after Hurricane Irene.

Shumlin tells The Associated Press that forming partnerships among state agencies, state and local governments and the private sector were keys to Vermont's success in recovering from the storm and the subsequent flooding.

Vermont state officials say the cloud of uncertainty surrounding federal funding for Vermont's recovery from Tropical Storm Irene has grown thicker with the departures of two top officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding says the state has been working for months with FEMA officials over the complicated issues of how much Vermont will be reimbursed for the destruction of the Vermont State Hospital and much of the surrounding state office complex in Waterbury.

Courtesy NOAA

Meteorologists at Vermont's National Weather Service office in South Burlington have a new tool to help improve their forecasts.

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy helped inaugurate Monday the upgraded, dual polarization Doppler radar serving the region.

Officials say the upgrade to the so-called dual-pol system is the most significant enhancement ever made to the nation's radar network since Doppler radar was first installed in the early 1990s.

A panel of Vermont lawmakers is giving its blessing to a plan for a privately-owned rest area and visitors' center off Interstate-89 in Randolph.

Developer Sam Sammis detailed his proposal for the visitor's center and Vermont products showcase Tuesday to the legislature's Joint Transportation Oversight Committee.

Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding says the state closed the northbound rest area in Randolph several years ago and the southbound rest is likely to be closed within the next couple of years.

Campaign finance reports by Vermont candidates were due Wednesday. While the incumbent Governor is easily outpacing his challenger, the current Attorney General is falling behind his primary challenger.

Incumbent Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin has raised nearly $840,000 so far his campaign, with about $769,000 cash in the bank.  His challenger, Republican state Senator Randy Brock reported about $585,000 in contributions so far, including $300,000 from himself, with about $234,000 cash on hand. Middlebury College Professor Emeritus of Political Science Eric Davis.

WAMC

Vermont general fund state revenues for July came in at a more than 6 percent better clip this year than in July of 2011, but fell slightly short of the forecast.

The general fund took in more than $92 million for the month, which lagged behind the forecast issued by two economists working for the state by a bit less than 1 percent.

Governor Peter Shumlin plans over four days to visit 22 Vermont communities impacted by Tropical Storm Irene to mark the anniversary of the storm.

Shumlin on Tuesday announced events that will be held to celebrate Vermont's recovery from the flooding on Aug. 28, 2011, and to acknowledge that more work needs to be done.

A free statewide event will be held on Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph, with music, storm videos, artwork and photography.

Vermont Democratic and Republican leaders are in a war of words over the impending visit to the state of New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte for a party fundraiser.

The Vermont Republican Party announced Ayotte's visit, set for midday Wednesday at the Woodstock Inn, calling her "a dynamic senator with a great message."

Democrats responded by circulating a letter calling Ayotte "extreme anti-choice," saying she's against same-sex marriage, legalized abortions and funding for Planned Parenthood.

The two Democrats vying for their party's nomination for Vermont attorney general are voicing disagreement over whether a tax on soft drinks is a good idea.

Attorney General William Sorrell has supported such a tax, saying obesity is starting to vie with tobacco among preventable threats to Vermonters' health.

Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan says he opposes a soda tax, arguing that it would fall disproportionately on working-class Vermonters.

Cool things have been happening all Summer at the Weston Playhouse and they continue with the World Premiere (opening later this month) of the new musical, Pregnancy Pact. Inspired by the real-life story of a group of teenage girls who decided to become single mothers together, it is an entertaining and hard-hitting pop-rock musical about the realities of love, responsibility, and growing up in America.

About two dozen witnesses could be called in the Vermont trial of a Virginia man charged with helping a woman flee the United States with her daughter rather than share custody of the girl with her former lesbian partner.

Attorneys in the case of Kenneth Miller, of Stuarts Draft, Va., listed some of the possible witnesses Tuesday during jury selection. Opening statements are expected Wednesday. The trial is expected to take six days.

Mountain Talk/Pat O'Neill

Vermont police say six protesters have been arrested at the site of the Lowell mountain wind-power project.

The activists say at least 45 individuals on Monday prevented construction workers and equipment from reaching the construction area along the top of the mountain.

The protesters believe the project is destroying a pristine ridgeline and has little environmental benefit.

The Vermont Department of Education says 73 percent of Vermont schools have not met increased targets under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The 2012 results were released Monday.

Officials say the increase was caused by a rise in standards, which go up every three years with the goal of 100 percent of students being proficient in math, reading and science by 2014. The final target increase was in 2011.

Vermont Governor's Office

Governor Peter Shumlin is announcing nearly $2 million in Vermont Community Development Program grants.

Of the total, $600,000 will go toward renovation of a landmark building in the center of Morristown, the former Arthur's department store. Shumlin says that project will also create 18 units of affordable housing.

Other grants announced Friday include $325,000 to the Town of Brattleboro for a loan to Carbon Harvest, $500,000 to the Town of Ludlow and Housing Trust of Rutland County for infrastructure improvements to the Tuckerville Mobile Home Park.

Courtesy NOAA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has rejected a request from Bennington, Vermont for reimbursement to cover the costs of repairs to damages associated with last year’s Tropical Storm Irene. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard has more…

Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Archive, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station / © Bugwood.org

An invasive insect has been discovered moving further into the forests of Southern Vermont. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard brings us a report about a migrating pest.

According to the State of Vermont, the hemlock wooly adelgid – a tiny invasive insect – has been found for the first time in Bennington County in the town of Pownal. The insect, which feeds on the sap from hemlock trees, was first brought to the US from Japan in the 1950s. In Vermont, the animal was first found in neighboring Windham county five years ago.

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