Secretary of State Jim Condos will recognize Vermont’s oldest non‐profits in a ceremony to be held today, Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 4 pm at the Vermont Statehouse. The Vermont Centennial Nonprofit Awards program recognizes nonprofit organizations that have operated in Vermont for at least 100 years.The nonprofits being honored today range from educational institutions, libraries, churches, hospitals, fraternal and other service organizations and many more local groups.This year, 29 of Vermont’s oldest noprofits will be presented with plaques by Secretary of State Jim Condos. Governor Peter Shumlin, many state legislators, representatives of our congressional delegation, and other dignitaries are expected to attend.According to Secretary of State Jim Condos, ‘We believe it is important to recognize and honor Vermont’s oldest nonprofits for their many contributions to our communities and to Vermonters. Especially in these difficult times, our communities rely more and more on our non‐profits to fill the gaps and help where they can. This year’s awardees are exemplary representatives of the Vermont non‐profit community.’Any nonprofit that has been in operation in Vermont for 100 years or more can participate in this program by filling out an application available through the Secretary of State’s office. A complete list of the 2011 Centennial Nonprofit Award recipients appears below.Est. 1911 Lyndon State College Est. 1910 First Baptist Church of South Londonderry Est. 1904 Montpelier Lodge of Elks No. 924 Est. 1904 The Vermont Center for the Hard of Hearing, Brattleboro Est. 1897 Mark Skinner Library, Manchester Est. 1889 Vermont State Firefighters’ Association Est. 1884 Vermont Veterans’ Home, Bennington Est. 1878 Vermont Bar Association Est. 1871 St. Johnsbury Athenaeum Est. 1870 Goddard College, Plainfield Est. 1867 Union Agricultural Society (Tunbridge Fair) Est. 1866 Greater Burlington YMCA Est. 1846 Rutland County Agricultural Society Est. 1842 St. Johnsbury Academy Est. 1838 Vermont Historical Society, Barre Est. 1836 Lambda IOTA Society, Burlington Est. 1834 Brattleboro Retreat Est. 1833 West Newbury Congregational Church Est. 1819 Norwich University, Northfield Est. 1816 East Craftsbury Presbyterian Church Est. 1798 First Congregational Church of Berlin Est. 1796 First Church in Barre, Universalist Est. 1793 Bradford Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ Est. 1768 First Congregational Church & Society of Windsor Unable to attend: Prosper Cemetery Association, Woodstock (Est. 1911); Manchester Historical Society (Est. 1898); Rutland Regional Medical Center (Est. 1896); Westmore Community Church (Est. 1894); First Congregational Church and Society of Orwell (Est. 1842)
A Vermont federal court issued a decision yesterday in favor of the State dismissing a case brought by the Vermont Right to Life Committee, Inc and rejecting all aspects of the constitutional attack. Attorney General William Sorrell applauded the decision, saying, â The Courtâ s ruling provides resounding confirmation of the validity of Vermontâ s campaign finance disclosure laws and the Stateâ s ability to address Vermonterâ s concerns about the influence of money in politics.âVRLC filed the case in the US District Court for the District of Vermont challenging Vermontâ s campaign finance registration and reporting provisions for political committees (â PACsâ ), as well as other identification and disclosure provisions. VRLC argued that these provisions are vague, overbroad, and violate the First Amendment. In addition, VRLC-Fund for Independent Expenditures (â FIPEâ ), a subcommittee created by VRLC, asserted that it could not be subject to Vermontâ s $2,000 limit on contributions to PACs because it claimed it did not give money directly to candidates, but rather it only made â independent expenditures.âIn a thorough and comprehensive decision, Judge Sessions rejected each and every one of VRLCâ s arguments attacking Vermontâ s PAC reporting and disclosure laws as unconstitutional. The Court unequivocally held that these requirements are clear and valid. In addition, the Court ruled that the laws apply to groups that receive and spend more than $500 on election ads, regardless of whether or not such political advertising or other campaign work is the groupâ s â major purpose.’The Court found that the â major purpose test’urged by VRLC had â no relevance’and its adoption would lead to â peculiar results.âThe Court also held that FIPE must abide by the $2,000 contribution limit for PACs. It is not entitled to an exemption on the theory that it makes only independent expenditures. Noting that in this case, â the facts are vital,’the Court examined the detailed records and documents assembled by the State and found that FIPE was intimately intertwined with VRLC-PC, VRLCâ s PAC that provides direct support to candidates.The Court concluded that the â nearly complete organizational identity,’â fluidity of funds,’and â structural melding’between FIPE and VRLC-PC erased any suggestion of independence. FIPEâ s bid to avoid contribution limits must be rejected, the Court reasoned. â Otherwise, funds raised in unlimited quantities by FIPE’could be funneled to VRLC-PC for use in candidate contributions, and VRLC-PC â would be able to circumvent limits on contributions to it to support its activities.ââ We are pleased that Judge Sessions recognized the importance of the factual record in this case, which thoroughly contradicted FIPEâ s claims as to the nature of its political activities and involvement,’Attorney General Sorrell stated. Vermont Attorney General, June 22, 2012
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc, (NASDAQ: GMCR), a leader in specialty coffee and coffee makers, today announced several changes to its Board of Directors including the election of Norman H Wesley to the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors and the appointment of AD “David” Mackay as an independent Director. Michael J Mardy, who had previously served as interim Chairman of the Board, will continue in his role as Audit Committee Chair. GMCR also announced that its Chief Legal Officer, Howard Malovany, will be stepping down next year.Effective December 12, 2012, Mackay became a Class III Director with a term that expires at the Company’s 2014 Annual Meeting where he will stand for election by shareholders. His addition expands GMCR’s Board of Directors to 10 members, eight of whom are independent.Wesley, stated, “I am honored to assume the Chairmanship of such an innovative and dynamic company and would like to formally thank Mike Mardy for undertaking that responsibility on an interim basis. Our Board also is pleased to welcome David Mackay , a highly accomplished executive, to the Board. It remains clear to our entire Board that GMCR is executing against a substantial opportunity, and the new leadership on the Board, and recently appointed CEO, Brian Kelly , positions the company for success.”AD “David” Mackay, 57, served as the Chief Executive Officer of Kellogg Company from December 2006 to January 2011 and as its President from August 2003 to January 2011. Prior to that experience, he served as the Chief Operating Officer of Kellogg from 2003 to 2006.In addition to his rich consumer product background Mackay brings significant international experience to the Board of GMCR, derived from his roles at Kellogg Australia, United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, as well as his role as Managing Director of Sara Lee Bakery in Australia. Mr. Mackay is currently the Non-Executive Chairman of Beam, Inc., serves on the Board of Directors of Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc., and Woolworths Ltd. Australia. He previously served as a Director of Kellogg Company and of Fortune Brands, Inc.Mackay stated, “Through its ability to marry consumer insight and real innovation, GMCR has driven extraordinary growth in the coffee category and I believe the Company can further leverage its single-serve expertise to drive additional category expansion and opportunity. There is no doubt in my mind that the Company has a unique platform, a strong connection with the consumer and a great opportunity to deliver on its financial goals. I look forward to getting to know my fellow directors and collectively focusing on the long-term operating success of the Company.” Green Mountain Coffee also announced in a Form 8-K report that GMCR and Howard Malovany “have agreed that he will step down as Chief Legal Officer, Corporate General Counsel and Secretary effective March 31, 2013. The Company and Mr. Malovany entered into a letter agreement (the Transition Agreement) on December 13, 2013, which governs the terms of his transition, with the following material provisions: · “Mr. Malovany will terminate employment on March 31, 2013. Until then, he will continue to be paid at his current rate of salary. He will terminate his position as Chief Legal Officer, Corporate General Counsel and Secretary on that date or, if earlier, the date of employment of his successor general counsel. · “Effective April 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014, Mr. Malovany will receive salary continuation payments in accordance with the Companys normal payroll practices. · ” Mr. Malovany will be entitled to participate in Company employee benefit plans through March 31, 2013. He will also be entitled to a pro rata portion of his fiscal year 2013 short term incentive, based on his service as an employee in the 2013 fiscal year, based on actual performance, payable at the time other executives are paid their 2013 short term incentives. When his employment terminates, he will also be entitled to payment of accrued but unused vacation time, and (if he elects COBRA continuation coverage) to a payment for up to 12 months equal to the Companys contribution toward medical and dental coverage for active employees. · “Mr. Malovany will no longer be a participant in the Companys Change in Control Severance Benefit Plan (CIC Plan); however, he will continue to vest in his equity awards throughout his employment, and the option granted him in 2009 will remain exercisable for one year after his termination of employment on March 31, 2013. In the event of a change in control (as defined in the CIC Plan and section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code) Mr. Malovanys equity awards will be treated the same as equity awards of persons who do participate in the CIC plan. In addition, upon a change in control of the Company (as defined in the CIC Plan and section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code) (a) Mr. Malovanys service will automatically terminate, if not previously terminated, (b) payment of any continued monthly payments he is receiving or entitled to receive will be accelerated, and (c) he will be entitled to a pro rata target 2013 annual bonus in lieu of a pro rata bonus based on actual performance. If the change in control occurs after his termination date and before the end of the Companys 2013 fiscal year, Mr. Malovanys pro rata bonus will be determined in the same manner as bonuses for active employees under the change in control transaction documents. · ” If Mr. Malovany should die prior to the end of the 2013 fiscal year, his 2013 fiscal year bonus will be pro-rated based on the target amount, and any continued monthly payments he is receiving or entitled to receive will be accelerated. No salary continuation payments will be made in the event of his death prior to his termination of service. · “Mr. Malovany will be bound by a confidentiality covenant and a 12-month non-compete and non-solicitation obligation following termination of his service. A mutual non-disparagement covenant also applies. · “The Transition Agreement provides for a standard waiver and release of claims by Mr. Malovany at the time the Transition Agreement is entered and a supplemental waiver and release of claims when his employment terminates. This summary is qualified in its entirety by the terms of the Transition Agreement.” About Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc.As a leader in specialty coffee and coffee makers, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) (NASDAQ: GMCR), is recognized for its award-winning coffees, innovative Keurig® Single Cup brewing technology, and socially responsible business practices. GMCR supports local and global communities by offsetting 100% of its direct greenhouse gas emissions, investing in sustainably-grown coffee, and donating a portion of its pre-tax profits to social and environmental projects.WATERBURY, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc 12.18.2012
Champlain Medical, a new full-service Urgent Care center located on Kennedy Drive, South Burlington opened Monday February 4. The walk-in medical clinic will also offer comprehensive primary care and occupational medicine services.The facility will provide immediate access to medical care with expert evaluation and prompt treatment for a wide range of illnesses and non-life-threatening injuries. Patients can seek treatment any time during the center’ s extended business hours and can be seen urgently or by appointment.‘ Champlain Medical will offer quality health care to individuals, families and employers across the Burlington region when it’ s most convenient for them ‘ during the day, after work, and on weekends. With expanded service offerings and a very experienced staff, we are looking forward to serving the community at our new location,’ said medical Director Dr. Josh Schwartzberg.Additionally, individuals are encouraged to establish a primary care physician at the center for preventative and ongoing medical care, while regional businesses, organizations and agencies can procure occupational medical services including physicals, workplace injury care, drug and alcohol testing, DOT exams and other OSHA testing including audiometry, vision, pulmonary function, EKG.Champlain Medical was founded by Dr. Schwartzberg, a board certified osteopathic physician who boasts 40 years of family practice and emergency medicine experience. Dr. Schwartzberg has moved his current Burlington primary care practice to Champlain Medical and has introduced urgent care and occupational health services. He is also a Senior FAA medical examiner doing airline pilot physicals.Champlain Medical is conveniently located at 150 Kennedy Drive in South Burlington and is open Monday-Friday. Weekend hours are being established. Most forms of insurance are accepted. About Champlain MedicalChamplain Medical is an urgent care clinic offering comprehensive holistic primary care and occupational health services. The offices are located at 150 Kennedy Drive in South Burlington and are open Monday-Friday. The center’ s medical staff includes board certified physicians and mid-level providers ‘ all with extensive experience in immediate care, occupational medicine and family practice. Champlain Medical was founded by Dr. Josh Schwartzberg, a board certified osteopathic physician who boasts 40 years of family practice/internal medicine experience. He also holds certification as a MRO (Medical Review Officer) and IME (Independent Medical Examiner.South Burlington, VT (February 5, 2013) ‘ Champlain Medical
Save 78% at Caberfae Peaks (MI) with lift tickets starting at $7.50Enjoy 60% off lift tickets at Shanty Creek (MI) with prices starting at $14.00At Cascade Mountain (WI) save 51% with lift tickets starting at $25.00Ski Crystal Mountain (MI) and save 44% with lift tickets starting at $28.00Other regions Who needs an official holiday? Four Vermont ski resorts are participating in the second annual National Play Hooky & Ski Week, March 4-8. Liftopia — the largest online marketplace for deals on lift tickets and mountain activities — has launched one of the biggest sales of the season, providing great incentives to play hooky and hit the slopes. Mo re than 100 resorts across North America are participating in the sale, offering deals up to 84% off lift tickets valid Monday, March 4 to Friday, March 8.”With continuous snowstorms hitting many resorts across the country, the second half of winter is shaping up to be a good one for skiers and boarders. Now is the perfect time to forget work and school, pull out the excuses and plan a mountain getaway,” said Ron Schneidermann, co-founder and CMO of Liftopia. “Our ‘National Play Hooky and Ski Week’ sale is a favorite among our customers — but possibly not their employers — due to the killer savings, fewer crowds, and more fresh powder that can be found when hitting the slopes mid-week.”The official proclamation for National Play Hooky & Ski Week reads as follows:Whereas the American worker has been experiencing undue stress in the workplace; and, whereas it is generally accepted that engaging in awesome activities outside of the workplace decreases undue stress; and, whereas skiing and snowboarding are proven to be awesome activities. Henceforth, it is proclaimed that the first Monday in March shall be the start of the second annual National Play Hooky & Ski Week.Below are examples of deals available (please note all prices are based on availability and may sell out): Ski Loveland and save 51% with lift tickets starting at $29.99At Arapahoe Basin save 39% with lift tickets starting at $47.99Enjoy 38% savings at Copper Mountain with lift tickets starting at $64.00NY, NJ and PA Utah At Snow Valley enjoy 58% savings with lift tickets starting at $23.99Save 57% at Mt. Baldy with lift tickets starting at $22.99Enjoy 44% savings at Diamond Peak with lift tickets starting at $32.99Ski Sierra-at-Tahoe and save 35% with lift tickets starting at $49.99Save 34% at Mountain High with lift tickets starting at $39.00Save 32% at Homewood with lift tickets starting at $45.00Midwest At Mountain Creek (NJ) save 51% with lift tickets starting at $24.99Save 50% on lift tickets at Belleayre (NY) with prices starting at $23.50Enjoy 41% savings at Camelback (PA) with lift tickets starting at $29.99Ski Whiteface and save 33% with lift tickets starting at $55.99California / Tahoe Save 50% at Alta with 2-day lift tickets starting at $72.50Enjoy 40% off at Canyons with lift tickets starting at $63.00At Sundance save 35% on lift tickets with prices starting at $34.99Colorado New England Save 84% on lift tickets at Suicide Six (VT) with prices starting at $7.00At Ragged Mountain (NH) save 65% with lift tickets starting at $21.99Ski Mount Snow (VT) and save 50% with lift tickets starting at $37.50Enjoy 41% savings at Stratton Mountain (VT) with lift tickets starting at $45.00Save 31% at Sunday River (ME) with lift ticket prices starting at $59.00At Okemo (VT) save 31% with lift ticket prices starting at $55.00 At Hoodoo (OR) save 56% with lift tickets starting at $19.99Enjoy 50% savings at Mission Ridge (WA) with prices starting at $26.50Ski Angel Fire (NM) and save 42% with lift tickets starting at $37.99Save 30% on lift tickets at Sun Valley (ID) with prices starting at $67.00About LiftopiaLiftopia is the largest online marketplace for ski lift tickets, rentals, lessons, and more. With lift ticket deals up to 80% off at more than 200 ski areas, including Aspen/Snowmass, Park City, Copper Mountain, Sun Valley, Snowshoe, and Sunday River, Liftopia provides skiers and snowboarders the ability to buy date-specific, non-refundable lift tickets and on-mountain activities in advance via Liftopia.com and the Liftopia mobile app. Liftopia’s proprietary technology enables ski resorts to lock in incremental revenue through pricing and inventory management tools and an advanced data & analytics dashboard. In 2011, Liftopia launched Cloud Store by Liftopia, a SaaS booking engine for mountain resorts that allows them to leverage Liftopia’s platform tools to manage inventory, pricing and online distribution through their own website and mobile channels. Founded in 2005, Liftopia is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by leading institutional and angel investors. Liftopia is a proud supporter of the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding.For more information, visit the Liftopia blog or follow the company on Facebook (www.facebook.com/liftopia(link is external)) and Twitter (@Liftopia). (Marketwire – February 20, 2013)
by Andrew Stein May 24, 2013 vtdigger.org Governor Peter Shumlin spent his Friday afternoon meeting with reporters one by one as part of an effort to deflect criticism of a recent land deal in which critics have said he took advantage of a low-income neighbor.The home of Jeremy Dodge on Foster Road in East Montpelier, which was purchased by his neighbor, Gov. Peter Shumlin. Photo by Andrew Stein/VTDiggerInstead of a press conference in which the governor would be subjected to questions from journalists as a group, Shumlin chose to make a personal pitch to members of the press. The damage control effort included interviews with Vermont Press Bureau’s Peter Hirschfeld, WCAX’s Jennifer Reading, Seven Days’Paul Heintz and the Burlington Free Press’Terri Hallenbeck who trickled in and out of the governor’s personal office on the Fifth Floor of the Pavilion building to talk about his land deal with Jeremy Dodge.Dodge, a high school drop-out and ex-convict, sold the property to Shumlin for roughly a quarter of its appraised value in November. Dodge claims six months later that he did not know what he was doing, when he sold the family homestead that he inherited. Read the full story on the issue here.Andrew Stein sat down with the governor and his press secretary Sue Allen on Friday afternoon. An edited version of the conversation between the reporter and the governor follows.Q: What’s the latest development?A: This morning, I had a nice meeting with Jerry, and I left him a letter to show to his family. The message was simple: ‘We went into this understanding we’d come to an arrangement that was fair to both of us. I was disappointed to learn in the press that you changed your mind. When I agreed to help, I made a commitment to myself that I’d see this through. Let’s press restart, sit down and figure out what your concerns are and a way to solve them.’Q: Are you going to void the sale?A: No, that wouldn’t do anybody any good. It was important that he felt like this was fair to both of us. If he has a change of heart, I’d like to figure out how we can remedy that. The only caveat is I urged (him) to get a lawyer numerous times. My lawyer urged him to get a lawyer. This time you’ve got to get a lawyer. I’ll pay for it; I would have paid for it last time, I’ll pay for it this time, but you can’t refuse. Last time he refused to get a lawyer.The home of Gov. Peter Shumlin on Foster Road in East Montpelier. A state police vehicle is parked at the end of the driveway on Friday, while the governor was at work. Photo by Andrew Stein/VTDiggerQ: When was the first time you met Jeremy Dodge?A: I can’t remember, but he’s my nearest neighbor.Q: Do you remember when you first discussed purchasing his property with him?A: Very clearly. Jerry was doing some work for me this summer. He needed a job, and I had him cutting wood and working with some of the guys clearing land ‘not a lot of hours. I got to know him through that, and I was sometimes working with him. I like to cut wood myself. Good therapy.I see Jerry two or three times a week, and we talk to each other frequently. I know him pretty well. In terms of this discussion, I became aware because people told me his place was coming up for tax sale, and people said you really ought to buy it because he’s your neighbor.I’ve never bought anything on a tax sale, but I felt like I owed him the courtesy of telling him I knew there was a tax sale. I didn’t want it to be a surprise if I showed up there.Q: Was this several days before the tax sale?A: Weeks before. In that conversation, he told me more about his finances than I had ever known because his finances are none of my business. And I realized how deeply in financial trouble he was. I said to him, ‘Jerry, the best outcome for you would be to find a family member or really good friend who could borrow the money. $17,000 against a property isn’t that much, and even if you have to put it in a relative’s name; hold onto the property so you can dig your way out of this mess.’He said he had conversations with his son and others. I never thought much more about it and I wasn’t going to bring it up. I had given him what advice I could.Jeremy Dodge of East Montpelier holds the folder on which Gov. Peter Shumlin sketched out the details on the sale of Dodge’s property. Photo by Andrew Stein/VTDigger A couple of weeks later ‘and this was during the campaign when I didn’t get much time off ‘I was stacking wood. It was a cold fall day. He came up and was very upset, and said, ‘Listen, I have tried everything. My son can’t get it. He just informed me recently. Is there any way you’re willing to help me out of this mess?’‘My first response was, ‘Not yet.’I had never been to his house, so I went over before I had to go back to work. It was so filled with debris and garbage, and it had been destroyed. He had inherited a house from his family that he had totally destroyed. So, I said to him, ‘Jerry, I’ve really got think about this.’And he asked if I could think quickly because the tax sale wasn’t far away.I felt like I owed it to him to get back, and I thought long and hard about it. I knew that he was in a really tough spot. What I observed in the house was shocking to me. I didn’t realize he didn’t have power, he didn’t have water, he didn’t have heat, it was cold, the entire sanitary conditions of the house were as bad as you could imagine, and I didn’t have the heart to say no to the guy.Now, listen, this is a person who has a long criminal record. He is a violent offender. He has done horrendous things to innocent people. On the other hand, he is a guy I had grown to realize was really working to better himself, as he puts it, and he’s making some progress.So, I went back and worked out an arrangement that I felt and he felt was fair to him and fair to me.Q: Was it just you two who negotiated the deal?A: Yeah, it was. This wasn’t complicated math. I said, ‘Jerry, this house is destroyed. Maybe someone would want to gut it, but there is nothing left,’which the listers concurred with. ‘So, I’m willing to put about $58,000 into paying bills, working off your back rent, to making it possible for you to live here, and I insist that at the end there be a pot of money that you can go and find a better place to live because this is not habitable. In the interim we’ll do the plumbing and do the work we need to do to get it back up and functioning. But by July 15 you’ve got to find something that’s more suitable for human life.’Q: Did you do the plumbing right away?A: I had to. He had no power, so the first thing I did was go to Washington Electric and paid off his power bill. This is before we had any arrangement.Q: So his sewage system is working now?A: It is now, but it wasn’t that simple. There was so much damage.Q: Why make this deal before it goes to tax sale? Why not let it go to tax sale?A: A tax sale would have been the worst thing for Jerry for two reasons: One, you have no idea how you’re going to come out of it. But that’s not the main reason. The tax sale was one of just a menu of financial problems he had including no power and no heat and nowhere to live for the winter. It was cold. If you go to a tax sale, you don’t take the deed for a year, so nobody who bought it at tax sale was going to help him get his power back on and get the lights back on and get the plumbing fixed and do all of the things that needed to be done to make it habitable so he wasn’t homeless.Jerry knew and I knew that if he couldn’t find someone to help him come to a fair arrangement for a tax sale, he was in a really bleak situation.Q: You’ve closed many land deals. You own a lot of real estate, correct?A: Yeah, I do.Q: Have you ever closed a deal with someone who didn’t have an attorney or a realtor?A: I’ve done it myself, as the seller, for the simple reason that the risk is on the buyer. There are liens on property and things in the deed you don’t know about. But, as Jerry said, I begged him on numerous occasions to get a lawyer. My lawyer urged him and begged him to get a lawyer. Jerry refused. He never said he couldn’t afford it.I assumed his unwillingness to engage a lawyer was connected to his long history of interaction with the law. That was my hunch, but I can tell you Jerry is a headstrong person. When he makes a decision, he makes a decision, and he was not getting a lawyer. That’s why I put in this arrangement that I would not talk to him about finding a remedy without a current lawyer.Q: Are you making this new arrangement public?A: I’m telling you about it. If he had just come to me and said I’m having concerns or I want to extend the time, I would have said fine.Q: Would you consider any settlement that allows him to keep the home?A: This home is unlivable. If there were a silver bullet that would solve this complicated problem, I would have shot that one first. No human being should be living in that home. As the listers confirmed, it needs to be torn down. What good does it do to give Jerry a home that requires removal or a $250,000 renovation? Where is he going to get the change for that?This is a really difficult situation. I mentioned this before I did it to a couple of friends and they said, ‘Are you crazy? Do not get involved with an ex-con who is broke and has nowhere to turn. Don’t do it. No one else is. Why are you?’All I can tell you is, I could not be the person who at the very last resort, when a neighbor was desperate, in a Vermont way I could not just turn around and walk away.Q: Did the FBI contact you?A: Absolutely not. The only thing I’ve ever read about that are the rumors in the press. I have never been contacted by law enforcement in any way, shape or form. There is nothing to hide.Q: When I went to Jerry’s house, there was a state trooper parked in your driveway. Is that usual or have you been receiving threats?A: I never comment on security, but obviously it should be no secret to Vermonters that I do have security.Q: Do you think you did anything wrong in this matter whatsoever?(Long Pause)A: I understand why people can have divergent views of whether I should have gotten involved at all. In the end, I am an individual who lives in the state of Vermont, and I didn’t have the capacity to turn to a neighbor in a really desperate situation ‘someone for whom many in the community have no sympathy because of the horrendous things he’s done ‘and see a guy who is working to better himself and basically sentence him back to jail. I couldn’t do that.Q: Did you ever say to him, aside from an attorney, there are other options or services?A: Like what? Do you think we have the human services that would have bailed out Jerry Dodge? We don’t have them. What would they have done? Find him a place to live? Maybe, but who? And he didn’t want to go anywhere but where he is.This was a private transaction, and I wasn’t going to use my influence as governor. I didn’t want anything to happen where any other Vermonter wouldn’t have been treated in the same way. I was doing this as his neighbor, not as the governor.What social service agency could I have referred to him that would have helped out better than the option that he and I both agreed that was extraordinarily fair and reasonable?Let’s do the math for a minute; it wasn’t just the $58,000. I knew I’d have to pay $20,000 to $40,000 just cleaning up the mess when he left, clearing out the building. I thought, I’m spending $90,000 to $100,000 for between 14 acres to 16 acres of land that can never be more than a single lot.I’ve never paid that much for an acre of land, but I knew I wasn’t being hosed.From Jerry’s perspective, he was getting all of his bills paid off, getting back into a livable situation and having resources to go rent something when he went out the door. I tried to be as fair and he tried to be as fair as we possibly could be.Q: What have you paid to him so far?A: I can’t tell you in exact numbers, but I wanted to make sure he had all of his bills paid, some cash in in his pocket and that the bulk of the payment went to him at the end so that he had the maximum amount of resources to go build a better life.Q: What now? How do you proceed?A: We’re going to sit down and try to figure out what his concerns are. I knew when I agreed to help it had to be good for him, it had to be good for me, and we had to both leave feeling it was fair. We achieved that. Now it’s changed.I’m not the kind of person that says, ‘Too bad.’I’m going to sit down with him and make sure that we come to an arrangement he’s happier with now that he’s decided he’s not happy. That’s just who I am.Q: What will you do with this property?A: Jerry needs a place to live, so nothing much will change. Once he goes, I’m going to either tear it down or gut it.Q: A lister called a health officer in the spring because of the home’s condition. Did you fix it up before the health officer was called?A: After we got it back in shape in the fall, it got back into a state of decay. I wasn’t aware of that until I went in with the listers.Q: Do you know how long you’ll allow Jeremy Dodge to stay there? And whether he’ll receive the funds he otherwise would receive under contract for vacating the property by July 15?A: I’m not charging Jerry to stay there. I want to make sure the nest egg for Jerry to find something better to live in is there when he moves.Q: A nest egg of $12,000?A: It could be more than that depending on how much of the $9,000 on maintenance we’ll spend.
by Alicia Freese vtdigger.org Vermont students show little change in the latest nationwide reading and math test results. As in past years, the state’s fourth- and eighth-graders rank among the highest in the nation on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).Overall, Vermont was fifth overall in 4th grade math (New Hampshire was tied for first with Minnesota and Massachusetts); fourth in 8th grade math (Massachusetts one, New Jersey two, New Hampshire three); in 4th grade reading, Vermont was seventh (Massachusetts one, New Hampshire three); and Vermont was fourth in 8th grade reading (Massachusetts one, New Hampshire five).The NAEP, which assesses states rather than individual schools, has been administered every two years since 1990. Results were released nationally last week. The Vermont Agency of Education did not publicize the state’s scores.Average math scores for fourth- and eighth-graders increased by one point. Average reading scores increased by one point for fourth-graders and remained level for eighth-graders.Those average scores, however, mask the achievement gap between low-income students and their peers.For instance, among fourth-graders eligible for free or reduced-cost lunch ‘ a proxy marker for low-income students ‘ math scores actually dropped by one point.Among eighth-graders, there’s a 26-point difference in the 2013 math scores between students eligible for the lunch program and their peers. The gap in Vermont is only slightly narrower than the national average, which shows a 27-point difference.Tom Alderman, director of integrated support for learning at the Agency of Education, noted the achievement gap when reacting to the results.‘While they provide evidence that Vermont is doing good work and moving in the right direction, they also demonstrate room for improvement,’ he said. ‘This is true overall, but especially when we compare overall results and sub-group results, where we see a persistent achievement gap.’Vermont’s scores, Alderman said, have gradually increased since 1990.‘ Average scores in NAEP mathematics for fourth-grade public and nonpublic school students, by state/jurisdiction: Various years, 1992’2013‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Accommodations not permittedAccommodations permittedState/jurisdiction1992‘ 1996‘ 2000‘ 2000‘ 2003‘ 2005‘ 2007‘ 2009‘ 2011‘ 2013Nation220*224*228*226*235*238*240*240*241*242Nation (public)219*222*226*224*234*237*239*239*240*241Minnesota228*232*235*234*242*246*247*249*249*253Massachusetts227*229*235*233*242*247*252‘ 252‘ 253‘ 253New Hampshire230*‘‘ ‘‘ ‘‘ 243*246*249*251‘ 252‘ 253Indiana221*229*234*233*238*240*245*243*244*249Vermont‘‘ 225*232*232*242*244*246‘ 248‘ 247‘ 248Colorado221*226*‘‘ ‘‘ 235*239*240*243*244*247New Jersey227*227*‘‘ ‘‘ 239*244‘ 249‘ 247‘ 248‘ 247Wyoming225*223*229*229*241*243*244*242*244*247North Dakota229*231*231*230*238*243*245‘ 245‘ 245*246Washington‘‘ 225*‘‘ ‘‘ 238*242*243*242*243*246Kansas‘‘ ‘‘ 232*232*242*246‘ 248‘ 245‘ 246‘ 246Virginia221*223*230*230*239*240*244‘ 243*245‘ 246Maine232*232*231*230*238*241*242*244‘ 244‘ 246Iowa230*229*233*231*238*240*243*243*243*246Ohio219*‘‘ 231*230*238*242*245‘ 244‘ 244‘ 246Maryland217*221*222*222*233*238*240*244‘ 247‘ 245North Carolina213*224*232*230*242*241*242*244‘ 245‘ 245Wisconsin229*231*‘‘ ‘‘ 237*241*244‘ 244‘ 245‘ 245Pennsylvania224*226*‘‘ ‘‘ 236*241*244‘ 244‘ 246‘ 244Montana‘‘ 228*230*228*236*241*244‘ 244‘ 244‘ 244Connecticut227*232*234*234*241*242‘ 243‘ 245‘ 242‘ 243Hawaii214*215*216*216*227*230*234*236*239*243Nebraska225*228*226*225*236*238*238*239*240*243Delaware218*215*‘‘ ‘‘ 236*240*242‘ 239*240*243Utah224*227*227*227*235*239*239*240‘ 243‘ 243Texas218*229*233*231*237*242‘ 242‘ 240‘ 241‘ 242Florida214*216*‘‘ ‘‘ 234*239*242‘ 242‘ 240‘ 242Kentucky215*220*221*219*229*231*235*239‘ 241‘ 241Rhode Island215*220*225*224*230*233*236*239*242‘ 241South Dakota‘‘ ‘‘ ‘‘ ‘‘ 237*242‘ 241‘ 242‘ 241‘ 241Idaho222*‘‘ 227*224*235*242‘ 241‘ 241‘ 240‘ 241New York218*223*227*225*236*238‘ 243‘ 241‘ 238*240Arizona215*218*219*219*229*230*232*230*235*240Oregon‘‘ 223*227*224*236*238‘ 236*238‘ 237‘ 240Georgia216*215*220*219*230*234*235*236*238‘ 240Arkansas210*216*217*216*229*236*238‘ 238‘ 238‘ 240Tennessee211*219*220*220*228*232*233*232*233*240Missouri222*225*229*228*235*235*239‘ 241‘ 240‘ 240Illinois‘‘ ‘‘ 225*223*233*233*237‘ 238‘ 239‘ 239Oklahoma220*‘‘ 225*224*229*234*237*237‘ 237‘ 239West Virginia215*223*225*223*231*231*236‘ 233*235*237Michigan220*226*231*229*236‘ 238‘ 238‘ 236‘ 236‘ 237South Carolina212*213*220*220*236‘ 238‘ 237‘ 236‘ 237‘ 237Nevada‘‘ 218*220*220*228*230*232*235‘ 237‘ 236Alaska‘‘ 224*‘‘ ‘‘ 233*236‘ 237‘ 237‘ 236‘ 236California208*209*214*213*227*230*230*232‘ 234‘ 234Alabama208*212*218*217*223*225*229*228*231‘ 233New Mexico213*214*214*213*223*224*228*230*233‘ 233Louisiana204*209*218*218*226*230‘ 230‘ 229‘ 231‘ 231Mississippi202*208*211*211*223*227*228*227*230‘ 231Other jurisdictions‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ District of Columbia193*187*193*192*205*211*214*219*222*229DoDEA1‘‘ 224*228*227*237*239*240*240*241*245‘ Not available. The state/jurisdiction did not participate or did not meet the minimum participation guidelines for reporting.* Significantly different (p 1 Department of Defense Education Activity (overseas and domestic schools).’ NOTE: The overall national results include both public and nonpublic school students. The national (public) and state/jurisdiction results include public school students only. Data for DoDEA schools are included in the overall national results, but not in the national (public) results.SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), various years, 1992’2013 Mathematics Assessments.Full results and state-by-state comparisons can be seen here.
University of Vermont,Acclaimed Washington Post reporter Wil Haygood, whose award-winning book The Butler: A Witness to History was turned into a major motion picture starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, will serve as the keynote speaker of the Martin Luther King, Jr, Celebration, Education & Learning Week at the University of Vermont. His lecture is scheduled for Tuesday, January 20 at Ira Allen Chapel at 4 p.m. with a book signing to follow at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are now available free of charge to UVM students, faculty, and staff (one ticket with UVM ID) to the general public (one per person).”I am so ecstatic to have Wil Haygood coming to UVM campus,” said Dr Wanda Heading Grant, event organizer and vice president for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. “He represents the cultural changes in the US from segregation to Obama. How wonderful that he will be here as part of our tribute to Dr. King and share the journey of others and his. It’s going to be a wonderful event for all.”The Haygood event, sponsored by President Tom Sullivan, the Department of Student Life and the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, highlights a series of events honoring Dr. King, starting Jan. 14 with a MLK Birthday Party in the Rosa Parks Room at the Davis Center. UVM Gives a Dollar, a community service fundraiser that supports local non-profits starts the same day and will include a donation of one dollar for every daily special purchased at Brennan’s in the Davis Center. Haygood’s already well established reputation as an award-winning reporter and author reached a worldwide audience with the simultaneous release of The Butler book and the award-winning motion picture of which Haygood is associate producer. The book is based on the life of Eugene Allen, a butler who served eight presidents from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan. Haygood tracked down Allen and managed to create a portrait of his lifelong journey from his birth in 1919 on a southern plantation to his years of service in the White House.President Obama, who Haygood had a hunch would win the presidency prompting him to write The Butler, said he “teared up thinking about not just the butlers who worked here in the White House, but an entire generation of people….” President Jimmy Carter described the film as “one of the best dramatizations of the civil rights movement I have seen.”Prior to The Butler, Haygood wrote a trilogy of New York Times best-selling biographies about iconic 20th-century figures Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Sammy Davis, Jr., and Sugar Ray Robinson. He also spent 17 years as the national and foreign correspondent for the The Boston Globe, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. In 1990, while covering the civil war in Somalia, he was taken hostage by rebels and eventually released with the aid of Pakistani troops. In 2002, Haygood joined The Washington Post as a national writer and was one of the first journalists to make it into New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck.Haygood, who was the first in his family to graduate college, was honored in 2013 with the prestigious Ella Baker Award with judges citing Haygood’s literary career “for shedding a light on those who give much, but are little noticed.” He was awarded an honorary doctor of letters from his alma mater Miami University (Ohio) and will serve as the Karl and Helen Wiepking Visiting Distinguished Professor there in the spring of 2015, eventually becoming the Distinguished Scholar in the department of media, journalism and film. Schedule of eventsUVM Gives a DollarThrough Friday, Jan. 23.Every dollar raised for this fundraiser will be invested in the work of Women Helping Battered Women, the Ronald McDonald House and the Chittenden County Emergency Food Shelf. The goal is for everyone in the UVM community to participate by giving a dollar. Donations can be made at the UVM Bookstore (Main Desk), Henderson’s Cafe, CAT Pause, Given Courtyard, Waterman Student Service Center Kiosk (Registrar’s Desk), and Human Resource Services (228 Waterman). Keynote Speaker Wil HaygoodTuesday, Jan. 20, 4 p.m., Ira Allen Chapel.Tickets are available free of charge to UVM students, faculty and staff (one ticket with UVM ID) and to the general public (one per person).College of Medicine Health and Equity LectureWednesday, Jan. 21, 5:30 p.m., Sullivan Classroom, Room 200, Larner Medical Education Center.“Geography, HIV/AIDS and the War on Drugs in Black Chicago,” featuring speaker Rashad Shabazz, assistant professor of geography at the University of Vermont. Giving Voice to the Pain: Black Lives MatterThursday, Jan. 22., 3:30 p.m., Ira Allen Chapel“A time of reflection, discussion and movement.”“Unnatural Causes: Place Matters” Documentary and DiscussionThursday, Jan. 22, 5:30 p.m., Sullivan Classroom, Room 200, Larner Medical Education Center.Terri Lyne Carrington Quartet – UVM/Flynn PartnershipFriday, Jan. 30, 8 p.m., Flynn Center for the Performing Arts.
Vermont Gas Systems Inc,Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Gas is celebrating 50 years of bringing clean, affordable natural gas service to families, businesses and institutions in Chittenden and Franklin counties. The company first began serving customers in 1966 and today provides service to 18 Vermont towns, with expansion planned to several more communities in 2016.“For the past 50 years, this company has provided a clean, safe, affordable and reliable heating option that now serves 50,000 customers,” said Don Rendall, President and CEO of Vermont Gas. “As we look forward, this company is committed to bringing energy choice and opportunity to Vermont families and businesses to reduce emissions, increase energy efficiency, and expand alternatives such as renewable gas from landfills and dairies. We will do all this while maintaining affordable and competitive rates.”“Congratulations to Vermont Gas on reaching this important milestone,” said Earl Handy, of Handy’s Lunch. “As another longtime Vermont business, Handy’s has been proudly serving up delicious and affordable breakfasts and lunches for the past 70 years and appreciates having clean, affordable and reliable natural gas service to help keep us in business. We look forward to continuing our relationshipwith Vermont Gas for many years to come.”In this 50th anniversary year, the company expects to add 1,100 customers in its existing footprint and complete the Addison Natural Gas Project, which will extend service from Colchester to Middlebury and Vergennes in 2016. Vermont Gas will increase investments in efficiency by becoming a designated energy efficiency utility (EEU), starting February 1. Over 30,000 families and businesses have participated in the company’s nationally recognized efficiency programs. Those customers, in just two of Vermont’s counties, avoid emissions equal to 3% of Vermont’s cars and light trucks while saving more than $14 million in energy costs. The company expects another 2,000 customers to participate in 2016.Further, Vermont Gas will help bring renewable gas to Middlebury by connecting to a manure conversion project in Salisbury, and by offering renewable gas to customers starting in latter 2016.“The state of Vermont last week announced a comprehensive energy plan that reinforces aggressive goals for carbon reduction and renewable energy by the year 2050,” stated Rendall. “By taking the steps we plan for 2016, Vermont Gas reaffirms its role as one of Vermont’s leading companies committed to reducing carbon emissions and encouraging the growth of renewable energy.”Other 2016 priorities include paperless billing and making steady progress on the Energy Champ Challenge, which supports energy efficiency at Burlington apartment buildings, in cooperation with Burlington Electric Department.“It is an honor to serve the families, businesses and institutions of Franklin and Chittenden Counties and we look forward to providing service to Addison County later this year,” Rendall concluded.
Vermont Business Magazine US Congressman Peter Welch and USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Lisa Mensah joined federal, state and local officials in Williamstown on Earth Day to celebrate the town’s efforts to upgrade a 47-year-old wastewater system. The Town of Williamstown received a $2,161,000 grant and loan combination from USDA Rural Development to improve their wastewater infrastructure and reduce the phosphorus flowing from the plant into the Winooski River and on to Lake Champlain.“USDA Rural Development is committed to working with towns across Vermont to fulfill their role to safeguard the quality of the State’s most critical natural resource, water,” said Mensah. “I applaud Williamstown for pro-actively complying with Vermont’s new water quality standards and for their progressive efforts to deliver efficient wastewater services to their citizens while playing their part to protect their natural environment and the waters of Lake Champlain.”USDA Rural Development State Director Ted Brady said Williamstown will use a $1,277,000 grant and an $884,000 loan from the agency to make upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant and to ensure that the plant’s outflow meets the projected Total Maximum Daily Load of phosphorus anticipated from the Environmental Protection Agency this summer. The phosphorus removal will decrease the plant’s yearly phosphorus output by 84 percent. The upgrades will also result in an increase in operational and energy efficiencies.Brady noted that the funding for Williamstown was only possible thanks to a provision of the 2014 Farm Bill setting aside funds for projects of regional significance. The Williamstown project tied into a state-wide Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy established by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development following Tropical Storm Irene.Welch, who supported the 2014 Farm Bill, said without the set aside in the Farm Bill, Williamstown residents would have been left to shoulder more of the burden of the project, as the project would have received less grant funding.Following the news conference, the Congressman, members of Vermont’s ECO AmeriCorps program, USDA staff and others removed trash from a small tributary of the Winooski River. Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Alyssa Schuren oversees the ECO AmeriCorps program, as well as many of the state’s water quality efforts. Schuren noted that her agency and her parent agency, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, works with USDA and other partners to help municipalities provide clean drinking water and environmentally sensitive wastewater treatment facilities. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Vicky Drew said the efforts in Williamstown complement a holistic approach to cleaning up Vermont’s water ways through engaging partners across all sectors to contribute to water quality efforts. Drew cited the environmental stewardship practices her agency assists farmers with as well as Vermont’s landmark water quality legislation passed by the Vermont legislature last year, Act 64. USDA Rural Development funded Williamstown’s improvements through the Water and Environmental Program(link is external). Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested $107.8 million to bring improved water and waste water services to over 84,372 Vermont residents. Williamstown has taken advantage of the program’s historically low interest rates to bring a cost effective improvements to its water system which will benefit 260 Williamstown residents, 15 commercial enterprises and seven institutions. USDA, through its RD mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of $212.8 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural areas. For more information on Rural Development visit the Vermont Rural Development website (www.rd.usda.gov/vt(link is external) )WILLIAMSTOWN, VT. (April 22, 2016) – USDA