I received a request from Paul Cillo asking if I would help disseminate this report from Public Assets Institute. I am pleased to oblige. I've followed Public Assets for quite a while and it is, as far as I can see, the most thorough and clear-eyed analysis of Vermont economics. I find the data very accurate and the commentary and analysis quite sharp and insightful. The particular report to which this note refers provides a wonderfully comprehensive snapshot of what is going on in the state. Here it is:
Award will support HCRS’ work to help the severely disabled
Springfield, VT, April 8, 2016 – Health Care and Rehabilitation Services (HCRS), the second largest community mental health center in Vermont, announced today that the Vermont Community Foundation’s Small and Inspiring grant program has awarded HCRS a $2,500 grant. The award recognizes HCRS’ mission to provide creative, collaborative, and compassionate health care services and will support its Shared Living Providers program, which provides homes for clients with developmental disabilities.
“Small and Inspiring projects remind us of the importance of community,” said Jen Peterson, vice president for program and grants at the Community Foundation. “As we are confronted daily with news stories that incite feelings of fear and distrust, we are honored to support work that brings us together and nourishes the social fabric of our Vermont communities.”
Valley News is reporting that Trans Canada is planning on selling dams along the Connecticut River:
"West Lebanon — As part of its effort to finance a new Houston-based natural gas acquisition, Trans Canada Hydro Northeast is looking to sell its New England power generation business, including its hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut River.
At stake are not only some of the most lucrative assets on the river, but control of a critical natural resource in the Twin States. The Wilder, Bellows Falls and Vernon, Vt. dams are among the assets Trans Canada plans to sell."
More here. Seems like they see a future in pipelines instead.
BURLINGTON, Vt., March 11 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders today announced the Department of Health and Human Services awarded $1,240,794 to four community health centers in Vermont. The health centers will use this new federal funding to expand access to substance abuse treatment.
The Vermont awards are part of $94 million to improve and expand the delivery of substance abuse services announced today by HHS for 271 community health centers in 45 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The funds were authorized by a Sanders provision in the Affordable Care Act that provided $11 billion in funding for community health centers across the country.
Last week the Senate voted to pass a bill that would allow legalization and regulation of marijuana. It will be posted on the Legislative website by the end of the week. It is S.241 as passed by the Senate. Here are some of the reasons I sponsored and voted for the bill, and some of the highlights - what it is and what it isn't.
For many years I have felt that our policy of prohibition has not worked - not for youth, for law enforcement and not for the citizens who have become criminals because of it. In 2014 the Rand group was commissioned to report on the potential for legalization in Vermont. In 2015 the Government Operations committee, which I chair, took testimony on the report and how it should be done in Vermont if it was to be done. We heard from everyone who had something to say - no one was denied a voice. From those hearings, Senator Benning (who is also on the committee) and I cosponsored S241. In January 2016 it went to the Judiciary Committee where testimony was taken. At the beginning of the session, Senator Sears, Chair, stated that there was no way he would vote for legalization. After hearing all the testimony and the facts, he changed his mind and became a strong supporter of legalization and regulation. As happens with all bills, it is different than it was as introduced.
The risk of talking publicly before you have all the facts. Apologies for jumping to conclusions about Sen. Balint's vote. She supported final Senate passage.
Windham County voters- Please look up the first vote on Wed by the Senate on S.241, the marijuana legalization bill. Our Senator, Becca Balint, voted against it. Jeanette White voted in favor and she has championed this bill from the start. We need to remember this at election time
I have been working on reforming our cannabis laws for over a decade, including leading the efforts to allow its use for medical purposes. Today S.241, "An act relating to personal possession and cultivation of cannabis and the regulation of commercial cannabis establishments," heads to the Senate floor for debate and a vote.
This bill has passed through many senate committees and been amended many times. While it may not completely represent our goals for cannabis reform it represents a huge shift from no regulation to a regulated and managed product.
Several amendments will be offered today as the bill is debated on the Senate floor. I will be offering one, co-sponsored by Senator Rogers, which would allow for individuals to cultivate for personal use.
Monday, November 9th at 6pm
Montpelier, VT—Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos is continuing his third biennial Transparency Tour with a stop in Brattleboro on Monday, November 9, 2015. The presentation, focusing on laws about open and transparent government, will be held at Brattleboro Town Hall at 6pm.
“Since taking office, one of my main priorities has been transparency in government. I am pleased to have the opportunity to visit communities all over the state and discuss open meeting and public records laws with municipal and state officials, local government boards, and the public,” stated Condos.
Newly announced Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lisman is calling for a two-year moratorium on new industrial renewable generation projects.
He calls solar arrays “eyesores”. I suppose he sees beauty in nuclear and fossil fuel generating stations.
What is his real agenda?
Program Shown to Reduce Hospital Stays, Improve Quality of Life for Veterans Comes to Vermont and New Hampshire:
A national Veterans Administration program that keeps disabled veterans out of the hospital and improves their quality of life is coming to Vermont and New Hampshire.
The Medical Foster Home program, based at the regional VA headquarters in White River Junction, is aimed at veterans who are no longer able to live independently, placing them in homecare settings with a qualified single adult or a family. Sponsored by 113 VA’s around the country, the program has served over 3,100 veterans since it was created in 2000.
"The news" is reporting that the Vermonter, our Amtrak connection, derailed about near Northfield/Roxbury, VT, 10 miles or so south of Montpelier. Minor injuries, no fatalities reported. 98 people on board. Brattleboro rescue folks going to help.
Governor Peter Shumlin just held a press conference to announce he will not be running... for governor of Vermont in the next election. He says he's accomplished his goals, according to WCAX.
Notes of Brattleboro Citizens' Breakfast - 5/15/12015 - The Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (NDCAP)By RobertOeser | Tue, May 26 2015
Brattleboro Citizens’ Breakfast, May 15, 2015, Gibson-Aiken Center
The Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (NDCAP)
Kate O’Connor, Chairperson email@example.com
Note: The Next NDCAP Meeting will be held May 28, 2015, 6pm - 9pm, Brattleboro Union High School (BUHS), multipurpose room.
The 19 member panel includes six citizen representatives, two Entergy reps, representation from the Vermont agency and department heads as well as reps from NH and MA. Since it’s organizational meeting last September 14th, it has met regularly, more often than the legislatively mandated quarterly meetings. Kate acknowledged Martin Langeveld, of Vernon, also a citizen member of the panel, and elected Vice-Chair.
Brattleboro Citizens' Breakfast Invitation - May 15th - Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory PanelBy RobertOeser | Thu, April 30 2015
Brattleboro Citizens' Breakfast Invitation
The Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (NDCAP)
The next Brattleboro Citizens' Breakfast is planned for Friday, May 15, 2015 at the Gibson Aiken Center, downstairs, hosted by Senior Meals. Doors open at 7:30am.
Kate O’Connor will speak in her capacity as Chairperson of the The Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (NDCAP).
With Vermont Yankee closing by the end of this year, the Legislature and Governor believed an advisory panel with more citizen representation squarely focused on decommissioning and site restoration issues at Vermont Yankee would be helpful.
While this is an event, it's such short notice I'm posting it as more of a PSA. A presentation by Prof. Fred Wiseman in Bradford, VT tomorrow (Sat., 04/24/2015) at 1 pm... this is a story which has not been told as openly as it merits.
Not just history, this is the ongoing situation of the Western Abenaki, the indigenous people who lived - and live - right here. Vermont, the poster child for tolerance and progressive politics, can do better. Link here.
The Agency of Commerce and Community Development, along with Windham Regional Commission, is hosting a Community Forum on Monday, April 20, from 7pm to 9pm at the Marlboro College Graduate Center in Brattleboro. The forum is part of the Vermont Economic Resiliency Initiative, which is working to develop recommendations to reduce flooding along the Whetstone Brook in Brattleboro.
Over the past six months, the VERI team has combined the community input with the work of river scientists to develop preliminary recommendations to improve public safety and help residents and businesses near the Whetstone Brook to quickly bounce back from future floods. At the forum, the team will share what they’ve learned and seek feedback on the draft report and recommended projects.
State Awards $1.6 Million to Fund Conversions from Oil and Propane
BRATTLEBORO, VERMONT: A new state-funded initiative will help Windham County convert the heating systems in schools and municipal buildings from oil to locally sourced, renewable heat from high-efficiency wood heat systems. Windham Wood Heat’s near-term goal is to convert 20 schools and public buildings to wood heat, while its long-term goals are to make the county a hub of advanced-wood heating technology and strengthen the local forest economy.
Vermonters know global warming is happening now, and they are concerned about the impacts of climate change on future generations. Extreme weather events like Irene – which exacted a huge price on people’s lives and their pocketbooks – portend the kind of devastation we can expect from a warming world. Solutions that match the magnitude of the problem – and can turn this challenge into opportunity – are needed now.
There is a growing, diverse coalition – Energy Independent Vermont – working to do just that by calling for putting a price on carbon pollution. A fair, strong, carefully crafted tax on carbon pollution can accomplish three important goals:
One of the things I love about chairing Senate Government Operations is that the subject matter is very diverse - municipal issues, elections, the structure of government, regulation of the professions, and just about anything else. This last week the Senate voted on a bill, S.66, that addresses the needs of the deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. It was one of the many diverse issues before our committee.
While many realize that is has been an issue in Vermont for a long time, the closure of Austine School and the Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing brought it to the forefront. Over the past few weeks, our committee took testimony from state agencies, educators, spokespeople for the Deaf community, parents of deaf children and members of the Deaf community.