A special legislative committee met in Montpelier Wednesday to hear from a number of key players on child safety issues.
State police officials, local police chiefs and prosecutors were all represented at today’s hearings, which were spurred by two toddler deaths earlier this year that resulted from abuse. Dave Yacovone is the Commissioner of the Department for Children and Families. He says that despite recent problems, today’s hearings show the state’s commitment to child safety.
A group of opponents of the Vermont Gas Systems pipeline say the cost of Vermont Gas Systems’ pipeline from Colchester to Addison County is no longer justifiable in light of a recently announced cost increase.
Vermont’s farms are to blame for almost 40 percent of the state’s phosphorus pollution into Lake Champlain, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Now, the Conservation Law Foundation is calling on the state to force farms that pollute the troubled Missiquoi Bay to implement “Best Management Practices” to mitigate their pollution.
Currently, phosphorus reduction is largely voluntary for farms. But there’s increasing pressure on the state, both from federal officials and water quality advocates, to make dramatic cuts in Vermont’s phosphorus output into Lake Champlain.
Vermont's unemployment rate was up in June for the first time in ten months, according to a new report from the state Department of Labor. The state’s 3.5 percent unemployment rate is still well below the national average of 6.1 percent.
Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan said in a release that the uptick is consistent with data from previous years.
“If historical patterns hold,” she said, “this temporary period of adjustment should be present for the next month or two before returning to the recent downward trend.”
The state’s ratepayer advocates are in strong support of Burlington Telecom’s settlement with Citibank over past financial problems, and they are very optimistic about the potential sale of the public telecom to a private entity.
“The settlement that’s been reached with the city and Citibank, and the bridge financing agreement really offers the first realistic opportunity to move beyond the problems that have been plaguing Burlington Telecom and the city,” said Jim Porter, the senior policy and telecommunications director at the Department of Public Service.
Progressive Dean Corren has a hefty financial advantage over incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott. In down-ticket races, incumbents face few challenges - but that doesn't mean they're not spending thousands to campaign.
Here's what we learned this week, as candidates reported campaign income and spending for the first time since election season began to heat up this summer:
Liberal fundraising giant MoveOn.org raised more than $50,000 for Vermont's Food Fight Fund, designed by lawmakers this year to help pay for the state's defense of its law requiring the labeling of foods that use genetically modified ingredients.
Sarah Clark of the Vermont Department of Finance and Management said the state received a $53,000 check from MoveOn.
"Essentially, with that donation, the fund doubled," she said.
Clark said she wasn't sure if MoveOn would continue fundraising for the effort.
The Vermont State Police and the attorney general’s office are investigating “an alleged misdirection of funds” at the Vermont Center for Independent Living, according to one of the center’s funders.
Gus Seelig, the executive director of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, said a former VCIL employee allegedly misappropriated funds that were intended to be used for the center’s program that funds home accessibility renovations.