The Frequency

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The Tax Foundation has sized up sales taxes on the state and local levels and ranked states from highest to lowest in two categories.

In the first category – statewide sales tax – Vermont’s 6 percent sales tax rate ranks 16.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Drivers for the Chittenden County Transportation Authority submitted a contract proposal to company management Thursday, and the two parties are scheduled to meet this weekend with the hopes of ending the strike that began Monday.

The assistant majority leader of the Vermont House is resigning her post to become a paid advocate for single-payer health care.

Representative Tess Taylor is a three-term Democrat from Barre who was elected to the House leadership team in 2012. She resigned effectively immediately Friday after accepting a job as executive director of Vermont’s Coalition for Universal Reform.

Shem Roose / Perfect Day Media

Life got in the way of Burlington-based band Swale's first full-length album, A Small Arrival. It took the group more than seven years to produce the album, which came out at the end of 2012.

Former two-term Republican Rep. Oliver Olsen from Jamaica is looking to return to the Statehouse, this time as an Independent.

Olsen made a name for himself on the House Committee on Ways and Means, where he became heavily involved in the debate over education financing reforms.

Olsen is looking to fill the Windham-Windsor-Bennington seat being vacated by the departing Rep. Charles “Tim” Goodwin, an Independent.

A Vermont lawmaker wants access to a trove of government documents that might shine a light on what taxes the Shumlin Administration would use to pay for single-payer health care. But the governor’s office says it will keep the records hidden from public view.

Rep. Cynthia Browning, D-Arlington, filed a public records request with the Agency of Administration last week seeking access to internal documents related to single-payer financing. But she got word this week that the administration has denied the request.

University of Vermont President Thomas Sullivan is assembling a university task force on substance abuse to address what he says is “a very real obstacle” to students’ ability to learn and engage at the university.

UVM frequents “top party schools” lists online and in print, but Sullivan said in a letter to students last month that this culture and its broad acceptance is far too costly.

“Along with campuses across the nation, we as a community have seen students struggle, leave our university, and in some cases have mourned their deaths,” he wrote.

Pennsylvania based Kennametal says it hopes to make a decision on the fate of its Lyndonville plant by March 28.

The plant employs approximately 80 people.

A spokeswoman for Kennametal said in an email that the firm is holding discussions with the United Steel Worker Committee at the plant over a reorganization plan that would close the facility and relocate operations.

The company says closing the plant would save about $2.2 million annually. 

Kennametal is a global company with headquarters in Latrobe, Pa.  Worldwide it employs nearly 14,000.

Garrison Buxton / Ad Hoc Art

retaining wall near the intersection of Routes 100 and 11 in Londonderry has been getting a lot of attention lately. Local artists recently painted the wall, covering up some unsightly graffiti. But that's considered an interim step, with a more collaborative project to come this spring.

Vermont's Coalition for Universal Reform

Updated 11:50 a.m. Thursday, March 20 to include organization that is funding the effort. 

The fight for single payer health care promises to be one of the heaviest political lifts in state history. And a new group is about to put some financial weight behind the lobbying push.

The FCC defines “entry level” broadband speed as 4 megabits download, 1 megabit up. 

In Vermont, more than 20 percent of addresses with broadband access cannot connect at those speeds. There are also those who don’t have access to broadband at any speed.

An unusual trial in Haverhill, N.H is re-fueling the long-simmering controversy at Dartmouth College about whether the administration is doing enough to prevent and respond to sexual assaults on campus.

The defendant, Parker Gilbert, is a former Dartmouth student who allegedly raped another student in her dorm room on campus last May. Her name is being withheld, as is customary in rape cases.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Two days into their strike, Chittenden County Transportation Authority bus drivers said Tuesday they have prepared a counter-offer for management. But CCTA General Manager Bill Watterson said the company hasn’t seen a written proposal from the drivers.

The strike started Monday and has left thousands of passengers without reliable transportation. And even the union’s supporters hope the labor action ends soon.

StockSolutions / Thinkstock

The Town of Warren is being proactive about its potholes, or at least about warding off blame for those potholes. The town has posted a pothole alert on its website that notes the weather, not the road construction, is to blame for this seasonal blight:

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Leaders in Vermont’s continuing effort to rid the state of addiction to heroin and other opiates testified before Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. Peter Welch in a field hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“You cannot arrest your way out of this problem,” Leahy said in his opening remarks. It was a phrase repeated often by the five witnesses, who emphasized the importance of prevention and treatment in solving Vermont’s drug problem.

Campaign finance reports submitted Monday show that Gov. Peter Shumlin is resting on a seven-figure war chest heading into the 2014 election season.

Shumlin’s largesse comes thanks to out-of-state donors, who have contributed more than $240,000 to the second-term Democrat since last July. Shumlin raised only about $80,000 from Vermonters.

Toby Talbot / AP

Town Meeting is over and many people around Vermont  have been bestowed with new job titles. But what exactly are the responsibilities of a paid town lister or a volunteer library trustee?

Employment statistics released Monday by the Vermont Department of Labor show an upswing in employment in the month of January as the state’s unemployment continued to fall.

“The January numbers start the year on a positive note,” said Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan in a statement.

Seasonally adjusted data shows that the civilian labor force increased by 350 from December to January even as the rate of unemployment fell to 4 percent.

“The number of employed increased by 1,250 and the number of unemployed decreased by 950,” the monthly jobs report said.

The Vermont Land Trust has withdrawn support from legislation it was backing that would allow conservation easements to be altered or lifted after a legal review.

The move Friday followed criticism by others in the conservation community that the bill opened the possibility that a donor’s intent to preserve a particular piece of land would not be fulfilled.

Courtesy of Woody Jackson

Public Post reports on Montpelier's pledge to become the nation's first net zero capital city; efforts to track the Rusty Blackbird in its spring migration; amphibian tunnels planned for Monkton and an Arctic Roadshow in Fairlee.

Here's a sampling of the week's Public Post Twitter updates from Brattleboro, Guildhall, Franklin, Manchester and more: