Douglas names office staff

first_imgp{ margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1px}body{ font-family: “Arial”, sans-serif; font-size: 12pt; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal}Governor-elect James Douglas announced at a press conference Thursday afternoon(November 14) that Tim Hayward would become his chief of staff. Hayward worked inthe first Snelling Administration and has been the executive director of the VermontBankers Association for 18 years. Hayward is also the head of Douglas’ transition team.Douglas also announced that lobbyist Betsy Bishopwill be his deputy chief of staff, campaign manager Neale Lunderville will become secretary of Civil and MilitaryAffairs, former Fletcher Allen public relations staffer Jason Gibbs will be his press secretary, Susanne Young, currently the deputy treasurer under Douglas, will be his legalcounsel, and Jim Barnett, deputy campaign manager, will be the governor’s special assistant.At the press conference, held in the governor’s ceremonial office on the second floor ofthe State House, Douglas said that choosing agency secretaries would be the nextorder of business for the transition staff. He said all political appointees, which includeagency heads and their deputies, department commissioners and their deputies, aswell as all others in the Dean Administration, will be asked to submit their resignations.Douglas said that some may be retained in their current positions or moved to otheroffices, but, “most of the positions will see new faces.” He expects the process couldtake a couple of months.Of the few policy items Douglas mentioned, he said he would urge the Public ServiceBoard not to increase funding for the Energy Efficiency Agency. It works to decreaseelectric energy consumption through the use of conservation and technologicalefficiencies. It is funded by electric bill surcharges. A proposal before the board wouldincrease its budget from its current $12 million to as much as $16 million. Douglas said he wants to keep it at $12 million. He said he supports the program, butwith the economy soft, and electric rates already high in Vermont, the extra chargewould act like a tax increase and discourage economic development.On that note, as he said he stated during the campaign, it will be very hard to increaseeconomic development through tax cuts. He said there are clear needs in the Agency ofHuman Services, which includes the welfare department (the Department of Prevention,Assistance, Transition & Health Access) and the Department of Corrections.Douglas said policy changes that will lead to economic growth must come first, beforetax cuts can be made.One revenue enhancement that Douglas said he would support, however, is Powerball,the national lottery. Most states, most notably New Hampshire, are part of Powerball.Douglas said that Vermonters are crossing the Connecticut River to buy Powerballtickets, and while they’re there, they also do other shopping.“They’re clearly buying them (Powerball tickets),” Douglas said, “I’d just as soon havethem buying them in Vermont.” Governor Dean has been a strong opponent of Powerball, believing that the stateshould not increase its obligation to gambling for state revenues. Douglas said he didnot know how much that lottery would bring the state, but acknowledged that estimatesrun from $1 million to $8 million. Whatever the revenues, he said they would help offsetthe property tax.Douglas said he would like to somehow get the Pownal race track back in action. Hesaid the former horse racing facility in Bennington County once employed upwards of1,000 people. Otherwise, he didn’t expect to have any other gambling initiatives, “I’mnot a great fan of gambling.”He also will try and maintain the Rainy Day Fund. The fund is the principal reason whyVermont enjoys the highest bond rating in New England. If the state actually used thefund to shore up slumping tax revenues, the rating would go down, Douglas said, eventhough that’s what it’s there for.In the sunny, formal setting, Douglas was his usual casual, self-effacing self, not shyabout interjecting corny jokes, some directed at himself. He’s still the state treasureruntil January 7, when he will be sworn in as governor.- 30 –last_img read more


first_imgMontpelier, VT Vermont business development projects totaling $21 million will receive $5.2 million in financing assistance from the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA). Principals of two of the manufacturing projects approved for VEDA financing estimate 100 new jobs will be created within three years of the investments. VEDA is especially excited and pleased to offer financing assistance that helps stimulate jobs creation in the manufacturing sector of Vermonts economy, said Jo Bradley, the Authoritys Chief Executive Officer. Among the projects approved by VEDA are:Revision Eyewear, Ltd., Essex Junction Financing of $1 million was approved as part of a $3 million capital expenditure project, enabling this highly-specialized military eyewear company to upgrade its plant, laboratory, and production facilities. TD Banknorth is also participating in the project, which aims to add 60 new jobs to the companys current payroll of 44 within three years. Based in Essex Junction since 2007, and in Williston for three years prior, Revision Eyewear is an ISO 9001:2000 registered company that has a diverse global supply chain, including custom made components from all over the United States, Europe and the Far East. With this equipment and leasehold investment, the company will be better able to service its most important customer the U.S. military by assuring advanced training, R&D, quality control, production flow, and protection of intellectual property. Vermont Composites, Inc., Bennington VEDA approved up to $1 million in mortgage insurance on a $4.5 million working capital line of credit extended to Vermont Composites, Inc. (VCI) by Chittenden Bank. VCI is a market leader in the design and fabrication of carbon fiber reinforced composite structures for the aerospace and medical industries. VCI projects adding 48 jobs to its current payroll of 195 within three years of the expansion project.Vermont Precision Woodworks, Morrisville VEDA agreed to insure $375,000 of a $500,000 working capital line of credit offered Vermont Precision Woodworks (VPW) by Union Bank. Based in Morrisville, VPW employs 37, and both produces and imports youth bedroom and home office furniture for independent furniture stores and high-volume national retailers.Grafton Village Cheese Company, Inc., Brattleboro – An additional $500,000 in industrial revenue bond financing was approved by VEDA, supplementing $8.2 million in financing given final approval by the Authority in August, 2007. The funds support the construction of a new cheese manufacturing and aging facility, now nearing completion, on land owned by the Windham Foundation in Brattleboro.Additional financings approved by the VEDA Board of Directors include:Over $1.1 million in farm ownership and operating loans through the Authoritys agricultural financing program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation;Business real estate development loans totaling $664,000 through the Authoritys Vermont 504 Corporation; and Small business loans totaling $578,668 through the Authoritys Vermont Small Business Development Corporation.VEDAs mission is to promote economic prosperity in Vermont by providing financial assistance to eligible businesses, including manufacturing, agricultural, and travel and tourism enterprises. Since its inception in 1974, VEDA has made financing commitments totaling over $1.3 billion. For more information about VEDA, visit is external) or call 802-828-5627.last_img read more

UVM-IBM $590,000 “smart grid” research project using complex systems

first_imgUniversity of Vermont,Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) approved a three-year, $590,000 project for complex systems research by the University of Vermont Complex Systems Center and IBM Research into the future reliability of the smart grid.? U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy secured an initial $500,000 for the UVM program, which then attracted an additional $90,000 in resources through the UVM-IBM partnership.?Led by Drs. Paul Hines (RELATED STORY) and Chris Danforth, two faculty in the UVM Complex Systems Center and assistant professors in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS), the UVM-IBM project uses complex systems modeling approaches to reduce the risk of large blackouts caused by cascading failure in the electricity infrastructure. The research will focus on the development of new methods, based on complex systems concepts and high-performance computing, for estimating and reducing cascading failure risks ‘invaluable information as Vermont actively develops the nation’s first, statewide smart grid infrastructure.”Implementation of a statewide Smart Grid holds tremendous promise to improve the daily lives of Vermonters,’ said Leahy, ‘The research conducted by UVM and IBM through this public-private partnership will improve the reliability of the power grid and help anticipate some of the unforeseen challenges posed by this new technology. Vermont is poised to lead the pack on Smart Grid adoption and this funding will help solidify that position.”‘IBM’s Vermont site has a long history of success working with UVM and we’re pleased that this collaboration has now been extended to include IBM Research, said Janette Bombardier, director, IBM Vermont site operations and senior location executive.? ‘IBM has used systems modeling and monitoring to improve energy use at its Vermont facility, and this research will focus on how to apply similar techniques to create a more stable and reliable electric grid for Vermont and nationwide.’”The growing UVM-IBM partnership in complex systems approaches and high performance computing on issues critical to the State of Vermont and our nation showcases excellence in both institutions,” said UVM Vice President for Research Domenico Grasso, “I sincerely thank Senator Leahy for his support of this important research and look forward to our faculty’s continued collaborations with IBM.”IBM will leverage the team’s development of computationally efficient complex systems of systems approaches and Hybrid High Performance Computing (HPC) implementations, to compliment its “Smarter Energy” research agenda. The computationally-rigorous field of complex systems is extremely well-suited to this research ‘ simulating complex interactions of technological, human, and environmental systems, among others.? Complex systems was recently identified by UVM as one of three transdisciplinary ‘Spires of Excellence’ for university-wide strategic investment.Professor Hines moved to the UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences in 2007 after earning degrees in engineering and public policy from Carnegie-Mellon University.? He has been active in Vermont energy systems education efforts and, in addition to his position at UVM, holds an adjunct position with Vermont Law School. Professor Danforth, Hines’ co-investigator, moved to UVM from the University of Maryland and is an expert in the modeling of chaotic interactions.? Danforth is engaged in complex systems modeling studies ranging from the ‘emotional state of the blogosphere’ to blood coagulation and is also a national leader in math and climate system education both at UVM and through the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont (GIV) program for Vermont high schools.?(Photo courtesy of David R. Tribble, used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike License)RELATED:…last_img read more

Reception of Burlington TV stations, VPR and WEZF affected on Sunday by tower work

first_imgJoe Tymecki, chair of the Mount Mansfield Collocation Association technical committee, announced that antenna and tower maintenance work is planned for Sunday, August 7, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., weather permitting.?The work will require power to be reduced or turned off at times and will affect TV reception for some Vermont viewers, as well as reception of the two radio stations that transmit from the site.Television stations affected will be Vermont Public Television, WCAX, WPTZ, WVNY and WFFF, as well as WEZF-FM and Vermont Public Radio’s 107.9.last_img

HUD awards two grants in Vermont to combat housing discrimination

first_imgEducation and Outreach Initiative grants (EOI)’ HUD awarded $4.6 million to groups that educate the public and housing providers about their rights and obligations under federal, state, and local fair housing laws.?Fair Housing Organizations Initiative (FHOI)?‘ HUD awarded $5.9 million to groups that serve rural and immigrant populations in areas where there currently is no existing fair housing organization, or are otherwise underserved.FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate more than 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. ?People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at?1-800-669-9777?(voice), or?(800) 927-9275?(TTY).?VT Grantees????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????? ??????????? Grant Amount??????????Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity? ??????????? $117,409Vermont Legal Aid, Inc???????????????????????????????????????????? ????????????$324,987VT TOTAL?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????? $449,987?HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to?strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and? transform the way HUD does business.?More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at? is external)?and? is external).??You can also follow HUD on twitter?@HUDnews, on facebook at? is external), or sign up for news alerts on?HUD’s News Listserv. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded two grants in Vermont totaling $449,987 to Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity and Vermont Legal Aid, Inc to assist people who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination.??Nationally, HUD awarded $28 million. The grants announced today are funded through HUD’s?Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP)?and will be used to investigate allegations of housing discrimination, and work to promote equal housing opportunities.?(See below for breakdown of VT funding)?‘The Obama Administration is committed to ending housing discrimination, and these grants enable local fair housing and community organizations all over the nation to help HUD enforce the Fair Housing Act, and make people more aware of their fair housing rights,’ stated HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.?HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity, John Trasvi?±a added: ‘Last year, HUD filed more Fair Housing Act charges than any year since 2002,’ ‘The Fair Housing Initiatives Program grantees play a vital role to enhance our civil rights law enforcement efforts.’??????????? The categories of grants awarded today are:Private Enforcement Initiative grants (PEI)’ HUD awarded $17.5 million to help groups investigate alleged housing discrimination, and enforce the Fair Housing Act and state and local laws that are substantially equivalent to the Act.last_img read more