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Vermont Fall Foliage Report: October 1

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 2:09pm -- tim

The foliage progression has intensified with near-peak to full color change throughout northeastern Vermont and along the spine of the Green Mountains from north to south. Vibrant colors are also emerging in the higher elevations of southern and central Vermont as well as blossoming in central Vermont valleys. Veteran foresters report an exceptional "hyper-vibrancy," calling the colors "practically neon," and note excellent viewing throughout much of the state at this time.

GMP's 2.46 percent rate decrease takes effect October 1

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 1:53pm -- tim

Green Mountain Power is lowering rates effective Wednesday, October 1, 2014. Electric rates for residential and commercial customers decrease by 2.46 percent. The rate decrease is the second decrease by GMP in three years and is part of the company’s mission to deliver reliable, clean and cost-effective power to customers. The rate decrease was approved by the Vermont Public Service Board and comes at a time when other energy companies in the region are seeking double-digit rate increases to meet customer demand.

Brattleboro's Brooks House grand opening slated for Friday, October 3

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 1:29pm -- tim

The 24 million dollar renovation of Brattleboro’s Brooks House will be celebrated on October 3 at 5pm in the Brooks House Atrium in downtown Brattleboro. Speakers will include Governor Peter Shumlin along with Brooks House Development Bob Stevens and Larry Cassidy. Additional speakers include Joyce Judy, president of CCV and Dan Smith, president of VTC. A ribbon cutting will follow the speakers and CCV and VTC will be giving tours.

Tarrant Foundation makes $5 million gift to UVM middle school program

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 12:41pm -- tim

A nationally recognized University of Vermont program bringing innovative, technology-rich teaching practices to Vermont middle school students will expand dramatically across the state thanks to a $5 million gift from the Richard E. and Deborah L. Tarrant Foundation. The gift is the second $5 million pledge the foundation has made to the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education, housed in the University of Vermont’s College of Education and Social Services. The earlier gift launched the institute in 2009. The foundation also funded a pilot version of the program from 2006 to 2009.

HUD awards Burlington $3.4 million to improve housing health and safety

Wed, 10/01/2014 - 8:39am -- tim

Vermont’s Congressional Delegation – Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and Representative Peter Welch (D) -- and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger Tuesday announced a US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant of $3.4 million to the Community & Economic Development Office (CEDO) for lead safety and to address home health and safety issues in low-income housing.

Vermont Gas gains federal waiver for International Paper project

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 7:29pm -- tim

by John Herrick Federal energy regulators have approved Vermont Gas’ request to construct a natural gas pipeline from Middlebury to Ticonderoga, New York, without a federal review of the project’s environmental impacts. Vermont and New York regulators now have full authority to review the the economic and environmental impacts of the pipeline.

Handheld cell phone ban begins WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 1

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 5:15pm -- tim

The ban takes effect Wednesday, October 1, 2014 and covers all portable electronic devices, including, music players, laptop computers, and cellular telephones. Hands-free use is permitted under the law, and hands-free means without the use of either hand and outside the immediate proximity of the user’s ear, by employing an internal feature—such as Bluetooth, for example—or as long as the device is in a cradle or otherwise securely mounted in the vehicle.

Construction under way on solar project at National Life Group

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 5:01pm -- tim

A 500 kilowatt solar power project currently under construction on the grounds of National Life Group is expected to go on line by the end of the year and will generate a significant portion of the company’s electricity. The new project will be part of the state’s net metering program, as an existing 70 kW rooftop system on the company’s roof is, feeding power onto the electrical grid while replacing reliance on fossil fuel. The 10,000 megawatts per year that the two systems will produce represents more than 15 percent of the company’s power demand.

BMH collaborates with Winstanley on 500 kw solar development

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 12:02pm -- tim

Winstanley Solar Development (WSD) and Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (BMH) have announced an agreement to collaborate on the construction and operation of a 500 kilowatt solar power array on land owned by Winstanley Enterprises.  The electricity generated by this array will serve the main BMH hospital building, and generate significant savings for BMH over the 20-year term of the agreement.

Shire Pharmaceuticals to pay Vermont $79,878 to resolve marketing allegations involving drugs for ADHD

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 11:45am -- tim

Vermont will collect $79,878 in restitution and other recoveries as its share of a national $56.5 million civil settlement with Shire Pharmaceuticals, LLC to resolve allegations that the company unlawfully marketed five of its drugs, Adderall XR, Vyvance, Daytrana, Lialda and Pentasa, resulting in overpayments by Vermont Medicaid and other government healthcare programs. Specifically, it is alleged that Shire:

Vermont ACOs didn’t earn federal incentive rewards in year one of payment reform program

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 8:43am -- tim

by Morgan True Health care networks in Vermont known as accountable care organizations (ACOs) didn’t exceed savings targets for treating Medicare patients by enough to receive incentive payments in the first year of a federal initiative to reduce spending and improve care.

Project Independence finds new life at Gifford

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 5:31am -- tim

The state’s first adult day center, Project Independence, got its start in Barre in 1975 when a nursing home activity director, Lindsey Wade, recognized an opportunity to do things better and more cost effectively. Wade encountered nursing home residents who didn’t seem to medically belong there. Others were visiting the nursing home daily for the social interaction. Wade had an idea. The area needed an adult day care and not a medical model adult day, but a social model – something that didn’t exist anywhere else in the country.