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Senator James Jeffords dies at 80 in Washington, D.C.

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:14pm -- katie

Anne Galloway, vtdigger.org and Vermont Business Magazine

Sen. James Jeffords died this morning at the Knollwood Military Retirement Residence in Washington, D.C.
He was 80 years old. Jeffords had lived at the residence since his wife died of ovarian cancer eight years ago.

The Vermont congressman and senator served 32 years in Congress until 2005 when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Jeffords became famous in May 2001 when he left the Republican party to become an independent and began caucusing with the Democrats in the Senate.

Vermont Unemployment Rate Rises to 3.7 percent in July

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 11:03am -- katie

The Vermont Department of Labor announced today that the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate for July 2014 was 3.7 percent. This represents an increase of three-tenths of a percent from the revised June rate (3.4 percent). The equivalent national average was 6.2 percent, which increased by one-tenth of a percent from the previous month’s estimate. This is the second monthly increase to the statewide unemployment rate in Vermont in the past year.

Leahy: Grants Totaling $185,865 To Two Vermont Farms

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 2:46pm -- katie

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) says two Vermont farms will receive a total of $185,865 in grants under a program that encourages value-added American agricultural products.  The awards, under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Value-Added Producer Grant program, will be used to expand natural meat production and to develop nutritional labels, among other projects.

Champlain College Class of 2018 Arrives August 22

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 10:05am -- katie

Orientation Weekend includes Convocation, Activities and Special Events for Largest Class Ever

The Champlain College Class of 2018 will arrive Friday for an information-packed, fun-filled, three-day orientation. The incoming class of 662 students represents 36 states and six countries.

Residential move-in begins Friday morning followed by a lunch for parents, students and friends. Champlain College’s new president, Donald J. Laackman, will welcome the students and parents on Aiken Lawn after a campus barbecue.

City of Burlington Leads the Way with Launch of Employee Bikeshare Program

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 2:17pm -- katie

Mayor Miro Weinberger today launched the City Green Employee Bikeshare Program, now available to all City of Burlington employees. The program was fully funded by a wellness grant from the City’s health insurance carrier, BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont (BCBSVT), as part of BCBSVT’s efforts to reduce healthcare costs by encouraging active, healthy employee lifestyles. The City’s Wellness Committee organized the bikeshare program.

Verizon Wireless tops in overall network performance in Vermont in report by RootMetrics®

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 1:08pm -- katie

Company Also Awarded Top Rankings in National Network Study for Overall Performance, Reliability, Speed, Data and Call Performance

RootMetrics today released its second U.S. State RootScore® Reports and Verizon Wireless received the highest award for overall network performance in Vermont.

Six Vermont Communities to Benefit from Certified Local Government Grants

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 11:30am -- katie

Preservation, protection and education lead the list of initiatives that six Vermont towns will soon embark upon due to federal grants recently received. The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation have awarded Certified Local Government (CLG) matching grants totaling $41,000 to support community-based preservation initiatives.

Vermont state employees pay more, get more for health insurance

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 6:46am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine and Morgan True, vtdigger.org Health insurance premiums for Vermont state employees are high compared to other states, according to a report released by the Pew Charitable Trust, and the workers themselves pay a relatively high amount for total health insurance. While the overall national average for the split in employer-employee contribution is the same 20 percent, the average premium paid in the US for a state worker is $963, while in Vermont it is $1,307.

Optum makes progress, but smooth open enrollment still in question

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 6:38am -- tim

by Morgan True vtdigger.org The fact that consumers have been unable to make changes to their personal information or health care coverage through Vermont Health Connect has been routinely cited as the exchange website’s biggest flaw. But state officials released a report from tech firm Optum on Thursday that identifies something called “834 errors” as the greatest threat to a smoothly functioning website. Form 834 is an electronic file that transmits a customer’s information from Vermont Health Connect to the insurance carrier.

Racine firing revives talk of dividing AHS

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 6:32am -- tim

The Agency of Human Services is a bureaucratic monster that needs to be split apart, some lawmakers said this week. The shake-up of the agency’s leadership on Tuesday has rekindled discussion of whether the agency is too big for its own good. But advocates warn against creating even more “silos” between department services that are already hard for Vermonters to access.

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