January 14th, 2010
MONTPELIER — The report released last week by the commission that evaluated retirement benefits for Vermont teachers and state workers lays out 10 recommendations intended to decrease deficits in the state employee pension fund by, among other things, increasing employee contributions to their retirement accounts and raising the retirement age.
To Martha Allen, president of the Vermont National Education Association (VT-NEA), the report’s recommendations are disappointing.
“What the report wants is for teachers to work longer, pay more and get less,” she said.
CORNWALL — To fully appreciate the local, sometimes you have to go global. That’s what Cornwall resident Jon Isham found when he traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, in December for the United Nations Climate Conference.
Isham, who teaches economics at Middlebury College, was in Denmark for the second of the conference’s two weeks. Running from Dec. 7-18, the conference pulled together world leaders, scholars and civilian climate activists alike.
BRIDPORT — Jill Vickers still remembers walking into the small hotel in a remote town in northern Afghanistan shoulder-to-shoulder with a handful of other young American women. Snowdrifts, she remembered, had accumulated in the halls of the hotel, and when the women made their way to their door, they realized they would be spending the night in their sleeping bags on the floor in an unheated room.
Welcome to Afghanistan in 1969.
VERGENNES — Earlier this month, Vergennes Opera House officials learned they would get a key piece of funding in their quest to install sprinklers in the City Hall theater: The Vermont Arts Council awarded the opera house a $20,000 Cultural Facilities Grant to support the project.
After adding the grant to a $32,588 Vermont Downtown Development Board tax credit the theater was granted in 2009, opera house executive director Jackson Evans said board members are confident they can raise the rest of the money for the $65,000 project, which they hope will begin next month.
MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont Agency of Agriculture lifted the suspension on Bernard and Louis Quesnel’s livestock dealer license as of Jan. 4.
As reported in the Dec. 24 edition of the Independent, the brothers, who operate Quesnel Livestock out of farm off Route 7 North in Middlebury, had their dealer license suspended on Dec. 16 following an investigation into the sale of horses within the state without proper testing for Equine Infectious Anemia.
At Tuesday’s special UD-3 school board meeting, board members got an unexpected vote of no confidence.
The shoe that fits
On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., introduced legislation that would place a heavy tax on bonuses paid by national banking firms that accepted federal bail out money. The proceeds from the tax would finance a small-business lending program.
It is fitting legislation.
BRANDON — The Otter Valley Union High School girls’ basketball team pulled away in the final 12 minutes of Tuesday’s home game to earn a 41-30 win over Springfield.
The victory moved the Otters, who are sixth in the Division II standings, back over .500 at 6-5. More importantly, said senior forward Amanda Sanderson, who sparked OV with 14 rebounds, eight points, four assists and strong defense, the Otters needed to bounce back from last week’s 60-37 loss at Windsor in which they did not play well down the stretch.