VTDigger

MONTPELIER — Gov. Phil Scott last Friday lifted some COVID-19 restrictions on Vermont restaurants, bars and clubs. The policy was due to take effect on Wednesday, March 24. Bars and clubs were allowed to sit people of different households together with a maximum of six people per table, according to the governor’s website. Other social distancing and capacity requirements remain in place. Like restaurants, bars are limited to 50% occupancy. Seating must be available for all patrons, with parties spaced six feet apart. Bar seating is allowed only if there is a physical barrier, like plexiglass...
With the Johnson & Johnson vaccine coming online and the federal pharmacy program ramping up, Gov. Phil Scott announced Tuesday that school staff, child care workers and more Vermonters with high-risk conditions would become eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine starting next week. Phase 5 of the state’s vaccination program will open March 8, Scott said, which will include high-risk Vermonters aged 55 and over. Starting March 15, those with the same high-risk conditions aged 16 and over will become eligible.  School staff and child care workers will also become eligible March 8, and...
MONTPELIER — Vermont is now getting 22% more COVID-19 vaccine doses per week from the federal government than its previous allocation, Gov. Phil Scott announced Tuesday. Scott learned in a call with other governors that morning that doses would increase another 5%, on top of an 8% increase announced last week by the Biden administration, which is working to boost the number of doses sent to states. Compounded, Scott said, the increase works out to 22%. That means Vermont will get about 10,800 doses a week for at least the next three weeks, which Scott said will aid greatly in planning ahead...
VERMONT — As Vermont continues to grapple with an economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, Gov. Phil Scott on Tuesday pitched a state budget that preserves state government programs and makes major investments in affordable housing, broadband, higher education, environmental protection and IT modernization.  Until recently, the Scott administration and lawmakers had expected that next year’s budget would require austerity measures and drastic cuts. Officials learned last week, however, that state coffers had been filled to the brim by an infusion of federal dollars since the...

JOHN ROBERTS OF Cornwall says that his organization is working with farmers, the state and consumers to solve water and soil quality problems in a way that keeps the dairy sector alive. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger
CORNWALL — John Roberts is the first executive director of the Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition, a Middlebury nonprofit that works on public policy in the areas of water quality, soil health, and other areas that affect farms and their communities. The coalition includes about 100 farms in Addison, Chittenden, Rutland and Washington counties and is supported by an array of grants, including a four-year grant from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture’s Clean Water Initiative Program. Roberts, who is English, was introduced to Vermont in his early 20s through a job at Shelburne Farms, where he...
Middlebury College is considering revoking an honorary degree held by Rudy Giuliani in light of the role he played in “fomenting” the riot in the U.S. Capitol last week, college president Laurie Patton said Sunday.  Giulani, who since 2018 has worked as President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, has been a leading voice in the propagation of election fraud conspiracies advanced by Trump and his supporters since president-elect Joe Biden won the November general election.  He addressed the president’s supporters before they stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, urging them to seize the riot as a “...
VERMONT — 2020 has been a tough year for Vermont dairy producers. The pandemic has spurred heavy losses across the industry. Prices have been so low, there’s even been milk dumping. Some dairy farmers have shut their barn doors for good. But with more people staying home since March, butter makers say Vermonters are buying their product for home use in greater quantities than in years past. The sales uptick is a bright spot in what’s otherwise been a brutal stretch for Vermont’s banner industry. Early in the pandemic, butter makers faced the same obstacles as other dairy producers: Sales to...
Vermont colleges sent students home for the fall semester just before Thanksgiving, closing their doors on a bizarre — but largely Covid-19-free — semester. Students spent this fall living under an array of stringent campus protocols intended to limit the virus’s spread. Professors adapted to remote teaching and altered methods of delivering in-person classes, and staff worked to make reconfigured campuses run smoothly.  And, as the semester comes to a close, officials say colleges’ numbers show those measures have paid off. At the state level, Vermont has handled its higher education...
VERMONT — Vermont’s glossy winter advertising, an annual investment in the state’s $2.8 billion tourism industry, is rolling out apace this year, despite the quarantine order that effectively blocks most out-of-staters from visiting. “It’s just you and the mountain, and an exhilarating run to the bottom, and then warm drinks, and locally sourced cuisine, and a fireplace in your cozy hotel room at the end of the day to warm you back up,” says a piece that the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing paid $80,000 to publish recently in New York Magazine. “This quintessential winter...
LYNDON — Northern Vermont University has received a $3.5 million donation — the largest-ever private gift to the Vermont State Colleges — from Mark and Molly Valade, college officials announced Monday. Mark Valade is a graduate of Lyndon State College, the now rechristened NVU-Lyndon, and is CEO of Carhartt, the iconic Michigan-based workwear company. The gift, which will be paid out over three years, will provide seed funding for NVU’s new Learning and Working Community, which aims to provide career pathways and hands-on learning opportunities for students, particularly at northern Vermont...

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Addison County Independent