VTDigger


GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT
MONTPELIER — Like last year, the Republican governor is proposing a conciliatory approach to legislative initiatives and small-bore changes across state government. And like last year, his No. 1 issue is Vermont’s ongoing decline in workforce population. But unlike 2019, in which Gov. Phil Scott proposed $18 million in new taxes and fees on e-cigarettes, out-of-state online retailers and online hoteliers, he has backed off additional taxes and fees in 2020.   But that doesn’t mean no new revenues. The governor in his budget address at the Statehouse on Tuesday proposed $4 million in new...
Editor’s note: Addison Independent reporter John Flowers contributed to this report. MONTPELIER — After climate change protesters were cleared from the Vermont House chamber at the start of Gov. Phil Scott’s annual State of the State address this past Thursday, Scott raised familiar themes in his speech: affordability and demographics. The governor said he plans to propose initiatives in his forthcoming budget to protect the environment “without making Vermont less affordable for families and businesses.” But he set the course for a clash with Democrats on their top climate initiatives, which...
VERMONT — Some education officials believe a recent, hotly debated reform effort skipped over a key part of Vermont’s public school system — career and technical centers. “They said, well, we’re not trying to get to that right now. We’ll get to it eventually. And now’s the time,” said Penny Chamberlin, the director at the Central Vermont Career Center in Barre. In a bid to address workforce shortages and fast-track Vermonters into well-paid jobs, state officials increasingly tout the state’s tech centers. But efforts to destigmatize the trades and encourage students to explore technical...
WATERBURY — A Middlesex CBD processor was arrested this past Wednesday for allegedly failing to pay local hemp farmers $137,500 for hemp harvested this past summer and fall. Douglas Bell, owner of CBD-Vermont in Waterbury, allegedly victimized five Vermont farms in Washington and Lamoille counties — Ananda Gardens, Cate Farm, Knoll Farm, Zach Woods Herb Farm and Lisa and Ryan Mase, according to Vermont State Police. Police say Bell owes 10 more farmers money for hemp harvests. The victims, 15 in all, have suffered cumulative losses of $500,000, police said. VSP said Vergennes police are part...
VERMONT — An independent investigator hired by the state found the Addison County Natural Gas Pipeline to be “generally” in compliance with state and federal requirements with a few exceptions. In a report filed this past Wednesday with the state Public Utility Commission, the investigator confirmed that construction plans for the pipeline were not stamped by a professional engineer and that parts of the pipeline under a swamp were not buried as deeply as required. But the report also says that Vermont Gas “was diligent in their efforts” to comply with state regulators and federal safety...
MIDDLEBURY — A U.S. ambassador’s decision to block a speech by Middlebury College scholar and NATO expert Stanley Sloan resulted in the cancellation of the entire conference where he was to deliver a keynote address last week.  The action by Carla Sands, U.S. envoy to Denmark, prompted organizers to scrap the whole event marking the 70th anniversary of the historic alliance of North American and European nations, including the United States.  Sloan, a visiting scholar at Middlebury and former CIA analyst, had been invited to speak at the international conference hosted by the American embassy...
WOODSTOCK — Nearly a year after the State Board of Education made the final call on reorganizing and consolidating school districts under Act 46, one holdout district has decided to put a merger proposal before its residents – by choice. Barnard school officials will be asking their townspeople to vote on a new plan to consolidate with the Windsor Central Modified Union on Dec. 10. Barnard residents had previously rejected a merger at the ballot box, and its school board joined on to the multi-district lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Act 46. But Barnard school officials have now...
VERMONT — Demolition derby organizers say fresh enforcement of a state regulation could halt the popular fairground events from proceeding next summer. Under Vermont Racing Commission rules, which apply to demolition derby events, spectators cannot be within 30 feet of the arena in which the events take place. This rule has never before been enforced for his arena, said Toby Lussier, superintendent of the Caledonia County Fair demolition derby event. But this past summer, he was told by regulators that he couldn’t hold next year’s derby in the arena he’s used for 17 years because it violates...
VERMONT — Gov. Phil Scott issued a directive to state agency heads Wednesday, Nov, 13, allowing members of the public to use personal devices to replicate government records during inspection at no charge. The governor had previously issued the same advice informally. On Nov. 13, his secretary of administration, Susanne Young, sent out a formal memo explaining the directive. Young said the Vermont Supreme Court’s Sept. 13 decision in Reed Doyle v. City of Burlington Police Department gave the administration no choice but to mandate that state agencies allow photographs during the records...
STOWE/BURLINGTON — Jake Burton Carpenter, the founder of Burlington-based Burton Snowboards, died Wednesday evening of complications from cancer, the company announced Thursday. He was 65.  Carpenter founded Burton Snowboards out of his Vermont barn in 1977, and the company grew to be one of the premier snowboard companies in the world and one of the signature companies based in Burlington.  John Lacy, the company’s co-CEO, sent an email to staff Thursday morning informing them of Carpenter’s death. Top of FormBottom of Form “He was our founder, the soul of snowboarding, the one who gave us...

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Addison County Independent