Champlain College interns participate in trade mission to Asia

first_imgTwo International Business students at Champlain College will join a Vermont Chamber of Commerce trade mission to Asia in mid-October. Laura Herrema and Elizabeth Claflin will travel with a delegation of Vermont legislators and business people for an 11-day trip to Shanghai, China, Hong Kong, and Taipei, Taiwan.For these students, the internship is providing learning experiences that can’t be gleaned from a textbook. This rare opportunity is supported through a US Department of Education “Business and International Education” grant received by Champlain College. The students have been working with Curtis Picard, Vice President of International Trade at the Chamber, to promote the trip, complete research, and work on the logistics of the trade mission.last_img

800response Selects Search Engine Marketing Firm

first_imgSearch engine marketing company @Web Site Publicity, announced today the signing of a new client, 800response, a leading provider of vanity 800 phone numbers and call tracking solutions based in Burlington, VT. @Web Site Publicity will support the 800response website with search engine marketing strategies, specifically search engine optimization consulting. The goal is to make 800response’s informative Web content and online services even more accessible to the businesses that use the major search engines to find the best resources to support their marketing initiatives.With offices in the United States and Canada, 800response offers a unique, custom 800 service that allows multiple businesses across the country to share a valuable vanity 800 number, each enjoying exclusive use of the number in its selected territory. For example, this allows a toll-free vanity 800 number like 1-800-NEW-VISION to be used by a different optometrist in each advertising market, with calls routed to the correct subscriber based on the location of the person dialing the number. The company also offers call tracking solutions that help businesses capture everything from a callers name, address and phone number to key data that proves which marketing efforts are most effective in generating response to advertising campaigns. For more information about 800response, visit the company’s website at www.800response.com(link is external).@Web Site Publicity is a leading search engine marketing company based in Peterborough, NH offering integrated services in the area of search engine optimization, paid search advertising and direct product feeds to shopping engines. Founded in 1998, it serves e-commerce companies, Business-to-Business marketers, educational institutions and non-profit organizations throughout the United States. For more information on @Web Site Publicity, call 800-450-2818, ext. 203, or visit www.websitepublicity.com(link is external).last_img read more

Unicel adds new cell sites

first_imgUNICEL ADDS CELL SITES IN WAITSFIELD AND ACROSS VERMONTWaitsfield, Vt.; Oct. 3, 2008 – Unicel has added five new cell sites in the past few months, bringing the total number of Unicel cell sites in Vermont to 126. The wireless services company plans to add as many as 12 more cell sites this year, providing Vermont residents, business people and travelers with the benefits of its advanced network.Unicel announced its most recent cell sites today with Gov. Douglas at the Waitsfield Inn, the historic home to one of Unicel’s latest cell sites.Working closely with innkeepers Mike and Ronda Kelley as well as a consultant to the Vermont Department of Historic Preservation, Unicel’s latest cell site is virtually invisible. The antennae used for the cell site is completely enclosed in a false chimney attached to the main building, and the rest of the technology is housed in an additional building that perfectly matches the look and feel of the traditional New England inn that has anchored Route 100 since 1825.”Unicel is committed to bringing the most advanced wireless technology to rural areas of Vermont,” said Tom McLaughlin, director for Unicel. “Our new cell site in Waitsfield is a perfect example of Unicel’s priorities, serving the wireless needs of Vermont residents, visitors and businesses.”According to innkeeper Mike Kelley, the new cell site has made a huge difference in the Valley.”As a business owner, it was a real challenge for us to not have cell service for our clients coming here from more urban areas,” said Kelley. “Our guests come here for skiing, for weddings, and for foliage, and they expect to be able to get away and also to stay in touch, but like most B&Bs we don’t have phones in the rooms.””Unicel’s initiative has a lot of support in the Valley, and we’re thrilled to have the boost in wireless coverage in time for foliage season,” added Kelley.Governor Jim Douglas was at the Waitsfield Inn to recognize the importance of continuing to build out Vermont’s wireless infrastructure.”Unicel realizes that Vermont is a great place to invest and to do business, and we’re grateful to the company for continuing its commitment to increase wireless coverage across our beautiful rural state,” said Gov. Douglas.In addition to the new cell site at the Waitsfield Inn, Unicel has turned up cell sites in four other locations across Vermont in the past few months:* Burke* Lincoln* Lyndon* VernonUnicel plans to add as many as 12 more cell sites in Vermont this year.Unicel and Verizon Wireless completed a deal in August for Verizon Wireless to acquire Unicel’s 15-state wireless network, but federal regulators required that certain sections of the company – including all of Vermont – be sold to another wireless carrier for competitive reasons. Until a deal for Verizon to divest itself of Unicel’s Vermont assets is approved by the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice, Unicel is being run through a management trust in Vermont. Unicel’s operations in Vermont are headed by Tom McLaughlin, who has been with the company and its predecessors since it turned on its first cell site in the Green Mountain State in 1990.last_img read more

State awards $161,000 to preserve iconic landmarks on Vermont farms

first_imgGovernor Jim Douglas on Thursday announced $161,000 in Historic Preservation Barn Grants for 19 farms to help preserve their barns for future generations. In a ceremony at the Elm Brook Farm in East Ryegate, which received $10,000 to repair its cow and horse barns, the governor noted that the program aided two of Vermont s most important industries, agriculture and tourism. The grant program, administered by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, provides owners of agricultural buildings with matching funding of up to $10,000 for a variety of capital repairs. Eligible projects include repairs to roofs, foundations, walls, sills and overall stabilization.In making decisions on funding, the Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation prioritizes projects, giving particular emphasis on working barns to keep them in service and significant agricultural buildings in critical need of repair. Our farms not only provide jobs and a bond to our agricultural past, they help sustain our tourism industry by preserving our working landscape, Governor Douglas said. I am very pleased that the state can assist in preserving these magnificent structures for future generations.The grant program, administered by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, provides owners of agricultural buildings with matching funding of up to $10,000 for a variety of capital repairs. Eligible projects include repairs to roofs, foundations, walls, sills and overall stabilization.In making decisions on funding, the Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation prioritizes projects, giving particular emphasis on working barns to keep them in service and significant agricultural buildings in critical need of repair. The competition for these grants is very strong, because there are so many more worthy projects than we have funding for, Governor Douglas said. Even in these difficult times, we must make investments in our infrastructure, and these grants encourage the barns owners to invest in their upkeep and preservation.Since its inception twenty years ago, the program has provided more than $1.4  million and leveraged many millions more to bring new life to roughly 200 historic agricultural buildings.  Every year we lose barns to a variety of conditions, but these modest grants help stem that tide, Douglas said. The owners of these barns are to be praised for taking action to preserve them.For more information, visit the Division for Historic Preservation site at: http://www.historicvermont.org/financial/barn.html(link is external)Advisory Council for Historic Preservation 2009 Barn Grants:Cummings Farm Barn, East Montpelier: $10,000 to jack and straighten barn, straighten and/or rebuild stone foundation, and re-grade and create drainage.Damkot Barn, Jericho: $10,000 to replace roof.Davitt Farm Barn, Maidstone: $1,900 to repair high drive.Elm Brook Farm Barns, Ryegate: $10,000 to replace sill and install new section of foundation for the cow barn and to replace foundation and siding for the horse barn.Fish Farm Barn, Tinmouth: $10,000 to repair/rebuild center section of barn.Gaylord Farm Barn, Waitsfield: $10,000 to repair frame and replace deteriorated siding and windows.Harlow Brook Farm Barn, Hartland: $10,000 to rebuild stone foundation and repair/replace sill, repair posts, floor, siding and doors.Kittell Farm Barn, Sheldon: $9,350 to rebuild stone foundation, repair sill, joists, posts and siding, re-fasten and paint metal roof, and add drainage.Lamoille Farm Barn, Cambridge: $10,000 to repair foundation, replace sills, re-flash/repair cupola, and repair frame, siding, windows and slate roof.Mix Barn, Tunbridge – $10,000 to replace sills, repair frame, roof and foundation, re-sheath walls as necessary.Morey Farms Barn, Troy: $2000 to repair frame, rebuild stone foundations, replace roof, and install windows and doors.Pratt Barn, Richford: $9,750 to repair frame and foundation, and partial roof replacement.Regier Barn, Cavendish: $6,250 to repair stone foundation, replace deteriorated sill, repair frame, and paint metal roof.Simplicity Farm Barn, Brookfield: $10,000 to jack and straighten barn, repair foundation, and repair/replace sills, frame and siding.Vermont Woodworking School Silos, Fairfax: $7,250 to repair/replace bases, walls and roofs.Weathervane Barn, Greensboro:  $4,500 to repair cupola and remediate powder post beetles.Willowell Foundation Barn, Monkton: $10,000 repair frame and replace roof.Woodlawn Farm Barn, Royalton: $10,000 to replace roof.Ziegler Barn, South Londonderry: $10,000 to repair west corner of barn, repair frame, sills, posts and floor, rebuild foundation, and install new roof.Source: Governor’s office. East Rygate. July 23, 2009.last_img read more

Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund announces $484,300 in grant funds for biofuels

first_imgSource: Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. Aug 28, 2009 The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) has announced that $484,300 in grant funds have been awarded to develop homegrown biofuels through its Vermont Biofuels Initiative (VBI). The purpose of the VBI is to foster the development of a viable biomass-to-biofuels industry in Vermont that uses local resources to supply a portion of the state’s liquid fuel energy needs in an effort to help the state meet 25% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2025.  The VBI is funded by a Congressionally Directed Award from the Office of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy through the U.S. Department of Energy, various private foundation sources, and the Vermont General Fund.The VSJF awarded $224,300 in strategically-directed funds, as well as an additional $260,000 from five competitive grant rounds designed to accelerate the development of Vermont’s biofuels production. Funds from the VBI are helping to support over $1million worth of on-going biofuels projects throughout the state.In total, Senator Leahy has secured $2.9 million over the course of three federal appropriations bills for biofuels research, development and demonstration projects in Vermont.  The Senator announced the level of funding he has secured for the VSJF while touring the North Hardwick Dairy, a recent grantee, on Friday.  Senator Leahy stated that “Vermont Sustainable Job Fund’s new Biofuels Initiative is forging a partnership with farmers across our state that will help identify the best matches among potential new energy sources, the resources on our farms, and the needs of our communities.  This is the kind of practical help with the ways and means of production and of marketing that can open the doors to new markets and to greater value for farmers.  This initiative fits squarely at the intersection of fuel security, economic development, agricultural diversification and self-reliance.  It’s a good step here in Vermont, and it could also benefit other rural communities across the country.”The VSJF is providing farmers, entrepreneurs, and educators with opportunities to build markets for sustainable development through the Vermont Biofuels Initiative. “VSJF grants are supporting diversified, value-added operations, education and workforce training. The projects we fund will help Vermont’s dairy and other farms control fuel and feed costs by producing biodiesel and protein meal, and also create new sources of farm revenue and markets for local livestock feed, vegetable oil, and bio-based energy,” said Biofuels Director Netaka White.According to VSJF Executive Director Ellen Kahler, “the projects we are funding are representative of a unique agricultural model emerging in Vermont and the region. Unlike the large mid-west operations, the “New England model” of biofuel production is focused on rotational cropping of grains, grasses, cover crops and oilseeds for local consumption. VSJF is very grateful for the interest and support Senator Leahy has shown for community-scale biofuel production for local use.”The VSJF is also working with UVM Extension and the Biomass Energy Resource Center on a staff directed Grass Energy Research project and with the Vermont Center for Geographic Information to develop a Renewable EnergyAtlas for Vermont.  Even greater levels of US DOE funding will be made available in 2010 through competitive grant rounds and staff directed projects, all aimed at developing a vibrant biofuels market, creating new economic opportunities for farmers and creating new green jobs in Vermont.The VSJF is a nonprofit organization formed by the State Legislature in 1995 to provide early stage grant funding and technical assistance to catalyze and accelerate the development of markets for sustainably produced goods and services.  The VSJF currently focuses on biofuels development, sustainable forest products industry development, and the expansion of local food systems in Vermont.For more information on the Vermont Biofuels Initiative and available funding, visit www.vsjf.org(link is external).15 Biofuels Grant Awards Totaling $484,300 Announced Today Include:•    Biofuels Feedstock Analysis for Oilseed Crop Research and Development,Dr. Heather Darby, University of Vermont & State Agriculture College / UVM Extension, Burlington, $67,000.•    Biofuels Feedstock Analysis for Grass Energy Research and Development,Dr. Sid Bosworth, University of Vermont & State Agriculture College / UVM Extension, Burlington, $58,500.•    On-Farm Oilseed Processing and Biodiesel Production, John Williamson,State Line Biofuels, Shaftsbury, $30,000. •    Small-Scale Biodiesel Production Research Facility, Roger Rainville,Borderview Farm, Alburgh, $40,000. •    Biomass-to-Biofuels Industry Network Development, Andrew Perchlik,Renewable Energy Vermont, Montpelier, $28,800.•    Oilseed Crop Research and Development, Andrew Knafel, Clearbrook Farm,Shaftsbury, $20,000.•    Oilseed Crop Research and Development, Jon Satz, Lilyquest Farm /Otter Creek Biofuels, Brandon, $20,000.•    Oilseed Crop Research and Development, Larry Scott, Ekolott Farm,Newbury, $17,000.•    Oilseed Crop Research and Development, Nicholas Meyer, North HardwickDairy, Hardwick, $13,000. •    On-Farm Biodiesel Facility, William & Mark Mordasky, Rainbow ValleyBiodiesel, Brandon $65,000.•    Biomass-to-Biofuels Course Development, University of Vermont andState Agricultural College, Burlington, $20,000.•    Biomass-to-Biofuels Course Development, Vermont Technical College,Randolph, $20,000.•    Algepower, Algae Production Techniques, Gail Busch, Montpelier,$20,000.•    Carbon Harvest Energy, LLC, Algae Feedstock Research and Development,Williston, $20,000.•    Bourne’s Energy, Biofuel Blending Project, Morrisville, $45,000.last_img read more

Welch calls for legislation to allow young people to remain on their parents’ health insurance plan

first_imgCongressman Peter Welch on Tuesday called for legislation allowing young people to stay on their parents health insurance policies until the age of 27. At a press conference at the University of Vermont s Waterman Lounge in Burlington, Welch said that comprehensive health reform legislation should make coverage affordable and accessible for the nation s largest group of uninsured people. In 2007, 13.2 million young people 30 percent of that age group were uninsured. Allowing young people to stay on the family health insurance plan will provide peace of mind to parents and affordable health care to young people, Welch said. As they leave high school or college, many young people find themselves unable or unwilling to buy health insurance leaving them at risk of serious illness or injury. This common sense legislation will save families money, reduce the risk of medical debt and keep people healthy.At the Burlington event, Welch outlined his support for the Young Adult Health Coverage Act (H.R. 2831), which Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi recently indicated would be incorporated into the final House version of comprehensive health reform legislation.Welch was joined at the press conference by Donna Watts, whose 21-year-old son, Kerry, was injured in a serious accident this summer after he was forced off his family s health plan and took a job that did not provide insurance. Kerry now faces thousands of dollars in medical bills. One of the most anxiety-inducing experiences for any parent is when you reach that point in your child s life when he or she is no longer eligible for your health insurance coverage, Donna Watts said.While Vermont s Catamount, Dr. Dynasaur and Vermont Health Access Program initiatives have made it one of nearly 30 states to offer some form of extended access to young people, Welch said that too many young Vermonters remain uninsured.According to a 2008 BISCHA survey, 21,807 Vermonters between the ages of 18 and 34 were uninsured. Nearly 22 percent of Vermonters between 18 and 24 were uninsured, compared with an overall rate of 7.4 percent making young Vermonters three times as likely as older Vermonters to be uninsured.Welch was also joined at the event by Vermont Campaign for Health Security executive director Peter Sterling and Cassandra Gekas, a 27-year-old Burlington resident who was unable to afford health insurance for two years.Source: Welch’s office. 10.20.2009.last_img read more

Debt Settlement America to pay Vermont $120,000

first_imgDebt Settlement America, Inc., a debt settlement company based in Dallas, Texas, has entered into a settlement with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office that will result in refunds and payments to the State totaling over $120,000. The Attorney General claims that the company violated state law by engaging in the business of debt adjustment without a license, and by failing to comply with the Vermont Consumer Fraud Act. This is the ninth settlement between the Attorney General’s Office and a debt settlement firm in the past year.According to Attorney General William Sorrell, Debt Settlement America violated the Consumer Fraud Act by not following the State’s three-day right to cancel requirements and by failing to have prior proof to support online claims about the results it could achieve for consumers. Debt Settlement America’s website stated that the company could reduce consumers’ debts to “less than 50 cents on the dollar.”Debt Settlement America entered into contracts with 25 Vermont consumers and charged 10 to 15 percent of the dollar amount of the debt placed with the company. Those consumers paid the company a total of over $69,000 in fees.Under the settlement, Debt Settlement America must pay full refunds to all of its Vermont customers and $50,000 in civil penalties and costs to the State. In addition, the company will pay $2,000 to any Vermonter who was sued by a creditor after signing up with the firm, and will offer to complete, without charge, negotiations with the creditors of its Vermont customers. For more information on the settlement, consumers can call the Attorney General’s Office at (802) 828-5507.Source: Vermont Attorney General. 2.2.2010last_img read more

Sanders says most Vermonters saw federal taxes drop

first_imgOn today’s income tax filing deadline, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said federal taxes are down for most middle-class Vermonters and Americans but much more needs to be done to create a fair and equitable tax system.“Despite much political rhetoric to the contrary, 99 percent of Vermont working families and individuals received a much-needed average federal tax cut of over $1,100 for 2009,” Sanders said.As a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, some 300,000 Vermont households were able to receive a tax cut of up to $400 ($800 for married couples). Further, 14,000 Vermont families were able to receive an expanded tax cut to send their kids to college last year. More than 20,000 Vermont children benefitted from an expansion in the child tax credit. Nearly 60,000 Vermont small businesses received tax cuts to purchase new equipment and other things. Nationwide, Congress cut individual federal income taxes by about $173 billion shortly after President Obama took office. “This tax relief is welcome news for Vermonters who continue to suffer through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” the senator said.While federal taxes on middle class fell, Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthy continue to increase the skyrocketing federal deficit and too many large corporations took advantage of loopholes in the tax code to evade paying billions of dollars. “Congress has a lot of work to do to create a fairer tax system. This tax day we must resolve to make the tax code more progressive, simpler and fairer to the American people,” Sanders said.“With the top 1 percent now earning more income than the bottom 50 percent and the gap between the very rich and everyone else growing wider, we have to make sure that the wealthiest in our society and the largest and most profitable corporations in America pay their fair share in taxes. This is especially relevant given the reality that we have a record-breaking deficit and our national debt is approaching $13 trillion.” The federal tax code is so absurd that Warren Buffett, the third richest person in the world worth $47 billion, pays a lower overall tax rate than his secretary.  Equally outrageous is the fact that the top 25 hedge fund managers who made an average of $1 billion last year, pay a lower effective tax rate than many teachers, nurses, police officers, and fire fighters. Sanders also called it a “national disgrace” that Exxon Mobil, the most profitable corporation in history, evaded paying billions in taxes last year by setting up tax shelters in the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, among other things.  “As gas prices continue to climb, making it harder for Vermonters to afford to commute to work, Exxon Mobil shouldn’t be allowed to skirt its tax bill by setting up bogus tax shelters in the Caribbean,” he said.A member of the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders said he will work to repeal the Bush tax breaks for the wealthiest 1 percent, end corporate tax loopholes, and make the tax code fairer and simpler for ordinary Vermonters.Source: Sanders office. 4.15.2010last_img read more

Senate confirms Kagan to be Associate Justice, Leahy statement

first_imgThe Senate confirmed Elena Kagan to become the 112th Justice of the United States Supreme Court by a vote of 63-37. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who presided over the confirmation proceedings on the nomination, made the following statement before the vote.Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),Chairman, Senate Judiciary CommitteeOn The Nomination Of Solicitor General Elena KaganTo Be An Associate Justice Of The United States Supreme CourtAugust 5, 2010As we conclude the Senate debate on the nomination of Elena Kagan to be an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, I look forward to her bipartisan confirmation. She has been nominated to succeed Justice John Paul Stevens, someone who served with integrity for so many years, and her qualifications, intelligence, temperament and judgment will make her a worthy successor.When she is appointed, three women will serve together on the United States Supreme Court for the first time in our history. As I said five and a half weeks ago when the Judiciary Committee began Solicitor General Kagan’s confirmation hearing, we are a better country for the fact that the path of excellence Elena Kagan has taken in her career is one now open to both men and women.Solicitor General Kagan’s legal qualifications are unassailable. She earned her place at the top of the legal profession. As a student, she excelled at Princeton, Oxford and Harvard Law School. She was a law clerk to a giant in American law, Justice Thurgood Marshall. She worked for then-Chairman Biden on the Judiciary Committee. These experiences when combined with her work as an advisor to President Clinton give her background in all three branches of our Government. She taught law at two of the Nation’s most respected law schools. In the decade since the Republican Senate majority pocket filibustered her nomination to the D.C Circuit, Elena Kagan became the first woman Dean of Harvard Law School, and then the first woman Solicitor General of the United States, often referred to as the ‘Tenth Justice.’The 100 of us who serve in the United States Senate stand in the shoes of more than 300 million Americans as we discharge this constitutional duty to consider nominations to our nation’s Federal courts. We will conclude our consideration of this nomination after 12 weeks. If we can do that for a Supreme Court nomination, we ought to be able to consider the other judicial nominations that have been stalled for months after being favorably reported by the Judiciary Committee.This is the 15th nomination to the Supreme Court that I have considered while serving in the Senate. I have applied the same standards to this nomination as I have to the ones that preceded it. I looked to see whether Solicitor General Kagan would fairly apply the law and use common sense. I looked to see whether as a Justice she would appreciate the proper role of the courts in our democracy. Would she be the kind of independent Justice who would keep faith with each of the words inscribed in Vermont marble over the front doors to the Supreme Court — ‘Equal Justice Under Law?’ My answer to these questions based on her record and testimony is a resounding yes.Solicitor General Kagan demonstrated an impressive knowledge of the law and fidelity to it. She spoke of judicial restraint, her respect for our democratic institutions, and her commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law. She made clear that she will base her approach to deciding cases on the law and the Constitution, not politics or an ideological agenda. And so today I will cast my vote for Elena Kagan’s confirmation.I observed at the outset of this confirmation process that there was no one President Obama could nominate who would not be opposed by some. Some Senators announced their opposition to Solicitor General Kagan’s nomination before the hearing took place. The opening statements of others at the Judiciary Committee hearing struck me more like prosecutors’ closing arguments. Senators who last year disregarded Justice Sotomayor’s years of judicial service to focus on a few phrases taken out of context from her speeches, reversed course this year to proclaim that an extensive judicial record is imperative. They then faulted Solicitor General Kagan for not having been a judge while ignoring the fact that it was Senate Republicans who pocket filibustered her judicial nomination more than 10 years ago.Senators can make their own judgments and have. I would ask of them two things: Fairly consider Solicitor General Kagan’s testimony and adhere to the standards of fairness and objectivity that you are demanding of her as a Justice. History will judge whether Senators have fairly considered the nomination of Solicitor General Kagan.I commend those Senators who will show the independence to join in the bipartisan confirmation of this nomination.I also defend the right of every Senator to vote as he or she chooses. I understand that some statements made in opposition to this nomination were seen as insulting to the nominee and to others. I disagreed with many of the inferences, conclusions and judgments expressed in opposition, but I do not think Senators intended their remarks to be disparaging.Five years ago, I followed the Democratic leader’s statement in opposition to the nomination of John Roberts with my statement in favor of that nomination. That was my judgment based on the record and his testimony, including his pronouncements on judicial restraint, deference to Congress and respect for precedent. At that time, the Senator on the Democratic side of the aisle who disagreed with me but, nevertheless, came to my defense, was the then junior Senator from Illinois. Of course, he now serves as the President of the United States.In the course of our consideration of this nomination, I have spoken several times about the key role that real world judging and judicial independence have played in furthering the Constitution’s purpose of forming a more perfect Union. It is essential that judicial nominees understand that, as judges, they are not members of any administration. I believe Solicitor General Kagan has that understanding. Courts are not subsidiaries of any political party or interest group, and our judges should not be partisans. That is why the Supreme Court’s intervention in the 2000 presidential election in Bush v. Gore was so jarring, and why the recent decision by five conservative activist Justices in Citizens United to throw out 100 years of legal developments in order to invite massive corporate spending on elections was such a jolt to the system.It is also essential that judges and Justices understand how the law affects Americans each and every day. I expect that Elena Kagan learned that lesson early in her legal career when she clerked for Justice Marshall. In the hard cases that come before the Supreme Court in the real world, we want ‘ and need ‘ Justices who have the good sense to appreciate the real-world ramifications of their decisions. The American people live in a real world of great challenges. The Supreme Court needs to function in that real world.It took a Supreme Court that, in 1954, understood the real world to conclude in Brown v. Board of Education that the seemingly fair-sounding doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ was in reality a straightjacket of inequality and inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of equality. It took a Supreme Court 75 years ago that understood the real world and the Great Depression to reject conservative judicial activism and to accept the constitutional authority of Congress to outlaw child labor, guarantee a minimum wage, and establish a social safety net for all Americans. Through Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Congress ensured that growing old no longer means growing poor, and that being older or poor no longer means being without medical care. That progress continues today, with our efforts to pass laws to ensure protection from natural and man-made disasters, to encourage clean air and water, to provide health care for all Americans, to ensure safe food and drugs, to protect equal rights, to enforce safe workplaces and to provide a safety net for seniors.Vermont did not vote to join the Union until the year the Bill of Rights was ratified. Those of us from the Green Mountain State are protective of our fundamental liberties. Vermonters understand the importance the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights and the subsequent constitutional amendments have had in expanding individual liberties over the last 220 years. I believe Solicitor General Kagan shares this understanding. As she said in her opening statement at her hearing: ‘What the rule of law does is nothing less than to secure for each of us what our Constitution calls ‘the blessings of liberty’ ‘ those rights and freedoms, that promise of equality, that have defined this nation since its founding.’ All of us are better for our historic progress to greater freedom, equality and security.Every February the Senate hears President George Washington’s Farewell Address read by the Senate’s most junior member. In that pronouncement by our first President, George Washington warns against the danger of factions, partisanship and what he called ‘the spirit of party,’ noting: ‘[T]he common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and public alarms; kinds the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection.’Today our nation faces many challenges. It is a time when we should be pulling together and working together. Instead, we have seen too much obstruction, negativity and devotion to the failure of the other party instead of the success of the country.The nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan is a matter on which I expect the President had hoped we would come together. Her nomination is one worthy of broad bipartisan support.With Elena Kagan’s confirmation, the Supreme Court will better reflect the diversity that has made our country great. We will write another chapter in the history of our Nation’s highest court. And we will take a significant step forward in fulfilling the hopes and dreams of the trailblazers who set the path for Elena Kagan to follow.# # # # # Source: Leahy. WASHINGTON (Thursday, August 5, 2010) ‘last_img read more

Central Vermont Community Action Council receives $67,000 SBA grant

first_imgNinety-two nonprofit organizations from around the country received $8 million in grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration, including one to the Central Vermont Community Action Council for $67,000, to help low-income and very low-income entrepreneurs with training and technical assistance to start, operate and grow their businesses. The grants, delivered under the Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME), also will provide capacity-building services to microenterprise development entities to strengthen the quality of their programs.Competition for PRIME grants was open to applicants in all 50 states and the U.S. territories. Last year, SBA funded 58 grants in 32 states on a highly competitive basis. This year, SBA received 215 applications. A total of 92 grants were awarded this year to 57 second-year recipients and 35 new participants from 43 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.‘PRIME grants remain a major source of funding for providing small businesses with essential training and technical assistance,’ said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. ‘We are very pleased that this year we have been able to provide this funding, which will translate into new jobs and stronger local economies.’PRIME grants are intended to help small businesses with five or fewer employees that are economically disadvantaged, and to businesses owned by low-income individuals, including those residing on Indian reservations and tribal lands. Such help is offered through a network of qualified nonprofit organizations that provide business training and technical assistance.Grants ranged up to $250,000 this year, with a 50 percent match required of each recipient organization. The PRIME grant is open to microentrepreneur training and technical assistance providers in all 50 states and the territories, and has a one-year performance period, with four 12-month options.For a complete list of recipients, Click on ‘SBA PRIME Grantees (by State), Fiscal Year 2010’ at: http://www.sba.gov/financialassistance/prospectivelenders/prime/index.ht(link is external)….Source: SBA. # # #last_img read more