Secretary of Administration Michael K. Smith Announces August 2004Revenue Results For The State Of VermontGeneral FundSecretary of Administration Michael K. Smith released September 7 General Fund revenue results forthe month of August, the second month of fiscal year 2005. General Fund revenues totaled$68.18 million for August 2004, $4.86 million or 7.7 % more than the $63.32 million consensusrevenue target for the month. August results were also $9.59 million (or 16.4%) more thanGeneral Fund revenues in August 2003. Year to date, General Fund revenues totaled $148.65million.Secretary Smith noted, We are encouraged that after two months, General Fundrevenues are $9.03 million or 6.5% ahead of expectations.The monthly targets reflect the updated fiscal year 2005 Consensus Revenue Forecast that wasagreed to by the Emergency Board on July 15, 2004. The States Consensus Revenue Forecast isupdated two times per year in January and July.Monthly Personal Income Tax receipts, which are reported Net-of-Personal Income Tax refunds,exceeded target by $1.69 million (or 6.5 %) in August. Personal Income Tax Receipts, by far thelargest single state revenue source, were also up 13.9% from August 2003.All personal incometax revenue categories had positive results except refunds, which were higher than expected.Secretary Smith noted results for the other major General Fund revenue categories were alsoencouraging.Receipts in the Sales and Use Tax were substantially ahead of expectations inAugust (+$1.89 million or 12.5 %), reflecting actual purchases in July. Rooms and Meals taxeswere essentially on target. The Corporate Income Tax also surpassed (+$0.28 million or 30.6%)forecast.Among the other General Fund revenue categories, Insurance and Liquor Taxes surpassed thelatest targets. Estate and Property Transfer Taxes fell short of the forecast for August, althoughboth are ahead of expectations for the first two months of the fiscal year.Secretary Smith concluded the discussion of General Fund results by noting that, We areencouraged to continue the broad-based revenue success which started the fiscal year.General Fund By Major Element (In Millions)Tax Component FY04 YTD FY05 YTD % Change Aug-03 Aug-04 % ChangePersonal Income $63.26 $68.71 8.6% $24.23 $27.60 13.9%Sales & Use $37.43 $36.01 -3.8% $17.09 $16.98 -0.6%Corporate $1.27 $2.65 108.3% $0.63 $1.19 89.2%Meals & Room $14.51 $19.05 31.3% $7.76 $9.99 28.7%Insurance Premium $5.04 $6.07 20.5% $4.76 $5.78 21.4%Inheritance & Estate $1.96 $3.90 99.2% $0.70 $0.32 -54.6%Real Property Transfer $1.78 $2.17 21.9% $0.61 $0.98 60.2%Other $6.53 $10.08 54.5%* $2.81 $5.34 90.1%Total $131.78 $148.65 12.8% $58.59 $68.18 16.4%*Please note that comparisons from prior year are difficult, given the change in tax componentdistribution from FY04 to FY05.Transportation FundSecretary Smith also announced revenue results for the Transportation Fund. TransportationFund receipts for the month were $18.98 million, which surpassed the revenue target by $0.25million or 1.35 %. Total Transportation Fund revenues surpassed August 2003 receipts by $1.01million or 5.6 %. Revenues surpassed projections in Gasoline, Motor Vehicle Fees, and theOther Fees category. Diesel Taxes substantially lagged expectations, while Motor VehiclePurchase and Use Tax revenues were slightly below projections for the month.Transportation Fund By Major Element (In Millions)FY2004 FY2005 % Change August-03 August-04 % ChangeTax Component Y-T-D Y-T-DGasoline $8.79 $11.44 30.1% $4.24 $6.21 46.3%Diesel Fuel $1.85 $1.98 7.0% $1.08 $1.11 3.4%MV Purchase & Use $11.18 $9.34 -16.5% $6.72 $5.25 -21.9%Motor Vehicle Fees $8.22 $9.47 15.2% $4.65 $4.73 1.7%Other $2.50 $3.20 27.9%* $1.27 $1.67 31.5%Total $32.54 $35.42 8.8% $17.97 $18.98 5.6%*Please note that comparisons from prior year are difficult, given the change in tax componentdistribution from FY04 to FY05.Education FundIn announcing the Education Fund results for August, Secretary Smith reported that collectionstotaled $12.84 million in August, up substantially from last year. Due to Act 68 EducationFinance Reform Legislation passed in 2003, the Education Fund now receives two percentagepoints (1/3 of the 6% tax) from the Vermont Sales Tax, and the motor vehicle purchase and usetax.Although Sales and Use taxes were ahead of projections, the motor vehicle purchase anduse tax performed below projections for August, said Secretary Smith.ConclusionThe State of Vermont continued fiscal 2005 ahead of forecast for the General Fund,Transportation Fund and Education Fund, concluded Secretary Smith.
BURLINGTON, Vt.- Champlain College has created a new, need-based scholarship program that will broaden access to a bachelors degree for Vermonters who are first-generation college students. The Vermont First Scholarships will help those students who are the first in their family to attend college.Targeted at college-bound high school seniors, applicants must qualify for admission to Champlain College, plan to enroll as a full-time, undergraduate student, and be eligible for the Pell Grant Program. This scholarship, in combination with expected family contribution, federal and state programs to include work-study, student loans, grants and other gift aid, will provide funding for up to the full cost of attendance at Champlain College. The Vermont First Scholarship is renewable for a students four years at Champlain.”We’re pleased to extend this scholarship opportunity to a special population of Vermont students,” said Champlain College President David F. Finney. “We know there can be additional barriers for first-generation college students to attend college, and we’d like to break down those barriers.”Finney added, “We’re confident that this new scholarship program-along with programs such as the New American Student Scholarship and Single Parents Program provides access to higher education for deserving students who will become highly skilled members of Vermont’s workforce and communities.”In its inaugural semester, the New American Student Scholarship currently helps 11 students with refugee or asylum status study at Champlain College. Initiated in 1987, Champlain’s Single Parents Program has served more than 500 students through the years and currently enrolls 40 single parents.Students interested in the Vermont First Scholarships are encouraged to make an appointment with a representative in Champlain’s admissions office at 163 South Willard Street in Burlington. The office can be reached at (800) 570-5858 and email@example.com(link sends e-mail). High school counselors and VSAC counselors are encouraged to forward nominations for the Vermont First Scholarship to the admissions office as well.
Burlington Emergency & Veterinary Specialists, popularly known to locals as BEVS, has added another 24 hour day, Friday, to its previous schedule. Local veterinarians and pet owners may now avail of services at Vermont’s premier veterinary emergency center 24 hours from Thursday 5pm to Tuesday 8am, as well as 5pm to 8am on Tuesday and Wednesday. The presence of specialists at BEVS’ 24/7 facility has prompted the extension of hours due to the transfer of critical cases during the day from local veterinarians throughout Vermont. In most cases, these pets will require monitoring and intensive treatment through the evening or weekend. The presence of an emergency doctor on Fridays will allow veterinarians and their clients the convenience of keeping their pets at the emergency facility after the specialist procedures are done. The emergency doctor will be present at all times to receive such cases from the specialists as well as from local veterinarians who may choose to send their patients before they close for the evening. This allows more time for referring veterinarians to communicate with the emergency doctor about the patients’ condition before or after sending them over, increasing the overall quality of patient care.About BEVS:BEVS, located at 200 Commerce Street in Williston, VT, has been serving Vermont’s veterinarians and pet lovers for three years, providing much needed emergency and critical care services in a state-of-the-art facility. The Emergency Service, headed by Dr. Tom Hecimovich, has doctors and staff whose advanced training in critical care medicine enable them to handle life-threatening conditions. BEVS’ medical director, Dr. Bryan Harnett, board-certified internal medicine specialist, sees appointments from 8am to 5 pm, Monday through Thursday. Dr. Harnett performs special procedures such as ultrasounds, echocardiography, endoscopy, laparoscopy, special feeding tubes placement and examinations of patients with complicated disease conditions referred to him by local veterinarians. More information on BEVS and the doctors will soon be available at www.bevsvt.com(link is external).For emergencies, please call your local veterinarian. If they are not available, please call (802)863-2387 to reach BEVS.
Governor Announces Vermont Castings and New England Precision ExpansionsVT Castings is second ‘Green VEGI’ applicantMontpelier, Vt. – Governor Jim Douglas was at Vermont Castings in Bethel Monday to announce that the wood stove manufacturer and another Vermont-grown company, New England Precision, will be expanding and could earn more than $700,000 worth of Vermont Employment Growth Incentives (VEGI) that could produce 88 new jobs in the Bethel and Randolph area over the next several years.VERMONT CASTINGS EXPANSIONGovernor Douglas highlighted a decision by Vermont Casting’s parent company, Monessen Hearth Systems Corporation, to send its Kentucky operations to Vermont.Governor Douglas said the Green VEGI incentives-a program offering increased incentives for businesses in sectors such as energy efficiency, energy conservation, and biomass to grow here and create good paying jobs-helped ensure that certain lines of manufacturing are relocated to Vermont Castings’ facilities instead of existing Monessen operations in Kentucky.”The type and quality of manufacturing done by Vermont castings qualifies their expansion for the enhanced Green VEGI initiative I included in the 15-point economic stimulus package we pushed through the Legislature this spring,” said Governor Douglas. “It is a great example of how innovative, pro-growth policies can strengthen our economy and help Vermont emerge from this national economic downturn with a stronger and more resilient economy.””With the incentive support the State of Vermont is offering our company we will be able to effectively relocate steel stove production to Vermont Castings along with adding automation to support new non-stove customers,” said Dale Trombley, General Manager of Vermont Castings. “This is exciting as it helps Vermont Castings diversify and provides growth opportunities for our current employees as well as adding many new jobs to our operation.”Vermont Castings, formerly a subsidiary of CFM Inc., has manufactured wood stoves in Bethel and Randolph since 1975. Monessen Hearth Systems Corporation recently acquired Vermont Castings and other CFM, Inc. assets. Monessen is consolidating all former CFM, Inc. operations and business lines and has closed plants in Indiana and Canada.NEW ENGLAND PRECISION EXPANSIONGovernor Douglas said VEGI incentives also helped to ensure that the jobs created by New England Precision are in Vermont.New England Precision is a full-service metal stamping contract manufacturer in Randolph. NEP makes small metal pieces for the automotive, medical, security, architectural hardware and other industries. The company was considering relocation to other locations like Pennsylvania and South Carolina. New England Precision was also considering a partnership with another Vermont company who recently expanded in Mexico.”New England Precision, Inc. is grateful to the Vermont Economic Progress Council for the authorization of incentives to expand our operations, and work force, at home in Vermont,” said Joe Holland, Treasurer of New England Precision, Inc. “As a result, we are now committed to growing and creating jobs in Vermont, and have declined similar offers from other states.”ABOUT THE INCENTIVESThe Vermont Economic Progress Council has given final approval for Vermont Castings of Bethel and Randolph to earn up to $488,000 worth of incentives if they add new employees and makes investments in the Vermont facilities. In addition, the Council gave final approval to an application from New England Precision to earn up to $241,236 of incentives to ensure an expansion of their manufacturing operation in Randolph instead of other possible locations under consideration.The Council approved the applications after reviewing nine guidelines and applying a rigorous cost-benefit analysis which showed that because of the economic activity that will be generated by these projects, even after payment of the incentives the State will realize a minimum net increase in revenues of $454,038.”These projects will create good new jobs in an area that has seen a substantial loss of employment recently,” said Karen L. Marshall, Chairwoman of the Vermont Economic Progress Council. “These approvals are examples of the kind of leverage this program can have on today’s business decisions, which are more and more about global competition, even for Vermont companies.The Council also determined that these projects would not occur or would occur in a significantly different and less desirable manner if not for the incentives being authorized.The Vermont Economic Progress Council is an independent board consisting of nine Vermont citizens appointed by the governor that considers applications to the state’s economic incentive programs. The Council is attached to the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, whose mission is to help Vermonters improve their quality of life and build strong communities.For more information, visit:www.thinkvermont.com/vepc(link is external)www.newenglandprecision.com(link is external)www.vermontcastings.com(link is external)###
Today, Ben & Jerry’s lifted the lid on an April Fool’s Day event aimed at raising consumer awareness of the government’s recent approval of cloned milk and meat within the human food supply chain. In late-March Ben & Jerry’s went undercover through the launch of Cyclone Dairy, a fictitious dairy company marketing milk made from 100% cloned cows, to gauge consumer reaction surrounding this issue. The make-believe company was launched via the Web site CycloneDairy.com and street sampling initiatives in Manhattan, with support from the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit public interest organization based in Washington, D.C.”April Fools! Ben & Jerry’s is just kidding about Cyclone Dairy but we’re serious about the need for a system to track cloned animals,” said Walt Freese, Chief Euphoria Officer for Ben & Jerry’s. “Americans should have the basic right to choose the foods they want to eat.”In January 2008, the U.S Food and Drug Administration declared milk and meat from cloned animals safe for human consumption, enabling cloned food products to enter the U.S. food supply. However, many Americans are not aware of this fact and are uncomfortable with the idea of eating cloned food products. In fact, a 2008 national poll conducted by the Food Marketing Institute revealed that more than three-quarters of Americans are not comfortable with eating foods from cloned animals.”Ben & Jerry’s believes that we need a national clone tracking system so companies and consumers can avoid eating cloned foods if they so choose,” said Freese. “Ben & Jerry’s staged this event in the spirit of raising public awareness, defending consumer choice, working toward better policies on cloned animals and highlighting that the awful truth is that this kind of dairy company could open for business today.”Ben & Jerry’s has been an outspoken advocate for cautious national policies on cloned animals for years, including a march of activists dressed as cloned cows on Capitol Hill in March of 2007. If you are concerned about this issue and would like to avoid eating cloned animals, please visit BenJerry.com for more information on how you can be an advocate for a cloned animal tracking system.About Ben & Jerry’sBen & Jerry’s produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream and ice cream novelties, using high-quality ingredients including milk and cream from family farmers who do not treat their cows with the synthetic hormone rBGH. The company states its position on rBGH on its labels. Ben and Jerry’s products are distributed nationwide and in selected foreign countries in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, franchise Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops, restaurants and other venues. Ben & Jerry’s, a Vermont corporation and wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, operates its business on a three-part Mission Statement emphasizing product quality, economic reward and a commitment to the community. Contributions made via the employee led Ben & Jerry’s Foundation in 2007 totaled approximately $1.7 million. Additionally, the company makes significant product donations to community groups and nonprofits both in Vermont and across the nation. The purpose of Ben & Jerry’s philanthropy is to support the founding values of the company: economic and social justice, environmental restoration and peace through understanding, and to support our Vermont communities. For the full scoop on all Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop locations and fabulous flavors, visit www.benjerry.com(link is external).Burlington, Vermont (April 1, 2009) /PRNewswire/
Online advertised vacancies declined by 101,800 to 3,363,000 in September, according to The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine Data Series (HWOL)(TM) released today. September losses partially offset the larger August gains (+169,000), leaving labor demand up by 67,000 over the past two months. Since the low point in April 2009, labor demand is up by 201,000, showing a modest upward trend following a five-month period of steep losses.”While the trend has been modestly upward and averaged 40,000 per month over the last five months, the labor market continues to have a hard time gaining momentum,” said Gad Levanon, Senior Economist at The Conference Board. “The Conference Board Employment Trends Index, which has been basically flat for three straight months, also helps highlight the difficulty the labor market is facing. With a growing consensus of a weak recovery, businesses seem to be slow to boost advertising for vacant or new positions.”Regional and State HighlightsLike the national data, the September state declines partially offset the larger August gains, leaving state trends basically unchangedIn the South, September online advertised vacancies fell by 45,400 following a 60,800 August gain. Texas dropped by 18,700 in September, partially offsetting the state’s gain of 21,900 in August. Florida, which in August had risen 15,700 to 181,400, declined by 9,400. The only large Southern state with an increase in job demand in September is Georgia, up 3,300. Among the less populous states in the South, West Virginia decreased by 7,900, Louisiana decreased by 1,200, Alabama decreased by 1,100, and Arkansas and Oklahoma decreased modestly (500 and 400 respectively). Kentucky increased very modestly (100) in September.In the Northeast, Pennsylvania showed the largest decrease, down 7,900 to 126,000, in September. New York’s September decline was 5,900 after it had risen by 11,100 in August. Massachusetts decreased by 2,600 to 105,100 following an increase of 7,500 in August. Among the more populous states in the Northeast, New Jersey was the only state to increase in September, up 3,800 to 130,900. Among states with smaller populations, several posted modest gains in September including New Hampshire, 400; Maine, 300; and Connecticut, 100. Rhode Island and Vermont declined by 300 and 200 respectively.In the West, after having risen 26,700 in August, California fell by 21,200 in September. Arizona and Washington dropped 1,400 and 1,000 respectively in September while Colorado remained unchanged. Among the states with smaller populations, New Mexico and Hawaii rose by 800 and 700 respectively, while Nevada fell 1,700 in September.In the Midwest, states held on to more of their August gains than in other regions. Illinois, which had gained 7,600 in August, was relatively unchanged in September. Ohio, which increased by 6,700 in August, lost 1,900 in September. Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin all lost about half of their August gains.The Supply/Demand rate for the U.S. in August (the latest month for which unemployment numbers are available) was at 4.31, down slightly from 4.39 in July and indicating that there are now about 4.3 unemployed workers for every online advertised vacancy. Among the states, the highest Supply/Demand rate continues to be in Michigan (10.21), where there are over 10 unemployed people for every advertised vacancy. Other states where there are over 6 unemployed for every advertised vacancy include Kentucky (7.51), Mississippi (7.44), and Indiana (6.66). Alaska (1.65) and Nebraska (1.70) have some of the lowest rates.It should be noted that the Supply/Demand rate only provides a measure of relative tightness of the individual state labor markets and does not suggest that the occupations of the unemployed directly align with the occupations of the advertised vacancies.OCCUPATIONAL HIGHLIGHTSAdvertised vacancies in Healthcare professions continue to increaseLabor demand continues to remain well below year-ago levels for most occupationsHealthcare Practitioners and Technical occupations, the largest category in terms of volume, rose 28,000 in September to 605,900. “September was also the second month in a row that advertised vacancies in these occupations were significantly above levels this time last year,” said Levanon. Labor demand for Healthcare Support occupations has also continued to be strong, although it dipped 3,900 in September to 114,200. Individual occupations showing increases included registered nurses, physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and physician assistants.Healthcare is a broad field, and the relative tightness of the labor market varies substantially from the higher-paying practitioner and technical jobs to the lower-paying support occupations. In August, the last month for which unemployment data are available, for every unemployed person looking for work in a practitioner or technical occupation, there were 2.9 advertised vacancies and the average wage in these occupations is $32.64/hour. In healthcare support occupations, where the average wage is $12.66, there were over two unemployed for every advertised vacancy.Advertised vacancies in Management occupations had trended upward since May, but in September dropped 12,900 to 414,800. The number of unemployed exceeds the number of advertised vacancies, and in August there were almost two unemployed (1.8) for every online advertised vacancy in the management field.Among the top 10 occupations in September with online advertised vacancies, Computer and Mathematical Science dropped 4,000 to 402,300; Sales and Related occupations declined 14,300 to 366,400; and Office and Administrative Support decreased by 12,200 to 333,900.Supply/Demand rates indicated that, among the occupations with the largest number of online advertised vacancies, there is a significant difference in the number of unemployed seeking positions in these occupations. Among the top ten occupations advertised online, there were more vacancies than unemployed people seeking positions for Healthcare Practitioners (0.3) and Computer and Mathematical Science (0.6). On the other hand, in Sales and Related Occupations, there were over four people seeking jobs in this field for every online advertised vacancy (4.1) and there were nearly five unemployed looking for work in Office and Administrative Support positions for every advertised opening (4.8).METRO AREA HIGHLIGHTSLike the nation, September declines for many metropolitan areas partially offset August gainsRiverside, California posts a modest over-the-year gain of 400 in SeptemberIn September, only 1 of the 52 metropolitan areas for which data are reported separately posted an over-the-year increase in the number of online advertised vacancies. Riverside, with 24,500, gained 400 vacancies. Among the three metro areas with the largest numbers of advertised vacancies, the New York metro area was about 13 percent below its September 2008 level and the Los Angeles metro area was 23 percent below its September 2008 level. Washington, D.C. was down 500, or 0.3 percent, from last year’s level.The number of unemployed exceeded the number of advertised vacancies in all of the 52 metro areas for which information is reported separately. Washington, D.C. and Salt Lake City were the locations with the most favorable supply/demand rates, where the number of unemployed looking for work was only slightly larger than the number of advertised vacancies. On the other hand, metro areas in which the respective number of unemployed is substantially above the number of online advertised vacancies include Detroit, MI, where there are 13 unemployed people for every advertised vacancy (13.0), Riverside (11.0), Miami (6.9), Sacramento (5.9), Chicago (5.7), and Los Angeles (5.7). Supply/Demand rate data are for July 2009, the latest month for which unemployment data for local areas are available.PROGRAM NOTESThe Conference Board Help-Wanted Online Data Series(TM) measures the number of new, first-time online jobs and jobs reposted from the previous month on more than 1,200 major Internet job boards and smaller job boards that serve niche markets and smaller geographic areas.Like The Conference Board’s long-running Help-Wanted Advertising Index of print ads (which was published for over 55 years and discontinued in August 2008 but continues to be available for research), the new online series is not a direct measure of job vacancies. The level of ads in both print and online may change for reasons not related to overall job demand.With the October 1, 2008 release, HWOL began providing seasonally adjusted data for the U.S., the 9 Census regions and 50 States. Seasonally adjusted data for occupations was provided beginning with the July 1, 2009 release. This data series, for which the earliest data is May 2005, continues to publish not seasonally adjusted data for 52 large metropolitan areas, but it is The Conference Board’s intent to provide seasonally adjusted data for large metro areas in the future.People using this data are urged to review the information on the database and methodology available on The Conference Board website and contact the economists listed at the top of this release with questions and comments. Background information and technical notes on this new series are available at: http://www.conference-board.org/economics/helpwantedOnline.cfm(link is external).The underlying data for this series is provided by Wanted Technologies Corporation. Additional information on the Bureau of Labor Statistics data used in this release can be found on the BLS website, www.bls.gov(link is external).The Conference BoardThe Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world’s leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.WANTED Technologies Corporation.WANTED is a leading supplier of real-time sales and business intelligence solutions for the media classified and recruitment industries. Using its proprietary On-Demand data mining, lead generation and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) integrated technologies, WANTED aggregates real-time data from thousands of online job boards, real estate and newspaper sites, as well as corporate Web sites on a daily basis.WANTED’s data is used to optimize sales and to implement marketing strategies within the classified ad departments of major media organizations, as well as by staffing firms, advertising agencies and human resources specialists. For more information, please visit: http://www.wantedtech.com(link is external).Source: NEW YORK, Sept. 28, 2009 /PRNewswire/ —
Attorney General William H Sorrell announced today that his office has completed its review of a special investigation conducted by the Vermont State Police into activities at the Vermont Police Academy in Pittsford, VT, to determine if any criminal misconduct occurred. Suspicion of possible misconduct came to light in late 2009, when certain inappropriate e-mails were discovered on four employees’ work computers. After this discovery, Rutland County Sheriff Stephen Benard, the Chair of the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council, ordered the seizure and examination of the four state-owned computers used by the employees.A preliminary forensic examination of the four computers was conducted resulting in the discovery of files that appeared to contain child pornography on one of the computers, that used by David McMullen, who was the VPA Training Coordinator for the Department of Homeland Security. None of the other computers seized from the VPA contained any suspected child pornography.On January 11, 2010, VSP was notified of a possible criminal violation based on the discovery of suspected child pornography on McMullen’s work computer, and State Police detectives began their own investigation. McMullen’s work computer was sent to the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), for a complete forensic analysis.The analysis of McMullen’s work computer revealed several “link files” whose titles were indicative of child pornography. Link files do not contain the actual original file’s content, but are rather a pointer to where the original file content was stored when it was reviewed. It appeared that the contents of these files came from some external drive attached to the computer, and were created in 2009. Based on this information, a search warrant was obtained for the seizure and examination of computers and other peripherals located in McMullen’s home.VSP executed the search warrant at McMullen’s home in his presence on January 15, 2010, and seized several computers and other electronic devices. On January 16, 2010, McMullen was found dead on the grounds of the VPA, the result of an apparent suicide. A resulting death investigation concluded that McMullen died as the result of a self-inflicted gunshot would to the head.Subsequent forensic analysis of McMullen’s home computers revealed the presence of child pornography on two of his personal computers.Given that no evidence of child pornography was found on any of the other three work computers that were seized from the VPA at the outset of the investigation, and the absence of any evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of any individual besides David McMullen, who is now deceased, the Attorney General’s Office has concluded that there are no grounds for any criminal prosecution based on this review.Source: Vermont Attorney General. 7.12.2010
The Vermont Community Foundation recently received a three-year, $104,000 grant to build the capacity of public policy journalism in Vermont. The Foundation will partner with VTDigger.org, a nonprofit news website that provides in-depth coverage of statewide issues affecting Vermonters. The funding will allow VTDigger.org to hire a full-time investigative reporter to cover health care and energy issues in Vermont. It will also allow Founder and Editor in Chief Anne Galloway the chance to extend her energies beyond reporting.‘VTDigger.org has grown from a very low-budget, all-volunteer operation to a funded news organization with paid staffers in just two years,’ says Galloway. ‘This generous grant will enable us to deepen our coverage of key issues that affect the daily lives of Vermonters and make it possible for us to focus on building the long-term sustainability of VTDigger.org.’ The grant was awarded by the John S. and James L Knight Foundation as a part of its Knight Community Information Challenge. The challenge is a five-year, $24 million initiative that helps community- and place-based foundations support news and information projects that inform and engage residents. The Vermont Community Foundation is one of only 19 foundations throughout the country that was selected to receive a grant this round and will match Knight’s grant dollar-for-dollar with contributions from their funds and larger supporting organizations. If the challenged is fully matched, the funding will be worth $206,000, with $2,000 set aside for conferences, Galloway said.‘Strong democracy depends on strong journalism and informed debate,’ said Vermont Community Foundation President & CEO Stuart Comstock-Gay. ‘Vermont stands out as a state with very high levels of citizen engagement, but we still need good information. We’re thrilled that the Knight Foundation has identified our proposal as worthy of funding.’VTDigger.org first launched in 2009 when a group of concerned citizens and journalists, led by Galloway, came together to create a platform for fact-driven reporting and open debate on key issues impacting Vermonters. Now with 50,000 readers a month, VTDigger.org publishes daily stories on Vermont politics and public policy matters and serves as a critical resource for lawmakers and community leaders tracking down information on key issues. When asked what sets VTDigger.org apart from other news sources, Galloway says: ‘Our total focus is on politics and public policy, and we tend to write frequently and relentlessly about a given topic. Traditional papers tend to cover the end game of lawmaking, not the process.’ Galloway cites their extensive coverage around health care, broadband infrastructure, and campaign finance reform as particular points of pride for the nascent organization. This summer, VTDigger.org also launched Tipster ‘ a virtual, public newsroom with the functionality of a social networking site like Facebook. Designed to facilitate interaction among readers and journalists, Tipster users can suggest questions and post tips and source materials for reporters. ‘Official sources tend to drive the information in the news,’ says Galloway. ‘Tipster is about bringing a more grassroots voice to the surface.’ In November 2010, VTDigger.org combined operations with The Vermont Journalism Trust (VJT), an organization dedicated to the funding of investigative reporting that provides scrutiny to under-covered issues and helps Vermonters make civic policy decisions based on informational integrity. ‘VTDigger.org is the ideal platform on which to build out Vermont Journalism Trust’s commitment to expanding quality journalism in all media,’ said VJT Founding Director Doug Clifton at the time of the merger.‘The Vermont Community Foundation and others like it are part of a growing number of community and place-based foundations working to ensure residents have the information they need to make important decisions about their communities,’ said Trabian Shorters, Knight Foundation’s vice president for engaging communities. ‘Ultimately, our democracy will only thrive if we have informed and engaged communities.’The Vermont Community Foundation is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary. Started in 1986 with a mission to grow philanthropy in Vermont and ensure that Vermont nonprofits have the resources they need to be effective, the Foundation has grown to include more than 600 funds established by individuals, businesses, and organizations for a broad range of charitable purposes. It awards approximately $10 million dollars a year in grants, thanks to the donors who work under its umbrella. Additionally, the Foundation offers planned giving, nonprofit agency endowment management, and other services that help charitable partners achieve their missions. For more information, visit www.vermontcf.org(link is external). VTDigger.org is a statewide news website dedicated to coverage of Vermont politics, consumer affairs, business and public policy. Created in 2009, VTDigger.org publishes original news reporting, video, audio and photos, in addition to raw information in the form of press releases and government documents whenever possible. New content is published six days a week, Monday through Saturday.The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities, and foster the arts. The Knight Foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more information, visit www.knightfoundation.org(link is external). # # #
Vermont’s congressional delegation – Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch – today announced a $659,784 grant to the Vermont New Farmer Network (VNFN). The grant will allow VNFN to provide training and assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers to help them run successful and sustainable farms.The Vermont New Farmers Network is a working group of agricultural organizations committed to serving the needs of new and aspiring farmers in Vermont. The grant is made possible through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). Under BFRDP, USDA makes grants to organizations that implement education, training, technical assistance and outreach programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers, specifically those who have been farming or ranching for ten years or fewer.”Farming is an integral part of Vermont’s identity and economy,” Vermont’s congressional delegation said in a statement. “In recent years we have seen a growth of farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture programs, which has inspired a new generation of Vermont farmers. This grant will assist these new farmers as they develop their agricultural enterprises so they can continue the farming tradition so important to our state.” Additional grants will be available through the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Applications will be accepted through November 22, 2011. Interested parties should visit http://www.csrees.usda.gov/fo/beginningfarmerandrancher.cfm(link is external). Washington, 9.30.2011