Wednesday, November 20, 2013

WVTK Local & State News November 20, 2013

Senator Bernie Sanders wants to see the federal minimum wage go up.  It’s currently 7.25 an hour, and he’s co-sponsoring a bill to raise that to $10.10.  He says the legislation will give a much-needed raise to 30 million Americans, adding it’s something which has to be done.  The U-S Senate is expected to take up the bill soon.

It could any day now for the Public Service Board to give its blessing to Vermont Gas Systems for the first phase of a major natural gas pipeline extension project.  Vermont Gas is so confident, in fact, that its lawyers filed a massive application with the PSB for Phase Two.  That segment would cover a 25-mile expansion from Middlebury south and west through Cornwall and Shoreham and under Lake Champlain to a New York paper mill.  Phase One extends the pipeline from Chittenden County south to Middlebury.

Public safety and school officials from around Vermont are gathering in South Burlington to discuss strategies for keeping Vermont’s educational facilities safe.  Nearly 300 members of local school crisis teams, as well as administrators and first responders, are at today’s daylong Statewide School Safety Conference at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center.  The event is to provide an overview of school safety issues and crisis response by experts in the field.  Workshops will be held on school safety by members of the Vermont School Crisis Planning Team, and the Montpelier School District crisis team will present a simulated crisis exercise.

Green Mountain Power (GMP) opened its new Energy Innovation Center in Rutland today.  Green Mountain Power says the Innovation Center will help them consolidate their real estate footprint to save millions of dollars for customers.  The facility will house workers from the company and workers from Efficiency Vermont and Neighborworks of Western Vermont, a partnership believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

Vermont Tech successfully launched a satellite into space last night.  A press release says the CubeSat satellite, Vermont Tech's Lunar Lander satellite, was built and programmed at the college.  The satellite will remain in space for 3 to 5 years to test the navigation components.  The info they will gather will be used to potentially send a satellite to the moon.  Vermont Tech is the first college in New England to launch a cube satellite into space.

Burlington officials say a long-planned highway project that would make it easier to get into and out of Vermont's largest city is a big step closer to moving forward.  The city settled an appeal with a landowner this week, and that removes the final obstacle to the proposed traffic route from the end of Interstate 189 on Shelburne Road to Burlington’s South End.  This latest settlement comes less than two months after the city settled another appeal with Vermont Railway. Both appeals involve environmental permits, and while more appeals remain the one settled this week was the last one which could have stopped the project.