JOHNSON — Vermont’s Johnson State College is going to be offering $40,000 scholarships for students majoring in biology and environmental sciences.
The four-year scholarships are being supported by a $552,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.
To be eligible, applicants must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0, demonstrated financial need and plan to study biology or environmental science at Johnson State.
Applications for the fall 2013 semester will be reviewed beginning March 1.
Scholarships are awarded as funds remain available.
The scholarship is one of several steps Johnson State is taking to support academically talented students of modest financial means who are committed to earning a college degree.
ESSEX — A Vermont couple appears to have found new homes for dozens of mini-pigs that were in an Essex home.
Zoning administrator Sharon Kelley said she went through the whole house on Tuesday, and the pigs are gone.
Pig breeder Florence Gruber and her partner Alan Tsefrekas had been keeping over 40 pigs inside Tsefrekas’ home for about a month before the town ordered them to relocate the animals.
They had until Tuesday to remove them. Kelley said local and state regulations define pigs, even miniature potbellied pigs, as agricultural animals. She said agricultural animals are prohibited from living within a residential neighborhood.
Kelley told the Burlington Free Press (http://bfpne.ws/144nTYa) that various animal rescue organizations, as well as people interested in adopting pet pigs, participated in the resettlement project.
NORWICH — Officials at Vermont’s Norwich University say they’ve exceeded their goal for a fundraising campaign they called “Bearing the Torch.”
The three-year campaign by the Northfield university that lasted through the end of 2012 raised about $24 million, exceeding its original goal of $20.2 million.
It was the fifth Norwich fundraising campaign in a row that exceeded its goal since 1984 when the school launched “Norwich 2000.”
The campaign largely supports a scholarship endowment.
Funds raised also support campus infrastructure, including the building of the Shaw Outdoor Center and the renovation of Sabine Field.
Norwich describes itself as the nation’s oldest private military college, but it also has civilian students.
MIDDLEBURY — There’s going to be a discussion at Vermont’s Middlebury College about whether environmental and social concerns should influence investment policies of college and university endowments.
Tuesday evening’s event at the McCullough Student Center is planned to be the first in a series of discussions about Middlebury’s endowment.
The discussion will focus on what factors the college’s board of trustees should consider in determining whether to place restrictions on how Middlebury’s endowment is invested, and the advantages and disadvantages of using divestment as a means of addressing climate-related concerns.
The panelists will include Middlebury officials and investment professionals.
NORTH BENNINGTON - The Vermont Board of Education voted on Tuesday to approve the Village School of North Bennington, which clears the way to set up an independent school at the site of the North Bennington Graded School for the 2013-14 school year.
Stephan Morse, chairman of the state board, said the application to create the school passed by a vote of 5-2 after a discussion that lasted about an hour and a half.
Morse said there were local residents speaking for and against the application at the meeting which took place in Montpelier.
Residents of North Bennington have voted three times in the last 11 months to give the local school board, known as the North Bennington Prudential Committee, permission to close the public school and open an independent school in the same building.
The proposal was put forward by the Independent School Investigatory Study, or ISIS, committee and supported by the local school board.
Those who supported the independent school said it would protect the school from state interference which they feared might someday include a forced merger or closure. Neither would be allowed without local support under current state law.
By closing the public school, North Bennington would also become a municipality which offers school choice. Parents could send their elementary school students to the Village School or another approved school and the tuition approved by local voters would go with the student. In municipalities without school choice, parents can also choose to send a child to a different school but the parents are responsible for the tuition themselves.
The third vote on closing the school was earlier this month. Tuesday was also the third time the application had come before the state school board.
HARDWICK — Biology class may never be the same.
Students at Hazen Union High School in Hardwick will be saving the lives of a few amphibians this semester as they learn about anatomy with a dissection simulator.
The software, Digital Frog 2.5, was the prize awarded to Hazen Union by the education arm of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) after science teacher Teal Church submitted the winning essay in a contest explaining why the school deserved the new tool. The students started using it this month.
According to PETA, the tool allows students to “cut” tissue by using a digital scalpel to explore the animal’s anatomy. And unlike dead frogs that have been dissected, and killed, the old fashioned way — with knives — PETA says the new software teaches students about how frogs’ living bodies work and about their natural habitats.
“We’re delighted to help Ms. Church and Hazen Union take the lead in teaching biology with humane, modern methods,” said PETA’s Senior Vice President of Laboratory Investigations, Kathy Guillermo.
From Vermont Public Radio:
When students at the University of Vermont resume classes on the snow-covered Burlington campus Monday, something will be missing: bottled water. UVM is the latest university to ban on-campus sales of bottled water.
At one of UVM’s recently retrofitted refill stations, students fill up their reusable bottles with tap water. For many of the 14,000 students and staff on this campus, topping off their Nalgene bottles is an old habit.
For the full story on vpr.net, click here.
BURLINGTON — The University of Vermont will be holding a series of events this month to honor the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
UVM says the highlight will be a visit by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who will give a speech at Ira Allen Chapel on Jan. 22.
The talk is free and open to the public but tickets are required. Tickets will be available starting Monday for UVM students, faculty and staff. Tickets will be open to the general public on Friday.
Next week UVM will hold a birthday party for King on Tuesday in the Davis Center Atrium.
MONTPELIER — Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin will lead the bill as statewide elected officials are sworn in to new two-year terms of office.
Joining Shumlin in taking the oath of office will be incumbent Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, Secretary of State Jim Condos, Treasurer Beth Pearce, Attorney General William Sorrell and first-time auditor Doug Hoffer.
Shumlin will deliver his second inaugural address to lawmakers on Thursday afternoon, and is expected to urge reforms to Vermont’s education system.
Lawmakers also are to get a report from a special canvassing committee that officially declares the results of November’s elections.
Rutland School Board members left Tuesday’s meeting with more questions than answers after reviewing budget proposals that cut between 11 and 14 jobs.
Superintendent Mary Moran presented two budget reduction scenarios. The first contained about $627,000 in reductions from 11 positions ranging from paraeducators, volunteer and home-school coordinators and a nurse. The second proposal includes the aforementioned cuts, as well as three classroom teachers. While the cuts follow a mandate from the board following their meeting Dec. 11, some board members expressed dissatisfaction with where the cuts were coming from.
“If I have to make more cuts, I want to be able to morally say, ‘I agree with your cuts,’” Board Member Rob Towle told administrators, echoing a desire among other members to review the budget more closely.
The Board voted to hold a special meeting Tuesday night, seeking answers to questions they will e-mail to District Chief Financial Officer Peter P. Amons.