MONTPELIER — Students in 52 Vermont schools are going to be taking part in the International Walk to School day.
About 12,000 Vermont students are expected to participate Wednesday in organized walking and biking to school events.
The International Walk to School Day will mark its 17th year this year.
Last year Vermont ranked 4th in the nation for participation.
This year, Vermont has more schools taking part than ever before.
MONTPELIER - Vermont’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for July was 4.6 percent, an increase of 0.2 of a percent from June, the state Department of Labor reported Monday .
The national average for July was 7.4 percent.
“The economic recovery for Vermont since the recession has been uneven at certain points,” Commissioner Annie Noonan said. “While Vermont still holds one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, and the number of UI (unemployment insurance) claimants continues to decline and employers continue to hire, we also have faced challenges such as the IBM layoffs.”
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A federal appeals court has largely upheld a ruling against Vermont’s attempts to close a nuclear power plant in the state.
A decision Wednesday by the New York-based appeals court agrees with a lower-court decision that federal law pre-empts state laws geared toward closing the Vermont Yankee plant.
Vermont has concerns over the plant’s radiological safety, but the appeals court agreed that the state’s attempts to close the nuclear plant were impermissible. Those safety issues are the sole province of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under federal law.
The appeals court, however, did say Vermont was within its rights to try to tie a new state permit for the plant to getting favorable prices on power from Vermont Yankee.
New Orleans-based Entergy Nuclear Operations Inc. owns the plant.
Average gasoline prices in Vermont fell 2.7 cents a gallon in the last week, averaging $3.72 a gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 626 gas outlets in Vermont.
The price compares with a national average that fell 5 cents a gallon to $3.58 a gallon.
The average price in Vermont was 3.1 cents a gallon higher than the same day a year ago and 8.7 cents a gallon higher than a month ago.
The national average fell 1.2 cents a gallon during the last month and is 9.1 cents a gallon lower than a year ago.
“Prices finally have dropped under their year ago values, just in time for those last minute vacations before school starts,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy.com senior petroleum analyst. “The rest of the summer will likely see prices flirting with where they stand today, but more significant relief will arrive around mid-September, when prices nationally could be 10-25 cents per gallon lower than where they are today.”
MONTPELIER - Vermont’s unemployment rate ticked up 0.3 of a percent in June to 4.4 percent, the Department of Labor announced Friday.
The national June unemployment was 7.6 percent.
June represents the second consecutive monthly increase in the statewide unemployment rate.
The department said last year’s initial data also showed a similar increase during May and June.
“The Vermont economy is showing a bit of changeability this month, which appear to be linked to specific employment issues,” Commissioner Annie Noonan said. “While the state’s revenues remain strong, we saw the layoff of IBM workers.”
In the aftermath of the IBM layoff of 419 workers, Noonan said a job fair this week attracted more than 85 employers looking for qualified workers. She also said there is progress in the Northeast Kingdom with its EB-5 visa project.
An Entergy Corp. company spokesman said Friday that layoffs are
expected at the company’s businesses. Without confirming directly that layoffs would occur at the Entergy-owned Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon, LaGarde said there was no timetable yet for the layoffs.
LaGarde said Entergy had “a number of companywide strategic imperatives” underway to evaluate the company’s financial situation, which prompted the evaluation.
Entergy announced earlier this week that its quarterly earnings per share had been cut in half, from $2.11 per share to $1, largely due to “substantially higher income tax expense” after a settlement with the Internal Revenue Service regarding storm-cost financing in Louisiana.
“We do expect workforce reductions to be one result of this initiative. We don’t have final specifics at this time regarding who or how many employees will be affected,” LaGarde wrote in an email. Vermont Yankee is one of Entergy’s smallest power plants.
The company’s generating facilities produce 30,000 megawatts of power, of which 10,000 megawatts are nuclear.
Entergy has 15,000 employees, and 640 of those are at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.
WORCESTER — A Vermont town is considering increased penalties and a greater law enforcement presence to protect two trails that have been damaged by the unauthorized use of motorized off-road vehicles.
Worcester officials are concerned about Eagle Ledge Trail, which runs over a ridge, connecting Eagle Ledge Road in Worcester with Eagle Ledge Road in Elmore. Shepherd’s Hill Trail intersects with Eagle’s Ledge on the Worcester side.
In recent years, trail damage complaints have been brought before both the towns of Worcester and Elmore and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.
The Worcester select board plans to re-examine an ordinance that prohibits unauthorized motorized travel on the trails, with the possibility of increasing penalties, Vermont Public Radio reports (http://bit.ly/12Hn8kC). It also wants to revisit a plan to create a concrete block barricade at the Elmore/Worcester town line and increase the presence of the town constable at the start of the trail.
In the past, efforts to block Eagle Ledge Trail on the Elmore side have spurred damage around the trail as unauthorized uses got around the barricades.
Royalton Police Department is reporting that I89 SB at Exit 4 (Randolph) is currently shut down due to a motor vehicle crash. Estimated time of shut down is upwards of 1 hour. State Police are asking operators to seek an alternate route.
This was posted on their Facebook page at about 3:15 p.m.
PAWLET — Volunteers are needed to move boxes in preparation for the Pawlet Public Library’s 46th Annual Book Sale.
At 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, volunteers are asked to gather Mettawee Community School to meet a convoy of trucks carrying 25,000 books. The boxes will be labeled and volunteers will move them to their designated locations.
Organizers are trying to shave 6 minutes of last year’s time and have all the boxes unload in 1 hour. After the books are unloaded, volunteers will be fed pizza.
The book sale will from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 27, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, July 28.
For more information, call the Pawlet Public Library at 325-3123.
NEWPORT — A Vermont man sentenced for stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of copper wire from transformers has been ordered to pay $52,000 in restitution.
Raymond Earle of Wolcott was sentenced last year in Orleans Superior Court to 60 days in jail after pleading guilty to possession of stolen property.
The Caledonian Record reports (http://bit.ly/144pwbE) Earle was accused of stealing copper on several occasions from the Lowell Asbestos Mine and selling it to a metals company in Hardwick.