Champlain College student supports Lt. Governor’s mission to Cuba

first_imgDennis O’Connell of North Pomfret, Vt., an International Business student at Champlain College in Burlington, conducted economic and cultural research for Lt. Governor Brian Dubie’s mission to Cuba this week. O’Connell prepared briefing packages to help prepare Dubie and other officials for the international trip.Dubie was invited by Alimport, a Cuban government-authorized trade group, to attend a Cuban-US agricultural trade fair from April 13 – 16. He was scheduled to address the conference on the opening day. The Cuban Humanitarian Trade Act of 2001 authorizes certain sales of US agricultural and medical products to Cuba, and Cuba has released an extensive list of commodities it is interested in buying. Among them are dairy products, maple products and apples.Dubie said, “Our goals for this trip are to establish a relationship between the people of Vermont and the people of Cuba. We hope to do that by building a framework for educational exchange, by exploring opportunities to export Vermont products for the Cuban people, and by promoting peace and dialogue between our countries.”In a press conference last week, Dubie thanked the Champlain College student for providing briefing materials on current conditions in Cuba in preparation for the trip.Dennis is the son of Dennis and Rosi O’Connell of North Pomfret, Vt., and he is a graduate of Woodstock Union High School.last_img read more

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New scholarship at Champlain College celebrates 200 years of teaching by Accounting faculty

first_imgOn the evening of Tuesday, May 8, Champlain College announced the launch of an Accounting Excellence Scholarship Fund. The new endowment fund celebrates decades of teaching excellence by Champlains distinguished Accounting faculty.The fund will annually support two Accounting students who demonstrate both academic merit and financial need. Alumni and community members have rallied in support of the fund, placing it well on its way to raising an initial goal of $100,000 for the permanent endowment.Nearly 2,000 of Champlain’s Accounting graduates have benefited from the experience and mentoring of the Colleges seven current Accounting faculty who have recently surpassed a combined total of 200 years of service: Walt Luchini (39 years), Champ Soncrant (36 years), Eadie Templin (31 years), Thane Butt (26 years), Mitch Thibault (26 years), Nancy Wells (24 years) and David Mona (22 years). Their impact is noticeable when you walk into Vermont accounting firms, captive insurance firms and a variety of business organizations and take note of the saturation of Champlain Accounting graduates.”This scholarship extends the legacy of these Accounting faculty members in perpetuity,” said Champlain College President David F. Finney. “These individuals help define the caliber of the education for which Champlain is renowned: a student-centered experience made relevant by the real-world lessons of their professors.”At the event, President Finney announced that former Champlain Trustee Larry Walsh and his spouse Connie Walsh–both 1966 graduates of the College–have made a challenge gift for the scholarship fund. They will match up to $10,000 for gifts received in May. Larry Walsh has known Accounting professors Walt Luchini and Mitch Thibault since their grade school days in Burlington.Molly Lambert, president of the Vermont Captive Insurance Association, spoke at the Accounting Excellence event, as did Dr. Wayne Cunningham, the dean of Champlains Division of Business.Accounting is a rapidly growing field in today’s economy, and each year Champlain’s Accounting students are wooed by the regions businesses and firms. Students typically land a job by December of their senior year–some deciding between two and three offers.The College keeps its Accounting curriculum up to date by modifying and adding courses most relevant to the times. For example, a popular new course has been Forensic Accounting, where students learn fraud examination techniques, interview techniques, rules of evidence relating to internal control methodology, asset misappropriation and financial statement misrepresentation. Students explore rules of evidence as they relate to several different fraudulent activities including money laundering, cash skimming and embezzlement.Visit www.champlain.edu/portals/alumni/(link is external) for more information on the faculty members and the Accounting Excellence Scholarship Fund.last_img read more

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Weekly unemployment claims fall, 4,000 fewer than last year

first_imgFor the week of May 29, 2010, there were 839 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance, a decrease of 133 from the week before. Altogether 10,898 new and continuing claims were filed, a decrease of 391 from a week ago and 4,122 fewer than a year earlier. The Department also processed 3,586 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 135 fewer than a week ago. In addition, there were 2,266 Second Tier claims for benefits processed under the EUC08 program, which is a decrease of 100 from the week before. The Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/(link is external). Previously released Unemployment Weekly Reports and other UI reports can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/lmipub.htm#uc(link is external)last_img read more

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Vermont Law School uses $1.5 million grant to open enviro firm in China

first_imgAiming to use lawsuits to fight pollution and protect workers, Vermont Law School’s US-China Partnership for Environmental Law has received a $1.5 million federal grant to establish China’s first public interest environmental law firm and expand a university-based legal clinic.China’s rapid industrialization and urbanization have caused severe environmental degradation, including greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming worldwide and hundreds of thousands of deaths a year in China due to exposure to pollution. The crisis has prompted China’s leaders to seek new ways to allow steady growth, while protecting the air, land, water and public health. That’s where VLS’s U.S.-China Partnership comes in, providing training, expertise and aid intended to help China enforce environmental laws and regulations that have been widely ignored.The $1.5 million grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) will expand the use of civil lawsuits as an enforcement method. Chinese prosecutors currently focus on criminal prosecutions in environmental cases, in part, because they lack a formal civil judicial enforcement role. The DRL grant is the latest in a series of federal grants that have made Vermont Law School the leading U.S. law school working on environmental law, policy and energy issues in China. The new grant includes $500,000 annually over three years.“This is a groundbreaking environmental advocacy initiative in China,” said Assistant Professor Siu Tip Lam, director of the U.S.-China Partnership.“Our work over the past four years has put us in a unique position to further advance environmental governance in China,” Dean Jeff Shields said. “This DRL support will enable us to build on those successes.”The public interest law firm, which will be the first in China devoted solely to combating pollution, will handle citizen-action lawsuits intended to enforce environmental laws and regulations. The grassroots litigation is designed give citizens more power to protect themselves, their families and their communities from the worst polluters. The firm is tentatively slated to open in December with about six attorneys in Beijing. It also will provide training for government officials, lawyers and citizens on pollution issues and legal means to address them.Additionally, the grant will fund expansion of an environmental legal clinic at Sun Yat-sen University Law School (SYSU). The clinic thus far has focused on research and policy and regulation development, but starting this fall the clinic will collaborate with a current labor law clinic at SYSU to promote workplace safety and teach students how to practice law and bring workplace injury lawsuits involving environmental health and safety issues.Since 2006, the U.S.-China Partnership has trained more than 1,000 Chinese lawyers, judges, government officials, faculty, students, business owners and others, conducted numerous workshops and undertaken other initiatives. Much of the work has been done through grants from the U.S. Agency for International Development. VLS’s partners include SYSU, the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims at the China University of Political Science and Law, the Vermont-based Regulatory Assistance Project, the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and China’s National Development and Reform Commission Training Center.##Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, is the nation’s top-ranked environmental law school and has one of the top-ranked clinical training programs in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. VLS offers a Juris Doctor (JD) curriculum that emphasizes public service, a Master of Environmental Law and Policy (MELP) degree for lawyers and nonlawyers, and two post-JD degrees, the Master of Laws (LLM)  in Environmental Law and the LLM in American Legal Studies (for international students). The school also features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center and the South Royalton Legal Clinic. For more information, visit www.vermontlaw.edu(link is external).Source: VLS. 6.15.2010last_img read more

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Online job demand up 600 in Vermont, flat across US

first_imgOnline advertised vacancies was up a solid 600 jobs in Vermont while they only inched up nationally by 19,600 in June to 4,154,000 following a small decline in May, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL) Data Series released today.  New York and New Hampshire also showed strong gains. The gap between the number of unemployed and advertised vacancies (supply/demand rate) stood at 3.62 unemployed for every advertised vacancy in May (the last available unemployment data) but is down from 4.73 in October 2009. – Job demand remained essentially unchanged in May and June but up over 500,000 nationally during the first 6 months of 2010- Demand for sales workers continues to climb- Job demand is strong in several states in the Northeast including NY, NJ & PA- NOTE: The June release incorporates new seasonal adjustment factors”In the last two months, labor demand has been little changed following a strong start for Spring hiring in April,” said June Shelp, vice president at The Conference Board. “Thus far, job demand has been uneven across geographies and occupations, and weakness in the housing market is one factor. While all states have experienced some positive upturn in labor demand, states that were heavily impacted by the housing market downturn, in general, are rebounding more slowly. Also, occupations that are most closely associated with real estate—construction, architecture and engineering, and legal—have been slower to advertise for additional workers while the labor demand in other occupations such as sales, entertainment, food preparation, and healthcare and personal care have already risen to pre-recession levels.”REGIONAL AND STATE HIGHLIGHTSJune job demand strong in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania in the Northeast and North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia in the SouthIn the Northeast region, online advertised vacancies in June were up 50,600, showing strength in several of the large states. Among the large States that have shown gains in recent months, New York was up 23,800 in June to its highest level since March 2008.  Pennsylvania gained for the fourth straight month, up 15,000 in June, and reached its highest level since October 2008.  New Jersey increased by 11,700 and reached its highest level since March 2008.  Massachusetts decreased by a slim 2,000.  Among the smaller States, June job demand in New Hampshire was up by 1,700, Rhode Island gained 700, Vermont rose 600, and Connecticut dropped 3,300 while Maine was down 1,200.In June, labor demand in the West dropped by 51,600, reflecting in large part a decline of 46,800 in California, the most populous State in the region.  Arizona and Colorado experienced drops of 5,200 and 2,900 respectively. Washington State gained 2,100.  Among the smaller States, Oregon gained 1,100, New Mexico increased by 800, and Nevada inched up 700 while Alaska dropped 1,600 and Hawaii fell 1,300.The Midwest declined this month by 21,300.  Illinois experienced the largest drop in the region (9,800).  Missouri was down 6,600, Minnesota fell 6,200, and Michigan declined by 2,200.  Wisconsin and Ohio continued to gain momentum and rose 8,400 and 5,500, respectively.  Among the States with smaller populations, Indiana decreased 1,800 while North Dakota was up 1,700.The South rose in June by 49,200, reflecting significant gains by some States and lessening declines in the others.  Texas led the way with a gain of 25,800 (most in the country), North Carolina rose 12,200 in June to 110,900, and Virginia rose 10,400 to 178,500.  Among the most populous States with declines in June, Georgia and Maryland decreased 2,800 and 4,300, respectively, while Florida remained unchanged. Among the less populous states in the South, advertised vacancies in Oklahoma increased by 1,900 in June while Louisiana decreased by 800 and Kentucky decreased by 200.The Supply/Demand rate for the U.S. in May (the latest month for which unemployment numbers are available) was at 3.62, indicating that there just under 4 unemployed workers for every online advertised vacancy.  Nationally there are just over 10 million more unemployed workers than advertised vacancies.  States with some of the lowest rates include North Dakota(1.24), South Dakota (1.51), Alaska (1.53), and Nebraska (1.57), where the Supply/Demand rates reflected the fact that there was just over one unemployed for every online advertised vacancy. Among the States, the highest Supply/Demand rates are in Mississippi (7.63) and Michigan (7.22), where there are over 7 unemployed people for every advertised vacancy.  Although still among the highest in the Nation, Michigan’s S/D rate has improved significantly from the 10.2 in July 2009 when there were just over 10 unemployed for every online advertised vacancy.  Other states where there are over 5 unemployed for every advertised vacancy are Kentucky (5.38), Indiana (5.22), and Florida (5.08).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 HIGHLIGHTSDemand for Healthcare Practitioners and Technical workers rises 52,000 in JuneOnline demand for occupations such as Healthcare Support, Personal Care, Sales, and Food Preparation & Service are at or near all-time highsIn June, the trend in online demand in a range of service occupations like healthcare support, sales workers, food preparation, and community and social services continued to be strong.  In these occupations advertised vacancies are at or near their all-time highs since the HWOL series began in May 2005.  Other occupations, including those most closely associated with the real estate and construction industry and production, continue to lag behind pre-recession levels.  While demand for traditional “office” occupations – including administrative occupations, business and finance, and management occupations – rose, these occupations continue to lag behind the levels seen before the recession.Among the top 10 occupation groups with the largest numbers of online advertised vacancies, Healthcare Practitioners and Technical occupations posted the largest June increase, up 51,900 to 592,300.  The June rise was largely due to increases in demand for physical and occupational therapists, registered nurses, physicians and surgeons, and family and general practitioners.  Healthcare Support occupations, which remained relatively strong throughout the recession, rose 2,100 in June to 113,900.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 May, the latest month for which unemployment data are available, advertised vacancies for healthcare practitioners or technical occupations outnumbered the unemployed looking for work in this field by nearly 3 to 1, and the average wage in these occupations is $33.51/hour.  In sharp contrast, the average wage for healthcare support occupations is $12.84/hour and there were over 2 unemployed looking for work in the field for every online advertised vacancy.  Computer and Mathematical Science occupations were down 12,700 to 554,900 in June.  The drop was largely due to decreases in demand for computer systems analysts, computer software engineers, and computer support specialists.  Like the demand for healthcare practitioners, demand for workers in this occupational category exceeds the number of unemployed looking for work by 3 to 1.  Management occupations declined 10,000 to 540,300 in June.  The June decrease largely reflects decreases in demand for sales managers, storage and distribution managers, marketing managers, and computer and information systems managers.  Demand for Business and Financial Operations rose 3,600 to 215,600.  In both of these areas the balance between the number of unemployed looking for work and advertised vacancies was relatively in line with or slightly over one job-seeker for each advertised vacancy.Office and Administrative Support occupations experienced a June decline of 4,300 to 399,500.  The June dip reflects decreases in postings for a wide variety of occupations including tellers, first-line supervisors/managers of office and administrative support workers, data entry keyers, and payroll and timekeeping clerks.  In this field there are over 4 unemployed for every advertised vacancy.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 (0.4), Computer and Mathematical Science (0.4), and Architecture and Engineering (0.9).  On the other hand, in Sales and Related Occupations, there were over three people seeking jobs in this field for every online advertised vacancy (3.4) and there were over four unemployed looking for work in Office and Administrative Support positions for every advertised opening (4.1).METRO AREA HIGHLIGHTSWashington, D.C., Baltimore, and Honolulu have the lowest Supply/Demand rates Washington, D.C. is the one area in which the number of advertised vacancies exceeds the number of unemployedWith the exception of New Orleans, online advertised vacancies in all of the 52 largest metropolitan areas are above last year’s levelsIn June, 51 of the 52 metropolitan areas for which data are reported separately posted over-the-year increases in the number of online advertised vacancies; New Orleans posted a slight decrease.  Among the three metro areas with the largest numbers of advertised vacancies, the New York metro area was 45 percent above its June 2009 level, the Washington, D.C. metro area was 28 percent above its June 2009 level, and the Los Angeles metro area was 8 percent above last year’s level.The number of unemployed exceeded the number of advertised vacancies in 51 of the 52 metro areas for which information is reported separately; Washington, D.C. was the exception.  Baltimore, Honolulu, and Oklahoma City were the locations with the next 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 Riverside, CA, where there are over 9 unemployed people for every advertised vacancy (9.2), Detroit (7.3), Sacramento (4.8), and Miami (4.7).  Supply/Demand rate data are forApril 2010, the latest month for which unemployment data for local areas are available.PROGRAM NOTESThe Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine™ Data Series 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 May 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 June 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 June 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 person 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/data/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 CorporationWANTED 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 The Conference Board. NEW YORK, June 30, 2010 /PRNewswire/ —last_img read more

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Vermont Air National Guard chosen as first Guard unit in nation to get F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

first_imgSenator Patrick Leahy and the Vermont Congressional Delegation ‘ Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and Representative Peter Welch (D) — announced Thursday that the Secretary of the Air Force has selected the Vermont National Guard to be the first Air Guard unit to base the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.  The Air Force announced that Burlington is one of two preferred choices for F-35 operations, along with Hill Air Force Base in northern Utah, and that Luke Air Force Base in Arizona is the top pick for training.  Final basing decisions will be made later in the ongoing selection process.  Under the current production schedule, the planes could begin arriving in Vermont in the 2018 federal fiscal year.Last year the Air Force conducted a system-wide review of more than 200 locations before selecting Burlington and nine other bases as finalists for either the training or primary operations of the F-35.  Today (Thursday), the Secretary of the Air Force further refined that list by announcing the bases that are expected to be the first to receive the Joint Strike Fighter. Leahy said, ‘Just as cream rises to the top, the Vermont Air National Guard’s stellar tradition of quality and performance has carried Vermont to the top of this rarefied list.  The Air Force’s rigorous review of personnel and facilities across the country has confirmed the Vermont Guard’s superb performance and capabilities.’  Leahy chairs the Senate National Guard Caucus and is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  He has also asked the Air Force to provide him with information about the noise profile for the developmental F-35 engine and how the Air Force will work to minimize any potential increased engine noise during take off and landing.Sanders said, ‘It is a sign of the great national respect and admiration for the Vermont National Guard that it was selected by the Air Force in a very competitive process.’Welch said, ‘Today’s announcement speaks to the Vermont Air National Guard’s outstanding reputation and tradition of excellence.  I hope that, as the process moves forward, all parties will work together in a collaborative manner to resolve outstanding concerns.’Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie, who chairs the Vermont Aerospace and Aviation Association and the Washington-based Aerospace States Association, said, ‘This did not happen by chance. Many Vermonters worked together with unity and resolve to make this victory possible.‘I commend the men and women of the Vermont Air National Guard whose high standards of excellence and performance have put our base at the top of the list time and again,” Dubie said. “I thank Senator Patrick Leahy for his leadership on the Senate National Guard Caucus, along with Senator Bernie Sanders, and Congressman Peter Welch for putting their support behind the F-35 program and basing it here in Vermont. I thank the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and the Vermont Aerospace and Aviation Association for their unflagging support. The jobs and positive economic impact are a great boost, and the new growth potential for our state’s aerospace and aviation sectors will be felt from Bennington to St Albans.’The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the next generation multi-purpose joint service aircraft that the Defense Department is testing for procurement for the Air Force, Navy and Marines.  The Air Force version of the F-35 will serve multiple roles and will be the primary replacement for the F-16s and A-10s. Burlington and the other locations selected to base the F-35 will now move forward with a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  This review will examine the environmental impact of the basing plan including the noise profile of the engine and site surveys, and it will include additional public meetings.  The results of the EIS reviews could impact the final Air Force basing decision in the future. Source: Leahy. WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, July 29, 2010) –Following is the press release from the US Air Force:Air Force announces preferred basing alternatives for F-35WASHINGTON ‘ Today the Air Force announced the preferred alternatives for operational and training F-35 Joint Strike Fighter bases.Teams surveyed each candidate base for feasibility, timing, cost and planning purposes to meet initial operational capability timelines.The preferred alternative locations are:- Operations ‘ Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and Burlington Air Guard Station, Vt.- Training ‘ Luke AFB, Ariz. ‘This is not a final basing decision,’ said Ms. Kathleen Ferguson, deputy assistant secretary for installations.  ‘The preferred alternatives with other reasonable alternatives will continue to be evaluated in the Environmental Impact Analysis Process.’ A preferred alternative is an alternative which the Air Force believes best fulfills its mission and responsibilities, taking into consideration environmental, operational, technical and other factors.Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley previously announced five operations candidate bases Oct. 29, 2009. They included Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Mountain Home AFB, Idaho; Shaw AFB/McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C.; Burlington Air Guard Station, Vt.; and Jacksonville AGS, Fla.The secretary announced training base candidates Oct. 29, 2009.  They included Boise AGS, Idaho; Eglin AFB, Fla.; Holloman AFB, N.M.; Luke AFB, Ariz.; and Tucson AGS, Ariz.The current scope of this basing action includes 250 to 300 F-35 aircraft.The JSF is the next generation strike fighter bringing cutting-edge technologies to the battle space of the future.  In the Air Force, the F-35 will primarily service an air-to-ground role, replace aging F-16 and A-10 aircraft while complementing the F-22.  The Navy and Marine Corps plan on using the F-35, along with international partners. # # # # #last_img read more

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16,000 Vermonters get food stamp extension

first_imgThe Vermont congressional delegation today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will further postpone a pending reduction in food stamp benefits for 16,000 Vermonters. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) also welcomed the USDA’s assurance that, once the extended waiver expires on April 1, no family will see a benefit reduction of more than $20 per month.Sanders and Leahy authored a letter signed by 13 other senators asking White House budget director Jacob Lew to reconsider the administration’s plan to cut to nutrition assistance benefits under Vermont’s ‘3SquaresVT’ program. Welch authored a similar letter from members of the U.S. House of Representatives.The senators urged Lew to ‘pursue a course that will sustain the existing level of benefits to help these families make it through this difficult winter season.’ The senators further noted that any cut to nutrition assistance would come on top of possible additional cuts to fuel assistance received by Vermont families. Welch echoed those sentiments, writing that cuts could ‘reduce significantly the nutrition assistance benefits that many of our constituents rely on to feed their families during difficult economic times.’This September, the USDA announced that the State of Vermont would be required to implement a cut of as much 25 percent to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits received by 16,000 Vermont families starting on January 1. The department’s decision was based on declining home utility costs which factor into the food stamp benefits formula. Around the country, at least 2 million people would also have seen a reduction in their food stamp benefit.In August 2009, the Department of Agriculture issued a waiver that allowed states to use the 2008 utility allowance formula for 2009, which would have prevented a drastic cut in nutrition assistance for millions of families around the country. Seventeen states, including Vermont, took advantage of this waiver, which had been set to expire on October 1, but after the urging of Sanders, Leahy and Welch, that waiver had been extended to January 1, 2011.Angela Smith-Dieng, senior nutrition and policy specialist for the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger, said, ‘We are very grateful to Vermont’s congressional delegation for its leadership in preventing what could have been a significant benefit cut to hungry Vermonters this winter. In these difficult times, Vermonters are already struggling to pay for all their expenses, so having enough money for basic needs like food and heat is essential to their health and well-being. Seniors and people with disabilities on fixed incomes are especially vulnerable to these kinds of cuts and would have been hardest hit, so we very much appreciate the delegation’s strong advocacy on this issue.’ Source: Vermont congressional delegation. 12.3.2010last_img read more

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US foreclosure inventory rising for sixth consecutive month, Vermont still best in the East

first_imgWith the Mountain West in the strongest position, Vermont continues to have the lowest foreclosure rate east of the Mississippi. However, Vermont’s foreclosure and delinquency percentages both rose in December from November (2.9 percent to 3 percent and 8.1 percent to 8.3 percent respectively, see table below).The December 2010 Mortgage Monitor report released by Lender Processing Services, Inc (NYSE: LPS) shows a continued increase in the inventory of foreclosed mortgages in the United States as more loans advance through the default process. The number of newly delinquent loans declined during 2010, helping push overall delinquent inventories down 18 percent for the year. The volume of loans moving to REO (real estate owned by lenders – repossessed) remains extremely low as moratoria and process reviews continue, further pressuring foreclosure inventories.â ¢ Delinquency rates are down across all products with an 18% overall decline since the start of 2010 as more loans entered foreclosure and new delinquencies declined.â ¢ Foreclosure inventory increases (up almost 10% during 2010) are being driven both by elevated levels of foreclosure starts as well as a very limited amount of foreclosure sale activity.â ¢ There is a diminishing share of ‘first-time’ foreclosures, over 30% of foreclosure starts have been in foreclosure previously.â ¢ Foreclosure sale activity remains extremely subdued as process reviews and moratoria continue to limit out-flows into REO.â ¢ Seasonal trends were reversed as newly delinquent loan rates continue to improve.â ¢ Refinance activity remains strong and loan originations are at 2010 highs with the government still supporting 95% of all originations. While the 90-days+ delinquency category has declined, the number of loans moving to seriously delinquent status beyond 90 days still far outpaced the number of foreclosure starts. Just over 2.1 million loans are 90 days or more delinquent but not yet in foreclosure, with nearly 6.9 million loans in some stage of delinquency or foreclosure. The total number of delinquent loans is nearly twice as high as historical averages – and foreclosure inventory is currently 7.8 times higher than historical averages and is rising. The report also shows that over one-third of borrowers with loans that are 90 days or more delinquent have not made a payment in over a year. Self-cures for loans one-to-two months delinquent declined slightly in December, and late-stage cures, usually related to modification activity, continue to decline. In December, 259,518 loans were referred to foreclosure, which represents a 0.6 percent month-over-month decline. Origination activity continues to increase with new production in November reaching 2010 highs. While FHA originations have declined, the share of agency loans increased, and 95 percent of all new issuance remains government supported. As reported in LPS’ First Look release, other key results from LPS’ latest Mortgage Monitor report include: Total U.S. loan delinquency rate: 8.83 percent Total U.S. foreclosure inventory rate: 4.15 percent Total U.S. non-current* loan rate: 12.98 percent States with most non-current* loans: Florida, Nevada, Mississippi, Georgia, New Jersey States with fewest non-current* loans: North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, Wyoming, Montana *Non-current totals combine foreclosures and delinquencies as a percent of active loans in that state. Note: Totals based on LPS Applied Analytics’ loan-level database of mortgage assets and are extrapolated to represent the industry. About the Mortgage Monitor LPS manages the nation’s leading repository of loan-level residential mortgage data and performance information on nearly 40 million loans across the spectrum of credit products. The company’s research experts carefully analyze this data to produce a summary supplemented by dozens of charts and graphs that reflect trend and point-in-time observations for LPS’ monthly Mortgage Monitor Report. To review the full report, visit http://www.lpsvcs.com/NEWSROOM/INDUSTRYDATA/Pages/default.aspx(link is external). Source: LPS. JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – February 8, 2011 About Lender Processing Services Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS) is a leading provider of integrated technology, services and mortgage performance data and analytics to the mortgage and real estate industries. LPS offers solutions that span the mortgage continuum, including lead generation, origination, servicing, workflow automation (Desktop®), portfolio retention and default, augmented by the company’s award-winning customer support and professional services. Approximately 50 percent of all U.S. mortgages by dollar volume are serviced using LPS’ Mortgage Servicing Package (MSP). LPS also offers proprietary mortgage and real estate data and analytics for the mortgage and capital markets industries. For more information about LPS, visit www.lpsvcs.com(link is external).last_img read more

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