Heard On The Street

Vermont Graduates Loaded with Debt

As if parents don’t have enough to worry about, this is an excerpted communique from Senator Sanders’ office: “(T)he Joint Economic Committee showed the average student loan debt in Vermont was greater than the amount in all but six other states. In Vermont, 63 percent of college graduates hold student loans. The average balance is $28,860. That debt load amounts to 82 percent of the average annual income for recent graduates, a ratio of debt to earnings that ranks Vermont the highest in the nation.”

New Face at the Planning Commission

Kim Cheney was just elected the new chair of Montpelier’s Planning Commission, replacing Jesse Moorman, who will continue to serve on the commission. The vice chair remains the same: Jon Anderson.

Vermont Children Go Hungry

The Vermont Department of Education advises that “Vermont is ranked 4th in the nation for feeding children with summer meal programs—up from 11th in the national rankings in 2010 and 6th in 2011.” Last summer, Vermont fed an average of 6,800 low-income children summer meals. The organization Hunger Free Vermont says, however, that “summer meals only reached 1 in 5 of the number of children who got regular school meals in the 2011-2012 school year.”

Planning Department Seeking AmeriCorps Applicants

Montpelier’s Planning Department has two new AmeriCorps VISTA positions for their enVision program. Interested applicants should apply through my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/viewListing.do?id=40441.

Tour the State House Through Google

Google, through the offices of Matt Dunne, inaugurated its inside version of Google maps with a virtual tour of the State House. Everything from the rugs to the chandeliers.

Center for Victims of Torture Awards Senator Leahy

A Minnesota-based national organization, the Center for Victims of Torture, announced it is awarding Senator Leahy its Eclipse Award on June 26 in Washington, D.C. The organization works on behalf of torture victims and praises Leahy’s support of funding for the UN’s Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, as well as his work in authoring and sponsoring several important antitorture and human rights legislation, including the Leahy Law on Human Rights, the Refugee Protection Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act.

Bob Nelson Scores an Award Too

Barre’s Bob Nelson, owner of Nelson’s Ace Hardware, was the recipient of the Vermont Business Magazine and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s award for Family-Owned Small Business of the Year. He was honored at a celebration on June 13 at Shelburne Farms.

The Greening of Goddard

According to Goddard, the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment has awarded the college a National Climate Leadership award. The college says it has retrofitted more than two-thirds of its buildings with additional insulation, energy-efficient windows, lighting and computing solutions, which, in turn, have led to a 19 percent reduction in heating oil and a 15 percent reduction in electricity use. Goddard is also building a biomass heating facility aimed at removing 23 oil burners, thereby reducing the school’s carbon emissions by 560 tons a year. The school is also converting to a 100 percent local food dining hall, using whole wheat grown and milled in Vermont and produce from a local farm and the campus greenhouse and garden.