Stowe, VT – The United States Tennis Association has announced that the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Semifinal between the United States and Russia will be held at Topnotch Resort and Spa in Stowe, Vermont, July 14 15. The event is being organized in association with Grand Slam Tennis Tours.”Grand Slam Tennis Tours (GSTT) has recently partnered with the USTA to become ‘An Official Travel Partner of the USTA’,” says Andrew Chmura, President of GSTT. “We are thrilled to bring Fed Cup competition to our home town of Stowe.”The Fed Cup is the world’s largest international womens team competition. Two singles matches will take place on Saturday with two reverse singles and one doubles match on Sunday.The USTA will construct a 3,000-seat stadium at Topnotch Resort and Spa. Based on previous Fed Cup Tie statistics, the presence of this event is expected to have significant economic impact for Stowe and surrounding areas.Travel packages will be available from GSTT, An Official Travel Partner of the USTA. Individual tickets will go on sale the week of June 4. Visit www.GrandSlamTennisTours.com(link is external) for package details and tournament updates.Individuals or businesses interested in becoming a ‘Friends of the Tie’ sponsor or volunteer, visit www.fedcupstowe.com(link is external) or call 800.289.3333.Background on Grand Slam Tennis ToursGrand Slam Tennis Tours recently partnered with the USTA to become ‘An Official Travel Partner of the USTA’, which owns and operates the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York on August 27-September 9, 2007. GSTT offers tennis travel packages with excellent seating, hotel accommodations, receptions with tennis champions, academies and more. President Andrew Chmura and founder David Kenny have been accompanying spectators to the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and US Open, among others, since 1989.History of Stowe and TennisThe town of Stowe has 360 tennis courts, which equates to approximately one court for every 11 people. In the seventies and eighties, the Head Classic Tennis Tournament was held in Stowe. Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Brad Gilbert were familiar faces in the town.
Arrow Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: AROW) announced operating results for the three and nine-month periods ended September 30, 2009. Net income for the third quarter ended September 30, 2009 was $5.1 million, representing diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $.46, unchanged from the diluted earnings per share in the third quarter of 2008, when net income was $5.0 million. Net income for the first nine months of 2009 was $16.7 million, representing diluted EPS of $1.52, or 7.8% higher than the diluted per share amount of $1.41 earned in the first nine months of 2008, when net income was $15.4 million. The comparative results for the nine-month periods were affected by certain significant transactions, discussed further in this release. Cash dividends paid to shareholders in the first nine months of 2009 was $.73, or 2.8% higher than the $.71 dividend paid in the first nine months of 2008. All per share amounts have been adjusted to reflect the effect of the 3% stock dividend distributed on September 29, 2009.Thomas L. Hoy, Chairman, President and CEO, stated, “We are pleased to report that our conservative business model has again produced solid earnings, especially in light of financial challenges confronting our national and regional economies as a result of the economic recession. Record period-end asset, deposit levels, and strong capital ratios highlight our operations in the first nine months of 2009. Furthermore, our asset quality remained high at quarter end. As of September 30, 2009, we had no ‘other real estate owned’ that is, acquired through foreclosure process and our nonperforming asset and charge-off levels remained very low.”As previously reported, certain significant transactions occurred in the first two quarters of 2009, as well as the comparable 2008 six-month period, which had a significant impact on earnings. Some of these transactions negatively affected earnings; some had a positive effect. In the second quarter of 2009, the Company’s subsidiary banks, like all FDIC insured financial institutions, were subjected to an FDIC special assessment to support the FDIC’s insurance fund. We expensed $475 thousand, net of tax, in the second quarter of 2009 for this assessment. Also during the second quarter of 2009, we received an unexpected court-ordered restitution payment of $272 thousand, net of tax, from a former customer of our now-dissolved Vermont subsidiary bank (the former Green Mountain Bank). In the first quarter of 2009, we transferred our merchant bank card processing to TransFirst LLC. The transfer generated an after-tax net gain of $1.79 million which was recognized in the first and second quarters of 2009. Taken together, these three significant transactions added $.14 to our EPS in the first nine months of 2009.Also in the first quarter of 2008, as we previously reported, after Visa completed an initial public offering (IPO) of its Class A common shares, Visa redeemed a portion of our holdings of Visa’s Class B common shares. This transaction resulted in net income to us of $637 thousand after-tax, adding $.06 to diluted earnings per share.Total assets at September 30, 2009 reached a record high of $1.836 billion, up $163.2 million, or 9.8%, over the September 30, 2008 balance of $1.673 billion. Deposit balances at September 30, 2009 were $1.432 billion, representing an increase of $160.5 million, or 12.6%, from the September 30, 2008 level of $1.272 billion.Average assets rose to $1.729 billion in the first nine months of 2009 versus $1.630 billion for the same period last year, an increase of 6.1%. The growth in average assets reflected an increase of $40.7 million in average loan balances, an increase of $31.3 million in average investment securities balances and an increase of $26.1 million in the average balance of short-term funds. However, loan balances outstanding at September 30, 2009 were $1.107 billion, essentially unchanged from both the balance at September 30, 2008 and at year-end 2008.Although the demand for consumer loans, primarily automobile, and business loans has been soft in recent periods due to the recession, we continue to lend to credit qualified businesses and individuals within our market area. Demand for residential financings and refinancings, however, has been robust during the first nine months of 2009. We closed $72.8 million of residential mortgages, an increase of $24.4 million, or 50.5%, from the origination volumes experienced during the first nine months of 2008. However, for interest rate risk management purposes, many of these low fixed rate residential mortgage loans originated late in 2008 and the first two quarters of 2009, were sold in the secondary market and as a result were not reflected in outstanding loan balances at period-end.Net interest income for the nine-month period was favorably impacted by an increase in average earning assets, which increased $104.1 million, or 6.7% to $1.657 billion for the 2009 nine-month period as compared with $1.553 billion to the same period in 2008. Net interest margin for the first nine months of 2009 was 3.79%, slightly below the 3.81% for the first nine months of 2008. During the first nine months of 2008, the targeted federal funds rate fell from 4.25% to 2.00%, while for all of the 2009 period the targeted federal funds rate ranged from 0% to .25%.Our capital ratios remain strong and increased from year-end 2008. Total shareholders’ equity rose $13.5 million since year-end 2008 to a record level of $139.3 million. Total shareholders equity increased by 11% and assets increased 10.3%. Our Tier 1 leverage ratio remained strong at 8.63%, above both the September 30, 2008 and year-end 2008 positions. The capital ratios of the Company and each subsidiary bank significantly exceeded the “well capitalized” regulatory standard.The continued stress in the real estate markets and increasing levels of unemployment nationally have continued to negatively impact many financial institutions, primarily as a result of their holdings of subprime or poor-quality mortgage loans, as well as investment securities backed by pools of such loans. We have never engaged in the origination of subprime or other non-traditional mortgage loans as a business line, nor do we hold mortgage-backed securities backed by such mortgages in our investment portfolio. Mortgage-backed securities held by the Company are comprised of pass-through securities backed by conventional residential mortgages and guaranteed by government agencies or government sponsored entities. The Company does not invest in any private-label mortgage-backed securities or securities backed by subprime, or other high risk non-traditional mortgage loans. Our commercial, residential real estate and indirect consumer loan portfolios experienced no significant deterioration at September 30, 2009, although the communities we serve, like all areas of the U.S., have been negatively impacted by the recession. However, if the economic downturn continues or worsens, we may be negatively impacted by the recession to a greater degree in the future.Our nonperforming loans were $4.6 million, at September 30, 2009 which represented .42% of period-end loans, up 7 basis points from the .35% ratio at December 31, 2008 and compares with a ratio of .26% one year earlier. Nonperforming assets were $4.7 million at September 30, 2009, representing .26% of period-end assets, down four basis points from the December 31, 2008 level but up 2 basis points from the September 30, 2008 level of .24%. Net loan losses for the 2009 nine-month period, expressed as an annualized percentage of average loans outstanding, were .09%, still low by industry averages but up from .05% for the comparable 2008 period. Arrow’s allowance for loan losses amounted to $13.8 million at September 30, 2009, which represented 1.25% of loans outstanding, an increase of five basis points from our year-end 2008 ratio.As of September 30, 2009, assets under trust administration and investment management were $836.4 million, a decrease of 3.0% from September 30, 2008. This decrease was the result of a general decline in equity markets from year-earlier levels and led to a $447 thousand decrease in fee income from fiduciary activities for the first nine months of 2009 compared to the first nine months of 2008. Included in assets under trust administration and investment management are our proprietary mutual funds, the North Country Funds, advised exclusively by our subsidiary, North Country Investment Advisers, Inc., with total assets of $204.6 million at September 30, 2009, an increase of 6.5% from the balance a year ago.In recent periods, many of our operating ratios have compared very favorably to our peer group, consisting of all U.S. bank holding companies having $1.0 to $3.0 billion in assets as identified in the Federal Reserve Bank’s “Bank Holding Company Performance Report” (FRB Report). The most current peer data available in the FRB Report is for June 30, 2009 in which our annualized year-to-date return on average equity (ROE) was 17.86%, as compared to a loss of 3.03% for our peer group. Our ratio of nonperforming loans to total loans was .32% as of June 30, 2009, compared to 3.33% for our peer group. We also have maintained a higher total risk-based capital ratio than the average for our peer group.Arrow Financial Corporation is a multi-bank holding company headquartered in Glens Falls, NY serving the financial needs of northeastern New York. Arrow is the parent of Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Company and Saratoga National Bank and Trust Company. Other subsidiaries include North Country Investment Advisers, Inc. and Capital Financial Group, Inc., an insurance agency specializing in the sale and servicing of group health plans.The information contained in this News Release may contain statements that are not historical in nature but rather are based on management’s beliefs, assumptions, expectations, estimates and projections about the future. These statements may be “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, involving a degree of uncertainty and attendant risk. In the case of all forward-looking statements, actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what the statements predict or forecast, explicitly or by implication. The Company undertakes no obligation to revise or update these forward-looking statements to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. This News Release should be read in conjunction with the Company’s public reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008 and the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2009. Arrow Financial Corporation Consolidated Financial Information ($ in thousands, except per share amounts) Unaudited Three Months Nine Months Ended September 30, Ended September 30, 2009 2008 2009 2008 —- —- —- —- Income Statement Interest and Dividend Income $21,664 $22,592 $64,688 $66,789 Interest Expense 6,462 7,690 19,970 24,736 Net Interest Income 15,202 14,902 44,718 42,053 Provision for Loan Losses 427 253 1,348 791 Net Interest Income After Provision for Loan Losses 14,775 14,649 43,370 41,262 Net Gain on Transfer of Merchant Bank Card Processing — — 2,966 — Net Gains (Losses) on Securities Transactions 48 6 329 (29) Other-Than-Temporary Impairment Write- down on Securities — (1,210) — (1,210) Gain on Visa Stock Redemption — — — 749 Net Gain on Sales of Loans 16 14 326 55 Income From Restitution Payment — — 450 — Gain on Sale of Premises — — — 115 Income From Fiduciary Activities 1,200 1,349 3,737 4,184 Fees for Other Services to Customers 1,956 2,242 5,937 6,318 Insurance Commissions 727 528 1,822 1,575 Other Operating Income 29 160 220 360 Total Noninterest Income 3,976 3,089 15,787 12,117 Salaries and Employee Benefits 6,727 5,883 19,920 17,911 Occupancy Expenses of Premises, Net 789 841 2,616 2,616 Furniture and Equipment Expense 819 820 2,493 2,385 Amortization of Intangible Assets 79 89 247 271 FDIC Special Assessment — — 787 — FDIC Assessments 438 203 1,320 450 Reversal of Visa Related Litigation Exposure — — — (306) Other Operating Expense 2,549 2,696 7,510 7,793 Total Noninterest Expense 11,401 10,532 34,893 31,120 Income Before Taxes 7,350 7,206 24,264 22,259 Provision for Income Taxes 2,288 2,198 7,589 6,834 Net Income $ 5,062 $ 5,008 $16,675 $15,425 Share and Per Share Data Period-End Shares Outstanding 10,916 10,825 10,916 10,825 Basic Average Shares Outstanding 10,912 10,812 10,902 10,896 Diluted Average Shares Outstanding 10,982 10,876 10,951 10,954 Basic Earnings Per Share $ 0.46 $ 0.46 $ 1.53 $ 1.42 Diluted Earnings Per Share 0.46 0.46 1.52 1.41 Cash Dividends 0.24 0.24 0.73 0.71 Book Value 12.76 11.58 12.76 11.58 Tangible Book Value (1) 11.26 10.06 11.26 10.06 Key Earnings Ratios Return on Average Assets 1.13% 1.20% 1.29% 1.26% Return on Average Equity 14.72 15.99 16.77 16.46 Return on Tangible Equity 1 16.74 18.43 19.14 18.97 Net Interest Margin (2) 3.73 3.93 3.79 3.81 (1) Tangible Book Value per share is the ratio of Total Equity less Intangible Assets to Period-End Shares Outstanding. (2) Net Interest Margin includes a tax equivalent upward adjustment of 19 and 18 basis points for the respective 2009 and 2008 quarterly periods and 19 basis points for both 2009 and 2008 nine-month periods. Arrow Financial Corporation Consolidated Financial Information ($ in thousands) Unaudited September 30, 2009 —————— Third Year-to- Period Quarter Date End Average Average —— ——- ——– Balance Sheet Cash and Due From Banks $ 37,970 $ 28,208 $ 28,034 Federal Funds Sold — — — Interest-Bearing Bank Balances 79,375 62,301 55,929 Securities Available-for- Sale 412,798 383,013 354,013 Securities Held-to- Maturity 162,197 161,491 148,016 Loans 1,106,657 1,099,821 1,099,153 Allowance for Loan Losses (13,841) (13,721) (13,523) Net Loans 1,092,816 1,086,100 1,085,630 Premises and Equipment, Net 18,102 17,851 17,616 Goodwill and Intangible Assets, Net 16,353 16,405 16,429 Other Assets 16,672 23,524 23,267 Total Assets $1,836,283 $1,778,893 $1,728,934 Demand Deposits $ 197,987 $ 199,611 $ 188,938 Nonmaturity Interest- Bearing Deposits 818,025 754,832 739,483 Time Deposits of $100,000 or More 163,337 167,681 155,308 Other Time Deposits 253,133 253,359 249,953 Total Deposits 1,432,482 1,375,483 1,333,682 Federal Funds Purchased and Securities 60,592 60,175 56,354 Sold Under Agreements to Repurchase Short-Term Borrowings 1,601 1,171 1,189 Federal Home Loan Bank Advances 160,000 160,000 160,000 Other Long-Term Debt 20,000 20,000 20,000 Other Liabilities 22,304 25,667 24,806 Total Liabilities 1,696,979 1,642,496 1,596,031 Common Stock 15,170 14,901 14,787 Surplus 177,248 169,434 165,689 Undivided Profits 21,701 28,177 28,823 Unallocated ESOP Shares (2,204) (2,204) (2,247) Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss (5,724) (7,310) (8,009) Treasury Stock (66,887) (66,601) (66,140) Total Shareholders’ Equity 139,304 136,397 132,903 Total Liabilities and Shareholders’ Equity $1,836,283 $1,778,893 $1,728,934 Assets Under Trust Administration $836,438 and Investment Management Capital Ratios Tier 1 Leverage Ratio 8.63% Tier 1 Risk-Based Capital Ratio 14.12 Total Risk-Based Capital Ratio 15.37 September 30, 2008 —————— Third Year-to- Period Quarter Date End Average Average —— ——- ——– Balance Sheet Cash and Due From Banks $ 38,325 $ 35,673 $ 33,967 Federal Funds Sold — 10,158 23,186 Interest-Bearing Bank Balances — 929 672 Securities Available-for- Sale 350,526 363,889 354,180 Securities Held-to- Maturity 131,438 122,141 116,582 Loans 1,106,506 1,083,291 1,058,426 Allowance for Loan Losses (12,785) (12,732) (12,571) Net Loans 1,093,721 1,070,559 1,045,855 Premises and Equipment, Net 17,398 16,951 16,610 Goodwill and Intangible Assets, Net 16,457 16,500 16,555 Other Assets 25,186 20,866 22,112 Total Assets $1,673,051 $1,657,666 $1,629,719 Demand Deposits $ 190,452 $ 200,193 $ 190,456 Nonmaturity Interest- Bearing Deposits 675,219 641,478 633,908 Time Deposits of $100,000 or More 166,124 178,041 174,181 Other Time Deposits 240,181 242,069 242,942 Total Deposits 1,271,976 1,261,781 1,241,487 Federal Funds Purchased and Securities 69,547 62,787 56,477 Sold Under Agreements to Repurchase Short-Term Borrowings 1,517 411 472 Federal Home Loan Bank Advances 160,000 163,405 161,791 Other Long-Term Debt 20,000 20,000 20,000 Other Liabilities 24,614 24,681 24,337 Total Liabilities 1,547,654 1,533,065 1,504,564 Common Stock 14,729 14,729 14,729 Surplus 162,478 162,129 161,942 Undivided Profits 23,066 22,120 19,283 Unallocated ESOP Shares (2,572) (2,572) (2,095) Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss (6,649) (6,446) (4,854) Treasury Stock (65,655) (65,359) (63,850) Total Shareholders’ Equity 125,397 124,601 125,155 Total Liabilities and Shareholders’ Equity $1,673,051 $1,657,666 $1,629,719 Assets Under Trust Administration $862,601 and Investment Management Capital Ratios Tier 1 Leverage Ratio 8.40% Tier 1 Risk-Based Capital Ratio 12.63 Total Risk-Based Capital Ratio 13.79 Arrow Financial Corporation Consolidated Financial Information ($ in thousands) Unaudited September 30, 2009 2008 —- —- Third Quarter Ended September 30: ——————————— Loan Portfolio Commercial, Financial and Agricultural $ 88,299 $ 95,892 Real Estate – Commercial 202,561 199,240 Real Estate – Residential 477,268 454,753 Indirect and Other Consumer Loans 338,529 356,621 Total Loans $1,106,657 $1,106,506 Allowance for Loan Losses, Third Quarter Allowance for Loan Losses, Beginning of Quarter $13,626 $12,725 Loans Charged-off, Quarter-to-Date $(315) $(263) Recoveries of Loans Previously Charged- off, Quarter-to-Date 103 70 Net Loans Charged-off, Quarter-to-Date (212) (193) Provision for Loan Losses, Quarter-to-Date 427 253 Allowance for Loan Losses, End of Quarter $13,841 $12,785 Nonperforming Assets Nonaccrual Loans $3,905 $2,424 Loans Past Due 90 or More Days and Accruing 723 455 ——– ——— Total Nonperforming Loans 4,628 2,879 Nonaccrual Investments — 800 Repossessed Assets 73 61 Other Real Estate Owned — 270 Total Nonperforming Assets $4,701 $4,010 Key Asset Quality Ratios Allowance for Loan Losses to Period-End Loans 1.25% 1.16% Allowance for Loan Losses to Period- End Nonperforming Loans 299.07 444.08 Nonperforming Loans to Period-End Loans 0.42 0.26 Nonperforming Assets to Period-End Assets 0.26 0.24 Net Loans Charged-off to Average Loans, Three Months Annualized 0.08 0.07 Provision for Loan Losses to Average Loans, Three Months Annualized 0.15 0.09 Nine-Month Period Ended September 30: ————————————- Allowance for Loan Losses, Nine Months Allowance for Loan Losses, Beginning of Year $13,272 $12,401 Loans Charged-off, Year-to-Date (1,054) (825) Recoveries of Loans Previously Charged-off, Year-to-Date 275 418 Net Loans Charged-off, Year-to-Date (779) (407) Provision for Loan Losses, Year-to-Date 1,348 791 Allowance for Loan Losses, End of Year $13,841 $12,785 Key Asset Quality Ratios Net Loans Charged-off to Average Loans, Nine Months Annualized 0.09% 0.05% Provision for Loan Losses to Average Loans, Nine Months Annualized 0.16 0.10SOURCE Arrow Financial Corporation. GLENS FALLS, N.Y., Oct. 19, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ —
Work can officially begin on the Burlington Waterfront North Project as the result of a signed agreement between the US Department of Transportation and the City of Burlington for $3.15 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today.‘Recovery Act dollars are helping make Burlington a better place to live and work,’ said Secretary LaHood. ‘Here in Burlington, as in so many cities and communities across the country, Recovery Act projects are strengthening our infrastructure and creating well-paying jobs.’The project involves the rehabilitation and reconstruction of a section of Lake Street, the principal north-south access roadway servicing the downtown Lake Champlain waterfront, and the realignment and improvement of the Waterfront Bike Path.”Recovery Act funds will help further revitalize and renovate this industrial area in Burlington,’ said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. ‘The roadway and bike and pedestrian trails will be reconstructed and realigned to provide safer transportation choices at the waterfront.’The Burlington Waterfront North Project reclaims a portion of the formerly industrial downtown waterfront and enhances public access to the Lake Champlain shoreline. The waterfront currently suffers from inadequate transportation infrastructure, which creates significant safety concerns, restricts public access and limits economic development potential.The $3.15 million was awarded under the Recovery Act’s TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant program. TIGER funding is intended to promote innovative, multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional transportation projects that provide significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, region or the nation.The Department announced the selection of $1.5 billion worth of TIGER grants for 51 projects as part of the one-year anniversary of the Recovery Act on February 17.Source: US DOT. 9.28.2010###
At a time when 76-million Americans are sickened by food-borne illnesses each year, the Senate today voted 73 to 25 for legislation to strengthen food safety.Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) responded to concerns by small farmers in Vermont, where there has been a significant increase in sustainable vegetable farms, and added a provision exempting small, low-risk, on-farm food processors from the new regulations aimed at large agribusinesses.‘While this legislation gives the FDA new tools to protect American families from contaminated foods, we avoided placing unnecessary requirements on small farms in Vermont and elsewhere,’ said Sanders, a member of the Senate health committee. ‘We struck the right balance between the viability of small family farms that process foods and the safety of the nation’s food supply.’Sanders’ provision applies to farms that process their own products or combine products from several farms. It gives the FDA authority to either exempt farms engaged in low-risk processing from new regulatory requirements or to modify particular regulatory requirements for such farming operations. Existing FDA regulations already exempt farms that market a majority of products directly to consumers. Family-scale producers would, however, continue to be overseen by local and state food safety and health agencies.Sanders also supported a provision written by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) under which food producers who sell more than half of their goods directly to consumers and have less than $500,000 in annual sales would not be subject to the new requirements designed for industrial-scale food producers.The legislation would require companies to institute an aggressive safety testing regimen, maintain clear records, and have an emergency plan in place. The measure also would require imported food to be subject to the same standards as food grown or made in the United States. It would increase the number of FDA inspectors while allowing the agency to initiate mandatory recalls and suspend a facility’s operations.The Food Safety Modernization Act, the most significant expansion of food safety laws in seven decades, now returns to the House for a final vote.Source: Sanders’ office. 11.30.2010
Governor Peter Shumlin and Vermont Troopers’ Association (VTA) President Michael O’Neil announced today that the Administration and the VTA have reached an agreement on a new labor contract, subject to ratification by the VTA membership. The new contract is designed to address problems in recruitment and retention that were highlighted by a study conducted by the parties last year. That study concluded the starting pay and pay scale for Troopers were no longer competitive with other law enforcement agencies in Vermont or other states in the Northeast. ‘These positions are critical for the safety of all Vermonters, and we need to be able to recruit the best and the brightest and make sure we retain them,’ Shumlin said. ‘This new Pay Plan should do just that.’ O’Neil agreed, adding, ‘I am happy that the parties were able to address a problem critical to the long term safety and security of Vermonters.’ The Pay Plan takes effect in the second year of a two year contract. In the first year of the contract, there are no across-the-board salary increases, and step increases remain frozen. The physical fitness incentive program and compensation for work-related duties integral to the job that are performed during off duty hours, which had been given up in the previous contract, have been reinstated in the first year. In the second year of the contract, in addition to the implementation of the new Pay Plan, step increases will resume and holiday benefits given up in the previous contract will be reinstated, with the lone exception of Columbus Day. The troopers also recently accepted an increase in their pension contribution to be deducted from their paychecks of 1.3 percent to help the solvency of their pension fund and reduce the amount contributed by the state.Source: Governor’s office. 5.5.2011
The Vermont Agency of Transportation opened a nearly 20-mile stretch of Route 100 between West Bridgewater and Ludlow Friday that had been closed since Tropical Storm Irene. The roadway opening allows the public for the first time since the storm struck on August 28 to access the Calvin Coolidge Homestead, which is located in Plymouth along Route 100A. The national landmark plans an immediate opening, just in time for foliage season. “We continue to make progress and restore mobility throughout the storm-damaged regions of Vermont,” said VTrans Secretary Brian Searles. “Route 100 is one of our most important north-south corridors, and this week we were able to reopen two key segments. On Tuesday we restored traffic through Granville, and today we opened access from West Bridgewater to Ludlow, which is a favorite destination for many Vermont visitors.”The Coolidge homestead currently is accessible only from Route 100 in Plymouth. The landmark also usually is accessible from Route 4, but that access remains closed due to a closed bridge along the northern segment of Route 100A.Route 100 from West Bridgewater to Ludlow was badly damaged in several locations. Water washed away multiple road segments, and in some places completely destroyed the highway. Crews worked tirelessly for more than three weeks to make enough repairs so that the road could reopen in time for foliage.While the road is now open to the public, work continues. Several stretches remain gravel, and repairs to guardrail and roadway shoulders are still underway. Motorists should expect short construction delays in some locations. Questions regarding storm-damaged roads and bridges related to Tropical Storm Irene can be answered by calling VTrans’ Irene Storm Center at 1-800-Vermont. People can also visit VTrans’ website at www.aot.state.vt.us(link is external) where they can sign up for travel updates for their mobile phone, and follow the agency’s progress on both Facebook and Twitter.
US Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has won House and Senate negotiators’ approval of a 20-year extension of a pilot program in Vermont to move heavy trucks off state secondary roads and onto the state’s Interstate highways. It bill still needs full congressionial approval and the president’s signature. Leahy said, “This is a hard-won victory for Vermont’s towns and rural communities. No one thinks that overweight trucks should rumble through our historic villages and downtowns on two-lane roads, putting people and our state’s failing transportation infrastructure at risk. This extension will shift heavy trucks from overburdened state secondary roads, which wind through many downtowns across our state, to the state’s Interstate highways for decades to come. This will especially help Vermont businesses and communities that are struggling most from the large number of state and local roads heavily damaged by Irene.’ Current federal law restricts trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds from regularly using the nation’s Interstate highway system. But portions of the Interstate network in neighboring states allow higher-weight trucks to operate on those Interstates due to special circumstances, from tolling to grandfather clauses. Prior to Leahy securing the initial pilot program in 2009, these exceptions, combined with a state law that allows trucks over 80,000 pounds to operate on Vermont’s secondary roadways, have resulted in overweight truck traffic traveling through Vermont on some of the state’s smaller roadways, creating safety concerns and putting pressure on the state’s aging transportation infrastructure. Leahy said he hopes the extension will help transportation officials better understand whether or not the new option is helping to ease truck traffic in commercial and residential areas like Derby Line, where heavy trucks from Canada are forced to exit from Interstate 91 to take U.S. Route 5 South through Vermont. Leahy said he has heard similar stories of overweight truck traffic taking state routes along the Interstate from several communities, including in Burlington along U.S. Routes 2 and 7, in Brattleboro along U.S. Route 5, and in St. Johnsbury along U.S. Routes 2 and 5. Leahy and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) have been working with state and municipal officials across Vermont to find a solution to the problem of excessive numbers of overweight trucks rumbling through downtowns and villages. Sanders and Welch support the Leahy provision. WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, Nov. 11, 2011) Leahy’s provisions for Vermont — and similar provisions for Maine, advocated by Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine — have now been agreed to by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees’ negotiators on the transportation budget bill. Leahy had included his provision in the annual transportation funding bill passed earlier by the Senate. The counterpart House bill did not have truck waiver provisions. Leahy is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and of its transportation subcommittee. The final bill is expected to gain final Senate and House approval next week, then it will go to the President to be signed into law. The final compromise extends Leahy’s Vermont waiver and the Maine waiver for 20 years. The earlier Senate bill would have made the changes permanent.