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Tuesday January 9, 2007 Edition
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Top Stories for Tuesday January 9, 2007

Specialty Filaments Suspends Operations Leaving 175 Jobs In Jeopardy
By Cheryl White
    Specialty Filaments suspends operations. As many as 175 jobs would be lost if the company fails to reopen. This company, with roots back to the 1870’s, reported annual sales in the $40 million range in 2005. Competition from off shore manufacturers have resulted in falling revenues.
    The Vermont Economic Development Authority stepped in to the picture in 2004 to help sure-up this local business with loan guarantees. S.F.I., which manufactures bristles for a broad range of products, closed a plant in Burlington a few months ago and consolidated operations in Middlebury, hoping to cut operating costs, and continue their core business.
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Governor Douglas Begins third Term By Presenting Inaugural Address
By Dale Piper
Governor Jim Douglas began his third term on Thursday by presenting his Inaugural Address, containing arguably his most ambitious agenda so far. For the first time he is faced with a strong Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate and the most pressing priority is to be able to work together rather than be at partisan loggerheads. Vermonters, he pointed out, are not much interested in partisan bickering but are most concerned with seeing results. When asked if he could foresee any resistance to any of the issues that he wants to put forward during the next two years he said, “I have already met with legislative leaders and stressed the fact that my constituency and theirs are the same people with the same needs and problems. I don't really foresee resistance to any of the issues.” He did, however, say that possibly the issue with the most potential for disagreement is the spending cap on school budgets. All parties agree that Vermonters are overburdened with school spending that rises at twice the rate of the average paycheck, but, as in the past, they disagree on the ways to achieve a solution. When asked the perennial question about folding school funding into the income tax he pointed out the problems with that idea. Vermont has either the highest or the second highest income tax burden in the nation and to raise it yet again would present problems to the business community, in that it would be difficult to attract the best employees and it would also present a barrier to attracting new employers to the state.   [ more ]

Brandon And Rutland county Officials Blast Plan to Delay Route 7 Upgrade
By Ed Barna
For the Brandon members of the Route 7 Steering Committee, new Secretary of Transportation Neale Lunderville's “Road to Affordability” looked like a detour at best, and at worst a nightmare come true. During the eight years that the group of Brandon and Pittsford representatives, Vermont Agency of Transportation specialists, and contracted consultants has been working to fast-track the first major work on U. S. Route 7 since the 1930's, the big fear has been that all the planning would end up on the shelf like several previous attempts. The locals were constantly vigilant, least the project be put on hold for lack of money or lack of political clout or some other cause, which could last until the planning was obsolete or the cost was too high or the funding went to something to reduce vehicular use.  [ more ]

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