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TexasTowelie

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 82,552

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Senate Passes Measure to Regulate and Inspect Short-Term Rentals

Darren Drevik, who co-owns the Phineas Swann Inn and Spa, says he pays $500 in state fees each year to offer 10 rooms and serve meals. He’d like short-term rentals to do the same, and he’s hoping a bill that's headed to the House will make that happen.

The Senate on Tuesday approved S.79, a wide-ranging bill that aims to improve enforcement of health and safety standards for apartments around the state. The measure would include short-term rentals such as Vrbo and Airbnb in that registry. Owners of conventional lodging have said for years they’re competing on an uneven playing field.

Drevik noted that when the state shut down all inns, hotels and B&Bs last year because of the pandemic, it had no way of knowing who was operating an Airbnb.

“We had state troopers literally coming to our door and checking to make sure that there were no cars in our parking lot from out of state and no guests in our inn,” said Drevik. “And then we had short-term rentals in my town with cars from New York and Massachusetts.”

Read more: https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2021/03/30/senate-passes-measure-to-regulate-and-inspect-short-term-rentals

Burlington Police Sergeants, Lieutenants File Petition to Unionize

The City of Burlington is opposing an effort by police higher-ups to form a union.

If given the go-ahead by the Vermont Labor Relations Board, the department's 15 sergeants and lieutenants will be able to hold an election to form a collective bargaining unit. These officers are not members of the city's existing police union, the Burlington Police Officers' Association.

A successful union drive would mean that only the Burlington police chief and two deputy chiefs would not be protected by a union.

The New England Police Benevolent Association filed a petition on behalf of the Burlington sergeants and lieutenants on March 3. The city responded on March 15, asserting that the arrangement would be “problematic” as lieutenants serve as sergeants' direct supervisors. Further, the city wrote, the state labor board ordered sergeants and lieutenants removed from the existing police union in 2001 “because they are supervisory employees.”

Read more: https://www.sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2021/03/25/burlington-police-sergeants-lieutenants-file-petition-to-unionize

Champlain College welcomes students from closing college

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Becker College in Worchester, Massachusetts announces it’s closing its doors and Champlain College is welcoming impacted students.

Becker College says due to financial reasons, they will not resuming classes this fall. Champlain is urging students, who can’t return, to apply for their graphic design and game studio majors.

Champlain is guaranteeing admission to those who are in good conduct and have a good academic standing, with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher.

For more information, visit their website.

https://www.wcax.com/2021/03/31/champlain-college-is-welcoming-students-from-another-college-thats-closing/

Vermont teachers protest lawmakers' proposed pension fix

ST. ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) - Teachers around Vermont Tuesday protested a proposal that asks them and state employees to pay more into their retirement plan.

More than two dozen educators from the Maple Run School District were out in St. Albans voicing their strong opposition to the bill which aims to shore up their pension fund. It stems from a $3 billion deficit in the retirement funds for public sector employees, a problem that has been growing for decades. The plan proposed by state lawmakers would require the teachers to pay more money into the system, stay in the workforce longer, and receive fewer benefits. The plan would also inject an immediate $150 million in federal funds to help close the pension gap.

“We’re going to have to wait longer to get it, pay more to get it, and to get less when we actually receive it. We have paid into every single payment that’s been asked of us, we’ve shown up for students and communities every time we’ve been asked. We didn’t cause this problem to be created but the solution is on our backs and that can’t be,” said Mike Campbell, a local social studies teacher.

Governor Phil Scott weighed Tuesday gave credit to the Legislature for tackling an issue he says has been ignored for far too long. “It’s not sustainable the way it is right now. We spend hundreds of millions on this obligation and we can’t keep up at this rate,” he said.

Read more: https://www.wcax.com/2021/03/30/vt-teachers-protest-lawmakers-proposed-pension-fix/

Short film highlights disruption brought by F-35 fighter jets

In the past few months, flyers around Burlington have invited people to chime in on an issue they can’t avoid: the noise made by the National Guard’s F-35 fighter jets.

“Seeking F-35 comments,” the flyers and posters read. “All anonymous. Leave a voicemail.”

They included a phone number that led to a hotline established by local filmmakers Duane Peterson III and Patrick McCormack. The response was strong — more than 100 messages from people who wanted to talk about what it’s been like to spend a year and a half inside the flight patterns of Burlington’s F-35 jets.

The community’s messages have been incorporated into a short film called “Jet Line: Voicemails From the Flight Path,” which will premiere at an online event April 15. Peterson and McCormack say the project shows the jets have drastically changed the lives for some residents in the flightpath, which ranges through parts of Burlington, Winooski and Williston.

Read more: https://vtdigger.org/2021/03/30/short-film-highlights-disruption-brought-by-f-35-fighter-jets/

Vermonters of color to be eligible for Covid vaccine starting Thursday

Vermonters 16 and over who identify as Black, Indigenous or people of color — along with members of their household — will be able to register for the Covid-19 vaccine starting Thursday, officials announced at a Tuesday press conference.

The state also expanded eligibility to parents of children with severe medical conditions. They become eligible to register for the vaccine on Wednesday, March 31.

These eligibility categories are on top of the state’s current age-based vaccine eligibility system, which is currently open to Vermonters 50 and older.

“Our data also shows us that we have much farther to go with progress through our vaccination efforts,” said Dr. Mark Levine, the state health commissioner.

Read more: https://vtdigger.org/2021/03/30/all-people-of-color-in-vermont-will-be-eligible-for-the-vaccine-on-thursday/

Anti-mask protester flew drone over Gov. Sununu's neighborhood, says prosecutor

BRENTWOOD — An anti-mask protester arrested outside Gov. Chris Sununu's home in December is now on the hook for a $1,000 cash bail after prosecutors say he violated his bail conditions and flew a drone over the governor's neighborhood.

Skylar Bennett, 38, must pay the bail before April 2 to remain out on release while awaiting trial on charges of disorderly conduct and criminal trespass.

Bennett was arrested while taking part in a protest outside Sununu’s home on Hemlock Court in Newfields Dec. 28, 2020.

The new bail order was released Monday.

Newfields police prosecutor Michael Di Croce had asked a judge March 19 to revoke Bennett's bail entirely for allegedly not complying with good behavior provisions from his Dec. 28 arrest after two additional arrests in Manchester and allegedly flying a drone in Sununu's neighborhood last month.

Read more: https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/news/crime/2021/03/29/anti-mask-protester-flew-drone-over-gov-sununus-neighborhood-violation-of-bail/7046322002/


Skylar Bennett

House Labor Committee votes along party lines to recommend full House pass right-to-work bill

CONCORD, N.H. — Along party lines, the New Hampshire House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee voted 11-9 Tuesday to support the latest version of right-to-work legislation to prohibit any requirement that employees of a private sector business join a labor union.

All committee Republicans voted in favor of a motion that Senate Bill 61 ought to pass, while all Democrats voted against it. The bill passed the state Senate, 13-11, on Feb. 11, and Gov. Chris Sununu has expressed support for right-to-work.

An effort early in his first term to pass right-to-work was defeated by the House.

Right-to-work has come before the Legislature numerous times over the past 25 years and has been defeated each time. Proponents are optimistic it will pass this year and be signed into law by Sununu.

Read more: https://www.wmur.com/article/house-labor-committee-votes-along-party-lines-to-recommend-full-house-pass-right-to-work-bill/35979672

Salem bank manager admits to stealing from accounts of dead customers

A former Salem bank branch manager has pleaded guilty in federal court to bank fraud, with prosecutors saying he stole or tried to steal nearly $565,000.

Acting United States Attorney John J. Farley said from at least April 2016 to September 2017 Kazi Pervez, 41, of Methuen, Mass., used his position as a Santander Bank branch manager to steal, including creating accounts using the names of dead customers.

“Pervez then withdrew funds from the accounts that exceeded the balance of the accounts and used his authority as branch manager to authorize the overdraft from the account,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office news release said.

-snip-

In total, Pervez stole or fraudulently overdrew about $564,590.02 from other peoples’ bank accounts, the news release said. Of that amount, Pervez successfully transferred more than $450,000 to other accounts outside the bank for his personal use.

Read more: https://www.unionleader.com/news/crime/salem-bank-manager-admits-to-stealing-from-accounts-of-dead-customers/article_177dbf16-9f6d-5b0c-98ee-f519c0e117a1.html

Anti-abortion bill would drive out healthcare providers, doctors say

An anti-abortion law proposed by Republican lawmakers would needlessly torment the mothers of gravely ill children and drive much needed specialists out of the state, doctors argued at a Senate Judiciary Committee held Tuesday afternoon.

The bill, HB 233, requires that health care providers take “all medically appropriate and reasonable actions to the preserve the life and health” of a newborn infant. Proponents argue the bill ensures health care providers give life saving treatment to infants who survive late-term abortions. Others fear this legislation would interfere with the grieving process for families of fatally ill newborns.

The bill advanced from the House in late February after Democrats left the chamber in protest and the house speaker locked them out, easily allowing Republicans to get a two-thirds majority.

The prime sponsor, Rep. Jordan Ulery, a Hudson Republican, said the legislation protects the life of infants, citing an instance of an unlicensed medical school graduate in Pennsylvania who delivered unwanted babies during the third trimester and then killed them.

Read more: https://www.concordmonitor.com/bill-hearing-born-alive-39726402
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