Jeff Flanders of Greg’s Auto in Rutland changes out a pair of spark plugs in the shop Tuesday afternoon.

State is tightening vehicle inspection process

Vermonters who may have “shopped around” for a mechanic to get their vehicle to pass inspection are running out of time and luck.

The state is about to introduce a computerized vehicle inspection system, creating a database that’s designed to ensure more accurate and uniform vehicle inspections.

Called the automated vehicle inspection program, or AVIP, the new system is being rolled out in the spring to the state’s roughly 1,500 inspection stations.

Each inspection station will buy a specially designed wireless tablet that plugs into a vehicle’s onboard computer system to track emissions-related data. It also allows mechanics to enter safety inspection data and take a photo of the vehicle.

The results are then wirelessly sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“The new device will help in the electronic collection of data so we know why the majority of cars fail an inspection, something we don’t know now,” said Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Robert Ide.

At left, V. Chase, recent candidate for state representative from Chittenden District 8-1 (Essex), discusses higher education with Juli Heisler from the University of Vermont.

VEIC hosts legislative networking event

BURLINGTON — Vermont Energy Investment Corp. welcomed the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce Legislative Networking event to its headquarters in Burlington’s South End in late October. Chamber members and guests got the opportunity to talk with candidates for Vermont’s legislature and other statewide offices (about 30 candidates attended), and the chance for some business-to-business networking. In addition to Vermont Energy Investment Corp., or VEIC, sponsors included AT&T, FairPoint Communications, Farrell Distributing, Green Mountain Power, Pomerleau Real Estate and Top Hat Entertainment. Sugarsnap of South Burlington catered the event.

Vermont loggers adjusting to revised statewide rules

Vermont’s loggers are adjusting to revised regulations aimed at further protecting the state’s water quality by minimizing the risk of soil erosion. The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation regulations — known as Acceptable Management Practices for Maintaining Water Quality, or AMPs — went into effect last month.

VDTM to award $75K in grants

MONTPELIER — The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing plans to award $75,000 in dollar-for-dollar matching grants through the Market Vermont program to help Vermont-based organizations and businesses promote themselves outside of the state. Applicants may seek up to $10,000 for their project. The deadline for applications is Oct. 3, and the grant recipients will be announced on Oct. 21.

Vt. home weatherization program gets a boost

WATERBURY — Low-income homeowners and renters can take advantage of free weatherization programs supported by increased state and federal funding. Funding increased by about 16 percent on July 1. At that time, the state’s funding mechanism for its low-income weatherization program was changed. A tax on heating oil, propane and kerosene went from a tax based on price (0.5 percent of sales) to one based on consumption (2 cents per gallon). The funding change will allow the Vermont Weatherization Assistance Program to improve an estimated additional 132 homes statewide this year, bringing the total to 906 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017.

Budget hearing set for Monday

MONTPELIER — The Shumlin administration will present its State Budget Rescission Plan to the Legislative Joint Fiscal Committee at 10:40 a.m. in Room 10 of the State House on Monday, July 25. A public hearing will be held following the administration’s presentation. Anyone interested in testifying should come to the hearing. Time limits on testimony may apply depending on volume of participants. For more information about the format of this event or to submit written testimony, email Theresa Utton-Jerman at tutton@leg.state.vt.us, call 828-5767 or 828-2295, or fax 828-2483.

Ric Reardon

Governor appoints Reardon

CASTLETON — Gov. Peter Shumlin recently appointed Ric Reardon, director of education for Castleton University, to a three-year term with the Vermont Standards Board for Professional Educators as representative from Vermont’s higher education institutions. Reardon oversees the undergraduate teacher preparation program and the masters’ and doctoral-level education programs at Castleton. In addition, he directs the Castleton Center for Schools, which offers professional development for educators through workshops, institutes, course offerings and tutorials. The standards board oversees the training, licensing and professional standards of teachers and administrators and promotes educator quality for all of Vermont’s public educators.

Health data deal is reached

MONTPELIER — Vermont’s largest Accountable Care Organization, OneCare Vermont, has struck a deal with Vermont Information Technology Leaders to capture health data from its patients that will help provide better preventive care. OneCare announced Tuesday it will work with VITL to capture clinical data from the Vermont Health Information Exchange operated by VITL. Patients within the ACO — a group of providers that work together to provide coordinated care to patients — will have their electronic medical records filtered and sent to OneCare’s data platform. The information can then be analyzed by the ACO to better manage individual care. Officials said the arrangement will benefit the more than 100,000 patients in the ACO, including Medicare, Medicaid and commercial insurance.

Wells Fargo pays $300K in penalties

MONTPELIER — The state of Vermont will receive $300,000 from Wells Fargo Advisors as the result of a recent investigation conducted by the Department of Financial Regulation. Commissioner Susan L. Donegan announced Tuesday that Wells Fargo will pay an administrative penalty of $270,000 to the general fund, $15,000 to reimburse the department for the cost of the investigation and $15,000 to the department’s education and training fund. The investigation stemmed from a customer complaint alleging that a Wells Fargo investment adviser had made unsuitable recommendations regarding investment accounts and the company’s representatives were not adequately trained or supervised. In addition to the $300,000 paid to DFR, the complainant will receive restitution for all fees and commissions charged. The department found the company had violated some internal policies and procedures relating to investment strategies and has made changes to its written supervisory procedures.