Governor Announces Nearly $4 Million for Community Enhancement ProjectsMontpelier, Vt. – Nearly $4 million dollars will be distributed among 40towns and sponsoring organizations for projects that improve localtransportation, expanded recreational opportunities and encourage andsupport economic development of Vermont’s historic downtowns and villagecenters, Governor Jim Douglas and Transportation Secretary Dawn Terrill hasannounced.Governor Douglas said these resources, from the 2005 transportationenhancement projects fund, help to preserve historic transportationbuildings and create visitor centers; construct sidewalks, bicyclepathways and bridges; and purchase scenic easements that enhance thestate’s travel and tourism industry. “These funds are a significantcontribution to our intermodal transportation system and help us tocontinue to strengthen our economy,” Governor Douglas added.”Since 1995, these grants have been a base for funding local and regionaltransportation development projects,” noted Secretary Terrill. “It is abroadly based grants program representing the best of Vermont forVermonters.”The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), passed byCongress in 1991, created the Transportation Enhancement Program offeringcommunities new funding opportunities to help expand local transportationchoices including safe bicycle and pedestrian facilities, scenic routes,beautification, and other investments that increase recreation opportunityand access.In 1998, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21)reaffirmed the federal commitment to communities by increasing fundingsupport for enhancements. Applications for enhancement funding arereviewed by the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) to affirmproject eligibility criteria, then are individually considered and awardedby a grant committee.VTrans staff also provides technical and limited project assistance togrant recipients. Most community projects are completed within two yearsof the grant award. Since 1995, 239 grant awards have been made toVermont communities totaling $30.5 million.The next round of grants will be available in April, 2005 when the Agencyprovides application booklets to municipalities, regional planningcommissions, and non-profit organizations.2005 grant awards are listed below.2005 ENHANCEMENTS APPLICATIONS FUNDEDTownSponsorActivity FundedGRANT SHARETOTAL PROJECT COSTSt. Albans CityCity of St. AlbansEngineering and Construction of Lower Welden Street Sidewalk & PedestrianBridge$103,000$131,970BartonBarton VillageSidewalk Feasibility Study for Barton Village$13,000$16,440BenningtonTown of BenningtonEngineering and Construction of West Main Street Sidewalks and HistoricLighting.$168,000$212,025BenningtonVillage of North BenningtonEngineering and Construction of Pedestrian Improvements and Landscaping atthe Main Street/Bank Street Intersection$121,000$151,893ColchesterColchester Historical SocietyEngineering and Construction of the Colchester Log Schoolhouse Bike PathVisitors Center$147,000$183,500Hyde Park V.Village of Hyde ParkEngineering and Construction of Sidewalks in the Village of Hyde Park$87,000$210,000WallingfordWallingford Fire DistrictConstruction of Wallingford Village Sidewalks$128,000$160,000Middlebury & WeybridgeMiddlebury Area Land TrustEngineering and Construction of Sidewalks and Erosion ControlDemonstration Project at the Otter Creek Access Site$290,000$595,237ChelseaTown of ChelseaEngineering and Construction of Chelsea Connector Pedestrian Path$75,000$96,000BrightonTown of BrightonEngineering for Island Pond Sidewalks$90,000$123,000WillistonTown of WillistonEngineering for Route 2A Multi-Use Path (River Cove Road to EssexJunction)$130,000$162,000FairleeTown of FairleeEngineering and Construction of the Historic Fairlee Railroad StationVisitors’ Center$170,000$388,150Multi-TownConnecticut River Transit, Inc.Installation of Bike Racks on Public Transit Buses$10,000$15,123BrandonTown of BrandonEngineering and Construction of Maple and Union Street Sidewalks$155,000$193,210MiddleburyTown of MiddleburyEngineering and Construction of Court Square Historic Lighting$130,000$282,620RutlandTown of RutlandEngineering and Rehabilitation of the Twin Covered Bridge$30,000$77,000MorristownTown of MorristownEngineering and Construction of Wilkins Ravine Stormwater Mitigation$75,000$104,149NorthfieldVillage of NorthfieldPlanning for Depot Square Improvements$20,000$25,000LondonderryFriends of the West River Trail, Inc.Engineering and Construction of the Historic South Londonderry DepotVisitors’ Center$298,000$376,561ShelburneTown of ShelburnePlanning for the Harbor Road Shared-Use Path$20,000$25,000TroyTown of TroyPlanning for Troy Village Common Improvements$16,000$20,000South BurlingtonCity of South BurlingtonEngineering and Construction of San Remo Drive Sidewalks and Landscaping$265,000$438,930RockinghamTown of RockinghamDocumenting and Stabilizing the Historic Bellows Falls Canal$21,000$27,250WinhallTown of WinhallPlanning for Bondville Village Sidewalks Design$15,000$20,000VergennesCity of VergennesEngineering for Vergennes Upper Basin Pedestrian Improvements$12,000$15,000BristolBristol Friends of the ArtsEngineering and Construction of Howden Hall Visitor Center$80,000$251,305MiddlesexMiddlesex Conservation Comm.Planning for Middlesex Village Bike/Ped Improvements$16,000$20,000HartfordTown of HartfordEngineering and Construction of Railroad Row Improvements, Phase III$50,000$200,900WoodstockTown of WoodstockConstruction of Pedestrian Improvements and Landscaping at the TaftsvilleGreen$50,000$62,752JohnsonVillage of JohnsonEngineering and Construction of Phase 1 of the Johnson Village Main StreetProject$294,000$367,254ThetfordTown of ThetfordPlanning for Thetford Village Bike/Ped Improvements$25,000$33,000HartlandTown of HartlandEngineering for Hartland Village Bike/Ped Improvements$45,000$75,018HinesburgTown of HinesburgEngineering and Construction of Hinesburg Village Pedestrian Improvements- Phase III (near Town Hall)$79,000$98,450AlburgTown of AlburgPlanning for Alburg Village Streetscape Improvements$16,000$20,000Barre CityCity of BarreConstruction of a New Sidewalk and Restored Historic Gazebo in City HallPark$100,000$343,400BurlingtonCity of BurlingtonEngineering and Construction of the Battery Street Shared-Use Path$200,000$250,000LyndonTown of LyndonEngineering and Construction of the Passumpsic River Pedestrian Bridge$114,000$145,740BrightonBrighton Community Forum, Inc.Engineering and Construction of an Island Pond Welcome Center$150,000$385,810BenningtonVT Housing and Conservation BoardRestoration of Historic Farmhouse and Provide Visitor Information$100,000$338,448StatewideVermont Bicycle & Pedestrian CoalitionBike/Ped Safety Education Programs$60,000$140,677TOTALS:$3,968,000$6,782,812###
Veritas, the €2.7bn Finnish pensions insurer, made a 5.8% total return on investments in 2015, down from 6.4% the year before, according to preliminary results.At the end of October, the Finnish pension fund said it made a 2.4% total return on investments in the first nine months of the year, so returns appear to have accelerated in the last quarter of 2015. The pensions firm said market volatility intensified at the end of last year in liquid risk assets such as equities and corporate bonds.Niina Bergring, investment director, said: “Diversification became increasingly important, and its importance will increase further.” Bergring said real estate investments, which had traditionally performed well for the pension provider, produced good returns over the course of last year.“The Finnish real estate market really woke up in the last year, and there were a lot of transactions,” she said.The global economic cycle is approaching a mature phase and the market outlook characterised by uncertainty, she said.Bergring said the Chinese economy was continuing to cause concern, and that Veritas had taken a cautious position regarding this country.This stance has been advantageous, she said.“In 2016, we are striving for a steady return with a moderate risk profile,” she said.According to the preliminary annual figures, Veritas’s solvency capital stood at around 28%, with the solvency ratio at 2.2%For 2014, Veritas reported its solvency capital at 29.1% of technical provisions, and the ratio as 2.2%.
Four people were affected early Saturday after a fire in an apartment in Vancouver.The fire was reported at 4:16 a.m. in an apartment at 1351 Lincoln Ave., in the Lincoln Place apartment complex, according to dispatch records.Vancouver Fire Department Battalion Chief Rick Steele said the fire was limited to a room and its contents.The American Red Cross provided assistance to four adults affected by the fire, according to a press release issued later Saturday.