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The Vermont identity

Vermonters have reverence for the state's rural landscape, and they hope for economic development that will provide jobs and housing for the future.

They cherish their small communities and value their ability to participate, and they cherish the freedom and privacy afforded each individual.

Group readies forum results

As Vermont evolves and the economic climate changes, it seems the need for a broad assessment of the state, along the values of the people living here, crops up periodically.

The Council on the Future of Vermont was created by the Vermont Council on Rural Development in the fall of 2007 to tackle the challenge of compiling data on a wide range of topics, a process that involved numerous public forums, surveys, and interviews with business and organizations.

Artful Dodger

...It was a lot of words, but the message was simple: At a time when public funding for necessities such as roads and schools is imperiled, public arts funding could simply cease to exist. When the recession chopping block comes out, programs that enhance people’s lives in intangible ways — say, by putting paintings and sculptures in public spaces, or funding the artists toiling in every community — tend to be the first to go.

Study: Vt. Tourism Stagnant

Shelburne Museum is one of Vermont's top tourist attractions.

Upwards of 110,000 people visit every year from states across the country. But only half of all visitors to the museum are out of staters.

"And that has shifted in the last 20 years dramatically," said Leslie Wright of the Shelburne Museum. "We used to have our visitor base much more out of state."

And Shelburne Museum isn't alone. Vermont is seeing little growth when it comes to the number of tourists visiting the state.

Agriculture Takes Center Stage in Montpelier

Agriculture took center stage in Montpelier Wednesday.

The Vermont Sustainable Agriculture Council told lawmakers about its top issues for the session. They include promoting local food and generating energy on farms.

The council is a partnership between the state, UVM and private groups.

Reporter Kristin Carlson: Are you worried with all the talk of tough economic times that agriculture will get lost this session?

State grant to fund Killington arts center study

Courtesy of a $25,000 Vermont Community Development Planning Grant awarded to the town, a bid will go out to contractors in February to do a preliminary feasibility study of a center, to determine if there's a demand for one in the town and if the town can financially sustain it, according to Killington Town Manager Kathleen Ramsay.

The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development will mail the town a check in January, Ramsay said.

The study will be the precursor to a formal feasibility study, according to Ramsay, and will include "all on the economics."

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