Vermont in brief

Vermont State Colleges board won't change name of system

The state network of five public colleges will keep its name even though one of the schools has become a university, the board of trustees of Vermont State Colleges decided Thursday.

The move to change the name was pondered after Castleton State College became a university in July to attract more out-of-state and foreign students and added five graduate programs in the past five years.

Some state colleges and universities are doing the same as they face declining enrollment, reduced public funding or both.

In Vermont there was some thought that a systemwide name change could give VSC a chance to reintroduce itself to Vermonters who weren't aware of what it offers, said Chancellor Jeb Spaulding.

"We're anxious to ensure that all Vermont families and students are aware of the quality and breadth of the academic and experiential opportunities available to Vermont State Colleges," he said.

The board's long-range planning committee looked at several name possibilities — Vermont Higher Education System, Vermont State Higher Education System and Vermont State College and University System — and distributed them to faculty, staff and students.

Over half the hundreds of faculty and staff responses said the present name can incorporate a university and will work just as well for branding and marketing VSC as a more cohesive institution, said Jerry Diamond, chairman of the committee.

The student responses came to the same conclusion, he said: There was no reason to change the name. And none of the suggested names from respondents grabbed the committee.

"The conclusion was, we couldn't really find a name that added anything more than we currently have so it wasn't worth the effort, and the confusion, the complexity, and time and so forth to make that change," Spaulding said.

The committee did decide to make some changes to VSC's mission and vision statement, which the board approved on Thursday.

Sanders: Vermont to get $1.1 billion in transportation money

Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders says a new agreement in Congress will bring $1.1 billion in transportation funding to Vermont within the next five years.

Sanders says the package doesn't contain everything he had hoped for, but he's pleased it will allow improvements to Vermont's transportation infrastructure.

He says the bill means Vermont will see a 15 percent increase in transportation funding during the five-year period.

The measure also increases funding for public transit in the state.

Vermont man gets at least 23 years for killing woman

One of three men charged with killing a grandmother in Sheffield has been sentenced to 23 to 50 years in prison.

Michael Norrie had pleaded guilty in July to pulling the trigger after holding Mary "Pat" O'Hagan at gunpoint while two other men ransacked her house in September 2010.

Norrie was sentenced Thursday.

Had he been found guilty at trial, the 25-year-old could have been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

A second defendant, 28-year-old Richard Fletcher, got 15 years in prison after pleading guilty and agreeing to testify against the other two men.

Norrie's attorney had said previously that his client would not testify against the last defendant, 34-year-old Keith Baird, as part of the plea bargain.

– The Associated Press


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