News February 25

Senator Sanders

Postal Service The U.S. Postal Service is moving forward with plans to close the largest postal sorting center in Vermont as part of cuts to more than 260 mail processing centers around the country. Tom Rizzo, a Postal Service spokesman, told The Associated Press that the agency welcomes Sen. Bernie Sanders' leadership on the postal issues. "We look forward to constructive and specific steps to help the postal service thrive in the 21st century," he said. LINK

USPS The Postal Service plans to close its Buffalo mail-processing center. A Senate proposal would make the Postal Service continue to deliver all first-class mail within one to three days. If that l becomes law, "they have to keep the Buffalo office open," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer. The main Senate sponsor of that proposal, Sen. Sanders, said it makes no sense for the Postal Service to slow its delivery times, the Buffalo News reported. LINK

Dental Crisis "My husband and I and our four kids are the working poor. We have to think about rent and electricity before we think about dental care," Heather Getty, East Fairfield, Vt., told Sen. Sanders. "My wisdom teeth have been a problem for over a decade now. I take ibuprofen and just keep on going. My husband has not seen a dentist since he was a teenager. He's afraid of the costs if they find something," The Nation reported online. LINK

Class Warfare "The advocates of maintaining the issue of the class struggle have some powerful and influential cheerleaders -- President Obama, Senator Bernie Sanders, along with movie producer Michael Moore and columnist Paul Krugman. These are intelligent individuals and they are well aware of what they are doing -- cast one group against the other," Don Keelen asserted in a Bennington Banner column. LINK

Senate Rankings "A couple of votes here and there can make a big difference and when you vote against your party because they're not ideological enough, sometimes can move your vote the other way," Reid Wilson of the National Journal said in attempting to explain why the magazine's annual ratings of liberal and conservative members of Congress don't make sense. "A few years ago I asked Bernie Sanders, formally elected as a socialist, whether he wasn't really the most liberal member of the Senate and he said he wasn't willing to give up that title," Wilson claimed on MSNBC. VIDEO

World

Syria As fighting continues in Syria, President Obama indicted that the U.S. could beef up its role there, saying the U.S. cannot be a "bystander" as Syrian President Basha al-Assad continues the "slaughter of innocents," CBS News reported. LINK

National 

Gas Prices President Obama warned in his weekly address that politicians criticizing his administration's energy policy are simply trying to score political points from the pain at the pump, ABC News reported. LINK

Vermont

Hospital Layoffs About 80 former employees of the now-closed Vermont State Hospital are being laid off.  Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding told The Associated Press that the workers were sent layoff notices on Friday. The Waterbury hospital was closed after flooding from Tropical Storm Irene.  LINK

State Misses Renewable Energy Goal Two key state lawmakers said this week that Vermont won't meet its goal of getting 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2017, and they're withdrawing their support for setting a new goal of 30 percent renewable power by 2025, AP reported.

Smart Students Vermont again ranked in the top 10 states based on test scores for high school students taking advanced courses, the Rutland Herald and Times Argus reported. In the class of 2011, 21.4 percent showed college-level mastery of their subjects while taking advanced placement exams, according to the College Board, which administers the classes and tests.

Maple Fraud A Rhode Island man faces up to three years in jail after pleading guilty this week to selling fake Vermont maple syrup on the Internet, the Times Argus reported.