Agency of Education renews Teacher Feature on social media

The Vermont Agency of Education is bringing back the Teacher Feature on the agency’s social media accounts.

The Teacher Feature social media campaign, originally started in 2011, is a way to spotlight Vermont teachers doing great things in their school communities. All Vermonters are encouraged to nominate educators who deserve recognition for their hard work.

To participate, contact Haley Jones at [email protected] with a paragraph describing a remarkable teacher and a photo. The submission and photo may be shared on the agency’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. — from the Vermont Agency of Education.

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Deadline for watershed grants is January 15

The Vermont Watershed Grants Program is now accepting applications for projects that protect, restore. and enhance the state’s lakes, streams, rivers, and ponds, including Vermonters’ ability to understand and enjoy these treasures. Applications are due no later than Monday, January 15, 2018.

Program grants are available to municipalities, local and regional government agencies, sporting clubs, non-profit organizations, and water-related citizen groups. The range of past projects is just as diverse, and has included invasive species education, shoreline vegetation restoration, and the removal of old dams and replacement of culverts to improve fish movement.

For the 2018 grant year, $85,000 is available to fund three categories of projects. The three categories and the maximum amount for each project type are: education and outreach ($5,000), planning, assessment, inventory, monitoring ($3,500), and on-the-ground implementation ($10,000).

Vermont Watershed Grants Program is a joint project of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and the Department of Environmental Conservation. It was established by legislature and funded by sales of Vermont conservation license plates.

“When Vermonters purchase a conservation license plate they’re helping protect healthy streams and lakes as well as conserving wildlife and important habitats for future generations,” said Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter. “Proceeds from the sale of conservation license plates fund the watershed grants program and help support the Fish and Wildlife Department’s Nongame Wildlife Fund.”

The watershed grants application guide and application forms are available on the web at: dec.vermont.gov/watershed/cwi/grants/watershed-grants. Please note that the application process has changed from past years.

Applications for Vermont conservation license plates are available on the Department of Motor Vehicles website at: dmv.vermont.gov/sites/dmv/files/documents/VD-154-Conservation_Plate_App_0.pdf. — from the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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Scammers target PayPal accounts

Scammers have found several ways to target people with PayPal accounts. Con artists have been e-mailing fake payment confirmations claiming to be from PayPal that contain links that, if clicked, allow them to install malicious malware.

Phishing scams look like legitimate e-mails, and they are getting more sophisticated every day. What these con artists are really after is banking and financial information. And they won’t mind destroying a user’s computer to get it.

Here’s how the scam works: An account holder will get an e-mail claiming to be from PayPal. The message says that they have recently sent a payment through the PayPal account. Since the payment will sound foreign, there is an option to “cancel the order” if the transaction wasn’t made by the user. By clicking that button, the scam artist is given complete access to the victim’s computer and all the files and information stored on it.

“Allowing a scammer to access your computer can open you up to the risk of identity theft,” says Paula Fleming, spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau (BBB). “Scam artists can install malware that records passwords or hunts for personal information, such as bank account numbers, on your computer.”

There are steps people can take to protect themselves from phishing e-mails:

— Call before clicking: If something sounds suspicious, confirm it by calling the company or checking the company website. Type the URL directly into the browser or do a web search. Don’t click on any links in unexpected messages.

— Look for misspellings: Look out for spelling and grammar mistakes when dealing with a suspicious-looking e-mail claiming to come from well known companies. Additionally, check the copyright at the bottom of the e-mail. If it looks even slightly different, then it is most likely a fake.

— Be cautious of generic e-mails. Scammers try to cast a wide net by including little or no specific information in their fake e-mails. Recipients should always be wary of messages that don’t contain their name, last digits of their account number, or other personalized information.

Check out more BBB Tips: Many phishing scams use similar techniques; click here for more advice on how to avoid these scams.

Anyone who suspects they have received a fake e-mail confirmation from PayPal, should forward the e-mail to [email protected], and report the scam to BBB Scam Tracker at www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us.

For more information, go to bbb.org. — from the BBB.

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