The Vermont Farm Viability Program announced today $40,000 in grant awards to meat processing facilities in Troy, Randolph, Barre and Enosburg. The grants are the first round of a new funding opportunity for “agriculture-related businesses,” established to develop and invest in agricultural infrastructure and to improve the viability of agriculture-related businesses. Two subsequent rounds of grant funding will be announced later this year and in 2010. Eleven processors with combined requests of $183,600 applied for $40,000 of available funding.
The National Ski Areas Association announced on Tuesday that Sugarbush Resort has won the Association’s top honor for guest service. The Best Overall Guest Service Program award is given to the resort with the best guest service program in the country. Resorts are categorized by visitation numbers. The prize is in recognition of Sugarbush’s SugarTube initiative, an interactive video sharing function that it unveiled on sugarbush.com this past season.
Two new start-ups, as well as a UVM technology license agreement, were announced Tuesday at the Center for Emerging Technologies' 4th annual Invention to Venture (I2V) Conference at UVM’s Davis Center.
Governor Douglas was joined by Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie to announce the new Technology License between UVM and Swanton's Leader Evaporator to manufacture and distribute a unique Maple Spout Adapter. The Maple Spout Adapter was developed by Timothy Perkins, Director of UVM’s Proctor Maple Research Center.
The New England Culinary Institute’s Board of Directors announced today that it has approved recommendations proposed by the school’s administration to unify campuses to its Montpelier location, while at the same time expand both the scope of NECI’s educational offerings and the options for delivery of those programs to students.
In light of the current threat of swine influenza in Mexico and certain US states, the Vermont Chamber Hospitality Council is urging Vermont’s tourism industry to remain alert to the symptoms of the flu, while realizing that health officials are taking all necessary steps to help treat those individuals and contain the disease before it spreads. Of the 64 cases identified nationwide, there have been no deaths reported from this influenza strain in Vermont or the US.
US Rep. Peter Welch announced Tuesday he will seek an amendment to the Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights that would cap credit card interest rates at 18 percent. Welch announced the amendment at a Capitol Hill press conference Tuesday morning alongside two cosponsors, Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Rep. John Tierney (D-MA). The Credit Cardholder’s Bill of Rights is expected to be voted on in the House of Representatives on Thursday.
University of Vermont College of Medicine Dean Frederick C. Morin, M.D., has announced that following a national search, William B. Jeffries, Ph.D., has accepted the position of Senior Associate Dean for Education. Dr. Jeffries will assume this role on August 1, 2009, and will relocate to Vermont from Omaha, Nebraska, where he is the Associate Dean for Medical Education and Director of Academic Computing at Creighton University School of Medicine.
David Hale, a St. Johnsbury native, is one of the world’s leading economic consultants, with clients in the US, UK, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Hong Kong, and China, where he is chair of China OnLine. This is the sixth time that the Ethan Allen Institute has had the pleasure of presenting David Hale to the Vermont business and finance community and the general public, in what we hope will be the beginning of a series of such programs at the Sheraton Burlington.
As part of the Sheraton Program on the Economy, Hale's presentation is entitled: "Crawling out of Recession?
Rep. Peter Welch announced a $166,000 federal grant for the Robert Miller Community and Recreation Center Monday at a Burlington press conference with Mayor Bob Kiss.
The grant secured by Welch will support Burlington’s transformation of the Gosse Court Armory into a multi-use community center with a gym, a community room, a teen center and other public space. The $1.2 million project also received funding from the City of Burlington, private donors and developer Robert Miller.
The EPA is moving forward with modifications to part of the underwater cap at the Pine Street Canal Superfund Site in Burlington, Vermont. The portion of the cap that was installed several years ago will be repaired and improved. In 2006, EPA performed a “Five Year Review” of work previously performed at the Burlington site and found that some portions of the cap were leaking oil and coal tar. The EPA and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation will oversee the cap modification work.
The Sammis Family has purchased the historic 18-hole Montague golf club in Randolph. Immediate plans are to upgrade the facility with a new entrance driveway and golf paths, 36 new Club Car golf carts and 36 new Amish-made swinging benches on all Men's and Ladies' Tees. The golf course is open to the public. More information is available at www.montaguegolf.com.
In response to a $58 million drop in state revenue forecasts, Speaker of the House Shap Smith met with Governor Douglas, Lt. Governor Dubie, and Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin on April 27 to craft a joint solution to address budgetary challenges. Economists Jeff Carr, representing the administration, and Tom Kavet, for the Legislature, estimated that the state could fall $250 million into deficit in the next few years.
As the Douglas Administration began the process of laying off 30 state workers ahead of an expected 400 more, the Legislature passed a joint resolution today to send the process to mediation. The House passed the Joint Resolution, JRH 26, calling for the administration and the Vermont State Employees’ Association to enter into a formal mediation process to resolve differences regarding state payroll savings.
On April 24, the Senate unanimously passed a $455 million Transportation bill that includes financial resources necessary to fix decaying transportation infrastructure around the state. The bill includes a two percent tax on the wholesale price of gasoline and diesel, a provision that received broad bipartisan support. Based on current fuel costs, this taxis expected to raise $12.8 million in FY10.
In testimony to the Legislature, New England Biotech Association (NEBA) has warned that a bill under consideration by the Vermont Legislature will create the most restrictive and onerous regulatory environment for biotechnology growth and development in both New England and the nation. The bill, 48/H. 270, would established stricter controls on interactions between the biopharmeceutical industry and health care professionals.
The Senate unanimously passed a capital construction bill, H. 445. The bill is expected to provide jobs to thousands of Vermonters through renovation and construction of state buildings, water infrastructure projects, and improvements in forests and parks.
WPTZ NewsChannel 5 and Seven Days, Vermont’s alternative news weekly, have announced a partnership. The two news organizations are involved in a content-sharing agreement servicing residents of Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire. As part of this agreement, Seven Days contributors will appear twice a week during NewsChannel 5’s 11 p.m. newscast.
For the twelfth time since 1991, U.S.News & World Report has ranked Vermont Law School's environmental law program as the best in the nation. The program, run through the school's Environmental Law Center (ELC), offers the largest selection of environmental law courses in the nation. The ELC has also been active in international projects, assisting partner schools in China and Russia in the development of environmental law curricula. The 2010 edition of America's Best Graduate Schools will appear on newsstands on April 28.
As a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), Vermont has been recognized for leadership in reducing emissions responsible for global warming. The EPA recognized the RGGI states for building a cap-and-trade program, which limits emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel-fired power plants.
Vermont State Auditor, Tom Salmon, is attempting to find more ways for Vermont schools to save money on supplies. In a report released on April 20, Salmon said that schools are missing an opportunity to take advantage of the State’s competitive bidding, estimating that they spend at least $60 million a year on supplies such as paper and computers. The state has an extensive centralized contracting system covering 400 commodities, but Salmon noted that only 21 percent of the school supervisory unions surveyed were checking state contracts.
Farmers may apply immediately for the new agricultural stimulus financing available through VEDA’s farm lending program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC). VACC has up to $6 million in low-interest financing available, made possible by $1 million in federal economic stimulus funds from Vermont’s share of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Is it time to look at Vermont’s transportation system – or the lack of one? That is a question being explored by AARP and a number of other groups around Vermont. An AARP report released today shows that significant groups of Vermonters are unable to get where they need to go – particularly older and lower income residents.
The House has passed the Renewable Energy and Green Jobs Bill, H.446, to promote in-state renewable energy development and create well-paying green jobs for Vermonters around the state. The bill will encourage community-scale renewable energy developments and expedite the delivery of $21 million in stimulus funds for green energy projects. It is estimated that 15-20 jobs will be created per megawatt of installation every year. The bill passed third reading by a 2-to-1 margin, 88-44.
A wildly fluid package of tax increases that crossed party allegiances was passed by the Senate Wednesday by a thin 18-12 vote. The slew of tax changes would result in a increase of $26.1 million in new revenues. A $4.55 billion budget then breezed through the Senate on a 27-3 vote. Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin pushed the tax package through the upper house despite objections from deep within his own party.
Week Ending April 18, 2009. There were 1,598 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance last week, an increase of 160 from the week before. Altogether 18,991 new and continuing claims were filed, 499 more than a week ago and 8,233 more than a year earlier. The Department also processed 2,070 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 12 more than a week ago. In addition, there were 1,260 Second Tier claims for benefits processed under the EUC08 program which is an increase of 58 from the week before.
Governor Jim Douglas has welcomed a Quebec-based transformer manufacturer opening a factory in Vermont. The firm estimates it will create 16 jobs this year and up to 43 workers by the end of 2011. In a ceremony at the company’s new facility in the St Albans Industrial Park, the governor introduced BEMAG Transformers, Inc and celebrated the company’s selection of Vermont for their expansion project. The state used $267,569 in incentives to lure the Canadian firm to Vermont, as well as $106,000 for training, and VEDA financing of $718,000.
The US House of Representatives passed a resolution Wednesday morning honoring Captain Richard Phillips of Underhill, his crewmembers aboard the Maersk Alabama and the United States Navy personnel who secured his release.
The resolution was authored US Representative Peter Welch and was cosponsored by 87 Members of Congress. It passed on a voice vote.
The Vermont State Legislature passed the Clean Energy Assessments District bill (S.54) on April 21. The passage of this bill reflects the growing want and need of Vermonters to individually help move the state forward by finding new ways to save energy and to create renewable resources and alternatives for energy in order to combat climate change. This bill will make it much easier and more affordable for Vermont property owners to tackle individual energy efficiency projects.