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VEDA celebrates 40 years, over $2 billion in financing

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 8:48am -- tim

Since its inception forty years ago, the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has approved 7,395 separate economic development financings totaling over $2.07 billion for Vermont businesses and farms. Created by the Vermont General Assembly in 1974, VEDA’s financing approvals through June 30, 2014 include direct commercial loans of over $352 million, agricultural loans exceeding $261 million, and since 1987, small business loans totaling almost $65 million.

Vermont again near bottom in national job growth study

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 4:54am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The US is still slowly recovering from the staggering loss of jobs during the Great Recession, but some cities and states are rebounding faster than others. Vermont is once again in the bottom 10 for 2014 as it was in 2013. Vermont did not suffer as much during the recession as several other states, and therefore has less to rebound from, but the state is also showing stagnant results in labor force and total employment.

State prepares to help people with Affordable Care Act tax changes

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 4:30am -- tim

by Morgan True Vermonters receiving premium subsidies through the state’s health insurance exchange will have an additional form to file with their income tax returns, and the state is preparing to help. This is the first year that the Affordable Care Act will affect tax returns, and state officials are expecting a good deal of confusion.

Report summarizes National Life Group’s social responsibility commitment

Fri, 10/31/2014 - 3:17am -- tim

National Life Group has improved its environmental conservation efforts in several key areas, as well as invested more heavily in the communities it serves, according to its newly released 2014 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Through greater efficiency and increased production of its own power, the company has driven down its electric

Vermont Legal Aid gets $975K HUD grant to support Vermonters’ access to housing

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 4:12pm -- tim

Vermont Legal Aid has received a three-year Fair Housing Initiatives Program Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to continue the Housing Discrimination Law Project’s work to ensure Vermonters’ access to housing and to challenge both individual and systemic discriminatory practices. The $975,000 grant will be disbursed over three years to fund Vermont Legal Aid’s statewide systemic and complaint-based testing project, fair housing counseling, representation in enforcement actions, education, and land use planning and policy advocacy with state and local officials.

Vermont Attorney General settles claims against mortgage company

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 2:55pm -- tim

Green Tree Servicing, LLC, a national servicer of residential mortgage loans, will pay Vermont consumers a total of $55,250 for the company’s debt collection practices and late payment of property taxes. Green Tree will also pay $176,750 to the State. According to Attorney General William Sorrell, the settlement is the first in Vermont to focus on mortgage-related issues since a series of multistate and federal settlements with national banks and servicers.

Graniteville landowners oppose two Rock of Ages plants

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 2:24pm -- tim

by John herrick Brandy Ofciarcik-Perez pointed from her lawn to a sharp bend in the road as a flatbed truck carrying granite slabs overshot the center line in its trajectory down the hill toward her home. “People fly through here,” the 40-year-old dance instructor said, holding one of her three children by the hand. “I used to actually put up barriers.” Traffic is just one of the concerns raised by residents of Graniteville Road about an asphalt plant operating at the Rock of Ages quarry.

Campaign for Vermont seeks State Auditor review of education spending funding system

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 9:16am -- tim

Campaign for Vermont, a non-partisan citizen driven advocacy organization, has requested that Vermont State Auditor Doug Hoffer review the accuracy of “equalized pupil” and “education spending” calculations used by the Agency of Education and local school districts. These two highly obscure terms are defined in Vermont’s statutes and play a central role in setting local education property taxes, reallocating students from among school districts, and penalizing school districts with seemingly high spending levels per pupil.

Danforth Pewter, Gardener’s Supply to share solar power array

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 5:36am -- tim

Danforth Pewter and Gardener’s Supply Company, two nationally recognized Vermont-based specialty companies, have turned to the sun for emission-free solar power. The two companies will share the output of the newly installed Vermont solar array. The 144 KW system, constructed on the Pulling Farm in Addison features dual axis AllSun Trackers, manufactured nearby in Williston by AllEarth Renewables and a Power Purchase Agreement by SolarSense, LLC, a provider of clean, reliable and affordable power.

Vermont updates groundwater protection rule

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 5:34am -- tim

Vermont’s groundwater will now be better protected from pollution discharged into underground wells. Today the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued new Underground Injection Control Rules, replacing less protective 1982 standards. The rules regulate waste below ground through Vermont’s Underground Injection Control Program, authorized under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. 

“This new rule provides a strategic and targeted approach to increasing protections for Vermont’s groundwater,” said DEC Commissioner David Mears.

Deadline extended for new dairy farm production price insurance program

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 4:55am -- tim

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) is urging Vermont’s dairy farmers to take advantage of US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s decision to extend for a week the signup period for the new dairy farm production price insurance program created under the 2014 Farm Bill.

Vilsack on Wednesday afternoon announced that the signup deadline for the new Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy) will be extended to December 5, 2014, and that the comment period for the new MPP-Dairy rule would be extended until December 15, 2014.

VHCB awards $3.65 million for affordable housing and land conservation

Thu, 10/30/2014 - 4:21am -- tim

The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board has approved $3,657,169 in grants and deferred loans to create, preserve or rehabilitate 152 affordable homes and to conserve 1,198 acres of farmland and working forest. VHCB Executive Director Gus Seelig said, “The Board is please to support these community-driven projects in all corners of the state.