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UVM mourns the passing of Robert Larner, UVM ’39, MD’42

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 4:17pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Robert Larner, MD, the Burlington native for whom the UVM Larner College of Medicine was named in September of 2016, died peacefully at his home in Woodland Hills, CA, on Thursday, April 20, 2017. He was 99 years old. Over the years, Larner and his wife Helen have pledged $100 million to the university, primarily to the instruction of medical students. “Dr Bob Larner’s vision was always to support medical students through their important journey in medical school,” said Tom Sullivan, UVM president.

PAI: Finally, a pay raise

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 4:01pm -- tim

Public Assets Institute In 2016, Vermont’s lowest-paid workers saw the biggest wage gains of any group: 4 percent. When unemployment is low, workers are in short supply, so wages should increase. But Vermont’s low jobless rate—5 percent or less since 2012—was having little effect, especially at the low end. For those workers wages increased less than 2 percent a year from 2009 to 2014. Last year’s gains were due in part to Vermont’s minimum wage increase of 45 cents an hour.

House passes bill to require gender-free public bathrooms

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 3:54pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont House gave preliminary approval to H333 on a vote of 123-19 today, requiring that all single-user bathrooms in public buildings be labeled as gender-free. The strong support that this bill received on the floor exemplifies the House’s commitment to supporting Vermonters of all gender identities and ensuring that fundamental equalities are preserved. This legislation is a step forward to protect the basic human dignity of Vermonters and will have an immediate and tangible effect in our communities.

Union of Concerned Scientists ranks Vermont second in nation for clean energy momentum

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 10:45am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine A new report entitled “Clean Energy Momentum: Ranking State Progress” and published Thursday by the Union of Concerned Scientists highlighted Vermont for its success in developing a clean energy economy. Vermont ranked second nationally, only bested by California. The report scored states on 12 metrics in the three broader areas of technical progress, direct visible effects on daily lives, and policies to build momentum for the future. Vermont earned top-five scores in energy savings, electric vehicle adoption, and energy efficiency policy and 10 top-10 appearances, the most of any state.

Vermont unemployment rate unchanged at 3.0 percent in March

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 10:28am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont’s unemployment rate held steady in March, but the metrics were mixed as the labor force and jobs (adjusted) grew, but nonfarm employment and unadjusted jobs both fell, while the number of unemployed increased slightly. The Vermont Department of Labor announced today that the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate for March was 3.0 percent. This reflects no change from the revised February rate. The national rate in March was 4.5 percent, down two-tenths.

Weekly unemployment claims down for week, year

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 10:26am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Weekly unemployment claims fell by over a hundred last week, as claims were down from a year ago, as they've been most weeks this year. As expected, by industry, Services reported the most claims (65 percent of the total), as Manufacturing saw a modest increase (69 up from 40). Services typically reports the most claims.

For the week of April 15, 2017, there were 646 claims, down 118 from the previous week's total and 163 fewer than than they were a year ago.

Vermont regulator orders hospitals cut rates by $15 million

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 5:26pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine After what it called "careful analysis" of their fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget performance, the Green Mountain Care Board today ordered six Vermont hospitals to reduce their rates by a total of approximately $15 million. In making this determination, the Board and its staff reviewed the hospitals’ key performance indicators, past budget performance, staffing needs, operating surplus, capital expenditure needs, and how the hospitals compare with their state, regional, and national peers.

Vermont mayors support governor’s $35 million housing bond

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 4:55pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Mayors Coalition today announced "strong support" for Governor Phil Scott’s $35 million Housing Revenue Bond, which is currently under consideration by the Legislature. In a letter to the governor and legislative leaders, the Vermont Mayors Coalition urged lawmakers to take action on the Housing Revenue Bill during this session rather than in small increments, in order to make a substantive change to the state’s affordable housing stock while interest rates and construction costs remain low.

Merchants Bancshares reports Q1 results, to merge on May 12

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 4:49pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine In what will likely be its final quarterly report, Merchants Bancshares, Inc  (NASDAQ: MBVT), the parent company of Merchants Bank, today announced net income of $3.6 million and $0.52 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2017 compared to net income of $3.1 million or $0.45 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2016 and $3.5 million in net income or $0.50 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2016.

Governor, teachers union tussle over health insurance change

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 4:24pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott's office and the teacher's union are exchanging heated words over how to hold down school spending by reducing health insurance costs. The governor wants the teachers to collectively negotiate with the state over health insurance plans, while the teachers union insists on maintaining that health plans be dealt with locally. Both sides agree that health insurance premium increases have been a major driver of school budget increases.

Burlington College Street Garage construction closures begin April 24

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 3:56pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Starting on Monday, April 24, the College Street Garage will be closed as it undergoes necessary structural repairs. Work will begin under the management of Structure Preservation Systems, LLC. Over the next four months $2.1 million in repairs and improvements will be completed at the College Street Garage. The City of Burlington expects to preserve the garage to allow for at least 20 more years of use as a parking facility as a result of this investment.

Darn Tough Vermont first quarter revenue up 28 percent

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 3:32pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Darn Tough Vermont, the fastest growing American manufacturer of premium performance outdoor and lifestyle socks, announced today that its multi-quarter growth run continues with first quarter revenue up 28 percent year-over-year. Company performance increased across all categories, the company said in a press release, indicating that the brand’s unconditional lifetime guarantee and Vermont, USA-based manufacturing continues to resonate with consumers demanding quality socks.