The Vermont House gave preliminary approval today to H361 (88-55), legislation to reduce school spending, improve educational quality, and help control rising property taxes. The central piece of the legislation would force school district consolidation of districts with fewer than 1,100 students by 2018. This by itself would not close small schools, but the reorganized school boards and local townspeople could take that next step. There has been widespread recognition that school spending, and thus property taxes, is too high in Vermont.
Today, the Vermont Senate passed S29, which allows all eligible Vermonters the opportunity to register to vote up until as well as on Election Day. The current law has a registration deadline of the Wednesday before the election. Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos released the following response: "I am extremely grateful to the Senate for taking up and passing Election Day Voter Registration with overwhelming support. The Senate’s endorsement, shown by the floor vote, indicates that they appreciate that this is truly a voter rights issue.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) achieved the highest possible ranking in four important service measures in 2014, retaining its distinction as the number one BCBS plan in America in overall service to its members, BCBSVT President and CEO Don George announced today. BCBSVT, an independent Vermont company, also achieved the number one ranking among the nation’s BCBS plans – which generally are known for service excellence -- in 2013.
LaunchVT, Vermont’s statewide business pitch competition announced its 2015 contestants and the addition of a new second place cash prize. Six contestants were chosen to participate in the competition which concludes with a pitch session on May 7. A new second place cash prize has been added to the competition this year. The competition will now award a first place company $30,000 in cash and more than $45,000 of in-kind support with a new second place prize awarding $15,000 in cash and $25,000 worth of in-kind support.
An analysis of the recently-released 2014 US Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) National Bridge Inventory database finds good news and bad news when it comes to the most heavily traveled U.S. bridges. The good news is that there are 45 fewer structurally deficient structures in Vermont than there were in 2013. The analysis of the federal government data, conducted by American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Chief Economist Dr Alison Premo Black, shows cars, trucks and school buses cross Vermont's 206 structurally compromised bridges 331,196 times every day.
At the Vermont Travel Industry Conference on Tuesday, March 31, Bill Ackerman from Green Mountain Marketing and Advertising shocked many participants in his seminar with the news of Mobilegeddon. Attendees come to this conference to not only network with other tourism based companies but also to learn and share ideas and Ackerman certainly gave them their money's worth.
The Red Clover Inn & Restaurant, a sophisticated inn and dining destination near Killington, has been honored by Vermont tourism industry peers for its locally-sourced cuisine, inspired cocktails and award-winning wine list, elegant atmosphere, support of the statewide tourism industry, and commitment to staff advancement and training.
The partnership responsible for developing the Jay Peak Biomedical Research Park, commonly known as AnC Bio Vermont, announced Tuesday evening that its updated private placement memorandum has been approved by Vermont’s Department of Financial Regulation (DFR). The state’s EB-5 Regional Center had asked AnC Bio to suspend its marketing and offering efforts while the developers updated all of the project’s documents to come into compliance with new review standards being implemented for all of Vermont’s EB-5 projects.
Northern Power Systems Corp (TSX:NPS), a next generation renewable energy technology company based in Barre and notable for its wind turbines, has announced financial results for its fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2014. Revenue more than doubled to $56.5 million, a 174 percent increase over revenue of $20.6 million reported in 2013. Net loss for fiscal year 2014 was $7.9 million, a 44 percent reduction compared to a $14.1 million loss in 2013. This is the company's first public annual financial release.
The University of Vermont Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center (UVMHN-CVMC) received the 2014 Governor’s Excellence in Worksite Wellness Award from the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. The award recognizes Vermont employers who have made healthy behaviors a priority. The vision of UVMHN-CVMC’s wellness committee is “To improve the health and well-being of the CVMC community through health education and activities that will support positive lifestyle changes, resulting in improved productivity and morale, and decreased health care costs.”
While the latest statewide survey of Vermont CEOs shows continued optimism in the state's economic future, that optimism has waned. Lisa Ventriss, President of Vermont Business Roundtable (VBR) and Jeffrey Carr, President, Economic & Policy Resources (EPR), announced today the 1st Quarter results of their joint initiative, the VBR-EPR Business Conditions Survey. The survey, which is conducted quarterly, provides both a look back at the previous quarter and a predictive index going forward.
The Republican Governors Association will pay a penalty of $40,000 for campaign finance law violations during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign and file corrected campaign finance reports listing contributions it received and expenditures it made in connection with the 2010 gubernatorial election, according to a settlement announced today by Attorney General Bill Sorrell.