The vast majority – about 75 percent – of Vermont small business employees and their dependents affected by federally-mandated health care reforms come January will be enrolled in a Vermont Health Connect (VHC) plan for all of 2014, the Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) announced today. And safeguards are in place to ensure others don’t see a lapse in coverage and have a path to VHC coverage while testing continues on premium processing functions for small businesses.
With the impending retirement of longtime Green Mountain Power communications executive Steve Terry at year’s end, Kristin Carlson will join GMP as director of media January 6. Carlson, an award-winning journalist and co-anchor of “The 30” on WCAX and senior political reporter, will lead the company’s efforts to develop new communications strategies to improve the customer experience.
Bad mortgages continue to fall in Vermont and across the nation, as every state is below levels from a year ago. But there is a rising concern that home equity loans could create a secondary problem in the coming years. Lender Processing Services' (NYSE: LPS) October Mortgage Monitor reported that 48 percent of outstanding second lien home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) in the Us were originated between 2004 and 2006. Given that the vast majority of HELOCs originated during this time and have draw periods of 10 years, they are set to begin amortizing over the next several years.
Merchants Bank is partnering with WARMTH to help prevent low income Vermonters across the state from going without heat this winter. Merchants Bank will match dollar-for-dollar all donations raised for WARMTH now through December 31, 2013, up to a total of $40,000.
by Alicia Freese vtdigger.org A rising figure within the Vermont Republican Party has emerged victorious in a mud-slinging court battle against Len Britton, the 2010 Republican challenger to Sen. Patrick Leahy.
The Ethan Allen Institute (EAI) and the Public Assets Institute (PAI) will face off this winter in a series of three debates on the proper role of government in education. Lyndon State College will host the opening debate Friday, December 13, 2013, from 5:30-7 pm in the Burke Mountain Room on the fourth floor of the Samuel Read Hall Library.
by Hilary Niles vtdigger.org Finding a way to pay for a health care system that doesn’t yet exist is a daunting task. And as Vermont marches toward single-payer health care by 2017, that task largely falls to Michael Costa, the state’s deputy director of health care reform. Speaking to an audience of tax and insurance professionals Friday at the 41st annual Vermont Tax Seminar in Burlington, Costa mapped out his plan for getting there.
'Tis the season for giving and Small Dog Electronics is helping the Vermont Foodbank to feed as many as 86,000 Vermonters who need food assistance. The certified Apple Specialist will be donating 1% of every purchase to the Foodbank this month.
“We are deeply grateful to Small Dog Electronics and their loyal customers for this partnership,” said Vermont Foodbank CEO, John Sayles. “Together we are ensuring that our neighbors who struggle to put food on their tables have the food they need.”
The Vermont Commission on Women (VCW) released flyers to educate Vermonters about workplace laws. The Commission, an independent non-partisan state commission dedicated to advancing rights and opportunities for women in Vermont, was part of a diverse stakeholders group of representatives from state government, business, law, and labor, economists and legislators facilitated by the Attorney General’s office which discussed and debated the equal pay law, passed this spring.
First Wind, an independent US-based renewable energy company, today announced that the company has reached an agreement with Burlington Electric Department (BED) to sell the utility power generated from the planned Hancock Wind project near Ellsworth, Maine.
by Alicia Freese vtdigger.org The state’s new 25-bed psychiatric hospital will cost $20 million a year to operate, according to the Department of Mental Health (DMH).
The annual price tag came as an unpleasant surprise to some legislators, since the state paid only slightly more — $23 million a year — to operate the Vermont State Hospital, which had twice the capacity.
New unemployment claims nearly doubled last week as the seasonal changes that always occur around Thanksgiving once again influenced claims. Last year during the same period, new claims went from 800 to 1,600. Mathew Barewicz, economic and labor market information chief at the Vermont Department of Labor, said that the transportation and education industries showed a high number of claims across the state.
by Hilary Niles vtdigger.org Labor issues stood out among a long roster of pressing business considerations the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development discussed at a pre-session meeting Thursday.
“Nobody’s going to make any money without a good labor market,” committee chair Bill Botzow, D-Bennington, said.
The committee met to hear legislative requests from several agencies and to discuss their priorities for the second half of the legislative biennium, which starts in January.
Tucked away in the southwestern corner of Vermont, Eight Oh Two Marketing launched their own online retail site in early 2013, spurred by a challenge proposed by a client. Applying their same digital marketing methods to their new side project, Eight Oh Two hit their goal of $100,000 in sales, well over a month ahead of time
Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) announced Thursday that Thomas Dunn will serve as VELCO’s President and CEO effective February 6, 2014. Dunn currently serves as the company’s Chief Operating Officer and will succeed VELCO’s current President and CEO Chris Dutton, who is retiring. Thursday’s unanimous vote by the company’s Board of Directors electing Dunn culminates a three-month, nationwide search conducted by a respected executive placement firm.
Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding and Vermont State Employees’ Association President Shelley Martin announced today that the Administration and the VSEA have reached tentative agreements on labor contracts covering three bargaining units of the VSEA – the Corrections, Supervisory and Non-Management Units – subject to ratification by the VSEA membership. The successor contracts will cover a two-year period, from July 2014 to June 2016.
Governor Peter Shumlin announced the recipients of approximately $450,000 in Municipal Planning Grants that will assist 42 local communities plan for future growth and development, revitalize cities and towns, and help protect communities from future floods.
Bolton Nordic and backcountry skiers will enjoy significant trail improvements this winter season. A partnership between the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, The Friends of Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry (FOBVNBC) and Bolton Valley Ski Resort has resulted in significant trail work, including two rebuilt bridge structures, the addition of 15 new culverts, over a mile of new drainage ditching, and several miles of mowing and brush cutting in addition to the installation of many new trail signs since the 1,160-acre parc
Susan L Donegan, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, announced today that Vermont will receive $38,930 from RBC Capital Markets
resulting from a multi-state investigation conducted by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). The investigation revealed that some RBC employees, who were not registered to sell securities, had been accepting orders.
Just as the US Senate is preparing its own legislation on patent trolls, the House on Thursday passed its version of the legislation.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) issued the following comment Thursday after the House passed it bill to combat patent troll abuse:
The latest update of Vermont's greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) inventory shows Vermont is making progress, but is still short of achieving its goals. In 2006, the Vermont legislature set a goal of reducing the state's GHG emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2012; 50 percent by 2028; and, if practical, 75 percent by 2050. In 1990, Vermont emitted just over 8 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses.
Fuel dealers and energy efficiency contractors are working together to help Vermonters save money. The Efficiency Excellence Network (EEN) is a new partnership between Efficiency Vermont and the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association (VFDA). The EEN is designed to make it easier for Vermonters to reduce consumption of heating oil and propane.
National Prohibition came to an end 80 years ago today, on December 5, 1933, when “Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, repealing the 18th Amendment,” per The New York Times’ ‘On This Day’ Blog.
Vermont Gas is experiencing record customer growth based on heating costs that are about 50 percent lower than fuel oil or propane, award-winning energy efficiency programs, and reduced carbon emissions.
by Hilary Niles vtdigger.org Contentious contract negotiations for control of Vermont’s electronic waste recycling stream are starting to simmer down. But with the changed landscape come new rules and new challenges, if not land mines.
The Community College of Vermont will begin offering free three-credit business courses for the spring 2014 semester. The courses will be offered at the College’s Center for Online Learning and at CCV’s Morrisville, Rutland, St Albans, Upper Valley, and Winooski academic centers. CCV’s free business classes are funded through a grant from the US Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative (TAACCCT).
Two of the major food service management companies in Vermont — Café Services and The Abbey Group — have joined the Harvest of the Month (HOM) project and pledged to feature a variety of local produce year-round. Together these two companies serve 89 schools statewide. Their commitment more than doubles the number of students and communities benefitting from this new program. Local farm sales are up as well.
Blu-Bin, Inc announces the opening of it's plastic recycling program to all Vermont businesses and organizations interested in increasing the sustainability of their practices. The first participant in this program is the Church Street Ben and Jerry’s, where over a kilogram of waste spoons that previously were headed to the landfill have now been processed and turned into material usable in Blu-Bin's 3D printers.
Vermont Public Radio has announced that reporter Peter Hirschfeld will join the station's capital bureau beginning next month, covering state government and the Vermont Legislature.
Hirschfeld is a leading Vermont journalist who has covered the Statehouse since 2009, most recently as bureau chief for the Rutland Herald and Times Argus. He began his career in 2003, working as a local sports reporter and copy editor at the Times Argus.