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Blue Cross says state is liable for unpaid premiums, claims

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 3:10pm -- tim

by Morgan True Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont says it will not seek further payment from health care providers or its customers for money owed on Vermont Health Connect accounts that weren’t terminated in a timely fashion. The state’s largest health insurer, and the dominant player in Vermont’s exchange, said it will hold the state responsible for any money it is owed once the insurer and the exchange reconcile their books — a process that is ongoing.

Construction unemployment rates improve in Vermont, 40 states in May

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 1:38pm -- tim

by Bernard Markstein Associated Builders and Contractors Vermont's construction-related unemployment rate fell two points in May to 4.8 percent, the 17th best in the US and well below the national average of 6.7 percent. The Vermont rate, however, was up 1.2 points from the same time last year. Vermont was one of the few states to see an increase year-to-year. For the US, the non-seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rate for the country and 40 states declined in May, while the rate for one state (South Carolina) remained unchanged from April.

Campaign for Vermont launches petition on ethics reforms

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 12:37pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Campaign for Vermont announced Friday the release of a citizen petition and website focused on Vermont ethics reforms. “The time has come. Public support for these reforms is growing and this petition will quantify that support in a way that the Legislature will hear loud and clear” says Cyrus Patten, the Campaign’s Executive Director.

Oregon company files Vermont wind power agreement with GMP

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 11:58am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Iberdrola Renewables, of Portland, OR, on Thursday filed a potential 25-year contract to supply Vermont’s largest utility, Green Mountain Power (GMP), with wind energy from the permitted Deerfield Wind Farm. GMP would purchase 30 megawatts (MW) from the wind farm, under the contract submitted to the Vermont Public Service Board for review. The Deerfield project would be built near the existing Searsburg wind project, in Readsboro and Searsburg.

Vermont’s first NAACP chapter founded in Champlain area

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 3:37am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The founding of the NAACP’s newest chapter in the nation, and first in the state of Vermont, was announced in June. Champlain Area NAACP members meet on the 2nd Tuesday of the month and meetings are open to the public. According to the local chapter: "The organization is enthusiastically seeking new members to join and help us further our work. Below you will find our organization’s mission, vision, and objective statements.

Addison County Regional Planning Commission affirms support for Addison natural gas project

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 4:50pm -- tim

At a special meeting Wednesday evening, the Addison County Regional Planning Commission (ACRPC) voted again to support Vermont Gas’ Addison Natural Gas Project Phase 1. A statement by Vermont Gas said the 23-9 vote shows significant ongoing support for the project in Addison County. The project will bring the choice of natural gas to thousands of residents, businesses and institutions in Addison County.

Vermont specialty food producers take top honors at NYC Summer Fancy Food Show

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 4:33pm -- tim

Vermont specialty food producers took home gold at this week’s Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.  The sofi Awards, which stands for “specialty outstanding food innovation,” are the most prestigious awards in the specialty food industry and represent the best of the best. Vermont’s winners were Big Picture Farm, Fat Toad Farm, and Vermont Creamery, along with Wozz! Creative Kitchens, a New Hampshire producer who makes their product at the Vermont Food Venture Center in Hardwick.

Vermont adds nine species to threatened and endangered list, Monarchs in decline

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 12:55pm -- tim

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources recently added nine species to the list of state threatened and endangered species. The listing included four plants, three bumble bees, one amphibian, and one bird. Three pollinators were listed - the rusty-patched bumble bee, yellow-banded bumble bee, and Ashton cuckoo bumble bee. Pollinators such as bees, moths, and butterflies are critically important to Vermont’s agriculture, but many are in decline nationwide. According to a survey by the U.S.

Funds awarded to combat deadly bat disease, white-nose syndrome

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 11:42am -- tim

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) Wednesday announced $35,645 in funding to help counter the spread of white-nose syndrome (WNS) in Vermont, a disease that has devastated bat populations, posing a significant ecological threat across New England and the country.

Leahy said: “White-nose syndrome has wiped out bat populations throughout much of the eastern United States.  In my home state of Vermont, some bat species have declined by as much as 90-95%.  We need continued efforts to combat WNS, and this is another step forward.”

Vermont Public Service Department takes on expanded broadband deployment role from VTA

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 11:35am -- tim

The Public Service Department, pursuant to Act 41 of 2015, has taken over the assets and responsibilities formerly held by the Vermont Telecommunication Authority (VTA), which was officially dissolved on June 30. Broadband deployment initiatives will be spearheaded by connectivity specialists within the newly reorganized Division of Telecommunications and Connectivity.  Division staff will oversee build-out and completion of federal and state-funded broadband projects, including the recent $963,350 Connectivity Initiative grants awarded by the Department in anticipation of this transition.

Solar panel additions unveiled at Burlington International Airport

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 11:26am -- tim

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger today joined the Burlington Electric Department (BED), Burlington International Airport (BTV), and Encore Redevelopment to formally unveil a 500 kW solar array atop the airport’s parking garage. This is the latest project in the City’s ongoing commitment to add more community solar to its portfolio and brings Burlington’s total installed solar photovoltaic to 81 projects, generating 1.8 megawatts of power for the City.