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Middlebury endowment tops $1 billion

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 3:35am -- tim

In the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014, Middlebury saw its endowment post a return on its investments of 16.5 percent. The annualized return over the past 10 years is 9.3 percent. Middlebury’s one-year return exceeds the preliminary 2014 median investment return for all college and university endowments of 15.8 percent. Thanks in part to the strong performance, the value of the endowment stood at $1.08 billion on July 1 — up $113 million from a year earlier.

Vermont Information Technology Leaders announces request for grant writing and research proposals

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 3:14am -- tim

Vermont Information Technology Leaders (VITL) has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to qualified contractors for research and writing services related to grant management. The areas of opportunities that the grant services will identify include health information exchange, clinical data warehousing and analytics, and health information technology. Proposals may be submitted for either one or both services, as the decision for each will be made independently.

Vermont Veterans’ Home faces staffing and funding questions

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 2:23am -- tim

by Hilary Niles The Vermont Veterans’ Home remains underutilized and overstaffed, lawmakers learned last Wednesday. The facility is licensed for 171 patients, staffed to handle 150, but averages only 125 to 135 patients, state officials told the Legislature’s Joint Fiscal Committee. The Civil War-era estate in Bennington has served Vermont veterans for 130 years, and it was originally funded through a $10,000 state appropriation.

Shumlin appoints Sue Minter as Transportation Secretary

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 3:28pm -- tim

Governor Peter Shumlin announced today in Berlin that he will appoint Sue Minter to lead the Vermont Agency of Transportation effective January 1, 2015. Minter, who currently serves as Deputy Secretary, will take over from Secretary Brian Searles who has been planning to retire and will do so at the end of the year. Chris Cole, currently Director of Policy, Planning and Intermodal Development at VTrans, will replace Minter as Deputy Secretary.

Vermont cheesemakers take home 17 awards at world cheese awards in London

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 3:14pm -- tim

The Vermont Cheese Council (VCC), an organization dedicated to the production and advancement of Vermont Cheese, announced that Vermont took home 17 medals from the 26th annual World Cheese Awards, which were held in London, England, November 14-16. The standout among the impressive list of Vermont awards was Cellars at Jasper Hill’s trophy for the World’s Best Unpasteurized Cheese for its Bayley Hazen Blue. The World Cheese Awards is the leading and most diverse cheese competition in the world.

Sanders calls building Keystone XL 'insane'

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 2:47pm -- tim

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) said today that it would be “insane” to construct the Keystone XL pipeline to ship the dirtiest oil on the planet from Canada’s tar sands region to refineries along the Gulf of Mexico. “The scientific community is telling us that we have a narrow window of opportunity to address the crisis of climate change and to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” Sanders said in prepared remarks.

Duke's Laurie L Patton to become Middlebury’s 17th president

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:25pm -- tim

The Middlebury Board of Trustees today named Laurie L Patton, dean of Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and the Robert F Durden Professor of Religion, as Middlebury’s next president. Patton will take office on July 1, 2015, succeeding Ronald D Liebowitz, who has served as president since July 2004. Patton, a distinguished religion scholar and translator of classic Indian Sanskrit texts, joined Duke in her current position in 2011. Patton will be Middlebury's first woman president.

Vermont businesses got $103 million in government contracts in FY 2014

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:27am -- tim

In fiscal year 2014 Vermont companies earned 519 government contracts worth $103 million dollars — close to a 300 increase over FY12 and a 25 increase from FY13. This was thanks to the outstanding quality of Vermont products and services and the hard work of the Vermont Technical Procurement Center (PTAC) in matching Vermont businesses with government needs. The PTAC program, housed in the Department of Economic Development, has been helping business with the often-complicated contracting process since 1992.

Statement by Leahy on Keystone pipeline

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 11:23am -- tim

Senate floor statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) in opposition to S2280, the bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, Tuesday, November 18, 2014: "Later today, the Senate will vote on whether to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. I strongly oppose the fast-tracking of this process. This pipeline poses considerable safety and environmental risks here in the United States, and it threatens the natural landscapes that are in the heartland of America.

VHC open enrollment off to a smooth start

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 9:30am -- tim

by Morgan True The open enrollment period for people to purchase health insurance from the Vermont Health Connect exchange started quietly over the weekend. Clear sunny weather and the start of rifle deer-hunting season were probably on the minds of many when the Web portal launched at 5 am Saturday, but by late morning, the site had seen some traffic and was operating without issues, according to officials. The exchange processed 32 new coverage applications by 11:30 am, officials reported.

State innovation grant funding allows expansion of innovative patient care model at SVMC

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 4:41am -- tim

Nobody likes to go to the emergency room or to need a hospital stay. Southwestern Vermont Medical Center’s Transitional Care Program and a $400,000 Vermont Health Care Innovation Project grant awarded to SVMC at the end of last month mean that more local patients will be able to improve management of chronic diseases and avoid hospitalization. The program calls upon the skills and experience of advanced practice nurses, who follow high-risk patients from primary care through their medical transitions.

Gifford’s record of success continues for 15th straight year

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 3:49am -- tim

In a feat that has not been replicated by any other hospital in Vermont, Gifford Medical Center in Randolph announced that it has achieved its state approved operating margin for the 15th straight year, by managing its expenses and the budget process. In a “reality TV” video announcement sent to staff on Monday, November 3, President Joseph Woodin and CFO Jeff Hebert announced what auditors have confirmed - Gifford closed the books with a 3.2 percent margin for the 2014 fiscal year.