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Leahy Center Environmental Summit projects receive funding

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 5:03pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Nearly $250,000 will be awarded to Vermont watershed teams, supporting projects largely developed during the 2015 Leahy Center Environmental Summit. The High Meadows Fund announced this week $249,000 to be awarded to six watersheds. The Mad River, Lamoille Valley, Saxtons River, South Lake, Upper White River, and Mill Brook teams will work with their own communities to help residents solve pressing issues to become more floodwater and climate change resilient.

Vermont Legal Aid suit aims to halt cuts to low-income cash benefits

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 4:39pm -- tim

Elizabeth Hewitt Vermont Legal Aid filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday seeking to halt implementation of a $125 reduction in the monthly Reach Up benefit for hundreds of Vermont families. The Department for Children and Families recently sent notices to 860 Reach Up households saying they would see a $125 reduction in their monthly benefit beginning August 1 if an adult family member receives supplemental security income (SSI), a federal disability benefit.

Vermont Gas selects Michels Corporation for mainline construction of Addison pipeline project

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 12:11pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Gas Systems today announced that it has selected Michels Corporation, a Wisconsin-based family-owned company, for mainline construction on its Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project (ARNGP). Michels was founded in 1959 and has been in the Michels’ family for more than 50 years. Vermont Gas said it selected Michels Corporation for its expertise and the culture it brings to this important expansion project.

AARP: Vermonters shouldn’t pay for VGS pipeline and ratepayers deserve better

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 12:04pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine According to a recent survey by AARP Vermont of registered voters across the state, most Vermonters feel that ratepayers should not bear the costs of a gas pipeline nor be subject to higher rates to fund Vermont Gas System’s (VGS) Addison Natural Gas Project. Furthermore, most of those surveyed said they would be more likely to support a candidate who committed to ensuring that regulators advocated for affordable residential utility rates.

Jim Douglas: A smart investment

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 9:01am -- tim

by James Douglas Moving Vermont’s economy forward requires investments in both innovation and infrastructure. There’s no shortage of innovation in Vermont – we’re fortunate to have legacy industries and cutting edge entrepreneurs eager to contribute to our economy and provide good jobs. It’s not easy for them, however.  Costs are higher here than in many other places. And too many areas of our state lack critical energy and telecommunications infrastructure necessary to compete in the 21st Century economy.

Weekly unemployment claims fall to under 400

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 8:40am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Weekly unemployment claims in Vermont fell by more than 100 last week. Despite a spike in June, claims are typically low during the summer. There were 363 new, regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance in Vermont, a decrease of 133 from the previous week's total and 41 fewer than they were a year ago. Generally, claims have been running below last year's totals.

Berkshire Bank parent reports increase in Q2 2015 EPS, dividend declared

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 5:40am -- tim

Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc (NYSE: BHLB), the holding company for Berkshire Bank with branches in Vermont, reported $0.51 in core earnings per share in the second quarter of 2015, which was a 16% increase over second quarter results in the prior year.  Profit growth reflects positive operating leverage from ongoing business development.  Second quarter core EPS also increased at an 8% annualized rate compared to the prior quarter.  GAAP EPS totaled $0.35 in the most recent quarter and reflected net non-core charges primarily related to the Hampden Bancorp acquisition, whic

Mike Smith: The political potpourri

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 3:17am -- tim

by Mike Smith Is Bruce Lisman considering a bid for governor? That’s what some are saying Lisman is telling them. In fact, one local businessman said Lisman told him he is definitely running. Lisman is a native Vermonter who made a fortune on Wall Street, returned to Vermont and started the non-partisan watchdog group Campaign for Vermont. As we all know, nobody is in until they are a declared candidate, but Lisman’s first decision would be whether to run as a Republican or Independent.

Winston Prouty Center awarded $30,000 for capital campaign

Fri, 07/24/2015 - 2:20am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Thomas Thompson Trust awarded Brattleboro’s Winston Prouty Center $30,000 toward its capital campaign. The Center is expanding to better provide community-based services. The award was a matching grant for Winston Prouty Center’s two spring fundraisers, “Storytellers on a Mission” and its inaugural Indoor Mini-Golf Tournament.

Winston Prouty board member Chuck Cummings and executive director Chloe Learey accepted $30,000 check from The Thomas Thompson Trust for its capital campaign.

Vermont's hospitals contain rate of growth for record third year

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 4:29pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Green Mountain Care Board today praised Vermont's hospitals for achieving historically low rates of growth in their budget submissions for the third year in a row, submitting budgets with 3.6 percent overall net patient revenue growth. The GMCB also highlighted the proposed aggregate 4.3 percent weighted average rate increase for fiscal year 2016 – an indicator of prices passed on to consumers – which is the lowest in the last 15 years.

Vermont Castings owner reports increase in profits despite plant closing charges

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 4:10pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The parent company of Vermont Castings, HNI Corporation (NYSE: HNI), based in Iowa, announced on Wednesday sales for the second quarter ended July 4, 2015, of $568.2 million and net income of $23.9 million, or $0.52 per diluted share. Profits suffered less than expected due to charges resulting from plant closures. Non-GAAP net income per diluted share improved 35.9 percent from the prior year quarter to $0.53, which excludes restructuring, impairment, transition costs and gain on sale of assets.

US House votes to block Vermont’s GMO labeling law

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 3:21pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Peter Shumlin issued the following statement after the US House of Representatives passed legislation today that would block Vermont from enforcing its mandatory GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) labeling law. Shumlin said Vermont is serving as "ground zero in the fight to institute GMO labeling," and in 2014 the Vermont legislature passed a law to require labeling starting in July 2016.