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Colleges, business groups lobby against budget cuts

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 9:59am -- tim

by Morgan True Advocates pressed for increased state funding for higher education and business incentives, even as the governor is calling for level-funded or reduced spending across state government. Ben Johnson, president of the Vermont chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, said Tuesday that the state has underfunded higher education for 35-years and the state college system is nearing the breaking point.

State signs $14.3 million expansion of Optum’s exchange contract

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 9:56am -- tim

by Morgan True Vermont expanded its contract with technology firm Optum by $14.3 million last week, further cementing its role as the company that will likely complete the underperforming Vermont Health Connect exchange. The exchange website is currently down for maintenance and to allow the state to address security issues. It lacks an automated tool for users to update their coverage or personal information, and small businesses mandated into the exchange have never been able to use the website.

Ad campaign, good weather boosts numbers; great winter anticipated

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 3:43pm -- tim

The State of Vermont is banking on tourism to keep booming. The summer and fall have been strong and the ski industry has had two of its most successful seasons on record the last two years. Governor Peter Shumlin said great weather and targeted advertising, with more than $300,000 focused on the fall season alone, prompted a strong summer and foliage tourism season in Vermont. More than 4 million people visited Vermont this summer from around the world, and the early reports from around the state regarding foliage visitors has been promising.

Paid fundraiser settles claims of misrepresentation

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 3:30pm -- tim

A Massachusetts-based paid fundraiser has agreed to settle claims by the Vermont Attorney General that it misrepresented itself as a charity in calls to Vermonters and failed to disclose prior legal action by the Ohio Attorney General in violation of Vermont law. Integral Resources, Inc ran fundraising campaigns seeking donations from Vermonters for the national chapters of the American Council of the Blind and the League of Conservation Voters.

Vermont’s GCEPD announces 'Spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act' employer awards

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:58am -- tim

Vermont’s Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (GCEPD) announced the first employer award recipients for the “Spirit of the ADA” Awards. The Vermont “Spirit of the ADA” Award is given to employers who reflect the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act in their employment practices. Every day, people with disabilities can and do add value to America’s workplaces.  However, in both good economic times and bad, people with disabilities have far fewer job opportunities than the general population.

GMP grants worth upwards of $160,000 available for solar development at non-profits

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:29am -- tim

Green Mountain Power is looking to help eight non-profit groups capture the sun to lower their energy costs and generate more clean, renewable energy for Vermont. Green Mountain Power today announced that it is once again sponsoring a program to help eight non-profits construct solar arrays. The Vermont Public Service Board approved a GMP proposal to award eight matching grants of up to $20,000 each to non-profit groups all across Vermont, and GMP is encouraging organizations to apply.

FirstLight Fiber completes acquisition of G4 Communications' assets

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 10:20am -- tim

FirstLight Fiber, a facilities-based telecommunications service provider operating fiber optic networks in Upstate New York and Northern New England with connectivity to Canada, announced today that it has completed its acquisition of substantially all of the assets of New Hampshire-based G4 Communications, including G4's customer base and data center located at 77 Sundial in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Vermont Care Partners formed to strengthen Vermont's mental health system

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 8:36am -- tim

Two leading statewide associations representing Vermont’s Designated and Specialized Service Agencies have formed a partnership to better serve Vermonters affected by developmental disabilities, mental health conditions and substance use disorders. The Vermont Council of Developmental and Mental Health Services and the Vermont Care Network (formerly Behavioral Health Network of Vermont) have come together under the partnership of Vermont Care Partners to provide statewide leadership for an integrated, high quality system of comprehensive services and supports.

Federal law raises questions about who can bid on IT projects supported by health Exchange

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 4:50am -- tim

by Morgan True A provision of the Affordable Care Act precluding health insurers or companies in the “same controlled group of corporations” as a health insurer from holding exchange contracts raises questions about Optum working on Vermont Health Connect. Concerns regarding Optum were raised at the federal level by Senators Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking members of the Finance and Judiciary committees respectively.

Consumer alert: Water service line insurance

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 3:45am -- tim

The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation (DFR) and the Vermont Attorney General’s Office are aware of a mailing that has been distributed to homeowners in Vermont offering an insurance-type product that covers water service line protection for their property.  The product is in the form of a service contract that pays for certain claims in the event outside water and sewer lines that service a home are damaged. All companies that sell or issue service contracts to Vermonters, or cover property located in Vermont, are required to register with DFR.

Governor Shumlin appoints Duke Eaton to Vermont Supreme Court

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 3:57pm -- tim

Governor Peter Shumlin announced Monday that he will appoint Judge Harold “Duke” Eaton, Jr, to serve on the Vermont Supreme Court. Eaton fills the seat left open by Justice Geoffrey Crawford’s appointment to the federal district court. He is the first Vermont Law School graduate to sit on the Vermont Supreme Court. Judge Eaton has served as a trial court judge since 2004, when he was appointed by former Governor Jim Douglas.