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Merchants Bancshares reports Q4 and FY14 results, 28 cent dividend

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 1:29pm -- tim

Merchants Bancshares, Inc (NASDAQ: MBVT), the parent company of Merchants Bank, today announced net income of $2.50 million, or $0.40 per basic and $0.39 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2014. This compares to net income of $3.82 million, or $0.61 per basic and $0.60 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2013. For the year ended December 31, 2014, net income totaled $12.13 million, or $1.92 per basic and $1.91 per diluted share, compared to net income of $15.13 million, or $2.40 per basic and diluted share for the year ended December 31, 2013.

Vermont Tech and VYCC to offer alternative college program

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 10:30am -- tim

Thomas Hark, president and CEO of Vermont Youth Conservation Corps joined Vermont Tech President Dan Smith Thursday in announcing the new Working Lands Certificate Program at the Vermont Farm Show in Essex Junction. Venture Semester, a VYCC and Vermont Tech partnership program, is designed to immerse students in agriculture, food, and leadership, as well as enhance high school graduates’ access to higher education. 

Vermont dairy industry generates $2.2 billion in economic activity each year

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 10:16am -- tim

The Vermont Dairy Industry brings $2.2 Billion in economic activity to Vermont annually, according to a new study funded by the Vermont Dairy Promotion Council. Findings from the study were unveiled Thursday at the Vermont Farm Show in Essex. Recognizing the need for up-to-date data about dairy’s impact on Vermont’s economy, the Vermont Dairy Promotion Council partnered with the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, and Castleton Polling to quantify the impact of the industry on Vermont’s economy and way of life.

Vermont Department of Tourism offers hospitality training

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 10:12am -- tim

How well do you know your state? If you’re in the hospitality industry, it pays to know everything you can about Vermont. The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing has created a new series of online classes for employees at Vermont lodgings and attractions. The online Ambassador Training program focuses on Vermont branding, state parks, history, heritage and more. Ambassador Training also offers valuable customer service tips, and insight into consumer trends such as agritourism and culinary travel.

Darn Tough Vermont to sponsor Special Olympics Vermont Winter Games and Penguin Plunge fundraiser

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 9:17am -- tim

Darn Tough Vermont, American manufacturer of the fastest growing collection of outdoor performance socks, has partnered with Special Olympics Vermont for the 2015 Penguin Plunge and Winter Games events. In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Penguin Plunge, sponsor Darn Tough Vermont will provide complimentary pairs of wool socks to Plungers who raise $520 or more. Darn Tough will also outfit all 200 Special Olympics Vermont athletes who compete in the 2015 Winter Games.

Cynthia Stuart named deputy commissioner of Vermont Banking Division

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 5:05pm -- tim

Cynthia Stuart has been named deputy commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation’s Banking Division, Commissioner Susan L Donegan announced today. Stuart has more than 18 years of experience in both the retail and community aspects of banking and brings to the job a wealth of knowledge of current operations and senior management.

Vermont AG settles claims against marketing company, to get $90,000

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 10:53am -- tim

Vermont will receive $90,000 from Main Street Power Mail, Inc, of Sheridan, Indiana, which generated leads for insurance agents by sending direct mailings to Vermonters, many of them elderly, asking for personal information without explaining how the information would be used. Such activity is a violation of state and federal law. Under the settlement, Main Street Power Mail will pay the State $90,000 and be required to clearly disclose the purpose of its mailings in the future.

USDA revises US maple syrup grade standards

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 10:30am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has revised the US Standards for Grades of Maple Syrup. The revision defines quality factors and establishes new color determinations for Grade A. The grade of syrup will be determined based on flavor, odor, damage, and turbidity or cloudiness. Further, the spelling of the product in the standard was changed from “sirup” to “syrup.” The four new categories will be more descriptive. Vermont revised its grading system last year and the USDA likewise wants to standardize it across the nation.

ACEDC approves $100,000 financing for Middlebury's Stonecutter Spirits

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 9:26am -- tim

The Addison County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC) has approved financing that will allow Middlebury-based start-up Stonecutter Spirits, based in Middlebury, to begin production. Robin Scheu, Executive Director of ACEDC, confirmed her organization will use its revolving loan funds to lend $100,000 to the local gin and whiskey manufacturer. This financing is part of a $500,000 project with additional funding coming from Opportunities Credit Union and the National Bank of Middlebury.

Roper: Vermont should learn from Google on energy policy

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 9:09am -- tim

by Rob Roper The Vermont legislature has long been bent on saving the planet through government micromanagement of energy policy. The big issue this year appears to be passing a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that would require utilities to sell a set percentage renewable power (and thereby forcing customers buy the more expensive product). The other issue, likely debated but not moved on this year, is a Carbon Tax designed to make fossil fuel use artificially expensive.

Miller: Upcoming conference promotes 'Climate Change Economy'

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 5:43am -- tim

by Ron Miller The Vermont Council on Rural Development is holding a major statewide conference, “Creating Prosperity & Opportunity Confronting Climate Change,” in Randolph on February 18. The gathering will launch VCRD’s new Climate Change Economy initiative, which aims to stimulate the growth of small businesses that can prosper by addressing various aspects of the climate change scenario.