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VBSR: 'Ban the Box' is good for employment

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 1:38pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine VBSR members came out in strong support for H261 last week. The Ban the Box bill is now under consideration by the Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee. The bill eliminates the criminal history question on job applications for most jobs - allowing prospective hires to explain their past convictions and the steps they've taken to rebuild their lives. Employers can still conduct background checks and ask about criminal records during job interviews.

Bad mortgages down in Vermont, US negative equity rates improve

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 12:40pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont remains in the lower half of states ranked by bad mortgages, as it has for several years. When the mortgage crisis first hit in 2008 Vermont was at the bottom. The mortgage crisis is still embedded in the states worst hit, but the number and type of foreclosures and non-current loans has diminished significantly, accept for the lowest-priced homes, especially those in a  "negative equity" position. Vermont (21.1 percent) is among several states, including most of New England, that has seen non-current mortgages fall by more than 20 percent over the last year, as the national average is down 18.1 percent. Vermont's foreclosure rate is above the US average, while its delinquent rate is below average. The state's overall non-current rate is 5.5 percent, just under the US average of 5.7 percent.

Smith: Questions beyond a shooting

Mon, 04/04/2016 - 4:42am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine After a nearly five-hour police standoff, Ralph “Phil” Grenon was shot and killed by a Burlington police officer. He reportedly lunged at police with two knives. The shooting of a 76-year old man, who many have said had mental health issues, has generated a public outcry. Perhaps it was Mr. Grenon’s age, or perhaps it was his mental state, but opinions about the incident have been diverse and passionate.

Connolly: Why the Vermont Legislature needs to pass H867

Sun, 04/03/2016 - 5:06am -- tim

by Maureen Cregan Connolly Nearly 97% of Vermont's businesses are classified as "small" according to the Small Business Association (SBA). Statistics provided by the SBA report that between 2010 and 2013 Vermont had 77,726 small businesses and that, of that number, 60,067 businesses were without employees. These businesses primarily survive through contract work with other business entities.

LCC March Ripples E-news: Bloated farm bill, rebuilding infrastructure

Sat, 04/02/2016 - 6:58am -- tim

LCC Lake Champlain Committee The Vermont Agency of Agriculture has requested a delay in up-dating their pollution control rules for agriculture. The up-date is required under Act 64, the water quality bill passed by the Vermont legislature in 2015. Act 64 called for the Agency to finalize the rules by July 1, 2016. The Agency wants that date pushed back until September.

UVM, land-grant universities work to improve equine farm sustainability

Sat, 04/02/2016 - 4:48am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Researchers from 13 land-grant universities, including the University of Vermont, have examined equine operations and developed educational programs about horse and environmental stewardship. In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states alone, more than 428,000 horses, ponies, and mules are living on 65,000 farms, and each horse produces about 50 pounds of manure every day. Water runoff from manure, horse feed, and bedding can pollute nearby bodies of water. To devise sustainable, safe strategies for equine operations, these researchers formed the multi-state research project NE-1041 "Environmental Impacts of Equine Operations."

Winter manure spreading ban ends April 1

Sat, 04/02/2016 - 3:31am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine April 1st is the end of the Winter Manure Spreading Ban imposed by the current Accepted Agricultural Practice Regulations (AAPs).  However, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM) urges farmers to carefully assess their field conditions before spreading manure to ensure regulatory compliance.  The current AAPs require that all agricultural wastes be managed in order to prevent adverse impacts to water quality.  This means that while it is legal to spread manure once the Winter Ban is over, manure must still be applied in a way

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum gets CVNHP grant for nautical archaeology archive

Fri, 04/01/2016 - 2:49pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine A 2016 Conservation and Community Grant from the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP) heralds an important new initiative for Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, a project titled Collections & Recollections: Preserving Peter Barranco’s Legacy. Grant funds are helping LCMM initiate long-term preservation and research access to a nationally significant collection recently donated to LCMM. “The Maritime Museum is deeply grateful to Peter Barranco for his gift, and to the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership for helping LCMM initiate the long-term preservation and access of this important collection,” said Executive Director Mike Smiles.

38 companies named Best Places to Work in Vermont

Fri, 04/01/2016 - 1:15pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Business Magazine and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce announced the ranking of the top thirty eight Best Places to Work in Vermont 2016 Thursday evening at a sold out awards ceremony at the Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center. More than 300 attendees participated in the festivities. Vermont Housing Finance Agency and Edward Jones were the top recipients. All the companies represented last night have the honor of saying they are a Best Place to Work in Vermont. See the full list below.

Weekly unemployment claims fall back to mid-winter levels

Fri, 04/01/2016 - 10:51am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The post-winter recreation layoffs appear to be subsiding, if a little earlier than usual, and weekly unemployment claims are back to about where they were in January. Claims fell last week, but are still slightly ahead of numbers from the same time last year, as the disappointing winter tourism season ended sooner due to a historically warm winter. For the week of March 26, 2016, there were 639 claims, down 155 from the previous week's total and 71 more than they were a year ago. By industry, claims fell evenly across most sectors.