Vermont Emergency Management (VEM) has been fully accredited under the national Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP). EMAP is a review process for state and local emergency management programs to ensure they are in compliance with national standards. Vermont joins 21 other states and four jurisdictions with accredited programs.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act enhancements to U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs have led to a major rebound in Vermont of SBA-backed loans for small businesses and greater access to much-needed capital. SBA lending in Vermont dramatically increased in the second quarter of the 2010 fiscal year, Jan.
Governor Jim Douglas has announced $208,723 in Historic Preservation Barn Grants that will be awarded to 25 farms (see list below) to help make repairs needed to keep the barns in use. In a ceremony at the Dodge Farm in Berlin, which received $10,000 to repair its barn roof, the governor noted that the program promoted two of Vermont’s most important industries, agriculture and tourism.
AM Best Co has downgraded the financial strength rating (FSR) to B+ (Good) from B++ (Good) and the issuer credit rating (ICR) to “bbb-” from “bbb” for First Beacon Insurance Company (First Beacon) (Burlington, VT), a captive insurer of Alcatel-Lucent. The outlook for both ratings remains negative.
The rating actions reflect concerns over the financial position of First Beacon’s ultimate parent, Alcatel-Lucent. Supporting the rating is a robust level of risk-adjusted capitalization and a stable operating performance.
Weekly unemployment claims increased last week as results have been up and down for the last couple of months. For the week of April 3, 2010, there were 974 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance, an increase of 111 from the week before. Altogether 14,532 new and continuing claims were filed, a decrease of 353 from a week ago and 3,968 fewer than a year earlier. The Department also processed 4,428 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 70 fewer than a week ago.
Many people do not yet fully understand how the recently approved health insurance reform legislation will affect their health insurance coverage, access to services, or options available to them or their families. This has created an opportunity for scam artists and criminals looking to confuse and defraud the public.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that the State of Vermont is being awarded a $250,000 grant to produce new affordable, energy efficient, green housing. Vermont will use its grant to support a local community-based affordable housing developer to create these new homes which will feature a sustainable site design, water-conserving fixtures, energy-efficient appliances/lighting, and environmentally friendly building materials.
Logging and milling has begun on the post and beam frame of the future Putney General Store. In an empty lot off of Route 5 in Putney, volunteer mill operator Mark Bowen is busy sawing large oak and pine logs donated by Putney land-owners that will become the frame of the new store to be built by the Putney Historical Society.
WCAX-TV News has won a series of Edward R. Murrow Awards sponsored by the Radio Television Digital News Association or RTDNA. The station received four Murrow awards, including overall excellence for its 6 pm news broadcast. The judges recognized WCAX-TV for its continuing coverage of Vermont captain Richard Phillips who was held hostage by Somali pirates and for investigative journalism for a report concerning harassment at the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center has received a grant of $23,700 from the State of Vermont in support of its efforts to pursue a new “transformational project” to define, implement and evaluate an innovative model of resident care.
(Vermont Business Magazine) At a news conference today at Highgate Elementary School, US Senator Bernie Sanders announced energy efficiency grants and after-school program funding for Highgate Center.
The town and elementary school received stimulus funding totaling $124,405.88 through the Sanders-authored Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants program at the US Department of Energy. Sanders also secured $25,000 for summer school and after-school programs at the elementary school.
(Vermont Biz) In the twelve months before July 1, 2009, 85 pharmaceutical manufacturers paid $2,599,589 to Vermont doctors, hospitals, universities and others for the purpose of marketing their drugs. This was a drop from nearly $3 million the previous fiscal year. “This amount includes over $800,000 in gifts of food, which are now outlawed in Vermont,” said Attorney General William H. Sorrell.
(Vermont Biz April 6, 2010) The number of Green Mountain Power customers using small-scale renewable energy sources to generate their own electricity has more than doubled since 2008, with the largest growth coming from customers who generate electricity with solar. Currently, close to 300 GMP customers have applied for and received state permission for net metering. Since net metering began in 1998, GMP customers' projects account for nearly 3 megawatts (or 3 million watts) of renewable power.
Dan Feeney, President of North Star Leasing in South Burlington, has announced the acquisition of Nordic Funding’s book of business in late January. Nordic Funding’s lease originator, John Desrochers, brings his 18 years of experience to the North Star Leasing team. North Star Leasing provides equipment financing across the country to small and medium sized customers from it’s Burlington headquarters since its inception in 1979.
North Star Leasing adds Employees
(Vermont Biz April 6, 2010) – Comcast, a leading provider of entertainment, information and communications products and services, today announced it has made the leap from broadband to wideband with the launch of next-generation DOCSIS 3.0 in 29 communities across Vermont. With wideband, Comcast has introduced a new echelon of Internet speeds, redefining the customer experience online and creating a platform for Internet innovation in the years ahead.
Comcast now offers among the fastest speeds available today with wideband, including the Extreme 50 tier with download spee
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) of Waterbury, Vermont, has announced that Pebbles Acquisition Sub, Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of GMCR, has extended its previously announced $35.00 per share cash tender offer to purchase all outstanding shares of common stock of Diedrich Coffee, Inc. (NASDAQ: DDRX).
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced the first installment of funding to the Vermont State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) to help Medicare beneficiaries in Vermont get more information about their health care choices. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 grants are continuation funds available to 54 existing SHIP organizations in the United States and its territories. The funding is available to SHIPs for the grant year starting April 1, 2010 and ending March 31, 2011.
Representative Peter Welch on Monday announced a $450,000 federal grant for Vermont Law School to conduct Smart Grid research and analysis aimed at updating the US power grid. The grant, which was secured by Welch, will help VLS’ Institute for Energy and the Environment become a national leader in Smart Grid implementation standards. It will further the Institute’s efforts to address the reliability, cost and environmental impact of the nation’s energy policy.
Average retail gasoline prices in Vermont moved just 0.8 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.86/gallon today. This compares with the national average that has increased 4.6 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.85/g, according to gasoline price website VermontGasPrices.com.
Including the change in gas prices in Vermont during the past week, prices today are 86.1 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 7.7 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.
U-Haul International, Inc has released the results of the annual U-Haul National Migration Trend Report, with Kentucky and Vermont as the top states in their categories, reflecting the nation's top growth states for families who moved during 2009. The report, titled "2009 Top 10 US Growth States," indicates that for states with more than 20,000 families moving, Kentucky had the highest percentage of growth, with 5.76 percent more families moving into the state than out.
A new company that would make stainless steel chimney liners has been authorized to earn nearly $68,000 worth of state job creation incentives if it opens its plant in Chittenden County. New England Supply Inc could create 17 new jobs over the next five years if it sets up shop in Williston, according to officials with the Vermont Economic Progress Council, which authorized the incentives at its recent meeting.
“This is further proof that Vermont can compete for manufacturing jobs, if we are willing to,” said Karen L. Marshall, Chairwoman of the Vermont Economic Progress Council.
Vermont Yankee's parent company, Entergy Corporation of New Orleans (NYSE: ETR), announced this morning that it will no longer pursue a plan to spin off the Vernon nuclear power plant and five others in its fleet into a new company called Enexus. The plan took a serious blow on March 25 when New York state effectively denied Entergy's application to do so. Entergy said it will take a $0.40 to $0.45 writeoff to cover costs to date.
Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 162,000 in March, and the unemployment
rate held at 9.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Temporary help services and health care continued to add jobs over the month.
Employment in federal government also rose, reflecting the hiring of temporary
workers for Census 2010. Employment continued to decline in financial activi-
ties and in information.
Household Survey Data
In March, the number of unemployed persons was little changed at 15.0 million,
In a statement issued yesterday, Vermont Yankee said that recent news reports have focused less on the tritium resolution and more on the other isotopes found in the soil at the plant. Despite the recent media coverage, Vermont Yankee said the presence of Cesium-137 and other radionuclides found in the soil at the plant is not new news. During the first week of March, the company shared soil sample results with the Vermont Departmen
Northeast Kingdom Chamber of Commerce today issued a statement saying it was dropping its trade name infringement case against the St Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce. The NEK Chamber was begun and until 1990 was known as the St Johnsbury Chamber. It then changed its name to the NEK Chamber name it now has in an effort to broaden its reach in the three northeastern counties of Vermont. Subesquently another organization was granted the use of the name, St Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce.
The Department of Environmental Conservation’s Compliance and Enforcement Division today announced that it has formally settled environmental violations involving Via Cheese, LLC. The company is engaged in cheese production, with its principal place of business located in Swanton, Vermont. The settlement includes a $10,000 penalty.
The Department of Environmental Conservation’s Compliance and Enforcement Division today announced that it has formally settled environmental violations involving Churchill Coatings Corporation. The company operates a coating facility in North Springfield. The settlement includes a $17,000 penalty.
Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union Superintendent Catherine McClure and State Auditor Tom Salmon, CPA, today announced a comprehensive efficiency review of the Southwest Vermont organization, one of the Vermont’s largest supervisory unions with approximately $50 million in annual expenditures. The SVSU includes the school districts of Bennington, North Bennington, Mount Anthony Union, Shaftsbury, Pownal, and Woodford.
Northfield Savings Bank has extended its commitment to continue as Presenting Sponsor of the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival through 2013. In keeping with its commitment to community, Northfield Savings Bank is helping to ensure the Festival, a 27-year Vermont tradition, continues to enthrall Vermonters and visitors alike, and serves to energize the city and local businesses.
Senator Patrick Leahy Thursday announced that the U.S. Navy will award Goodrich a new $13,642,763 contract for continued work on the company’s helicopter diagnostic system, which is managed by the firm’s facility here. The innovative system for helicopter safety and maintenance already has earned the company more than $100 million in defense contracts, and Leahy last month joined Goodrich employees at the facility to mark shipment of the 2000th system. Work on the new contract is expected to be completed by 2011.