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Shap Smith: Act 46 adjustment returns focus to education

Sat, 01/30/2016 - 9:29am -- tim

by Speaker of the House Shap Smith The first major hurdle of the 2016 legislative session was resolved Saturday when lawmakers approved a tweak to the cost containment threshold in Act 46, last year’s education governance reform bill. The debate echoed many familiar conversations about our school system. There were speeches about declining enrollment, property taxes, and the relationship between state and local government.

Shumlin to sign bill to address Act 46 spending caps

Sat, 01/30/2016 - 9:23am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Peter Shumlin issued the following statement on legislation passed to amend the spending caps in Act 46. The governor reviewed the bill and signed it Saturday, following a rare midnight session by the House. A flood of complaints from towns about the school spending and consolidation bill, passed just last year, resulted in the Legislature hastily coming up with two options: repeal the whole thing or modify what the spending limits would be.

Kate McNellis goes from sewing clothes to sowing flower seeds

Sat, 01/30/2016 - 7:19am -- tim

by Sarah Tuff Dunn University of Vermont Continuing and Distance Education Of the millions of profile titles on LinkedIn, the one that belongs to Kate McNellis is one of the most poetic: Flower farmer at Stray Cat Flower Farm. Dig a little deeper, however, and discover that McNellis, who graduated from UVM in 2000 with a degree in environmental studies, wasn’t always toiling in the soil. Instead, she was trimming garments for fashion designer Nanette Lepore, sketching swimwear for Aeropostale, and styling for Victoria’s Secret. 

UVM joins fight against bovine mycobacterial diseases

Sat, 01/30/2016 - 4:19am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Thirteen land-grant institutions, includinig the University of Vermont, and partner organizations are working across state lines to develop and enhance tools needed to limit the spread of Johne's disease (JD) and bovine tuberculosis complex (TB) in livestock. JD and TB are two of the most widespread mycobacterial diseases in the US. JD alone costs the dairy industry in excess of $200 million per year.

Work 4 Kids pilot project to helps parents pay child support

Sat, 01/30/2016 - 4:08am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine When parents don't make their court-ordered child support payments it does not always mean that they are unwilling. Sometimes, they are simply not able to pay. They may be out of work. They may only be able to find part-time work. They may not earn enough to pay both their living expenses and child support bills.

Vermont State Police will not open investigation into Attorney General Sorrell

Fri, 01/29/2016 - 4:17pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont State Police released a statement Friday afternoon stating that its detectives have met with federal law enforcement authorities regarding a complaint of criminal misconduct received as a result of the civil review of campaign finance activities by Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell. The State Police have concluded that no state based investigation will be commenced. Federal authorities have been provided with facts and documents known to state police detectives relative to this complaint.

Senate committee supports legalizing marijuana

Fri, 01/29/2016 - 12:46pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Peter Shumlin seems to have gotten his way so far in Vermont taking a deliberate course toward legalizing marijuana. The Senate Judiciary Committee this morning passed, by a vote of 4 to 1 S.241, legislation to legalize marijuana in Vermont. The governor has opposed the legalization as a tax revenue grab, instead wanting the state to use legalization to benefit law enforcement and drug rehabilitation. He wants legal marijuana to be cheap enough to help drive out illegal drug dealers.

Two days left in Vermont Health Connect open enrollment

Fri, 01/29/2016 - 12:13pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Health Connect announced today that its Customer Support Center will offer special hours this weekend, the final weekend of open enrollment, to accept new applications and to assist with plan changes. Wait times may be long as the Sunday deadline approaches. Vermonters who do not sign up for coverage or request a plan change by Sunday may have to wait until next January to do so. The toll-free number (855-899-9600) will be open:

·         Saturday, January 30: 8am to 4:30pm

Weekly unemployment claims unchanged for week, up from year ago

Fri, 01/29/2016 - 11:59am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Weekly unemployment claims have settled back into a more usual pattern and were unchanged from last week. Claims in 2015 generally were lower than in 2014, but since the holiday season they have been generally running ahead of the prior year. For the week of January 23, 2016, there were 753 claims, same as the previous week's total and 137 more than they were a year ago. By industry, claims were down for most categories but increased for Construction (40 percent of all claims and typical for this time of year) and Manufacturing (19 percent). 

Good things in small packages: Vermont Community Foundation hands out 41 grants statewide

Fri, 01/29/2016 - 11:08am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Community Foundation, in partnership with some of its fundholders, awarded a total of $93,148 in Small and Inspiring grants to 41 organizations for local projects in communities across the state during the fall of 2015. One of a number of competitive grant rounds at the Community Foundation, the Small and Inspiring grants program funds work that helps connect people to their neighbors, their land, and their history in ways that strengthen community.

ECFiber to increase Internet speeds

Fri, 01/29/2016 - 4:06am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine ECFiber located in Royalton, Vermont announced Thursday plans to increase its speeds by 40-500 percent, but not its prices. “Our Basic plan will increase from 7 to 10 Mbps; our Standard plan from 20 to 25 Mbps; our Ultra plan will double from 50 to 100, and our new 'Wicked' plan will increase by a factor of 5 from 100 to 500” said Corey Klinck, ECFiber’s Chief Technical Officer. ECFiber’s current Wicked customers will see an increase from 400 to 500 and a price decrease.

Stuart Savel: Legalizing marijuana

Thu, 01/28/2016 - 4:49pm -- tim

by Robert Smith, Vermont Business Magazine Stuart Savel, of Brattleboro, ran a design/build and furniture making business in Westminster and then Chester, Vermont, for many years. He grew up in New Jersey and moved to Vermont in the winter of 1969-70. A back injury resulting from a car accident a few years ago made it impossible, even after surgeries, to continue that kind of work.