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Tony Pomerleau dies at 100

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 10:19am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Burlington businessman and philanthropist Tony Pomerleau has died, his family announced Friday morning. He was 100 years old. He grew up in Newport in hard times and made himself a millionaire. He liked to say that the only thing he knew how to do was "make money." But what he did with that money endeared him with Vermonters from across the state, especially those who needed a helping hand in order to have a better life. Tony Pomerleau's hand always seemed to be there.

Cold winters cause of higher energy costs, not electric or gasoline

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 4:35am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine In the US, energy costs eat between 5 and 22 percent of families’ total after-tax income, with the poorest Americans, or 25 million households, paying the highest of that range. And lower energy prices don’t necessarily equate to savings. Where one lives and how much energy one uses are a big part of the equation, according to WalletHub, a national credit information firm. For instance, although electricity is relatively cheaper in Southern Louisiana, its scorching summer heat raises costs for residents compared with the temperate climate in more energy-expensive Northern California, where heating and cooling units stay idle most of the year. Vermont ranks 10th overall in energy dollars consumed, but this is not due to relatively high electricity and gasoline prices; it's because of our cold winters. Vermont ranks relatively low in total electric and gasoline consumption due to frugality and conservation, and because of the short summers.

Seven Vermont orgs get National Endowment for the Arts grants

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 8:07pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The National Endowment for the Arts announced its first round of grant funding for FY2018. Seven Vermont organizations received grants totaling $122,000. The grants were awarded to Kingdom County Productions, New England Center for Circus Arts, Marble House Project, President & Fellows of Middlebury College, Vermont College of Fine Arts, Yellow Barn, and Governors Institutes of Vermont.

Sanders urges Trump to restore LIHEAP funding

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 7:55pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) sent a letter Thursday urging President Donald Trump to fund the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) at no less than $5.1 billion in his upcoming budget.

Last year, President Trump proposed eliminating LIHEAP, “a proposal that would have deadly consequences,” Sanders wrote in the letter.

Mike Smith to step down from radio show, column

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 5:07pm -- tim

This morning on his WDEV radio program OPEN MIKE, Mike Smith announced, with the following statement, that he will no longer do the radio show or his regular column, which ran on, and in Vermont Business Magazine.

by Mike Smith This is a difficult announcement, but there’s no other way to say it, than to just say it: I am leaving WDEV and the OPEN MIKE program on February 19th. First of all this has nothing to do with the station or the change in station ownership. In fact, this station has been so supportive of everything that I have done.  I will be forever grateful to Ken, Steve and everybody here at WDEV for their support and encouragement; and for giving me this wonderful opportunity over the last 2 ½ years.  I have been blessed in life with this opportunity to be with you on a daily basis. Believe me when I say this: it has truly been an honor that I never take lightly.

$37 million raised in VHFA bond sale to build up to 650 homes

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 4:47pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today announced the successful sale by Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) of Vermont’s first Sustainability Bonds. The bond sale raised $37 million in proceeds for affordable housing, exceeding the expected amount by $2 million. The bonds will fund the “Housing for All” initiative proposed by the governor and enacted by the Vermont Legislature in 2017. Proceeds from the sale of the bonds will be awarded by the Vermont Housing Conservation Board (VHCB) to construct 550-650 homes statewide over the next two to three years.

AG will not prosecute former state official

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 4:35pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Criminal Division of the Attorney General’s Office received the investigation regrading former VTrans Aviation Program Manager Guy Rouelle’s expenditures as a state employee for review on August 17, 2017. The allegations regarding Rouelle were possible misappropriation of state funds. Having completed the review of the matter, the Attorney General’s Office announced today that it declines to prosecute due to insufficient evidence of criminal conduct.

Governor Scott names Barra, Kline, Shafritz as judges, Humbert as magistrate

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 4:35pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today announced the appointment of four Vermonters to the state’s judiciary, filling existing vacancies. David A. Barra, Scot L. Kline and Megan J. Shafritz were each appointed as a judge to the Vermont Superior Court, which is the state’s trial court consisting of civil, criminal, environmental, family and probate divisions. The judiciary will make the specific court assignments once these appointees are sworn in.

EB-5 investors might get ‘green card’ after all

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 3:47pm -- tim

by Timothy McQuiston Vermont Business Magazine One of the earliest goals of Jay Peak receiver Michael Goldberg was to make the EB-5 immigrant investors who had been defrauded financially whole and, if possible, allow them the opportunity to complete the process of gaining a US “green card” for themselves and immediate family members. First, Goldberg and his team had to clean up the legal and financial mess resulting from the fraud that was revealed by state regulators and the US Securities & Exchange Commission in April 2016. He then had to get the resort businesses at Jay Peak and Burke Mountain back on firm footing. Then, he had to actually get the $200 million back.

Coates: More bad pension news for Vermonters

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 1:48pm -- tim

by David Coates KPMG Managing Partner (Retired) More bad news has arrived for Vermonters, and especially Vermont taxpayers, with the release of the State Actuary's 6/20/2017 Reports. The reports cover Pension and Retiree Health Care Benefits (OPEB) for State Workers and Teachers, and results are, frankly, quite startling. The 2017 reports show that Vermont’s combined unfunded liability has increased by over $900 million (over 25%) in just one year.

Leahy secures key changes for dairy farmers in budget deal

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 10:43am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine US Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) announced Thursday morning that he has secured significant improvements to a key dairy safety net program, which are to be included in a bipartisan budget deal package to be considered by Congress this week. The overall budget deal would avoid another government shutdown for two years. It was first announced Wednesday. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said he will vote against the budget deal. The deal was also met with opposition in the House from the left and right. But Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday morning that he believes he has the votes to push it through.