Vermont Business Magazine Congresswoman Becca Balint (D-Vermont) this afternoon voted to remove the Speaker of the House of Representatives in a historic action. Kevin McCarthy thus becomes the first Speaker in history to be so removed, as a handful of far-right members of his own Republican caucus forced the no-confidence vote. Only a handful of Republicans needed to abandon him because of the GOP's slim margin of majority.
Vermont Business Magazine The report, titled "Vermont Weighs In," offers key takeaways from a project which surveyed 700 Vermonters and held a series of 11 focus groups across the state to discuss priorities around and preferred sources of electricity, as well as their awareness of current electricity sources and policies. When considering future electricity supply, the report indicates that Vermonters largely prefer renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, over non-renewable sources like natural gas. On the statewide survey, participants expressed support for getting electricity from hydropower (90%, includes respondents who “strongly support” and “somewhat support”), solar power (84%), and wind power (77%). But they want it to be affordable and reliable too.
Vermont Business Magazine The United States Attorney’s Office announced that seven defendants have been sentenced in connection with drug and firearm charges related to the murder of Benzel Hampton on April 16, 2019, concluding today with the sentencing of James Felix. All seven defendants previously pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, cocaine, and heroin, and conspiracy to use a firearm during and in relation to a drug conspiracy.
The Vermont State Police continues to monitor ongoing bomb threats to various critical infrastructure and key resource sectors in the State of Vermont. The threats are received via email and are similar to threats sent on Sunday October 1, 2023. These emails are sent from a gmail.com address and refer to bombs being placed in the targeted location and various wordings similar to “Many people will die” but also uses “souls” and “lives.” Affected groups are encouraged to report these incidents to local law enforcement in their area. No suspicious items or authentic threats have been discovered at any of the locations.
Vermont Business Magazine To meet the increasing need for mental health and substance use disorder providers, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (Blue Cross VT) has announced a new partnership with Valera Health. A leader in virtual mental health care, Valera Health offers therapy and psychiatry services for adults, adolescents, and children ages 6 and older. Valera Health offers a balance of human touch and technology to support broad mental health conditions that include perinatal mental health, childhood and adolescent anxiety, OCD and depression, to schizophrenia and follow up after hospitalization. This addition to the Blue Cross VT network makes it easier for Vermonters to connect to a mental health care team through a virtual platform. Valera’s specialized programs include Serious Mental Illness (SMI), Child & Adolescent, and Maternal Health.
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont State University (VTSU) Interim President, Mike Smith was hired just five-months ago with three distinct objectives in mind: 1) achieve accreditation as a new university, 2) successfully launch the new university on July 1st, including meeting projected enrollment targets for new and returning students, and 3) establish a plan to optimize course offerings and chart a multi-year path for financial sustainability. Critical components of optimization include aligning course offerings and the program array to meet today’s students where they are and focusing resources on ensuring programs are high-quality and in-demand. Currently, VTSU offers 99 undergraduate degrees with some duplicate or similar programs at multiple VTSU campuses. Similarly sized universities offer closer to 50 degrees and program offerings.
Vermont Business Magazine In what has now become an annual tradition, health care leaders at the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (VAHHS) Annual Meeting on September 21 and 22 set aside time to do a service project for the community. This year, the group partnered with the Vermont Partners for Quality in Health Care (VPQHC) to assemble activity kits for children in Vermont emergency departments, sometimes awaiting mental health beds. The kits are the latest hospital service project, which have in the past included supply kits for housing-insecure families supported by Capstone Community Action and welcome kits for refugee families coming to Vermont through Bennington County Open Arms.
Vermont Business Magazine Dr. Stephen Leffler, MD, President and Chief Operating Officer of the University of Vermont Medical Center, appeared last week on Capitol Hill at a joint subcommittee hearing before The Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation; and The Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs. The members discussed the impact of increasingly frequent cyberattacks occurring nationwide on public and private organizations, as well as potential solutions. According to the American Hospital Association, in the first 6 months of 2023, more than 220 cyberattacks targeted hospitals and health systems nationwide, with more than 36 million people affected.
Vermont Business Magazine Champlain College was awarded $400K from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of NSF’s first-ever Enabling Partnerships to Increase Innovation Capacity (EPIIC) investment, totaling $19.6 million. Champlain is one of 50 U.S. higher education institutions awarded in this inaugural program. As a leader in career-focused learning, Champlain College will use the EPIIC investment to advance its workforce and industry partnerships across the state, preparing the emerging workforce for jobs in leading science and technology fields. The College will also receive training and support from NSF to build innovation capacity and secure future funding by tapping into regional ecosystems.
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Bar Association has just launched a program to help attorneys who are struggling with student loan debt. The VBA Loan Repayment Assistance Program (“LRAP”) is designed to assist attorneys burdened by debt so that they can work in underserved geographic and subject areas. The first awards will be made in January 2024 and there is an application deadline of November 3.
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Chamber of Commerce welcomed six new Directors to the Board: Alberto Aguilar of Carris Reels, Brendon Blood of Blood's Catering & Party Rentals, Walter Frame of Trapp Family Lodge, Shireen Hart of Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer, PC, Kelly Krayewsky of Revision Military, and Leslee MacKenzie of Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman. The Board also voted on a new slate of Executive Committee members, including Tom Dunn of Vermont Electric Power Company as Chair, Sharon Rossi of Foodscience Corp. as Vice Chair, Kathy Austin of Community National Bank as Treasurer, and Peter McDougall as Past Chair.
Vermont Business Magazine Mid-career and aspiring animal advocates have a new opportunity to further their work and education with Vermont Law and Graduate School (VLGS). The school’s Animal Law and Policy Institute, in partnership with the Brooks Institute for Animal Rights Law and Policy, Inc. and Brooks McCormick Jr. Trust for Animal Rights Law and Policy, will offer up to three residential Animal Law LLM fellowships for the 2024-25 academic year, with full tuition waivers plus stipends of $35,000 to cover expenses.