Current News

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Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott has directed the State Flood Recovery Office to simplify the application process and provide technical assistance to eligible applicants to expedite the distribution of mitigation funds to communities impacted by the July 2023 storms, flooding, and landslides. Over $100 million is available to municipalities to help mitigate the impacts of future disasters. The flooding that devastated Vermont last summer left behind more than $1 billion in response, recovery, and social support costs. The funding available through the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, managed by Vermont Emergency Management, will finance projects like roadway elevation, redesigned floodplains, home buyouts, upsized culverts, improved roadways and bridges, and others that will lessen the impacts of flooding in the future, reducing recovery costs.

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Vermont Business Magazine The University of Vermont Health Network has reached a multi-year agreement with UnitedHealthcare to maintain coverage for patients with UnitedHealthcare commercial insurance plans. The agreement runs through March 31, 2026, and secures access to UVM Health Network facilities and physicians for patients who are covered through one of the nation’s largest insurance carriers. This new agreement comes at the end of a two-month extension to the previous contract, which the UVM Health Network sought in order to allow patients and employers more time to make alternative plans. 

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by Mike Donoghue, Vermont News First, Vermont Business Magazine A state legislator from Bennington was arrested outside the Vermont State House on Wednesday morning on a charge of driving while under the influence, Montpelier Police said. Police said Representative James Carroll (D-Bennington) was stopped as he pulled his car into a parking lot at the so-called Pink Lady, a multi-story building which serves as the office for the Joint Fiscal Affairs Office at 1 Baldwin Street. Carroll will not be contesting the criminal charge, according to Representative Kathleen James, D-Manchester, the assistant majority leader. 

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Vermont Business Magazine CVFiber is excited to bring fiber Internet service to parts of Middlesex and additional parts of Worcester. Site surveys have already begun in the area to help decrease installation wait times. Aerial installations will be scheduled throughout the winter with underground conduit installations beginning in the spring. Parts of Calais continue to be scheduled for installations as well. Expansion efforts in Woodbury are underway with construction likely continuing until the end of the year.   

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Vermont State Police The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office has informed the Vermont State Police of the final determination on cause and manner of death for 23-year-old Tanairy “Tanya” Velazquez Estrada, whose body was found Oct. 25, 2023, in the town of Washington. The medical examiner identified the cause of death as asphyxia due to strangling, and the manner of death as a homicide. VSP’s investigation into this incident remains active and ongoing.

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Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Criminal Justice Council announced today that they held a warned, public meeting regarding the potential actions of the Council on two former Vermont certified law enforcement officers. The first stipulated agreement involved Stephen Bunnell, a former officer of the Caledonia County Sherriff’s Department. The agreement identified that Bunnell pleaded guilty to one count of Disturbing the Peace by Electronic Means, and one count of Prohibited Conduct. The guilty pleas were made on March 7, 2022 in Vermont Superior Court, Caledonia Unit, Criminal Division. 

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Vermont Business Magazine Today, the Vermont Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Energy voted 5-0 to advance S.213, the Flood Safety Act. According to the Vermont Natural Resources Council, this bill takes important steps to reduce the risk of future flooding and strengthen our communities’ resilience. After the devastating floods of 2023, and climate projections indicating worsening and more frequent future flooding, Vermont must adopt policies to reduce flood-related damages. These policies can simultaneously provide clean drinking water, support biodiversity, and protect recreational opportunities. These policies also bolster our economy and promote public health. Building on the strong work of the Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee, we need continued leadership from legislators as S.213 works its way through the process to help increase public safety, reduce impacts and costs from flood damage, and protect these critically important natural resources from the increasing impacts of climate change.  

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Vermont Business Magazine USDA Rural Development State Director for Vermont and New Hampshire, Sarah Waring, today announced $1,878,000 in federal funding for seven regional and municipal infrastructure projects in the Twin States through the Solid Waste Management Grants Program and the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. The investments are part of a $762.8 million loan and grant package announced earlier today by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in Edgecombe, N.C., marking the kickoff of the fourth tour of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, which includes diverse programs in broadband, agriculture, clean energy and infrastructure, among others. The funding is made possible through the historic, bipartisan Inflation Reduction Act, and will benefit more than 1 million rural residents in 45 states, Puerto Rico, and the Northern Mariana Islands. 

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Vermont Business Magazine Larner College of Medicine scientist Osama Harraz, PhD and his colleague from the University of Maryland, Thomas Longden, Ph.D. are recipients of a prestigious Collaborative Pairs Pilot Project Award from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s (CZI) Neurodegeneration Challenge Network (NCDN). This award supports pairs of investigators and their teams in exploring innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to tackle critical challenges in neurodegenerative diseases and fundamental neuroscience. Harraz and Longden's project will focus on the reprogramming of blood flow to satisfy the changing needs in different brain regions, a process that the team refers to as vascular signaling plasticity. Certain brain regions are engaged in energy-intensive processes—such as complex cognitive functions like learning or memory formation—and therefore require more blood flow to sustain their functions. 

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Vermont Business Magazine Attorney General Charity Clark has led a coalition of state Attorneys General in filing public comments on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) latest vehicle emissions settlement regarding “defeat devices” installed in a group of RAM truck models. These devices cause the vehicles to emit much higher levels of air pollution than permitted by the State’s vehicle emissions regulations, giving rise to a series of consumer and environmental claims against the manufacturer, Cummins Inc. The EPA’s $1.5 billion proposed settlement with Cummins Inc. and the State of California does not include mitigation funds or other relief for many impacted states, including Vermont. Attorney General Clark has requested that the U.S. Department of Justice and California delay entering into the settlement so that Vermont and other states may join the negotiations.

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Vermont Business Magazine Cetane Associates has announced that Dead River Company, based in Maine, has acquired Bourne’s, Inc, a full-service propane, heating fuels, and pellets delivery business located in Morrisville, Vermont. The transaction was completed on February 1, 2024. Financial terms were not released. Bourne’s Energy has a rich family history in the delivered fuels business. Established in 1947 by Robert and Julie Bourne in Morristown, Vermont, the business initially operated as a modest heating oil delivery service. Over the years, the business grew and evolved under Bob’s leadership, expanding its services to include repair work in the 1960s. In 1973, Bob’s son, Peter Bourne, joined the company, eventually taking ownership in 1988. Mike Bourne, Peter’s brother, became part owner in the 1990s, and the company would begin propane delivery operations in 1994. Bourne’s Energy has continued to grow, acquiring and integrating various businesses and diversifying its product range to include biodiesel, propane autogas, and wood pellets. 

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Ben Kinsley, Campaign for Vermont Board Member We agree that the ‘Who Pays’ report showing that our state’s tax burden is flat, and even slightly regressive, for taxpayers with incomes in the top 40% is concerning. Middle class Vermonters are struggling to make ends meet and inflation, taxes, and other impacts on cost of living have not been kind to them. Learning that they also shoulder an outsized share of the tax burden adds insult to injury. It is also important to highlight, as the report authors did, that this distribution of tax burden is not because our income tax system is inadequately progressive, but rather that we have a number of other taxes that are quite regressive.