Current News

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Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Main Street Flood Recovery Fund is issuing a crucial final notice to business owners adversely affected by the July flooding, urging them to apply for financial assistance. The deadline to submit grant applications is November 15, 2023. This opportunity for a $2,500 award is exclusively available for small businesses that have not yet received a Main Street Recovery Fund grant. Thanks to the tremendous support of individuals, businesses, and communities, the fund has successfully raised over $800,000, enabling the distribution of nearly 300 grants to small businesses. 

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Vermont Business Magazine The Ludlow Disaster Recovery Center will close permanently at 2 p.m. Saturday, October 21. The center will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Ludlow Community Center, 37 Main St., Ludlow, VT 05149. Vermonters can visit a center to get in-person help applying for disaster assistance. Specialists from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration are available to help upload documents, answer questions and guide you through the appeals process. The lone Center to remain open will be in Barre.

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Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) and the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC) launch groundbreaking “Move Forward Together Vermont: Designing our Outdoor Recreation Future.” This ambitious statewide planning endeavor has been set in motion to address a critical need – creating and sustaining opportunities that strengthen Vermont’s outdoor recreation spaces and communities. This initiative, supported by the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, merges the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) and the VOREC Action Plan. 

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by Charlotte Oliver, Community News Service Outside Dog River Farm in Berlin recently, five pallets of bright orange pumpkins rested roadside in a loose grid along the grass, far fewer than owner George Gross would have normally had for sale. The summer floods wiped away a dozen acres of his crops, he said, and those few pumpkins outside his farm store were the only ones left. The state launched a grant program in early August to help businesses after the flooding. But months later, fewer than one-fifth of agricultural business applicants had received payments — and those that did, on average, received tens of thousands of dollars less than needed. Of 41 approved applications, only 28 agricultural businesses had gotten paid as of Oct. 4, according to data from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. 

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Vermont Business Magazine On October 4, 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that all Vermont county FSA offices are ready to accept applications for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP). This program offers financial assistance to eligible forest landowners to help restore land that has been damaged by the July rainstorms that resulted in widespread flooding and land instability across Vermont. Various projects may qualify under this program, but its primary focus is addressing erosion and water quality issues affecting forest roads and trails resulting from heavy rainfall. The signup period for EFRP began on October 10, 2023, and ends on November 8, 2023.

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Vermont Business Magazine Beech leaf disease (BLD), caused by the invasive nematode or roundworm Litylenchus crenatae mccannii, has been confirmed for the first time in Vermont. After receiving a report of potential BLD in southeastern Vermont, staff from the Forest Health program of the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) collected symptomatic leaves from American beech (Fagus grandifolia) saplings. Samples were sent to a US Department of Agriculture Forest Service Laboratory for DNA confirmation in early October 2023, and BLD has now been officially confirmed within the state. This invasive species has currently been reported in 14 states, and Ontario, Canada. 

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by Ethan Tapper, Chittenden County Forester I'm leading a couple events this week: a talk at the Big Picture theatre in Waitsfield on Thursday evening and a walk with the Vermont Land Trust at the Catamount Community Forest on Saturday. I hope to see you there! Details are below. My article for this month is called What is an Old-Growth Forest? You can read it here. Vermont’s forests are highly-altered -- young, simple and degraded, missing many critical habitats, features and functions that they need to stay healthy, abundant and resilient as they head into an uncertain future. As we consider what it means to care for forests at this moment in time, it is clear that radical action is needed to protect their biodiversity and their ecological integrity, and to help them build resilience and adaptability as they prepare for the pervasive influence of global change.

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Vermont Business Magazine Union Bankshares, Inc (NASDAQ - UNB) today announced results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2023 and declared a regular quarterly cash dividend. Consolidated net income for the three months ended September 30, 2023, was $2.5 million, or $0.56 per share, compared to $3.8 million, or $0.84 cents per share, for the same period in 2022, and $8.2 million, or $1.82 per share, for the nine months ended September 30, 2023, compared to $9.2 million, or $2.04 per share for the same period in 2022.  Decreases in net income were primarily driven by changes in interest rates between periods, predominantly by a Federal Funds Target Range over 5% as of September 30, 2023. 

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Vermont Business Magazine The United States Secret Service (USSS) and the National Computer Forensics Institute (NCFI) have awarded a multi-million dollar Cyber Range Contract to Champlain College. The contract awards the College $3.4M over five years (2023-2027) to maintain, manage, and utilize its cyber range and curriculum to train law enforcement across the nation in realistic, hands-on digital forensics and prevention of cyber crimes. For the past five years, Champlain College students and faculty at the Leahy Center for Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity have been working as a subgrantee of George Mason University to develop and build a cyber range – an interactive virtual environment that simulates cybersecurity incidents – and assess the USSS cybersecurity crime curriculum.

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Vermont Business Magazine Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) today released the following statement applauding the bipartisan advancement of Michael Whitaker of Vermont, nominee for Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation: “Michael Whitaker is immensely qualified to head the Federal Aviation Administration—not only because of his abilities behind the cockpit and his forward-thinking vision to lead with safety and sustainability in mind, but also because of his Vermont Values."

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Vermont Business Magazine Cathedral Square and Evernorth announced today that construction has begun on Kelley’s Field II, 24 new energy-efficient affordable apartments for adults 55 and older in Hinesburg. Situated next to Kelley’s Field I, Kelley’s Field II is the second phase in the larger Kelley’s Field development project and will offer 24 energy-efficient apartments - 23 one-bedrooms and 1 two-bedroom apartment with a mix of affordable and market-rate rents. Construction began in May 2023 and is expected to be complete by August 2024. 

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Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Chamber of Commerce and the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing (VDTM) have announced the opening of the application for the 2024/25 Vermont Signature Events program. The Vermont Signature Events program is a great way for events to gain exposure and prominence. Signature Events are awarded annually and celebrate the diversity of experiences Vermonters and visitors alike can enjoy in the Green Mountain State.

Southern Vermont AHEC and Governor’s Institutes inspire future healthcare leaders
A Passion to Do the Right Thing: Michael Monte and the Champlain Housing Trust
Vermont Historical Society awarded IMLS grant
American Meadows and High Country Gardens support community organizations by donating unsold plants resulting in 0% organic waste
UVM taps Tim Rademacher to lead research at Proctor Maple Research Center