Current News

by tim

By Art Edelstein. Vermont Business Magazine. May, 20, 2010 _ A multi-part health care bill (Senate 88) passed both houses of the Vermont Legislature on May 11, the last day of the 2010 session. The legislation would support aspects of the state's ongoing attempt to keep health care costs in check. However, two provisions of the bill irked Governor Jim Douglas enough to cause him to threaten a veto.
As of today, the Legislature had not sent the bill to the governor. It is expected to be sent over tomorrow (Friday). Once that happens, the governor has five days to sign it into law or veto it. If he does neither, the bill becomes law without his signature at the end of the five days.

by tim

Several Vermont firms were recently recognized for their strong commitment to effective workplace safety at the Annual Vermont Workplace Safety Conference. The Governor’s Award for Workplace Safety, presented by Governor Jim Douglas, went to IBM in the Large Business Category and to Long Trail Brewery in the Small Business Category.
In presenting the awards, Governor Douglas also noted IBM’s earlier recipient of Vermont OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program and the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) designation for Long Trail Brewing by the Vermont Department of Labor.
Vermont Labor Commissioner Patricia Moulton Powden explained that the awards are the most prestigious awards given to a company in recognition of their workplace safety and health achievements.

by tim

New England forests stand at a turning point. A new study released today by the Harvard Forest reports that, following almost 200 years of natural reforestation, forest cover is declining in Vermont and all the other New England states. The authors of the Wildlands and Woodlands report, including University of Vermont forester Bill Keeton, call for conserving 70 percent of New England as forestland, a target that they say is critical to protecting vital natural benefits that would be costly, and in some cases impossible, to replace.
"This may be unprecedented," said Keeton, "it's one of the first time that forest scientists from leading institutions across the whole of New England have gotten together to share a common conservation vision for the region."

by tim

ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, greeted its millionth visitor at 2:05 p.m., on May 18, 2009. Longtime ECHO Member Linda Sanderson was welcomed with a special celebration by ECHO staff members, where she received a free, lifetime ECHO Membership, a gift package from ECHO’s Eclectic Gift Shop, and a Behind-the-Scenes Tour with Executive Director Phelan Fretz.

by tim

B&G Foods, Inc. (BGS 10.70, +0.01, +0.09%) announced today that its Board of Directors has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.17 per share of Class A common stock. The dividend will be payable on July 30, 2010 to shareholders of record as of June 30, 2010. At the closing market price of the Class A common stock on May 18, 2010, the current dividend represents an annualized yield of 6.4%. This is the twenty-third consecutive quarterly dividend declared by the Board of Directors since B&G Foods' initial public offering in October 2004.
About B&G Foods, Inc.

by tim

Governor Jim Douglas today announced changes at the Department of Banking, Securities and Health Care Administration (BISHCA). Commissioner Paulette Thabault will be leaving state government to take a position with CVS Caremark MinuteClinic and Deputy Commissioner Mike Bertrand will be appointed Commissioner of the Department.
“I want to thank Paulette for her tremendous leadership at BISHCA and her dedicated service to the people of Vermont and congratulate her on her new position,” said Governor Douglas. “She will bring her clinical nursing expertise and experience helping to lead Vermont’s innovative health care reform efforts to the largest pharmacy health care provider in the country.”

by tim

Governor Jim Douglas today announced the “Enhancing Quality of Life” grant recipients. More than $160,000 will go toward measures that will improve the quality of life for residents in Vermont nursing facilities.
“These grants will enable our high quality nursing facilities to further enhance the nursing home residents’ everyday experiences” said Governor Douglas. “I am pleased that we will be able to help our elders live better, fuller lives.”
The grants are funded from penalties collected from nursing facilities across the state over the last decade for regulatory deficiencies. By law, these funds must be directed to improve resident life in Vermont nursing facilities.

by tim

Weekly unemployment insurance claims fell for the fourth consecutive week, showing nearly 5,000 fewer regular benefit claims compared to last year at this time. For the week of May 15, 2010, there were 850 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance, a decrease of 33 from the week before. This is the third consecutive week that there was a steep drop in new claims. Altogether 11,579 new and continuing claims were filed, a decrease of 922 from a week ago and 4,758 fewer than a year earlier. The Department also processed 3,773 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 112 fewer than a week ago. In addition, there were 2,522 Second Tier claims for benefits processed under the EUC08 program, which is a decrease of 93 from the week before. The Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/.

by tim

It’s the smiling face of Walt Disney that dominates the stock certificate recently turned over to the Unclaimed Property Division of the Vermont State Treasurer’s Office. The certificate is for 147 shares of stock in the Walt Disney Company. The Treasurer’s Office hopes to locate the Vermonter who is the rightful owner of this financial property. If they do, the person will be smiling right along with Walt. The stock is valued at around $5,000.

by tim

The Vermont Public Service Board has approved new wind-power contracts for Vermont s two largest utilities. The PSB approved contracts between the utilities and Granite Reliable Wind, a 99-megawatt project in Coos County, New Hampshire. The project will include 33 three-megawatt wind towers. CVPS will purchase 30.3 percent of the output and GMP will purchase 25 percent of the output of the Granite Reliable Wind project for 20 years starting April 1, 2012. The project is expected to fulfill about 4 percent of each utility s annual energy needs.
We believe these contracts will provide an excellent blend of environmental benefits and relatively low-cost renewable energy, CVPS President Bob Young and GMP President Mary Powell said in a joint statement today. These contracts are in keeping with our historic commitment to green energy, and they extend our portfolios of renewables.

by tim

The board of directors of the Burlington law firm of Paul Frank + Collins P.C. are pleased to announce their unanimous election of S. Crocker Bennett, II to serve as firm President and CEO, effective June 7, 2010. Mr. Bennett will also serve as chairman of the firm’s Executive Management Committee where he has served as Senior Vice-President since 2002.
Mr. Bennett’s 32-year law practice focuses on the defense of physicians, hospitals and other health care providers in malpractice cases. He has attained Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating (AV) and, in 1999, was honored with Fellowship in the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Mr. Bennett has been listed in Best Lawyers in America for 15 years.

by tim

As of today, Vermont Yankee reports that the refueling and maintenance outage is in Day 24 and work activities continue to noticeably wind down. Work at the cooling towers involving the third (and final) phase of the cooling tower upgrades continue, and the safety-related section of the west tower is complete. Also complete is the replacement of service water piping to “A” Emergency Diesel Generator and the routine cleaning of the intake bays.
VY completed leak testing of tubes in the main condenser through the use of specialized “dimple” plugs, designed to identify even the smallest of leaks. The source of power for the outage was transferred to the main transformer. This allowed the next phase of work on the new Vernon Substation to commence.