Current News

by tim

Two-hundred and sixty women are registered to attend the Eighth Annual Key4Women Forum featuring former healthy food entrepreneur and cookbook author Nadja Piatka. After her 20-year marriage abruptly ended, Piatka was left with debt, no job skills and two daughters to raise. With a $100 investment, she started a business in her kitchen and grew it to become an international supplier to Subway, McDonalds and Wegmans. She has appeared on Oprah, the Today Show and Canada AM. She recently overcame leukemia. She will share her story and advice on overcoming challenges to achieve your goals.
Prior to Piatka s remarks, Key will present the Achieve Award to Heather Paine, owner of Dragonfly Candles and co-owner of Candles & Creations in South Burlington. Heather was recently named to KeyBank s Key4Women National Advisory Board. The Achieve Award recognizes a successful woman business owner who is actively involved in her community.

by tim

FairPoint Communications, Inc, which provides most of Vermont's landline telephone and DSL internet services, today announced it has reached agreement on a comprehensive financial restructuring plan with creditors and will file for bankruptcy protection. The company assured the public that service will not be interrupted. The debt-for-equity deal makes the creditors the de facto owners of FairPoint, while reducing the debt service significantly. The company also said it is negotiating a deal with bond holders to further stabilize its liabilities. A bankruptcy filing has been expected since summer.

by tim

No one anticipated that the capstone event of 2009 s Lake Champlain Quadricentennial would be the closing of the Champlain Bridge, though in retrospect it was bound to happen sometime in the near future.
Anyone who had seen pictures of its rusting riveted steel, plugged roadway drains, and other deferred maintenance knew there was a chance that the 1929 metal truss bridge would have to be replaced completely. What New York State s bridge inspectors didn t know (under a signed agreement, New York had responsibility for maintaining the bridge at Crown Point while Vermont takes care of the one in the north at Rouse s Point) was what lay beneath the summer s high water levels.

by tim

In the week since New York Department of Transportation officials deemed the Champlain Bridge connecting Chimney Point, Vermont to Crown Point, New York unsafe for vehicle or pedestrian traffic, federal, state and local officials have been hard at work pinpointing and addressing the wide-range of challenges created by the bridge closure. Governor Jim Douglas today spoke with his staff via conference call from Seoul, South Korea to hear the latest update on the situation. At Governor Douglas direction, members of his cabinet have been coordinating efforts to ensure the needs of Vermonters, beyond the immediate transportation crisis, are being adequately addressed.

by tim

On their first full day in Asia, Governor Douglas and Commerce Secretary Kevin Dorn finalized plans with Jay Peak Resort President Bill Stenger and his partners, South Korean company AnC Bio Inc, to designate its new subsidiary, AnC Bio VT, LLC as an official Vermont EB-5 Regional Center Project. AnC Bio VT is now raising money for a planned new facility in Orleans County that will lead to the creation of over 200 new jobs.

by tim

Senate Finance and Senate Natural Resources will hold a joint committee meeting next Monday, October 26 to discuss potential issues around nuclear waste storage. The committee members will hear from Professor Michael Wilson regarding his evaluation of the geological suitability of the ENVY Spent Nuclear Fuel storage site in Vernon for the storage of spent nuclear fuel from the Entergy Vermont Yankee facility.
Professor Wilson's full report can be found at: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/jfo/VY%20Legislative%20Briefing/Geologic%20Is....

by tim

During Fiscal Year 2009 – VEDA’s 35th year in operation – the Vermont Economic Development Authority experienced an all-time high in loan activity, closing a staggering 315 financings totaling $94.4 million. These investments in Vermont’s manufacturing, agriculture, small business and service sectors more than doubled the $46.4 million in financings closed by the Authority during the prior year.
VEDA’s year-end figures will be presented today at the Authority’s 35th Annual Meeting in Burlington. Nationally-recognized Economist Hugh Johnson will be guest speaker at the event.
“The heightened importance of VEDA’s programs in difficult economic times was demonstrated by the Authority’s extremely high volume of lending activity during the current, deep national recession,” said Jo Bradley, VEDA’s Chief Executive Officer. “Without VEDA financing during this period, it is safe to say that many projects might never have gone forward.”

by tim

Below is the latest list of confirmed free Button Up Vermont workshops, sorted by county. These are all hosted by local committees, as part of the Button Up Vermont network. Attend a free Button Up Vermont home energy savings workshop and learn how to save money and fuel while having a more comfortable house.
Addison
Bristol and Lincoln
11/3/09
Holley Hall
7:00 PM
Sue Kavanagh and Stephen Taylor
Bristol & Lincoln Energy Committees
[email protected]
802-443-2322, 802-453-7976(h)
Caledonia
St. Johnsbury
11/3/09
Morse Center, St. J Academy
6:30 PM
Jim Wuertele or Tom Manges
St. Johnsbury Academy and Tech. Center
[email protected] [email protected]
802-748-8813, TM - 751-2312
Caledonia
Hardwick

by tim

US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a member of the veterans committee, today hailed President Barack Obama s signing of legislation establishing advanced funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs and the department s recent acceptance of the connection between Agent Orange and devastating diseases. President Obama signed legislation today providing health care funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) one year in advance to better plan and manage their facilities including the ability to hire and train the right number of staff to take care of our veterans.

by tim

Congressman Peter Welch and a coalition of House members announced a breakthrough Thursday morning in reforming the Medicare payment system to reward quality health care. At a Capitol Hill press conference, Welch and the other members outlined the deal, which will change the way Medicare pays health care providers for services from its current system focused on volume of care to a quality and value-based system. By making reimbursement rates more equitable, states like Vermont with higher quality and lower cost care are expected to benefit from the agreement.
“By rewarding quality – not quantity – of care, this agreement will save taxpayers billions of dollars and reduce costly, unnecessary procedures that fail to improve patient outcomes,” Welch said. “Reforming the current fee-for-service model is among the most critical elements of health care reform, and this breakthrough represents a significant step forward.”

by tim

Vermont Life magazine, the state publication that explores Vermont’s dynamic culture, has won three awards from an international association of regional publications. The magazine won a Silver medal in the Historic Feature category; a Bronze medal in the Most Improved Magazine category; and an Award of Merit in the General Feature category at the International Regional Magazine Association’s annual conference earlier this week in New Mexico.
“These awards really reflect on the dedication and hard work of the staff,” said Vermont Life Managing Editor Mary Hegarty Nowlan. “They have done a tremendous job in moving the publication forward, and the fact that we have been honored in the Most Improved category two years in a row shows that the changes we are making have been recognized by our peers.”

by tim

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) hailed a new Obama Administration initiative sought by Leahy that will free up some of the frozen liquidity of housing finance agencies like Vermont’s Housing Finance Agency (VHFA). State and local housing finance agencies (HFAs) like VHFA expand access to affordable housing by helping low and middle income borrowers to buy homes. They work with participating lenders to provide affordable long term fixed rate home loans. The credit and housing crisis froze access to tax exempt capital and liquidity markets for many of the HFAs, significantly limiting their ability to serve the citizens of their states and communities.

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