Current News

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Vermont Business Magazine Attorney General Charity Clark and a bipartisan group of 52 other attorneys general today announced a nationwide, $700 million settlement of a lawsuit about Google’s anticompetitive conduct concerning the Google Play Store. Google will pay $630 million in restitution (minus the costs of administering the settlement and class counsel costs and fees) to consumers who made purchases on the Google Play Store between August 2016 and September 2023 and were harmed by Google’s anticompetitive practices. Google will pay the states an additional $70 million for costs, fees, and penalties, though the amount each state will receive has not yet been finalized. Consumers who are eligible for restitution do not have to submit a claim – they will receive automatic payments through PayPal or Venmo, or they can elect to receive a check or ACH transfer. 

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by Doug Hoffer, Vermont Auditor of Accounts As 2023 draws to an end, I want to take stock of the work my office has done over the course of the year. The mission of the office is to hold State government accountable by making sure programs are working effectively and that State government is operating efficiently. I’m happy to provide this brief summary of our efforts this year on your behalf.

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Vermont Business Magazine To meet the increasing need for improved access to mental health and substance use disorder services, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont has announced the removal of prior authorization requirements for mental health and substance use disorder treatment for in-state, in-network facilities. This prior authorization change is now in place for treatment programs across various levels of care, including inpatient, residential, partial hospital, and intensive outpatient programs. This move aligns with Blue Cross VT’s goal to improve Vermonters' access to mental health services.

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Vermont Business Magazine A nurse in Southwestern Vermont Medical Center’s (SVMC) Medical-Surgical Unit was honored this month for her positive impact on both her patients and their families. Victoria Flynn, RN was presented with a DAISY Award, recognizing the “comfort care,” dedication and advocacy on behalf of her patients and their loved ones. The DAISY Award is an international recognition program honoring clinical excellence and outstanding compassionate care provided by nurses. SVMC, a member of Dartmouth Health, selects honorees through patient, family, and co-worker nominations.

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by John McClaughry As the 2024 legislative session approaches, it’s a good time to comprehend the breadth, depth, and likely costs of the multiyear campaign to make Vermont the world’s splendid example of bold action to defeat the menace of climate change. In 2011 Governor Peter Shumlin decreed that Vermont would get 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. Curiously, the legislature never acted to establish this requirement. Why not? Several years ago a Senate bill included a ratification of Shumlin’s decree, but it was quietly jettisoned when it occurred to Senators that achieving that goal might require billions of taxpayer dollars, which might be poorly received by taxpayers.

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by Michael Del Trecco, VAHHS CEO One of my favorite things about the holiday season is having all the family together at once. This year, I’m looking forward to having both of my kids at home for the first time in four months. Both are returning from college—one a freshman, the other a junior. I have to say I may not have predicted how very happy the prospect of simply spending time all together would make me, but it’s absolutely the best holiday gift.

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Vermont Business Magazine To be a volunteer at Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports is to embody tireless dedication, strong leadership and a big heart. To strive to empower athletes with disabilities is reflected through every highly-trained instructor. The most outstanding volunteers in 2023 were Glen Torres, Andy Holt, Jay Schulz, and Ben Hamilton. Named 2023 Volunteers of the Year, these four recipients embody the traits and legacy of Jim Hutchinson, a Vermont Adaptive volunteer who left a tradition of empowering people of all abilities through sports and recreation as well as a commitment toward supporting the organization.

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Vermont Business Magazine SERVPRO of Bennington and Rutland Counties delivered a $9,000 donation to the Dartmouth Health Cancer Center at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) last month — the culmination of a three-year, $25,000 commitment. Owners Johnny Flood and Ariana Flood presented the donation to SVMC’s President and CEO Tom Dee in November. The donation, raised during SERVPRO’s annual Charity Golf Tournament, is part of a three-year commitment of $25,000 to Vision 2020, A Decade of Transformation capital campaign. 

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Vermont Business Magazine HomeShare Vermont has expanded to the Northeast Kingdom, creating more opportunities for Vermonters to access homesharing.  As a result of the expansion, HomeShare Vermont will now serve Hardwick, Craftsbury, and Greensboro. The nonprofit is bringing its more than 40 years of experience in matching hosts and guests for unique and fulfilling living opportunities to the Northeast Kingdom. This expansion follows a recent partnership with the Thompson Senior Center in Woodstock. HomeShare Vermont’s extensive matching process considers individual’s needs, interests and lifestyles for hosts and guests seeking services.

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Vermont Business Magazine The Attorney General’s Office announced that Dylan Gratton, 40, of Fairfax, Vermont, was arraigned Monday on five felony and three misdemeanor counts of Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material, and one felony count of Promoting a Recording of Sexual Conduct. The charges brought against the defendant are the result of a criminal investigation, including the execution of a residential search warrant, conducted by the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (VT-ICAC), including personnel from the Attorney General’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Burlington Police Department, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, and White County Sheriff’s Office (Illinois).

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Vermont Business Magazine The American Red Cross will open a disaster shelter at the Barre Auditorium (16 Auditorium Hill) to provide safe shelter for area residents who are experiencing flooding. The shelter will open at 5 p.m. on Monday, December 18th. This is a Red Cross managed site operating in coordination with Barre City officials. The Red Cross is also working closely with local and state emergency management and government officials. We remind Vermonters to heed all transportation warnings and obey road closures. Do not drive through flooded roadways.

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by Mike Donoghue, Vermont News First A Vermont judge has issued separate rulings, including one that says the explosive lawsuit against the current Woodstock Foundation Board of Directors for claims of mismanagement and improper removal of two longtime trustees can proceed toward trial. Judge H. Dickson Corbett rejected arguments by the defendants that claimed former board leaders Ellen R.C. Pomeroy and Salvatore Iannuzzi did not have any legal standing to file the civil lawsuit in Vermont Superior Court. Corbett also rejected an unrelated effort by current trustees James S. Sligar, Michael D. Nolan, John T. Hallowell, Douglas R. Horne and David M. Simmons to have claims of defamation against them thrown out.  Pomeroy and Iannuzzi have maintained their reputations were defamed by the defendants through various words and actions, records show.