Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies This week we sat down with Paula Routly, co-founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief of the legendary Seven Days. This ex-ballerina, Middlebury College alumna, and beloved Vermonter has done it all. Tune in for Paula’s compelling career advice for young writers, thoughts on succession planning, and invaluable insights on how she has kept local journalism alive and well for nearly 30 years.
by Vermont Secretary of State Sarah Copeland Hanzas As Vermont’s Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer, it’s my job to help sustain and defend democracy – the form of government in which we the people choose our leaders and decide issues by voting. I believe that democracy must not only be defended; our participation in it must be grown, which is why I’m focused on engaging and empowering Vermonters to vote in our upcoming March 5th elections. When polls close on March 5th, we will begin tallying votes on issues as lofty as who Vermont wants to nominate to be our next president and as close to home as who will be our next school director or selectboard member.
Leonine Public Affairs Policy committees in the Vermont House worked to finalize their FY2025 budget recommendations this week. These recommendations will inform the House Appropriations Committee as they craft their FY2025 budget proposal, which needs to pass out of the committee by March 22. Policy committees were significantly more constrained this year than in recent years as they worked through their recommendations. This is because federal dollars from COVID-era programs such as ARPA and CRF have been allocated and are no longer available to support the state budget. The belt-tightening exercise comes at a time when budget pressures continue to grow and lawmakers face increasingly tough decisions on how to fund programs and services. Housing, public safety, health care, workforce and environmental protection are some of the areas legislators are working to fund.
Vermont Business Magazine Starting next Wednesday, dairy producers will be able to enroll for 2024 Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC), an important safety net program offered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides producers with price support to help offset milk and feed price differences. This year’s DMC signup begins Feb. 28, 2024, and ends April 29, 2024. For those who sign up for 2024 DMC coverage, payments may begin as soon as March 4, 2024, for any payments that triggered in January 2024. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) has revised the regulations for DMC to allow eligible dairy operations to make a one-time adjustment to established production history.
Vermont Business Magazine WhistlePig Whiskey has officially opened the WhistlePig Tasting Shack at the base of Stowe Mountain Resort, within Spruce Peak, Vermont’s luxury slopeside community. Building on the wildly successful WhistlePig Pavilion, New England’s premier après ski destination, the WhistlePig Tasting Shack adds a much-anticipated tasting and retail experience to this already popular slopeside destination. The WhistlePig Tasting Shack, a tiny home turned world-class tasting room, residing adjacent to the WhistlePig Pavilion, offers tastes of WhistlePig’s most sought-after whiskeys. With walk-ins welcome, visitors can enjoy a tasting experience and purchase some of the most coveted WhistlePig bottles and limited-edition merchandise.
Vermont Business Magazine Change Healthcare, which operates Vermont’s Medicaid pharmacy claims system, experienced a significant cyber security issue this week which has impacted pharmacies and providers across Vermont and New England. Optum Solutions, the parent company of Change Healthcare, is working to resolve the current service outages and continues to update the Department of Vermont Health Access. This outage is expected to continue through the weekend, and Optum has not provided a timeline for when full service will be restored. The Department has issued instructions to Medicaid enrolled pharmacies, providers, and members on how to best maintain pharmacy access while this issue is ongoing.
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont health officials announced the release of the Age Strong VT 10-Year Action Plan, a comprehensive roadmap designed to address the evolving needs of Vermont's aging population. This strategic plan, titled "Age Strong VT: A Vision for the Future," is the result of extensive public input. Vermont's older population is our fastest growing age group. By 2030, one in three of us will be over the age of 60. As the state grapples with changing demographics, the Age Strong VT 10-Year Action Plan emerges as a vital tool, fostering optimism and providing a platform to prepare and build on the state's resiliency and strengths.
Vermont Business Magazine The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is taking the first step to address chloride pollution in the Sunnyside Brook in Colchester, Vermont by establishing a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan. This small brook routinely exceeds critical levels of chloride, due to an influx of road salt and other contaminants. A TMDL will set the target for the highest amount of salt that can enter the stream while staying below critical levels of chloride. This will be the first TMDL established for chloride in Vermont. DEC will hold a public meeting about the TMDL plan for Sunnyside Brook. Members of the public are welcome to attend in person or remotely.
Vermont Business Magazine The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that on February 22, 2024, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Brandon Anderson, 34, of Greenwood, Indiana, with two counts of impersonation of an officer or employee of the United States and one count of making a false statement to a department or agency of the United States. Anderson entered a plea of not guilty to the charges during an arraignment on February 23, 2024, before United States Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle. Following his arraignment, Anderson remained on pretrial supervision subject to conditions of release. According to court records, Anderson, while wearing a tactical uniform with black body armor and a holstered firearm, impersonated a federal law enforcement official on two occasions.
Vermont Business Magazine The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that on February 22, 2024, Scott Remick, 48, of Shoreham, Vermont, was sentenced in United States District Court in Burlington, Vermont, to serve 80 months in prison after his guilty plea to one count of receipt of child pornography (also known as child sexual abuse material, or CSAM). United States District Judge Christina Reiss also ordered Remick to serve a 14-year term of supervised release and to pay two assessments: $5,000 pursuant to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, and $5,000 pursuant to the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018.
Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today announced that he has appointed Kate T. Gallagher, of Williston, as a superior court judge. Gallagher has worked for the State of Vermont for almost 20 years, serving in the Civil Division of the Vermont Attorney General’s Office and as Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Human Resources. Before her work in Vermont, she was a partner in private practice in New Jersey, focusing on commercial litigation, products liability, and personal injury defense.
Vermont Business Magazine NEK Broadband has successfully taken another step forward in offering truly high-speed internet to the Kingdom. In February, 182 new homes and businesses along all or part of 16 roads in Concord and Lunenburg became able to connect to this reliable fiber optic network to meet educational, social, business and other personal goals. All or part of 16 roads now have access to NEK Broadband internet. In some areas there are technical reasons that we can’t complete an entire road at the same time. Service will become available in the future to areas of these roads that have utility poles but are not yet connected to our network.