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VDH: COVID cases keep falling, but two more deaths for 349

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 4:15pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health is reporting that cases fell again today for the fourth straight day with 107 cases of COVID-19 (down 30 cases) after setting a pandemic record of 342 on Saturday. The VDH also today reported two additional deaths for 349 statewide. There are 55 people hospitalized (up 10 from Tuesday) with 17 in the ICU (up one). Hospitalizations are high but have been stable until today's report. Cases in the southern four counties continue to be relatively high, with a spike today in Bennington, which reported 25 cases, more than twice the number in Chittenden County.

Strength in personal income leads tax revenue results

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 3:02pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine State tax revenue collections for the month of September indicate that the General Fund, Transportation Fund, and Education Fund receipts were a combined $274.5 million, or 3.9 percent above monthly consensus expectations. However, while the vital personal income tax showed strong results in September for the General Fund, weakness in sales tax receipts led to a negative result in the Education Fund. The fuel tax receipts were also below expectations, but that result was offset by strong motor vehicle sales in the Transportation Fund. In August 2021, the consensus revenue expectations were upgraded substantially for fiscal year 2022 as compared to the January 2021 forecast.

Union Bankshares reports earnings, declares quarterly dividend

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 2:23pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Union Bankshares, Inc today announced results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021 and declared a regular quarterly cash dividend. Consolidated net income for the three months ended September 30, 2021 was $3.9 million, or $0.87 per share, compared to $4.1 million, or $0.92 per share, for the same period in 2020 and $9.8 million, or $2.18 per share, for the nine months ended September 30, 2021, compared to $9.0 million, or $2.01 per share, for the same period in 2020. The Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of $0.33 per share for the quarter payable November 4, 2021 to shareholders of record as of October 30, 2021.

UVMHN and MVP announce new Medicare Advantage Plan

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 1:12pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The University of Vermont Health Network (UVMHN) and MVP Health Care (MVP) recently launched a new Medicare Advantage Plan, called UVM Health Advantage. UVM Health Advantage is the region’s first Medicare Advantage plan created in collaboration between an insurer and a provider network. The plan’s benefits have been influenced by local doctors and more than 1,100 Medicare eligible heath care consumers of Vermont and Northern New York. UVM Health Advantage is already the highest rated plan in Vermont, with 4.5 out of 5 stars by Medicare for 2022. Enrollment in the plan began October 15, with coverage starting on January 1, 2022.

Leahy secures more than $189 million for Vermont-specific projects

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 12:08pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Monday announced that more than $189 million in Congressionally Directed Spending priorities for the Green Mountain State were included in the nine appropriations bills released by the Chairman’s office on Monday. Leahy noted that these targeted projects are investments in Vermont’s future, supporting education and workforce development, new and improved infrastructure, research and development, and preservation of the state’s heritage and environment. Monday’s announcement brings the total of Leahy-secured Congressionally Directed Spending projects for Vermont to $253 million across all 12 annual Appropriations bills that fund the federal government.

Arraignment scheduled for husband as suspect in killing of Emily Ferlazzo

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 10:37am -- tim

Vermont State Police An arraignment for Joseph Ferlazzo on a charge of first-degree murder is scheduled for 10:30 am Wednesday, October 20, in the Criminal Division of Vermont Superior Court in Burlington. After agreeing to speak to investigators Tuesday afternoon, Joseph Ferlazzo told detectives that he had killed his wife early Saturday morning inside their vehicle in Bolton. The vehicle, a small bus, had been converted into a living and traveling space that Emily and Joseph Ferlazzo shared and had used to travel to Bolton late last week. The state police located and seized the bus early Tuesday morning in St. Albans.

Department of Public Safety upgrades communications with Nokia microwave system

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 10:29am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Public Safety (DPS) has upgraded its statewide public safety network in a major effort to support the mission-critical communications needs of several state agencies. The new network from Nokia provides increased speeds, more flexibility and resiliency, and higher bandwidth to support applications such as video. This network is used by the DPS to promote the detection and prevention of crime, to participate in searches for lost and missing persons, and to assist in cases of statewide or local disasters or emergencies. 

Vermont develops plan to support the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 10:17am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM), the Vermont Agency of Human Services (AHS) and the Farm First Program are proud to announce the award of an USDA Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network – State Departments of Agriculture grant.  The Agencies will collaborate with Farm First to provided expanded stress and mental health services to Vermont Farmers.  The program will build on programs of the USDA Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, Northeast of which Farm First is a partner. 

Governor Scott releases ARPA funds for home weatherization efforts

Wed, 10/20/2021 - 9:59am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott and the Department for Children and Families (DCF) announced today the approval of the use of $7.9 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to expand the Weatherization Assistance Program. Weatherization helps eligible households reduce their energy usage, lower their utility bills, and improve the comfort and safety of their homes. About $1.6 million of the additional funding will be used to provide “one-stop” comprehensive weatherization and efficiency improvements in multi-family housing. A household is eligible for no cost weatherization services if their gross household income is below 80% of the median income in their area. A family of four with an annual income of about $67,000 would be eligible in most Vermont communities.

Governor Scott: I ask Vermonters to think about personal responsibility at this point in our COVID response

Tue, 10/19/2021 - 5:31pm -- tim

Governor Phil Scott Good afternoon. Today’s briefing will focus on our weekly data update, vaccine boosters, plans for quickly vaccinating kids under 12, and use of rapid tests and contact tracing to keep kids in school. But before we dive into those updates, I want to define more clearly what I mean when I ask Vermonters to think about personal responsibility at this point in our COVID response. I see this as the key to moving forward because what we did for 15 months – before vaccines – was necessary, but is not sustainable, or good for our well-being. Specifically, I want to talk about the connection between personal responsibility and keeping those at greatest risk, meaning the oldest people in our lives, especially those with underlying conditions, out of the hospital. And how by making some easy choices, we can also help regulate case counts that can lead to hospitalizations and transition from pandemic to endemic.

VDH: COVID cases down for third day, one death for 347

Tue, 10/19/2021 - 5:23pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health today is reporting that cases fell modestly for the third straight day with 137 cases of COVID-19 (down 65 cases) after setting a pandemic record of 342 on Saturday. The three worst days for cases have all come since mid-September, as the Delta variant has taken over since early July. There may be some variability from day to day because of when cases are reported to the VDH, but the seven-day average remains high. Scott used strong language today for those who are unvaccinated. While he wasn't scolding them for not getting vaccinated, he said that anyone who was not vaccinated and then did not follow the simple health protocols (wearing a mask inside in a public place and staying home if sick, etc) is being "selfish."