by Julie Moore, Secretary, Agency of Natural ResourcesThe Legislature’s Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) has been a centerpiece of the legislative session. It has become something of a rallying cry, an outlet even, for our collective concern and well-founded worry about our changing climate. Legislators have presented this bill as solving the climate crisis. Sadly, the bill provides little in the way of solutions.
Vermont Business Magazine How are Vermonters feeling about the upcoming national and local elections, the state’s handling of the coronavirus, and the reopening of schools and universities this fall? Next week, VPR and Vermont PBS will release the results of the third of three statewide public opinion surveys, providing valuable insight into the minds of Vermonters in the 2020 presidential election year.
Vermont Business Magazine Green Mountain Power is reaching out to customers to let them know they could qualify for free money from the State of Vermont that can help pay overdue utility bills tied to the pandemic. More than 23,000 GMP customers have balances older than 60 days for service after the pandemic began – mostly residential customers. Many utilities have voiced concern that the historic unemployment is resulting in crushing customer debt. At the beginning of the pandemic, Vermont instituted a moratorium on disconnects. Lawmakers created the Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance program using $8 million in federal COVID relief funds to help Vermonters pay overdue electric, telephone, water, and natural gas balances at least 60 days overdue that were caused by the pandemic.
Vermont Business Magazine Burlington School District Superintendent Tom Flanagan issued a letter to the community Wednesday evening that because of PCBs in the air, which had closed Burlington High School and Burlington Technical Center earlier this week, that in-person learning will not return to BHS or BTC without further diagnosing and mitigating the issue of PCB’s in the air. Beginning immediately, the school will be closed to any personnel non-essential to the testing, mitigation, or maintenance processes for at least the duration of this semester.
Vermont Business Magazine The only company in the world selling leaves – and the only company in the world selling leaf themed items. Hailing the magnificence of what the state itself calls the world’s best foliage. Founded in 2015, Vermont Leaf Company phoenix-ed from its old website September 1st with an all new expression; a significantly expanded product offering of distinguished leaf themed items (from pasta to apparel); celebrating Vermont leaves across all four seasons.
Vermont Business Magazine Hergenrother Realty Group, based in South Burlington, was recognized in the top 500 of the Inc. 5000 for 2020 with 1,038% growth in just three years. The Inc. 5000 list is the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses.
Vermont Business Magazine Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc (RISI), a Hartland, Vermont-based social enterprise advancing inclusive economic development in rural America, on Wednesday announced that two rural communities from across their Rural Innovation Initiative have secured Venture Challenge grants via the US Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Build to Scale (B2S) program. The two successful grant applications came from Waterville, Maine and Platteville, Wisconsin. The value of the grants is nearly $2.3 million.
Vermont Business Magazine Driving electric now costs less and is more convenient with Green Mountain Power’s (GMP) two new discounted charging rates. The new off-peak EV rates approved by regulators are more than 20 percent less than traditional residential power rates, making charging up an EV, on average, equivalent to paying about $1 per gallon of gas. The rates are designed to help reduce costs for all GMP customers. Transportation is the number one cause of carbon emissions in Vermont.
by Olivia Campbell-Andersen, Executive Director, Renewable Energy Vermont In the wake of this summer’s rolling blackouts in California and now devastating wildfires, the commentary by Mr John McClaughry of the Ethan Allen Institute not only denied the existence of the climate crisis, but falsely blamed renewable electricity – wind, solar, and hydro - for the power outages. In fact, to create an energy supply that will be resilient in the face of climate change, California and Vermont alike must hurry up and build a robust array of renewable energy and storage resources.
Vermont Business Magazine The Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions (AVCC) will hold its Annual Summit, Conservation in the Time of COVID-19, as an online series beginning on September 23. The program will consist of four Zoom sessions and a keynote address by Paul Costello, Executive Director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD).Virtual sessions will explore how conservation commissions have adapted to get work done during the pandemic; the value of town forests in a time of social distancing; perspectives on land access, equity, and conservation; and the impact of agriculture on water quality in Vermont. Each session will take place at noon on Wednesdays through early November, via Zoom.
Vermont Business Magazine Artist Rob Mullen began the Long Trail Painting Expedition in support of the Vermont Wildlife Coalition Wednesday. The Expedition will see Mullen hike the 272-mile path over the next four weeks, allowing three weeks to hike and one week to paint (about 10 miles/day, plus painting). No stranger to art expeditions, Mullen has spent years exploring and painting uninhabited regions of Alaska and Canada. Indeed, Mullen is perhaps best well known in Vermont for painting a bear that was charging at him on a remote river in Alaska. With COVID-19 upending Mullen’s 2020 expedition plans to the “Barrenlands” of the Northwest Territories, the artist decided to stick closer to home and hike and paint the length of the state.
Vermont Business Magazine September is National Preparedness Month, a good time to make sure we’re ready in case of an emergency or disaster. The coronavirus pandemic puts into perspective just how unpredictable disasters are and how far-reaching their impact can be. If you don’t have a supplies kit, it’s a good time to make one — including food, water and other essential items to last for several days. Consider your family’s unique needs, such as medications or supplies for pets.