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Up to $100,000 available in Forest Economy Stabilization Grant Program

Fri, 08/07/2020 - 10:38am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) announced the Forest Economy Stabilization Grant Program (FESG), to provide $5 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds available to eligible forest products businesses in Vermont. FPR is working with other state agencies and the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) to deliver this program to provide economic relief to forest products businesses experiencing economic harm as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency.

Leahy hails boost to Vermont water quality funding

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 5:13pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont’s ongoing efforts to address water quality received another significant boost Thursday as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a new initiative to address New England water quality and wildlife habitat work on a regional scale.  The creation of a new Critical Conservation Area (CCA) within USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), will allow Vermont to partner with other New England states on large-scale conservation projects.

VDH COVID-19 Update: One death for 58 total, nine new cases

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 4:55pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health today is reporting that another Vermonter has died of COVID-19. The VDH generally does not reveal the location or circumstances of the deceased with respect to privacy. However, the data provided by VDH indicated that the death occurred in Franklin County. This is the second death since June 16. The last one was on July 30 in Washington County. As for total COVID-19 cases, the VDH reported nine new cases, but none in Chittenden County, which has by far the most cases. Five of the new cases were in Rutland County. There have been a total of 1,445 cases in Vermont, the fewest of any state.

DFR reaches $230,000 settlement with State Farm for underpayment to life insurance beneficiaries

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 4:13pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine On August 6, 2020, Commissioner Michael Pieciak announced the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation (DFR) entered into a settlement agreement with State Farm Insurance Company, of Illinois, for improperly calculating interest payments resulting in underpayments to over 500 life insurance policy beneficiaries. Under the terms of the settlement, State Farm will pay $204,000 as an administrative penalty and implement a corrective action plan to ensure compliance with Vermont law. The company also paid $30,347 in restitution to the affected beneficiaries.

Rewild set to plant 100,000 trees by end of 2022

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 3:45pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine This summer, 350Vermont is launching a project to plant 100,000 trees across Vermont by the end of 2022. Rewild Vermont strives to build on synergies between food justice, climate action and ecological restoration to grow healthier, more just futures for Vermont. Volunteers will plant, protect and care for an array of native and food-producing species, developing local projects that restore degraded parts of their ecosystems and provide sustenance for vulnerable members of their communities. 350VT state organizers, meanwhile, are working with partners like nurseries, conservation districts and other nonprofit organizations to secure affordable bulk seedlings and statewide support.

PC Construction earns awards for UVM STEM complex

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 3:11pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine PC Construction announced today that it was named the winner of the 2020 ENR New England Best Projects Award in the Best Higher Education/Research category for its work on The University of Vermont’s new science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Complex, which was completed in August 2019. Only 17 projects were selected from all of New England as winners within 11 categories. This is the second high-profile award PC has received this year for the UVM project; it was also honored with a national Build America Award from the Associated General Contractors (AGC) back in March.

Can Vermont’s forests help save the planet?

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 3:09pm -- tim

by Christine McGowan, Vermont Forest Industry Network Long valued for timber, recreation, wildlife habitat, and solace, Vermont’s forests are being recognized for providing another, more global, benefit: carbon storage. Situated within the largest remaining intact temperate broadleaf forest on the planet, Vermont forests are part of a critical natural resource in the fight against climate change. Biologically adept at both drawing carbon out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis, and storing carbon within their roots, trunks, and leaves, trees have an important role to play in the global effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions and ensure a healthy planet for future generations. And, thanks to a combination of growing carbon markets and some innovative thinking by Vermont’s forest industry, landowners stand to benefit from managing their forests for carbon storage.

Remote work for state employees extended through end of year

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 2:44pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Agency of Administration today announced that state employees who can telework should expect to do so at least through December 31, 2020. The majority of state employees surveyed informally by several agencies and departments about their remote work experience report that they can complete 100% of their work from home and telework provided the flexibility needed to balance childcare, work schedules and other challenges presented by the pandemic in their daily lives.

Swedish firm acquires GW Plastics for $240 million

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 1:52pm -- tim

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Nolato has signed an agreement to acquire Bethel-based GW Plastics. The company, which was founded in 1955, has annual sales of approximately $216 million (1.8 billion Swedish Krona) and an EBITA margin of around 7 percent. The acquisition price, including contingent consideration, is estimated at approximately $240 million (SEK 2 billion). GW Plastics ranked 18th on Vermont Business Magazine's Vermont 100 and was the third largest manufacturer with $183 million in 2019. 

Ocean State Job Lot distributes PPE across Northeast

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 12:18pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation has leveraged its supply chain to provide hundreds of thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment to healthcare organizations and municipalities, more than one million pounds of food to vulnerable populations, as well as thousands of cooked meals to frontline workers. Now, the Foundation is in the process of distributing more than $1.5 million worth of PPE to police and fire departments in the 142 communities where Ocean State Job Lot stores are currently, or soon-to-be, located across the Northeast. They operate two stores in Vermont, in St Johnsbury and Rutland.

Sanders introduces tax on billionaire wealth gains to provide health care for all

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 11:57am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Today, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced a 60-percent tax on the windfall wealth increases of billionaires during this pandemic in order to pay for all out-of-pocket medical expenses for every person in America for a year. The Make Billionaires Pay Act would tax the $731 billion in wealth accumulated by 467 billionaires—the richest 0.001% of America—a from March 18th until August 5th, a period in which 5.4 million Americans recently lost their health insurance and 50 million applied for unemployment insurance. The funds from this emergency tax would be used to cover all necessary healthcare expenses of the uninsured and under-insured, including prescription drugs, for one year.

RNG investment in Quebec to benefit Vermont Gas parent

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 11:48am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Quebec-based Énergir welcomes the granting of $70 million in financial assistance to support renewable natural gas (RNG) production in Québec announced by the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Jonatan Julien. Of this amount, $45 million will be used to develop eight RNG production projects that Énergir can then distribute through its gas network. A growing proportion of Énergir's customers want to green their energy consumption, and RNG consumption contributes directly to this goal. These eight projects will add value to organic materials from the agricultural, industrial and engineered landfill sectors in several regions of Quebec.  Énergir is the leading electricity distributor (Green Mountain Power) and the sole natural gas distributor (Vermont Gas Systems) in Vermont.