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Blue Cross Vermont proposes to lower premiums in 2022

Fri, 05/07/2021 - 5:12pm -- tim

Overall premium reduction is almost -1% due to company’s cost containment initiatives

Vermont Business Magazine For the first time since the inception of the Affordable Care Act, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont can recommend a premium reduction. Compared with last year, the proposal is to lower overall health insurance premiums collected by almost one percent (-0.9%). This is the overall rate change prior to unmerging the individual and small group market.

VDH COVID-19 Update: State will take vaccinations to the people

Fri, 05/07/2021 - 4:54pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The state is expanding its vaccination efforts "to meet Vermonters where they are" in order to get as many shots in arms as possible. This includes walk-in clinics at speedways with no registration necessary to college campuses to pop-up clinics. Governor Scott noted today that Vermont will apply to the CDC to obtain more vaccine from states not taking their full allotment. Arkansas has declined its entire allotment. Vermont will get 19,230 doses next week. The state could get up to 50 percent more. As of now, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not increasing because the manufacturing facility in Baltimore is not yet back on line. As of this morning, over 65 percent of Vermont adults have received at least one dose. They expect Pfizer to receive CDC approval to administer its vaccine to children 12-15 years old next week. There are about 27,000 Vermonters in that age group. They will need parental approval. The governors said the state is on target to meet its next vaccine goal by June 1. Also, the VDH is reporting today75 new cases of COVID-19 with deaths holding at 249 statewide.

Scott appoints Riley Allen to Public Utilities Commission

Fri, 05/07/2021 - 2:56pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today announced the appointment of Riley Allen of Montpelier to serve as a member of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Allen has served as deputy commissioner of the Department of Public Service since 2017. From 2004-2008, he served as director for regulated utility planning. From 2008-2010 he served as a hearing officer and senior policy advisor to the Public Service Board (now the PUC).

Broadband assistance program announced

Fri, 05/07/2021 - 2:02pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine AARP Vermont is encouraging residents who are without access to high-speed internet, or struggling to afford it, to look into the recently launched Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. The EBB is a $3.2 billion Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program to help Americans access the affordable, high-speed internet they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bringing the DeWitt Block back to life in Brattleboro

Fri, 05/07/2021 - 1:53pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The DeWitt Block, a long-empty piece of Flat Street’s history in downtown Brattleboro, is being given a new life. Standing next to the Brattleboro Transportation Center, the former Sanel Auto Parts store was constructed over 100 years ago as a grocery warehouse and, though it has received interest from investors over the years, a good match for its potential hadn’t materialized until now.

Sanders seeks to expand and make permanent universal school meals

Fri, 05/07/2021 - 1:14pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) Friday announced legislation to expand on the success of the universal free lunch approach recently extended by the USDA, and bring long-term relief to millions of food-insecure families. The Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021 would permanently provide free breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack to all school children regardless of income, eliminate school meal debt, and strengthen local economies by incentivizing local food procurement.

Actions for Vermont’s Future is focus of May 26-27 summit

Fri, 05/07/2021 - 1:13pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Summit on the Future of Vermont on May 26-27 will bring Vermonters together virtually to consider “The Vermont Proposition” – a set of bold and transformational ideas for the state’s economy, environment and people by mid-century. The Summit is produced by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD).

Weekly unemployment claims still up, Labor dealing with fraud

Fri, 05/07/2021 - 12:38pm -- tim

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Regular weekly unemployment claims continue to grow to their highest levels this year and remain at a very high level, as claimants were required to refile based on their annual eligibility. The Vermont Department of Labor has also reverted to call-in only for new claims, as the online system has been barraged by large numbers of fraudulent filings. In addition, Commissioner Michael Harrington is urging the Legislature to change the law regarding how employers are charged to meet UI Trust Fund obligations. Employers didn't cause the pandemic and the Trust Fund is bouncing back on its own anyway without imposing higher UI rates. The law needs to change by next Friday to avoid that.

Castleton Center for Schools unveils summer 2021 course offerings

Fri, 05/07/2021 - 6:30am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Castleton Center for Schools, the region's leader in professional development for educators, is offering a broad spectrum of graduate-level courses this summer to meet the needs of pre K-12 educators and administrators. Online registration is currently open for more than 75 summer courses offered by the Center for Schools, with classes starting now through Mid-August.

Comcast launches WiFi-connected 'Lift Zones' across Vermont

Fri, 05/07/2021 - 3:27am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine As part of its ongoing commitment to help connect low-income families to the Internet so they can fully participate in educational opportunities and the digital economy, Comcast today announced it has equipped four nonprofit organizations in Vermont with WiFi-connected "Lift Zones". The free WiFi coverage provided by Comcast at these community centers is expected to help hundreds of low-income students get online and do their schoolwork.  

VDH COVID-19 Update: There are few faster places to get vaccinated than in Vermont

Thu, 05/06/2021 - 5:44pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Eight mobile clinics in Essex County and one in Caledonia County this weekend will also offer Johnson & Johnson vaccine. You can make an appointment for the events at They will also have some walk-in slots available. On Saturday, May 8, clinics will also be held at the Bear Ridge and Devils Bowl Speedways, with no appointment needed. The VDH is also reporting today 44 cases of COVID-19 and one more death for 249 statewide.