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USDA reports on New England acreage, Vermont tops in corn, hay

Sat, 07/02/2022 - 4:33pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The US Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimated 178 thousand acres of corn planted for all purposes in New England for 2021, up 6% from last year’s acreage of 168 thousand acres. Vermont corn planted for all purposes in 2022 is estimated at 90 thousand acres, up 6% from 2021; growers expect to harvest 165 thousand acres of hay, up 3% from 2021 acreage of 160 thousand acres.

Saint Michael's College This Week

Sat, 07/02/2022 - 1:21pm -- tim

Saint Michael's College A welcome summer tradition of recent years before the pandemic has been near-weekly gatherings down on the Farm at Saint Michael's for "Salad Days." All members of the campus community are welcome, typically on Wednesdays, for these occasions to showcase fresh produce that the Farm and its student workers produce, all while building community over salad and bread. There are approximately 25 summer research projects to be conducted on campus this summer. The Saint Michael's Playhouse celebrated a joyful milestone moment that was an emblem of perseverance and faith after two years of canceled seasons due to the pandemic: "Into the Breeches!" runs through July 9.

Let’s Grow Kids Action Network launches Vote Child Care Fund PAC

Sat, 07/02/2022 - 9:26am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Let’s Grow Kids Action Network announced the launch of the Vote Child Care Fund  Political Action Committee. The Vote Child Care Fund was created to support candidates who prioritize passing laws that aim to transform Vermont’s child care system. The Vote Child Care Fund is a separate segregated fund of Let’s Grow Kids Action Network which is a 501(c)(4) organization building the political will necessary to pass laws that fund and sustain a high-quality, affordable child care system. 

Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation’s Morrisville office to close August 1

Sat, 07/02/2022 - 5:11am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine In response to reduced on-site visitation by the public beginning long before the pandemic, the Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation (FPR) will be closing the Morrisville office at 29 Sunset Drive, Suite 1 in Morrisville, on August 1, 2022. This change will support enhanced coordination among staff within the Agency of Natural Resources, reduce the Department’s footprint, and allow reallocation of resources, ultimately improving FPR’s ability to serve private forestland owners. 

Emergency service officials offer a few friendly safety tips for the Fourth of July holiday

Sat, 07/02/2022 - 3:45am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Fourth of July Holiday brings together friends and family for barbeques, camping and fireworks. The Division of Fire Safety and your local emergency service personnel want everyone to have a safe holiday season by following a few seasonal safety tips. In Vermont, it is illegal to purchase, possess, transport, store or discharge fireworks without first obtaining a local permit from your municipality. Novelty type devices such as sparklers, snakes, party poppers, glow worms, smoke devices, string poppers, snappers, or drop pop with no more than 0.25 grains of explosive mixture can be purchased without a permit but should only be used by children under close adult supervision. Nationally, the 4th of July holiday is when emergency services experience a large spike in firework related injuries.

Vermont State Police celebrates 75th anniversary

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 5:12pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont State Police on Friday, July 1, will mark the 75th anniversary of the agency’s creation, a watershed moment that arose from tragedy and laid the groundwork for a proud legacy of dedicated service across generations. State leaders established the Vermont State Police on July 1, 1947, in the aftermath of the disappearance of Paula Jean Welden, an 18-year-old Bennington College student who vanished the year before. When local officials were unsuccessful in pursuing the case, they called in state police investigators from Connecticut and New York — because Vermont had no similar agency. The case, which remains unsolved, rallied Vermonters and their political leadership to finally launch the Vermont State Police after many years of hesitation and debate.

AG announces $1.6M settlement with McDonald's franchisee over workplace sexual harassment

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 4:21pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Attorney General’s Office and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced the approval of a settlement in Vermont’s first-ever joint state/federal employment discrimination lawsuit. The settlement requires Coughlin, Inc, a McDonald’s restaurant franchisee, to pay $1.6 million in damages and state penalties and substantially reform its business practices under a five-year consent decree. Friday’s announcement marks the largest public sexual harassment settlement in the history of the Attorney General’s Office and one of the largest reported employment discrimination settlements in Vermont.   

New state law requires farmers to report surface water usage for 2022

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 4:21pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont farmers who withdraw any surface waters ( definition:10 V.S.A. § 1002(20) ) for farming are advised to begin keeping records of irrigation events this summer if a farm does not already do so.  A new state law goes into effect today, July 1, 2022, which requires annual reporting of surface water withdrawals used for farming to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM).  The first such annual report for farmers who qualify (**see below) will be due to the VAAFM on January 15th, 2023. Vermont agriculture is the first new sector of surface water handlers to report usage of waters to the State of Vermont based on Act 135 of 2022. 

KSV joins forces with creative studio: We Ride at Dawn

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 4:12pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine KSV, a full-service marketing & advertising, women-owned, B Corporation-certified agency just powered-up with a heaping can of (organic) spinach—also known as We Ride at Dawn (WRAD), an award-winning creative content outpost specializing in outdoor, active lifestyle based out of Boulder, CO. The KSV + WRAD partnership was born out of a desire to bring decades of sustainability expertise into the outdoor space. And with the month of June recognized as Great Outdoors Month, the announcement could not come at a better time.

Berkshire first US community bank holding company with under $150B in total assets to issue a Sustainability Bond

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 3:56pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc (NYSE: BHLB) announced today the completion of the public offering and sale of its inaugural Sustainability Bond, offering $100.0 million of its 5.50% fixed-to-floating rate subordinated notes due 2032. The Notes were sold at par, resulting in $98.3 million in net proceeds, after underwriting discount and estimated offering expenses. The company intends to use an amount equal to the net proceeds to finance or refinance new or existing social and environmental projects consistent with its Sustainable Financing Framework. Berkshire is the first public U.S. community bank holding company with under $150 billion in total assets to issue a Sustainability Bond. Berkshire has branches in southwest Vermont.

UVMMC requests budget increase of 19.9% just to cover increased costs

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 12:08pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The University of Vermont Health Network is implementing a series of initiatives to help stabilize its financial condition, while continuing work to improve the patient experience and access to care in several service areas across its academic medical center, five community hospitals, children’s hospital, multi-specialty physicians group, and home health and hospice agency. The work is underway as the Network’s Vermont hospitals submit their proposed FY23 budgets to the Green Mountain Care Board, with commercial rate requests reflecting the extraordinary financial challenges being faced by hospitals nationwide. Cost increases of $142.3 million, if approved and without additional Medicare or Medicaid funding, will necessitate commercial rate increases of 19.9% for UVMMC, 14.52% for CVMC and 11.45% for Porter Hospital.

Vermont hospitals submit stabilization budgets to the GMCB for FY2023

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 11:41am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (VAHHS) today announced that its non-profit hospitals submitted what they are calling “stabilization budgets” to the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB). Hospitals continue to experience high patient volumes with many at or exceeding their capacity to deliver care. Additionally, the entire health care system is stressed, so patients are presenting sicker or in need of more services due to delayed care or must remain hospitalized because there are no care options in long term care facilities or the community. In this current fiscal year, nearly all hospitals are experiencing a negative operating margin, meaning they are losing money. In response, hospitals are engaged in strategic plans to cut costs and reduce spending where possible to protect vital services.