by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Weekly unemployment claims continue to hold at typical pre-pandemic summer levels, with very little fluctuation, even as we get into October. For the week of October 2, there were 333 claims, down 31 for the week and 273 fewer than this time last year. The state unemployment rate is also near its low pre-pandemic levels (3.0 percent August). For new and continuing claims, as of last week there were a total of 3,218 claims, down 244 from the week before and 15,064 fewer than last year. So far, the now-expired FPUC programs have not had a noticeable effect on the labor situation in Vermont, which remains exceedingly tight. However, nationally there appears to be some growth in the first week of October, after a dismal month of September report.
Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today announced that one of the most distinguished public servants in Vermont history, Agency of Administration Secretary Susanne Young, will be retiring next month after more than 40 years of service to the State of Vermont. Among other positions, Secretary Young has served the state as deputy treasurer and legal counsel to Governor Jim Douglas, deputy attorney general to Attorney General Bill Sorrell, and now secretary of the Agency of Administration.
Vermont Business Magazine Darn Tough Vermont, now the number one premium sock brand in the outdoor space, held a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday for neighbors, partners and friends of the brand to celebrate the opening of its new knitting facility in Waterbury. The facility has started producing its first socks, and is slated to be fully up-and-running in the first quarter of 2022. With 30,000 square feet of space customized on the mezzanine in Waterbury, Darn Tough will increase their capacity by over 35 percent.
Vermont Business Magazine No one knows better than healthcare professionals that the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic are far from over, but for University of Vermont medical students in the Class of 2025, there is a silver lining amidst the havoc wreaked by the Delta variant: They will have loved ones present when they receive their first white doctors’ coats. The UVM Larner College of Medicine is holding a traditional, in-person White Coat Ceremony on Friday, October 8, at 1 p.m. in UVM’s Ira Allen Chapel.
Vermont Business Magazine The Department of Financial Regulation (DFR), Department of Vermont Health Access, Office of the Health Care Advocate, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, MVP Health Care, and Cigna together encourage Vermonters to take advantage of consumer resources to help find alternative care if they encounter extended wait times for medical appointments.
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets We wanted to correct a mistake that went out in last week's newsletter. The article about new grants available through the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative listed the maximum award amount for the Standard Business grant as $15,000. The good news: the maximum award amount is actually $25,000!
by Jack Hoffman, Public Assets Institute Student weighting dominates a lot of discussions around Vermont school funding these days. I guess that’s what we should expect after the release of a report to the Legislature titled: “Study of Pupil Weights in Vermont’s Education Funding Formula.” But the study also raises broader questions about money and education. The weighting study examined the cost of raising educational achievement for certain categories of students: economically disadvantaged, non-native English speakers, and those attending small schools or schools in sparsely populated areas. It costs more to improve the educational outcomes for these groups of students than for students not in these categories.
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets Produce Program will provide 40 produce farms with new harvest crates, storage bins, and cleaning supplies to improve produce safety and efficiency. Farms must apply for the produce safety supply kits by Friday, October 22 at 12 PM. These produce safety supply kits will support farms in improving container cleaning and management procedures.
Vermont Business Magazine Attorney General Thomas J Donovan announced today that Jason Muxlow, 42, of Westminster, Vermont, was arraigned on October 5, 2021, on five felony counts of possession of child sexual abuse materials. According to documents filed with the court, the Vermont’s Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce (VT-ICAC) received a CyberTip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children which indicated that someone had uploaded images containing child sexual abuse material to various online platforms. After executing online and residential search warrants, the VT-ICAC subsequently seized devices containing child sexual abuse materials from Muxlow’s residence.
Vermont Business Magazine Champlain College Online (CCO) is excited to announce a new truED Alliance Partnership with Copley Hospital, greater Lamoille County, Vermont’s community hospital. Through this partnership, Copley Hospital employees and their eligible family members will now qualify for reduced tuition for more than 60 degree and certificate programs offered 100% online by the regionally accredited college.
Vermont Business Magazine Imaging Technologists at UVM Medical Center today announced that after months of organizing and bargaining, they ratified a negotiated agreement enabling them to be covered under the existing Technical Professional contract, with additional protections and improvements specific to their work. In March, technologists voted overwhelmingly to join the other 2,400 UVM Medical Center nurses and technicians who are members of Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals - AFT Vermont, the largest and fastest growing health care union in the state.
by Christine McGowan, Vermont Forest Industry Network There is just one road up the backside of Mt Holly in Okemo State Forest. Originally built in the 1980’s for forest management, the road now also supports snow machines and skiers in the winter, hikers and mountain bikers in the warmer months, and the occasional horseback rider. For decades, recreation in the area was fairly light—mostly locals who knew the road was there. And then came COVID-19. Tim Morton, state lands stewardship forester for Windsor and Windham counties, estimates the area saw a fivefold increase in recreational use during the pandemic.