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VDH: COVID cases fall back after historic weekend highs

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 3:23pm -- tim

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health on Monday reported 246 cases of COVID-19. On Sunday the VDH reported a record 643 cases. On Saturday, the VDH reported 539 cases of COVID-19, which had been the third highest total since the start of the pandemic. There were 482 cases of COVID-19 Friday. The previous record was 635 on December 1. All of the highest case numbers have occurred since November 3, 2021. The VDH also today reported no additional COVID-related deaths, which stand at 417 statewide.

HHS Secretary Mike Smith to retire

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 3:02pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today announced that Secretary of Human Services Mike Smith will retire at the end of the year, after his second stint leading the state’s largest agency. In addition to its role in the pandemic response, the Agency of Human Services oversees six state departments, twelve district offices, and a network of community partners and providers. It is responsible for the implementation and delivery of all human service programs within the state. Each department has a distinct area of focus and responsibility and contributes to the creation and sustenance of an entire system of human service supports. Deputy Human Services Secretary Jenney Samuelson will serve as interim secretary following Secretary Smith’s departure.

UVM Medical Center tightens visitor access policy

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 2:46pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The University of Vermont Medical Center is adjusting its visitation policy to reflect current COVID-19 conditions in the area and protect the health and safety of patients, staff and the community. This new policy will go into effect on Wednesday, December 8. The following policies apply to everyone entering UVM Medical Center: Masks must be worn at all times when in the building, this includes visitors who are sleeping while staying overnight. Inpatient waiting rooms are now closed. UVMMC will allow a maximum of 2 designated support people to visit per hospital stay. For adult inpatient units: Two healthy designated support people are permitted per hospital stay. Only 1 may visit per day. No visitors are permitted if patient is COVID+ or PUI unless in end of life care. Every effort will be made to facilitate remote visitation.

USDA invests $15 million in climate-smart infrastructure for rural communities in NH and VT

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 1:24pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small today announced the Department is investing $15 million to reduce the impacts of climate change on rural communities in New Hampshire and Vermont. With the enactment of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and as part of the broader Build Back Better agenda, the Biden-Harris Administration has made investing in rural communities, creating good-paying jobs and combatting the climate crisis top priorities.

CHT awarded $500,000 grant from NeighborWorks America for affordable homeownership

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 11:41am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Today the Champlain Housing Trust announced the organization received a $500,000 grant from NeighborWorks America to support its signature shared equity homeownership program. The grant, just one of two made nationwide, will support Champlain Housing Trust’s efforts to expand affordable homeownership opportunity to 40 households and keep those homes affordable for subsequent buyers over time. The program was recognized with a United Nations World Habitat Award for its ingenuity and sustainability, and was recently featured in TIME Magazine, and has delivered on its promise of many benefits.

Harsh weather could pose challenges to New England’s power system this winter

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 10:59am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Well-documented natural gas pipeline constraints, coupled with global supply chain issues related to deliveries of oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG), are placing New England’s power system at heightened risk heading into the winter season, according to ISO New England Inc., operator of the region’s power grid. The ISO expects to have the resources needed to meet consumer demand if the winter is mild, but a severe prolonged cold snap could necessitate emergency actions if power-producing resources lack access to the fuel they need to operate. NOAA is expecting a warmer than average winter. ISO New England anticipates demand for electricity will peak at 19,710 megawatts (MW) during average winter weather conditions of 10°F, and 20,349 MW if temperatures reach below average conditions of 5°F. These projections are both about 2 percent lower than last year’s forecasts. 

BSD announces community-led LGBTQ+ Task Force

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 10:55am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Burlington School District (BSD) invites students, staff, family members, and members of the greater Burlington community to apply to be a member of BSD’s LGBTQ+ Task Force. The group will meet biweekly beginning in January 2022 to better understand the District’s strengths and areas for improvement in supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and create and implement a set of recommendations that will inform actions in the District’s new strategic plan. Applications to join the Task Force are being accepted now. 

Molly Gray to run for Congress

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 8:38am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Today, Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray (D) announced her campaign to represent Vermont in the US House of Representatives. Congressman Peter Welch (D) previously announced he would seek the US Senate seat of retiring Patrick Leahy (D). Gray is the first declared candidate for the state's lone seat in the House.

$6.1 Million in Funding for Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center to Benefit Farms and Processors

Mon, 12/06/2021 - 4:30am -- tim

Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets hosts the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC), which serves dairy businesses in the ten-state Northeast region. We are excited to announce the center's third round of funding through the USDA Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives (DBII) program. This $6,133,333 award allows the NE-DBIC to keep investing in catalytic projects that advance community- and climate-forward dairy production across the region and right here in Vermont.  

VDH: Vermont sets another one-day record with 643 COVID-19 cases

Sun, 12/05/2021 - 9:56pm -- tim

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health on Sunday reported that the state set another one-day record for COVID-19 cases with 643. Case counts were especially high in Rutland County, with 97, and Windsor County, with 80. On Saturday, the VDH reported 539 cases of COVID-19, which had been the third highest total since the start of the pandemic. There were 482 cases of COVID-19 Friday. The previous record was 635 on December 1.

Comments of Senator Patrick Leahy on the Passing of Senator Bob Dole

Sun, 12/05/2021 - 9:37pm -- tim

Senator Patrick Leahy “Bob Dole was a giant of the Senate. I remember the large number of Republican and Democratic Senators gathering on the Floor to praise him when he stepped down from the Senate. Traveling with him, working with him and writing legislation with him are among my fondest memories of the Senate. Marcelle and I were honored to be with him when he received the Congressional Gold Medal and I was humbled to be asked to speak along with Senator Pat Roberts about Senator Dole. Marcelle and I send sincere condolences to his wonderful wife Elizabeth.”