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Free Cone Day: Ben & Jerry's joyfully announces return of its 40+ year global celebration  

Sat, 03/18/2023 - 5:24am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Ben & Jerry's thank you to fans is back. Free scoops will be handed out across the world to thank fans for their on-going support. Cones at the ready, it promises to be bigger than ever on Monday, April 3, 2023. It was springtime in Vermont on May 5, 1979 when the two cofounders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield surprised themselves outlasting a long winter in Vermont, with an average temperature below freezing all season. To celebrate their first year in business and thank the local community for their support, the co-founders decided to open the doors and scoop free ice cream. It wasn't just a taste. It wasn't just one flavor. It was all the ice cream the duo could churn out. They called it "Free Cone Day" – and just like that… an annual celebration was born.

Celebrating hardy varietals, one woman put Vermont on the map for winemaking

Sat, 03/18/2023 - 4:01am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Dotdash Meredith's FOOD & WINE announces its 2023 Drinks Innovators of the Year, recognizing nine people leading the drinks world right now with extraordinary creativity and ambition. Some, like the winemaker making exceptional wines in a climate on the very edge of where grapes can be grown, and the distiller transforming an invasive species into bourbon, are addressing climate change with creativity and verve. ​This includes Deirdre Heekin and her winery, La Garagista​ in Woodstock, Vermont. ​​Others, like South Africa’s first Black woman winemaker, and the San Diego brewer celebrating Latino culture in craft-brewing, are bringing their life experiences and stories to the table in liquid terms. 

The evolution of a chocolate truffle: Forty years at Lake Champlain Chocolates

Sat, 03/18/2023 - 3:59am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Family-owned company Lake Champlain Chocolates (LCC), known for their award-winning chocolate confections and commitment to Fair Trade ingredients, is excited to release their new Plant-Based Truffle Bars, free of palm oil, artificial ingredients, and GMOs. These vegan truffle bars offer all the creaminess of milk chocolate without the dairy. The Plant-Based Truffle Bars are available in five flavors including Cinnamon, Cold Brew Coffee, Sea Salt Caramel, Raspberry, and Peppermint. Born from a dare to do better, Jim Lampman founded Lake Champlain Chocolates, beginning the journey of making hand-rolled, creamy truffles crafted with local Vermont ingredients. Fast forward almost 40 years later, and Lake Champlain Chocolates' truffle-making is still going strong and has evolved to include plant-based truffle bars that everyone can enjoy.

VDH: COVID cases, hospitalizations fall

Fri, 03/17/2023 - 5:21pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health reported March 15, 2023, that COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations were down from last week. COVID-19 activity remains in the "Low" range, according to the VDH. Hospitalizations decreased by 9 cases to 34 last week (they were as low as 30 last fall). Total cases fell to 311 (from 346). There were 3 COVID-related deaths in the last week for a pandemic total of 932 as of March 11. Of the total deaths to date, 739 have been of Vermonters 70 or older. There have been 3 deaths of Vermonters under 30 since the beginning of the pandemic. There were 28 deaths in February; there were 24 in January, as data was adjusted based on more information. Only 2 deaths have been reported so far in March. Deaths are not spiking this winter as they have the previous two.

SVHC introduces real estate developer for former college campus

Fri, 03/17/2023 - 3:38pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) announced they have entered into a purchase and sale agreement of the former Southern Vermont College (SVC) campus to Alfred Weissman Real Estate, LLC (AWRE) in a press conference this morning at the historic Everett Mansion. The real estate agreement between Harrison, NY-based AWRE and SVHC is for the acquisition of the former college campus, including the Everett Mansion, dormitories, gymnasium, soccer field, and 366 acres. SVHC will retain the lower baseball field consisting of five acres. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Vermont Senate gives final approval to S37, abortion and gender-affirming 'shield bill'

Fri, 03/17/2023 - 3:22pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Today the Vermont Senate gave final approval to S37, known as the “shield bill,” which would provide protections to patients and providers who administer or receive reproductive and gender-affirming care in Vermont. The bill will now move to the House for further consideration. This bill would safeguard providers who provide abortion care and gender-affirming care, prevent insurance companies from raising rates for providers who provide abortion care and require pregnancy centers to adhere to Vermont’s consumer protection laws meant to protect patients from deceptive advertising.

Youth Lobby calls on lawmakers to pass carbon reduction bill

Fri, 03/17/2023 - 3:12pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Today, young Vermonters from Youth Lobby, the Sierra Club, and Sunrise Chittenden left their schools for the Vermont Youth Lobby Day at the State House. The event was organized to demand climate action and a brighter future for Vermont. During the day, the youth activists had the opportunity to meet with their representatives, Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman, and the Climate Solutions Caucus to express their concerns and advocate for solutions to the climate crisis. In particular, young Vermonters are calling on their legislators to pass S.5, the Affordable Heat Act. The event also featured a press conference, where the young activists shared their stories and urged policymakers to make bold, equitable action to protect the planet in line with Vermont’s 2021 Climate Action Plan.

Governor appoints Melanie Carpenter to Lamoille-2 House seat

Fri, 03/17/2023 - 1:30pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today announced that he has appointed Melanie Carpenter, of Hyde Park, to the vacant Lamoille-2 seat in the House of Representatives. Carpenter replaces former Democratic Representative Kate Donnally, who resigned last month. By tradition the governor appoints a person of the same party to fill a vacated seat. Carpenter currently owns and operates Zack Woods Herb Farm in Hyde Park, where she employs many local Vermonters. She previously served as principal of Stowe Middle School from 2008 to 2013. She was also a 7th and 8th grade teacher and literacy specialist at Peoples Academy Middle School in Morrisville from 2000 to 2008.

Governor Scott announces departure of Education Secretary Dan French

Fri, 03/17/2023 - 1:11pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today announced that Secretary Dan French will be leaving his job leading the Vermont Agency of Education next month to take a senior leadership role at the Council of Chief State School Officers. Secretary French has served Vermont and its students for years, first as a high school social studies teacher, then a K-12 principal. He served over a decade as a superintendent first in Canaan, Vt. and then for the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union from 2007-2016, where he was recognized as Superintendent of the Year in 2009. He also served as president of the Vermont Superintendents Association.

Pew: Record state budget reserves buffer against mounting fiscal threats

Fri, 03/17/2023 - 12:13pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Since the start of the pandemic, higher-than-forecasted revenue and historic levels of federal COVID-19 aid helped spur widespread growth in states’ rainy day funds and end-of-year balances. A new report by PEW has found that after an early pandemic decline in rainy day fund balances, states reported that their combined savings reached a record $134.5 billion by the start of fiscal 2023 - and amid widespread, multiyear budget surpluses, states also reported the largest-ever annual increase in leftover general fund budget dollars. Rainy day funds, also known as budget stabilization funds, hit all-time highs in 37 states by the end of fiscal 2022—the most in at least 23 years. A smaller number of states (17) reached the highest number of days they could run government operations using rainy day funds alone, due largely to a historic spike in annual spending levels during the same time. Vermont finished in the middle of the pack with 41.5 days in reserve; the US median is 42.3 days.

Welch presses USDA secretary to support Vermont farmers now: 'The Clock is Ticking'

Fri, 03/17/2023 - 11:54am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine In a Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee Hearing held today, US Senator Peter Welch (D-Vermont) urged United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to support Vermont farmers, producers, and small businesses. Welch, who chairs the Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy, outlined several of his Farm Bill priorities, including supporting Vermont’s organic dairy farmers, expanding rural broadband access, protecting forests from invasive species, and broadening the reach of rural energy assistance programs. 

PC Construction wins national AGC Build America Award for One Spruce Peak 

Fri, 03/17/2023 - 5:25am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine This week, PC Construction accepted a national Build America Award from the Associated General Contractors of America for One Spruce Peak, a residential mountain retreat at the base of Stowe Mountain Resort built in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The $46.5 million, six-story, 125,000-square-foot facility includes 27 ski-in/ski-out residences, townhomes, and penthouses. Units feature in-residence elevators, spacious balconies with mountain views, sweeping floor-to-ceiling windows, and best-in-class materials and finishes.