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Vermont State Police makes arrests in connection with St Johnsbury homicide

Thu, 01/19/2023 - 3:09am -- tim

The Vermont State Police on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, arrested four suspects in connection with the fatal shooting last month of Israel Jimenez Lugo, 49, at the St. Johnsbury apartment house where he lived. VSP was assisted by the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations during the arrests. According to court papers prepared by investigators, the four suspects are alleged to have been involved with buying and selling illegal drugs and participated in a plan to rob Jimenez Lugo. During the commission of the robbery, which took place overnight Dec. 13-14, 2022, Rafael Rodriguez fatally shot Jimenez Lugo.

Green Mountain Conservation Camps registration is open

Thu, 01/19/2023 - 2:17am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine If you are 12 to 14 years old and want to learn about Vermont's wildlife and gain outdoor skills, consider attending one of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department's Green Mountain Conservation Camps this summer.  If you are a GMCC alum,16 or younger, consider coming back for another summer. The one-week camp programs are held at Lake Bomoseen in Castleton and Buck Lake in Woodbury. Campers participate in hands-on learning about fish and wildlife conservation, ecology, forestry, orienteering, safe firearm and archery techniques, swimming, canoeing, fishing and more.  Natural resource professionals come to the camp to share information on their programs and take campers out for field activities.

Sanders delivers 'State of the Working Class' speech

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 5:08pm -- tim

Senator Bernie Sanders As we enter the new year, as Congress begins its legislative session next week, and as we have just finished celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the great fighters for justice in our nation’s history, it is appropriate that we ask two very simple questions. One: What is everyday life like today for the vast majority of our people – the working class of this country, the middle class and lower income Americans? What are the pains, struggles, and the hopes that they are striving for? And secondly, what is Congress going to do to improve life for working families? In the year 2023, amidst an explosion of technology, massive wealth creation and transformational economic change, how can we make certain that all Americans have the decent standard of living to which they are entitled? Is this a utopian idea? Is this pie in the sky or can we actually accomplish it? I think we can.

DOC reports death of incarcerated individual at UVMMC

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 4:57pm -- tim

The Vermont Department of Corrections (DOC) is conducting internal administrative and medical reviews following the death of an incarcerated individual on Tuesday. Shawn Gero-Drew, 29, died Tuesday morning at the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC) after DOC staff found Mr. Gero-Drew unresponsive in his cell at Northwest State Correctional Facility (NWSCF) in Swanton, Vt., on Monday evening. DOC and medical staff began life-saving efforts and immediately called for outside medical assistance. Emergency services transported Mr. Gero-Drew to Northwest Medical Center via ambulance. Mr. Gero-Drew was subsequently transferred to UVMMC, where he died Tuesday morning. The official cause of death will be determined by the Vermont State Medical Examiner but is suspected to be suicide at this time. 

Central VT Habitat for Humanity receives $10,000 donation from Kohl’s

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 4:35pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine “We are deeply blessed by the gracious support we have received from Kohl’s. To have been only 1 of more than 150 organizations nationwide to have received support from Kohl’s A Community with Heart program is a strong affirmation of the positive and important work we are doing to provide affordable homeownership opportunities to income sensitive people in Central VT. We will use this $10,000 donation to purchase materials and equipment to help construct a side by side townhouse style duplex in Randolph."

Captive insurance growth in Vermont remains strong

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 4:29pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Captive Insurance Association is hosting “Captive Insurance Day” today at the Statehouse to highlight the continued success of the captive insurance industry in the state after another banner year in 2022. The State of Vermont licensed 41 new captive insurance companies in 2022. Vermont is now home to 639 licensed captives, consisting of 608 active and 31 dormant captives. Vermont’s 59 sponsored cell captives currently host over 500 cells and separate accounts, in addition to the licensed captive companies. The growth in captive formations in 2022 is Vermont’s 6th highest year of growth in its over 40-year history since passing captive-enabling legislation in 1981.

Sanders calls on Starbucks CEO to end 'ruthless union busting campaign'

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 4:12pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Following up on a previous letter sent in October of last year, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), the incoming chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, on Wednesday sent a letter to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz calling for the company to once and for all end its egregious union busting campaign against its own workers in stores across the country.

Homelessness Awareness Day events January 19

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 10:40am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness (VCEH), alongside Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition, Vermont Interfaith Action, and Chittenden County Homeless Alliance, is planning the upcoming 2023 Homelessness Awareness Day in which we as shelter and service providers, various stakeholders, and community members work to raise community awareness of the homelessness issues facing the people of our state. VCEH plans to work with persons with lived experience and those working in the field to provide testimony to the house and senate committees at the State House in Montpelier on the morning of January 19, 2023. There will be a visual element and an in-person element at the statehouse drawing lawmakers' and local Montpelier citizens' attention to the issues we face.

Opportunity for Vermont businesses to vend at the 2023 Big E now open

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 10:36am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) is now requesting applications from Vermont businesses interested in vending inside the Vermont Building at the 2023 Big E! The Vermont Building is one of six New England buildings on the Avenue of the States at the Big E, a 17-day fair and exposition that takes place each September in West Springfield, MA. 

Grewal: Establishing Vermont State University as a catalyst for rural transformation

Wed, 01/18/2023 - 10:33am -- tim

by Parwidner Grewal, PhD, President, Vermont State University We have completed the fall semester at all three institutions that will become Vermont State University in July of 2023. During the fall semester of 2022, we have already completed some key elements on our strategic vision, such as program array optimization, new general education connections program, and lowering tuition by 15% for in-state students and 33% for out-of-state students entering in the Fall of 2023. This is possible because of the Governor’s vision for an education system that bridges students from high school to career readiness, the investments in our public higher education institutions and students championed by the legislature, and the strategic direction the Vermont State Colleges System Board of Trustees is giving to our work.

Despite foreboding, tax revenues remain stronger than projected

Tue, 01/17/2023 - 5:39pm -- tim

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Economists for the Legislature and Administration met with Governor Scott and key lawmakers today to present a positive and nervous report on the state of Vermont’s tax revenues. Economists Jeff Carr (Administration) and Tom Kavet (Legislature) said in their consensus revenue reports that tax proceeds are doing well and that they have upgraded their projections for the current fiscal year (2023) and for next year. The General Fund, driven by personal and corporate taxes, should be especially strong. None of this is much of a surprise. Nor is it a surprise that the economists and everyone else is nervous that a recession could be just a little ways down the road, as the Federal Reserve Bank keeps raising rates.

Rand study estimates quality early education would cost $645 million

Tue, 01/17/2023 - 4:26pm -- tim

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine The Rand Corporation today released its legislatively mandated study on how much it would cost to fully fund quality early education for all children in Vermont and how it might be paid for. The total cost, Rand estimates, would be about $645 million per year. The gap between current public funding and what families contribute to that total is between $179 million and $279 million, depending on the subsidy levels going forward. Options to filling that gap include a new 0.9 percent payroll tax or a 2 percent increase in the sales tax; each of these options would generate about $194 million. A higher rate or other taxes would need to be raised at the higher gap level. The increase in the workforce with this early education plan is estimated to be between 600 and 2,800 workers, which at the high end is under 1 percent of the current labor force of 336,761. The Rand model assumes a mixed-delivery system, with both public and private providers.