Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) has announced that the pilot winter recreation program in the Perry Hill Block within CC Putnam State Forest in Waterbury will continue through winter 2023. The program aims to reduce negative impacts from winter trail use to an important deer wintering area while providing an enjoyable and popular winter recreational experience for the public. The pilot program, begun in 2021 in partnership with the town of Waterbury and the Waterbury Area Trails Alliance (WATA), establishes two use zones at Perry Hill: a designated winter recreation zone and a designated deer wintering zone. Groomed fat biking, snow shoeing, and cross-country skiing are allowed on select trails in the winter recreation zone, with particular attention given to providing favorable trail conditions for all uses. Trail use is not allowed in the deer wintering zone, although dispersed pedestrian recreation is not restricted.
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont-based Bullrock Renewables, having already developed more than 130 megawatts of solar projects, announced the formation of a joint venture with Missouri-based NXTGenREA and New York-based Delaware River Solar to construct, own and operate 250 megawatts of solar projects throughout New York State by 2025. The three companies will develop, construct and own one of the largest community solar portfolios in the US.
Lake Champlain Committee The $37.8 billion Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022 was passed overwhelmingly by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Biden in December. WRDA is biennial legislation that authorizes flood control, navigation, and ecosystem restoration projects for the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE). With a $37.8 billion budget, the 2022 version is the largest WRDA in history. In addition to providing authorization for the ACOE to undertake water resources infrastructure projects to address flooding, water transportation, and ecosystem restoration, the bill includes provisions to support underserved communities and address climate change. WRDA aims to strengthen water restoration, waterway resiliency, invasive species management, and emergency flood protection by channeling more funds and resources to the ACOE for risk management studies and new projects. Key provisions that will help Lake Champlain are outlined below.
Vermont Business Magazine The National Weather Service is warning of extremely cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills on Friday and Saturday (February 3-4). These temperatures have the potential to pose a danger to health and property. A Wind Chill Watch is in effect from late Thursday night to Saturday evening. Wind chill values could reach as low as 30 to 45 degrees (F) below zero. Burlington has already announced that it will open warm shelters Thursday to Saturday. The Vermont Agency of Human Services, community organizations and municipalities are working to expand daytime and overnight shelter options for people experiencing homelessness during the coldest hours this weekend. Vermonters in need of heating assistance or shelter can call 2-1-1.
Vermont Business Magazine The Burlington Electric Department (BED) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 300 made a statement in response to a legislative proposal supported by Renewable Energy Vermont and announced today at a press conference organized by REV in Montpelier: "The REV proposal attempts to phase out the eligibility of the McNeil Generating Station wood chip plant to count toward Vermont’s renewable energy targets. On behalf of BED and the members of the IBEW unionized workforce at McNeil, we oppose the REV proposal in the strongest possible terms."
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Chamber of Commerce’s annual Vermont Economic Conference made its in-person return with over 200 business and policy leaders gathering at the University of Vermont Dudley H. Davis Center for an in-depth look at national, global, and state perspectives on the economy as well as the latest economic indicators for business growth. Two keynote speakers headlined the conference, Gus Faucher, Senior Vice President, and Chief Economist for PNC Financial Services Group, and Eva McKend, National Political Reporter for CNN. Faucher is a returning favorite at the Vermont Economic Conference, he provided his signature address, entitled, “National Economic Trends: Balancing Inflation, Consumer Spending, and Employment.”
Vermont Business Magazine The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) announces two grants for dairy processors, totaling a $13 million investment in the region. This much-needed investment comes at a time when the conventional and organic dairy sectors are facing extreme pressures, from skyrocketing feed and transportation costs to continuing supply-chain disruptions, to limited processing infrastructure in the Northeast. Dairy processors play a vital role in the health of our regional economy, and increasing our regional processing capacity paves the way toward stabilizing the dairy sector.
Vermont Business Magazine A decade ago, there were close to 300 active distilleries in the United States; that number has since increased exponentially. Today, according to the American Craft Spirits Association, there are almost 2,700 distilleries across the US, most of them producing whiskies or planning to in the future. That's a lot of whiskey. With so many distilleries, how do you know who's producing great whiskey, who's doing something interesting, and how you can actually get hold of that whiskey from smaller or regionally focused producers? Several years back, industry insiders Nora Ganley-Roper and Adam Polonski realized that this was a challenge they wanted to tackle. In October 2020, they launched Lost Lantern in Weybridge, Vermont, modeled on Scotland's long tradition of Independent Bottlers.
Vermont Business Magazine Mayor Miro Weinberger on Tuesday provided an update on the ongoing work to ensure that the practice of voluntary extra duty overtime for police officers and other personnel of the Burlington Police Department best supports the City’s broad public safety goals and priorities. “Generally, our practice of allowing voluntary extra-duty police service agreements for special events provides broad public safety benefits, and at no cost to taxpayers. However, I agree with many who have shared their concerns that the recent contract with a private condo association is problematic. This specific off-duty detail was unique, not consistent with City policy we negotiated in 2018, and will not continue. Of much greater concern is that any neighborhood in the City feels that they need to pay out of pocket for basic public safety services."
The Vermont State Police is investigating the death of a man following a fight that occurred at a school basketball game Tuesday night, January 31, 2023, in the town of Alburgh. State police were called at 6:56 pm to the Alburgh Community Education Center, 45 Champlain St, for a report of a large fight involving multiple spectators during a 7th-8th grade boys basketball game between Alburgh and St Albans. The melee ended before troopers arrived on scene, and some participants had departed the school. One of those individuals, Russell Giroux, 60, of Alburgh, subsequently sought medical attention, was transported by ambulance to Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans, and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Labor is reminding employers and those working outside, to make sure they’re prepared for frigid temperatures headed towards the region. Winter weather can expose outdoor workers to frostbite, hypothermia, and cold stress, all of which can be fatal. It is important to monitor the wind chill temperature to better prepare and perform the work safely.
Vermont Business Magazine The Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) Downtown Development Board has announced two new state designations for communities in Addison and Caledonia counties. State designations incentivize housing, business, and public infrastructure development in Vermont’s civic centers and development-ready areas. Vermont’s state designation programs work together to provide incentives, align policies, and give communities the technical assistance needed to encourage new development and redevelopment in Vermont’s compact, designated areas.