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Welch introduces bipartisan OPIOIDS Act to combat fentanyl crisis

Wed, 03/29/2023 - 10:06am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Senator Peter Welch (D-Vermont) joined Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) to introduce the bipartisan Overcoming Prevalent Inadequacies in Overdose Information Data Sets (OPIOIDS) Act, comprehensive new legislation to help law enforcement better identify, understand, and address opioid overdoses. In 2022, more than 230 Vermonters died from opioid-related overdoses, a ten percent increase from the prior year and the highest number on record. Overdoses can be prevented, but efforts to do so are hamstrung by inadequate data and limited resources. At present, data collection on overdoses is limited and often delayed. The OPIOIDS Act will support data collection at the state and local level, giving law enforcement, public health officials, and local government the tools they need to prevent and respond to overdoses.  

Schubart: Vermont State University, way forward

Wed, 03/29/2023 - 5:35am -- tim

by Bill Schubart I’m hearing from friends around the country about the soon-to-be Vermont State University’s (VSU) recent decision and subsequent back-pedaling about removing physical books from its component college, Northern Vermont University’s (NVU) library. A friend, the department chair for Celtic Studies at Berkeley, wrote me to inquire about it, as have other academic friends. The Boston Globe, Inside Higher Ed and other national news media have all covered the library story, though all ignored the fact that the four underlying institutions are not financially viable and, to survive, must reduce costs by or add revenue of $5 million a year and fund $55 million in deferred maintenance. Still, understandably, it was the library closure that caught fire and became the subject of a fervent campaign to engage influencers, opinion writers, and commentators to condemn the decision and urge leadership to reverse it.

Vermont House supports H.158 to modernize the Bottle Bill 

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 5:31pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont House today gave preliminary approval to legislation that would update and substantially update the scope of the state’s beverage redemption program, commonly known as the Bottle Bill. The vote in favor of H.158 was 115-29, and the bill now heads to third reading.  The bill: Promotes clean air, clean water, and a cooler climate by collecting many more containers each year to be recycled into new products again; Makes the current redemption system more convenient by adding more points of redemption around the state; Reduces challenges facing Vermont businesses like redemption centers and small and medium-sized retailers. 

Norwich University to host inaugural leadership conference in April

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 4:36pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Norwich University Center for Leadership announced today that it will hold its inaugural leadership conference. The conference, scheduled to take place April 10-11, 2023, will be held on the Norwich campus in Northfield, Vt. The leadership conference, which was designed to take place annually, will bring current and future leaders together to develop solutions to recent leadership challenges, introduce new leadership strategies, and encourage collaborations across different industries and academia. This year's conference theme is Championing Change and Transformation. 

Senate aims to ban flavored tobacco products, S.18

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 3:57pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Today the Senate gave preliminary approval to S.18, an act relating to banning flavored tobacco products and e-liquids. This bill would ban the retail sale of flavored cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and e-liquids and would direct the Office of the Attorney General to report on the extent to which Vermont may legally restrict advertising and regulate labels for e-cigarettes and other vaping-related products. Data from the Vermont Department of Health and the Vermont chapters of the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society show that nearly all youth e-cigarette users report using flavored products. More than eight in ten youth who have ever used tobacco products started with flavored products and nearly 65% of young menthol smokers say they would quit if menthol cigarettes were banned. 

Rutland Regional relaxes COVID policy, moves to symptom-based masking

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 3:15pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine On Monday, March 27, Rutland Regional Medical Center relaxed the universal masking requirements that have been in place since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and moved to symptom-based masking. In February, as part of a phased approach, Rutland Regional relaxed masking requirements at one of its busiest clinics, carefully monitoring for an uptick in COVID or other infectious diseases. As there was no discernable increase in infections, masking requirements were relaxed in all other off-site clinics in early March. Results showed no evidence of increase in infections from relaxed masking in these clinics. Furthermore, hospitalizations for COVID have remained low for several weeks.

Schultz to testify at HELP Committee hearing on ending union busting at Starbucks

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 3:14pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Howard Schultz, who helped lead Starbucks for more than forty years and most recently served as CEO of the company, will on Wednesday, March 29 at 10 am ET appear before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP) at a hearing entitled, “No Company Is Above the Law: The Need to End Illegal Union Busting at Starbucks.” Since the first store successfully voted to unionize in Buffalo in December of 2021, workers at more than 350 Starbucks in nearly 40 states across the country have held votes to unionize. Over 80 percent of these elections have resulted in a union victory leading to nearly 300 unionized Starbucks coffee shops throughout the country.

MVP Health Care and Age Well partner to offer free access to Striders

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 2:51pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine MVP Health Care and Age Well today announced a first-of-its-kind partnership to offer older Vermonters free access to a walking and wellness program called Striders. The program, led by a certified fitness instructor, will be held at the University Mall and is intended to support health and well-being by providing participants with an opportunity to get moving, socialize with others, and improve their overall health. As an MVP Strider, participants will move through strength and balance exercises, participate in a walking group at their own pace, and learn new ways to increase mobility. Participants will also receive an MVP Striders Walking kit, which includes items like a pedometer, a mini first-aid kit, a t-shirt, and more. This is the first time that the MVP Striders walking club is being offered in Vermont.

DeltaClimeVT climate economy business accelerator selects Energy 2023 cohort

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 11:23am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) announces the selection of the Energy 2023 cohort of the Vermont-based DeltaClimeVT climate economy business accelerator. Eight early-stage energy companies from across the U.S. and Canada will work directly with Vermont  utilities to contribute to Vermont’s 90% renewable by 2050 and Burlington’s Net Zero by 2030 goals over three months of intensive work sessions, including two online and two in-person intensive sessions (each 2-4 days in duration), weekly assignments and bi-weekly webinars as well as frequent 1:1 engagement. The first in-person sprint starts April 3 in Burlington, VT at Burlington Electric Department and will wrap up with an awards ceremony in Burlington June 15.

Tracy Zschau named interim president of Vermont Land Trust 

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 10:42am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Long-time employee Tracy Zschau has been named Interim President of the Vermont Land Trust (VLT) by the organization’s Board of Trustees. She takes the role after serving VLT for over 25 years, first as a conservation project lead in the Northeast Kingdom then later as Vice President for Land Protection. She will retain her role as Vice President while also serving as Interim President. Zschau will serve as the Interim President until new leadership has been established. She succeeds Nick Richardson who served as VLT’s President and CEO from September 2017 to March 2023.  

CHT opens second round of funding for farmworker housing repair loan Program

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 10:34am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Champlain Housing Trust announced today that it has financing available for a second round of applications for its Farmworker Housing Repair Loan Program. This program provides a loan up to $30,000 for farmers to make essential repairs and necessary improvements to their farmworker housing. The loan is forgiven over ten years so long as the housing is maintained for farmworkers. The program’s purpose is to preserve this important affordable housing resource and to help improve the health and welfare of the farm workforce. When the program opened last year, CHT received 45 applications seeking $1.8 million. The $500,000 available during the first round allowed loans to support just 15 of the applications. For this second round, CHT received an additional $774,000.

Vermont jobs increase, the number of kids falls

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 6:21am -- tim

Public Assets Institute The number of children in Vermont dropped by almost 1 percent a year between 2006 and 2021. According to the latest Census data, more than 133,000 children under 18 lived in the state in 2006, compared with just over 116,000 in 2021. Of those, 69 percent were living in married-couple households, a similar share to 15 years earlier. At the same time, the share of children in single-parent households dropped. How can this be? A category recently created for unmarried couples helps explains the difference. Prior to 2019 single-parent households were described as “no spouse present.” Now the category is male or female householder with “no spouse/partner present.” As newly defined, single-parent families decreased. But about 11 percent of Vermont children were counted as living in households of cohabiting couples, a group not tracked before 2019.