Vermont Business Magazine Bar Harbor Bank & Trust employees recently presented nearly $12,000 in donations from the Bank’s employee-driven charitable giving program, Casual for A Cause, to six nonprofit organizations in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The recipients of the donations, all of which were collected in Q2 2022, are: Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County, Island Health & Wellness Foundation, People Plus, and Trekkers (Maine); Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice (New Hampshire); and Changing Perspectives Inc. (Vermont).
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (VAHHS) urged the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) to approve their budgets as submitted as they prepare for hospital-by-hospital hearings with the regulatory body beginning next week. Hospitals are calling their fiscal year 2023 budget request “stabilization budgets,” as continued staffing shortages and high demand for care and historic inflation stress the system almost to a breaking point.
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health reported August 3 that COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are still considered "Low." Total cases for the week increased slightly, but this could be a reporting anomaly, while hospitalizations decreased. As of August 10, there have been 3 COVID-related fatalities in August in Vermont. There were 12 deaths from COVID in Vermont in July for a pandemic total of 699 (the VDH report could be updated as more data becomes available). There were 12 deaths in June attributed to COVID after 32 in May. May saw an increase in fatalities from April and March. June and July had the fewest COVID fatalities since July 2021 (2). The Delta variant then took off in August.
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has announced up to $650,000 in available funding to support statewide municipal bylaw modernization grants for Vermont’s cities and towns. Municipalities can use this new and innovative funding to hire regional planning commission or consulting staff to collaborate with local stakeholders and prepare bylaw updates that expand opportunities for new homes, confront the State’s housing crisis, and ready communities for unprecedented investments in housing and infrastructure.
Vermont Business Magazine When an emergency happens in Vermont, whether it be a car accident or a natural disaster, there are a lot of questions that need to get answered as quickly as possible. Vermont first responders arrive on the scene and assess rapidly before taking action, but when the situation is in a hard-to-reach location, or an unprecedented disaster has occurred, it can be difficult to act fast. Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS or drones) are enhancing the way first responders and emergency personnel assess and react to emergencies and extreme weather events. A FEMA-funded program hosted by the UVM Spatial Analysis Lab brought drone training to fifteen emergency-response roles across Vermont this week.
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont's congressional delegation today applauded the Biden Administration’s announcement that it removed barriers to states and localities investing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars in new housing. The new guidance will make it easier to build affordable housing by allowing states and local governments to make long-term housing loans with ARPA funds. This change opens up access to Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, a key source of funding for affordable housing production. The change reflects the intent of the bi-partisan, bi-cameral LIFELINE Act introduced by Senators Leahy and Sanders in the Senate and cosponsored by Representative Welch in the House.
Vermont Business Magazine Vermont gasoline prices continued to fall this week and are down another 11 cents in the last seven days, to an average of $4.34 per gallon today, according to GasBuddy. Prices have fallen 40 cents in the last month but are $1.26/g higher than one year ago. Prices are falling faster nationally than in Vermont.
Vermont Business Magazine Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) today at 5 pm ET will hold a Q&A discussion with the White House’s COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr Ashish Jha on ways to stay safe and healthy. The livestream discussion will cover the latest guidance and resources from the White House on COVID. Sanders and Dr. Jha will also take questions sent in by viewers on Facebook.
Vermont Business Magazine With legal THC sales scheduled to start in October, two licensed cannabis cultivators in northern Vermont have announced the launch of Vermontijuana Cannabis Tours taking place over six weekends starting August 19. The cannabis tours meet guests at local bars with a school bus and transport them to nearby licensed cannabis farms where cultivators share the basics of how cannabis is cultivated outdoors in Northern Vermont and everything it takes to bring legal THC cannabis to market. Visitors must be over the age of 21, but there are no cannabis samples included.
Vermont Business Magazine The new Vermont Trades Scholarship Forgivable Loan Program, proposed by Governor Scott to the Vermont Legislature and administered by Vermont Student Assistance Corp. (VSAC), will offer Vermont and non-Vermont residents funding for tuition, initial licensing fees, and exam fees for qualified recipients who enroll in high-need trades training and certificate programs. Funding for the $3 million trades scholarship program is part of the $84.5 million comprehensive workforce and economic development initiative signed into law in June by Governor Scott. The bill invests both state and federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to address Vermont’s workforce shortage and provide local businesses and municipalities with resources to grow in the years ahead.
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) will be initiating a project on August 15th through a contractor to expand the existing parking capacity servicing the Monroe Trail in Camel’s Hump State Park in Duxbury. The Monroe Trail is a popular hiking route to the summit of Camel’s Hump. Visitors should be aware that the two upper parking areas at the Monroe Trailhead will be closed Monday through Friday while the project is active through September 15, 2022. The parking lot is being expanded, roughly doubling in capacity, to better accommodate the existing levels of visitation by allowing vehicles to park off the traveled portion of Camel’s Hump Road.
Vermont Business Magazine Business Resource Services (BRS) announced today that over two thirds of companies covered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont’s Blue Edge Business (BEB) health plans have earned money back on their 2021 premiums. “BEB plans continue to work, as designed, to help small businesses,” remarked Mitch Fleischer, President of BRS. “The best evidence of success is this fact that 70% of BEB groups will receive an average refund of $1,500 per employee on their 2021 claims experience this year. For many businesses this will be the second year of refunds. And the remaining groups that won’t receive a refund still enjoyed some of the lowest premiums available.”