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News in Brief August 2022

Sat, 09/17/2022 - 4:42am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine S&P Global Ratings has affirmed the State of Vermont’s AA+ (the second highest) general obligation bond ratings and revised the rating outlook from negative to stable. Vermont is still the highest rated New England state. In the ratings report, S&P wrote that the improved outlook is attributed to recent shifts in demographic trends, “retirement reforms designed to significantly reduce unfunded liabilities,” and historical credit strengths including “regular forecast updates, annual midyear budget adjustments, consistent reserve levels across economic cycles, and debt affordability oversight.” Vermont received the highest score possible in the financial management category. The state’s bond rating was downgraded by Moody’s and Fitch from triple A status in 2018 and 2019, respectively, and the assignment of a “negative outlook” by S&P in 2020.

Vermont National Guard hosts open range day, Operation Bullseye

Sat, 09/17/2022 - 3:11am -- tim

The Vermont National Guard is hosting Operation Bullseye, an open-range day for community members to use the Ethan Allen Firing Range training sites. This event is scheduled to provide a safe environment for people to sight in personal firearms and test their firing abilities. This event is hosted by the Vermont National Guard and is open for community members to attend. Ethan Allen Firing Range, 113 Ethan Allen Rd. Jericho, Vt. Saturday and Sunday beginning at 7 am.

Case dismissed against man accused of slashing construction worker

Fri, 09/16/2022 - 5:19pm -- tim

The Vermont State Police has continued its investigation into an assault on a construction worker that occurred Wednesday morning, Sept. 14, 2022, in the woods near Interstate 91 southbound in the town of Rockingham. A suspect who had been arrested on an aggravated assault charge, 45-year-old Ryan Avery, has been cleared of involvement after state police investigators were able to determine conclusively that he was at another location when the incident occurred. In addition, the Windham County State’s Attorney’s Office has dismissed a separate charge of simple assault against Avery that related to his actions while in custody at the Vermont State Police barracks in Westminster early Thursday morning.

Vermont’s unemployment rate holds at 2.1 percent in August

Fri, 09/16/2022 - 5:09pm -- tim

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Today, the Vermont Department of Labor reported that Vermont's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August was unchanged at the historically low rate of 2.1 percent. All three major metrics showed a more modest change than in recent months, while indicating vast improvement from a year ago. The rate is based on household data and is subject to adjustment. The comparable United States rate in August was 3.7 percent, an increase of two-tenths of one percentage point from the revised July estimate. Vermont has the fourth lowest jobless rate in the nation, behind Minnesota (1.9%), New Hampshire and Utah (both 2.0%). The civilian labor force participation rate rose to 61.8 percent in August, an increase of one-tenth of one percentage point. The participation rate has been rising slowly and is important to workforce availability.

VDH: COVID cases fall as school outbreaks increase, no deaths

Fri, 09/16/2022 - 5:08pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health reported September 14 that COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are still considered "Low." Total cases for the week decreased by 49 to 445. Hospitalizations were up 2 to 35. There were 19 COVID-related fatalities in August and none so far in September, for a pandemic total of 715. Vermont now has the lowest COVID death rate in the nation, at 115 per 100,000 population. Despite the low case counts and no fatalities, the number of outbreaks has increased. As of September 6, there were a total of 9, with only 2 in the school/childcare segment. As of September 13, there were 25, with 17 in the school/childcare segment, with more than half reported in Chittenden (5) and Addison (4) counties. Despite the low case counts and no fatalities, the number of outbreaks has increased. As of September 6, there were a total of 9, with only 2 in the school/childcare segment. As of September 13, there were 25, with 17 in the school/childcare segment, with more than half reported in Chittenden (5) and Addison (4) counties.

American Jewish Committee criticizes UVM's response to antisemitism complaints

Fri, 09/16/2022 - 5:07pm -- tim

American Jewish Committee, the leading global Jewish advocacy organization, whose initiatives were cited in President Garimella’s statement in support of his claim of UVM’s commitment to fighting antisemitism, has been in touch directly with Garimella regarding the situation on campus, and wrote a letter to Garimella in response to the statement.

The Vermont Building at the Big E opens its doors today

Fri, 09/16/2022 - 1:21pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine For 17 days each September, the Big E in West Springfield, MA, fills with hundreds of thousands of fairgoers. Since 1929, the historic Vermont Building has introduced many of those visitors to the dynamic products and unique Vermont food experiences that make visiting Vermont so special. The 2022 event begins today and runs until October 2nd. This year brings a return to pre-pandemic activity across the fairgrounds and in the Vermont Building. This Eastern States Exposition event brought in almost $2 million in sales to Vermont businesses in 2019 alone. With 1.6 million attendees in 2019, the commitment to this event is no small undertaking for these businesses each year. Twenty-three Vermont vendors will welcome visitors again to share a little Vermont in Massachusetts this year. The nearly 100-year-old Vermont Building has undergone recent improvement and is looking better than ever!  

UVM President Suresh Garimella responds to civil rights allegations

Fri, 09/16/2022 - 1:12pm -- tim

University of Vermont President Suresh Garimella This week’s media coverage of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) into an anonymous third party’s allegations that the university failed to adequately respond to complaints of anti-Jewish, biased behavior at UVM has painted our community in a patently false light. While common wisdom dictates remaining patiently silent as we cooperate diligently with an agency’s investigation, I simply cannot do so. These public allegations and our community’s deeply held values call for a strong and immediate response. UVM is a community with a long, proud history of inclusiveness. We denounce hateful actions and respond briskly and decisively whenever those responsible are identified. UVM is home to a strong and vibrant Jewish community and is recognized as a place where—year after year—many Jewish students, faculty, and staff choose to study, teach, conduct research, practice medicine, and work. As a community, we adhere to Our Common Ground values of respect, integrity, innovation, openness, justice, and responsibility.

Extra 3SquaresVT food benefits in September & October

Fri, 09/16/2022 - 12:41pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Department for Children and Families announced today that many 3SquaresVT households will continue to receive a higher benefit in September and October. This extra help is part of the federal Coronavirus Relief Bill. It will not permanently change a household’s monthly benefit. It is a temporary increase from the federal government to help those affected by the pandemic.

Households at a zero benefit will not receive a benefit. Everyone else will receive the maximum benefit for their household size.

Higher Ed and technology leaders named to Vermont Technology Council

Fri, 09/16/2022 - 12:37pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Five seasoned leaders with expertise in education, business, and innovation have joined the Vermont Technology Council. Alex Hernandez, president, Champlain College; Lindsay Kurrle, VT secretary of Commerce and Community Development; Mark Anarumo, president, Norwich University; Kirk Dombrowski, vice president of research, University of Vermont; and Pam Mackenzie, serial technology executive and nonprofit leader, have joined the Council.

UVMMC submits Certificate of Need to expand access to robotic surgery

Fri, 09/16/2022 - 12:25pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The University of Vermont Medical Center has submitted a request to the Green Mountain Care Board for a Certificate of Need that would allow the hospital to expand its robotic surgical services to meet patient needs through the purchase of an additional da Vinci XI robotic surgical system. Robotic-assisted surgery in areas such as gynecological, urological, thoracic, colorectal, ENT and bariatric specialties can lead to better overall surgical outcomes for patients and reduce blood loss, complications, scarring and length of stay in the hospital. Under Vermont’s regulatory structure, health care organizations must seek approval via a Certificate of Need from the Board for the purchase of a single piece of equipment if its cost exceeds $1,682,693. The purchase price of the new da Vinci XI robot is $2.42 million. 

Vermont Federal CU unveils new corporate campus and retail branch in South Burlington

Fri, 09/16/2022 - 11:27am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Federal Credit Union has announced the grand opening of its eighth branch location and new corporate campus at 275 Kennedy Drive in South Burlington. The new 40,000-square-foot corporate campus will be home to approximately 100 employees and all Vermont Federal Credit Union internal departments. The new retail branch will bring a full array of banking capabilities and services to the local community.