Vermont Business Magazine Do North Coworking and Northern Vermont University announce the first participants in the Forest Products Accelerator program. Seven companies from throughout the northeast will take part in this four-month program that’s open to startup and seed stage companies that are commercializing new and improved products, services, and technology in the forest industry. The program is focused on companies that are developing products that use low grade wood and byproducts, technology that improves forestry operations, or wood-based fuels and energy systems.
Vermont Business Magazine In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent in Vermont, renters need to earn $23.40 per hour, or $48,664 annually. This is Vermont’s Housing Wage, revealed in the annual Out of Reach Report released last week by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a research and advocacy organization. Each year, Out of Reach reports on the Housing Wage, the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford rent and utilities for a safe, modest home in the private housing market without spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs.
Vermont Business Magazine This summer, the Vermont Lakes and Ponds Program is seeking volunteers to help monitor and collect information about lakes and ponds in the state. With over 800 lakes and ponds, volunteers are key to the success of the program’s lake monitoring efforts. Volunteers can be found statewide greeting lake visitors, inspecting boats, collecting water samples, tracking algal or cyanobacteria blooms, reporting aquatic invasive species, and more.
Vermont Business Magazine Manchester Country Club, one of southern Vermont’s premier golf courses, will host the 2022 New England Junior Amateur Invitational August 8-10, 2022. The 54-hole invitational event includes 60 golfers -- 10 junior golfers (7 boys, 3 girls) from each of the New England state golf associations - Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont – who are selected to compete in a 54-hole team and individual stroke play competition. MCC’s championship golf course offers a spectacular design, dramatic elevation changes and the region's best greens.
Vermont Business Magazine The Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) issued decisions Thursday requiring Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) and MVP Health Plan, Inc to lower the premiums they wanted to charge individuals and small businesses for health insurance plans in 2023. BCBSVT asked for a 15.4% increase and got 11.7% in the small group (business) plan; MVP asked for a 23.4% increase and got 18.3%. The increase in rates for individuals were similar (see below). Despite the reductions, the rates are still the highest approved since August 2019.
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Attorney General’s Office today announced a settlement with heating woodchip supplier Limlaw Pulpwood Inc and its related businesses for violating the Vermont Consumer Protection Act by falsifying the weight of its woodchip loads. The Attorney General’s Office investigated after receiving a report from the Agency of Agriculture regarding concerns that Limlaw was deceptively weighing its woodchip loads to make deliveries seem heavier, resulting in overcharges to consumers. The settlement requires Limlaw to reform its business practices, pay a penalty of $100,000 to the State of Vermont, and provide $1,000 restitution credits to approximately 30 Vermont consumers.
VermontBiz has released a poll of some of the most competitive primary races. Voting day is this Tuesday, August 9. The races we are closely following include US Senate, Congress, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General. This year the primaries are considered some of the most competitive in memory. To take this poll, just click on the Quick Poll link.
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 fell slightly, while hospitalizations saw another increase. The BA.5 variant has become the predominant variant of COVID-19. There were 12 deaths in June attributed to COVID after 32 in May. May saw an increase in fatalities from April and March. As of August 3, there were 9 deaths from COVID in Vermont in July for a pandemic total of 693. This is the fewest COVID fatalities since July 2021 (2). There have been no reported deaths over the last week (the VDH report could change as more data is provided).
Vermont Business Magazine Fidium Fiber’s multi-gigabit, all fiber service is now available to order for 12,000 homes in Bennington County, including 400 homes that previously did not have access to high-speed internet. The new fiber network, announced in May, is the result of a partnership between Southern Vermont Communication Union District (CUD) and Consolidated Communications. Southern Vermont CUD represents 14 rural towns in Bennington County. The CUD advocates for bringing high-speed internet to their hard-to-connect region and has been successful in securing state funding for broadband projects.
The Vermont Department of Labor and the State Workforce Development Board will host the final Triple Play Job Fest event on Friday in Burlington at Centennial Field at 5:30 pm. The state has held three prior Job Fest events in White River Junction, Montpelier, and Burlington. The event will be held in partnership with the Vermont Lake Monsters.
Vermont Business Magazine ATTOM, a leading curator of real estate data nationwide for land and property data, today released its second-quarter 2022 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report, which shows that Vermont once again has the highest "equity-rich" homes (71.4 percent), while having the lowest "underwater" rate (1 percent, tied with California and Washington). Overall in the US, 48.1 percent of mortgaged residential properties in the United States were considered equity-rich in the second quarter, meaning that the combined estimated amount of loan balances secured by those properties was no more than 50 percent of their estimated market values.
Vermont Business Magazine Ledyard Financial Group, Inc (ticker symbol LFGP), the holding company for Ledyard National Bank, has announced record earnings for the second quarter of 2022. This is the tenth consecutive quarter of record earnings and while uncertainty continues in the economy, these results are evidence of the strength of our core businesses and financial condition. Despite the economic uncertainty, our attention remains on strengthening our financial position and continuing to execute on our strategic initiatives. Ledyard also announced a regular quarterly dividend of $0.21 payable September 9, 2022 to shareholders of record as of August 26, 2022.