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Conservation Stewardship Program open for applications, state funds available

Thu, 03/23/2023 - 4:36am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine A new state-funded program, the Vermont Farmer Ecosystem Stewardship Program, will assist Vermont farmers to achieve high levels of stewardship on their land by supporting them to enroll in the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The largest conservation program in the United States, CSP is a federal program that helps land managers enhance natural resources and improve their business operations. CSP requires producers to meet certain environmental objectives and commit to 5 years of enhanced conservation on their land. In return, producers receive an annual conservation payment.

Governor announces winners of downtown and village center tax incentives

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 4:57pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) today announced over $860,000 in funding supporting rehabilitation and revitalization projects throughout Vermont’s designated downtown and village centers. These six project awards will help generate over $20 million in building improvements and around the state. In addition to these awards, a new round of funding for later this year will be announced in April, with tax credits available to projects in state-designated Downtowns, Village Centers, and Neighborhood Development Areas. Projects are located in: Bennington, Brattleboro, Enosburg, Jeffersonville, Rutland and White River Junction.

Bill Stenger back home after release from prison

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 4:51pm -- tim

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Newport businessman Bill Stenger, the former president of Jay Peak resort, was released from prison today, according to a Facebook post by his son Andrew. The post from Wednesday morning reads: "Just under 7 years ago a long, complicated journey started for my father and our family. I’m extremely grateful to report the journey is finally over. Next stop- large fries at Mc’Ds drive through. Bringing the big man home today." The post shows father and son, but when the photo was taken was not clarified nor was the time of release. Stenger began an 18-month federal prison sentence at Fort Devens, MA, on June 7.

Tourism Day at the State House, centers on the visitor economy and stewardship

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 3:45pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Following a pandemic hiatus, Tourism Day at the State House returned for the first time since 2020. Over 150 tourism and hospitality industry leaders were present throughout the day to engage with legislators and raise awareness of the collective contributions of these industries to the Vermont economy. The day was centered on the Vermont visitor economy and destination stewardship and management. Business and policy leaders connected throughout the day during a coffee hour with Governor Scott, a joint hearing on the visitor economy with the House Commerce and Economic Development and the Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee, and an evening reception.

Bill to make cocktails-to-go permanent passes Vermont House, moves to Senate

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 2:40pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Yesterday, the Vermont House of Representatives passed H470 which would make cocktails-to-go permanent. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. Currently, cocktails to-go are set to expire on July 1, 2023. H470 removes the sunset date and allows on-premise licensees to sell cocktails to-go for carryout with a food order. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 18 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to permanently allow cocktails to-go, and 14 others have enacted laws that allow cocktails to-go on a temporary basis. Numerous states are still considering cocktails to-go legislation. 

Vermont DOC reports death of inmate at Springfield prison

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 2:33pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Corrections (DOC) is conducting internal administrative and medical reviews following the death of an incarcerated individual on Wednesday. Romeo Reome, 53, of Brattleboro, VT, was found unresponsive in his cell at SSCF in Springfield early Wednesday morning. Vermont DOC and medical staff immediately began life-saving measures and called for emergency medical services (EMS). Life-saving efforts were unsuccessful. The official cause of death will be determined by the Vermont State Medical Examiner but is not considered suspicious at this time.

USDOL: Fair Labor Standards Act does not allow Bimbo Foods’ countersuit against drivers

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 10:19am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The US Department of Labor has requested that a federal court in Vermont allow the department to intervene and seek the court’s dismissal of a counterclaim that Bimbo Bakeries USA Inc. – one of the nation’s largest baking companies – has asserted against its own workers who are seeking the overtime compensation that they are allegedly owed. In October 2022, bakery distributor drivers who work for Bimbo Bakeries USA Inc. and Bimbo Foods Bakeries Distribution LLC filed a private lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Vermont alleging they were misclassified as independent contractors, rather than employees as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act. They claimed that, as employees, the companies owe them overtime back wages.

Welch travels to Mexico to meet with President López Obrador over mutual security challenges

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 10:02am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Earlier this week, Senator Peter Welch (D-Vermont) returned from a congressional delegation (CODEL) to Mexico to meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his cabinet to discuss maintaining the strong partnership between the United States and Mexico. “The United and Mexico face many of the same challenges—drug and arms trafficking, irregular migration, and an increasingly competitive Chinese government,” said Welch. “We can’t address these issues in isolation. This trip was a meaningful step to maintain and strengthen our relationship with the Mexican government and develop effective, collaborative solutions for the problems impacting Mexicans and Americans alike.” 

HELP Committee to hold hearing today on Moderna COVID-19 vaccine pricing, CEO to testify

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 9:52am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, chaired by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), will hold a hearing this morning, March 22 at 10 am ET entitled, “Taxpayers Paid Billions For It: So Why Would Moderna Consider Quadrupling the Price of the COVID Vaccine?” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel – who became a billionaire during the pandemic after US taxpayers gave his company billions of dollars to research, develop, and distribute its COVID-19 vaccine – has agreed to appear, and a panel of experts will also give testimony.

VMEC meets DC's public policy Hill Day

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 9:45am -- tim

Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center Washington, DC boasts many “Hill Days” and this year, for the first time in many years, VMEC headed south to our nation’s capital to attend the March 7 and 8 Hill Day. This annual event, with a focus on public policy, is an opportunity for various groups and institutions to get more involved in the political outreach program as well as educating lawmakers on current issues faced by manufacturers. The Hill Day agenda is designed to provide attendees with a peek into the future of the sector as well as the most recent and comprehensive update on the latest federal events and sector research.​ 

VCS Trustees: We have confidence in Vermont State University faculty, staff, leaders

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 4:48am -- tim

by The Executive Committee of the VSCS Board of Trustees 10 years from now, we believe Vermont will have a state-wide hybrid university that supports access and aspirations of students from across the state’s rural communities, strengthens Vermont’s workforce, and demonstrates sustainable quality. We are confident of this because of what we have seen faculty, staff, and leaders of the future Vermont State University already accomplish in just a few short years. We pivoted in the emergency of the pandemic. Classes and meetings on Zoom. New and new uses of digital resources and technologies for student advising and collaboration. In the challenges of that time, people came together, sharing resources and expertise across campuses. In a time when interaction was of necessity primarily virtual, human relationships across distance were maintained, and new connections formed.