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Risky business good for Vermont

Mon, 02/23/2009 - 9:11am -- tim

Captive insurance industry tends to be counter-cyclical, lawmakers consider beneficial provision
Amid the gloom enshrouding Vermont's economy, one bright spot stands out: the captive- insurance sector. In fact, its glow may grow even brighter in the coming year, despite the dimming prospects for an early recovery.

Skydiver crashes into power line, but escapes unharmed

Mon, 02/23/2009 - 5:11am -- tim

A Massachusetts skydiver participating in the Brattleboro Winter Carnival crashed into a 7,200-volt power line Saturday, but walked away unharmed.
I ve never seen anything like it in my entire career, said Dave Miller, operations supervisor for Central Vermont Public Service s Brattleboro District. He is one of the luckiest people I ve ever met.
The skydiver was supposed to land in front of a large crowd in Brattleboro Memorial Park as part of the annual carnival, but shifting winds caused him to crash into the power line on Maple Street, at the park s edge.

UVM Announces Layoffs, $10.8 Million Cut From FY 2010 General Fund Budget

Fri, 02/20/2009 - 8:57am -- admin

Today the University of Vermont announced details of its plan to cut $10.8 million from next year's general fund budget. The University is eliminating vacant positions, increasing student/faculty ratios modestly to achieve a long-planned target, curtailing some administrative programs, and making a limited number of layoffs. In addition to cuts in the University's general operating budget, reductions are also being implemented in income/expense activities supported by non-tuition fees and other income. The majority of the cuts will take effect on June 30, 2009.

Another new hotel proposed for Burlington

Fri, 02/20/2009 - 7:24am -- tim

The Burlington Harbor Hotel Group has obtained preliminary permits for a new hotel, to be built at 41 Cherry Street in the last remaining lot in Burlington's 40-year urban renewal. Construction of the 121-room hotel could begin in September, pending final zoning approval from Burlington regulators. The development plan also includes a 31-room expansion to the adjacent Courtyard by Marriott. Mayor Bob Kiss and developer Jay Canning of the Hotel Group have said the project will bring jobs and eventually income to the city.

Governor addresses permit reform at weekly press conference

Fri, 02/20/2009 - 6:49am -- tim

With several representatives for various building, construction and realty organizations present, Governor Jim Douglas (during his weekly press conference yesterday) called for enhanced efforts to help build the economy and grow Vermont jobs by embracing his proposed Economic Growth Plan. One of the critical components of the plan is permit reform.

PSB Approves CVPS' Ice Storm Cost Deferral Request; Updates 2008 Earnings Estimate

Thu, 02/19/2009 - 9:25am -- tim

The request by Central Vermont Public Service (NYSE: CV) to defer the extraordinary service restoration costs associated with a December 2008 ice storm has been approved by the Vermont Public Service Board. The amount approved for deferral under the company's alternative regulation plan is $4.1 million of the approximately $5.3 million total cost of the service restoration effort. As noted in its press release of Jan. 21, 2009, this deferral will allow the company's 2008 earnings to return to the level of $1.45 to $1.55 per diluted share.

William Maclay Architects Wins VT ASLA Open Space Award

Thu, 02/19/2009 - 9:11am -- tim

William Maclay Architects & Planners (WMAP) won an Honor Award in the 2009 Vermont Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Open Space Competition for their design work on the Pyralisk Arts Park project in Montpelier, Vermont.  Governor Jim Douglas presented the award to designer Ward Joyce and firm president William Maclay at the annual VT ASLA awards meeting held at the State Capitol on February 17.

Housing Affordability Continues to Improve in 2008

Thu, 02/19/2009 - 8:41am -- tim

Vermont housing affordability improved significantly in 2008, the second year of improving affordability.   This is the main conclusion of the annual affordability study performed by The Vermont Economy Newsletter.  The study was based on an analysis of all the residential housing sales in Vermont from 1987 to 2008. 
The share of median family income needed to finance the payments on a median priced home in Vermont fell to 17.2% in 2008, the lowest percent of income needed to service a mortgage since 2004, said Art Woolf, co-author of the study.

Entrepreneurship Week in Vermont Starts February 21

Wed, 02/18/2009 - 6:01am -- tim

The third annual celebration of National Entrepreneurship Week (NEW) is February 21 - 28, 2009. Launched in response to a congressional resolution in 2006 advocating recognition of entrepreneurship at the local, state and national level, NEW celebrates the heritage of entrepreneurial leadership in America, and promotes entrepreneurship education as a lifelong learning process. This year, NEW is hosted by the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education.