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Scott announces $2 million assistance program to extend broadband to homes

Wed, 07/29/2020 - 1:30pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Governor Phil Scott today announced that the Vermont Department of Public Service has launched a Line Extension Customer Assistance Program (LECAP). LECAP provides up to $3,000 in assistance to help consumers extend telecommunications lines to their homes, with $2 million in total funds available.This program was passed through Act 137 and developed in response to the COVID-19 emergency to help Vermonters access broadband.

Free Vermont Health Care Share Program increases food security

Wed, 07/29/2020 - 1:06pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Nutrition Services at The University of Vermont Medical Center is currently enrolling eligible Chittenden County patients and families to participate in the free Vermont Health Care Share Program. The Vermont Health Care Share Program (HCS) is a free patient resource for farm-fresh produce. The statewide program brings together farms, health care facilities and Vermonters. By providing support for home-cooked family meals made with fresh, locally grown produce, along with information on healthy eating, cooking and living, HCS aims to improve Vermonters health and well-being.

COVID-19 anxiety and uncertainty dominate SV Chamber’s 2020 survey

Wed, 07/29/2020 - 12:50pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce, based in Bennington, distributed its annual State of the Commerce survey to many of its members recently. The purpose of the State of the Commerce Survey is to hear from regional businesses and nonprofits about how they are doing in the current economy, what their current attitudes are in relation to economic vitality, and what new small business trends they see emerging.

Aqua ViTea Kombucha rebrands to prioritize alcohol transparency

Wed, 07/29/2020 - 12:32pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Aqua ViTea, the alcohol-aware kombucha company based in Middlebury, is today reaffirming its commitment to "responsible kombuchaing" with the rebranding of its bottles and cans. Prioritizing alcohol transparency, the new labels will display a "Verified Alcohol Extracted" seal on the front panel in addition to several other key highlights, including USDA organic, non-GMO, natural probiotics, and lower sugar. The new and improved labels will also more prominently highlight the brand's signature hand-illustrated artwork.

State and federal recovery grants still available, but some are expiring soon

Wed, 07/29/2020 - 11:48am -- tim

by Timothy McQuiston, Vermont Business Magazine Several important economic recovery loan and grant programs, with both federal and state funding, are approaching deadlines. But those and some ongoing programs still have money available. The most pressing grant program is the state sole proprietor program whose final application deadline is Thursday at midnight and whose funding will likely be exhausted. Other programs like the SBA's EIDL and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) are still open for new applications and still have money available.

VDH COVID-19 Update: Three new cases, schools to reopen

Tue, 07/28/2020 - 6:06pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Health today reported three new cases of COVID-19 for 1,405 total statewide. There is one person hospitalized. Deaths have been holding at 56 since mid-June. Given this continuing good health news, Governor Scott announced that schools will reopen on September 8. Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine. “When I weigh the health risks against the educational, developmental, social and emotional risks for young children, I come to the same conclusion as the pediatricians and education experts: now is the right time for Vermont to re-start in-person learning.”

Schools to reopen September 8, districts to develop plans

Tue, 07/28/2020 - 5:15pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine At a press conference Tuesday in Montpelier, Governor Phil Scott addressed school reopening and announced he will issue an Executive Order to set Tuesday, September 8, as the universal start date for student instruction. This action gives schools an additional one to two weeks to prepare staff and test the systems they’ve built over the summer to provide the best possible start for students when they return. The local school districts are charged with setting the manner of education. This could entail full in-person education, a hybrid system that would include part-time at school along with distance learning, or full distance learning. Guidelines for sports will not be ready until August.

Sanders leads 14 senators in introducing Masks for All Act

Tue, 07/28/2020 - 1:47pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine As COVID-19 infections continue to surge across America and nearly 30 states impose public mask-wearing requirements, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and over three dozen of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate and House introduced lifesaving legislation today to manufacture and distribute high-quality, reusable masks to everyone in America.

Baited rabies vaccine to be distributed the week of August 1

Tue, 07/28/2020 - 10:40am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The annual Rabies Bait Drop, a week-long, cooperative effort between the State of Vermont and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services to stop the spread of the rabies, starts on August 1. Rabies vaccine — in the form of a sweet-smelling oral bait that is attractive to raccoons and skunks — will be dropped in rural areas of Vermont from low-flying aircraft and placed by hand in residential centers. Approximately 450,000 quarter-sized blister packs containing rabies vaccine will be distributed in nearly 100 Vermont communities across nine counties. A switch allows pilots to control where the baits fall, in order to avoid roadways, homes and other places where people are most likely to be.

Gardening for Health program to launch at The University of Vermont Medical Center

Tue, 07/28/2020 - 10:00am -- Brandon

Vermont Business Magazine Gardening for Health is an introductory gardening, nutrition and health education program created to cultivate patient and community health. The program connects concepts of physical activity, healthy eating and confidence building over an eight week period. Participants engage in workshops both at home and in a shared garden space at the Rooftop Garden at UVM Medical Center’s Main Campus. This pilot program is made possible through funding from The University of Vermont Medical Center Foundation.

NBT reports 2Q 2020 net income of $24.7 million

Tue, 07/28/2020 - 9:05am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine NBT Bancorp Inc (NASDAQ: NBTB) on Monday reported net income and diluted earnings per share for both the three and six months ended June 30, 2020. Net income for the three months ended June 30, 2020 was $24.7 million, or $0.56 per diluted common share. NBT Bank has branches in Northwestern Vermont. Net income was up $14.3 million from the previous quarter primarily due to lower loan loss provision and lower noninterest expense and down $5.8 million from the second quarter of 2019 primarily due to higher provision for loan losses related to the deterioration of economic conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Excluding real estate repositioning charges of $0.7 million, net income and earnings per diluted share were $25.2 million and $0.57, respectively.

State grants for economic recovery available but deadlines loom

Tue, 07/28/2020 - 8:46am -- tim

ACEDC Applications for Economic Recovery Grants for Vermont small businesses are still being accepted and funds remain available. If you are a business with at least one non-owner W-2 employee that suffered a 50% or greater loss in any one month period, and you meet other eligibility criteria, you should apply. Deadlines for some grant programs are fast approaching.