Burlington International Airport (BTV),Burlington International Airport (BTV) has selected a joint venture led by premier travel retailer Hudson Group as the winner in its recent competitive bid process for the airport’s retail concessions program. The Hudson team has been operating newsstands at the airport since 2004.The new five-year contract includes three Hudson travel essentials stores (the latest generation newsstand concept). The two post-Security Hudson stores will also carry the branding of two famous Vermont icons ‘ Lake Champlain and Mount Mansfield. In addition, the new pre-Security Hudson will include a Discover Vermont section.”The Hudson concept is a state-of-the-art travel convenience store, the next generation of Hudson News,” explains Hudson Group President and CEO Joe DiDomizio. “Hudson features a redesigned interior that focuses on changing customer needs for electronics, healthy snacks, travel essentials and authentic souvenirs. Fresh signage highlights sections within the store: Media, Essentials, Marketplace and Destination.” In keeping with the airport’s vision, the new stores will ensure an authentic Vermont look and feel. The Discover Vermont storefront sign, for example, was designed by a local firm and depicts the progression through the seasons: from ski season to maple sugar season to haying season and right on through to harvest time.Hudson’s Merchandising team has scoured the area for vendors whose unique, high quality wares truly reflect the lively artisanal culture of the Green Mountain State. The result is a cross-section of products from small and large vendors, such as the Vermont Farm Store, Ben & Jerry’s and the Vermont Teddy Bear Company. “Hudson is a great partner of Burlington International Airport,” says Gene Richards, Director of Aviation. “We believe that with their proven track record for excellence in store design, local product mix and customer service, the passenger experience at BTV will continue to be well served.”HG Burlington JV is a joint venture between Hudson Group (HG) Retail and Branded Works, aMassachusetts-certified ACDBE that partners with Hudson in Boston Logan and Newark Liberty International Airports, among others.About Hudson Group: Hudson Group, the largest duty-paid travel retailer in North America, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of international travel retailer Dufry AG (DUFN) of Basel, Switzerland. The company operates some 700 Hudson News, Hudson Booksellers, cafes, specialty retail and duty free shops in 70 airports and transportation terminals in the United States and Canada, and additional newsstands in 12 more countries around the world. Dufry operates over 1,200 stores in 43 countries and 155 airports and transportation terminals.SOURCE EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., April 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Hudson Group
INSTRUMARTInstrumart is a leading supplier of Test & Measurement instruments with headquarters in South Burlington, Vermont and a regional office in southern California. With a tagline, ‘there’s an engineer behind everything we sell,’and an engaging logo, Instrumart makes buying industrial and laboratory instruments personable. From Air Velocity Meters to Spectrophotometers and Refractometers, Instrumart engineers will connect customers with the right product for an application the first time, and back it up with lifetime technical support. One of the key criteria associated with the Deane C. Davis Award is the commitment to community. Instrumart not only encourages employees to be active in community projects, but every employee is granted up to 40 hours per year for volunteer time. Instrumart employees devote their volunteering time to a variety of projects, including Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, and the Ronald McDonald House. As a company they support several local non-profit initiatives, including Make-A-Wish Vermont, COTS, and several food shelf organizations.Among other signs of quality business, Instrumart is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and have been awarded their highest rating (A+). They offer unlimited customer support via phone and email for as long as the product is owned, for free. With a staff that includes twenty Applications Engineers, Instrumart focuses on selling products they believe are a good value for their customers. Instrumart has been named to Inc. Magazine’s list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States for three of the past four years. Vermont Business Magazine has named Instrumart one of the Best Places to Work in Vermont and one of Vermont’s Top 5 Wholesale Businesses. Instrumart has excelled in continued growth in numbers; both in employees and sales. Instrumart takes great pride in providing employees with high levels of autonomy and authority to make decisions that drive increased sales. Sales engineers are encouraged by a group sales commission program that encourages a collaborative approach to success.Like any business, Instrumart has an impact on the environment, but they take action to minimize that impact. Virtually all packaging material received is recycled or reused. All cushioning, peanuts, and foam is sorted and reused which dramatically reduces the need to buy new material. Clean, undamaged boxes, are reused and the rest are recycled. Very little material from the Instrumart shipping and receiving operation goes to the landfill. One Instrumart employee notes it is the, ‘best work environment I have ever experienced; at the core of our culture lies the instruction to do the right thing.’Management focuses on creating the best possible environment for employees, through 100% employer paid health & dental insurance, employer paid gym memberships, company lunches and family gatherings, tuitionassistance, and ice cream Fridays in the summer. In return, employees pass along the positive attitude by working hard to ensure the best possible experience for their customers. It is a continuous cycle of positive actions; one that has been incredibly successful for Instrumart. Commitment to employees and the community translates directly to a productive work environment, satisfied customers, and the growth of sales. Instrumart is a strong contender in the race for this award as this commitment not only matches the criteria for the award, but outlines an outstanding business worthy of the Deane C. Davis distinction. DEANE C. DAVIS: THE MAN BEHIND THE AWARDAll three businesses have shown great merit as finalists for the Deane C. Davis Award. Like Davis himself’former governor, president of National Life of Vermont, environmentalist, and founder of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce’each finalist reflects Vermont’s diverse nature and, at the same time, radiates a savvy business sense. The criteria for this Award include:Growth in sales or employment.Commitment of company resources for participation in community projects. Encouragement of employees to be involved in community events.Recognition of the importance of the environment to the state as a natural and economic resource.Addressing employee concerns/needs to create a positive work environment for all employees.Nominated businesses must have been based in Vermont for at least 10 years.Former Deane C. Davis Award winners include: Wallace Enterprises, Williston – 1990; C&S Wholesale Grocers, Brattleboro – 1991; John McKenzie Packing Company, Burlington – 1992; Perry Restaurant Group, Shelburne – 1993; Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Waterbury – 1994; Vermont Heating & Ventilating, Colchester – 1995; Mack Molding Inc., Arlington – 1996; Smugglers’Notch Resort, Jeffersonville – 1997; Vermont Country Store, Manchester Center – 1998; Cabot Creamery, Montpelier – 1999; Waitsfield & Champlain Valley Telecom, Waitsfield – 2000; Wild Apple Graphics, Woodstock ‘2001; NRG Systems, Inc., Hinesburg ‘2002; Hubbardton Forge, Castleton ‘2003; IDX Systems Corp ‘2004; King Arthur Flour, Norwich ‘2005; Resource Systems Group, White River Junction ‘2006; Symquest, South Burlington ‘2007; National Life Group, South Burlington ‘2008; Biotek Instruments, Winooski ‘2009; Small Dog Electronics, Waitsfield ‘2010; The Foley Family of Companies, Rutland ‘2011. THE 2012 DEANE C. DAVIS AWARD SELECTION COMMITTEEThe Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Business Magazine sincerely thank the members of this year’s Selection Committee. The committee meets behind closed doors to review the award nominations. These dedicated volunteers are held in high regard for their enthusiasm and strong commitment to the spirit of the Deane C. Davis Award.Betsy Bishop, Vermont Chamber of CommerceJohn Boutin, Vermont Business MagazineChris Graff, National Life GroupSabina Haskell, FairPoint CommunicationsAlan Jones, Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom GW PLASTICSWith its World Headquarters located in Bethel, Vermont GW Plastics has built a reputation as one of Vermont’s most respected employers and successful manufacturers. Recognized as a global industry leader in plastics manufacturing, GW’s focus is on high technology injection molding, tooling and contract manufacturing of precision thermoplastic and silicone components and assemblies for the world’s most successful companies.GW Plastics was founded in Bethel, Vermont in 1955 by two early Plastics Pioneers, John Galvin and Odin Westgaard. After building GW into a successful business, they sold the company to Carborundum Corporation in 1973. Following a series of large-company M&A transactions in the 1980s, GW ultimately found itself owned by Standard Oil of Ohio which was later purchased by British Petroleum. In 1983, after years of large company neglect, a group of company managers and investors led by Vermont resident and plastics industry veteran Frederic (Fred) Riehl, purchased GW Plastics from BP and returned the company back to its Vermont roots. Had Fred Riehl and others not taken the personal financial risk to purchase GW it is unlikely the company would have remained a viable enterprise in Vermont. In 1998, Brenan (Ben) Riehl, who joined GW after a career with General Electric Plastics, became the President and CEO of GW assuring a smooth leadership transition, and ongoing commitment to Vermont.During the last two decades, the company has expanded four times in Vermont, investing tens of millions of dollars in equipment, facilities and training while doubling its Vermont employment to more than 300 associates with over 900 associates worldwide. At the same time, GW expanded its market reach both nationally and globally with locations in the United States, Latin America and Asia while earning the trust of market leaders including Abbott Labs; Boston Scientific; Covidien, Idexx; Johnson & Johnson; Philips Healthcare; Robert Bosch and Takata. GW is proud of the fact that it has been in the forefront of new technology development and manufacturing for transformational healthcare and automotive products such as minimally invasive medical devices and safety restraint systems.In 2012, GW Plastics reaffirmed its commitment to Vermont, with a $3,500,000 state-of-the art addition to its Royalton, VT Silicones operation in response to increased customer demand. GW expects this expansion to result in high tech job opportunities for Vermonters. At the same time, GW partnered with a number of leading global medical device companies successfully launching several innovative, multi-million dollar programs in its Bethel and Royalton, Vermont locations positioning the company for continued growth in 2013.Through standardization of facilities, equipment and quality systems at all locations worldwide, GW Plastics offers customers unsurpassed process consistency and cost-efficiency. GW Plastics’ professional leadership team, continuity of ownership and long-tenured work force has built a world class company based on consistent performance, long term customer relationships, financial stewardship and workplace satisfaction.GW Plastics takes its commitment to environmental sustainability seriously. Intrinsic benefits, as well as real financial savings, have led GW to embrace sound environmental stewardship in all of its locations. GW Plastics has completed a number of successful sustainability initiatives in the areas of Energy Reduction, Water Use Reduction and Waste Reduction and is a member of the Green Suppliers Network, a federally funded program to facilitate the establishment and implementation of “Lean and Clean” manufacturing techniques for manufacturers. Commitment to quality, environmental responsibility, and employee growth, makes GW Plastics a leader in its industry. These ideals not only match the criteria for the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Vermont Business award but outline the principals of the company’s mission statement. Their dedication makes GW Plastics a fierce competitor in the race for this award. GREEN MOUNTAIN POWERGreen Mountain Power (GMP) is a local electricity utility in the state of Vermont focused on providing its customers with a balance of the most reliable, affordable, smart, and clean electricity, in an effort to be the best small utility in America. GMP is an investor-owned electric utility that has served Vermont since 1893. In 2012, GMP more than doubled in size with the historic acquisition of Central Vermont Public Service. By combining resources, the merger created one stronger company with more efficient distribution of resources, equipment, and facilities throughout a more contiguous service territory. The company currently serves almost 260,000 customers in 202 Vermont towns in a 7,500 square mile service territory. One of the key criteria for the Deane C. Davis award is an examination of progress, particularly in the year the award is designated. Not only did GMP complete a merger in 2012, but they also entered the final stretch of a major three-year project to incorporate Smart Grid technology throughout the system. Elements of the project included upgrading the electric distribution system with digital and fiber technology, resulting in increased reliability for customers and significant cost savings through operational efficiencies. These upgrades not only allow more small scale renewable generation onto the grid, but new meters provide customers with the information and tools to more closely manage their electric use, save money, and reduce their carbon footprint. A commitment to community is essential in selecting a finalist for the Deane C. Davis award. GMP has put into action several programs that emulate this criterion. Rutland has been recently targeted as the headquarters for the new Energy Innovation Center, the focal point of a broad expansion of solar energy. In addition to this focus on revitalizing Rutland, GMP has a long tradition of community engagement and support. GMP is actively involved in the local communities it serves, and continues to expand upon the programs offered through the merger with CVPS. Programs include, Osprey Restoration, Gift-of-Life Marathon, Chittenden Reservoir Day, Fill-the-Cupboard Corporate Challenge, Pack the Paramount, and the Paul Sweeney Memorial Coat Drive.GMP recognizes that employees are the key to the company’s success. GMP’s working environment is best described as ‘fast, fun, and friendly.’ GMP has been recognized as one of the ‘Best Places to Work’in Vermont for its stimulating and creative workplace with a focus on providing employees with opportunities for professional growth. The company’s value of transparency is reflected in an open workspace with no private offices. CEO Mary Powell is highly visible at a work station in the midst of employee traffic and conversations. She also has an active schedule of meeting with customers and GMP employees at company facilities around the state. With a focus on innovation, customer service, commitment to employees, and pride in supporting the community, Green Mountain Power embodies the business excellence representative of the Deane C. Davis award, making them a strong contender in the race for this distinction. Green Mountain Power, GW Plastics and Instrumart are vying for Vermont’s most prestigious business award. One of these finalists will be named the Deane C Davis Outstanding Vermont Business of the Year on Wednesday, May 22. The award presentation will kick off the 29th annual Vermont Chamber Business & Industry EXPO. Governor Peter Shumlin will present the award at 10 am in the foyer of the Sheraton Burlington Conference Center. Until that time, one of the most important traditions of the award will remain intact; the winner’s identity is kept secret, even from the finalists, until the moment the award is presented.Vermont’s business community is comprised of a multitude of companies, both large and small, that provide economic stability to the state. This community offers quality jobs, products and services to consumers in Vermont, the United States and world-wide, maintaining an intense focus on employee and environmental well-being representative of the Vermont quality of life. In an effort to recognize and honor Vermont’s best companies, Vermont Business Magazine and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce created the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Business of the Year Award in 1990. Named for the former Governor of Vermont, this annual award honors a Vermont business that shows an outstanding history of sustained growth while displaying an acute awareness of what makes Vermont unique.Many Vermont companies emulate the standards by which the Deane C. Davis Outstanding Vermont Business Award nominees are judged, but only three are distinguished each year as finalists for this 23 year old award. The three finalists for this year’s Deane C. Davis Outstanding Vermont Business Award are: Green Mountain Power, GW Plastics, and Instrumart.This year’s finalists exemplify the resourcefulness, innovation and success that represent the spirit of Vermont’s businesses. All share in common a dedication to their employees, communities and to Vermont as a natural resource. However, each company tells a unique story of vision and growth.
Jay Peak Resort,by Hilary Niles August 26, 2013 vtdigger.org Jay Peak Resort is footing the bill for a nine-day state trade mission to China in late September.The resort is covering travel and accommodations for Gov. Peter Shumlin, Agency of Commerce & Community Development Secretary Lawrence Miller and Becky Fu, the state’s international trade and foreign investment specialist with the Vermont EB-5 Regional Center. The small state delegation will be joined by Jay Peak co-owner Bill Stenger and project manager Alex MacLean. The Vermont Department of Public Safety will pick up the tab for Shumlin’s two security guards.The federal EB-5 immigrant investor program offers a green card to eligible foreigners who invest $500,000 to $1 million in a qualified American business. Vermont is the only state not only to own, but also to operate and administer its EB-5 regional center ‘ the central hub for promoting the investment program in Vermont.The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe and a development in Quechee Village also are seeking investors, but the $465 million Northeast Kingdom Economic Development Initiative is by far the highest profile EB-5 project in Vermont to date. Jay Peak co-owners Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros have proposed an ambitious, interconnected set of EB-5 projects that if successful could transform the poorest, most rural region of the state. The initiative is designed to create 9,300 jobs directly and indirectly associated with the project.The resort has been involved in most state travels related to EB-5 this year. The promotional tour is a continuation of Stenger’s work that began with the Douglas administration and brought some of the resort’s completed projects at Jay Peak to fruition.Shumlin’s appearanceOn the campaign trail in 2010, Shumlin criticized then-Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican, for traveling on similar ‘junkets.’ Shumlin has since promoted the state’s regional EB-5 center at conferences in the United States and Canada. This is his first overseas trip.Some past EB-5 travels were more broadly inclusive of both the EB-5 immigrant investor program and other export opportunities. One trip in which the Vermont Chamber of Commerce was involved, in 2009, included delegates from Jay Peak Resort, Burke Mountain, Vermont Organic Fiber, Country Home Products, Mobile Medical International Corp., Oleet & Co., Seldon Technologies, Global Classroom, the Doubletree Hotel, St. Johnsbury Academy, the University of Vermont, United Construction Corp. and Milne Travel, according to a chamber press release.‘It’s very difficult to plan and to have those be effective, frankly,’ Miller said. ‘We haven’t seen the value of using the governor’s time on those broader trips at this point.’Narrowing the trip’s focus, he said, streamlines logistics. It also saves direct expenses for the state, because project developers generally pay for the trips. MacLean, the governor’s former deputy chief of staff, secretary of civil and military affairs and campaign manager, said the state’s presence on these missions increases investors’ confidence in their projects. Having Shumlin along only heightens that effect, she said.‘It says a lot about our projects that the governor of the state of Vermont is endorsing them. It means a lot to potential investors.’Miller said there’s ‘no way of duplicating’ the level of recognition the regional center enjoys when the governor appears. ‘It’s not just the people we meet, but how it’s recorded throughout the entire EB-5 community,’ he said.Distinct rolesMiller says the state’s purpose on these trade missions is distinct from that of the developers.‘The governor’s and my role, when we go, is to represent the regional center, not the individual projects,’ Miller said. ‘And so while (representatives) from Jay Peak will talk about their particular investment opportunity, we focus on the regional center and include comments on the other projects that are available.’Miller said the Securities and Exchange Commission expressly prohibits state officials from promoting individual investments.‘We’re not licensed investment advisers, so we don’t provide investment advice,’ he said. ‘It’s a clear, bright line. We’re talking about why Vermont is a great place to invest in and to visit. It’s the developer’s responsibility to represent the individual investments.’ Anything that raises the profile of the Vermont Regional Center helps all its associated projects, Miller said.Maintaining the regional center’s international profile requires constant cultivation of two markets, Miller explained.‘There’s the ‘retail’ end of the business, if you will ‘ the individual investors,’ Miller said. ‘And there’s the ‘wholesale’ end ‘ the adviser community.’ The surge in demand for EB-5 investments in recent years has been met by a cadre of professional investment advisers around the world, he said. ‘So keeping relationships with them is very important, because they’re the ones talking constantly to investors who are seeking choices.’The itinerary for the upcoming trip has been coordinated by Jay Peak, independent of any official EB-5 or real estate trade shows. MacLean said her group has worked with foreign migration firms to host seminars where the delegation will speak to those firms and potential investors.TimingThe trip runs Sept. 21 through Sept. 29, with a day of travel on both ends included. The group will travel first to Beijing and Shenzhen in China, fly to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, then return to China to finish the mission in Shanghai.The timing was a function of all parties’ schedules, including business and holiday seasons overseas. Miller said he’s not concerned that the trip falls so close to the state’s rollout of the health care exchange on Oct. 1. He said he doesn’t anticipate either he or the governor will be needed to tend to exchange-related business at that time.‘If we do, there are problems that I don’t know about. Everything seems to be going really well,’ he said. He added that they’ll stay in touch with office staff throughout the trip, by email, phone and Skype.The state mission is MacLean’s second planned visit to China in September. She and Jay Peak legal counsel Chuck Leamy will attend an international trade show in Xiamen from Sept. 6 through Sept. 10, organized through the Association to Invest in the USA, an EB-5 trade group for which Stenger holds a seat on the board of directors.
by Tom Pelham Vermonters and taxpayers will be stunned by Act 46 come the fiscal 2017 school budget cycle that starts in earnest this Fall. Act 46 is a poorly constructed legislative initiative of state enforced school consolidation with debilitating effects on effectively managed school districts, both large and small, and resulting in increases in property taxes statewide. Here are just some of the burdens local school boards, parents and taxpayers will face due to Act 46 this Fall through Town Meeting Day.Higher Property Taxes: Among schools districts that pursue Act 46’s consolidation offer there will be a range of spending amounts per pupil. Average school spending per pupil among adjacent school districts typically ranges in the thousands of dollars. For example, for fiscal 2016 Calais spends $15,131 per each of its 133 students while neighboring East Montpelier spends $20,160 per each of its 205 students. It is wishful thinking to believe that East Montpelier will allow its spending level to be cut to that of Calais or that Calais will not seek additional spending should they decide to merge. This is especially true given the temporary Act 46 tax rate subsidies that will mask for a few years any spending increases of merged districts.Given the statewide nature of the property tax system, school districts that decide to preserve their local school and are effectively managed and have no inherent need for consolidation will end up paying higher property taxes to support the higher spending and tax subsidies allowed under Act 46 for school districts that merge, whether or not these merged districts are effectively managed.Inequitable Spending Caps: The temporary, two year spending caps are a mathematical derivative that is blind to actual school district needs. Historically high spending districts may well absorb the restraints of the cap while a lower spending district may need more than the cap allows due to particularly local circumstances. Local school boards best know local circumstances and are better regulators of the ups and downs of local needs rather than an arbitrary, state imposed cap that allows different school districts access to educational resources regardless of a district’s educational needs.Further the cap is derived from legislatively manufactured data. For example, “equalized pupils”, a legislatively created substitute for an actual student count, are used in the calculation of the cap. However, across Vermont’s school districts the relationship between “equalized pupils” and actual students varies widely. For example, the number of equalized pupils the state assigns to Lincoln and Moretown, for example, equals 84 percent of actual student counts while the assigned ratios for Rochester and Canaan are 125 percent and 128 percent respectively. Further, the system of “equalized pupils” is based upon confidential information at the Agency of Human Services. Thus, “equalized pupils” calculations cannot be independently verified. Similar problems exist with the legislatively crafted term “education spending”, which across all school districts accounts for only 78 percent of total school budgets.Given the above, the caps are inequitable. Further, even if they were fair and effective spending controls, they will only exist for two years after which they sunset, returning taxpayers to the same failed, unfair and byzantine system that fosters the current education funding mess.Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better: The distribution of school districts by size is not a determinant of student academic outcomes. Anecdotal examples of solid student outcomes at large districts must be acknowledged but so must examples of weak student outcomes at large school districts. In the end, on an overall basis, school district size is not a determinant of student outcomes when viewed across the entire population of Vermont’s school districts. In comparing school district size to academic outcomes, as measured by test scores across all Vermont school districts and using Agency of Education data, Campaign for Vermont found the following:“NECAP test scores appear unrelated to both school district ADM and Equalized Pupil counts except for a possible very slight relationship for 11th grade math. The Burlington school district with 3,944 students, for example, has test results similar to Royalton with 320 students. Again, this finding does not speak favorably to the concept that large consolidated school district’s offer students greater educational opportunity than smaller school districts.”“NECAP test scores appear unrelated to levels of total spending per pupil, whether ADM or Equalized Pupils. Eden, for example, spends $20,074 per ADM with 3-8th grade math and reading proficiencies of 56.2% and 62.53% respectively. Pomfret spends about the same at $20,577 but achieves proficiencies of 89.5% for math and 100% for reading.”http://www.campaignforvermont.org/edreport(link is external)Further, large school districts are not necessarily better managed. Just look at the largest school district in the state, the Burlington school district, to find an expensive per pupil district ($20,124 per pupil), running large operational deficits and struggling to hire a new school superintendent because of poorly researched work visa requirements.A Blow to Local Control and Local Democracy: Vermont’s constitution first gives direction to towns to maintain schools with the legislature provided with back-up authority. Article 68 reads:“and a competent number of schools ought to be maintained in each town unless the general assembly permits other provisions for the convenient instruction of youth”Once size-fits- all school districts of no less than 900 students were not envisioned by Vermont’s thoughtful founders. Vermont has certainly changed over time but there is no need for the state legislature to now eviscerate local school districts, especially those that are competently run. Whenever possible, local parents and taxpayers should guide the availability of education resources and the associated tax burdens while assuring such conforms to the Brigham decision. Act 46 further separates parents and taxpayers from directly guiding their students’ education as originally anticipated in Vermont’s constitution. The Vermont legislature has engineered an almost complete take-over of Vermont’s education system and its $1.5 billion budget to the detriment of parents and taxpayers.School Choice Undermined: While school choice has been an option chosen by almost 90 Vermont school districts, Act 46 has muddied the water regarding this option and some might say intentionally so. School choice has been an area of controversy, opposed by some advocates of a public school only system. As this Vermont Digger article with comments reveals, school choice or parts thereof maybe on the chopping block, further undermining options available to parents and students.http://vtdigger.org/2015/08/18/windsor-southeast-mulls-school-choice-options/(link is external)Act 46 is destructive and detrimental legislation founded upon the false premise that consolidation will yield more cost effective educational outcomes for students. In fact, Act 46 will induce additional spending, increase property taxes, undermine local parent and taxpayer involvement in their school district and isolate and fiscally punish well managed small and medium sized school districts that choose not to merge. Better options were presented to the Legislature but fell by the wayside as so much else has at the State House in recent years.This commentary is by Tom Pelham, formerly finance commissioner in the Dean administration, tax commissioner in the Douglas administration, a state representative elected as an independent and who served on the Appropriations Committee, and now a co-founder of Campaign for Vermont.
Southwestern Vermont Health Care,Vermont Business Magazine Members of the local chapter of the American Academy of Professional Coders gathered to present a check to staff at the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center. More than $1,000 was raised through several fundraisers in 2015, including a bake sale, Sip and Swirl painting events, and a PartyLite candle sale. The funds will be added to the Cancer Center Patient Resource Fund, which is used to assist cancer patients with the expenses related to their diagnosis.“Donations like this one are so important this time of year. Many patients are struggling to buy heating fuel, gas, and groceries or to pay their bills,” said Wendy Petitt, practice manager of the Cancer Center and the person who administers the fund. “Thanks to the Coders work over the past year, many patients will feel some relief from the financial stresses that come up during their diagnosis and treatment.”Pictured seated, left to right are Dr. Matthew Vernon, MD, radiation oncologist and Sue Downey, CPC. Standing left to right are Mary Weinfurt, RN; Wendy Petitt, manager of the Cancer Center; Melinda Onorato, CPC; Diane Therrien, CPC, CCS; Diana Kipp, COC,CPC; Kristin Edwards, Cancer Center patient coordinator/financial advisor; Terry Beach, COC, CPC; Chris Greene,CPC; Stephanie Woodcock, CPC; and Theresa Keefer, LPN.About SVHC:Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC’s providers are members of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians, a multispecialty medical group operated in partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock. SVHC includes the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, a 150-bed long- and short-term care skilled nursing facility; the SVHC Foundation; and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), a 99-bed community hospital. SVMC’s services include an emergency department staffed by physicians each of whom is board certified in emergency medicine; the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, which is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and managed by Dartmouth-Hitchcock; and a fully-digital imaging department. SVMC also includes 19 primary and specialty care practices and primary care offices in Bennington, Manchester, Pownal, West Dover, and Wilmington, VT. The hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and is one of 31 hospitals in the world to have been recognized four consecutive times as Magnet Center for Nursing Excellence. To learn more, visit svhealthcare.org(link is external).BENNINGTON, VT—December 21, 2015—SVHC
Northstar Vermont Yankee,Vermont Business Magazine The owner of the shuttered Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon wants to get out of the merchant power business entirely. The two operating units at the Indian Point Energy Center will close in 2020-2021 after powering New York for more than four decades, according to Entergy Corp. The early and orderly shutdown is part of a settlement under which New York State has agreed to drop legal challenges and support renewal of the operating licenses for Indian Point, located in the Village of Buchanan in northern Westchester County.The shutdown will complete Entergy’s exit from its merchant power business because of sustained low wholesale energy prices. Entergy closed Vermont Yankee in December 2015 because it was losing money on the 605 megawatt plant. Entergy wants to sell the Vernon plant, which could lead to a decades-faster remediation of the site.Vermont Yankee photo. STORY: Entergy to sell Vermont Yankee, will hasten clean up”We thank our nearly 1,000 dedicated employees for operating a world-class nuclear power generating facility at top levels of safety, security and reliability, as well as the community for supporting us,” said Leo Denault, Entergy’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We are committed to treating our employees fairly and will help those interested in other opportunities to relocate within the Entergy system.””Since purchasing the plants 15 years ago, we have invested more than $1.3 billion in safety and reliability improvements. The plants have delivered hundreds of millions of megawatt hours of virtually emissions-free power to the Hudson Valley and New York City safely.”Decision Driven By Economics”Key considerations in our decision to shut down Indian Point ahead of schedule include sustained low current and projected wholesale energy prices that have reduced revenues, as well as increased operating costs. In addition, we foresee continuing costs for license renewal beyond the more than $200 million and 10 years we have already invested,” said Bill Mohl, president of Entergy Wholesale Commodities. “Record low gas prices, due primarily to supply from the Marcellus Shale formation, have driven down power prices by about 45 percent, or by about $36 per megawatt-hour, over the last ten years, to a record low of $28 per megawatt-hour. A $10 per megawatt-hour drop in power prices reduces annual revenues by approximately $160 million for nuclear power plants such as Indian Point.””We appreciate the efforts of our employees who have made Indian Point one of the most reliable generating stations in New York State,” Mohl added.Independent Experts Continuously Evaluate Plant SafetyInspectors at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with special expertise and training in nuclear power and strict licensing and operational guidelines, ranked the plant in the agency’s top regulatory column for safety following more than 6,000 hours of inspections in 2016.Unit 2 has been online for 187 days continuously and Unit 3 for 390 days continuously. Under Entergy’s ownership, Indian Point’s reliability has increased significantly – to a capacity factor1 of greater than 90 percent from approximately 60 percent under prior owners. Entergy has demonstrated its commitment to the reliable operation of the facility, investing approximately $500 million in capital improvements over the last five years and a total of more than $1.3 billion since it bought the plants.Indian Point has been safely generating power for New York since 1962 – first by Unit 1 until 1974, then Units 2 and 3, providing economic, environmental and electric grid reliability benefits for millions of New Yorkers.Details of Settlement with New York StateUnder the agreement, Indian Point Unit 2 will shut down by April 30, 2020 and Unit 3 by April 30, 2021. Other key terms include:Coastal Zone Management Act Consistency Certification from New York State;Water Quality Certificate and water discharge permits from New York State;Agreement by New York State and primary intervenor Riverkeeper to withdraw legal challenges to license renewal;Entergy will request that the NRC shorten the term of a renewed license for Indian Point from 2033 and 2035 for Units 2 and 3, respectively, to 2024 and 2025.Agreement by Entergy to provide $15 million as part of its continued commitment to community stakeholders and environmental stewardship; andVarious inspections of Indian Point conducted by Entergy and New York State, supplemental to NRC inspections.Company Continues to Pursue Licenses for Remaining Operating YearsEntergy filed a license renewal application for both Indian Point operating units in April 2007, and NRC Staff in its Safety Evaluation Report concluded that no issues would preclude safe operation during the period of a renewed license. Under the settlement, Entergy will continue to pursue license renewal, unopposed by the state, for the remaining operating years, and will work on plans to mitigate the economic impact of the shutdown on its employees and the surrounding community. Both units remain under the NRC’s normal oversight, to which Entergy remains committed.Corporate Strategy to Exit Merchant Power BusinessWith today’s announcement, Entergy is providing certainty and time for stakeholders to prepare for an early and orderly shutdown. The decision follows announcements of other plant shutdowns or sales of Entergy’s merchant assets that will enable the company to exit the merchant power business and focus on growing its regulated utility, including ensuring that its southern nuclear power plants continue their safe and reliable operations. Entergy’s prior announcements include the planned sale of the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in upstate New York, the closure and planned sale of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, the sale of the Rhode Island State Energy Center natural gas-fired power plant, and the planned shutdowns of the Pilgrim nuclear plant in Massachusetts and the Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan.Financial ImplicationsAs a result of its agreement to shut down Indian Point Units 2 and 3, Entergy will recognize a non-cash impairment charge of approximately $2.4 billion pre-tax and $1.5 billion after-tax in the fourth quarter of 2016. In addition to the impairment charge, through the end of 2021 Entergy expects to record additional charges totaling approximately $180 million related to severance and employee retention costs.The impact on free cash flow from the settlement is expected to be approximately neutral through the end of operations. Impact to free cash flow includes expected contributions to the decommissioning trust funds, severance and retention payments and changes in capital expenditures and operating cash flows. The actual amount of the anticipated contribution to the decommissioning trusts will be determined later.About Indian Point and EntergyIndian Point Energy Center, in Buchanan, N.Y., is home to two operating nuclear power plants, Unit 2 and Unit 3, which generate approximately 2,000 megawatts of electricity for homes, business and public facilities in New York City and Westchester County. Indian Point Unit 2 began commercial operation in 1974 and Unit 3 in 1976. Entergy purchased Unit 3 in 2000 from the New York Power Authority and Unit 2 — along with the permanently closed Unit 1 — in 2001 from Consolidated Edison.Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of approximately $11.5 billion and more than 13,000 employees.Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking StatementsIn this news release, and from time to time, Entergy Corporation makes certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements include, among other things, Entergy’s plans and expectations with respect to the settlement relating to the Indian Point Energy Center, including without limitation the anticipated financial implications of the settlement, and other statements of Entergy’s plans, beliefs or expectations included in this news release. Except to the extent required by the federal securities laws, Entergy undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.Forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements, including (a) those factors discussed elsewhere in this news release and in Entergy’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, any subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Entergy’s other reports and filings made under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; (b) uncertainties associated with rate proceedings, formula rate plans and other cost recovery mechanisms; (c) uncertainties associated with efforts to remediate the effects of major storms and recover related restoration costs; (d) nuclear plant relicensing, operating and regulatory costs and risks, including any changes resulting from the nuclear crisis in Japan following its catastrophic earthquake and tsunami; (e) changes in decommissioning trust fund values or earnings or in the timing or cost of decommissioning Entergy’s nuclear plant sites; (f) legislative and regulatory actions and risks and uncertainties associated with claims or litigation by or against Entergy and its subsidiaries; (g) risks and uncertainties associated with strategic transactions that Entergy or its subsidiaries may undertake, including the risk that any such transaction may not be completed as and when expected and the risk that the anticipated benefits of the transaction may not be realized; and (h) the effects of technological changes and changes in economic conditions and conditions in commodity and capital markets during the periods covered by the forward-looking statements.Indian Point Energy Center’s online address is safesecurevital.com and Entergy’s online address is entergy.com1 Capacity Factor is the ratio of a plant’s actual output compared to its potential at continuous full power during a given periodSOURCE BUCHANAN, N.Y., Jan. 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Entergy Corporation
Vermont Business Magazine For ice cream lovers who only indulge on special occasions or limit themselves to a weekly treat, Ben & Jerry’s has created Moo-phoria(link is external), a new line of light ice cream with satisfyingly euphoric flavors. Suddenly, Wednesday is the new weekend! Moo-phoria pints are full of all the wonderful chunks and swirls that fans adore, along with rich and creamy vanilla, chocolate, caramel and peanut butter flavors. What’s missing? Sixty to seventy percent fat and at least 35% of the calories found in traditional ice cream. Each ½ cup serving of Moo-phoria has 140-160 calories. And like all Ben & Jerry’s flavors, Moo-phoria doesn’t have artificial sugar substitutes or sugar alcohols.”Ben & Jerry’s tries to offer a little bit of something for everyone,” said Dena Wimette, Senior Innovation Manager. “We’re excited to have an incredible new option for our fans who say they can’t be trusted with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in their freezers.”Moo-phoria pints are available in three hard-to-resist flavors:Chocolate Milk & Cookies—Chocolate and vanilla light ice cream swirled with chocolate chip cookies. 140 calories per ½ cup serving.Caramel Cookie Fix—Vanilla light ice cream with shortbread cookies and salted caramel swirl. 150 calories per ½ cup serving.PB Dough—Chocolate light ice cream with gobs of chocolate chip peanut butter cookie dough. 160 calories per ½ cup serving.In addition to the famous chunks and swirls, Ben & Jerry’s sources organic milk and cream for the base mix of each Moo-phoria flavor.Moo-phoria is coming soon to grocery stores nationwide for a suggested MSRP of $4.89. Fans can use the Ben & Jerry’s flavor locator(link is external) to find a store or Scoop Shop near them. Moo-phoria will also be available at Ben & Jerry’s online store at www.store.benjerry.com(link is external).About Ben & Jerry’s As an aspiring social justice company, Ben & Jerry’s believes in a greater calling than simply making a profit for selling its goods. The company produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream, light ice cream, yogurt and sorbet using high-quality ingredients. Ben & Jerry’s incorporates its vision of Linked Prosperity into its business practices in a number of ways including a focus on values-led sourcing. In 2015 the company completed its transition to using entirely non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) ingredients by source as well as to fully source Fairtrade-certified ingredients wherever possible, which benefits farmers in developing countries. Ben and Jerry’s products are distributed in 35 countries in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, franchise Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops, restaurants and other venues. Ben & Jerry’s, a Vermont corporation and wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, operates its business on a three-part Mission Statement emphasizing product quality, economic reward and a commitment to the community. Ben & Jerry’s became a certified B Corp (Benefit Corporation) in 2012. The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation’s employee-led grant programs totaled $2.5MM in 2017 to support grassroots organizing for social and environmental justice around the country.SOURCE BURLINGTON, Vt., Feb. 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. For more information, visit www.benjerry.com/moophoria(link is external) Experience the interactive Multichannel News Release here: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8266451-ben-and-jerrys-launches-moo-phoria-light-ice-cream-flavors/(link is external)
Vermont Business Magazine Marcelle Leahy, accompanied by her husband, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), on Saturday christened the USNS Burlington (EPF 10) at the Mobile, Ala., shipyard where it is being finished. Marcelle Leahy was chosen to sponsor this newest Navy ship, named for Vermont’s largest city, which will be able to quickly deliver service members and materiel for military and humanitarian missions.Marcelle Leahy smashes the ceremonial bottle of sparkling wine against the USNS Burlington on Saturday. Photo by Senator Patrick Leahy.Born in Newport, Vt., Marcelle Pomerleau Leahy is a first-generation American born of Canadian parents. Married to Patrick Leahy for more than 55 years, she has sustained a career as a Registered Nurse and has long been a civic stalwart, serving as the honorary chair of the Vermont National Guard Family Readiness and Support Program, where she raised awareness of the selflessness and sacrifices of members of the armed forces and their families, as well as the challenges they face upon reintegrating after deployment. She was introduced at the christening ceremony by her husband.Photo courtesy of ship manufacturer Austel.Marcelle Leahy said naming the ship for the Vermont city is fitting: “Vermonters have long heeded the call in service to this nation. From the original, pre-Revolution Green Mountain Boys to Vermont’s National Guard and members of the Armed Forces today, Vermonters have responded when the duties of the nation have called.”The USNS Burlington is the tenth of twelve state-of-the-art Expeditionary Fast Transports (EPF) being built for the Navy by Austal USA. Much faster than traditional transport ships, EPFs are designed to support amphibious landings, or perform humanitarian missions to bring hope and comfort to those in need.Source: MOBILE, Ala. (SATURDAY, Feb. 24, 2018) — Senator Patrick Leahy. Austal.
Vermont Business Magazine Today, the House passed H.196, the Paid Family Leave Insurance Bill(link is external) on a vote of 90-53. The bill allows Vermont employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for the birth or adoption of a new child or 6 weeks for familial illness.“Too many Vermonters live paycheck to paycheck. We know that many Vermonters do not have the cash on hand to sustain themselves against a several hundred dollar emergency, much less the ability to miss weeks of pay to care for a new child or sick family member,” said Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson (D-South Hero). “Paid family leave insurance ensures Vermonters don’t have to choose between a paycheck and care for a new child or close relative.”“This legislation is a priority of the House, and today’s strong vote of 90-53 shows its tri-partisan support. Paid Family Leave will not only make Vermont a better state for working families, it’s a policy that will attract young families looking for the most friendly state in which to put down roots.”“Paid Family Leave helps both Vermont families and the Vermont economy,” added House General, Housing, and Military Affairs Vice-Chair Tom Stevens (D-Waterbury). “It relieves stressed families trying to balance work and care for family members, and it improves relations between employees and businesses in the state. Prioritizing working families ensures Vermont is working for all of us, not just those who can most afford to take time away from work.”Representative Sam Young (D-Glover), co-sponsor of the bill and Vice Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means said “Vermonters deserve the ability to care for their loved ones, and this bill allows them to do so. A statewide family insurance plan will help keep young professionals in Vermont, growing small businesses in the state. Family members will be able to spend more time with their loved ones, and our overburdened child care and assisted living facilities will be relieved. Ensuring our families have a strong foundation is the humanitarian thing to do for our kids, our workers, and our businesses.”Source: Speaker 5.11.2018
Vermont Business Magazine TruexCullins Architecture + Interior Design is celebrating its 50th anniversary, which was recognized with a reception and design exhibit honoring the firm’s achievements of the past 50 years. The exhibit chronicles the firm’s work from 1968 until the present and is open to the public during business hours at the firm’s design studio at 209 Battery Street(link is external) in Burlington.The reception was attended by principal emeriti Bill Truex and Tom Cullins, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, past and present employees, clients, and friends of the firm. “TruexCullins was built on a foundation of creativity and a commitment to design excellence,” said Managing Principal David Epstein, “and we are honored to continue that tradition with the talented and dedicated team we work with today.”The firm was founded by Bill Truex and Eugene Alexander in 1968 and soon established itself as a leader in the design of civic projects and urban planning. Truex developed the design concept for the award-winning Church Street Marketplace, which continues to thrive as the cultural and economic heart of downtown Burlington. Other notable projects by the firm that shaped the greater Burlington area include the U.S. Coast Guard station, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, and academic buildings for UVM, Champlain College, and Saint Michael’s College.Over the years, TruexCullins has expanded their portfolio into new markets and regions, including projects in multiple states and in over 10 countries worldwide. While pursuing such growth, the firm has maintained its commitment to improving the quality of life for the city of Burlington, evident in the design of the recently completed Downtown Transit Center and renovation of the King Street Center. TruexCullins is currently working on the University of Vermont Multi-Event Center, renovations to the Williston Central School, and interior improvements for the historic Mount Washington Resort at Bretton Woods, NH. Additionally, the residential studio has designed several award-winning homes throughout New England.The firm’s work is organized across 4 market areas: workplace, education, residential, and hospitality, in both architecture and interior design. The work is led by Principals David Epstein, Richard Deane, Lee Grutchfield, Kim Deetjen, and Associate Principals Matt Bushey and Keith Nelson.The interior design studio within TruexCullins operates across the firm’s market sectors and is an integral part of the firm’s identity. Under the leadership of Principal Kim Deetjen, the interiors studio is focused on boutique hospitality design, with a portfolio of projects that began in the Northeast and now covers many regions of the country. A concentration of projects in Jackson Hole, WY, includes Teton Mountain Lodge, Hotel Jackson, and the Mountain Modern Motel, winner of a 2017 Hospitality Design Gold Key Award.Since 1968, TruexCullins has successfully bridged changes in ownership, economic cycles, and evolving design trends to maintain a reputation of design quality and expertise. “From its beginnings 50 years ago, this office has proven that businesses in Vermont that are focused on quality service and creativity can succeed,” noted Principal Richard Deane, “The firm continues to grow and thrive.”About TruexCullins: TruexCullins is an integrated Architecture and Interior Design firm providing creative, comprehensive design solutions for regional, national and international clients. The firm’s expertise is organized across five design studios: Residential, Education, Workplace, Resort, and Interiors. Our guiding philosophy is built on the belief that design has the power to transform communities and improve lives. For 50 years, TruexCullins has pursued this vision, offering design solutions that provide lasting value, comfort, and beauty.Source: 19 June 2018 – Burlington, Vermont – TruexCullins Architecture + Interior Design