Tayt Brooks Named Deputy Commissioner of Housing & Community Affairs

first_imgTayt Brooks Named Deputy Commissioner of Housing & Community AffairsMONTPELIER, Vt. A longtime advocate for the home construction industry has been named the new Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Affairs.Tayt Brooks takes over the second slot at the department following the departure of interim commissioner Molly Dugan, who left earlier this fall to take a position with Cathedral Square Corporation.”I’m very pleased to have Tayt join our team at this time,” said Commerce and Community Development Secretary Kevin Dorn, whose agency includes DHCA. “His knowledge of housing issues and familiarity with many of the stakeholders in this arena will be invaluable as we work to address Vermonts housing challenges.”Dorn cited Brooks’ experience working with the Legislature during the consideration of both the Growth Centers and New Neighborhoods bills. DHCA has the responsibility for administering both of these important programs.Brooks, 33, was born and raised in St. Albans and after graduating from Bellows Free Academy in 1993, he enrolled at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY, where he earned a B.A. in history with a Canadian studies minor.Since June Brooks has served as Executive Director for the Vermont Republican Party. Prior to that, he spent five years as the Government Affairs Director for the Home Builders’ & Remodelers’ Association of Northern Vermont.The move comes a week after the administration of Gov. Jim Douglas announced its intention to merge the Departments of Economic Development and Housing and Community Affairs, and that Betsy Bishop, currently Douglas’ Deputy Chief of Staff, would be appointed Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development.Bishop is slated to lead the initiative to merge the two departments into the new Department of Economic and Community Development, a move that will result in the elimination of one commissioners position and a roughly $100,000 savings.More at: www.dca.state.vt.us(link is external)###last_img read more

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CVPS wins second national award for storm response

first_imgVermont s largest electric company has won the industry s highest honor for storm recovery for the second time.CVPS President Bob Young today was presented the Edison Electric Institute s 2008 Emergency Recovery Award for the company s response to an historic ice storm in December.  The company s preemptive planning led to the restoration of service to more than 70 percent of affected customers after just one day, and complete restoration within a week. CVPS is the smallest company to ever receive the honor which it won for the second straight year. This is a tribute to the selflessness of our employees, the quality of our planning and the urgency of our response, Young said.  After we won the award for our response to the 2007 Nor icane, we never expected to face such devastation again, but December s ice storm brought tremendous challenges. Employees single-minded focus on our customers turned what could have been one of our darkest hours into one of our finest, Young said.  Many employees lives were relegated to working, sleeping and eating throughout our recovery and then many of them volunteered to go to New Hampshire to help out there.  We are blessed to have some of the finest workers in the industry.The ice storm wreaked unprecedented damage in southern and eastern Vermont, knocking down thousands of trees and power lines, along with cell service and radio communications.  CVPS marshaled all of its resources and brought in contractors and mutual aid from Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Ontario, Canada.CVPS, which has 95 line workers, nearly tripled the number of line crews, bringing in 170 outside line workers, 150 tree workers and 75 other outside workers.  It required a massive logistics effort to supply, feed, supervise, organize and house them.  Hundreds of other CVPS employees provided support.John teRiele, CVPS s director of transmission and distribution, praised other utilities and state and local officials for their assistance, which he called invaluable.  Everyone we asked for help provided it, he said.  Vermont Electric Cooperative was particularly helpful, sending some of their crews, procuring staff from northern municipal utilities that were unaffected, and covering for them with skeleton crews left behind.Scott Massie, who manages CVPS s central scheduling office, said the restoration effort, though complex and difficult, was made easier by an outpouring of support from customers.  The amount of damage and the rural nature of the hardest-hit areas were daunting, Massie said.  But customers, through calls, letters and personal support, reminded us why we do what we do for a living.Dave Miller, operations supervisor for CVPS s Brattleboro District, which includes the rural towns of Readsboro, Marlboro, Dover and surrounding towns which were among the hardest hit welcomed the storm award, but hopes its CVPS s last.  I m proud of how we responded, but I hope I never see such devastation again, Miller said.  It is really no surprise that CVPS earned accolades from the Edison Electric Institute for a second year in a row.  With its exemplary storm response and safety record, Vermont s largest electric utility has long been the envy of the industry, said International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 300 Business Manager Jeffrey Wimette.  Our union is very proud to have 216 members working for CVPS.  This award is a wonderful example of labor and management cooperatively fostering a workforce that takes customer service and the success of the company very seriously.The EEI Emergency Recovery Award is presented annually. Winners are selected based on the ability to respond swiftly and efficiently, overcome difficult circumstances, utilize unique or innovative techniques, communicate effectively with customers, and restore service promptly. A panel of judges selected CVPS following an international nomination process.Final statistics from the December storm include:CVPS s repair costs totaled an estimated $5.1 million, a CVPS record, surpassing the 2007 nor icane.49,100 customers were affected.42.7 percent of CVPS customers lost service in the Royalton District, 62.7 percent in the Brattleboro District and 70 percent in the Springfield District.60 of 105 distribution feeders were affected.120 poles were broken.Employees and contractors worked an estimated 75,000 man-hours to restore service.last_img read more

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Central Vermont Public Service earnings up, revenue down

first_imgCentral Vermont Public Service reported today consolidated earnings of $12.4 million, or $1.04 per diluted share of common stock, for the first six months of 2009, compared to $9.9 million, or 94 cents per diluted share of common stock, for the same period last year. CV reported second-quarter 2009 consolidated earnings of $5.5 million, or 46 cents per diluted share of common stock, compared to $4 million, or 38 cents per diluted share of common stock, for the same period last year.The entire quarterly report can be found by clicking this link. For further information on the company click Vermont Business Magazine’s link here. For online information and stock tracking, click here.– Year-to-date earnings of $12.4 million, or $1.04 per diluted share, up 10 cents from last year- $2.3 million decrease in operating revenue- $4.0 million decrease in purchased power expense- $0.7 million increase in equity in earnings of affiliates- $1.2 million increase in other income, net– Second-quarter earnings of $5.5 million, or 46 cents per diluted share, up 8 cents from last year- $1.9 million decrease in operating revenue- $2.7 million decrease in purchased power expense – $0.4 million increase in equity in earnings of affiliates- $0.6 million increase in other income, net– The impact of the November 2008 stock issuance of 1,190,000 shares decreased per-diluted-share-earnings by 5 cents for the second quarter and decreased per-diluted-share earnings by 12 cents for the first six months of 2009.  — Reaffirms earnings guidance for 2009 at $1.40 to $1.60 per share”Despite the global economic challenges, we continue to make steady progress and we remain on target to meet our earnings guidance for the year,” President Bob Young said. “We also continue to provide high-quality service, as evidenced by the most recent J. D. Power and Associates survey, which ranked CVPS second in the East for customer satisfaction among midsized utilities.”CVPS ranked above the regional average for midsized utilities in all J. D. Power and Associates factors, including customer service, billing and payment, communications, power quality and reliability, price and corporate citizenship,” Young said. “We believe that customer satisfaction is the bedrock upon which our financial health must be built, and we will continue to strive to serve our customers and shareholders well.”Year-to-Date 2009 results compared to 2008Operating revenues decreased $2.3 million, including a $3.5 million decrease in retail revenues, and a $0.2 million decrease in other operating revenues; partially offset by a $1.4 million increase in resale revenues. The decrease in retail revenues resulted from lower average usage resulting from a slowing economy and energy conservation, and the loss of three industrial customers due to plant closures, partially offset by higher average unit prices due to customer usage mix. Other operating revenues include a $1.0 million decrease arising from a provision for rate refunds. The provision for rate refund is primarily related to the first and second quarter 2009 deferral of an over-collection of power, production and transmission costs as defined by the power adjustment clause of our alternative regulation plan. The power cost over-collection is being credited to retail customers’ bills in the third and fourth quarters of 2009, in accordance with the plan. The decrease in other operating revenues was partially offset by increased sales of transmission rights and an increase in wholesale rates. Resale revenues increased due to higher volume of excess power available for resale, partially offset by lower average market prices.Purchased power expense decreased $4 million, primarily due to a reduction of $3.4 million in purchases from Independent Power Producers. In addition, short-term power purchases decreased by $1.8 million and other power costs decreased by $0.7 million. These reductions were partially offset by increased capacity payments of $1.3 million and increased Hydro-Quebec purchases of $0.6 million. Other operating expenses decreased less than $0.1 million, including a $2.6 million decrease in maintenance expenses, primarily due to lower service restoration costs. There were several major storms in 2008 and none in 2009. These lower costs were partially offset by higher reserves for uncollectible accounts and a $0.5 million increase in transmission expenses due to higher rates, and higher costs from Vermont Transco LLC (“Transco”) for its capital projects, partially offset by higher NOATT reimbursements.Equity in earnings of affiliates increased $0.7 million, partially due to the $3.1 million investment that we made in Transco in December 2008. Other income, net increased $1.2 million, largely due to an increase in the cash surrender value of variable life insurance policies in trust to fund a supplemental employee retirement plan, and interest expense increased $0.2 million.Second quarter 2009 results compared to 2008Operating revenues decreased $1.9 million for many of the same reasons described above.Purchased power expense decreased $2.7 million for the same reasons described above. Short-term purchases decreased by $1.9 million, IPP purchases decreased by $1.4 million and other purchases decreased by $0.1 million. These reductions were partially offset by $0.7 million of increased capacity payments to ISO-New England.Other operating expenses increased $0.4 million, including a $0.2 million increase in transmission for the same reasons described above. These higher costs were partially offset by lower maintenance costs for the same reasons as described above.Equity in earnings of affiliates increased $0.4 million and other income, net increased $0.6 million, partially offset by a $0.1 million increase in interest expense, for many of the same reasons described above.2008 Common Stock IssuanceEarnings per share for the second quarter and first six months of 2009 reflect the impact of the November 2008 common stock issuance. On November 24, 2008, CV issued 1,190,000 shares, resulting in net proceeds of approximately $21.3 million. The net proceeds of the offering were used for general corporate purposes, including the repayment of debt, capital expenditures, investments in Transco and working capital requirements. The common stock issuance decreased per-diluted-share earnings by 5 cents for the second quarter of 2009 and decreased per-diluted-share earnings by 12 cents for the first six months of 2009.2009 Financial GuidanceCV previously issued 2009 earnings guidance in the range of $1.40 to $1.60 per diluted share, which we reaffirm. As part of a rate agreement approved by the Vermont Public Service Board, the company’s allowed rate of return is 9.77 percent.WebcastCV will host an earnings teleconference and webcast on August 10, 2009 beginning at 11 a.m. EDT. At that time, CV President and CEO Robert Young and CV Chief Financial Officer Pamela Keefe will discuss the company’s financial results, as well as progress made toward achieving its long-term strategy.Interested parties may listen to the conference call live on the Internet by selecting the “CVPS Q2 2009 Earnings Call” link on the “Investor Relations” section of the company’s website at www.cvps.com(link is external). An audio archive of the call will be available later that day at the same location or by dialing 1-877-660-6853 within the U.S. or internationally by dialing 1-201-612-7415 and entering Account 286 and Conference ID 324531.About CVCV is Vermont’s largest electric utility, serving approximately 159,000 customers statewide. CV’s non-regulated subsidiary, Catamount Resources Corporation, sells and rents electric water heaters through a subsidiary, SmartEnergy Water Heating Services.Form 10-QOn Friday, August 7, 2009, the company filed its second-quarter 2009 Form 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A copy of that report is available on our web site, www.cvps.com(link is external), under the “Investor Relations” section. Please refer to it for additional information regarding our condensed consolidated financial statements, results of operations, capital resources and liquidity. Forward-Looking StatementsStatements contained in this press release that are not historical fact are forward-looking statements intended to qualify for the safe-harbors from the liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements made that are not historical facts are forward-looking and, accordingly, involve estimates, assumptions, risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. Actual results will depend, among other things, upon the actions of regulators, performance of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, effects of and changes in weather and economic conditions, volatility in wholesale electric markets, volatility in the financial markets, and our ability to maintain our current credit ratings. These and other risk factors are detailed in CV’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. CV cannot predict the outcome of any of these matters; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such indicated results will be realized. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements that speak only as of the date of this press release. CV does not undertake any obligation to publicly release any revision to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this press release. Central Vermont Public Service Corporation – Consolidated Earnings Release (unaudited) (dollars in thousands, except per share amounts) Three Months Ended Six Months Ended June 30 June 30Condensed income statement 2009 2008 2009 2008 ———- ———- ———- ———-Operating revenues: Retail sales $ 63,382 $ 65,573 $ 137,465 $ 140,979 Resale sales 17,131 16,177 31,064 29,679 Other 2,114 2,737 4,825 5,053 ———- ———- ———- ———-Total operating revenues 82,627 84,487 173,354 175,711 ———- ———- ———- ———-Operating expenses: Purchased power – affiliates and other 38,605 41,282 80,215 84,188 Other operating expenses 38,499 38,116 78,117 78,143 Income tax expense 760 846 3,636 2,705 ———- ———- ———- ———-Total operating expense 77,864 80,244 161,968 165,036 ———- ———- ———- ———-Utility operating income 4,763 4,243 11,386 10,675 ———- ———- ———- ———-Other income: Equity in earnings of affiliates 4,431 4,014 8,876 8,199 Other, net 621 59 734 (465) Income tax expense (1,389) (1,458) (2,822) (2,883) ———- ———- ———- ———- Total other income 3,663 2,615 6,788 4,851 ———- ———- ———- ———-Interest expense 2,929 2,857 5,805 5,617 ———- ———- ———- ———-Net income 5,497 4,001 12,369 9,909Dividends declared on preferred stock 92 92 184 184 ———- ———- ———- ———-Earnings available for common stock $ 5,405 $ 3,909 $ 12,185 $ 9,725 ========== ========== ========== ==========Per common share dataEarnings per share of common stock – basic $ 0.46 $ 0.38 $ 1.05 $ 0.94Earnings per share of common stock – diluted $ 0.46 $ 0.38 $ 1.04 $ 0.94Average shares of common stock outstanding – basic 11,660,547 10,337,893 11,631,611 10,306,699Average shares of common stock outstanding – diluted 11,684,149 10,397,675 11,669,823 10,387,289Dividends declared per share of common stock $ 0.23 $ 0.23 $ 0.69 $ 0.69Dividends paid per share of common stock $ 0.23 $ 0.23 $ 0.46 $ 0.46Supplemental financial statement dataBalance sheet Investments in affiliates $ 105,849 $ 96,902 Total assets $ 617,166 $ 557,145 Notes Payable $ 10,800 $ 10,800 Common stock equity $ 224,758 $ 193,326 Long-term debt (excluding current portions) $ 167,500 $ 172,950Cash Flows Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period $ 6,722 $ 3,803 Cash provided by operating activities 20,542 15,897 Cash used for investing activities (13,223) (15,877) Cash provided by financing activities (5,083) 2,739 ———- ———- Cash and cash equivalents at end of period $ 8,958 $ 6,562 ========== ========== Refer to our second-quarter 2009 Form 10-Q for additional information. Reconciliation of Earnings Per Diluted Share First Six Months Second Quarter 2009 vs. 2008 2009 vs. 2008 ————- ————-2008 Earnings per diluted share $ 0.94 $ 0.38Lower purchased power expense 0.23 0.16Higher equity in earnings of affiliates 0.04 0.02Lower (higher) other operating expenses 0.03 (0.01)Lower operating revenues (0.13) (0.10)Impact of common stock issuance (November 2008) – 1,190,000 additional shares (0.12) (0.05)Higher transmission expense (0.03) (0.01)Other 0.08 0.07 ————- ————-2009 Earnings per diluted share (a) $ 1.04 $ 0.46 ============= ============= (a) The additional shares from the November 2008 stock issuance were excluded from the 11,684,149 average shares of common stock — diluted for the second quarter and the 11,669,823 average shares of common stock — diluted for the first six months, for the purposes of computing the individual EPS variances shown above in order to provide comparable information for 2009 vs. 2008.center_img Source:  RUTLAND, VT — (Marketwire) — 08/07/09 — Central Vermont Public Service (NYSE: CV)last_img read more

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Vermont Associates for Training and Development gets $1 million from US Dept of Labor

first_imgVermont Associates for Training and Development based in St Albans has received $1,058,111 as part of a US Department of Labor award of $225 million in additional funding for the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) in fiscal year 2010. This funding was provided in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 to allow SCSEP grantees to immediately address unmet needs for employment and job training among low-income, older American workers.”This additional funding greatly expands SCSEP’s ability to serve older workers who face challenges in re-entering the workforce and attaining economic stability,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. “The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to expanding employment opportunities to even more low-income seniors and to enhancing their own career opportunities as they dedicate millions of hours to nonprofit and civic organizations.”This additional funding is a much needed opportunity for high-performing grantees to serve unemployed, low- income seniors. Successful applicants were chosen based on demonstrated need among the older worker populations they serve; the capacity to immediately and effectively expend the additional funds; and past performance in serving older workers.SCSEP is a community service and work-based training program for older workers. It provides part-time, community service-based job training for unemployed, low-income individuals age 55 or older.  Through this program, older workers have access to SCSEP services as well as other employment assistance available through the workforce investment system.Senior Community Service Employment Program grantees Grantee Funding Amount Alabama $824,520 Alaska $300,000 Arizona $657,582 Arkansas $645,921 California $4,239,993 Connecticut $540,589 Delaware $940,000 District of Columbia $286,431 Florida $2,916,761 Georgia $1,097,315 Hawaii $610,000 Idaho $263,152 Illinois $1,859,350 Indiana $1,294,993 Iowa $439,776 Kentucky $451,164 Massachusetts $1,077,144 Michigan $1,100,000 Minnesota $1,126,942 Missouri $1,086,800 Montana $280,000 Nebraska $330,000 Nevada $263,152 New Hampshire $263,152 New Jersey $1,395,850 New Mexico $278,363 New York $2,049,113 North Carolina $907,038 North Dakota $265,422 Ohio $2,158,322 Oregon $400,000 Pennsylvania $754,230 Rhode Island $266,260 South Carolina $673,719 South Dakota $335,000 Texas $2,743,288 Utah $330,808 Virginia $1,073,110 Washington $649,210 Wisconsin $1,266,754 AARP Foundation $37,873,312 National Able $3,188,511 Asociacion Nacional Pro Personas Mayores $4,705,414 Easter Seals $9,158,174 Experience Works $49,405,014 Goodwill $4,644,862 Mature Services $2,844,985 National Caucus on Black Aged $7,508,788 National Coalition on Aging $14,511,583 National Urban League $4,810,050 Quality Career Services $746,977 SER Jobs for Progress $13,743,000 Senior Service America $28,674,012 The Workplace Inc. $230,000 Vermont Associates for Training and Development $1,058,111 Institute for Indian Development $545,680 National Asian Pacific Center on Aging $2,910,30010-124-NATSOURCE U.S. Department of Labor. 1.29.2010. PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —last_img read more

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Dollar Tree stores to pay Vermont $100,000

first_imgDollar Tree Stores, Inc, a national chain that retails discount merchandise, will pay the State of Vermont $100,000 to settle claims that its offer of products containing high amounts of lead and cadmium in Vermont violated the state’s Consumer Fraud Act. The settlement also requires the company to cease selling jewelry and comply with legal limits on the amount of lead and cadmium in consumer products. Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell praised the settlement, the second of its kind against a major company, as a milestone in the campaign to protect children in Vermont by reducing their exposure to toxic metals. Both lead and cadmium are widely known to be toxic substances that can cause serious harm to humans, particularly children, if ingested.The case arose following public reports in late 2007 that certain items of jewelry at Dollar Tree contained high levels of lead and cadmium. The Attorney General’s Office then arranged to test four products from a Dollar Tree store in Vermont—earrings, a necklace, a digital watch and a pony tail holder—and learned that they contained very high concentrations of one or both of those metals. Lead concentrations ranged from 165 to over 1,600 times the current legal limit and cadmium levels were also extraordinarily high.Dollar Tree, which is based in Chesapeake, Virginia, has six stores in Vermont. The settlement prohibits the company from selling in or into the State of Vermont any products commonly understood to be jewelry, and requires it to comply with all current and future state and federal limits on lead and cadmium. Dollar Tree must also pay the State $100,000 in civil penalties and costs, of which $50,000 is earmarked for children’s health programs through the Vermont Department of Health.Parents are strongly advised to keep all cheap metal jewelry away from their young children. Lead in children’s jewelry has been pervasive in the marketplace and is dangerous.Source: Vermont Attorney General, 2.8.2010last_img read more

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More GMP customers generate own renewable energy

first_imgGreen Mountain Power Corp,(Vermont Biz April 6, 2010) The number of Green Mountain Power customers using small-scale renewable energy sources to generate their own electricity has more than doubled since 2008, with the largest growth coming from customers who generate electricity with solar. Currently, close to 300 GMP customers have applied for and received state permission for net metering. Since net metering began in 1998, GMP customers’ projects account for nearly 3 megawatts (or 3 million watts) of renewable power.”Clearly many of our customers are taking advantage of technologies that have increased the amount of renewable energy on Vermont’s power grid,” said Mary Powell, Green Mountain Power president and chief executive officer. “We have a strong commitment to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels during times of peak demand. Net metering allows customers to produce renewable energy, which has long-term environmental benefits for all of us.”Customers who want to generate their own solar, wind biomass, hydro or other renewable energy can participate in “net metering” — a process established by Vermont law that allows electric utility customers to generate electricity using renewable resources for personal use and “bank” any excess with the utility for limited periods of time.Through this process, customers can install renewable energy technologies such as solar panels or wind turbines. They pay their utility regular monthly service charges, but are billed for electricity only when they consume more power than they generate. If they generate more power than they need, they can “bank” that power with the utility until they need it, for up to 12 months.The bulk of GMP’s net metering customers, nearly 75 percent, use solar energy. GMP provides financial incentives for customers to install solar panels through its SolarGMP program, paying customers nearly 50 percent more than the net metering benefit. With SolarGMP, GMP also pays for the excess power generated, so there is no need for “banking” the excess. In turn, solar power generation helps reduce the utility’s need to purchase expensive market power and increases the amount of renewable power on the state’s power grid.John Pacht and Andrea Bayer, Green Mountain Power customers, recently installed solar panels at their home in Hinesburg. “Our new solar panels have significantly reduced our electric bills, thanks to the financial incentives of net metering and SolarGMP. We expect our investment in the panels to be paid back over time, and meanwhile we love knowing that the electricity we are using comes directly from the sun,” Mr. Pacht and Ms. Bayer said.”The increase in net metering is a sign of the significant interest and increasing use of solar generation in our service area,” Ms. Powell said. “We are pleased to see Vermonters take advantage of the growing number of opportunities to support sustainable energy practices that protect the natural environment of our state.”About Net MeteringNet metering — adopted by the Vermont legislature in 1998 — enables electric utilities to allow customers to generate their own power using small-scale renewable energy sources. Those interested in net metering must first obtain a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board. For more information, visit: www.publicservice.vermont.gov/energy-efficiency/ee_netmetering.html(link is external)About Solar GMPSolarGMP is a program created by Green Mountain Power to give residential and commercial customers financial incentives to install solar panels. Through this program, GMP pays customers a higher rate per kilowatt hour for the solar power they generate. For more information, visit: www.choose2bgreen.com/about-choose2bgreen/solargmp.html(link is external)About Green Mountain PowerGreen Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com(link is external)) transmits, distributes and sells electricity and utility construction services in the State of Vermont in a service territory with approximately one quarter of Vermont’s population. It serves more than 200,000 people and businesses.Source: Green Mountain Power. COLCHESTER, VT–(Marketwire – April 06, 2010) –last_img read more

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Champlain Orchards in Shoreham featured on national USDA video

first_imgUSDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). Champlain Orchards Inc,Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan tasted some of the best local food products in the US in a new USDA video promoting the Value Added Producer Grant Program. Among those products was Apple Cider Syrup from Vermont. The program is undergoing some changes and USDA is getting out the word.The proposed changes to this already well-utilized USDA program are designed to streamline the application process, expand eligibility and ultimately get these quality local products to market effectively and efficiently.‘This program creates opportunity for farmers, producers and cooperatives to enhance product development and marketing with the goal of increased sales,’ said Molly Lambert, State Director for Vermont and New Hampshire USDA Rural Development.The changes to the Value Added Producer Grant program take effect on March 25, 2011.  In addition to the rule changes, USDA Rural Development is soliciting comments on the interim rule.  For information on how to submit comments, see page 10090 of the February 23, 2011 Federal Register.  http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2011/pdf/2011-3036.pdf(link is external)Champlain Orchards, in Shoreham, VT grows several types of apples and one of their newest products is Apple Cider Syrup featured in the USDA Video announcing the VAPG program changes.  In July 2010, they received a Working Capital Value Added Producer Grant to market their new products. Their web link is www.champlainorchards.com(link is external)To watch the video featuring Deputy Secretary Merrigan, click on the following link: USDA Video: http://blogs.usda.gov/2011/02/23/deputy-agriculture-secretary-announces-…(link is external)USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure, and facility programs through a national network of 6,100 employees located in 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $142 billion in grants, loans and loan guarantees.#last_img read more

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Opinion: VSAC gears up to assist Vermonters this school year

first_imgVermont Student Assistance Corporation,By Don Vickers. The school year has begun, and Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) is once again available to provide statewide services to families, new or continuing college students, and adult learners.Saving for College September is College Savings Month ‘ an ideal time for parents, grandparents, or others to open an account in the Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan (VHEIP). VSAC administers this ‘529’ college savings plan on behalf of the state of Vermont.VHEIP offers six investment options, affordable minimum contributions, and state and federal tax benefits. Vermont taxpayers contributing to VHEIP by the end of December can apply for a state income tax credit when filing their 2011 returns.Already a low-fee plan compared with other 529s throughout the country, VHEIP reduced fees on most options two years ago. Fees on the most popular investment option dropped further when overall VHEIP assets hit $150 million earlier this year.Career and College Planning VSAC offers college planning and career exploration information through online resources, a lending library, print publications, and personal assistance.Families can consult our newly updated planning guide for grades 7’12, attend free workshops at schools throughout the state, and visit www.vsacroadmaps.org(link is external) to access timely tips and sign up for e-mail reminders. A separate handbook is available for adults interested in exploring careers and seeking education or training.Our popular College Pathways program, designed for high school sophomores, juniors, and parents but open to any prospective student, will be held at three locations in 2012: March 17 at Saint Michael’s College, March 24 at Castleton State College, and March 31 at Lyndon State College.Our roving Start Where You Are ‘opportunisto’ will continue to visit schools and teen centers throughout the state to encourage all Vermonters ‘ not just those who consider themselves ‘college material’ ‘ to consider education or training beyond high school. Our award-winning companion Web site (www.startwhereyouarevt.org(link is external)) has interactive features for teens and resources for professionals who assist students with career planning.In addition, we invite schools, libraries, and other organizations to embed our ‘widget’ on their Web sites, providing a direct link to frequently updated information from our site.Funding for Education or Training Although VSAC no longer offers new federal education loans, we continue to administer the state grant program for eligible students pursuing full-time, part-time, or non-degree study; about 150 scholarships available to Vermonters; and non-federal student loans. We also service an existing loan portfolio worth $1.9 billion.VSAC has awarded all scholarships for the 2011’12 college year. However, students still in need of grant or loan assistance ‘ or contemplating spring enrollment, rolling admissions schools, or training programs ‘ can visit our Web site to complete necessary applications.Students and families seeking funding for the 2012’13 college year can consult our newly updated paying for college guide and attend one of our presentations, held from late September through early January at high schools throughout Vermont. For dates and times, check our online calendar at www.vsac.org/events(link is external). A condensed version of our paying for college presentation will also be available at www.vsacworkshopsonline.org(link is external).Our revised scholarships booklet for Vermonters will be available online in October, and we encourage students to begin researching scholarships at that time. Families who want a print version can contact VSAC in early November.After January 1, families of students attending college in 2012’13 should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) ‘ required for anyone who wants to be considered for federal grants, loans, and work-study ‘ and the Vermont grant application. VSAC helps families complete these applications at ‘forms nights’ at many high schools.Although VSAC has become a leaner organization in the wake of changes in the federal education loan programs, we remain Vermonters’ comprehensive source of education and career planning assistance. We are pleased to continue serving the mission the state established for us in 1965: to help Vermonters access the information and financing they need to pursue education or training beyond high school.Don Vickers, a resident of Georgia, VT, is the president and CEO of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation.last_img read more

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Green Mountain Coffee Roasters completes sale of Filterfresh business to ARAMARK

first_imgGreen Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc., (NASDAQ: GMCR), a leader in specialty coffee and coffeemakers, today announced it has completed the sale of all outstanding shares of Van Houtte USA Holdings, Inc., also known as the Van Houtte U.S. Coffee Service business or “Filterfresh” business to ARAMARK Refreshment Services, LLC (ARAMARK) for an aggregate cash purchase price of approximately $145 million, subject to adjustment.Initially announced on August 29, 2011, the transaction was completed after all of the closing conditions were satisfied, including the receipt of the required regulatory approval in the United States. The Purchase Agreement contains customary representations, warranties and covenants and, subject to certain limitations, each party has agreed to indemnify the other for breaches of said representations, warranties and covenants and other specified matters.On December 17, 2010, GMCR acquired Van Houtte through the purchase of all of the outstanding capital stock of LJVH Holdings, Inc. At the time of the acquisition, GMCR announced it would pursue a sale of a portion of the former Van Houtte business, namely Van Houtte’s U.S. Coffee Service business, also known as Filterfresh. GMCR has accounted for all the assets and liabilities relating to the Filterfresh business as held-for-sale in its most recent financial statements.About Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc.As a leader in specialty coffee and coffee makers, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) (NASDAQ: GMCR), is recognized for its award-winning coffees, innovative Keurig® Single-Cup brewing technology, and socially responsible business practices. GMCR supports local and global communities by offsetting 100% of its direct greenhouse gas emissions, investing in sustainably-grown coffee, and donating at least five percent of its pre-tax profits to social and environmental projects.GMCR routinely posts information that may be of importance to investors in the Investor Relations section of its website, including news releases and its complete financial statements, as filed with the SEC. GMCR encourages investors to consult this section of its website regularly for important information and news. Additionally, by subscribing to GMCR’s automatic email news release delivery, individuals can receive news directly from GMCR as it is released.GMCR-C WATERBURY, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–last_img read more

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Editorial: Trump’s ‘Breathtaking Hypocrisy’ Toward Coal Miners

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Scientific American:Now we see that his administration has put on hold a study of the connections between mountaintop coal mining and the health of nearby communities—research that was requested by West Virginia health authorities and is being conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. This action demonstrates the president’s disregard for the health of coal miners, their families and their friends.I have a bit of experience in this area, as a former air pollution regulator. From 2002 to 2010, while a full-time faculty member at the University of Virginia, I was a member of the Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board. Virginia is a longtime coal state, and the board confronted several controversial issues concerning coal-related air pollution. Trump’s hypocrisy is breathtaking. He claims to support the interests of coal communities. But he is not interested in knowing about the health effects of coal mining on those who live nearby.Residents of coal mining areas in Virginia and elsewhere have borne environmental and health burdens so that Americans could build prosperous lives based on electricity fueled by coal. Even as the U.S. reduces its reliance on coal and moves toward other sources of energy, an unstoppable trend that the Trump administration is trying to ignore, we should not forget what the people of Appalachia have given us. A comprehensive health study is the least we can do, and that study should be just the start of generous economic and public health investments in these vulnerable areas.More: Trump’s Breathtaking Hypocrisy on Coal Mining Editorial: Trump’s ‘Breathtaking Hypocrisy’ Toward Coal Minerslast_img read more

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