Month: December 2020

Spartan Race donates $35,000 to Jimmy Fund

first_imgSpartan Race, the world’s leading obstacle race and Outside Magazine’s Best Obstacle Race in 2012, will donate $35,000 to the 11th annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon underway today and tomorrow. Since 2002, the telethon has raised more than $28 million for adult and pediatric cancer research and patient care at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.‘It’s exciting to think about the synergy between our two organizations. Both of us are helping people face obstacles and challenges while doing everything we can to help them succeed,’said David M. Giagrando, director of corporate partnerships for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/The Jimmy Fund. ‘Fighting cancer is really the ultimate battle and everything Spartan Race stands for is reflected in that.’Spartan Race co-founder Andy Weinberg will present the check live during the telethon, which will air on Boston radio and TV sports networks WEEI/NESN for 36 hours ‘overlapping two Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels games. Part of a broader partnership to be unveiled shortly, the donation will underwrite the telethon phone bank and map that tracks donations coming in from all 50 states. Spartan Race further will support the event through social media, Jimmy Fund tables stocked with branded give-away items at Fenway Park during the Aug. 21 and 22 ball games and commercials shown inside the stadium throughout those games.Later this year, Spartan Race will join yearlong festivities to commemorate Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary. For the first time ever, Boston’s cherished ballpark will be transformed into an obstacle racing venue for the Spartan Sprint Time Trial presented by Dial For Men, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.About Spartan RaceSpartan Race, voted Outside Magazine’s Best Obstacle Race in 2012, is the world’s leading obstacle racing series and the first of its kind to have global rankings. Spartan Race is a timed event series featuring races at three escalating distances in locations worldwide that culminate in a World Championship Finale with cash and prizes for the champions. While featuring competitive elite heats, Spartan Races are for athletes of all levels and abilities and are geared toward ripping people off their couches and into the outdoors.Go to http://www.spartanrace.com/(link is external) for more information, a schedule of events or to register for a Spartan Race. For videos, please visit www.spartanrace.tv(link is external). PITTSFIELD, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–8.21.2012last_img read more

Energy committee drops new spending on thermal efficiency

first_imgby Nat Rudarakanchana March 13, 2013 vtdigger.org The House Natural Resources and Energy committee dropped $6 million in new spending on thermal efficiency on Wednesday, after committee members changed their minds about taking $11 million from the Education and General Fund by diverting sales tax revenue.H.216, a 54-page bill which aims to weatherize homes and combat climate change, is morphing on a daily and even hourly basis, with a committee vote needed by the end of the week.VTDigger reported last week that the committee faces a host of programs to potentially fund, despite major uncertainties about finding revenue. Options from a tax on break-open tickets to an excise tax on heating fuel have appeared and disappeared in recent weeks.The committee has cut back from $17 million in needed revenue at the beginning of this week to $5 million.The committee has ‘ jettisoned’ the responsibility of handling $6 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funds to the House Appropriations committee, according to committee chair Tony Klein. The lawmakers have also decided to drop $6 million in proposed new spending, suggested by Gov. Peter Shumlin in his budget.That leaves lawmakers musing over how to raise $5 million for the state’ sClean Energy Development Fund (CEDF), which promotes renewable energy and energy efficiency through grants, loans, and other incentives.A 55 cent monthly tax on electric meters in homes is under consideration, though this is thought to raise only $2 million to $3 million at most.Klein told VTDigger that it’ s time to stop scrambling for revenues each year to fund energy efficiency and fight climate change. He wants the Public Service Board and the Public Service Department to devise a plan pinpointing a permanent and sustainable revenue source for these causes sometime next year.‘ We’ ve been fighting this battle year after year after year, piecemealing revenue sources to support programs,’ said Klein. ‘ Bridging the gap between believing in all of those things and finding the wherewithal to raise the revenue has been a difficult task.’Klein said that plan could likely involve regulating the fossil fuel industry to some extent, as is already done with electricity and natural gas, but wouldn’ t comment on whether that would involve new taxes on fossil fuel companies.He emphasized that funding for existing weatherization programs would remain level-funded for next year, thanks to about $10 million in one-time funds from last year’ s $21 million CVPS/Green Mountain Power merger, along with a longtime gross receipts tax on certain fuels, worth about $6 million.The level-funding comes despite the loss of generous federal stimulus (ARRA) funds of about $20 million from 2009-2012, devoted to weatherization. The $10 million will also only cover about 60 percent of Vermonters who are previous CVPS customers, which Klein argued wouldn’ t be ideal, but would be acceptable for one year.As Vermont Press Bureau’ s Peter Hirschfeld reported on Wednesday, the committee also sought to seize $11 million from a sales tax on heating fuel for commercial customers, leaving questionable holes in both the general and education funds that House budget lawmakers would have confronted uneasily.The committee dropped that language this afternoon, saying it wouldn’ t be worth the political fight that would ensue.Ben Walsh, an energy advocate for VPIRG, had previously hoped for more efficiency funding, but declined to comment this afternoon, citing the ongoing and fast-paced changes in the legislation.Klein said he is ‘ disappointed,’ but he is dealing with the political reality.‘ This committee has brought this problem to the attention of folks,’ Klein said. ‘ I think we’ ve made some people feel uncomfortable, and I think they should be uncomfortable, and I think that the spotlight should remain on this.’A state statute created in 2008 explicitly sets out to weatherize 80,000 homes by 2020, with a recent study recommending $267 million in new funds over seven years to achieve this.Committee documents show that the state helped weatherize about 2,000 homes in 2012 to 2013, at an average cost of just under $7,000 per home. The previously cited study estimated that at current rates, the state will fall short of its goal of 80,000 homes by almost 40,000 come 2020.last_img read more

Vermont Supreme Court upholds stormwater permit for Lowell wind project

first_imgThe Vermont Supreme Court has affirmed(link is external) the Agency of Natural Resources’ issuance of an operational-phase stormwater permit for the wind development in Lowell. “The Court made clear that it will not second-guess the Agency’s expertise in highly technical areas like stormwater management,” said Attorney General William H. Sorrell. “The Court affirmed that the Agency may use its expertise to approve innovative approaches to manage stormwater that fully protect Vermont’s waters,” he added.The Supreme Court concluded that the Agency’s decision to issue the permit furthered the goals of the stormwater management program, and that the Agency had properly evaluated and approved a new stormwater technology for use at the development. The Public Service Board had earlier affirmed the permit as well.“We are pleased by the decision that recognized that our stormwater staff was thorough and careful in reviewing and approving a stormwater treatment practice for the Kingdom Community Wind Project that protected the receiving streams while also maintaining the natural features on Lowell Mountain,” said Agency Secretary Deb Markowitz.The Attorney General’s Office worked in cooperation with the Agency of Natural Resources on this appeal.Source: Vermont Attorney General, May 27, 2014last_img read more

Windham region top 12 SeVEDS Vital Projects revealed

first_imgSoutheastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) announced the top 12 Vital Projects for the updated Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) on Monday January 12th at the River Garden in downtown Brattleboro.SeVEDS accepted new projects and updated projects for its first annual update of the regions CEDS. The submission period was open from July 1, 2014 through September 30, 2014. Projects wishing to be included in the updated CEDS were required to provide a project overview including a detailed description of the project, establish that the applicant has the authority, capacity and the wherewithal to successfully implement the project, establish the likely outcome of the project and establish how that outcome is consistent with the goals and strategies of SeVEDS. Any private or public entity or consortium of entities was able to submit a project for consideration. Applications were only accepted from the entity(s) directly implementing the project. Any entity that submitted a project for the 2013 CEDS was required to provide an update on their project for it to be included in the 2014 CEDS. A total of 42 new and updated projects were submitted.The new and updated project proposals will be included in the first annual update of the regions Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), as required by the United States Economic Development Administration (EDA). While inclusion of a project in no way guarantees funding of any sort, many federal agencies look more favorably upon projects which have the kind of broad support inclusion in a region CEDS indicates.  EDA often requires a CEDS be in place for a region in order for a project grant application to be considered.The CEDS process requires that all projects submitted should be acknowledged in the CEDS.  Therefore all submitted projects will be included in the CEDS. However, certain projects have been identified and selected as vital projects.  The purpose of this Vital Project list is to publically acknowledge the top submitted projects that will result in the most significant progress towards the Windham region’s economic development goals.A project selection committee comprised of a small group individuals that represent the region and are firmly established in their field of expertise were chosen by SeVEDS to review, score and rank project submissions received. This committee was made up of Stratton Resort General Manager Sky Foulkes, Strolling of the Heifers Executive Director Orly Munzing, ROV Technologies CFO Jill Zachary, Landmark College’s Jennifer Lann and Sonnax Industries CEO Tommy Harmon. Documents outlining the full project ranking process and scoring criteria can be found at www.seveds.com(link is external). 2015 Vital Projects:Bellows Falls Area Development Corporation: NEW Island Redevelopment project will remediate approximately 5 acres of downtown brownfields sites into useable industrial spaceSeVEDS Workforce: Job Board for employers in Windham and Bennington Counties will help build the talent pipeline for Windham Region Employers UPDATEDIronwood Brand, PreCraft, STIX: Build a rapid prototyping facility at existing shop for prefab high performance building envelopes and resilient mechanical systems UPDATEDBDCC: extend electric water and sewer to new industrial regional sites UPDATEDBDCC: assess existing key elements of innovation ecosystem, determine missing elements, research models for missing elements and development of metrics for evaluating success UPDATEDBDCC/SeVEDS: Southern Vermont Sustainable Recruitment Project for employers and tourism entities – connects to Job Board UPDATEDSustainable Energy Outreach Network (SEON): The Board of Directors of the SEON is looking for funding to offset two years of operational expenses and non-employee compensation in support of the current and future activities of the organization. NEWWindham Child Care Association: Build a more sustainable childcare system through innovative shared practices to increase overall program quality and earnings, workforce development for childcare workers. UPDATEDStrolling of the Heifers: Southeastern Vermont Food and Agricultural Innovation Center at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden, 157 Main Street, Brattleboro UPDATEDStorm Petral, LLC: Storm Petral released two web based software applications in the Spring of 2014. Tempest-GEMS facilitates the financial recovery of governmental agencies and key non-profits after impact from a natural disaster. It manages federally funded reconstruction and recovery grants. NEWRich Earth Institute: Creating a sustainable, regional, urine recycling system NEWWindham Regional Commission: Windham Region Village Water and Wastewater Need Assessment and Feasibility Plan UPDATEDMarlboro College: Marlboro College proposes an entrepreneurial training initiative dedicated to improving the innovation ecosystem of Windham County. Offer support via scholarships for affected VY and supply chain employees interested in uptraining or retraining via our degree options and continuing education offerings. NEWWindham Windsor Housing Trust: The NeighborWorks HEAT Squad addresses the challenge of successfully engaging homeowners to complete home energy efficiency projects, which generates: 1) income for contractors resulting in jobs retained and created; 2) reduction in cost of living for homeowners in addition to comfort, health and retained and created; safety, and environmental benefits; and, 3) moves Windham County and the State of Vermont closer to the goal of improving the energy fitness of 25% of the state’s housing stock by 2020. NEWSeVEDS Workforce: SE Vermont Machine apprenticeship program UPDATEMount Snow: The West Lake Project at Mount Snow consists of the construction of a 120?million?gallon snowmaking pond and associated components such as pump houses, withdrawal and intake structure, pipelines, snowmaking upgrades, a new lift and infrastructure improvements. NEWMount Snow: The Carinthia Ski Lodge Project at Mount Snow consists of the construction of a three?story 36,000?square?foot ski lodge at the Carinthia Base Area of Mount Snow. NEWMount Snow: The Carinthia Residential Units Project at Mount Snow consists of the construction of a up to 150 residential units at the Carinthia Base Area. NEWVermont Distillers: Feasibility study to determine if adequate facilities exist for expansion of Vermont Maple Cream Liqueur manufacturing facility. UPDATEWindham Region Redevelopment Group: Define regional organization structure, conduct market study, conduct regional inventory of vacant commercial and industrial sites. UPDATEWilmington Works: Legal creation of Wilmington Downtown Commercial Redevelopment Project whose purpose is to purchase 10 vacant buildings in downtown and renovate. UPDATESustainable Energy Outreach Network (SEON): Integrated workforce development system for the sustainable building and design sector in Windham County. UPDATENew England Youth Theater: Downtown arts campus – environmental cleanup of two contaminated buildings, construction of a second theater, conference center and outdoor amphitheater, low income housing, gap year professional theater training UPDATESustainable Valley Group: Green Island Project UPDATEPutney Historical Society: Next Stage Arts Project renovation of 15 Kimball Hill. UPDATELatchis Arts: In Repair and Restoration of Façade and Replacement of Windows NEWBDCC: Leveraging broadband demand for last mile investments – increase utilization, market high capacity UPDATESeVEDS: Performs analysis on viability of green building products and services cluster development UPDATELandmark College: Landmark College is in the process of formally creating an online learning division within the College, specifically aimed at meeting the needs of students with LD and educators/professionals struggling to best serve students with LD. NEWGathering Place: The Deerfield Valley (DV) region of Windham County (WC) plans to create a Livable Community for All Ages. DV will adopt a phased approach, conducting a feasibility study to establish parameters and timelines, and the development of a foundational Adult Day program. NEWStratton Mountain Resort: Upgrade the Inn at Stratton Mountain UPDATESEVCA/WWIB/SeVEDS Workforce: Job Readiness Program UPDATEStratton Mountain Resort: Upgrade 3 base lodges UPDATETown of Wilmington: Wilmington Water District Merger /Acquisition and Expand Wilmington Wastewater District. UPDATEBDCC: Biz network Route 30/West River Valley. UPDATEStratton Mountain Resort: Add additional cell tower. UPDATESouthern Vermont Natural History Museum: Feasibility study to determine on logistics and opportunities in SoVT to relocate to accommodate significant growth. UPDATEStratton Mountain Resort: Add 66 units of employee housing. UPDATEArts Council of Windham County and Primetime Concepts: Regional Marketing of the HeART & Culture of Southern Vermont, Official Artisan Center of Southern Vermont facility to promote tourism, Development of SoVT Artisan Trail. UPDATEStratton Mountain Resort: Upgrade Snowbowl lift to high speed quad. UPDATETown of Wilmington: Twin Valley High School Building Feasibility Project phase 2; implement findings of phase 1 feasibility study to repurpose 52,000 sf school building. UPDATEReadsboro Hometown Redevelopment, Inc.: Continued restoration of Bullock building as muti use community center in downtown Readsboro. UPDATEDJ Engineering: Electric Bike Manufacture. NEWlast_img read more

Smith: Angry voters

first_imgby Mike Smith Since our earliest days as a nation, America has been the hotbed of entrepreneurship in the world — a place where hard work and ambition can turn a dream into economic success. But recent polling data, and the unexpected popularity of two presidential candidates, suggests many Americans have lost confidence in significant parts of our economic system. For example, in 1979, according to polling done by the Gallup organization, a strong majority of Americans, some 60 percent, had either a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the banking industry. In 2015, after the housing and banking crisis and the collapse of huge financial institutions like Lehman Brothers and Bear Sterns, that number had shrunk to only 28 percent. And according to a recent poll, also conducted by Gallup, those between the ages of 18 and 29, view socialism nearly as positively as they do capitalism. So what is driving this loss of confidence with our financial institutions or with capitalism? The answer is the Great Recession of 2008 during which many Americans felt that politicians and leaders in the industrial and financial sectors failed them. By most economic indicators we have recovered from the 2008 recession. However, the psychological affect of that recession lingers. Even today, too many Americans do not feel the benefits of the positive economic statistics that are being reported. There is continued unease about whether this economic recovery is real, or if it will last. They are seeing, and perhaps experiencing, slow wage growth that isn’t necessarily keeping pace with increases in everyday living expenses and taxes. They see job opportunities slipping away, particularly in manufacturing as more and more of these jobs move off-shore; and with the introduction of more advanced technology, worker productivity is increasing, but at the expense of more jobs. As a consequence, Americans are scared, angry and frustrated. Scared that their situation will continue to deteriorate. Angry at the politicians, and business and financial leaders they feel are responsible. And frustrated that those leaders have done little to ease their economic angst or improve their economic condition.Americans believe no one is listening to them — and they may be right. Many public and private sector elites are far removed from the economic challenges facing most working families. Everyday Americans are largely disconnected from a political system that is dominated by wealthy interests bent on protecting the status quo. They feel — and the economic statistics support the notion — that the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is contracting. All of this leads to unrest, which is manifesting itself into a building rebellion against the political and financial systems. This unrest might be similar to what we experienced in the 1960s; but this time instead of marching against an unpopular war or fighting for civil rights, our national turmoil is being driven by a political and economic system many Americans have concluded is stacked against them. Left unattended, this anger and frustration will only grow more intense — and more volatile. This political landscape provides fertile ground for candidates such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Both have touched voters across the political spectrum with their promises to shake things up, do things differently, and not defend or protect the status quo. Whether their proposals will make economic conditions better is beside the point. In fact, there is reason to believe they could make matters worse. For example, Bernie Sanders’ proposals are said to double the national debt. If Donald Trump is elected president and forces Apple to bring its manufacturing jobs back to the United States — as he states he will do — it is likely Apple will take drastic steps to protect its interests that could have serious consequences for our economy. A large segment of the American population is craving something different: A return to the economic security they once felt they had before the Great Recession. And they will support radical, perhaps even impractical solutions to re-establish that economic hope and opportunity. They want the American Dream back and they want it now.Mike Smith was the secretary of administration and secretary of human services under former Gov. Jim Douglas. He is the host of the radio program, “Open Mike with Mike Smith.” He is also a political analyst for WCAX-TV and WVMT radio and is a regular contributor to The Times Argus, Rutland Herald and Vermont Business Magazine.last_img read more

Vermont’s housing affordability gap grows, $43,947 a year needed just for rent

first_imgVermont Business Magazine In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent in Vermont, renters need to earn $21.13 an hour, or $43,947 a year. This is Vermont’s 2016 Housing Wage, revealed in the annual Out of Reach report released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization, and by the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition. The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a family must earn, working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, to be able to afford the rent and utilities for a safe and modest home in the private housing market (affordable means paying no more than 30 percent of income). Vermont ranked 13th highest. Hawaii was first at $34.22/hr. West Virginia was lowest at $13.17.Every year, Out of Reach reports on the Housing Wage for all states, counties, and metropolitan areas in the country. The report highlights the gap between what renters earn and what it costs to afford rent at fair market value.  With an estimated mean renter wage of $11.79 an hour, average Vermont renters are left $9.34 an hour short of what they need to earn to afford a decent place to live. They can afford just $613 a month for rent and utilities while the average statewide Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,099. Vermont has nearly 75,000 renter households.“This report shows exactly how hard it is for ordinary working Vermonters, for seniors, for people with disabilities and others living on fixed incomes to afford safe, stable housing,” said Erhard Mahnke, the Affordable Housing Coalition’s Coordinator.  “Vermonters have to earn more than twice the minimum wage for something that should be considered a basic human right, leaving them with little left over for other basic needs and just a step away from homelessness.”Even though Vermont’s minimum wage has increased annually for the last several years year, it is not enough to pay for decent housing:  2.2 full-time jobs at minimum wage – or 88 work hours a week — are needed to afford the average two-bedroom apartment.  A full-time minimum wage worker in Vermont can only afford $499 a month for rent and utilities, leaving a gap of $600. While some might consider this is an unfair comparison because they think most minimum wage workers are high school students, this is not the reality.  According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of a minimum wage worker is 35 years old, and 88% are at least 20 years old.  Half are older than 30, and about a third are at least 40.“Our chronic housing shortage and affordability gap make it harder for low-income and vulnerable Vermonters to find and retain housing,” said Ted Wimpey, Director of the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity’s statewide Fair Housing Program and Chairperson of the Affordable Housing Coalition.  “To make true and lasting headway against this shortage and towards the goal of ending homelessness, we need significant new state and federal investments in affordable housing, coupled with rental assistance for the lowest income families, and supportive services for those with the greatest challenges.”Unfortunately, federal funding levels for housing, rental assistance and supportive services are far below what they were five or six years ago.  The state of Vermont suffers from chronic budget shortfalls, preventing it from making the needed investments.  Key federal programs like HOME and Community Development Block Grants have been underfunded for years.  Congress still has not seen fit to restore all the rental assistance vouchers lost through sequestration.   The State has shortchanged the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, our primary tool for increasing the state’s affordable housing portfolio, for years. It has been unable to make the necessary increases to such key housing safety net programs as the Vermont Rental Subsidy Program, which helps close the gap between what low-income Vermonters can afford and what’s available on the market.Additional findings from Out of Reach:The national Housing Wage is $20.30 in 2016.Vermont is the state with the sixth largest shortfall between the two-bedroom housing wage and the renter wage.Vermont is the seventh most expensive state for rural (non-metro) areas.Vermont is the 13th most expensive state in the nation for renters.The Housing Wage in the greater metropolitan area of Burlington is $26.08, almost $5.00 an hour higher than the state average.The one-bedroom Housing Wage is $16.58 an hour ($34,479 a year), requiring 69 work hours a week at minimum wage to afford the monthly rent of $862.Someone with a disability living on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can only afford $236 a month, leaving them $863 short for a two-bedroom, and $626 short for a one-bedroom apartment. The Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition is a statewide membership organization dedicated to ensuring that all Vermonters have decent, safe and affordable housing, particularly the state’s low and moderate-income residents, elders, people living with homelessness, and people with disabilities. For more information on the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition, visit www.vtaffordablehousing.org(link is external).The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes. For more information on the National Low Income Housing Coalition, visit www.nlihc.org(link is external)For additional information, visit: www.nlihc.org/oor/2015(link is external).last_img read more

Smith: Trump’s missed opportunity

first_imgby Mike Smith If a Republican wants to be elected president of the United States, uniting the Republican Party — which ranges from New England moderates to Southern conservatives — is an essential step. But apparently Donald Trump’s campaign doesn’t agree that party unification is a prime objective. Instead, the campaign went out of its way, almost from the outset of the Republican National Convention this week, to alienate those who could help them win the presidency. For example, in the opening hours of the convention Trump’s de facto campaign manager hurled insults at John Kasich — the popular Republican governor of Ohio. Trump is peeved at Kasich for not supporting him. That’s fair. But to go on the attack and jeopardize a victory in a key swing state is just plain reckless. Perhaps Trump figures he doesn’t need a unified Republican Party, or at least not a completely unified one, because he is planning to draw new voters into the general election. But Trump’s decision to ignore the concerns of many Republicans and his failure to reassure the party he is a reliable party member, or even a conservative, may prove his undoing. And if minimizing the importance of party unity wasn’t a big enough strategic blunder, then there were numerous tactical mistakes this week that hurt the Republican presidential nominee. At times, Trump’s staff was disorganized, with the left hand unaware of what the right hand was doing. In the opening hours of the convention they got caught flat-footed by a parliamentary move by delegates to change the rules to favor Trump’s opponents. The attempt failed, but it was an embarrassment to the Trump campaign organization.Trump’s wife delivered a speech that was shown to contain sections plagiarized from Michelle Obama’s speech of 2008. Then they failed to effectively quell the storm created by that plagiarism. And they frequently stepped on their own message. Trump himself appeared on Fox’s Bill O’Reilly Show at the same time as Patricia Smith, the mother of a State Department employee killed in Benghazi, taking away the effectiveness of her speech. Smith’s message was powerful: That Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be president because she is incompetent, and incompetency resulted in the deaths of Americans. This year, Republicans should be excited about the upcoming elections, but many are not. Americans are concerned about growing threats to their security both from foreign and domestic threats, in addition to continued angst about the economy. These are issues that favor Republicans. Plus, most Americans don’t trust Hillary Clinton, which should give a huge advantage to a Republican presidential candidate.But Trump hasn’t fully capitalized on the issue environment, and he has made himself just as distasteful, if not more distasteful, to voters than Clinton. Even after the FBI said she was reckless and broke rules regarding classified information, Clinton maintains a slight advantage in national polls.If Trump moves ahead with the same campaign organization he used in the primaries, the results will be devastating for Republicans in the general election — not just for the highest office in the land, but up and down the ticket and in every corner of the country. Trump and his campaign must be more organized, more professional, and much more disciplined if they hope to have a chance in November.Right now, they appear to be total amateurs leading with the same level of over-the-top arrogance as their boss. The fact is, they are in a new and high-stakes political world that requires them to be much more savvy than they have shown themselves to be so far. The only reason Trump remains close to Hillary Clinton in most national polls is because many Americans believe she represents the status quo, at a time when most are craving for fundamental change. Even after his convention speech it remains unclear if Trump is willing or able to transform his campaign from a fringe and disorganized operation to one that can capture the support of the voting blocs he needs to win. Many are skeptical. In politics, you only get a few opportunities to convince voters you are their best choice. The party conventions are one of those golden opportunities. Donald Trump failed to take full advantage of this opportunity. Mike Smith was the secretary of administration and secretary of human services under former Gov. Jim Douglas. He is the host of the radio program, “Open Mike with Mike Smith,” on WDEV 550 AM and 96.1, 96.5 and 101.9 FM. He is also a political analyst for WCAX-TV and WVMT radio and is a regular contributor to The Times Argus, Rutland Herald and Vermont Business Magazine.last_img read more

Burlington to hold special election to fill Tom Ayres Ward 7 City Council seat on June 27

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger released the following statement regarding a Special Election for the Ward 7 City Council seat: “On Saturday, April 8, 2017, City Councilor Tom Ayres submitted a letter of resignation to the City effective June 26, 2017 at the conclusion of the City Council meeting that evening. Councilor Ayres has taken a job as the new Executive Director of Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph, Vermont.“Accordingly, after consulting with the City Attorney and the Clerk/Treasurer’s Office, pursuant to the Charter authority of the Mayor, I am calling a special election on June 27, 2017, the day after Councilor Ayres steps down. This will ensure there is no lapse in representation for the New North End and the voters of Ward 7 on the City Council.“Petitions will be available for people interested in running for the Council seat beginning today, April 18, in the Clerk/Treasurer’s Office at City Hall. Completed petitions will need to be returned to the Clerk/Treasurer’s Office by 5:00pm on Monday, May 22, 2017.“The polling location for the special election will be the Robert Miller Recreation Center from 7:00am – 7:00pm on Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Early voting will also begin at City Hall by June 1, 2017 from 8:00am – 4:30pm Monday through Friday.”Source: Mayor 4.18.2017last_img read more

First annual Vermont Hemp Festival September 9 at Burke Mountain Hotel

first_imgVermont Business Magazine As the future of recreational and medical marijuana remains uncertain, the national hemp industry is growing and Vermont remains one of seventeen states where hemp cultivation is legal under state law. Forbes recently reported that the legal CBD hemp market is estimated to grow 700% by 2020 alone — to say nothing of hemp oil fuels, plastics, food products, paper, fabric, building materials and other markets that continue to develop as more states allow production of agricultural hemp.Hemp is defined practically as cannabis that has less than .3% of the compound THC, the cannabinoid of the plant showing psychoactive effects. Historically, hemp was a government-mandated crop grown by American settlers (and carried by sailors) and even inspired Vermont’s own industrial revolution via the Fairbanks Scales, originally invented to weigh wagon loads of hemp.In its promotional materials, Hemp Fest orgainizers said, “The last time hemp was prevalent in the NEK, a couple of guys from the St Johnsbury Hemp Company named Fairbanks changed the world,” in referring to Fairbanks Scales.In light of the surge in agricultural hemp and value-added product interest in Vermont, Heady Vermont is producing the first annual Vermont Hemp Fest at Burke Mountain(link is external), a day-long event that provides educational resources and community connections for those with an interest in agricultural hemp in Vermont, including landowners, entrepreneurs, farmers, artisans, and investors.“We’re fortunate in Vermont that we have strong agricultural hemp protections and low barriers to entry,” said Heady Vermont Publisher Monica Donovan. “Now that a much larger market is emerging locally, regionally, and nationally, we think it’s important to provide resources, information, and practical instructions to as many interested parties as we can.”Title sponsors include: The University of Vermont Agricultural Extension(link is external), Ceres Natural Remedies(link is external), the Vermont Hemp Company(link is external), Humble Roots Horticulture(link is external) and the PhytoScience Institute(link is external). Media partners include Front Porch Forum(link is external).Hemp Fest will kick off with a pre-registration party on Friday, September 8 including live music. Exhibitor displays, workshops and programming will take place on Saturday, September 9 in the brand new Burke Mountain Hotel and Conference Center(link is external). Keynote speakers include Kentucky hemp farmer and Growing Warriors(link is external) founder Michael Lewis.The event will also include a business pitch competition sponsored by Purple Fox Engineering. The pitch competition will feature five final teams/individuals giving ten minute pitches to judges who will select a winner to receive a $1000 cash prize along with over $2000 in in-kind support.Panel session presenters include the Vermont Agricultural Extension, who will share practical information for Vermont landowners and farmers; the Vermont Hemp Company, who will share information and answer questions about planting, cultivating, and harvesting hemp in Vermont; and Ceres PM, who will lead a ‘CBD 101’ workshop to discuss the current possible uses for ‘cannabidiol’, a non-psychoactive compound that has been used to treat seizure disorders, PTSD, concussion recovery, and increasingly for general wellness. There will also be a business development panel and Vermont product showcase panel featuring local and regional hemp leaders and entrepreneurs.Following the exhibitions and workshops, there will be live music at the Burke Mountain Hotel in the evening and outdoor fire pits. The weekend wraps up with a Sunday breakfast and outdoor activities, as participants wrap up the first annual Hemp Fest.“Completely independent of medical and adult-use marijuana, the hemp industry is exploding and we think that there’s a great opportunity for our Vermont working landscapes and their farmers via value-added agriculture, both in the Northeast Kingdom and statewide,” said Heady Vermont Editor Eli Harrington.Other activities and events that will be offered during Hemp Fest include yoga, mountain biking, hiking, golf and more.Tickets are $10 for Heady Vermont members(link is external) and $20 for all other members of the public. Visit the Vermont Hemp Fest(link is external) landing page and purchase your tickets here(link is external). Discounted lodging rates at the Burke Mountain Hotel are available.Source: Heady Vermont headyvermont.com(link is external)VBM vermontbiz.comlast_img read more

GMCB sets FY 2018 hospital budgets below targeted increase

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) today approved FY 2018 budgets for Vermont’s 14 community hospitals. The Board provided the hospitals with instructions this spring that outlined budget parameters and guidelines for their submissions, and targeted a net patient revenue (NPR) cap of 3.0% over FY 2017 budgets, and an additional 0.4% allowance for new health care reform activities. The 14 hospitals’ initial July 1st requested increase in NPR was 3.6%, or a roughly $87M increase to health care costs within our state. After a thorough review and public discussion, the Board approved a system-wide increase in NPR of 3.01%, and a weighted average rate increase of 2.08%.“I was pleased to see that many of the hospitals’ budget submissions were below our requested net patient revenue cap, while also making investments that will improve the quality of care for patients,” said Board Chair Kevin Mullin. “While this year’s increases continue the trend of historically low growth, I believe there is much still to do to make health care more affordable and accessible for Vermonters, and to continue to improve the quality of care Vermonters receive at our hospitals.”Over the last several years, the Board has worked to align its regulatory processes in an effort to control costs that impact Vermont health care consumers, in part by adjusting commercial insurance rate increases to more directly reflect the slowed growth of hospital budgets. In August, the Board ordered that insurers offering coverage on Vermont’s health benefit exchange further trim their proposed rates for 2018, resulting in increases well below the double-digit rate growth many other states are facing.The Board will continue to work with the Agency of Human Services, providers, payers, members of the public and their advocates to monitor and contain health care spending as the State moves away from a fee-for-service reimbursement model to a value-based model as outlined in the All-Payer ACO Model Agreement, which begins its first full year of implementation on January 1, 2018.Written hospital budget orders, detailing the Board’s decisions, will be issued no later than October 1st.  For more information on the GMCB hospital budget review process, including submissions from each hospital and their responses to GMCB questions on those submissions, see the GMCB website: http://gmcboard.vermont.gov/content/fy-2018-hospital-budget(link is external)   Source: Green Mountain Care Board 9.14.2017VBM vermontbiz.comlast_img read more