first_imgby Anne Galloway vtdigger.org When the Vermont State Hospital was abruptly closed on August 28 after Tropical Storm Irene floodwaters inundated Waterbury, workers quickly evacuated the facility and state officials found emergency placements at local hospitals and small private mental health institutions for the 50-plus patients who were suddenly displaced.Since the storm hit, the scrambling hasn’t stopped. For the last five months, Shumlin administration officials, lawmakers and providers have been weighing options for replacing the hospital. In the short term ‘ until lawmakers and the Shumlin administration can cement an interim plan ‘ Vermonters who need intensive psychiatric care are being treated at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, Rutland Regional Medical Center, Brattleboro Retreat and several small residential mental health care facilities.Long term, the state suddenly has an opportunity to reimagine what the system might look like after nearly a decade of intense debate over what to do with the old facility, which was decertified by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services in 2005 and was no longer eligible for Medicaid funding.The Shumlin administration is betting on a decentralized system that relies more on community and peer services, and less on institutional care. Under the governor’s plan, about 41 patients would receive care in intensive institutional settings and an additional 40 patients would be treated in community based residential programs. The state would plow new money ‘ about $9 million a year ‘ into local support services.Making the new system work financially is difficult because much of what the state wants to do is tied to complex rules and formulas for federal funding. It’s possible, for example, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will largely back the construction of a new facility with a 90 percent federal, 10 percent state match, after the state’s insurer pays its share of the cost.Though federal funding will likely be available for the structure, it’s possible the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare could drop funding for annual operating costs if the state builds a facility with more than 16 patients, according to lawmakers and Shumlin administration officials.On Friday, legislators in the House Human Services Committee agreed in a 9-1 vote to approve plans for a 25-bed facility in Central Vermont that would take the place of the Vermont State Hospital. The measure includes the outline for a complex system of decentralized care that would include 13 additional programs or facilities proposed by the Shumlin administration.House Appropriations will examine the budget impacts of the proposal on Monday; House Corrections and Institutions will consider the financial implications of the proposal on the capital bill Tuesday.Gov. Peter Shumlin wants a plan for a 16-bed facility from lawmakers on his desk by Feb. 17, and he made it clear in his press conference last week that he won’t budge on the number of beds he has specified.The number 16 has particular financial significance. If a global commitment waiver provision for the state hospital set to expire in 2014 isn’t reauthorized by the federal government, operating costs at ‘institutions for mental disease,’ or standalone psychiatric facilities, won’t be eligible for Medicaid reimbursements unless they have 16 or fewer patients or have an affiliation with a medical hospital.The difference between operating the 16-bed facility and a 30-bed hospital, which many in the medical community feel is needed, could be as much as $15 million in state money under the worst case scenarios. Privately, some lawmakers have suggested the operating cost figures are a rough ballpark guess at best in any case and don’t factor in economies of scale. Though the new facility would likely to be located near the Central Vermont Medical Center, there is no formal affiliation between the state and the center, which is owned by Fletcher Allen Partners, a subsidiary of Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.The Shumlin administration has pitched a 16-bed facility because officials say more institutional beds aren’t necessary. According to statistics from the Department of Mental Health, nearly half of the 54 patients at the Vermont State Hospital didn’t need to stay at the hospital because they were ready to be discharged or moved to other facilities.A 16-bed facility also happens to be the threshold for match rate eligibility (currently 57 percent federal funds, 43 percent state monies) for operating costs ‘ even if the global commitment waiver isn’t approved. Projections from the Joint Fiscal Office show the state’s share would be $3.37 million of the annual estimated operating cost; Medicaid reimbursements would be about $4.7 million.The Vermont State Hospital wasn’t eligible for federal match money after it was decertified by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare in 2003 for a number of safety problems. (It regained certification in November 2004 for 60 days but lost it again in Februrary 2005.) When the facility in Waterbury was closed because of the flood, the federal government began matching the state’s costs for qualified patients who are placed in hospitals and small psychiatric facilities with 16 or fewer beds.The total amount the state expects to receive for acute psychiatric patients in fiscal year 2012 is about $11 million.Rep. Alice Emmons, D-Springfield, said the state has been struggling to figure out how to develop a long-term plan for a replacement facility based on the federal criteria.‘The federal government considers 17 beds on up, if not affiliated with a hospital, they consider that an institution for mental disease and that has been what we’ve been struggling with since 2005 as we’ve tried figure out how to replace the state hospital,’ Emmons said. ‘That’s a fundamental piece all the way through this.’Emmons said the state will be negotiating the global commitment waiver with the feds through 2013 before it expires in January 2014. ‘The question then becomes will be able to continue with that waiver provision and we don’t know,’ she said.Patrick Flood, the commissioner of the Department of Mental Health, said going beyond the 16-bed threshold means that ‘we (the state) would go back into the world we were in when we were not certified.’The Brattleboro Retreat, which is classified as an institution for mental disease, would cost $7.5 million a year to operate and would not be eligible for a federal match should the global commitment waiver change, according to a spreadsheet from the Joint Fiscal Office. The pricetag for Windsor would be $2 million without federal support.Payments for treatment at Rutland Regional would be matched, Flood said. Other facilities, including the secure treatment center at the Windsor Correctional Facility and five other ‘step down’ residential care programs would be Medicaid reimbursed as well, according to JFO data.The cost to rebuildEmmons and others on the committee said the new psychiatric hospital is expected to take at least 3.5 years to build, which offers some leeway on the complex issue.The capital costs for a new facility are roughly $1 million per bed. The cost of retrofitting the Brattleboro Retreat is $4 million; Rutland is $6 million and Windsor would run $1.8 million.The state’s match would be 10 percent. At this point, the total cost is estimated at $27.8 million for all four facilities. The state’s match, after insurance estimates is $2.58 million.Emmons suggested a reasonable course of action considering ‘so much uncertainty’ was to pass out a bill authorizing state buildings officials to proceed with a certain facility size, knowing lawmakers had time to revisit the issue next session.By then, she said, the state would know how much Irene insurance and federal FEMA funds had come in to pay for building the facility and the state would have a better handle on costs and how a raft of new community mental health programs the administration has proposed are working ‘ which might reduce pressure for acute care psychiatric beds.‘As people have said, It’s very fluid,’ she said.Emmons also reminded her panel to consider that a larger psychiatric hospital that costs more to run would reduce funds available for community programs. ‘They’re interconnected,’ she said.Total expenditures would go upUnder the plans now under consideration, patients who need acute care would no longer be sent to one main psychiatric facility. Instead they would be sent to Brattleboro, Windsor, Rutland or the facility to be built in central Vermont.Lawmakers and the Shumlin administration appear to have a similar take on the regional services, but there are three different scenarios for the central Vermont psychiatric hospital. Each scenario comes with a different pricetag.The total cost of intensive institutional care, which would provide 41 beds (including the 16-bed facility in central Vermont), would be $20.5 million. That number bumps up to $25 million with a 25-bed facility (50 beds in all) and $27.5 million for a 30-bed plan (55 beds total). The Vermont State Hospital cost about $23 million a year.Without a global commitment waiver to use institutions for mental disease, the state’s share goes up considerably for the central Vermont, Rutland and the secure Windsor beds. The state could have to pay the full $7.5 million a year for Rutland and $2 million a year for Windsor. Depending on the size of central Vermont facility, the state’s share ranges from $3.371 million to $15 million.In addition, patients would receive treatment through geographically distributed peer services, emergency services and small residential facilities in southern and northern Vermont. The state would spend about $9 million a year on community based services and sub acute care.The total cost of community based mental health care, including the regional designated agencies or nonprofits that provide outpatient and crisis services, is projected to be $130 million. The state’s share of that total is $52.9 million.The grand total for the cost of Vermont’s mental health system, including the designated agency expenditures, was $153 million before Irene, and the state’s share was $72.8 million.All three of the new proposals leverage more federal dollars and increase the overall cost of the system. The governor’s plan, the most conservative of the three, costs the state $76 million (without the global commitment match). With federal dollars, the total is $171 million. The 25-bed option with no global commitment matches for the new state hospital, Rutland or Windsor costs the state a total of $85.7 million. The total cost, including federal match, is $176 million. The most expensive option, including the 30-bed facility, Rutland and Windsor, comes in at $178 million total, with federal money, and a $88 million match from the state.Editor’s Note: Andrew Nemethy contributed to this report. An update of this report was posted at 6:15 a.m. Jan. 30. A second update was posted at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 30.1.29.2012 vtdigger.orglast_img read more

first_imgMcGraw-Hill June 28, 2012 McGraw-Hill Construction has reported on May contracts for future construction in the state of Vermont. An authority on the construction market, the firm produces Dodge Reports and Sweets Catalog Files. According to the Research and Analytics unit of McGraw-Hill Construction, May’s construction activity followed this pattern: New Hampshire, meanwhile is only slightly below for the same time period:-Nonresidential buildings include commercial, manufacturing, educational, religious,administrative, recreational, hotel, dormitory and other buildings.-Residential buildings include one and two family houses and apartments.-Nonbuilding construction includes streets and highways, bridges,dams and reservoirs, river and harbor developments, sewage and water supplysystems, missile and space facilities, airports, utilities and communication systems.last_img read more

first_imgFollowing a search that spanned several months, Simon Pearce has appointed Clayton Adams as the new Chief Executive Officer of its multifaceted design and lifestyle company.  From the corporate headquarters in Windsor, Vermont, Adams will oversee the operations and strategic development of the organization’s entire portfolio, which includes seven retail stores, a nationwide network of more than 500 wholesale partners, a robust catalog and e-commerce business, a fine dining restaurant, and The Mill at Quechee, which is one of the most-visited attractions in the state of Vermont and draws more than 300,000 visitors each year. Clay Adams, right, with Mara Rivera, accepts the 2012 Best Places to Work Award from, left to right, Betsy Bishop of the Vermont Chamber, Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott and Vermont Business Magazine Publisher John Boutin.Adams joins Simon Pearce following a decade-long tenure with Vermont-based Resource Systems Group (RSG), where he recently led the company as CEO and orchestrated the achievement of numerous corporate milestones.  While Adams was a chief executive of RSG, the company was named to the coveted Best Places to Work in VT list for seven consecutive years (2006 ‘2012), which is a strong reflection on Adams’leadership expertise at successfully balancing needs of people, planet, and profit. With this new appointment, company founder Simon Pearce will transition into an advisory resource, with a key role on the Board of Directors and integral involvement in the creative, design, and production initiatives.  Adams will report to the Board of Directors, and will lead the company’s executive committee in guiding the daily business activities. Says Pearce, ‘Clay brings a well-rounded portfolio of leadership skills to our team, and the ideal blend of both local and global perspectives.  His intimate knowledge of the Upper Valley community, coupled with his experience nurturing the successful growth of Fortune 500 companies, makes him well-suited to address the needs of both our staff and our customers.’ With a degree from Dartmouth College, an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth, and specialized coursework at Harvard Business School Executive Education, Adams is no stranger to the study of excellence.  He also serves on the Boards of Directors for the Mascoma Savings Bank, the Delta Dental Plan (current Board Chair) and Vital Communities (former Board Chair). Says Adams of his new role at Simon Pearce, ‘It’s an honor to join the team at Simon Pearce, a brand long admired for its commitment to craftsmanship and artistry.  I share the company’s passion for quality, and am excited to collaborate with all our employees on new growth opportunities for the brand.’ About Simon Pearce:Simon Pearce designs, manufactures and markets original products in hand blown glass and handmade pottery and operates a fine dining establishment. Simon Pearce has maintained a dedication to creating products that are beautifully designed, produced with premium quality materials and time-honored techniques and intended for a lifetime of everyday use. Founded in 1971, Simon Pearce originated as a small glassblowing workshop in Kilkenny, Ireland. In 1981, the company moved to a historic woolen mill on the banks of the Ottauquechee River in Quechee, Vermont. Today, Quechee remains the flagship for Simon Pearce’s retail, restaurant and production activities. The full range of glass and pottery designs embodies traditional and contemporary styles’all with classic simplicity, elegance and everyday functionality. The line is available at 7 Simon Pearce retail stores, through a nationwide network of over 500 wholesale partners, via mail-order catalog and online at SimonPearce.com.  Visit the brand’s highly active social media channels, www.facebook.com/Simon.Pearce.Glass(link is external) and @SimonPearceInc on Twitter.Windsor, VT (August 2012)last_img read more

first_imgUniversity of Vermont,To what extent do stories we read and watch for fun have an impact on our political views and thinking? A new book by a political science professor at the University of Vermont, based on a national survey of college students, suggests that the influence of the Harry Potter series on the Millennial Generation (1982-2002) may extend far beyond the fantasy world of Hogwarts and wizardry.Harry Potter and the Millennials: Research Methods and the Politics of the Muggle Generation (John Hopkins University Press, 2013) reveals that readers of the seven-book series and viewers of the movie franchise tend be more open to diversity; politically tolerant; less authoritarian; less likely to support the use of deadly force or torture; more politically active; and are more likely to have a negative view of the Bush administration. About 60 percent of those who read all of the books said they voted for Obama in 2008, and 83 percent of the full-series readers said they viewed the Bush Administration unfavorably.”Whether the book provided new perspectives or reinforced those already in their world, the deep immersion in the story and identification with the characters almost guaranteed an alignment of fans’perspectives with those of the wizarding world, perspectives that would differentiate them from their nonfan peers,” says author Anthony Gierzynski, author of four books, including Saving American Elections: A Diagnoisis and Prescription for a Healthier Democracy (Cambria Press, 2011).Gierzynski and students in his “Film, TV and Public Opinion” course collected qualitative data via interviews, essays and an anonymous survey of 1,100 college students from 2009 to 2011. An extensive questionnaire determined levels of Harry Potter fandom on a scale of one through five based on a quiz and readership levels. About 30 percent self-reported as being “very much into Harry Potter” with 35 percent having read all seven books in the series and two-thirds at least some of the books. A total of 45 percent had seen all of the movies and 86 percent at least some of them.The majority of the 1,100 students who took the survey were the same age as the characters in the series (about 11) when the first book was released in 1997. They were enrolled at the University of Vermont, University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, Adirondack Community College, California Polytechnic State University, Iowa State and Pacific Lutheran University.Respondents were then asked a series of questions designed to measure the effects of the series’ main lessons on readers. To test whether the acceptance of diversity by Harry and his friends mirrored that of readers, for example, respondents were asked how they felt about groups who have been subject to discrimination in the United States including Muslims, African Americans, undocumented immigrants and homosexuals. Respondents were asked to rate their feelings on a four-point “feeling thermometer” with zero being ‘very cold or unfavorable feeling’and four representing “100 degrees, very warm or favorable feeling.” After adding up each respondent’s total feeling scores toward all of the groups and comparing the results to non-fans, Gierzynski found that readers of all the books, as compared to the rest of the sample, evinced statistically significant warmer feelings toward the different groups.The finding that fans of the boy wizard participate more in political activities than nonfans, “perhaps reflects the story’s lesson on the need to act, and efficacy of doing something to fight what is ‘wrong’in the world,” posits Gierzynski, who used political socialization theory and the effects of learning to determine a set of 10 hypotheses. Other results found that Harry Potter fans (compared to nonfans) value equality more; are less likely to exhibit an authoritarian predisposition (tendency to show obedience to authorities, conform to rules and norms, and to disdain those not part of the in-group); and evince a greater level of skepticism and a lower level of cynicism.While Gierzynki acknowledges correlation does not prove causation, he writes that “there is abundant evidence that Harry Potter fans are different from nonfans on the very subjects that were covered in the lessons of the series.” He likens the impact of Harry Potter on Millennials to that of Star Wars on Generation X, the Beatles on Boomers, and Casablanca on the GI Generation.”It is, ultimately, impossible to prove that the Harry Potter phenomenon caused fans to view politics in ways that reflect the lessons of the books,” concludes Gierzynksi, who took an interdisciplinary approach to the book, pulling from the fields of communications, politics, English literature and psychology, among others. “But the results of the more rigorous statistical tests that we report on, as well as the words of Millennials themselves on this issue, leave us confident that the story of the struggles of the wizarding world against Voldemort did indeed play an important role in the political development of many Millennials.”last_img read more

first_imgThe results of the annual U-Haul National Migration Trend Report are in, reflecting the nation’s top growth states for families that moved during 2013. The report, titled “U-Haul 2013 Top 10 US Growth States,” indicates that for states with more than 20,000 families moving, Florida had the highest percentage of growth, with 4.85 percent more families moving into the state than out. In addition to Florida’sgrowth exploding in 2013, Texas and Washington also showed substantial growth increases. For states with 5,000 – 20,000 families moving, Vermont had the highest percentage for the second year in a row, with an astounding growth rate of 8.12 percent in 2013. Maine and Delaware took second and third place respectively.U-Haul Top 10 U.S. Growth StatesJanuary – December 2013With More Than 20,000 Families MovingRANKSTATE%GROWTH1.FLORIDA4.85%2.TEXAS4.40%3.WASHINGTON3.19%4.LOUSIANA3.16%5.ARKANSAS2.18%6.COLORADO1.69%7.TENNESSEE1.24%8.KENTUCKY0.61%9.INDIANA0.52%10.OHIO0.46% U-Haul Top 10 U.S. Growth StatesJanuary – December 2013With 5,000 – 20,000 Families MovingRANKSTATE%GROWTH1.VERMONT8.12%2.MAINE6.66%3.DELAWARE5.92%4.ALASKA4.44%5.NEW MEXICO3.17%6.DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA2.78%7.IDAHO2.75%8.WEST VIRGINIA2.49%9.MISSISSIPPI0.57%10.NORTH DAKOTA0.36% The entire U-Haul 2013 Top 10 Growth States report can be seen by clicking HERE.”U-Haul remains committed to helping families move In-Town, as well as across the United States and Canada. People continue to move due to life-changing events, no matter what the economics may be, and these numbers reflect that,” stated John “JT” Taylor, president, U-Haul International, Inc. “Our customers rely on us to provide clean, well-maintained, affordable equipment to move their families. This past year, the mileage placed on U-Haul trucks, trailers and towing equipment would move a family to the moon and back more than 9.9 times a day.”The reports, reflective of growth patterns of the United States during 2013, were compiled based on nationwide trends in states with a minimum of 5,000 – 20,000 families and more than 20,000 families moving in or out of the area. Growth was then determined by calculating the percentage of inbound moves vs. outbound moves for each state.The U-Haul 2013 Top 10 U.S. Growth States Report was compiled from more than 1.7 million U-Haul one-way truck transactions for calendar year 2013.PHOENIX, April 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — U-Haullast_img read more

first_imgby Representative Heidi E Scheuermann There have been many opinions about how successful the 2013-2014 legislative session was. Just prior to adjournment, Governor Peter Shumlin told the House of Representatives  “we have made this biennium one of the most productive in recent memory.”   In other press reports, House Speaker Shap Smith called the last session, “incredibly productive.”But does this predictable self-congratulatory back-slapping tell the real story?  Unfortunately, no.  It belies the lack of real results in the areas most important to the working families, and overall economic vitality, of our state. A more accurate characterization of the two-year session is one of missed opportunities and challenges unmet.  While there were some positive developments and some important legislation passed, the issues many Vermonters wanted so desperately for us to address were not.Indeed, there were some modest accomplishments. After many years of prodding from Republican members, we took another step in addressing our state’s $3 billion unfunded pension liabilities. We made necessary reforms to the welfare system, by turning the aptly named “benefits cliff” into more of a “benefits slope” and creating better opportunities for low-income Vermonters to work and achieve independence.  And, we passed the economic development bill on which Rep. Paul Ralston (D-Middlebury) and I worked tirelessly.  While these measures are each modest steps forward, they are in no way the comprehensive, long-term commitment to economic development and fiscal responsibility that our state so desperately needs and deserves.  In some ways, they could be fairly characterized as band aids.Plants throughout Vermont are closing, many Vermonters have lost jobs and the costs of living here – many of which are driven by policies passed by the Legislature – continue to grow faster than many families’ paychecks.  So, as political leaders pat themselves on the back for the session or our low “unemployment” rate, keep in mind that since January 2011, 8,850 Vermonters have dropped out of the workforce.  Sure, some new jobs are being created – but too many Vermonters have to work more than one of them to make ends meet.Consider too that there has been a stunning lack of accountability and transparency around health care reform.  The rollout of Vermont Health Connect was disastrous, all at the expense of families and businesses.  Yet, nobody, absolutely nobody, has been held accountable for these failures.In addition to this abysmal administrative boondoggle, legislative leaders and the Governor continue to insist that we march down an undefined path to a $2.2 billion taxpayer funded health care system.  The only thing we know for sure is that their political promises of lower costs, better care ,and guaranteed insurance for all continue – with absolutely no honest plan for getting us there.When this effort launched in 2011, the law required that the Governor present a financing plan by January of last year.  As of today, there is no proposal.  The lack of any action at all to reform education funding and provide property tax relief is another disappointment.   For years, Vermonters have been pleading for reforms.  Yet, for years, those pleas have been ignored.  As the cries for reform continued last year, the Legislature instead passed a 5 and 6-cent tax increase — knowing full well that there would be similar increases this year.Even as 36 school budgets went down to defeat on Town Meeting Day, nothing was done to reform the system.  In fact, property taxes will continue to rise this year by 4 and 7 cents, followed by yet another 7-9 cent increase next year.In November you will have an opportunity to hold all elected officials accountable for these unmet challenges and missed opportunities.  It is time for you to send a message to Montpelier: Focus on the issues that matter most, be honest, and get real results.  It’s time for a change.  Heidi E. Scheuermann is a Republican Vermont State Representative from Stowe. Submitted May 22, 2014. Photo by vtdigger.org. www.heidischeuermann.com(link is external)last_img read more

first_imgWhen 12-year-old Marisa “Missy” Magel passed away suddenly while at summer camp in rural Texas, it was from a disease her family never knew she had—brain aneurysm disease. The disease claims 32,000 lives annually in the United States—more than prostate cancer—partly because brain aneurysms are often misdiagnosed as migraine headaches.Now a $150,000 grant to the Center for Telehealth(link is external) at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) from the Missy Project(link is external), a foundation her family started in 1999 following Missy’s death, will help brain aneurysm patients in northern New England have rapid access to neurovascular specialists; access that may have helped save Missy’s life.“Telemedicine plays a crucial role in delivering health care in the right place at the right time, especially in areas where there is no access to the medical expertise that is needed,” says Sarah Pletcher, MD, director of the Center for Telehealth and the Center for Rural Emergency Services and Trauma at D-H. “Thanks to this grant from the Missy Project we can use telemedicine platforms to give children and adults real-time access to neurovascular specialty care, in partnership with local providers and community hospitals in our region and beyond.”Pletcher and Robert J. Singer, MD, FACS (RJS), a board certified neurological surgeon with specialty training in the diagnosis and management of neurovascular diseases in children and adults, will oversee the neurovascular telemedicine program. In addition to virtual aneurysm clinics, the D-H project will include a 24/7 emergency department telemedicine acute consult service for pediatric and adult patients with suspected subarachnoid hemorrhage (which accounts for half of all hemorrhagic strokes), and customized educational video content. Patient visits to the virtual aneurysm clinic will include educational content and a real-time video visit with Singer, during which he will discuss their treatment options and use telemedicine software to display and discuss their CT scan images.“Telemedicine is a great fit for many of our patients, especially those with unruptured neurovascular lesions because a physical examination isn’t always required. During the consultation I’m looking at imaging, explaining pathology, and then giving an opinion as to what the next step is,” explains Singer, who is the Medical Director of the JB Marshall Laboratory for Neurovascular Therapeutics at Dartmouth.In addition to providing more timely care, Singer notes that neurovascular telemedicine is also more convenient for patients.“Ordinarily, after getting a scan from their doctor, patients have to wait weeks until they can get an appointment with me,” says Singer. “Many of them then drive great distances for what is typically a 15-minute appointment, and then they have to return at a later time if they need a diagnostic or treatment procedure. That 15-minute appointment can easily be conducted via the virtual aneurysm clinic. This reduces patient travel and the wait time for an appointment, and also give patients a better visit.”Mary Magel, the executive director of the Texas-based Missy Project and mother of the late Missy Magel, says the nonprofit’s board voted unanimously to fund the Center for Telehealth’s program. “To me, this is a brilliant program and a great way to serve the community,” she says. “I think this will dramatically cut the time from incident to treatment and I believe it’s going to save a lot of lives.”last_img read more

first_imgThe Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has approved nearly $30.5 million in business financings, including reissuance of a $20.5 million tax-exempt revenue bond. Roughly $10 million of the total approved financing is comprised of loans for a variety of economic development projects in Vermont’s commercial, agricultural, small business and energy sectors.  VEDA approved the reissuance of up to $20.5 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds previously issued by the Authority for Wake Robin Corporation, a Vermont 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that owns and operates a well-known continuing care retirement community with approximately 320 residents in Shelburne.  VEDA has assisted Wake Robin with tax-exempt bond financing several times to finance the construction and expansion of the facility.  The new bond was purchased by M&T Bank.In addition, VEDA approved over $3 million in direct commercial loans, including:Troy Minerals, Inc., Colchester – VEDA approved financing of $960,000 to help Troy Minerals, Inc. of Colchester purchase the real estate and business assets of the South Wallingford Quarry.  In addition, the company will purchase new machinery and equipment as part of the project, for which TD Bank is also providing financing. The South Wallingford Quarry comprises 212 acres and a crushing plant and is believed to contain enough stone to sustain operations there for another 20 years at the current rate of extraction. The quarry purchase will allow Troy Minerals to expand inventory and sales at a crushed stone aggregate operation it also owns in Florence.  Troy Minerals, Inc. was formed in 1991 to develop and operate various stone quarries.  The company currently employs nine people and will also maintain the South Wallingford Quarry’s eight employees. Ye Olde England Inn, Stowe – After extensive renovations and redesign work are completed, new owners will reopen Ye Olde England Inn in Stowe next fall.  VEDA approved financing of $1,441,000 to assist in the project, and the Community National Bank is providing financing, as well.  The property on the Mountain Road in Stowe consists of two buildings on 2.2 acres and 30 rooms and suites.  The new majority owners and business partners, Leigh Blood and Rich Cooper, plan to re-brand, market and launch the property as a member of the Lark Hotels Collection.  As part of the project, the property will be completely renovated to improve room layout and cosmetic appearance, transforming it from an English-style inn to a modern New England lodge.  Plans are to reopen the facility, which has been closed since last spring, in September of 2015. Within three years of the purchase and renovation project, it is estimated that 28 full-time hourly and salaried jobs will be created.BIW, LLC, Manchester  – A real estate holding company for a Manchester mattress manufacturer will receive a $220,000 VEDA loan to put a new roof on its factory building. The company, WCW, Inc., manufactures and distributes mattresses and mattress products nationally and internationally to the medical, consumer and hospitality markets.  A few years ago, WCW consolidated all its operations in a move from Hoosick Falls, New York to Manchester. VEDA provided financing at that time to help the company make the move. Products offered by WCW include electric adjustable beds, latex foam beds, memory foam beds, airbeds, dog beds, memory foam toppers, pillows, bed frames/foundations, wheelchairs and seat cushions.  WCW has developed a system called Self Adjusting Technology, which is based on a unique, non-electric pump that adjusts support to conform to each individual’s unique shape. The Merchants Bank is also providing financing for the project, which will result in the replacement of the roof on a 29-year-old building.  WCW currently employs 104 people and it is expected this number will increase to 115 in the next three years. Flex-A-Seal, Inc., Essex Junction – VEDA approved a $114,000 VEDA loan to its long-time borrower, Flex-A-Seal, Inc., to fund its purchase of a new CNC milling machine that will increase capacity, reduce production costs, speed delivery times and handle more specialized work.  The project will also fund an expansion in modular work areas for manufacturing supervisors and the purchase of other equipment.   People’s United Bank is also participating in funding the project.Flex-A-Seal’s products include dual and split cartridge seals, welded bellows, cryogenic seals and heavy-duty slurry seals.  These products are sold worldwide to companies involved in pulp and paper, chemical and food processing, drug manufacturing, wastewater, potable water, refineries, marine and pipeline systems.VEDA’s financing relationship with Flex-A-Seal started with a real estate loan in 1991, and since that time, has included a number of machinery, equipment and building loans.  Flex-A-Seal started in 1983 with three employees.  Today, the company employs 88 people in Vermont and that number is expected to grow to 105 within three years of the project.   VEDA also approved:·         $3.2 million through the Authority’s SBA 504 Program, through which the Vermont 504 Corporation, with SBA’s approval, makes SBA 504 loans to eligible and qualified borrowers;·         Almost $1.4 million through the Authority’s agricultural loan program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC); and·         $906,891 in energy-related financing.In addition, over $1.4 million was approved through the Authority’s Small Business Loan Program, which assists growing Vermont small businesses that are unable to access adequate sources of conventional financing. Approved loans include:·         Vergennes Laundry, Vergennes –  $110,000 to partially finance the purchase of the Main Street, Vergennes building which Vergennes Laundry, a wholesale/retail wood-fired bakery, espresso and wine bar, has leased since 2010.  Vermont Federal Credit Union is also providing financing for the project.About VEDAThe Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) is Vermont’s statewide economic development finance lender.  VEDA was created by the General Assembly in 1974 with a mission “to contribute to the creation and retention of quality jobs in Vermont by providing loans and other financial support to eligible and qualified Vermont industrial, commercial and agricultural enterprises.”Over the years, VEDA has grown and adapted its financing programs to keep pace with an ever-changing economy.  VEDA offers a wide range of low-cost lending options for Vermont businesses and farms of all sizes, and the Authority’s lending solutions are customized to each borrower’s individual needs.  Whether in the form of direct loans, tax-exempt bond issuance or loan guarantee support, VEDA’s innovative financing programs help ensure that Vermont businesses and farms have the capital they need to grow and succeed.  VEDA most often lends in conjunction with banks and other financing partners, helping to stimulate economic development activity in Vermont.Since 1974, VEDA has provided over $2.07 billion in financing assistance to thousands of eligible Vermont entrepreneurs, manufacturers, small businesses, family farms, and agricultural enterprises, helping them to realize their business growth goals, create jobs, and enhance the vitality of Vermont’s economy.  For more information about VEDA, visit www.veda.org(link is external) Source: VEDA 1.12.2015last_img read more

first_imgDave Laforce, Owner of Built by Newport, stands (center) with his 2015 Woodworker of the Year plaque and his  dedicated employees at the facility in Newport. Vermont Business Magazine On January 29, 2016 at their Annual Meeting, the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association (VWMA) honored Dave Laforce, owner of Built by Newport, with the 2015 VWMA Woodworker of the Year Award. Family owned since 1963, Built by Newport manufactures the highest quality furniture parts using the latest technology in their facilities, ensuring lasting, durable, and beautifully crafted parts. After two generations and 40 years in the furniture parts business, Built by Newport established itself as a leader in the wood component industry and one of Vermont’s finest wood furniture manufacturers. Laforce has continued to be innovative and resourceful during a hard economic time for the wood products industry. He recognized that the company had challenges involving company culture, customer service and operational inefficiencies and faced those challenges head on by working with the Northern Forest Center (NFC). NFC matched the company with Dovetail Partners who was able to assist them in transforming the company culture, developing a strategic plan and vision, and improving teamwork and internal communication, all of which contribute to a better manufacturing operation and improved customer service. Built by Newport is also participating in the Skilled Workforce Initiative, which VWMA and the Northern Forest Center are partnering to implement, in part with grants to VWMA from Vermont’s Working Lands Enterprise Initiative.  Looking towards future growth, this initiative will assist the company in hiring people to fill jobs and also enhance a career path within the company for existing employees. You can learn more about Built by Newport by visitingwww.builtbynewport.com(link is external).  That same evening the VWMA also recognized the Working Lands Enterprise Board as the 2015 Friend of the Industry. Each year the VWMA selects a person, organization, or group that has supported the growth and vitality of the sector. This year we wish to recognize the entire board and Agency support staff for their desire and commitment to advancing the forestry and wood products sector. Kathleen Wanner, VWMA Executive Director states, “We have finally arrived at that place where farm and forest are critically linked as Vermont’s working landscape. When this effort began just a few years ago, “farm and forest” did not roll off the tongue as easily as it does today.  As members of the Working Lands Enterprise Board, you have all helped to foster this new attitude and we thank you!” View the entire list of Working Lands Enterprise board members and the initiative at http://workinglands.vermont.gov/(link is external).After the awards were finished, the VWMA held their election of officers and board of directors.    Scott Duffy of Rockledge Farm Woodworks and David Hurwitz of David Hurwitz Originals were both re-elected for three year terms. By voice vote, the following officers were approved for the 2016-2017 term; Brent Karner of Clearlake Furniture, President; Armin Driver of Copeland Furniture, Vice President;  Mike Rainville of Maple Landmark Woodcraft, Treasurer; & Scott Duffy of Rockledge Farm Woodworks, Secretary.  The Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers was again approved to appoint an affiliate representative to the board for another year. Charles Shackleton of ShackletonThomas in Bridgewater will fill the seat.Other VWMA board members are Jon Blatchford of JK Adams, Joel Currier of Currier Farms Forest Products and Jared Duval of the Vermont Department of Economic Development, who serves as an advisor. The VWMA would like to thank outgoing board members Kevin Hastings for his dedication to the industry and past service on the VWMA Board.The VWMA represents primary and secondary processors and related businesses statewide. Its mission is to support the industry in Vermont and promote its long-term viability by expanding members’ presence in the marketplace, ensuring a sustainable supply of raw materials, increasing workforce skill, and acting as responsible employers and community members. Learn more about our organization at www.vermontwood.com(link is external).From left to right, Working Lands Enterprise Board members Emma Hanson, Will Belongia, Ela Chapin, Jared Duval, Robin Scheu, Ken Gagnon, Brent Karner (VWMA President), Ellen Kahler, & Kathleen Wanner.last_img read more

first_imgVermont Business Magazine A report released Monday, May 23rd by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) says the U.S. is on the verge of a “major expansion of its senior population.” The report holds that most older adults want to age independently in their homes and communities, yet most homes and communities can’t safely and affordably accommodate this desire. Recommendations include increasing the availability of service-enriched housing (like Vermont’s Support and Services at Home model) to improve health outcomes in seniors while cutting the growth in Medicare expenditures.Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, DC-based think tank seeking policy solutions from both parties, formed a Senior Health and Housing Task Force to evaluate the linkage between health care and housing. The resulting report, Healthy Aging Begins at Home, points to integration of healthcare and housing systems as a proven route to better management of chronic diseases, improved health outcomes, and a reduced financial burden on our health care system.Healthy Aging Begins at Home recognizes Support and Services at Home (SASH), a Vermont model launched by Cathedral Square, as a successful way to coordinate community resources (healthcare providers, Area Agencies on Aging, mental health providers, and nonprofit housing organizations) in support of seniors who choose to age in their home. “Initial data demonstrate positive impacts on resident health, health care utilization, and a slowing of the growth of Medicare expenditures relative to two control groups.”“This BPC report holds broad implications for the nation as seniors become a greater percentage of our overall population, “said Kim Fitzgerald, Cathedral Square CEO. “SASH is an important solution to challenges faced by our healthcare and housing systems.”  The full report is available at http://cdn.bipartisanpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/BPC-Healthy-Aging.pdf(link is external)About Cathedral Square Cathedral Square is a non-profit organization created in 1977. The organization develops and operates communities for seniors and individuals with special needs. Cathedral Square’s mission to support “healthy homes, caring communities and positive aging” begins with providing service-enriched housing to over 1,154 residents. Cathedral Square owns and/or manages 30 housing communities, each uniquely designed to provide safe and secure apartments at an affordable price. www.cathedralsquare.org(link is external) Cathedral Square administers the SASH (Support And Services at Home) model statewide as part of Vermont’s Blueprint for Health. SASH is a care management model harnessing the combined strength of social service agencies, community health providers and non-profit housing organizations to support more than 5,000 Vermonters in aging safely and healthfully at home. www.sashvt.org(link is external)last_img read more