by Alan Panebaker vtdigger.org Five of six members of a House-Senate conference committee signed a report Monday that would allow parents to continue to exercise a â philosophical exemption’to opt not to have their children vaccinated for certain diseases.However, the compromise didnâ t seem to make anyone happy.Vermont is one of a minority of states that allows for the exemption; it also allows exemptions for religious and health reasons.But earlier this session, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to strip that part of the law, based in large part on the stateâ s dipping vaccination rates.Then the House voted overwhelmingly to keep the exemption.The compromise bill stipulates that if rates for certain immunizations, such as measles, drop below 90 percent, the commissioner of the Department of Health would suspend use of the philosophical exemption for that vaccine.Rep. George Till, the only medical doctor in the House, signed the report, but he said he did not think it went far enough.â Itâ s a very, very small step, and it doesnâ t go nearly far enough to protect the kids of Vermont,’he said. â Itâ s an abdication of our responsibility to our kids. We let a very vocal minority rule to the detriment of Vermonters in general.âSenate President Pro Tem John Campbell refused to sign the report. He was sitting on the conference committee as a substitute for Sen. Sally Fox.â I cannot in all good conscience sign a report when I deeply feel we are putting our children at risk,’Campbell said. â When you look at the numbers for me I think youâ re going to expose children to diseases that are clearly preventable. Some parents are afraid of potential harm vaccination may cause their child. I find it a little disturbing that we donâ t care about the rest of the children.âSixty percent of Vermont children 19 to 35 months old are â adequately vaccinated,’according to a 2009 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey.Some parents say the bill compromise goes too far.Jennifer Stella organized the Vermont Coalition for Vaccine Choice this legislative session. She said the 90-percent threshold in the compromise bill limits parents’right to use the philosophical exemption.â It basically says that only 10 percent of Vermonters get to use that right,’she said.Stella has a petition with more than 1,500 signatures of residents who want to keep the philosophical exemption. She said Gov. Peter Shumlin supports their cause, and she is calling him out to veto the bill.In an April 18 press conference, Shumlin said he thought the House passed a thoughtful bill.â I do not believe that, in the end, the government should dictate to parents what inoculations their children should get,’he said.Dr. Harry Chen, Shumlinâ s commissioner of Health, supports removing the philosophical exemption.The issue turned into one of the most contentious of the legislative session. On the one hand, parents whose children allegedly have been injured by vaccines say the exemption allows parents to make an informed decision. Some say the pharmaceutical industry has lobbied successfully to convince society that all children need to be vaccinated for every disease possible.The established medical community says immunizations are a public health issue and that unvaccinated children can pose a health risk, particularly to children with compromised immune systems.Because the threshold for suspending the exemption is based on a statewide rate, children in a specific school with a low rate of immunizations could still be at risk.Rep. Mike Fisher, chair of the House Committee on Health Care, said the immunization debate has been one of the most challenging issues of the year.â This proves to be one of the most difficult and controversial issues weâ ve dealt with,’Fisher said before signing the report. â Iâ m in part baffled, and in part I understand. It strikes at a core conflict of values. I appreciate the frustrations. Weâ ve been living in it ourselves. I believe we have taken a modest step at both protecting individual rights and protecting the public.âThe compromise also would require schools and child-care facilities to make publicly available aggregated immunization rates of the student body for each vaccine. Parents using the exemption would need to provide a signed statement each year that they understand the risks to their children and others if they decline the vaccines. The bill would also require the departments of Education and Health to convene a working group to address how to protect children with compromised immune systems. The group will have to study the feasibility of allowing those students to enroll in a school with higher immunization rates.The House and Senate will both have to vote on the conference committeeâ s report. April 30, 2012 vtdigger.org
Northstar Vermont Yankee,by Andrew Stein March 28, 2013 vtdigger.org The Vermont Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the New England Coalition’ s request to shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.The anti-nuclear coalition took advantage of a rarely used statute in early December, in its petition asking the Supreme Court to enforce a Public Service Board (PSB) order against Vermont Yankee operator Entergy Corp.The PSB order that prompted the coalition’ s complaint was a denial of Entergy’ s motion to amend its previous sale order, dry fuel storage order and certificate of public good.The dry fuel storage order banned the plant from storing spent fuel on the site generated after March 21, 2012, when state permits for Vermont Yankee expired. The sale order prohibited the continued operation of the plant beyond that date without the board’ s approval.Since Entergy failed to follow these orders, and the board won’ t amend them, the New England Coalition attempted to use Chapter 15 of Title 30, which allows a party to complain to the Vermont Supreme Court about noncompliance.The coalition was a party in the board’ s review of Entergy’ s permit application in Public Service Board Docket 6545, which included the 2002 order to approve Entergy’ s initial sale order and certificate of public good.Since Entergy has appealed board orders to the Vermont Supreme Court and since Entergy is currently participating in the state’ s application process for a new certificate of public good, the Supreme Court justices would not rule on the matter under the coalition’ s complaint.‘ NEC fails to demonstrate ‘¦that it exhausted its administrative remedies and that it has no adequate legal remedy,’ they wrote in their decision.’ NEC has not requested, nor has the Board issued, an order directing Entergy to cease operating Vermont Yankee on the grounds advanced by NEC here.’The justices also noted that the board’ s authority to enforce the sale order is not yet ‘ established.’ The state lost a federal court case in 2012, which found the state was federally preempted from shutting the plant down based on Vermont’ s existing legislation. The state is currently appealing that decision.Furthermore, the justices put off making a decision on the sale order because the court will consider the issue in an appeal that Entergy filed against the Public Service Board for moving forward with its permitting process under a new docket.Entergy’ s appeal to the Supreme Court came after the coalition filed its complaint.Jared Margolis, the coalition’ s lead attorney in the case, said that if Entergy had filed its appeal first, the coalition might have not taken the legal route it has. He said that while the court could have considered the order under the coalition’ s docket, it chose not to for procedural reasons.‘ The substantive issue that we brought before the Supreme Court has not been determined to be invalid,’ he said. ‘ The Supreme Court didn’ t say, ‘ Wwe don’ t agree with the arguments of NEC.’ They said, ‘ We’ re going to take this up in Entergy’ s appeal of docket 7440.’ ‘
Could you use an unexpected $385 in cash? That’s the average claim amount paid by the Vermont State Treasurer’s Office last fiscal year to the 13,435 individuals who discovered they had unclaimed financial property. State Treasurer Beth Pearce announced today that there’s now more than $64 million in Vermont’s unclaimed property fund. She urged Vermonters to check and see if any of this money is theirs.’ ‘Vermonters are finding that taking the time to check each year can really pay off,’ said Pearce. ‘At this year’s Champlain Valley Fair we had 950 claim form requests made on $173,121 in unclaimed property. The largest amount of a single claim request was $28,793.’’ The Treasurer’s office is currently in the middle of fall outreach efforts to alert Vermonters to search for unclaimed property. Through November 13, the office will distribute its annual publication of new unclaimed property listings through newspapers across the state. Additional advertising will direct people to search for their name at MissingMoney.Vermont.gov. Last year, more than 280,000 searches were conducted through the web site. During the past fiscal year, the Treasurer’s office received more than $9 million in new financial property.’ ‘I’m proud of the work we’ve done to recover financial property and return it to Vermonters. Our recent initiative to reunite people with old life insurance accounts has resulted in more than $2 million in funds turned over to unclaimed property and hundreds of Vermonters reunited with their property,’ explained Pearce. ‘We continue to work hard to make people aware of the unclaimed property program and connect them with their money.’’ Last fiscal year, the Treasurer’s office reunited Vermonters with $5,179,292 in unclaimed financial property. Financial property becomes ‘unclaimed’ after a business or non-profit entity loses contact with a customer for a period of years. The property is sent to the State Treasurer’s Office to protect the funds and centralize efforts to locate the property owner. Unclaimed property includes cash, checks, security deposits, refunds, stocks, bonds, insurance policies, bank accounts, and estates.’ There is no time limit for filing a claim and no charge to claim funds through the Treasurer’s office. Vermonters are advised to be wary of services that offer to locate property for a fee. Vermont law forbids such businesses, known as asset locators, from charging more than 10 percent of the value of the unclaimed property for their services. By following some basic guidelines, Vermonters can avoid being scammed or paying for services they may be able to get for free.’ ‘¢’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Know who the company is you are dealing with. If you have never heard of the business or person with whom you intend to do business, learn more about them. You might check with the Better Business Bureau, visit the business location, or consult with your bank or credit union, an attorney, or the police.’ ‘¢’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Make sure you fully understand any business agreement proposed to you before starting any process or signing anything.’ ‘¢’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Be careful of businesses that operate out of post office boxes or mail drops or that do not have a street address.’ ‘¢’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Be wary of business deals that require you to sign non-disclosure or non-circumvention agreements that are designed to prevent you from independently verifying the identity of the people you are considering doing business with.Source: Treasurer’s office 11.5.2013
National Life Group,The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) has announced that Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, has joined its cooperative. The insurance company, with offices in Addison, Texas, and Montpelier, Vermont, is part of National Life Group, a Fortune 1000 company. Life Insurance Company of the Southwest will have access to liquidity through FHLB Dallas’ line of advances and other credit products.“We are a significant supporter of residential mortgages, low income housing, and commercial multi-family loans through our investment portfolio,” said Don Messier, 2nd vice president of corporate development at National Life Group. “We have a good partnership with FHLB Dallas and our membership provides us valuable flexibility and access to liquidity that help us better protect our policyholders.”As of September 30, 2014, a total of 30 insurance companies held membership in FHLB Dallas, one of 12 District banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932.“We are pleased to have the Life Insurance Company of the Southwest as a new member. FHLB Dallas is a member-owned cooperative. As such, we strive to do more and be more for our members. We are excited about Life Insurance Company of the Southwest’s membership and the opportunities we have to help further its goals and objectives,” said Sanjay Bhasin, president and CEO of FHLB Dallas.FHLB Dallas approved 14 new members in 2014, with five of them being life insurance companies.“Life Insurance Company of the Southwest has the strength and stability we seek in candidates for membership,” said Steve Otto, vice president and director of Member Sales at FHLB Dallas. “Life insurers, as with all of our members, have found benefits in the low-cost advances FHLB Dallas offers. Our members are able to access advances for liquidity and to diversify funding sources. We are glad to have Life Insurance Company of the Southwest on board.”About Life Insurance Company of the SouthwestNational Life Group is a diversified family of financial service companies that offers a comprehensive portfolio of life insurance, annuity and investment products to help individuals, families and businesses pursue their financial goals. National Life Group, a Fortune 1000 company, serves 786,000 customers as of Dec. 31, 2014. With 2013 revenue of $2 billion and net income of $142 million, companies of National Life Group employ roughly 900 employees, with most located at its home office in Montpelier, Vermont. National Life Group companies also maintain offices in Addison, New York, and San Francisco. The Group is made up of its flagship company, National Life Insurance Company, founded in Montpelier, Vermont in 1848; Life Insurance Company of the Southwest, founded in 1955, Addison, Texas, and Sentinel Investments and Equity Services, Inc.,both based in Montpelier.Each company of National Life Group is solely responsible for its own financial condition and contractual obligations. Life Insurance Company of the Southwest is not an authorized insurer in New York and does not conduct insurance business in New York. Equity Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC, is a Broker/Dealer and Registered Investment Adviser. Sentinel Investments is the unifying brand name for Sentinel Financial Services Company, Sentinel Asset Management, Inc., and Sentinel Administrative Services, Inc. All companies, unless otherwise noted, are affiliated and are located in Montpelier,VT. Fortune 1000 status is based on the consolidated results of all National Life Group companies.About the Federal Home Loan Bank of DallasThe Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 12 district banks in the FHLBank System created by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $37.5 billion as of September 30, 2014, is a member-owned cooperative that supports housing and community development by providing competitively priced advances and other credit products to approximately 900 members and associated institutions in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is independent of all National Life Group companies.
Green Mountain Power Corp,Vermont Business Magazine Green Mountain Power announced today the year-end operational results for Kingdom Community Wind (KCW) in Lowell. In 2015, the 21-turbine project generated enough electricity to power 26,700 homes for a year. That’s an increase of 7% over the previous year or enough energy to power an additional 1,800 homes. Thanks to the strong power generation at Kingdom Community Wind, five Northeast Kingdom towns will receive more than $201,000 this month from the Good Neighbor Fund payments, up $75,000 from two years ago and up $13,000 from last year. The Good Neighbor Fund is part of GMP’s commitment to give additional value to surrounding communities by sharing with them the benefits of KCW. Payments are made annually and can be used to lower property taxes or support local initiatives as designated by the town. This collaborative and community-based partnership aligns project priorities to generate power and keep the project running smoothly for the benefit of Good Neighbor Fund towns and all GMP customers.“Green Mountain Power recognizes the importance of working with local communities to build energy projects and an important part of that work is providing ongoing value from the project,” said GMP spokesperson Dorothy Schnure. “We are so pleased to make these Good Neighbor Fund payments this year and every year because we believe so strongly in our community partners.”As part of the Good Neighbor Fund, payments will be made to the following towns: Eden will receive $77,420, Albany $69,885, Craftsbury $33,851, and Westfield and Irasburg each will receive $10,000. The Good Neighbor Fund provides benefits to the five towns within five miles of the project not including the host town, Lowell, which receives significant tax revenue from the project. The payments are determined based on generation.“We are pleased GMP continues to deliver on its promise to towns to offer us some revenue as a result of this project in our region,” said Candace Vear, town clerk and treasurer in Eden. “These funds go a long way towards helping our town reduce the overall tax burden on our residents and that’s a good thing. To date these funds have helped us fund special projects that otherwise would have increased the tax burden. We’re glad to see the project operating so smoothly and efficiently.”Communities determine how best to use the Good Neighbor Fund payments. Investments in infrastructure, facilities, and other community initiatives have benefited from the funds. Craftsbury residents voted overwhelmingly to use its Good Neighbor payment from the Kingdom Community Wind Project to invest in a 10-kilowatt solar system to help cover municipal electric needs.“KCW is a key part of Green Mountain Power’s continued commitment to deliver reliable, low-cost energy to Vermonters,” said Schnure. “In the last four years alone, GMP has delivered three bill decreases to customers, and is laser focused on continuing to keep costs low.”The communities will continue to get Good Neighbor payments for the first ten years the plant operates. Kingdom Community Wind began generating power in November 2012. The power is not designated renewable for GMP customers, as the renewable energy credits or attributes are sold to generate additional value for customers through lower costs.Source: GMP. 1.19.2016
Vermont Business Magazine Governor Peter Shumlin today applauded House and Senate action supporting divestment from coal and Exxon Mobil assets, which he called for in his State of the State Address in January. The governor also called for a number of steps to ensure the objectivity of the process the Vermont Pension Investment Committee (VPIC) will undertake to achieve the goals laid out by him and the Legislature. The VPIC would ultimately decide on divestment. State Treasurer Beth Pearce, who also is a member and vice-chair of the VPIC, opposes divestment because of her concern for the financial health of the state retirement funds. She also took umbrage with what she described as inaccuracies in the governor’s statement (both the governor’s letter and treasurer’s response are below).Governor Shumlin is joined by state senators in the governor’s ceremonial office at the State House Thursday to urge divestment of coal and Exxon/Mobil holdings in Vermont’s pension funds. Courtesy photo.”There are substantive errors in the Governor’s press statements today. The letter from Government Operations from some members does not include a decision by May 2, but an update on the process. We have invited legislative involvement in the process, along with other interested parties, but I was clear in all my testimony that I did not support legislative membership on the subcommittee. That is consistent with my position that legislating investments is not appropriate,” Pearce said in her statement.In February, the House joined the governor’s call for divestment and passed H.R. 13(link is external), a resolution “urging that the State of Vermont remove the stocks of companies with coal holdings and the stock of the Exxon Mobil Corporation from its pension investment portfolios.”The Senate has also weighed in on divestment with a letter from the Senate Government Operations Committee(link is external) signed by the majority of members which calls on VPIC to “pursue: 1) the intent of the House resolution (H.R. 13) concerning divestment from coal companies and Exxon Mobil Corporation.” The Senate letter requests VPIC report to the Senate and House Committees on Government Operations by May 2, 2016, on the progress on divestment.In response to calls for divestment from the governor and Legislature, VPIC has established a subcommittee to deal with divestment. The first meeting of that subcommittee is Friday morning. In the Senate letter, Senators have asked for one member from each the House and Senate be included in the subcommittee, a request the governor said he supports. In a letter to VPIC, the governor also outlined a number of steps as the process moves forward, including:· A plan to divest from coal, as defined by the subcommittee, and Exxon Mobil with clear timelines and objectives by May 2, 2016 so that the subcommittee can report to the legislature on progress.· To ensure objectivity, I ask that you include a VPIC member who remains open to divestment. I am concerned, due to public comments of VPIC members in various forums, that an objective process to reach the goals as set forth by the legislature would be challenging without at least one supportive VPIC voice.· A clear method of incorporating public comments in the recommendations of the subcommittee to ensure all voices and viewpoints are considered.· As the Senate Government Operations Committee has outlined, inclusion of objective financial experts as well as those who have experience with divestment in the process.Pearce, on the other hand, said of the process outlined by the governor: “I find it unfortunate that we received a letter from the Governor that outlines a deadline and a conclusion before any discussion of the scope of the analysis has taken place.”The VPIC will meet Friday, March 18 at 11:30 to discuss the scope and process for the sub-committee (4thFloor Conference Room,109 State Street, Montpelier. Call In: 888-585-9008. Passcode: 366-829-558).The Governor’s full letter to VPIC:Dear VPIC Members:I am encouraged by your commitment to form a subcommittee of the Vermont Pension Investment Committee with the goal of divesting from coal companies and Exxon Mobil and to explore divestment from other fossil fuel companies. As you know, I believe VPIC should not delay in moving to divest state pension funds. Not only is it the right thing to do for a livable planet, but it is a useful and proven tool to fight climate change. Putting aside the obvious moral and environmental reasoning, I know that upholding your fiduciary duty to the state of Vermont and its pension holders is paramount. When I spoke in front of you two weeks ago, I asked all of you to raise your hands if you thought being invested in coal was a good idea. Only one hand went up. As fiduciaries, I urge you to divest because I believe owning coal and Exxon Mobil poses a serious and long-term threat to the financial futures of our pension holders. I am pleased that VPIC has created and the legislature is supporting a process to divest.I urge VPIC to take a number of steps to ensure the objectivity of the process and to heed the call of the House “to develop a strategy, in accordance with State law and prudent investment practices, to remove from the State’s pension investment portfolios all Exxon Mobil Corporation stock” (H.R. 13, 2016). I encourage the subcommittee to include the following parameters:· A plan to divest from coal, as defined by the subcommittee, and Exxon Mobil with clear timelines and objectives by May 2, 2016 so that the subcommittee can report to the legislature on progress.· To ensure objectivity, I ask that you include a VPIC member who remains open to divestment. I am concerned, due to public comments of VPIC members in various forums, that an objective process to reach the goals as set forth by the legislature would be challenging without at least one supportive VPIC voice.· A clear method of incorporating public comments in the recommendations of the subcommittee to ensure all voices and viewpoints are considered.· As the Senate Government Operations Committee has outlined, inclusion of objective financial experts as well as those who have experience with divestment in the process.I believe if the above steps are taken, and a clear path is created to follow the legislature’s direction, we can work together for a responsible plan to divest.Statement from Treasurer Beth Pearce March 17, 2016 As you know we invited the Governor to our February 23rd Vermont Pension Investment Committee (VPIC) meeting. At that time, the Governor said he would be pleased with a study as long as divestment was the result. My comments to the Governor at that time were that, presupposing divestment would be similar to drawing your curve and then plotting your data. Decisions should be made after a deliberative process not before.While I appreciate the Governor’s passion for the issue, VPIC will continue forward with an analysis based on the H.R. 13 and the letter from some members of the Senate Committee on Government Operations in an objective, thoughtful, and thorough manner that takes into consideration the fiduciary duty that is owed exclusively to the 50,000 members of the retirement system.I find it unfortunate that we received a letter from the Governor that outlines a deadline and a conclusion before any discussion of the scope of the analysis has taken place.We are holding a meeting on Friday, March 18, to gather public input from interested parties and stakeholders from a variety of different viewpoints. From this collaborative effort we will be making recommendations to the VPIC regarding the scope and timeline of the analysis. As was requested by some members of the Senate Committee on Government Operations, we will provide an update on the process by May 2.There are substantive errors in the Governor’s press statements today. The letter from Government Operations from some members does not include a decision by May 2, but an update on the process. We have invited legislative involvement in the process, along with other interested parties, but I was clear in all my testimony that I did not support legislative membership on the subcommittee. That is consistent with my position that legislating investments is not appropriate.Predetermining the result and setting a deadline before understanding the scope is not productive for determining the best result for the beneficiaries.I look forward to buckling down and getting to work on this important issue for Vermonters.
BioTek Instruments,Vermont Business Magazine BioTek Instruments continues to strengthen their commitment to sustainability by announcing the opening of their second solar facility. In addition to the company’s existing 500 kilowatt solar farm in Whiting, Vermont, a new, 88 kilowatt photovoltaic solar energy farm is now on line in Milton, Vermont. The new facility was developed in agreement with ABJ Property Management, LLC, and installed by Norris Brothers Solar Development, LLC.The additional renewable energy will provide power to BioTek’s new 22,000 square foot facility expansion and is expected to offset 100% of the company’s annual electricity costs well into the future. BioTek’s Vice President, Adam Alpert noted, “The new solar farm is a continuation of our existing company-wide programs promoting energy conservation, recycling, and environmental protection. This new initiative is a testament to our passion and commitment towards clean energy and a greener tomorrow. By acting locally, I’m proud to know that we are contributing towards the bigger goal; a cleaner environment around the world.”BioTek Instruments, Inc., headquartered in Winooski, VT, USA, is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture, and distribution of innovative life science instrumentation. Our comprehensive product line includes cell imaging systems, microplate readers, washers, dispensers, automated incubators, stackers and pipetting systems. These products enable life science research by providing high performance, cost-effective analysis and quantification of biomolecules, biomolecular interactions and cellular structure and function across diverse applications. BioTek espouses a “Think Possible” approach that sets the tone for fresh ideas, unsurpassed customer service and original innovations.Source: May 1, 2017, WINOOSKI VT, USA — BioTek Instruments
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Historical Society (VHS) reopened the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier with a celebration of the new installation of the Paul Sample mural, “Salute to Vermont.” The mural, which was installed in the remodeled entryway of the museum, had been donated to the Historical Society by National Life in fall 2016. The mural depicts the history of Vermont over an 8 foot tall by 50 foot long canvas. It was removed from the National Life Building in September 2016 and reinstalled in a custom-designed orientation space at the Museum in February 2017. VHS worked with Bread Loaf Corporation Architects and Builders, along with Shadows and Light Exhibit Design, and Phillips Conservation to create the new space for the mural. In addition, the Museum took advantage of the shut down time between January 1st and early February to work with Bread Loaf to make additional museum updates, including a redesigned front lobby and store, a new local history gallery, interactive exhibit elements, and updates to exhibit interpretation. The work included improvements to flooring, paint and new energy-efficient lighting.The ribbon cutting was on April 27th, and guests included Lt. Governor David Zuckerman; Brian Lindner, corporate historian for National Life Group; Steve Perkins, Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society; Dick Marek, President of the Vermont Historical Society; Barbara Mieder, Vice-President of the Vermont Historical Society; and Tim Sample – the Artist Paul Sample’s son.Visitors can view the mural during regular Museum hours, Tuesday-Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm. The Museum is located at 109 State St in Montpelier.The Vermont Historical Society is a nonprofit organization that operates the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier, the Leahy Library and the Vermont Heritage Galleries in Barre, and programming throughout the state. Established in 1838, its purpose is to reach a broad audience through outstanding collections and statewide outreach. The Vermont Historical Society believes that an understanding of the past changes lives and builds better communities. VBM vermontbiz.com(L-R) Brian Lindner (National Life), Barbara Mieder (VHS Trustee), Steve Perkins (VHS), Tim Sample (Paul Sample’s son), Lt. Governor Zuckerman, and Dick Marek (VHS Trustee)Source: Bread Loaf Corporation 6.12.2017 Visit the Society’s website at www.vermonthistory.org(link is external).
Union Bank,Vermont Business Magazine The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has named Union Bank its Vermont Guaranteed Lender of the Year for the fourth year running. This recognition from USDA Rural Development reflects Union Bank’s dedication to helping families achieve the dream of homeownership and their commitment to customer service.“Vermont’s rural employers, institutions and towns thrive when families purchase homes in those communities,” said USDA Rural Development Acting State Director Jon-Michael Muise. “I want to thank Union Bank for their enduring commitment to helping Vermonters discover an affordable path towards homeownership.”Union Bank participates in USDA Rural Development’s Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan program(link is external). The USDA program assists approved lenders in providing low- and moderate-income households the opportunity to own decent, safe and affordable homes. In 2016, the program helped 414 families purchase homes in Vermont communities.Each year, USDA Rural Development recognizes a participating lender for exceptional loan volume and customer service. Union Bank’s deep roots in the community help it use this program to have a positive impact not only on its customers, but the areas it serves. In 2016, Union Bank helped 66 families into homes through the USDA program investing over $10 million in private, federally guaranteed, funds in Vermont homeownership.USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of 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 areas. For more information on Rural Development visit the Vermont Rural Development website (www.rd.usda.gov/vt(link is external) )Source: Montpelier, Vt. (July 6, 2017) – The US Department of AgricultureVBM vermontbiz.com
Vermont Business Magazine Runamok Maple, a maker of all-natural, organic maple syrup produced from maple trees located along the northwest slopes of Vermont’s Mount Mansfield, is pleased to introduce its new Ginger Root Infused maple syrup to its unique collection of pure, infused, smoked, and barrel-aged maple syrups. Runamok Maple’s full line of delicious maple syrups is available for online purchase at runamokmaple.com(link is external), and can be shipped nationwide and to a variety of international locations.With the introduction of its Ginger Root Infused maple syrup, Runamok Maple is continuing to redefine maple from tree to table. Founders Eric and Laura Sorkin, who left their jobs in Washington D.C. 18 years ago to pursue a career in agriculture, pride themselves on offering consumers a certified organic line of maple syrup that features only the purest, natural ingredients and one-of-a-kind flavor profiles that are unlike anything else on the market. The Ginger Root Infused maple syrup utilizes fresh, organic ginger to create a slightly spicy, yet still sweet taste, making it a great topper for pancakes, waffles and fresh fruit.“After quite a bit of time spent sourcing the right ingredients and perfecting the infusion process, we’re excited to introduce our Ginger Root Infused maple syrup to the market,” said Laura Sorkin, Co-Founder of Runamok Maple. “The Ginger Root Infused maple syrup offers a delicious ginger kick, and it shines as an addition to tea, pastries, vinaigrettes, and stir-fry dishes. It’s also great for mixing with spirits and sweetening up cocktails.”In addition to the Ginger Root Infused maple syrup, priced at $16.95 for a 250 ml bottle, the brand’s collection boasts more than ten unique and unexpected varieties of maple syrup, including: Sugarmaker’s Cut, Bourbon Barrel-Aged, Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged, Rum Barrel-Aged, Pecan Wood Smoked, Makrut Lime-Leaf Infused, Hibiscus Flower Infused, Elderberry Infused, Cinnamon + Vanilla Infused, and Cardamom Infused.For additional information about Runamok Maple, its collection of infused, smoked, and barrel-aged maple syrups, and online ordering, please visit runamokmaple.com(link is external). Runamok Maple’s assortment of organic maple syrups are also available on store shelves at a variety of specialty food shops throughout the United States.ABOUT RUNAMOK MAPLE:Runamok Maple, a Vermont-based company owned by husband and wife team Eric and Laura Sorkin, produces organic maple syrup alongside a unique line of barrel-aged, smoked, and infused maple syrups. With over 1,000 acres of land in northern Vermont, the team at Runamok Maple manages 81,000 taps to bring their pure maple syrup to consumers near and far. Boasting thirteen varieties, including flavors like Bourbon Barrel-Aged, Pecan-Wood Smoked, and Cinnamon + Vanilla Infused, Runamok Maple is available for purchase on runamokmaple.com(link is external) as well as in select specialty food shops across the U.S. For more information, please visit runamokmaple.com(link is external) or check out Runamok Maple on Facebook(link is external), Twitter(link is external), and Instagram(link is external).Source: Cambridge, VT (August 15, 2017) – Runamok MapleVBM vermontbiz.com,Yes