Banknorth Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:BKNG), one of the country’s 35 largest commercial banking companies, has signed a long-term agreement with Metavante Corporation for a suite of Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) and Card solutions. Metavante is the financial technology subsidiary of Marshall & Ilsley Corporation (NYSE:MI).Metavante will provide Banknorth with ATM management, transaction routing and switching along with PIN-based card transaction processing. Banknorth has over 400 ATMs and over 800,000 ATM and debit cards. Metavante currently provides Banknorth with trust processing from its Wealth Management solution. Metavante anticipates completing the Banknorth conversion to its EFT and Card solution in the fourth quarter of 2002.”Our goal was to find an EFT and card partner that gives us the capability to support and expand our product offerings on a single, high-performance platform,” said William J. Ryan, president and chief executive officer, Banknorth Group. “Not only did Metavante meet our service, feature and usability criteria, but they also exceeded them with its state-of-the-art technology that includes features like web-based ATM monitoring.””We are thrilled to be able to expand Metavante’s relationship with Banknorth,” said Frank D’Angelo, senior vice president and general manager, Metavante EFT and Card. “Given the scalability of our solution, we are confident we will be able to support the growth objectives and future business strategies of Banknorth.”Metavante is a leading provider of Electronic Funds Transfer and Card solutions, including account processing, merchant servicing, database management, data entry, card personalization, and fulfillment services for debit, credit, stored-value, prepaid, transit, and ATM cards. Metavante provides EFT and card services to approximately 1,600 financial services providers in the United States. Metavante links with all major electronic funds transfer networks, gateways, and processors to route and authorize ATM and debit card transactions for banks, credit unions, Internet banks and independent sales organizations.
Rick John, Principal Broker/Owner, R. JOHN & CO. Real Estate announced that Suzanne King has joined the firm as a REALTOR Associate and will concentrate on residential properties in Windham County, VT and later plans to get her NH license as well.Suzanne has been in the mental health field for many years and most recently was Community Director with the March of Dimes in Brattleboro, Bellows Falls & Springfield Area. Suzanne lives in Vernon VT with her husband and two children. Rick John also has been hired as an instructor with Around VT & NH, a real estate education company in MT Holly, VT and is teaching the pre-licensing course in SVT & SNH.John is currently serving as President –elect of VREIN in Williston,VT. VREIN is the organization that operates the MLS function for most of the REALTORS in VT. Mr. John has been a Director at VREIN for the past two years.
groSolar Acquires Chesapeake SolarNorth American Solar Energy Leader Strengthens Mid-Atlantic BaseJuly 8, 2008 – White River Jct., VT – groSolar, North America’s premier provider of solar energy solutions, announced today the acquisition of Chesapeake Solar, a leading installer of solar energy systems in the Mid-Atlantic region.The acquisition makes groSolar one of the nation’s largest solar energy providers and extends the company’s reach, enabling groSolar to install more solar solutions on more homes and businesses in its effort to fight climate change and save customers money on energy costs.”The missions of Chesapeake and groSolar are one and the same,” said groSolar CEO Jeff Wolfe. “The acquisition of Chesapeake will support our growth strategy and our commitment to deliver clean solar power in a cost effective way to as many consumers and businesses as possible. It made absolute sense to bring them into the groSolar family. The expertise of the people at the company will fortify our management team and enhance our ability to serve the market and create the industry.”Richard Deutschmann and Jeff Gilbert founded Chesapeake Solar in 1999 as Chesapeake Wind & Solar LLC. They started the company based on their years of engineering experience and their passionate commitment to the development of renewable energy in the Mid-Atlantic region.”We could not be more excited to join Jeff and the rest of the groSolar team,” said Deutschmann. “Given the incredible growth of the solar industry around the world, we think it is the right time to bring the regional strength of Chesapeake Solar into a company with the North American reach of groSolar. Our joining together will benefit Chesapeake, our past and future customers and, of course, the environment.”groSolar is a leading North American solar power company focused on designing, distributing and installing high quality solar electric and solar hot water systems. groSolar provides residential installation in the northeast and mid-Atlantic states, and commercial installation in California as well as the eastern US, serving other areas through an extensive dealer network. With a system of warehouses across the continent, groSolar has the broadest distribution capabilities of any solar provider. groSolar integrates components from leading solar manufacturers including Evergreen Solar into efficient solar energy systems for its customers that generate clean, reliable energy for decades. groSolar was also recently recognized as the second fastest growing company in Vermont and one of the best places to work in Vermont. groSolar.com.# # #
Merchants Bancshares Inc Declares Dividend, Election of Danaher as New Bank DirectorSOUTH BURLINGTON, VT-Merchants Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: MBVT), the parent company of Merchants Bank, has announced that its Board of Directors declared a dividend of 28 cents per share, payable August 21, 2008, to shareholders of record as of August 7, 2008. Merchants plans to release earnings on or about July 30, 2008.Mr. Michael Tuttle, Merchants’ President and Chief Executive Officer; and Ms. Janet Spitler, Merchants’ Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call to discuss these earnings results at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday, August 1, 2008. Interested parties may participate in the conference call by dialing (888) 428-4480; the title of the call is Earnings Release Conference Call for Merchants Bancshares, Inc. Participants are asked to call a few minutes prior to register. A replay will be available until noon on Friday, August 8, 2008. The U.S. replay dial-in telephone number is (800) 475-6701. The international replay telephone number is (320) 365-3844. The replay access code for both replay telephone numbers is 902417.Merchants also announced today the election, effective August 21, 2008, of the newest member of Merchants Bank’s Board of Directors, Karen Danaher, CPA, PFS of Danaher, Attig & Plante PLC, a South Burlington-based accounting firm.Vermont Matters! The continuing mission of Merchants Bank is to provide Vermonters with a state-wide community bank that blends a strong technology platform with a genuine appreciation for local markets. Merchants Bank fulfills this commitment through a branch-based system that includes 36 community bank offices and 44 ATMs throughout Vermont, Personal Bankers dedicated to top-quality customer service and streamlined solutions, including: Personal Checking and Savings with Free Checking for Life(r), CashRewards CheckingSM, a low-cost Money Market Account, Free Online Banking and Bill Pay, Overdraft Coverage, Direct Deposit, Free Debit Card and Free Automated Phone Banking; Business Banking with Rewards Checking for Business, Business Online Banking and Bill Pay, Business Lines of Credit and Merchant Card Processing; Small Business Loans; Health Savings Accounts; Credit Cards; Flexible Certificates of Deposit; Vehicle Loans; Home Equity Credit; and Home Mortgages. Visit mbvt.com for more information. Merchants’ stock is traded on the NASDAQ National Market system under the symbol MBVT. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.Some of the statements contained in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relate to expectations, beliefs, projections, future plans and strategies, anticipated events or trends and similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. The forward-looking statements reflect Merchants’ current views about future events and are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and changes in circumstances that may cause Merchants’ actual results to differ significantly from those expressed in any forward-looking statement. Forward-looking statements should not be relied on since they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are, in some cases, beyond Merchants’ control and which could materially affect actual results. The factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations include changes in general economic conditions in Vermont, changes in interest rates, changes in competitive product and pricing pressures among financial institutions within Merchants’ markets, and changes in the financial condition of Merchants’ borrowers. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent Merchants’ judgment as of the date of this release, and Merchants cautions readers not to place undue reliance on such statements. For further information, please refer to Merchants’ reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.###
VERMONT COMMUNITY FOUNDATION HIRES STUART COMSTOCK-GAY AS PRESIDENT & CEOMIDDLEBURY, VT – The board of the Vermont Community Foundation announced that Stuart Comstock-Gay has been named the next President & CEO. Comstock-Gay comes to the Foundation with more than 20 years of experience in building the capacity, reach, and impact of institutions dedicated to bringing people together in the pursuit of community-minded goals.Rob Woolmington, the VCF’s board chair said that Comstock-Gay’s experience would be instrumental in continuing the work of the Foundation to help people, businesses, and organizations give effectively in Vermont. “The board was particularly impressed by Stuart’s understanding of how a community foundation can engage philanthropists and assist charitable partners in building healthy and vital communities. That is the core work of the Vermont Community Foundation. We believe Stuart will be an effective, thoughtful, and engaging leader, and we look forward to working with him.”Comstock-Gay started his career at the American Civil Liberties Union, including ten years as executive director of the Maryland ACLU. He has also served as vice president and chief operating officer at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, and executive director of the National Voting Rights Institute in Boston. While at the latter organization, he facilitated its merger with Demos, a national non-partisan research and advocacy organization based in New York City.Most recently, as director of the Democracy Program at Demos, he has worked to strengthen inclusiveness and democracy in the U.S. by reducing barriers to voter participation and encouraging civic engagement. In that role he has worked with election officials, legislators, and advocates across the country to pursue policies that would encourage greater political participation.Comstock-Gay said that he sees great potential to harness the community-minded spirit of Vermonters. “America’s best traditions include civic engagement and community spirit. Vermont has a long and inspiring history of these traditions. The VCF has proven that it is an important part of Vermont life. I am eager to work with VCF donors, supporters, and partners to address some of the states’s most pressing issues.”Comstock-Gay holds a B.A. in Political Science from Bucknell University and a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He and his wife have three daughters.The Vermont Community Foundation helps individuals, organizations, and businesses cultivate their love of giving through opportunities to learn, lead, and grow as philanthropists. The VCF has more than 500 charitable funds, each of which was established to build healthy and vital Vermont communities. In addition, the VCF offers planned giving, nonprofit agency fund management, and other services that help charitable partners achieve their missions.###
Bolton Valley Resort,The owners of Bolton Valley Resort, big mountain skiing and riding less than 30 minutes from Burlington, have engaged Mike Krongel of Mirus Resort Capital, a New England investment banking firm, to identify and evaluate growth opportunities for the resort. Bolton Valley is owned by partners Doug Nedde and Larry Williams of Redstone, a Vermont commercial real estate development company in Burlington.‘Future development plans at Bolton Valley include improvements to the existing base area, lift upgrades and expansion of snowmaking capacity,’ said Williams. ‘There are plans to create a sustainable primary and second home community, a canopy tour, zip rider, mountain biking, and the installation of a second wind powered turbine capable of producing more than five million kWh of energy per year. We are looking to Mirus Resort Capital to advise us on how to best move Bolton Valley forward.’The partners have owned and operated Bolton Valley Resort since 2007, when they purchased the interests of Bolton’s former owner/operator. Mirus’ assignment is to identify purchasers or equity investors to implement Bolton’s plans for growth.Mirus Resort Capital is an investment banking firm located in Burlington, Mass. Mirus focuses on mergers, acquisitions, debt and equity placement and joint venture creation. Mirus Resort Capital works primarily with resort, recreation and hospitality enterprises. In its work with Bolton, Mirus will identify investor partners whose experience, expertise and goals coincide with the investment opportunities at Bolton Valley Resort.Bolton Valley Resort is Vermont’s most convenient big mountain for skiing and riding packed with value. Less than 10 minutes from I-89 and less than 30 minutes from Burlington, the family-friendly mountain offers skiers and riders of all abilities three mountain peaks with 71 trails and 6 lifts, plus 3 terrain parks including the Burton Progression Park.Bolton Valley is one of only two ski resorts in the U.S. to implement wind power as an energy source and is the recipient of the National Ski Areas Association’s 2010 Silver Eagle Award for environmental initiatives. A complete Sports Center, outdoor ropes course, extensive back-country skiing and Vermont’s most extensive top-to-bottom night skiing and riding are just a few of the extras available to guests. Source: Bolton Valley Resort. BOLTON, Vt. (Dec. 6, 2010)’
Peter Shumlin was sworn in this afternoon as the state’s 81st governor. His speech hit on the major themes from the long, heated campaign; a campaign in which both the primary and the general election went down to the wire. After thanking many people, including his predecessor, Jim Douglas, who received a rousing standing ovation, Governor Shumlin talked about jobs, his plan on how to get them, keep them and grow them. Among the major points were bringing broadband and cell coverage to every corner of the state by 2013; initiating a single-payer health care system to take the burden of cost off employers; and finally saying that there will not be any tax increase and even going farther by saying that Vermonters are over-burdened already by the level of taxation. He said he will endeavor to change the “patchwork” tax structure: “Our choices about taxes directly impact job growth. Vermont’s tax challenge is not that our burden is not high enough; it is that our tax burden is too high.”Inaugural Address of Governor Peter ShumlinJanuary 6, 2011Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the General Assembly, distinguished guests, fellow Vermonters:Thank you. It is an honor to stand before you today.Thank you, Governor Douglas, for 38 years of exemplary public service to the Green Mountain state. We are grateful for your hard work and sacrifice on our behalf and to Dorothy and your family for sharing so much of your life with us.Thank you to Brian Dubie for your service as Lieutenant Governor for the past eight years. While Brian and I had a spirited campaign this fall, I am proud to call Brian my friend; we are united in our love for our state and the constituents we serve.Members of Governor Shumlin’s cabinet and other dignitaries watch from the balcony. Since my election in November, I have had the honor of joining Governor Douglas and our Congressional delegation in welcoming home our soldiers from Afghanistan after the biggest deployment of National Guard troops since World War II. We are so proud of you and thrilled to have you home. Our hearts go out to our Gold Star families who have made the ultimate sacrifice to our state and nation. Today, joining Adjutant General Michael Dubie in the gallery are veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq: Brigadier General Jonathan Farnham, Captain Cathy Cappetta, and Chief Master Sergeant Steven Zappi. Also joining them is Command Sergeant Major Michael Datillio, who is retiring after 44 years of service to his state and his country. Please join me in recognizing these brave women and men ‘ and all the Vermonters who have served in our armed services in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere abroad.I am grateful to my loving family and friends for your faith and support; and to all who worked so hard to make this moment possible. Above all, thank you Vermonters for giving me this opportunity to serve you as Governor; I am both honored and humbled.That I stand before you today as Vermont’s 81st Governor was improbable, and no one can attest to that better than my mom and dad, who are here today. My mom reminded me again on election night that it often seemed more likely in my grade school years that I would struggle to find a job than to run for office. As a kid who learned differently, I remember well in second grade being called into the principal’s office with my parents to have them be told what I already knew, but hoped beyond hope that they would never find out: that with all the good efforts of my teachers they could not teach me how to read; that the prospects of my being a successful student and going onto college were unlikely, but they would do the best they could. That was not a great day.I had a single teacher who believed in me. Her name was Claire Ogelsby; she later became Vermont’s teacher of the year. Her husband Mac and daughter Molly are here today. Claire would be here too had she not lost her battle with cancer a year and a half ago. After her long day at school, Claire loaded me in her Willy’s Jeep and took me to her log cabin deep in the woods on Windmill Hill Road in Westminster West. In the warm weather we sat on her lawn; in the cold weather we huddled around the wood stove; and slowly and creatively she taught me how to read. What I remember best about Claire was no matter how difficult the challenge; no matter how innovative she had to be or how hard she had to work, she never gave up on me and therefore neither did I.I share that part of my life today because we are living in difficult times and we need to be creative to overcome our challenges. Let me be clear about the fiscal reality that our great state faces at this moment. After several years of making necessary but painful spending cuts, we are still confronted with a $150 million shortfall in the next fiscal year. Our economic challenges are real, and so is my firm commitment to address them responsibly and swiftly ‘ with hard, sometimes painful but sustainable choices. There is no easy or popular path ahead.While I am bound and determined to put Vermont on a sustainable spending path this year, balancing the budget is not our biggest challenge. All across our state, too many Vermonters are living in fear: fear that they might lose their jobs, face another pay cut, fail to keep their home, send their children to college, afford health insurance or a secure retirement. That fear knows no political party; it has lost patience in finding solace in political slogans and false promises, it takes no more comfort from a tea party rally in Tallahassee than it does from a bickering government in Washington, DC. Vermonters wonder: is anyone in government listening? Can we let go of the political speak, stop playing pretend, face the facts, and arrive at a common purpose?From Bennington to Burlington, Guilford to Guildhall and Stamford to Swanton, our state is uniquely united in what we wish for. Vermonters want jobs and a brighter economic future for themselves and their children.The guiding principle for my administration’s work is simple: we will commit ourselves every day to making the lives of Vermonters more economically secure. With the same fortitude and creative determination that Claire showed in her zeal to teach me and other students who learned like me, one student at a time, I believe in Vermont’s opportunity to replace fear with a bright economic future, one job at a time. A clear vision for job growth and a bold plan to deliver that vision is what Vermont needs right now.The last Putney boy to become Governor, almost three quarters of a century ago, was George D. Aiken, whose wife Lola joins us here today. Governor Aiken also had a bold vision for Vermont’s job growth that he shared with this Joint Assembly as he bid farewell as Governor. He said, ‘Vermont is one of a few states that can sell four feet of snow and twenty below at a profit.’Aiken delivered those words at the dawn of the Vermont snow rush, as chainsaw toting men carved ski trails and second home sites into Green Mountains as rugged and majestic as Vermonters themselves. From Killington to Jay; Stratton to Stowe; Mount Snow to Mad River Glen; Aiken articulated a plan that remains a potent economic force almost 75 years later.As we close out the first decade of the 21st century, Aiken’s world of predictable winters, with twenty below and four feet of snow has been slowly but certainly melting away from us. It’s at Aiken’s home at Vermont’s southern border; at the soil he tilled; the maple trees he nurtured; the ponds he adored; that his horticulturalist’s eyes would gaze in stark amazement at the magnitude of change. The Elm and Butternut are all but gone, the buckthorn is choking out the young hardwood saplings, and many of the ponds that once bubbled with life are now empty waterways.While leaders across America, influenced by the extraordinary economic power of oil, coal and automobile companies, equivocate about climate change, we must not. That our planet is warming at an alarming rate is undeniable. But I raise this not to engage in an abstract discussion of climate science. I raise it because I believe Vermont’s economic future will be determined by how we respond to this challenge. We will provide the brainpower, make the products, and seize the job opportunities a lower carbon economy requires.Vermont’s diversified jobs future is bright. Manufacturing, deployment and production of renewable energy and efficiency, tourism, technology, and agriculture are all sectors of our economy with potential for unlimited growth.As we work to put Vermonters back to work, one job at a time, let us always be mindful that government does not create jobs; entrepreneurs do. What government must do is to make the necessary infrastructure choices that are essential to job growth for this new era.This agenda consists of five goals: expanding broadband, containing health care costs, educating our work force, providing tax fairness and credit for emerging businesses, and supporting a renaissance in Vermont agriculture. It is big, it is ambitious, and it is achievable if we view it as our common purpose.Today I am launching Connect VT, an initiative to deliver by 2013 my promise of high-speed Internet access and cell service to every corner of our state. If not confronted, our connectivity deficit will relegate us to an economic backwater. Vermont lags behind the developing world and ranks 46th among the fifty states in connectivity. Governor Aiken, when facing an equally daunting challenge of bringing electricity to every last mile of this rural state, in the 1930’s, launched a strategy he called ‘Initiative and Cooperation.’Listen for a moment to the words he wrote in August 1939, about that effort: ‘A few weeks ago I pulled the switch that started the current flowing through a cooperative electric line that is bringing the blessings of light and power to hundreds of farms and homes in another Vermont community-homes which, in the past, had been almost completely isolated from urban civilization.’Seventy-two years after Aiken wrote those words about the need to bring Vermont out of its isolation, we must display the same foresight to confront an equally daunting isolation. The spirit that led Aiken to bring Vermont out of the darkness is the same innovative cooperation that is called upon today from our private sector telecommunications providers, the Vermont utilities, regulators and our citizens, if we are to deliver the new electric current of the modern world to Vermont.We have $410 million in private, federal, and bonded capital to be strategically deployed. These resources present Vermonters with a once in a life-time opportunity to ‘initiate and cooperate’ by completing the build out of the Smart Grid, broadband and mobile phone service in a collaborative marriage of the telecommunications and electrical utility sectors to create one shared broadband infrastructure for Vermont.We will not and cannot compete and prosper in the global economy until and unless we deliver on this promise. We all know success won’t be easy, but Vermonters elected me on my pledge to get tough things done, and we will. Indeed, we are too small to fail.The rising cost of healthcare for Vermont’s middle class and small businesses provides an equally daunting threat to economic prosperity. Just ten years ago our little state was spending $2.5 billion a year to stay healthy. Today we spend over $5 billion. That increase represents an enormous hidden tax on families and small businesses across our state. If left untethered, the rising cost of health insurance will cripple us.That’s why we must create a single-payer healthcare system that provides universal, affordable health insurance for all Vermonters that brings these skyrocketing costs under control. Let Vermont be the first state in the nation to treat healthcare as a right and not a privilege; removing the burden of coverage from our business community and using technology and outcomes-based medicine to contain costs. By doing so, we will save money and improve the quality of our care.Some will say it can’t be done. The special interests; insurance companies, pharmaceutical industry, medical equipment makers; the same lobbyists that spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure that real reform withered in Washington can be expected to exercise their will to protect their enormous profits.Others will say reform will destroy our existing healthcare system. But logic suggests ‘ and our experience shows – that our current system is unsustainable; that underfunded reimbursements starve our doctors and hospitals; that duplication, waste, inefficiencies and rising costs will drive more rural providers into bankruptcy and destroy our quality of care, which is the very best in the land. I ask the defenders of the current system to explain how small businesses, municipalities and taxpayers can sustain double digit premium increases year after year.Shortly we will receive plans from Dr. William Hsiao to help us design a health care system that Vermonters can afford. I’ve assembled a healthcare team that will invite providers, consumers, businesses, municipalities, insurers, and our congressional delegation to the table to help Vermont build a sensible healthcare system. I call upon single payer supporters to resist the temptation to oversimplify the challenge. I call upon skeptics to challenge us, but to join us at the table. I call upon Vermonters to join together with the common purpose of our state once again leading where others dare not go; universal, affordable, quality healthcare that follows the individual and is not tied to employment.In a democratic society, educating our citizens is our single greatest obligation. I hereby call for an end to the war of words launched from Montpelier that pits property tax payers against our children, teachers, principals, and school board members, and invite instead a respectful conversation on how to create the best education system for our future; how to produce the best workforce for the jobs we’ve just discussed. We take pride in Vermont’s quality education system that is the envy of the rest of the country. Let’s build upon our success by doing even better. The objective is simple: every Vermonter must have the same opportunity for success that Claire Ogelsby made possible for me; economically, intellectually and socially.Part of achieving that success is ensuring that our children don’t grow up in poverty. Almost one in three Vermont children live in low-income households. Without proper nutrition, quality early education, or a stable home, these children too often enter kindergarten far behind their peers, and the spiral begins. They are more likely to drop out of school, abuse substances, and become statistics later in life. We can make a difference in their lives, and we will.We can also do better at ensuring the success of all of our students in school. While we are rightfully proud of our outstanding education system, we are not delivering what is required for every student. Time spent in class does not measure acquisition of skills. For those who quickly demonstrate clear levels of achievement, let’s accelerate their path to enriched programs in that area of study. For students who do not learn in traditional ways, let’s support creative approaches that may be outside the four walls of our classrooms.From early education to higher education; from dual enrollment to technical school; we have the most innovative offerings in the country. Our challenge is to break down the silos into a seamless system that allows each individual learner to integrate the array of programs that inspire lifelong learning.Of course, education extends beyond our schools and to our workforce. Herein lies a great challenge. At a time when Vermonters are facing unemployment and underemployment, many of our jobs creators can’t find qualified employees, and it’s government’s responsibility to help fix this problem. Let me be specific: right here in the chamber today we have representatives of businesses who are looking for qualified employees. IBM in Essex is looking; GE in Rutland is looking; Vermont Circuits in Brattleboro is looking; Sonnax in Rockingham is looking. Our job is to have a pool of applicants trained and ready to work.It should be the policy of the state of Vermont that learning never ends. Working together in a partnership with our educational community we will close the gap between those Vermonters who want work and our job creators who have work to do.At no time in my memory has the future of agriculture in our state had more potential to grow and make money, despite the extraordinarily difficult times facing our dairy farmers. Vermont still produce over 60 percent of the milk in New England, and our dairy community is as unified and focused as I have ever seen it. Working together with our Congressional delegation ‘ the best in the country ‘ we will continue the fight for fair prices for our dairy farmers.The renaissance in Vermont agriculture is rooted in the growing concern by consumers across America about where and how their food is produced. Consumers are increasingly demanding locally grown, chemical-free, high quality food. We must take Vermont’s strengths ‘ buy local, farmers markets, farm to plate, Vermont Fresh Network restaurants ‘ and expand our view of local to everything within 200 miles of Vermont, which includes Manhattan, Boston, and Montreal. Investing in processing and bottling facilities, combined with a dynamic marketing effort for Vermont quality foods, will bring our farmers the value-added price that they deserve for a hard day’s work, and they will prosper.Finally, my jobs agenda will expand the ability of emerging enterprises and businesses to access capital and credit when they need it the most. If our Green Mountain State can be recognized by young entrepreneurs as the innovative leader in financing and venture capital for micro-businesses when banks say ‘no,’ small businesses will thrive.Let me give you an exciting example of what I mean by innovation in financing and venture capital. The EB-5 program, championed in Congress by Senator Leahy, is an established means of generating capital that is creating jobs. Thousands of them, right here in Vermont. We must take this program to levels not imagined by its creators. EB-5 gives us a vehicle not only to raise essential capital, but also to spread Vermont’s stellar reputation from one end of the globe to another.We have a pioneer in this effort, Bill Stenger, of Jay Peak, deep in the Northeast Kingdom, who joins us today. Bill has plumbed this federal program to its fullest potential. Through this initiative he has created over a thousand new jobs in the highest unemployment area of the state that would not otherwise exist.Let me say one last word on my economic priorities. Our choices about taxes directly impact job growth. Vermont’s tax challenge is not that our burden is not high enough; it is that our tax burden is too high. We must develop a tax policy that grows our customer base and grows wealth. The upcoming report from our tax commission will help us in this task. Our patchwork of broad based taxes that have accumulated over the years, combined with overburdened property taxes, require our attention. But let me be clear: as we tackle the difficult challenge of balancing our budget, we must not and cannot succumb to the idea that Vermonters have the capacity to pay higher taxes right now. In order to grow jobs and be more competitive with neighboring states, we must resist the temptation to raise broad-based taxes.I am the first to acknowledge that this action plan is ambitious, and I have not mentioned many of my administration’s other priorities: reducing recidivism for non-violent offenders; rebuilding our roads and bridges; reforming our campaign finance laws; and making government more transparent. You will be hearing more about these and other initiatives in the near future.Our obstacles are many, and our challenges are daunting. The change we are proposing this afternoon is transformative and systemic. It will not happen quickly or easily. Yet as I stand here today to begin a new era of government in Vermont, I remember Claire Oglesby and the many Vermonters who embody her belief that we can overcome adversity with courage and creativity.Vermonters are a rugged people with an abundance of spirit and toughness.Each day is another day in which we can excel.We must intensify our individual efforts to nurture the health and well being of our state and its people.Together we can be bold.Together we must be bold.Let’s begin now.Thank you.Watch WCAX-TV Video
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Taylor Kuykendall for SNL:As the coal sector crumbles, analysts aim to draw up exactly what the industry might look like once it is pieced back together.Chiza Vitta, an analyst with Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, said that even though his group covers base metals, precious metals and other mining companies, coal is taking up the bulk of the group’s time these days. The reason such a “significant amount” of time is being dedicated is the industry has gotten into such “severe distress” analysts must continually reassess the sector’s financial health as more and more coal giants fall into bankruptcy or teeter on the edge of it.“There’s a lot of negative sentiment out there,” Vitta said at the recent 24th Annual Platts Coal Properties & Investment conference.In addition to struggling to convince the broader investing public to get on board with coal, the industry is also seeing hesitancy in conventional lenders and other financiers, Vitta said. This is has caused debt to trade at distressed levels and prompted a trend toward more “private money” on the table from certain strategic investors.The result is merger and acquisition activity in early 2016 that is “well behind” the year before, even though coal assets have become available at rock bottom prices.Full article ($): Bankruptcy, tightened market cloud coal’s future as headwinds continue in 2016 SNL: 2016 ‘Headwinds’ Facing U.S. Coal
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Denver Post:Erin Martinez was at a news conference in February when Colorado legislative leaders and Gov. Jared Polis announced a bill that would make sweeping changes to how oil and gas are regulated. And she and her family had a front-row seat as Polis signed the bill into law Tuesday.Martinez was one of the strongest supporters of Senate Bill 19-181, which changes the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the main regulatory body for the industry. She spoke during a news conference and testified in hearings for the bill’s overarching goal — putting public health, safety and the environment first when considering oil and gas development.As he prepared to sign the bill, Polis said he hoped the new law will end the conflicts over the drilling that has increased in more populated areas. “Today, with the signing of this bill, it is our hope that the oil and gas wars that have enveloped our state are over and the winner is all of us,” Polis said.The bill makes protecting public health and safety and the environment a priority when considering oil and gas projects. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the main regulatory body, would no longer be charged with fostering development.It also allows cities and counties to regulate oil and gas development under their planning and land-use powers, something communities have requested as drilling has increased in and near the growing cities and counties north and east of Denver.The oil and gas commission and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will start writing rules to implement several portions of the new law. Some of the rules are expected to take up to a year to develop. The public will have opportunities to weigh in.More: Gov. Jared Polis ushers in new era of drilling regulation, but are “oil and gas wars” over? Colorado governor signs legislation overhauling state’s oil and gas development rules
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Salt Lake Tribune:Completing a shift to renewable energy, Kennecott Utah Copper will shut down its last coal-fired power plant in Magna, shrinking its carbon footprint by as much as 65% — a total of more than 1 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, according to its owners.Rio Tinto, Kennecott’s corporate parent, announced Wednesday that power to the copper producer will come from 1.5 million megawatt hours of renewable energy certificates purchased from Rocky Mountain Power, which will be primarily sourced from its Utah-allocated portfolio, including wind power generated in Wyoming.The move formalizes a transition that has been underway at Kennecott Utah Copper, which mines and processes copper ore at its vast industrial network on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley, for the past several years, according to spokesman Kyle Bennett.“This ensures we are offsetting the electrical demand we use across our Utah operations with certified renewable energy certificates,” Bennett said. “Rio Tinto wants to be carbon neutral by 2050. Every operation within the portfolio would have to look at ways to achieve that.”Kennecott’s 75-megawatt Unit 4, added in 1960 and idled for the past two years, is the last coal-fired power plant on Utah’s crowded Wasatch Front and perhaps the oldest in Utah.More: Good news for Salt Lake Valley’s air: Kennecott to close its last coal plant, shift to renewable energy Kennecott to close its last coal plant in Utah, switch to renewable energy