The Federal Emergency Management Agency has so far obligated more than $133 million to repair eligible storm-impacted roads, bridges, culverts and other elements of Vermont’s infrastructure; the Public Assistance process continues. In their ongoing partnership, FEMA and the State of Vermont announce a series of meetings to update individual applicants from local governments and some private non-profit organizations. The meetings, the first of which is scheduled to be held on Monday, August 6, are intended to update Public Assistance applicants in Addison, Bennington, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Lemoille, Orange, Rutland, Washington, Windham and Windsor counties. “These meetings will serve to underscore FEMA’s commitment to working with the State of Vermont to ensure that all applicants for Public Assistance receive the maximum amount of funding for which they are eligible,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Nick Russo. The meetings are intended to provide a common understanding as to the way ahead, including changes of scope, time extensions and appeals. Applicants will be briefed on the close out process, relevant terminology and other topics related to exit interviews. “It is the intent of the state to support FEMA’s effort to ensure Public Assistance applicants are aware of the status of project worksheets and have a common understanding as to the road ahead,” said State Coordinating Officer Ross Nagy. FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.Follow FEMA online at twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema(link is external), and www.youtube.com/fema(link is external).
Norwich University and Middlebury College will co-host a send-off event at the Statehouse in Montpelier on Tuesday, September 10, from 11:30 am ‘1:30 pm for the student teams competing in the international US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Irvine, Calif., October 3-13, 2013. Norwich and Middlebury are two of only 20 teams in the world to be accepted into the 2013 Solar Decathlon, a biennial solar house design competition and expo. Each team’s house is soon to be en route to the competition on the west coast. The public expo on solar house design is expected to attract upwards of 100,000 people to the Orange County Great Park in Irvine. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The Statehouse program will begin at 11:30 a.m. with remarks by State of Vermont officials, Norwich University President Richard Schneider, and Middlebury College President Ronald Liebowitz, followed by a student press conference. The public is invited to engage with teams on the unique aspects of their designs and celebrate with complimentary refreshments and live music on the Statehouse lawn. Norwich’s home, DeltaT-90, is a modular home designed and built for the unique climate challenges presented by living in the New England region. The team responded to the challenge of creating high performance, affordable housing that is accessible and promotes conservation based living.Middlebury’s house, InSite, is a home for local living. The team designed the home with a focus on reconnecting people with their communities and emphasizing environmental, economic and social sustainability.In case of rain, the event will be held in Statehouse Room 11.Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu(link is external) Middlebury College, one of the country’s leading liberal arts colleges, offers a rigorous liberal arts curriculum that is particularly strong in languages, international studies, environmental studies, sciences and literature. About 2,450 students attend Middlebury, which was founded in 1800. Middlebury has established itself as a leader in campus environmental initiatives, with an accompanying educational focus on environmental issues around the globe. The college’s strong international dimension has extended its borders beyond Addison County, and includes Middlebury’s Language Schools, Schools Abroad, Bread Loaf School of English, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Monterey Institute for International Studies. www.middlebury.edu(link is external)
Expanding the global reach of its permanent magnet direct drive (PM/DD) technology, Northern Power Systems (www.northernpower.com(link is external)) announced today that it has entered into a strategic partnership with WEG Equipamentos ElÃ©tricos S.A., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of electronic equipment. WEG and Northern Power are cooperating to bring proven, next-generation wind turbine technology to the South American wind market. This partnership combines WEG’s extensive production capabilities and market knowledge with Northern Power’s PM/DD technology and wind industry experience to deliver value-enhanced wind energy products for customers of WEG.Through this strategic partnership, WEG is offering a utility-scale technology platform that will include wind turbines rated between 2.1 and 2.3MW and rotors sized from 93m to 110m to meet customer requirements in a range of a wind classes. WEG has already secured commitments for initial orders and will be scaling production operations throughout 2013 and 2014. “We believe that Northern Power’s PM/DD technology offers a significant performance advantage to a vast array of customers in South America,” explained Mr. JoÃ£o Paulo Gualberto da Silva, WEG’s Head of Wind Energy Generation Business. “The South American wind market, particularly Brazil, is growing at an incredible rate, and the initial market response to WEG’s turbine offerings has been very positive. Having a partner like Northern Power with proven technology which is capable of providing solutions for both current and evolving wind market demands, positions WEG to be a leader in this expanding space no w and in the future.”Turbines leveraging PM/DD technology typically demonstrate higher availability and lower maintenance and repair costs than traditional gear-based turbines, offering higher energy production over the turbine’s lifetime, and providing enhanced economic returns to owners. The wind turbines initially will be manufactured at WEG’s manufacturing facilities in Jaragua do Sul, state of Santa Catarina, Brazil.”WEG has tremendous capabilities to supply all aspects of wind power plants integrated with a strong understanding of the needs of the South American wind market, and Northern Power has the experience and technology necessary to provide the right solutions for this market,” said Troy C. Patton, Chief Executive Officer of Northern Power Systems. “We look forward to powering WEG’s capabilities through our technology offerings.”About WEGFounded in 1961, WEG operates mainly in the sector of capital goods and is one of the largest world manufacturers of electrical equipment, having five main businesses: Motors, Energy, Transmission and Distribution, Automation and Coatings. With over 25 thousand employees, it had a net revenue of R$ 6.1 billion in 2012.In Brazil, the group has its headquarters and main industrial plants in JaraguÃ¡ do Sul/SC. The other plants are spread over Rio Grande do Sul (GravataÃ), Santa Catarina (Blumenau, Guaramirim, ItajaÃ and JoaÃ§aba), SÃ£o Paulo (SÃ£o Paulo, SÃ£o Bernardo do Campo and Monte Alto), Amazonas (Manaus), EspÃrito Santo (Linhares). Overseas, WEG has manufacturing units in Argentina, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa, China, India, Austria and USA, besides distribution and trading centers in the USA, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Germany, England, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Australia, Japan, Singapore, India, Russia and United Arab Emirates.About Northern Power SystemsNorthern Power Systems licenses and develops wind technology on a global basis, and provides engineering and development services for a wide variety of energy applications, including microgrids, power conversion systems, and wind and marine turbine solutions. With over 30 years of experience in developing advanced, innovative wind turbines, Northern Power also offers direct turbine sales of its NPS 60 kW, NPS 100 kW and utility-scale products. The Company’s proven, next generation permanent magnet direct drive (PM/DD) wind turbine technology is based on a vastly simplified architecture that utilizes a unique combination of a permanent magnet generator and direct-drive design. This revolutionary approach uses fewer moving parts, delivers higher energy capture, and provides increased reliability due to reduced maintenance and downtime costs. More information is available at www.northernpower.com(link is external).BARRE, VT–(Marketwired – August 14, 2013) – Northern Power Systems
‘While we are opening on October 1, open enrollment is a six month window, so Vermonters will have plenty of time to browse and make a decision that is right for them,’ said Robin Lunge, Vermont’s Director of Health Care Reform. ‘November is when most businesses and people who need coverage that starts on January 1st will be picking and enrolling in health plans.’ Website: www.VermontHealthConnect.gov(link is external) Toll-Free Call Center: (855) 899-9600Facebook: www.Facebook.com/VermontHealthConnect(link is external)Twitter: www.Twitter.com/VTHealthConnect(link is external)YouTube: www.YouTube.com/VTHealthConnect(link is external) The Department of Vermont Health Access announced today that Vermont Health Connect is on schedule to begin serving Vermonters on Tuesday, October 1t, beginning a six-month open enrollment period when Vermonters can compare health insurance options, learn if they are eligible for free or reduced cost plans, and enroll in a quality health plan that fits their needs ‘ all in one place. ‘We’re working hard to make Vermont Health Connect a success,’ said Mark Larson, Commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access. ‘As with any sophisticated system, the online marketplace will need improvements along the way. We have a great team that has been working non-stop to ensure the insurance marketplace works for Vermonters. As people across the state begin to explore health plans through Vermont Health Connect in the coming months, we will be standing by to answer questions, deal with concerns, and work to continually improve the consumer experience.’ The online marketplace will be available starting tomorrow at 9am and then daily from 6am to midnight. Vermonters may choose to enroll through the web-based online marketplace, with in-person help from a Navigator or broker, or through the call center directly. Vermonters with questions or who experience difficulty with the new system should contact Vermont Health Connect through the customer support center at (855) 899-9600. The customer support center will be open from 8am to 8pm Monday through Friday and 8am to 1pm on Saturday. ‘With the launch of Vermont Health Connect, we have reached an important milestone on our path toward better health care coverage,’ said Gov. Peter Shumlin. Through Vermont Health Connect, small businesses and their employees, as well as anyone who does not have insurance through a job, will have the information they need to pick a plan that reflects their personal medical needs and budget.
Burlington International Airport (BTV),Moody’s announced Wednesday an improvement in Burlington International Airport’s revenue bond outlook from Ba1 negative to Ba1 stable on the City of Burlington’s $43.16 million revenue bonds. This improved outlook is the result of a variety of reasons which are outlined below.Gene Richards, left, listens as Mayor Miro Weinberger speaks during the announcement last November that Allegiant Air would be offering seasonal, direct service to Orlando.BTV’s Director of Aviation, Gene Richards, said, ‘The improvement in the bond rating demonstrates the bright future ahead for the airport and shows the hard work of the BTV Team, through the direction of the Mayor, in ensuring that BTV remains financially strong for many years to come.’’ The rating incorporates the airport’s diverse carrier base and revenue mix, and improving liquidity and financial performance.’ The fundamental strength of the Burlington economy is incorporated in the rating, coupled with the lack of direct competition that is likely supportive of future increased rates and charges at the airport. For future ratings, Moody’s will especially look at improvement in enplanements, which have trended down in recent years.‘The improvement in the Airport’s rating outlook ‘ coming on the heels of the upgraded BED rating outlook and successful wastewater bond refinancing ‘ is more evidence that the City of Burlington has turned the corner in its long-term effort to restore the City’s finances and reputation,’ said Mayor Miro Weinberger.’ ‘This progress is the product of much hard work and commitment by the airport staff, City financial officials, the Airport Commission, and the City Council.’ We still have a long way to go with City and Airport finances and will continue our focus.’ We appreciate the broad support on this issue from the Burlington community.”Appropriately $43.160 million of outstanding debt affectedNew York, January 15, 2014 — Moody’s Investors Service has affirmed the Ba1 rating and revised the outlook to stable from negative on the City of Burlington’s $43 million Airport Revenue Bonds.’ RATING RATIONALE:The Ba1 rating reflects weakness in the airport’s market position shown by recent enplanement declines as well as its financial volatility shown in recent years. The rating also recognizes the airport’s diverse carrier base and revenue mix, and improving liquidity and financial performance. The fundamental strength of the Burlington economy is incorporated in the rating, coupled with the lack of direct competition that is likely supportive of future increased rates and charges at the airport.’ OUTLOOKThe stable outlook reflects the airport’s rising enplanement trend for the first half of fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, as well as the improving debt service coverage ratio (DSCR) and liquidity.’ What Could Change the Rating – UPThe rating could be pressured upward if the airport experiences reliable enplanement growth, improves debt service coverage to above 1.4x (calculated per net revenue) on a sustained basis and is able to restore and maintain liquidity to a reasonable level.’ What Could Change the Rating – DOWNThe rating could be pressured downward if liquidity and debt service coverage falls below current levels, and if leverage increases are not supported by enplanements. Also, the rating could face negative pressure if the FAA inquiry regarding possible grant program violations at the airport have a material impact.’ STRENGTHS* Large education and health care presence in City of Burlington, VT’ * Diversity of the airport revenues, including significant parking and concession revenues aside from airline derived revenues’ * Diversified airline carrier mix that minimizes passenger diversion to airports in Albany, NY and Manchester, NH.’ CHALLENGES* Volatile financial performance evidenced by debt service coverage below rate covenant of 1.25x in FY2009 and FY2010’ * Low liquidity compared to Moody’s airport sector median as measured by 122 days cash on hand in FY2012’ * Declining enplanements in recent years’ RATING METHODOLOGY’ The principal methodology used in this rating was Airports with Unregulated Rate Setting published in July 2011. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com(link is external) for a copy of this methodology.’ REGULATORY DISCLOSURES’ For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody’s rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider’s credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com(link is external).’ Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.’ Please see www.moodys.com(link is external) for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody’s legal entity that has issued the rating.
Vermont Business Magazine Burlington’s downtown mall, Church Street, the transit center and surrounding streets will get a $200 million makeover, which will include a rooftop park and access between streets that was lost when the mall was first built in 1976. The plan also includes 250 apartment spaces, a convention center/hotel, more retail and more parking. Mayor Miro Weinberger and new Burlington Town Center (BTC) owner Don Sinex, Managing Partner of Devonwood Investors, LLC, on Thursday were joined by Governor Peter Shumlin to announce a partnership to comprehensively redevelop the downtown mall consistent with the planBTV Downtown & Waterfront Master Plan.According to the mayor’s office, the Administration and Sinex will negotiate a development agreement through a transparent, public process. An investment of more than $200 million in new retail, office space, housing, and public spaces would create new jobs, grow state and local revenues, restore public north-south pedestrian and bike connections through the mall along the St Paul Street and Pine Street corridors, create a dramatic new roof-top park between Church Street and Macy’s, revitalize Bank and Cherry streets and the surrounding downtown, and complement the City’s new multi-modal transit center with one of Vermont’s first transit-oriented developments. The project once fully completed is expected to generate $450 million in economic activity. Assuming the project gets approved by the City Council, in a process that could take about six months, the development of the project would take another three to five years, putting the completed redevelopment in 2020.At Thursday’s announcement in the mall beside the new LL Bean store, Weinberger stated: “Over the course of 2012 and 2013, the thousands of Burlingtonians who helped create planBTV identified major redevelopment of the Burlington Town Center mall as one of the top goals for the downtown for the coming decades. I am excited that, just one year later, Don Sinex has stepped forward with a creative, public-private redevelopment concept that implements the planBTV vision of additional downtown housing and jobs, restored pedestrian and bike connectivity, and greater vibrancy on Bank and Cherry streets. I look forward to working with the public and Mr. Sinex in the months and years ahead to review and refine the concept and together make it a reality.”Don Sinex speaks, while Mayor Weinberger (in open blue shirt and black suit) and Governor Shumlin and others listen. Courtesy photo.“With each step I take in the process of redeveloping the Burlington Town Center to create a dynamic mixed use, transit-oriented project, I include a focus on the needs and desires of the Burlington community,” said Sinex. “I am counting on the public to offer impactful input and ideas that will help us achieve our goal of turning the mall inside out – of transforming one, often hidden space into a multitude of outward-facing shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, parks, and other open spaces. My vision is to create a mall that offers something for everyone – local community members and out-of-town visitors looking to shop, dine, be entertained – and that brings jobs, revenue, and economic benefit to Burlington and to Vermont. Like the Mayor, I believe that we’ll arrive at the best plan for BTC only by engaging in a transparent, public process that considers a wide range of community needs and ideas.”“This project shows how we can utilize innovative public-private partnerships to continue to strengthen Vermont’s downtowns,” said Governor Shumlin. “Burlington is already a model for how downtown development can spur job growth, economic opportunity, and positive community engagement. Today’s announcement is just one more example of how Mayor Weinberger and his team are getting it right for Burlington and Vermont.”“The partnership announced today exemplifies the best qualities of 21st century downtown development,” said Speaker of the House Shap Smith in a statement, who was unable to attend the event. “I commend Mayor Weinberger and the development team for creating a public-private partnership that reflects the needs of Burlington to expand housing and commercial and retail space offerings. I look forward to working together on this exciting economic development opportunity.”Fulfillment of Major planBTV Downtown & Waterfront Master Plan GoalsThe Burlington Town Center opened in 1976 under the name Burlington Square Mall in conjunction with 1960s-era urban renewal development. While the existing mall has been credited with expanding the retail base of our downtown, the mall has been a chronic underperformer and a barrier to north-south connectivity, and has precluded the growth of a vibrant street life on Bank and Cherry streets. PlanBTV Downtown & Waterfront Master Plan, a community-based planning process that engaged thousands of Burlingtonians, outlines these deficiencies and identifies restoring connectivity of the urban grid and redevelopment of the mall as major planning priorities. At page 108, planBTV “…suggests the addition of larger residential, mixed-use buildings by redeveloping underutilized parcels, essential for addressing citywide housing needs, reducing traffic congestion and parking demand, and supporting the continued vitality of our downtown economy.” Sinex and a friend purchased the mall as equal partners from General Growth Properties in December 2013 and, shortly thereafter, Sinex purchased his partner’s interest in the mall to become the sole owner.Conceptual Project Plan for BTCSinex’s conceptual project plans include the complete transformation and rebuilding over time of the BTC, including three new buildings and a 1.5-acre public rooftop park. The BTC plan responds to planBTV by adding downtown housing, improving pedestrian streetscapes and downtown connectivity, and utilizing strategic infill building opportunities. The new mall concept plan would achieve the following:· Housing consisting of more than 250 apartment units· Retail space expansion of approximately 225,000 square feet (adding to the existing 125,000 square feet), including:o Destination retailers, like LL Beano A department storeo Restaurantso Entertainment venues· Office space expansion of approximately 150,000 square feet (adding to the existing 35,000 square feet)· A convention center-style hotel with 250 rooms and 40,000 square feet of convention, showroom, and business meeting space that could accommodate 5,000-person events and 1,000-person seated banquets· A new underground garage with approximately 950 parking spaces (an additional 375 spaces)Sinex’s conceptual project plans will be evaluated by the City team and the community through a transparent, public process aimed at creating a development agreement between the City and Sinex.Community BenefitsSinex projects that the benefits a redeveloped BTC would bring to Burlington include:· Growing more jobs in Burlingtono 300 temporary construction jobso Between 1,000 and 1,600 permanent jobs· Increasing housing, retail, and office space· Enhancing downtown connectivity by reestablishing north-south pedestrian connections through the mall on St. Paul and Pine streets· Complementing the City’s new multi-modal downtown transit center with a major transit-oriented development project· Bringing vibrancy and activities to Cherry and Bank streets· Serving as the potential winter home for Burlington Farmers’ Market· Building useable public spaces and amenities, including:o Rooftop public parkso Other open spaceso Increased garage parkingo Galleriaso Protected north-sound bike path under the mall· Improving stormwater management· Creating economic benefits for Burlington and Vermont, including:o $6 million per year in new real estate tax revenueo $9.25 million in sales tax revenue during constructiono $7.2 million per year in additional sales tax revenueo $2.4 million per year in hotel occupancy tax revenueo $450 million per year in estimated economic activity (multiplier effect)Governor Shumlin, Mayor Weinberger, and Sinex were joined at the announcement by the following community and state leaders, who offered the following statements:· Sue Minter, incoming Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Transportation – “This is a very exciting redevelopment project that would complement nicely the investments that VTrans, the City of Burlington, and CCTA are making to construct a modern downtown transit center and set the stage for transit-oriented development in Burlington. The mixed use aspects of the project design would support VTrans’ goal of creating more vital communities and sustainable transportation.”· Greg Marchildon, State Director of AARP Vermont – “AARP is particularly excited to partner with the City and the development team to engage the citizens of Burlington in an important conversation about rebuilding the heart of the City to create a more walkable and livable downtown – a place that supports residents aging in place instead of moving out of the City. We look forward to an open and transparent public process to advance the community-based vision of planBTV.” (Director Marchildon was unable to attend the event and was represented by Kelly Stoddard Poor, Director of Outreach of AARP Vermont). · Tom Torti, President of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce – “As the home of the Vermont Convention Bureau and the organization charged with driving tourists, meetings, and conventions to Burlington, the Chamber supports the development of a modern, downtown convention center space as essential to the continued prominence of Burlington as a destination of choice for meeting planners and visitors.”· Charlie Baker, Executive Director of Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission – “The Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission is pleased to see a major property owner in Burlington put forth a proposed redevelopment plan that epitomizes smart growth and transit-oriented development right next to the CCTA’s transit center. The project would help implement our regional ECOS Plan by addressing the significant housing needs our region faces, while expanding the pedestrian environment, increasing employment, and improving stormwater management.”· Emily Boedecker, Executive Director of Local Motion – “This is game-changing placemaking at its best. We all have been given a rare opportunity today to bring our best ideas to the table. This re-development would increase the vibrancy of our downtown by creating a place where people want to get out of their cars to socialize and to shop, and where the experience invites them to return – soon and often! More than just providing facilities for pedestrians and bikers to move through these downtown blocks, this project presents us with an opportunity to expand on the Church Street experience and transform the heart of our small City into a walking and biking destination.”· Spencer Welton, Steering Committee President of Burlington Farmers’ Market – “We are excited to be included in the planning and design process for the redevelopment of the downtown mall. It will be great to explore how the Burlington Farmers’ Market can participate in the transformation of our downtown as a more engaged and vibrant year-round, public marketplace.”· William H. Truex, Jr., FAIA, former Chair of Burlington Planning Commission/Urban Renewal Agency and Co-Founder of Church Street Marketplace – “The closure of St. Paul and Pine streets 40 years ago was guided by Burlington’s urban renewal planning and had the goal of expanding and connecting the existing Downtown Business District with the lake and waterfront. The success of the Church Street Marketplace has demonstrated the critical importance of active street edges and public spaces in creating dynamic, interconnected pedestrian districts. The genius of the new Town Center concept lies in its potential fulfillment of the original goals of increasing the density and diversity of the downtown core land uses and expanding the downtown core west, towards the lake, by reasserting the essential role of an activated and connected public street framework.” · Kelly Devine, Executive Director of Burlington Business Association – “The Burlington Town Center development will have a lasting, positive effect on the heart of Burlington and the entire community. The project would create expanded parking, new jobs, and additional retail opportunities that would bring significant direct and indirect economic benefits to Burlington. This project represents just one part of a bright new future for Burlington’s downtown business district. It is exciting when community members can shape and influence the future of our City. The Burlington Business Association looks forward to being part of the dialogue that will help shape this significant project and move it forward.”· City Council President Joan Shannon, Ward 5 – “While I am not generally known as the first person to stand up and cheer for new development, I offer my strong support for this project, which I believe would not only enhance our downtown, but also solve the biggest problems we have in our existing urban design. The mall currently is a grand obstruction to our existing grid, preventing pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular traffic from efficiently navigating our City. Cherry and Bank streets are locked and impervious. This proposed redevelopment would tear down the walls, reintegrate the north and south end, welcome pedestrians into new streetscapes and structures, and invite human, social, and economic interactions, shunned by our current built environment.”· City Councilor Karen Paul, Ward 6 – “When I first learned of Don’s vision for our mall and the immense contributions this project would make to our downtown both in terms of economic development potential and exciting visual and human design, ‘transformational’ was the only word that could describe my reaction. As a lifelong resident of Burlington, I have watched our mall – from the time it was built until today – lack a presence and languish in our otherwise vibrant downtown. The conceptual design, inspired by the themes in our planBTV blueprint, incorporates an exciting streetscape, intelligent integration of walking and biking venues, plans for a strong retail element, as well as much needed housing – all of which would have significant impacts on Burlington today and well into the future. The economic implications of this project are far-reaching and truly remarkable for our downtown and our City.”City Councilor Dave Hartnett, Ward 4 – “I am excited about the future of the mall. Once the vision, complete with public input, becomes a reality, Burlington finally will have a complete downtown. Members of our community and visitors to town would enjoy the Church Street Marketplace and the mall beyond. A project like this would go a long way toward making sure we become a big part of the retail picture, and Black Friday and Small Business Saturday would be much brighter in years to come as people visit destination retailers like L.L. Bean and many other nearby shops.”City Councilor Max Tracy, Ward 2 – “As we get started with the public engagement process, it’s exciting to see so many elements of planBTV already embraced in the initial design concepts. I am particularly excited to see green design, demonstrated by a green roof and improved stormwater treatment, as well as enhanced bike-ped connectivity, through restoration of the street grid on St. Paul and Pine, playing prominent roles from the beginning.”Next StepsThe Administration expects the City Council to consider a resolution at one of its December meetings authorizing the Administration and Sinex to engage in a transparent, public process to reach a development agreement that will address public amenities, public infrastructure investment, project scale, and other key elements of the public-private partnership. Upon passage of such a resolution, the Administration and Sinex immediately will be soliciting, receiving, and incorporating public input into their negotiations to create a development agreement as soon as possible.Renderings(link is external) prepared by Sinex’s architectural team from PKSB Architects, PC, Sherida E. Paulsen, FAIA, and William B. Fellows, AIA, including:· Concept diagram showing new north-south pedestrian connections/arcades along St. Paul and Pine streets and east-west arcade connecting Church and Pine streets· Exterior view of St. Paul Arcade looking north from Bank Street through mall· Interior view of St. Paul Arcade looking north showing possible future home of winter Farmers’ Market· View of Cherry Street Promenade looking west from L.L. Bean and Transit Center with enhanced street scape, green infrastructure, and street-oriented retail· View of rooftop public park, café, and surrounding downtown housing looking northwestSource: Mayor’s office. 11.20.2014
Open Tempo, Inc.,OpenTempo, a healthcare IT company that reduces the cost of providing healthcare by helping hospitals optimize workforce efficiency, is expanding its offices to accommodate its rapidly increasing staff. Between December and January, six new employees were brought on, all based in Vermont.“OpenTempo loves being a Vermont company,” says Brian McNabb, Vice President of Professional Services. “We are able to help the local community by providing green, high-paying jobs while also helping our company’s performance by adding very talented individuals with Vermont values.”The new hires include:Cheryl Medley, Senior Implementation ConsultantLisa McGee, Senior Implementation ConsultantJoe Simpson, Associate Implementation ConsultantStacy Bressette, Associate Education and Documentation SpecialistBen Jenkins, Service AnalystDevin Nasar, Associate Implementation DeveloperTo make room for the new people, OpenTempo is constructing more office space at its existing location in Williston.About OpenTempoOpenTempo specializes in providing workforce management and staff scheduling solutions to hospitals and private medical practices across North America. For more information, please visit www.opentempo.com(link is external).
Vermont Business Magazine Last October, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Michael Yudin, sent a letter to states reminding them to use the terms “dyslexia”, “dysgraphia”, and “dyscalculia” in Individualized Education Programs and in evaluations determining a student’s eligibility for special education services. Since then, talk has been more frequent in regards to how these diagnoses can benefit the development of programs to support students with learning disabilities. Before Yudin released the letter, many states and schools did not openly acknowledge an identified diagnosis of dyslexia. The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) provided guidance to the Office of Special Education Programs and found that the same was true of dysgraphia and dyscalculia. The tireless work by the NCLD, Decoding Dyslexia, and many other organizations across the country has successfully brought this issue center stage, where it should be. In Vermont, people are taking action, where organizations such as the Stern Center for Language and Learning are preparing to launch a three-part symposium series on January 29th to further clarify the complexities of these terms and identify best practices in classrooms. Janna Osman, Vice President for Programs at the Stern Center for Language and Learning stated, “We have an opportunity to work with educators, psychologists, educational leaders, and others on how to develop a common understanding of “dyslexia”, “dyscalculia” and “dygraphia”. The goal is to develop a deeper understanding of what students with learning disabilities need to be successful. This is an idea we have always been dedicated to, which is why we provide grants through our Cynthia K. Hoehl Institute for Excellence to assist educators the best we can.” Out of the 6.4 million students who receive special education, 2.5 million (35%) are diagnosed with a specific learning disability, resulting in the largest disability population in the United States. Specific learning disabilities impact reading, writing, speaking, and listening, as well as mathematical calculations and reasoning. It is important that educators have as much information as possible about these conditions and are provided with research-proven strategies in order for these students to access an appropriate education. Now is the time to take action and learn more about how to best support these students as they pursue their academic paths.
Vermont Busness Magazine On September 9, 2016, the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) awarded the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets $500,000 to develop a Vermont State Produce Safety Program. The award will support Vermont in its collaboration with FDA to cooperatively implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. The $500,000 is the first award of a planned five-year, $3.625 million investment in Vermont’s program by FDA, pending congressional budget allocation.This award will allow the Vermont Agency of Agriculture to prepare a multi-year plan for a comprehensive produce safety program; establish a Vermont produce farm inventory; develop a strategy for outreach, education, and technical assistance to all Vermont farms that grow covered produce; and develop an inspectional program for farms that must comply with the rule. The Agency will work closely with local organizations, such as the Vermont Farm Bureau, University of Vermont Extension, and other state agencies throughout the Northeast on program development and implementation of outreach, education and technical assistance. “Vermont’s fruit and vegetable growers are an essential part of our local agricultural economy,” said Governor Peter Shumlin. “These funds will enable Vermont to build a produce safety program that protects consumer health, while also addressing the needs of our local, small-scale producers.”In addition to this award, Vermont has been selected as a pilot state to assess producer readiness for compliance with the Produce Safety Rule through an on-farm readiness review program that will provide education and technical assistance to growers beginning during the 2017 growing season. “Vermont Farm Bureau looks forward to working with Vermont Agency of Agriculture on FSMA rule implementation,” said Vermont Farm Bureau President Joe Tisbert and owner/operator of Valley Dream Farm in Cambridge, Vermont. “We commend FDA for choosing Vermont as one of the pilot states for developing on-farm education and technical assistance to help producers comply with the Produce Safety Rule.”The Vermont Agency of Agriculture and Secretary Chuck Ross have played key roles in the development of the final FSMA Produce Safety Rule and FDA’s approach to educating before and while regulating. This ongoing effort to order to ensure an implementation strategy that is feasible for small-scale diversified agriculture in Vermont and New England reflects the Agency’s commitment to protecting the Vermont brand and its reputation for quality.“FSMA represents an important nationwide investment in food safety,” said Secretary of Agriculture, Chuck Ross. “My agency colleagues and I have worked closely with the FDA since 2011 to ensure that these new food safety rules are not only effective in reducing foodborne illness, but can also be realistically and successfully implemented by diversified and small-scale producers, like many of the farms throughout Vermont and New England. This initial award will allow us to begin building a comprehensive produce safety program that meets the needs of Vermont producers and prioritizes education before and during regulation.” The FSMA Produce Safety Rule was finalized in November 2015 and impacts farms and other businesses that grow, harvest, pack, or hold fresh produce. Larger growers will need to comply with the rule in 2018, while smaller growers have additional time to come into compliance.FDA awarded a total of $21.8 million to 42 states in Federal fiscal year 2016 to begin implementing the Produce Safety Rule. Vermont will receive the maximum amount for which it could apply based on the number of farms growing fresh fruits and vegetables covered by the rule. To view FDA’s news release for the award, visit http://go.usa.gov/xKeuH(link is external).For more information about FSMA and Produce Safety in Vermont, please visit: http://go.usa.gov/xKeu6(link is external) and http://go.usa.gov/xKeuF(link is external) (case sensitive URLs).Source: Vermont Agency of Agriculture. 10.3.2016. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets facilitates, supports and encourages the growth and viability of agriculture in Vermont while protecting the working landscape, human health, animal health, plant health, consumers and the environment. www.Agriculture.Vermont.Gov(link is external)
Vermont Business Magazine On the Senate Floor this afternoon, Senator Patrick Leahy addressed the Senate on the pending Republican-authored legislation to enable and facilitate repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare. The vehicle being used by Republican leaders for this is a budget resolution, S.Con.Res.3, “To Instruct Committees To Draft Legislation To Repeal The ACA.”Floor Remarks Of Senator Patrick LeahyOn The Budget Resolution, S. Con. Res. 3 (To Instruct Committees To Draft Legislation To Repeal The ACA)Senate FloorTuesday, January 10, 2017The 115th Congress convened just last week, and instead of beginning the year with a renewed sense of cooperation, Republicans in Congress have chosen a different path. The very first thing on the agenda is to press forward with a sham budget – the only purpose of which is to set up a process to repeal the Affordable Care Act with a simple majority vote.Why? Because they know such a repeal would never pass otherwise. Instead of working to finalize appropriations bills for this year – already more than three months in – or to invest in our nation’s critical infrastructure, or to truly bolster our nation’s cybersecurity, or to improve the Affordable Care Act to ensure more people can receive affordable coverage, Republicans are recklessly rushing forward solely to fulfill an ill-considered campaign promise. They are pushing American families over the cliff with the vague ‘promise’ that eventually they will come up with a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Jump first, plan later is anything but a responsible formula for sound decisions, and all the more so when the health insurance of tens of millions of American families is at stake.The Majority Leader and others have said that a repeal of the Affordable Care Act is “only the first step.” They say that a full repeal is necessary to pave the way for a replacement. “Let’s leave Obamacare in the past,” they argue. When you strip away the rhetoric, the only alternative being offered to the American people by advocates of a repeal is: Don’t get sick.The American people have the right to know what a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act really means. A repeal of this law would not just take away the rights and care of millions of patients and their families; it would eliminate insurance coverage for millions more, from the aging and elderly, to men and women with preexisting conditions, to the most vulnerable children. A repeal of the Affordable Care Act would turn back the clock to a time when, once again, women would have to pay more for health insurance than men, insurance companies could rescind a health insurance policy because someone gets sick, and coverage could forever be denied to someone born with a disease or ailment.In Vermont, the Affordable Care Act has reduced the number of Vermonters without insurance by 53 percent. Tens of thousands have gained coverage under the expansion of Medicaid. And because the Affordable Care Act closed the prescription drug “donut hole,” more than 10,000 Vermont seniors saved $12 million on drugs in 2015 alone.I have heard stories from many Vermonters about how vital this law is to them and their families. I have heard from family doctors, like one in Bennington who remembers when his patients couldn’t afford treatment because of lifetime and annual limits on health care coverage. Or a woman from Westminster whose family hit hard times and moved from job to job but could afford to keep continuous health coverage because of the plans offered through the Affordable Care Act. Other young Vermonters are able to pursue careers in public service or the arts because they can stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. Countless others have underscored that because of previous health issues such as diabetes or cancer, health coverage would be unaffordable without the guarantees and subsidies provided by the Affordable Care Act.Opponents of the Affordable Care Act have gone to new lengths to repeat and prolong this political battle. And that’s all this is. They have had six years to propose a better alternative but have failed to do that. Instead, Congressional Republicans and the President-elect have decided to put the cart before the horse and dismantle our health care system before figuring out how to fix it. The American people rightly expect us to work together to make progress on so many challenges that we face today. Instead, we are engaged in dangerous political gamesmanship. I will not support a return to less protection, less coverage, less fairness, and higher costs. That’s what repeal means. The Affordable Care Act extended health insurance to millions of families in Vermont and across the country. Those who represent the American people in Congress should stand ready to get to work for their constituents. I will not support an effort to reverse the many reforms and achievements we made through the Affordable Care Act, and instead cobble back together a broken system that for too long burdened most American households with health coverage uncertainty and crippling costs.Source: Leahy 1.10.2017