2much Media Travels to Mexico and Guatemala to Document the Coffee Crisis

first_img2much Media of Burlington accompanied their client, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, on a recent trip to Mexico and Guatemala. The goal was to come back with footage that GMCR could use in a variety of ways to raise awareness about the growing Coffee Crisis.If you’re not already familiar with the Coffee Crisis, it won’t be long before you are. After all, coffee, preceded by oil, is the world’s most traded commodity. The issue isn’t about a shortage in quantity, it’s quality that’s at stake. The small, multi-generation arabica coffee farms of Central America and other traditional coffee producing regions are struggling due to the increasing availability of lower quality and less expensive robusta beans from coffee sources such as Vietnam.”There are social, agricultural, political and economic angles to this story,” says Bill Kinzie of 2much Media. “It’s not all that different from what the dairy farmers here in Vermont have been dealing with.”Consumers can easily become activists by purchasing Fair Trade coffee sold by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and other companies. “Buying Fair Trade is a win-win situation,” Kinzie continues. “The consumer gets better coffee and the grower gets a sustainable price.”2much Media is based in Burlington, Vermont and specializes in media services for socially responsible companies.last_img read more

Saffire Mortgage Celebrates Award-Winning First Year

first_imgColin Schmidt and Tom Wright started Saffire Mortgage, Inc. in November, 2002 in a closet with one telephone, one computer and one dream: Provide customers the highest-possible level of service and most competitive home mortgage rates.One year later, Saffire’s 5,000 square foot office houses 15 employees with more than 80 years experience in the financial sector, 20 computers and some pretty impressive awards. In 2003, the company closed more than $100 million in residential home mortgages; achieved mortgage broker licensures in 15 states; was selected as a mortgage broker for 10 lending institutions; been recognized for “Great Leadership in Online Mortgage Origination” as a member of the Homecomings Financial E-Partner program, and; awarded Mortgage 101’s 3rd Quarter Customer Service Award as one of the top 3 (of two thousand brokers listed on the Mortgage 101 website) for customer satisfaction.As Saffire Mortgage expands its offerings for residential customers as well as commercial properties, the mission continues to be geared toward providing superior service and competitive rates.last_img read more

State establishes 2006 Hospital Budgets

first_imgv\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}.shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} State of Vermont Timothy McQuiston 2 2 2005-09-16T14:05:00Z 2005-09-16T17:13:00Z 2005-09-16T17:13:00Z 1 1532 8738 Banking & Insurance & Securit 72 20 10250 10.2625 Clean Clean 0 pt 0 pt 0 0 0 pt 0 pt MicrosoftInternetExplorer4st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”;}PressReleaseState of Vermont…Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities &Health Care Administration (BISHCA)89Main St. Drawer 20 Montpelier, VT 05620-3101 Main Number:802-828-3301                                          Commissioner:  John P. CrowleyDivisions: Banking,Insurance, Captive Insurance, Securities, and Health Care Administration(BISHCA) _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Commissioner reviewed and considered all of these factors and: 1) Accepted and established the following FY 2006 hospital budgets as theywere submitted in July: [Rate increase requests indicated inbrackets.] Brattleboro Memorial Hospital  [8.7%] Central Vermont Hospital [6.4%] Copley Hospital[0.0%] Fletcher Allen Health Care [8.0%] Gifford Memorial Hospital [3.6%] Grace Cottage Hospital [11.0%] Mt. Ascutney Hospital & Health Center[5.3%] North Country Hospital & Health Center[4.8%]  Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital[8.5%]Northwestern Medical Center [4.5%]Porter Hospital[5.0%] Springfield Hospital[8.0%] 2) Established the Rutland Regional Medical Centerbudget with a reduction in their rate request from a 9.0% to a8.0% rate increase along with a commensurate reduction in expenditures. This establishes an operating margin of 3.2% for the hospital.3) Established the Southwestern Vermont Medical Centerbudget with a reduction in their rate request from a 9.8% to a8.8% rate increase. This establishes an operating margin of 4.1% for thehospital.4) The Commissioner is also requiring that Rutland Regional Medical Center, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center,Central Vermont Medical Center,Northwestern Medical Center, and Brattleboro Memorial Hospitaleach:Conduct a comprehensive debt capacity and financial feasibility study andsubmit the findings to the Department. The studies shall include an analysis ofthe debt associated with current and projected (over the next 5 years) capitalprojects and new programs, and include an analysis of projected operating revenues,expenses, and related capital as well as utilization and related cashflows.  The studies shall describe the anticipated impact of the financialprojections on each hospitalcenter_img Contact: Michael Davis, Division ofHealth Care Administration; 802-828-2989  Date:  Sept. 16, 2005CommissionerEstablishes 2006 Hospital BudgetsMontpelier –The Departmentof Banking, Insurance, Securities, and Health Care Administration (BISHCA)administers the annual binding budget program for all Vermonthospitals in an effort to contain hospital costs. The annual budget processincludes an analysis by the Departments staff and testimony by the hospitalsat public hearings held before Commissioner John Crowley and the PublicOversight Commission. The hearing process took place over a three-day period,on August 23, 24 and 25, 2005. The Vermonthospital fiscal year for 2006 runs from October 1, 2005 through September 30, 2006. When he established the FY 2006 budget levels for the hospitals, theCommissioner reviewed the testimony received from the fourteen Vermonthospitals during the August public hearings, the staffs analyses, the UnifiedHealth Care Budget forecast, and the comments of the Public Oversight Commission.  In addition, the Commissioner also consideredthe Health Resource Allocation Plan (HRAP) adopted by the Governor on August 2, 2005.  In particular, the Commissioner noted theseven key factors identified in the HRAP:  Demographics: the emergence of the baby boomers into middle ageChronic Illness: the leading cause of illness, disability, and death, and the chief area for health care expendituresPrevention: a key area for addressing health care resourcesWorkforce: shortages in certain health care servicesHealth Care Information Redesign: information technology needed to improve processes and outcomesPopulation-based Analysis: projecting use and need, and allocating resources accordinglyIntegration of Care: improved efficiency and effectiveness by integrating primary, specialty, physical and mental health care. In addition to permitting rate increases for the hospitals,the Commissioners FY 2006 budget decisions require all of the hospitals towork with the State over the next six to nine months to address significantexpense and revenue pressures on Vermontshospital health care system. Despite the lowest overall hospital spendingincrease since 1997, the Commissioner determined that although the currentoverall financial health of the hospitals appears stable, the future financialpicture raises the following concerns:Difficulty in recruiting certain health care professionals is a significant and ongoing problem representing a significant financial risk to community hospitals.Cost control is a challenge for Vermonts hospitals that are focused on retaining or adding some services while at the same time looking for ways to limit increasing expenditures. Key funding sources such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Critical Access Hospital reimbursement program may become stressed in the next few years and the ability to cost-shift to insurers may diminish.Cost shifting is not a sustainable method of financial stability. To the extent possible in Vermonts non-profit hospital market, cost control is absolutely critical.Professional liability insurance costs are rising significantly at some hospitals. Responses to this vary and a coordinated approach would be useful.    Many hospitals are planning significant capital spending that stresses the financial health of the institutions. In response to these pressures, the Commissioners budgetorders will call for Vermonts 14non-profit hospitals to engage in activities to  increase efficiency and decrease costs.  In order to provide reports and studies thatwill be used in next years budget decision-making process,the hospitals will be required to do the following:   Evaluate all cost drivers, and determine which may not be necessary to the most critical missions of the hospitals.Develop plans to (a) meet physician recruitment needs, and (b) to implement contingency plans to respond to a smaller supply of physicians and other key health care professionals.Explore methods to control professional liability insurance costs, including the potential adoption of captive insurance plans including those covering multiple institutions.Identify and adopt best practices throughout hospital operations and management to increase efficiency and quality.Develop long range financial plans including the use of alternate health care delivery models to provide needed services and maintain and update physical plants.Plan for changes in health care delivery systems such as changing technology, improved information systems, the shifting of care from the acute care setting to the non-acute care setting, and improved chronic disease management.Develop strategies to implement information technology investments. The Department based the final budget levels on a variety of factors,including the budget assumptions pertaining to utilization, new programs,operating surplus, inflation, prior period budget performance, and theindividual circumstances of each hospital.  Fundamental to theCommissioners decisions is the recognition that Vermonters continue to firmly believethe Vermont community hospitalsystem is integral to Vermontslocal communities and the economy of those communities.   The average 7.5% requested rate increase was comprised of individualhospital rate increase requests that ranged from 0.0% to 11%. These raterequests were determined by the individual hospitals as needed to meetincreasing costs and to provide operating margins.   A review of hospital testimony and staff analysis has found that the costincreases were largely driven by utilization growth, inflationary growthrelated to wages, fringe benefits, pharmaceuticals, new programs, and expandingtechnology.  In addition, the hospitals’ testimony before the Commissionerindicated that the hospitals are budgeting to achieve adequate operatingmargins in order to: maintain and improve a financially healthy hospital systemand make capital expenditures to address technology and infrastructure plans.last_img read more

Stone Environmental Expands GIS Capabilities

first_imgKatie Budreski has joined Stone Environmental, Inc. as a Geographic Information Systems specialist. She will develop GIS and remote sensing applications and mapping services for Stone’s clients and for other business units within the company.Prior to joining Stone, Katie honed her GIS and remote sensing skills working with consultancies and Virgina Techs Department of Forestry. Part of her work at Virginia Tech involved developing and managing GIS data for a land cover classification study in Mali and a socioeconomic study in the Brazilian Amazon. She has also participated in two research studies at the Cape Cod National Seashore, one of which was conducted for Harvard University.Katie holds a Master of Science degree in Forestry and a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry and Natural Resources, both from Virginia Tech.The principals of Stone Environmental, Inc. are pleased to welcome Katie to the company.Stone Environmental, Inc. is a 34-person consulting firm located in Montpelier, Vermont. The company has 30 scientists providing client services in four areas: site investigation and remediation services, water resources and wastewater, agrochemical fate and exposure, and applied information management (GIS, computer modeling, data management). Visit www.stone-env.com(link is external) for more information.last_img read more

Vermont Housing and Conservation Board Names New Officers

first_imgChristine Hart and Thomas Weaver Elected as Chair andVice-Chair of Vermont Housing & Conservation Board The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board has elected Christine H. Hart of Brattleboro to serve as chair and Thomas G. Weaver of Essex Junction as vice chair. The board is an independent, state-supported agency established in 1987 to provide funding for affordable housing and conservation of agricultural and recreational land, natural areas and historic properties.Christine Hart is Executive Director of the Brattleboro Housing Authority, a post she has held since 1995. Prior to joining the Housing Authority, Chris was the assistant town manager and town planner for the town of Brattleboro, and project manager for the $8 million construction and renovation project for the Holstein Association in downtown Brattleboro. She served on the Vermont Human Rights Commission for six years. She was appointed to the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board by Governor Douglas in 2004. She is active in town government and involved in a number of local organizations. Chris holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Kansas and received her B.A. in History and Politics from Ithaca College. She lives in Brattleboro with her husband and son, who is attending UVM. Tom Weaver, a builder and real estate developer, is a partner in Bartlett-Weaver Associates in Essex Junction. His professional affiliations include the Northwestern Vermont Board of Realtors, the Vermont Association of Realtors, the National Association of Realtors, the Homebuilders Association of Northern Vermont and the National Association of Homebuilders. He is Chair of the Essex Junction Zoning Board and previously served as a trustee and as selectman for the towns of Essex Junction and Essex. He is member of Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission. Tom is married to Susan Faye Morse. They have two daughters, Katherine Martin and Elizabeth Weaver and a grandchild, Sullivan Martin. Outgoing Chair Ken Perine, President of the National Bank of Middlebury who has served as the board chair since 2006, said, Chris and Tom are well-positioned to lead the board in committing funds for community development and conservation projects to increase and improve our supply of affordable housing while maintaining Vermont’s open land and investing in our historic public buildings. Since 1987, VHCB has committed more than $220 million in loans and grants to nonprofit groups, municipalities and state agencies to create 9,000 affordable homes and conserve 370,000 acres of Vermont’s agricultural land, natural areas, recreational land and historic properties.last_img read more

Sugarbush Resort Forced to Suspend Mountain Biking Operations due to Too Much Snow

first_imgSugarbush Resort Forced to Suspend Mountain Biking Operations due to Too Much SnowWarren, VT (October 3, 2008)- Ah& the fall. Hillsides of saffron and scarlet. And now you can add white to the color palette. Two inches of snow fell on the top of Sugarbush Resort this morning forcing the resort to suspend its lift-serviced mountain biking. The season’s first snow came just as the fall foliage in the Mad River Valley is reaching its peak. With the opening of winter operations slated to begin in just over 50 days, the early brush with winter was welcomed as positive sign of things to come.”We gave up trying to predict the future years ago, but an early October snow is always a promising sign,” said resort Communications Director JJ Toland. “If anything, it really ratchets up the excitement level.”Snow removal crews were dispatched to the top of the Super Bravo chairlift and by mid afternoon, mountain biking had resumed.last_img read more

Vermont CVCAC part of SBA PRIME grant awardees for micro entrepreneurs

first_imgThe US Small Business Administration announced today that 58 non-profit organizations from 32 states and the District of Columbia, including Central Vermont Community Action Council for $100,000, will receive grant funding under the Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs Act (PRIME) to assist low-income and very low-income entrepreneurs with training and technical assistance to start, operate, and grow their businesses. Competition for PRIME grants was open to applicants in all 50 states and the U.S. territories. SBA received more than 400 applications. Last year, SBA funded 35 grants in 12 states on a non-competitive basis. “The SBA remains committed to helping small businesses start, grow and succeed, and PRIME is one of our many tools for doing this,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “Thanks to larger funding this year, we were able to provide grant dollars to more recipients across more states.  These grant recipients are on the front line of helping entrepreneurs in particularly underserved communities with critical tools to help them maximize the potential of their businesses, create jobs and help strengthen the local economy.”SBA’s PRIME grant funding is intended to establish management and technical assistance, access to capital and other forms of financial assistance, and business training and counseling through qualified organizations to small businesses with five or fewer employees that are economically disadvantaged, and to businesses owned by low-income individuals, including those residing on Indian reservations and tribal lands.The grant funding received will be used to provide training and technical assistance to disadvantaged microentrepreneurs, to provide capacity building services to organizations that assist with microenterprise training and services, and to aid in researching and developing the best practices in the field of microenterprise development and technical assistance programs for disadvantaged microentrepreneurs.This year’s total program funding amounts to $5 million. Grants range up to $250, 000 with a 50 percent match required of the recipient organization.  The PRIME grant is open to microentrepreneur training and technical assistance providers in all 50 states and the territories, and has a one year performance period, with four 12-month options.  For a complete list of recipients, visit: http://www.sba.gov/services/financialassistance/sbapartners/prime/index….(link is external). Source: SBA# # #last_img read more

President Obama endorses Vermont’s health reform waiver legislation

first_imgAt a meeting of the National Governors Association this morning, President Obama announced his support for amending the Affordable Care Act to allow states like Vermont to seek a federal waiver to the new law three years earlier than currently allowed. States would be required to design plans that are at least as comprehensive and affordable as the federal model and cover at least as many people.The Vermont congressional delegation and Governor Peter Shumlin issued a statement today that hailed President Obama’s endorsement of legislation allowing states to restrucutre laws to, for instance, allow for a single-payer system, which supporters hope would increase health care and lower cost starting in 2014.Last month Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced in the Senate and Represetnative Peter Welch (D-Vt.) introduced in the House legislation that would advance the date waivers would be accepted from 2017 to 2014. The three joined Governor Shumlin at a Montpelier press conference to announce the legislation, which would provide Vermont the flexibility it needs to adopt reforms Shumlin is pursuing.Leahy said, ‘This is a wise decision that keeps in focus the goal of continually improving health care in America.  I applaud President Obama and Secretary Sebelius for supporting efforts by Vermont and other states to go above and beyond what the Affordable Care Act requires.  They know that the federal government does not have a monopoly on good ideas, and innovations by the states will prove ‘ and improve — the benefits of health insurance reform, on the ground, and in practice.   While some in Washington want to turn the clock back and repeal the new health reform law, Vermont and other states want to move ahead.  Vermont has already been working hard to improve the state’s system of health care, and passage of the delegation’s waiver bill will move our state one step closer to that goal.’ Sanders said, ‘At a time when 50 million Americans lack health insurance and when the cost of health care continues to soar, it is my strong hope that Vermont will lead the nation in a new direction through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer approach. I am delighted that President Obama announced today that he will, in fact,  support allowing states to innovate with health coverage models sooner rather than later. I worked hard to draft and secure the waiver provision in the health reform law and I am very pleased the president now agrees that we should make it available in 2014 as originally intended.   While there is a lot of work to be done, I look forward to working with Sens. Leahy, Wyden, Inouye, Brown and others in the Senate and Rep. Welch and others in the House to get this done as soon as possible.’Welch said, ‘President Obama’s support for allowing states to innovate sooner is a good news for Vermont and all states looking to tailor health care reform to individual states’ circumstances. This legislation will give Vermont a green light to lead the nation in providing quality health care at a lower cost. I’m hopeful that Democrats and Republicans alike will support this practical step to give states flexibility to achieve progress their own way.’Shumlin said, ‘I was excited to learn about this today during a visit to the White House. All along officials from Health and Human Services have expressed a willingness to work with us, as long as we don’t compromise standards under the law. I think this is an excellent example of how we can work together to control skyrocketing health care costs and implement meaningful health care reform as soon as possible.’A fact sheet on the delegation’s ‘State Leadership in Healthcare Act’ is available HERE.Source: Governor’s office and congresionial delegation. WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2011 ‘last_img read more

Bob-White Systems adds new engineering, manufacturing facility

first_imgBob-White Systems, Inc,The Vermont farmstead cheese and micro dairy supply and equipment company, is expanding and announces the lease of a 2000 square foot facility in Royalton, Vermont. Bob-White Systems North, located on Waterman Road, just off Exit 3 off I-89, is the new location for research, product development, engineering, and manufacturing of the Bob-White Systems Low Impact Pasteurization (LIP) System which will bring gentle milk pasteurization direct to micro dairy farms. The new facility will also be the location for further product innovations for micro dairy farmers and farmstead cheese makers. Established in 2006, Bob-White Systems provides micro dairy and cheese making supplies, equipment, support, and innovations for the farmstead, homestead, and small-scale production of local and farm fresh milk and cheese. The Bob-White Systems storefront and offices are located on the town green in South Royalton, next to the South Royalton Co-Op. President, Steven Judge, also operates a micro dairy farm in Royalton which serves as the company’s micro dairy applied research location where the LIP System operates and micro dairy design and best practices are honed. Recent staff growth and product expansions have resulted in the existing South Royalton Storefront space unable to support engineering and manufacturing components necessary to meet the demands of the growing micro dairy industry in Vermont and beyond. Bob-White System’s customers reach throughout New England with strong loyalty in Pennsylvania, the MidWest, and as far as California, Texas, the United Kingdom, and even Australia. The company’s website ‘ www.bobwhitesystems.com(link is external) and the customer service team serve these customers and e-commerce developments are in place to further support small scale milk producers, home cheese makers, and farmstead dairy farmers.  Bob-White Systems North is being leased from Lucky’s Trailer Sales and is the first company to fill the space Applied Research vacated in 2008.last_img read more

Vermont state archives awarded $118,000 grant to preserve court records

first_imgSecretary of State Jim Condos announced today that the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration (VSARA) ‘ a division of the Secretary of State’s Office ‘ has been awarded a grant of $118,078 from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to preserve and make more accessible archival court records.  The Vermont project is one of nineteen archival projects from around the country that the NHPRC awarded funding for this year. Essential for documenting the history of the state as well as the rights of its citizens, Vermont’s court records have long been difficult for the public to access and are threatened by physical deterioration.  The 22-month project beginning in October will provide for the long-term preservation of and access to 446 cubic feet of recording books, dockets, and case files from the Caledonia, Lamoille, and Orleans County Courts.  VSARA intends to build upon the experience of this project to launch a wider effort that eventually will address the archival needs of all of Vermont’s court records.       Dating from 1794 to 1945, the records chronicle not only the Vermont judicial system but also the larger American experience, and will expand perspectives on numerous issues, including crime and punishment, economics, and all facets of social history. Because they often provide details about the lives of individuals in a way that few other records do, court records also are particularly useful to genealogists and family historians. When court records concern land disputes and similar issues they may also document rights that persist today. The creation of VSARA in 2008 and the completion of the new archives facility in 2010 have allowed the agency to begin to pursue projects of this scope.  Recent collaborative efforts between VSARA and the Judiciary to improve records management in the courts also contributed to the success of the grant proposal. The NHPRC, a statutory body affiliated with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), supports a wide range of activities to preserve, publish, and encourage the use of documentary sources, created in every medium ranging from quill pen to computer, relating to the history of the United States.   Secretary of State Jim Condos has over 20 years of elected public service, including 18 years at the local level and 8 years as a Vermont State Senator, in addition to more than 30 years of private sector business experience.last_img read more