GREEN MOUNTAIN POWERANNOUNCES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND COLCHESTER, VT . . . Directors of Green Mountain Power Corporation (NYSE:GMP) have announced a quarterly cash dividend of $0.22 per share on the utility’s Common Stock, payable December 31, 2004 to holders of record at the close of business on December 17, 2004. The indicated annual dividend rate is $0.88. Green Mountain Power Corporation (www.greenmountainpower.biz(link is external)) is a Vermont-based energy services company serving 89,000 electric customers.– 30 —
Small Businesses Look for Help on Health Care CoverageBURLINGTON, VT, June 16, 2008 – Most Vermont small businesses see it as their responsibility to provide health coverage to employees, but all are struggling with the rising cost, according to a survey report released today by AARP Vermont. AARP conducted an independent telephone survey of some 400 Vermont business owners with 50 or fewer employees. Clearly, the study exposes a group that is buried under the escalating costs of health care and being forced out of the market, while battling high energy costs and an economy in recession. The survey reveals a better understanding of what Vermont’s small business owners have been experiencing due to increasing health coverage costs, their opinions surrounding the issue and whether the Catamount Health Plan would appeal to them if made available.The findings showed that most small employers offer health coverage because they need it for themselves and because they feel a responsibility to do so, not for competitive or bottom-line reasons. Some 57% of respondents offer coverage, with larger employers more likely to provide the benefit, and nearly all say the premiums have risen over the past several years. In response, a significant number of businesses (48%) have changed to high-deductible plans which require employees to pay premiums and satisfy a hefty deductible before receiving any coverage. Other responses to rising costs include increasing employee contributions (27%), reducing benefits (26%) and even dropping plans altogether (16%). This pattern does not serve the interests of Vermont consumers and burdens the health care system itself. Nevertheless, it is likely to continue with more and more organizations reporting they will have to take similar actions in the next few years as premiums continue to rise.Catamount Health – the new, affordable, comprehensive insurance plan available to uninsured Vermonters – is currently not open to small businesses. If made available, affordably, to small businesses and the self-employed, the majority are likely to consider enrolling in the plan, according to the survey results. Of those not currently offering any health coverage benefit, fully 80% would consider enrolling in the plan if they could while 60% of those already offering insurance would look at switching to Catamount.AARP worked closely with lawmakers and others in pushing for the development and passage of the Catamount Health Plan. As the organization now works toward enrolling more uninsured Vermonters in the plan and improving plan provisions, it has become clear that smaller employers – the bulk of the business community – are a key in getting coverage to many residents with no coverage or costly high-deductible plans. Furthermore, hundreds of Vermont small business owners and sole proprietors are AARP members and are very concerned about the crisis in health care costs.”We ask our elected leaders in Montpelier to open the doors to affordable health insurance to small Vermont businesses – the backbone of our business community,” said Jim Leddy, AARP state president and one of the architects of the state sponsored plan. “The status quo is no longer acceptable. The only alternative for these businesses can not be to reduce, drop or not offer health insurance at all,” he said. “Quite simply, offering the Catamount Health Plan to small businesses, their employees and the self-employed is part of the solution to covering the uninsured and dealing with the rising cost of health care.”Leddy explained that AARP and the Vermont Campaign for Health Care Security are working to bring small businesses together to speak for themselves on the issue. It is expected that a proposal will go before the Legislature next session to approve a version of Catamount Health for small businesses. “We want to give voice to the thousands of small business owners struggling to take care of their employees. We hope these findings will help inform the debate in Montpelier,” said Leddy.AARP is part of a coalition representing the voice of Vermont small businesses and sole proprietors. It encourages those who want to help push for an expansion of Catamount to small businesses to contact Heather Riemer at the Vermont Campaign for Health Care Security at 1-802-343-1705.The survey interviews were conducted by Woelfel Research, Inc. in late March and early April of 2008 with a random sample of Vermont businesses as compiled by Dun & Bradstreet.AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization with 128,000 members in Vermont and 39 million members nationally. Through a wide array of special benefits, services, and information resources, we help our members make important choices, reach their goals and dreams, and make the most of life after 50. ###
The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has approved $14.7 million in business, agricultural and energy conservation financing for projects throughout Vermont totaling $17.3 million. Especially during these difficult economic times, VEDA is pleased to help businesses expand, support investments in energy conservation measures, and provide assistance to Vermont farmers in their efforts to sustain and strengthen their operations said Jo Bradley, VEDA s Chief Executive Officer.Approved for VEDA financing assistance are:Independent Brewers United Corporation, South Burlington VEDA gave final approval to issuance of a $6.7 million tax-exempt manufacturing industrial revenue bond to Independent Brewers United Corporation (IBUC), the newly-formed parent company of Magic Hat Brewing Company and Pyramid Breweries, Inc. Brown Brothers Harriman has agreed to purchase the bond. The Authority s financing approval supersedes that given Magic Hat in April of 2008, prior to Magic Hat s subsequent acquisition of the West Coast brewing company, Pyramid Breweries, Inc. Magic Hat s assets have since been merged with those of Pyramid into one operating company, IBUC, now owned by the former Magic Hat shareholders. In addition to the Magic Hat brewery and retail store in South Burlington, IBUC operates two other full-scale production breweries one in Portland, Oregon and one in Berkeley, California — and five brew pubs in cities in Oregon, Washington, and California. The $6.7 million in approved VEDA financing will help IBUC more than double production capacity at the South Burlington facility with the purchase and installation of a new brewhouse and bottling line, as well as other production and filling equipment, and associated leasehold improvements.The Manor, Inc., Morrisville The Authority also gave final approval to issuing a $6.5 million tax-exempt revenue bond to The Manor, Inc. to restructure debt associated with the 1999 construction of a skilled nursing and residential care facility adjacent to Copley Hospital. The Manor is a 100-bed nursing facility employing 120, which provides short-term rehabilitation services, long and short term skilled nursing and residential care/assisted living.The Authority also approved $506,000 in farm ownership and operating loans through VEDA s agricultural financing program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation; and, $778,151 was approved for small business development projects through the Authority s Vermont Small Business Loan Program. In addition, $195,500 was approved through the Vermont Business Energy Conservation Loan Program to help several businesses make energy efficiency and conservation improvements.VEDA s mission is to promote economic prosperity in Vermont by providing financial assistance to eligible businesses, including manufacturing, agricultural, and travel and tourism enterprises. Since its inception in 1974, VEDA has made financing commitments totaling over $1.4 billion. For more information about VEDA, visit www.veda.org(link is external) or call 802-828-5627.
A celebration of two new elementary schools focusing on sustainability and the arts in Burlington was highlighted today with the announcement of dual Champlain College scholarships aimed at helping graduates of the magnet schools attend college.The Holly and Bob Miller Magnet School Scholarship for the Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes and The Lois McClure Magnet School Scholarship for the Integrated Arts Academy at H.O. Wheeler were established earlier this year by Champlain College to honor the Millers and Mrs. McClure for their community support of continuing education. The need-based scholarships will provide up to $20,000 a year in tuition expenses for two students who attend Champlain College. The main requirement is attendance at one of the magnet schools for four years, followed by continued education in Burlington School District schools and graduation from Burlington High School (BHS). The first scholarships will be awarded to members of the BHS Class of 2018.“These scholarships, established as part of honoring these three community leaders with honorary degrees from Champlain College in May, reflect their ongoing support for continuing education for Burlington’s young people,” said Champlain College President David Finney. “The magnet school concept for Burlington will help focus students on their interests, improve student and parent engagement in education and ultimately bring socio-economic integration at the two schools.” “We are so appreciative of the incredible community partners that play an integral part of our new magnet programs, and enhance all of our schools. We are honored that Champlain College has created this new scholarship program that provides a tremendous opportunity for our students,” noted Burlington School Superintendent Jeanne Collins.A magnet school, according to Victor Prussack, coordinator of the Burlington program, is a public school that offers a specialized program and is open to school children from around the city of Burlington. While there are more than 4,000 elementary magnet schools across the country, these are the first such schools in Vermont. “These dynamic alternative schools were created by the Burlington School District to offer options for children and families who seek a unique learning environment.”Students from all over Burlington as enrolled in the Integrated Arts Academy at H.O. Wheeler and the Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes. Students study the same things as all elementary school children, including literacy, math, science, social studies, art, music, Spanish and physical education. Special programs at both schools integrate community studies outside the classroom and in partnership with organizations such as Shelburne Farms, Flynn Center, Very Merry Theatre Company.The celebration included a parade of students and teachers from both schools down Church Street Marketplace, led by Sambatucada, to the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. Vermont. Commissioner of Education Armando Vilaseca and Burlington School Superintendent Collins welcomed the students, parents and community partners to the event and thanked supporters, partners and funders of the new schools. More information about the magnet school program is available at www.bsdvt.org(link is external) or by contacting Victor Prussak at firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail).Champlain College, founded in 1878, offers “Education in Three Dimensions” – a distinctive educational approach to professionally focused majors, developing life skills and leadership based on critical and creative thinking. It has nearly 2,000 campus-based undergraduate students on campus and is ranked in the top tier of Best Baccalaureate Colleges in the North by 2009 America’s Best Colleges, published by U.S. News & World Report. To learn more about Champlain College, visit www.champlain.edu(link is external). Source: Champlain College. BURLINGTON, Vt., (Sept. 24, 2009) —
Vermont Technical College,Participating in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new firefighter training building at Vermont Technical College, Sen. Bernie Sanders called the facility a major step forward in assuring high-quality training for firefighters across the state. Sanders secured $406,962 for the project, which includes a specialized structure called a live-burn building. In a successful federal, state, and local partnership, the State of Vermont committed $440,000 to the project and the college provided $50,000 for the facility. The total price tag is $897,000. The new training facility will give firefighters the opportunity to learn scenarios they will likely see when responding to live emergency situations, Sanders said. It will be centrally located and will greatly enhance the quality of training while reducing travel time and expenses incurred by many firefighters, especially volunteers.The new burn simulator will be an asset to the Fire Science Degree Program at Vermont Tech that already has enrolled nearly 30 students. Firefighters always want to hone their skills, and new fire fighters need specialized training to learn their critical trade, Sanders said.Sanders saluted Vermont s 5,600 volunteer firefighters 300 career firefighters. Both are critical, and both need and deserve more help, with training and education being a key need. We owe them all a very deep debt of gratitude as they make personal and financial sacrifices to keep our communities safe.Matthew Vinci, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont, said, This much-needed training facility is largely due to the coordination and support at the local, state and federal level. The fire service across Vermont is very grateful for the efforts of Senator Sanders, Governor Douglas and the Vermont Legislature for their combined efforts to bring this Fire Burn Training Building to reality. Vermont s Fire Fighters will be better prepared to respond to our neighbors emergencies due to the training that we will receive at this facility.Ty Handy, president of Vermont Technical College, said, We re excited about the opportunities and synergies this will create between Vermont Tech s associate s degree program in Fire Science and the excellent training programs offered by the Vermont Fire Academy. Our students will benefit; Vermont s firefighters will benefit; and our local communities will benefit. This is a real win for everyone involved and we appreciate all the hard work that s gone in to making it possible.Also participating in the groundbreaking ceremony were Vermont Governor Jim Douglas; State Senator Phil Scott (R-Washington); State Representative Alice Emmons (D-Springfield); Steve Revell of the Vermont Fire and EMS Coalition; Jim Litevich, chief of the Vermont Fire Academy; and Gary Moore, chairman of the board of trustees for the Vermont State Colleges.Source: Sanders’ office. RANDOLPH, Vt., October 5, 2009