Vermont celebrates national entrepreneurship week

first_imgA celebration of entrepreneurship in Vermont featuring the announcement of the winners of the annual high school poster contest and a Governor’s Proclamation will be held Thursday, February 9th at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier from 10:30 am to 1 pm. The event is part of the national Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education’s (http://www.nationaleweek.org(link is external) ) week-long activities.  Beginning at 10:00 a.m., in the Governor’s Ballroom of the Capital Plaza there will be a 30-minute workshop on starting your own business, followed by entrepreneur presentations, and an opportunity to network with entrepreneurial students, entrepreneurs and technical assistance providers.    Following this will be the Governor’s Proclamation of Vermont Entrepreneurship Week and announcement of the winners of the statewide high school poster contest and lunch.  Students submitted digital or hand-drawn posters to highlight how and why developing entrepreneurship skills will help them now and into the future.   Students enrolled in Career and Technical education programs including DECA, Future Business Leaders of America, Future Farmers of America, and Skills USA will inform legislators and the public about their programs in the statehouse cafeteria from 8 ‘ 9am.  The Vermont celebration is sponsored by Johnson State College, the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies, Vermont Small Business Development Center, Champlain College BYOBiz, Vermont REAL Enterprises, the Vermont Auditor of Accounts, Lamoille Economic Development Corporation, Merritt & Merritt & Moulton, the Vermont Commission on Women and the Vermont Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development. For more information, or to register for the event, visit www.vermontentrepreneur.org(link is external).last_img read more

Three schools selected to represent Vermont at regional conference on high school innovation

first_imgThe New England Secondary School Consortium is a regional partnership working to advance forward-thinking innovations in secondary education that will empower the next generation of citizens, workers, and leaders. The Consortium’s goal is to ensure that every public high school student receives an education that prepares them for success in the colleges, careers, and communities of the 21st century. Big Picture South Burlington created a set of proficiency-based graduation requirements that help teachers personalize instruction and make sure all students acquire the essential knowledge and skills they need to succeed in adult life. At the school, students pursue an individualized course of study that is built around their interests and aspirations, and that incorporate internships, college-level courses, independent projects, workshops, travel, and volunteerism. New England Secondary School Consortium. 319.2012. ‘These three schools represent what is best about Vermont education and the work of the Consortium,’ said Armando Vilaseca, commissioner of education. ‘The personalization of learning experiences for students, which makes their education more relevant and expansive, is a key factor in educational innovation and the success of these school. I am also proud that Cabot, Essex, and South Burlington will have a chance to present to their peers from across New England’it’s an exceptional opportunity for our school leaders and teachers.’ The conference, High School Redesign in Action (newenglandssc.org/conference), will take place March 22’23, 2012, in Norwood, Massachusetts. It is sponsored by the New England Secondary School Consortium, a regional partnership committed to high school innovation, in collaboration with the departments of education for Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. All the selected schools have made significant progress raising student achievement, graduation rates, college-enrollment numbers, or other indicators of educational success. The Consortium is funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation (nmefoundation.org), the largest philanthropy in New England focused exclusively on education, and it is coordinated by the Great Schools Partnership (greatschoolspartnership.org), a nonprofit educational-support organization in Portland, Maine. The Nellie Mae Education Foundation has committed more than $2 million to support the Consortium, which includes $1 million in partnership grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.center_img As part of its transformation process, Essex High School made a commitment to supporting students, personalizing learning, and developing ‘multiple learning pathways’‘that is, creating more diverse learning experiences both inside and outside the school walls. To help the school achieve its goals, Essex also created two ‘schools within a school’‘one focused on the visual and performing arts and the other on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics’to engage student interests and aspirations through strategies such as senior projects and career internships. All three presenting schools are also members of the Consortium’s League of Innovative Schools, a multistate network of secondary schools working together to improve their programs and performance.In Vermont, the League comprises 11 secondary schools from across the state, and their work is supported by grants from the Vermont Department of Education. The League’s goal is to promote the exchange of best practices and innovative improvement strategies among schools region. Cabot School has created a project-based teaching and learning model in grades 7’12 that allows multiage groups to investigate problems through long-term research, Socratic-style seminars, hands-on discovery, the arts, and community connections’many of which take advantage of local resources, opportunities, and experts to make learning come alive. Students also present their projects and what they’ve learned to teachers, parents, and community members. Three Vermont public schools’Cabot School, Essex High School, and South Burlington High School’have been invited to represent their state at a regional conference on effective strategies for improving teaching and learning in the 21st century.last_img read more

Vermont joins 11-state coalition in opposition to Arizona immigration law

first_imgVermont Attorney General William Sorrell, along with the Attorneys General of New York, California, and eight other states, joined a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that U.S. immigration policy may be set only by the federal government and that Arizona’s illegal immigration legislation is inconsistent with, and preempted by, federal law.Arizona’s law requires its State law enforcement officials to engage in enforcement activities to detain and arrest individuals who appear to be undocumented immigrants, without regard to federal immigration priorities. The Arizona law also criminalizes any work, effort to work, or failure to comply with federal registration requirements by undocumented immigrants.‘When I issued the Bias-Free Policing Model Policy for adoption by Vermont Law Enforcement, I said that ‘Vermont is not Arizona’‘, said Attorney General Sorrell. ‘I remain supportive of law enforcement efforts on federal immigration issues, but only if consistent with federal priorities.’The states’ brief argues that Congress has made clear that the federal government has the exclusive authority for setting a nationwide immigration policy with specific enforcement priorities. The brief also argues that allowing states to set individual state priorities would result in diversion of federal resources from the priority areas set by the federal government, such as enforcement against dangerous criminals.Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Rhode Island joined Vermont, New York, and California on the brief. Vermont Attorney General 3.28.2012last_img read more

Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network expands to North Hero

first_imgVerizon Wireless recently activated new fourth generation (4G) Long Term Evolution (LTE) network coverage in the vicinity of Route 2 in North Hero, Vermont. 4G LTE empowers Verizon Wireless customers with compatible devices to surf the Web, post status updates and photos, and download files wirelessly at speeds up to 10 times faster than customers on 3G networks.In 2012, Verizon Wireless completed $256 million in wireless network enhancements across New England, increasing the company’s regional network investment to more than $3.3 billion since its inception in 2000. Verizon Wireless also introduced and expanded 4G LTE service within the Green Mountain State as follows:– May 2012: Verizon Wireless debuted 4G LTE in Burlington and more than 30 additional communities throughout Northern Vermont.– July 2012: Verizon Wireless expanded 4G LTE to Bennington, Rutland and 16 additional communities.– August 2012: Verizon Wireless activated 4G LTE service in Brattleboro, White River Junction and 14 additional communities, bringing the power of 4G LTE to more than sixty communities throughout the state in a matter of months.In addition to enhancing technologies at already existing cell sites, in 2012 Verizon Wireless built and activated new cell sites within the following Vermont communities: Castleton, Colchester, Hardwick, Hinesburg, North Hero, Northfield, South Hero, Swanton and Westford.‘ 4G LTE is changing the way customers interact with the world via next generation apps, devices and solutions,’ commented Dave MacBeth, Executive Director of Network for Verizon Wireless. ‘ By investing in wireless broadband we’ re investing in local communities and economies where our customers live, work and play.’Two years after its launch, the Verizon 4G LTE network is available to more than 273 million people across the U.S. ‘ close to 89 percent of the U.S. population. For a full list of 4G LTE markets please visit www.verizonwireless.com/lte(link is external).last_img read more

Congressional action preserves role and funds for VSAC

first_imgVermont Student Assistance Corporation,The spending bill released late Monday night that funds federal agencies through the end of the fiscal year includes a provision, advocated by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Representative Peter Welch (D-Vermont), requiring the US Department of Education to continue its contract with the Vermont Student Assistance Corp (VSAC) and other nonprofit student loan servicers nationwide.’ A provision in an earlier budget agreement, passed last month, could have affected Winooski-based VSAC by removing mandatory funding for the US Department of Education to contract with nonprofit student loan servicers.’  In December, Welch in the House, and Leahy and Sanders in the Senate, initiated a bipartisan effort in the Senate and House to clarify that the language included in that budget agreement did not reflect the intent of Congress to terminate existing nonprofit contracts with the Education Department. The Omnibus Appropriations Bill that is expected to come to votes in the House and Senate sometime this week includes discretionary funds to continue existing contracts with VSAC and other nonprofit servicers.’ Leahy, the most senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which handled the Senate’s negotiations, led the effort in the work on the bill, on behalf of VSAC, with strong support from Sanders and Welch.’  Leahy said: ‘ ‘No student should be denied the opportunities of a college education because of her or his family’s financial resources. ‘ Nonprofit loan servicers like VSAC serve as instrumental partners in guiding Vermont students through the complexities of financing their college educations. I continue to hear from students and adult learners across our state that VSAC’s outreach counselors gave them the support system they needed to graduate. ‘ I am delighted we were able to make sure that the new spending bill will enable VSAC to continue to serve students in need.’’ Sanders said: ‘ ‘VSAC has successfully helped thousands of Vermont students and families manage the costs of college through counselling and financing.’  I am very pleased that our ongoing efforts to protect VSAC’s critical role in our state will allow it to continue doing the excellent and important work it has done so well over the years.’Welch said: ‘ ‘Preserving VSAC’s ability to make loans, and to continue to serve Vermonters, is a priority for the Vermont delegation.’  I am very pleased this bill also acknowledges what we know about VSAC and other non-profit lenders: they provide high quality customer service and efficiency at all points in the lending process.’’ ‘We at VSAC continue to be very grateful for the leadership and support that our delegation continues to provide,’ said Scott Giles, VSAC president and CEO. ‘ ‘VSAC is unique among state-based agencies because we provide, under one roof, a full range of services aimed at helping Vermonters navigate the complexity of educational choices and how to finance those plans, particularly for those who are low-income or the first in their family to continue on to postsecondary education.’The appropriations bill provision also requires the US Department of Education to issue a report detailing an evaluation process for determining the fair allocation of additional loans on a competitive basis to nonprofit lenders like VSAC and other, larger loan servicers.’  That report will be due by the end of March. ‘ ‘  WASHINGTON (January 14, 2014) ‘Congressional delegationlast_img read more

Statewide emergency exercise to be conducted June 2-7

first_imgCities, towns, healthcare facilities, federal, state, and local responders, non-profit emergency partners, and many others will exercise emergency plans and procedures in a statewide catastrophic exercise. The activities from June 2-7 will simulate multiple disasters and events affecting all corners of Vermont. Nearly 1,600 participants will be faced with scenarios that will require them to perform life-saving duties, or tasks that assist in the aftermath of a catastrophic incident.  Healthcare facilities will be presented with a surge of patients; a number of towns will set up emergency shelters to accommodate those who have been displaced from their homes due to the simulated disaster; utilities will be faced with special challenges; and more.The Vermont State Emergency Operations Center will be open for several days culminating with a 36-hours operation beginning on Friday June 6th to test the capability of state responders.  The EOC will be staffed by Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security staff, other state agencies, and volunteers for the duration.  Support agencies like the American Red Cross will also be actively engaged and staffed appropriately.State agency Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans will be practiced as certain agencies will be displaced from regular work locations for a short time throughout the week.The exercise is the result of two years of planning by a group led by the VT Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.last_img read more

Personal Income Tax continues to struggle, $3.08 million off target

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The Personal Income Tax, the most important of Vermont’s revenue sources, was again steeply lower than projections and is running behind for the fiscal year. The Corporate Tax, which has helped make up some of the difference, also fell back but continues to stay well ahead of targets. The consumption taxes showed mixed results, with the gasoline tax well behind again and in need of adjustment, the sales tax slightly ahead and rooms & meals off. The Lottery had a big month. Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding released the preliminary November fiscal year (FY) 2015 revenue results today.Spaulding emphasized that, due to the long Thanksgiving week-end, some receipts that would otherwise have been credited to November will instead be credited to December. For the General Fund, that amount is likely in the range of $3.0 million. This difference affects the accuracy of comparisons to monthly targets and year over year performance.General Fund (GF) revenues totaled $78.23 million for November 2014, -$6.72 million or –7.91% below the monthly tar-get. Year-to-date, GF receipts are $512.55 million, -$18.63 million or –3.51% below the cumulative target. They are $7.17 million or 1.42% above the year-to-date results of the prior fiscal year (FY 2014).Secretary Spaulding commented, “The revenue picture this fiscal year continues to be difficult to interpret. The fact that Personal Income Tax receipts, the largest source of General Fund revenue, have underperformed every month since April, and are now almost $18 million below projection for the fiscal year, is of significant concern and a big reason why the Shumlin Administration is seeking to reduce State spending without delay. That said, there are indications that receipts from the Personal Income Tax component, as a whole, may recover somewhat before the fiscal year is over. Improving job and economic growth rates, as well as better than forecasted performance in consumption taxes, offsetting poor performance elsewhere, support this thinking. We strongly believe, however, it would be risky not to adjust spending downward at this time, given receipts to date and uncertainty about the road ahead.”The Transportation Fund came in slightly less than projected for the month of November, finishing at $17.40 million, -$1.76 million, or –9.20% below its monthly target. On a cumulative basis, TF revenues were $106.54 million, -$0.77 mil-lion or –0.72% below the cumulative target. Compared to the prior fiscal year (FY 2014), TF revenues were $1.81 million or 1.73% ahead.The Education Fund came in higher than budgeted for the month of November, finishing at $14.28 million, $0.64 million, or 4.71%, ahead of its monthly target. Year-to-date EF revenues were $1.11 million or 1.50% ahead of the cumulative target. In addition, EF revenues were $2.70 million or 3.72% higher than the prior fiscal year (FY 2014).All three funds are running ahead of last year’s totals to date, with even the PI tax ahead of FY14’s total. The two line items notably running far behind expectations and year-to-year are the Gasoline and Insurance related taxes.last_img read more

Vermont Comcast customers can now turn devices in their home into a TV

first_imgStarting today, Comcast X1 customers in Vermontwill be able to access their TV lineup on any connected screen in their home. Additionally, they will be able to download programs they have recorded on their digital video recorder (DVR) to watch on IP-enabled devices or stream them using an Internet connection, anytime and anywhere. The in-home streaming feature provides access to virtually the entire channel line-up and Xfinity On Demand programming on mobile devices and computers. The content is presented to customers via the familiar X1 user experience.  “These new features — live in-home streaming and X1 DVR with cloud technology — give our customers more flexibility for watching their favorite shows and movies in and out of their home,” said Mary McLaughlin, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Western New England Region, which includes Vermont.  “Now, any screen in the house can become a personal TV, and recorded programs can be accessed anytime, anywhere.”According to the Consumer Electronics Association(link is external), nearly 46 percent of all TV households watch video on a laptop, notebook or netbook, and 43 percent view videos on a smartphone. That’s up from 38 percent and 33 percent, respectively, from the year prior.X1 DVR with cloud technology gives customers more flexibility for viewing their favorite programming at home or on the go. While in the home, they can watch any recording on IP-enabled devices over Comcast’s managed network, or download recordings to take on the go. Out-of-home, they can use an Internet connection to stream or download their recordings as well.To deliver these new features to Xfinity TV customers, Comcast has launched an Xfinity TV app for iOS and Android tablets and smartphones, and a dedicated portal(link is external) for viewing on computers. To live stream their TV lineups or watch DVR and On Demand programming while on tablets or smartphones in their homes, customers can simply download the Xfinity TV app from the App Store, open the app and sign-in with their Xfinity TV credentials.Live in-home streaming and X1 DVR with cloud technology were announced today in Connecticut; Western Massachusetts; Putnam County, New York and Vermont. They are also available in Atlanta, Augusta, Baltimore,Boston, the greater Chicago area, Houston, Nashville, Knoxville, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington D.C. Comcast will continue to roll these features out to more of its X1 customers next year.About Comcast Cable:Comcast Cable is the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone provider to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses.  Comcast has invested in technology to build an advanced network that delivers among the fastest broadband speeds, and brings customers personalized video, communications and home management offerings.  Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is a global media and technology company.  Visit www.comcastcorporation.com(link is external) for more information. www.comcast.com/X1(link is external). SOURCE: SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt., Dec. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Comcast Cablelast_img read more

Campaign for Vermont issues its economic growth plan

first_imgA recent survey showed that “economic issues” are the top priority for House Democrats, ahead of education finance, and healthcare reform. In that light, Campaign for Vermont (CFV) today released a plan for economic prosperity. CFV urges the private sector to lead a broad-based coalition in support of economic growth.“We believe that economic growth and shared prosperity is the best way forward for Vermont and its citizens. A vibrant economy is a prerequisite to addressing the issues of poverty, hunger, and upward mobility,” said Bruce Lisman, co-founder of CFV. “We believe that Vermont can be an economic powerhouse of its own definition.” CFV believes that their plan will attract business investment, create value-added jobs, and a bridge out of poverty for those seeking opportunity.CFV’s plan “A Pathway to Economic Renewal and Shared Prosperity(link is external)” combines a long-term commitment to economic growth with a strategic plan and a strategic budget that informs the public about the effectiveness of the resources being spent. They also released a short video clip(link is external) profiling their proposals.“We engaged a diversity of stakeholders in order to develop recommendations that match the unique economic landscape of Vermont,” said CFV Executive Director Cyrus Patten.“The CFV prosperity plan is comprehensive and takes a much broader and longer term view of economic development” said Allan Rodgers, a Professor of Business at VTC. “Vermont must focus on educating and training our workforce to attract new employers and to keep our youth and existing employers from leaving Vermont.”Campaign for Vermont believes Vermont must create conditions – a “platform for growth” – that encourages innovation and economic growth, and sets the stage for Vermont to become an economic powerhouse. Those are:·         A competent, transparent, and accountable government, and one that is in a continuing state of self-improvement.·         A Strategic Plan that highlights goals and steps to reach those goals with an accompanying Strategic Budget that would define the cost of achieving those goals.·         Budget growth that more closely relates to available resources, making policy decisions more predictable.·         Reform of our Education System—of quality, governance, and funding.·         The inclusion of Affordability as an essential theme in State governance.With a ‘platform for growth’ in place, CFV believes there is significantly greater leverage from economic renewal strategies. They are:·         Build a broad-based and lasting coalition in support of a more dynamic economy and shared prosperity.·         Bring coherence, efficiency, simplicity, and funding for economic development agencies.·         Build a calling effort on our largest employers that will illuminate their needs and wants while building strong relationships.·         Reimagine the importance of our considerable number of small businesses, and create a better understanding of who they are and how we can truly help them.·         Train, improve, and enlarge our workforce. – According to CFV, it’s the true lynchpin of shared prosperity.·         Broaden the definition of manufacturing, provide a broader array of support for those that make things here, and become the state of “efficient manufacturing.”·         Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and eliminate the benefit cliffs, and thereby provide true economic resources for working class Vermonters. Presidents as different as Obama and Reagan have endorsed this program’s value.·         Re-define the value of our extensive higher education industry and focus on retaining the 43,000 students who annually attend our colleges.·         Better connect the links between ideas to patents and patents to revenue and revenue to jobs.Campaign for Vermont has over 1600 partners that have signed onto their vision. You can find a list of them, as well as CFV’s other policy positions at CampaignForVermont.org(link is external).Source: CFV 12.22.2014last_img read more

Despite resolutions, people buy more food after New Year

first_imgUniversity of Vermont,Despite New Year’s resolutions to eat better and lose weight, people buy the greatest amount of food after the holidays, says a study led by a University of Vermont researcher. The study, published by PLOS ONE, finds consumer spending on food increases by 15 percent over the holiday season (Thanksgiving to New Year), with most of the increase attributed to higher levels of junk food.But shoppers buy the greatest amount of food after New Year — the equivalent of a 9 percent increase in calories above holiday levels, says Professor Lizzy Pope of the University of Vermont, who led the study as a post-doctoral researcher at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab.The authors of the study, New Year’s Res-Illusions: Food Shopping in the New Year Competes with Healthy Intentions, are Lizzy Pope (University of Vermont), David Just (Cornell University), Brian Wansink (Cornell University), and Drew Hanks (Ohio State University).“People start the New Year with good intentions to eat better,” says Pope, who recently joined UVM’s Dept. of Nutrition and Food Science. “They do pick out more healthy items, but they also keep buying higher levels of less-healthy holiday favorites. So their grocery baskets contain more calories than any other time of year we tracked.”The findings are surprising given the holidays’ reputation for overeating — and suggest that people need better strategies for shopping under the sway of “res-illusions,” the research team says.The researchers recommend that consumers use written grocery lists to deter impulsive junk food purchases; substitute as much junk food as possible with fresh produce and nutrient-rich foods; and split grocery baskets visually to ensure nutritious foods represent at least half of your purchases.Background and methods“We wanted to see how New Year’s resolutions and the end of the holiday season impact grocery shopping habits — how much food people buy, and how many calories the foods contain,” says co-author David Just, Cornell University.More than 200 households in New York State were recruited to participate in the seven-month study of grocery store spending behaviors, from July 2010 to March 2011.To identify shopping patterns, researchers split the data into three periods: July to Thanksgiving represented participants’ baseline spending (how much the average shopper regularly spends per week on groceries), Thanksgiving to New Year’s was considered the holiday season, and New Year’s to March the post-holiday period.Foods were categorized as healthy or less healthy based on a nutritional rating system used at participating grocery stores.“Despite New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier, people tend to hang on to those unhealthy holiday favorites and keep buying them in the New Year,” says co-author Drew Hanks of The Ohio State University, who worked on the study as a post-doctoral researcher at Cornell.“Based on these findings,” Hanks adds, “we recommend that instead of just adding healthy foods to your cart, people substitute less healthy foods for fresh produce and other nutrient rich foods. The calories will add up slower, and you’ll be more likely to meet your resolutions and shed those unwanted pounds.”Source: UVM 1.6.2015. PHOTO: Lizzy Pope at City Market in Burlington by Jeff Clarke/UVMlast_img read more