Conversation Among Masters: Conference Sparks VT Coaches

first_imgConversation Among Masters Conference Spurs More than Conversation for Vermont Coaches Ready to Take Their Concept World Wide.Two Vermont business coaches returned from the ‘invitation only’ Conversation Among Masters Conference held in Monterey, CA on April 29 through May 3, ready to carry the torch of coaching innovation world wide. The conference, meant to spur conversation among about 150 internationally recognized business and life coaching leaders, led to a cross-pollination of ideas and action in the areas of the future of coaching (according to a Price-Waterhouse study currently, a 1.5 billion dollar industry), the switch from traditional publishing to digital content, mastery, and more. Now, Vermont coaches Liz Dallas and Lea Belair have more than a vision about how to create their dream of World Wide Coaching Centers – they have a plan and people to collaborate with.Dallas first came up with the idea of establishing a network of worldwide coaching centers about a year ago, based on the success of her Burlington, VT start-up The Coaching Center of Vermont. “We’ve been having so much success and fun,” says Dallas, “that I wanted to spread the good word and help others establish the kind of coaching network we have here.” Dallas points to the fact that most coaches, like other start-up entrepreneurs, feel isolated and lack the skills and resources needed to launch a successful business. The Coaching Center of Vermont has provided a safety net by merging members, resources, and systems that not only support coaches but also lead to more innovation in the marketplace,” according to Dallas who points to several collaborative start-ups within the Coaching Center as proof of fertile ground allowing coaches to lead vs. struggle with business building.Lea Belair cites the benefit of attending the conference as getting to network with other movers and shakers from all over the globe. “We met and talked with people from France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Hong Kong, to name a few, who were really excited about this concept and had resources of their own to share in furthering our idea. We chatted over breakfast with one colleague, who hosts a TV show on coaching in Sweden, about how we can collaborate in networking world wide coaching centers to share digital content on the Internet, perhaps partnering with what he is doing as the back-end to his TV production.”Dallas and Belair also had their topic, “Innovative Business Models, seeding the future of the Coaching Industry,” picked by Conference organizers as the focus of an Open Space forum that was held during one of the evening sessions. About a hundred coaches formed conversation groups around their areas of interest and reported results back to the main body. “There’s nothing like getting a group of world wide industry leaders to do your research for you,” quipped Belair.last_img read more

Co-operative Insurance Companies Adds to Management and Technology Teams

first_imgMiddlebury, VT — Co-operative Insurance Companies filled two openings on its management team and added a new position in information services this spring, hiring Eric Rhoades as claims manager, Bradley Fortier as director of marketing operations, and Jeff Simmons as Web application developer.”We are pleased to welcome these gentlemen aboard,” said Jim Sullivan, the company’s president and CEO. “Brad and Eric both have extensive industry experience and leadership skills that will benefit not only their new workgroups, but the company as a whole. Jeff’s strong technical background and direct experience with our specific technology and vendor have allowed him to hit the ground running on our most important development project.”Rhoades became claims manager in March after eleven years in an analogous position with Progressive Insurance in Colchester, VT, and two years with AAA Northern New England. A Maine native, he holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business from Husson College.Fortier joined the company in June to fill the position being vacated by Stephen Stanitis in July. Fortier has spent 26 years in the insurance industry, most recently as director of marketing at Vermont Mutual Insurance Group, and previously as VP of marketing at Champlain Casualty Company, both in Montpelier. He is a graduate of Champlain College and holds the AAI and CIC designations.Simmons also joined the company in June. A graduate of Augusta Technical College, he spent ten years as a senior programmer analyst with Computer Sciences Corporation working on projects for clients in the insurance and financial services industry. He will continue to reside in Columbia, SC.Co-operative Insurance Companies has been meeting property and casualty insurance needs since 1915, offering farm, home, auto, business, and other insurance to people in Vermont and New Hampshire. It is owned by its members and committed to protecting them with fast and fair claims service, loss prevention expertise, and local operations. The company has headquarters in Middlebury, Vermont, with regional claims offices and more than 50 agencies across Vermont and New Hampshire. -30-last_img read more

Vermont Collects $205 Million Judgment to Pay Claimants and Creditors of Ambassador Insurance Co.

first_imgVermont Collects $205 Million Judgment to Pay Claimants and Creditors of Ambassador Insurance Co.Claimants should be cautious about assigning rights to proceedsMontpelier, Vermont–Paulette J. Thabault, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration (BISHCA), has announced that Vermont has collected $205 million for Vermont-domiciled Ambassador Insurance Company from the accounting firm of PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Commissioner Thabault stated that these monies will allow Ambassador policyholders and claimants to receive the insurance proceeds they were due under Ambassador insurance policies. “As a Department, we’re committed to protecting the interests of policyholders, and pleased that the years of work in connection with these receivership proceedings should allow us to make full payment to all policyholders,” Thabault said. The $205 million includes damages and interest awarded in connection with a malpractice lawsuit against the accountants responsible for negligently auditing Ambassador’s financial statements.Commissioner Thabault is the court-appointed receiver for Ambassador, and confirms these funds will now be used to pay persons insured and owed money by Ambassador. Said Commissioner Thabault, “Claimants should know that the long wait is nearly over, and that we expect to be able to fully pay claims by insureds and policyholders, withinterest.”Some claimants have been approached by companies offering to buy claims and pay only a percentage of the money owed instead of the full amount to be received by waiting for the end of the process. While such an assignment is allowed, claimants should be aware that this may not be in their best interest, as the amount offered may not take into account the additional interest to be paid on approved claims.last_img read more

$5.5 million broadband awarded Waitsfield Champlain Valley Telecom

first_imgUS Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch said that a $5.5 million stimulus broadband grant and loan package to Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom, announced today, will help connect their most rural and remote customers to high speed fiber optic Internet access.Vice President Joe Biden Wednesday was joined by representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and of the U.S. Department of Commerce in announcing that Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom would be receiving a $3.891 million grant and $1.668 million loan to extend a fiber-to-the-home network capable of delivering between 5 megabits per second and 100 megabits per second to 1,385 residents of Addison, Chittenden, and Washington Counties.  According to Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom officials, these residents will be among some of the hardest to reach and hardest to serve in the company’s territory. “We are very pleased to be receiving this broadband stimulus funding which will have a direct benefit for many of our most rural customers,” said Gregg Haskin president and CEO of Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom.  “It is our goal to continue to evolve our network to bring next generation broadband service to our customers, and this will go a long way in helping us to accomplish this.”According to Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom officials, the company currently provides 100 percent of its customers with access to high speed internet connections.  The company says it has begun construction of an advanced fiber optic network capable of delivering next generation services including exponentially faster internet speeds to its customers than the existing telephone system can.  The federal grant and loan will ensure the most rural customers will have access to the network within three years.Leahy said, “Without this investment, Vermonters living in the most remote parts of the Mad River Valley and the Champlain Valley could wait another decade before receiving state-of-the-art broadband.  The Recovery Act is going to give people like those living in Lincoln Gap access to the same internet speeds as people in America’s most populated cities, creating economic and social opportunities available only to those living on the cutting edge of technology.”  Leahy is the most senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which has jurisdiction over USDA and RUS, and wrote to President Obama and Senate leadership in 2007 and 2008 urging inclusion of broadband funds in the stimulus bill.Sanders said, “In many places in Vermont, I hear from people who are extremely upset that in the year 2010, they still do not have the kind of high-speed broadband they need in order to function effectively in modern society.  If we are successful in accomplishing what we all want, in a reasonable period of time Vermont will have high quality broadband service available to virtually every home and business in the state.  This is great for our business climate, great for our schools and our students, and great for our larger institutions.”Welch said, “This is a common-sense investment that will build a solid foundation for economic growth.  Connecting those in the most rural parts of our state to high-speed internet access has the potential to make every home a business, linking Vermont’s entrepreneurs to the world.”  Welch is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet.Leahy, Sanders and Welch wrote to RUS Administrator Jonathan Adelstein in May highlighting the Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom proposal and other Vermont proposals.  A copy of that letter is available online at leahy.senate.gov.The award is part of a $7.2 billion broadband investment that was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  The USDA’s RUS was charged with awarding $2.5 billion of those funds to expand broadband access in rural America.  Including Wednesday’s announcement, Vermont has netted more than $171 million in broadband infrastructure and adoption funds from the Recovery Act.  On August 4th,  the RUS announced a $116 million grant and loan package to the Vermont Telephone Company (VTel) of Springfield to build a statewide wireless network and to enhance VTel’s southern Vermont territory with an advanced fiber optic network.  In July, the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) – which also administered a portion of the Recovery Act broadband funds — awarded VTel a $13.7 million grant to expand the company’s mid-mile fiber backbone and connect anchor institutions.  The NTIA also announced a $33.4 million grant to the Vermont Telecommunications Authority (VTA).Source: Vermont congressional delegation. 8.18.2010# # # # #last_img read more

CVPS and GMP sign wind contracts

first_imgContinuing efforts to ensure a clean, low-carbon energy supply, Central Vermont Public Service (NYSE: CV) and Green Mountain Power announced today that they have signed contracts to purchase additional wind power from a New Hampshire wind project. The new contracts will add about 27 megawatts of capacity to the Vermont utilities’ portfolios.”Vermonters have clearly stated their desire for clean, low-emission, renewable energy if it can be obtained at an affordable cost, and this contract meets all of those criteria,” CVPS President Bob Young and GMP President Mary Powell said in a joint statement.CVPS’s contract, its third recent wind contract, is for 20 percent of the output of Noble Environmental Power’s planned 99-megawatt Granite Reliable Power Windpark in Coos County, N.H., for 15 years starting in November 2012. CVPS had previously executed a contract for 30.3 percent of the output of the Granite Reliable project in February, and plans to execute another, subject to approval by the Vermont Public Service Board, for two-thirds of the output of Iberdrola Renewables’ planned Deerfield Wind Project in Readsboro and Searsburg, Vt. The Vermont Public Service Board approved the first Granite Reliable contract earlier this year, and the Deerfield contract is currently under review.Green Mountain Power’s contract is for seven percent of the Granite Reliable project for 20 years, starting in November 2012. GMP previously executed a contract for 25 percent of the output in February. GMP has a longstanding commitment to wind. It owns and operates the six-megawatt Searsburg wind plant and is proposing to build up to 63 megawatts of wind in Lowell, Vt.”Our customers have long enjoyed arguably the cleanest power supply in the nation, and these contracts will help us retain a very clean portfolio,” Young and Powell said. “These new contracts are very competitive with other wind offerings we’ve seen in the marketplace. That’s especially important given the increasing cost pressures local utilities face for the bills for regional transmission improvements and system upgrades to maintain and improve New England’s reliability in the coming years.”To protect negotiating position in ongoing talks with other power suppliers, the utilities did not disclose the price, though regulators will fully vet the contract proposals.The utilities have been crafting new power portfolios in anticipation of the end of major contracts with Hydro-Quebec and Vermont Yankee, which supply roughly two-thirds of the power needed to serve customers. CVPS and GMP recently signed a major new contract with Hydro-Quebec and announced several other efforts to replenish their portfolios.”We continue to examine the market and look for opportunities to diversify our power portfolio while honoring our legacy of environmentally based power choices,” the utilities said. “While new renewable sources are more expensive than our existing non-renewable power sources, these contracts are the most attractive options for meeting Vermont’s goal of using new renewable power to meet 5 percent and 20 percent of customer demand by 2013 and 2017, respectively. Today’s contracts, in particular, represent a solid value for customers.”Young and Powell said that among the factors considered when adding to the companies’ portfolio are Vermont’s renewable power content goals, price and price stability, fuel diversity, environmental attributes, reliability and the public preferences that were determined through the state’s public outreach process.CVPS, Vermont’s largest electric utility, serves more than 159,000 customers across Vermont. The company is recognized by Forbes as one of the most trustworthy companies in America.Green Mountain Power serves more than 95,000 Vermont customers and was recently named a finalist in the Platts Global Energy Awards for green energy initiatives.Source: CVPS & GMP. RUTLAND, VT — (Marketwire) — 10/21/2010 —last_img read more

Agency of Transportation update on highway flooding

first_imgThe Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) is working to stay ahead of the weather to keep roads open and safe for the traveling public.  VTrans has shored up roads wherever possible and implemented detours where needed in response to continuing rainfall and rising lake levels. (BELOW ARE THE VTRANS UPDATES AS OF 4 PM THURSDAY.) Governor Peter Shumlin and Transportation Secretary Brian Searles visited areas on Lake Champlain Wednesday, including the causeway connecting Milton and South Hero, to track flood damage along the shoreline. ‘The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) is working to stay ahead of the weather to keep roads open and safe for the traveling public,’ Gov. Shumlin said. He visited the causeway site, where stone was being dropped to protect the structure, and said efforts to protect home and property owners are also underway in many communities that line the lake. ‘Vermonters are tough and tenacious. Working together, we’ll get through this,’ the Governor added. The waters of Lake Champlain have reached historic flood levels following continued precipitation throughout April and melting snow pack from the heavy winter, and numerous rivers and streams are also at flood level across the state. VTrans has shored up roads wherever possible and implemented detours where needed. The Governor met with Searles at the causeway for an update after the Transportation Secretary had visited several areas of significant flooding around the state to assess road damage and repair efforts.  At the Route 2 causeway, rock from quarries across the state were being trucked in and deposited to create a breakwater to protect the causeway from on-coming rain, wind and waves. Secretary Searles added, ‘Vtrans has been working very hard to keep the state roadways passable. We brought over 1,000 bags of sand to Isle La Motte to open Route 129, which we managed to do by early evening.  We have stabilized Route 17 in Addison, and are working to sustain travel along the causeway on Route 2.  We will continue to monitor the areas of greatest concern along the Lake, in particular the tributaries for Missisquoi and Lamoille Rivers.’ Rainfall totals set a record in April, creating swollen rivers and unstable stream banks, and prompting the Lake Champlain level to hit an all-time high. Rain is expected to continue through to Friday.  Agency of Transportation Road Update ‘ 5/5/11 4pm. The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) is continuing to marshal its resources to keep roads from closing around Lake Champlain, ensure traveler safety, and to open others back up to facilitate travel as quickly as possible. Updates of today: The Maidstone State Highway has reopened as of this afternoon. Route 73 between Route 7 and 30 has reopened as of this morning Route 25 between Corinth and Route 25B is closed due to an accident (propane truck rollover).  Expect it to remain closed for another 6 hours or so.  Ongoing Areas of Concern: Route 78 between Swanton and Alburgh is open, but travelers should proceed with extreme caution.  VTrans crews are installing delineators (reflectors) where there are no guardrails, and adding fill to protect the travel way. Water is not yet in the travelled way, but is close.  VTrans will continue to monitor this situation carefully. The Route 2 Causeway remains open.  VTrans is continuing to armor both sides of the causeway with rock.  The south side is complete, work on the north side will continue until dark.  Travel may be restricted to one lane to accommodate construction vehicles for the road improvements. Route 2 (East of Sandbar) is open to traffic, but there is significant water over the road.  VTrans is placing jersey barriers and gravel to shore up this road. Travel is slow and may be down to one late to accommodate construction vehicles. Route 2 in Alburg, between Routes 78 and 129 at Wagner Point. Some water in the road but both lanes are open. Motorists are advised to reduce speed and exercise caution. I-89 Southbound in Milton will be reduced to one-lane traffic due to instability of the right lane. Route 118 between Montgomery and Belvidere. There are multiple locations (on 118) that are reduced to one-lane traffic. These are extended events that will last until further notice. Route 122 in Lyndon, between the Interstate and Wheelock Road. One-lane traffic due to slope failure. This will be an extended event that will last until further notice. Route 114 between Canaan and Island Pond, through Norton. Motorists will experience several single-lane areas due to multiple slope failures. Route 129 between Isle La Motte and Alburgh is open to one-lane traffic.  Water remains high and there is debris in the road.  Motorists are advised to use caution. Continued State Road Closures: Route 36  in St. Albans, between between Georgia Shore Road and McQuam Road is closed due to flooding.  Motorists are advised to avoid this section of roadway. Route 125 near Chimney Point is closed approximately 13 miles west of Middlebury.  Route 17 remains open following VTrans’ action to add fill to flooded areas. Smugglers Notch, Jeffersonville to Stowe, remains closed, weather pending. Note that the Chimney Point and Grand Isle ferries are still running on schedule. For more information please call 802-828-2648 (7am -5pm) or 211 (Vermont Emergency Management). Road condition information is also found at: 511vt.com. This site is updated throughout the day between the hours of 7am -5pm.Photo from Karen McCloud in Grand Isle of the train trestle up by the Mississquoi bridge between Swanton and Alburg.center_img ##30##last_img read more

Inadvertent disclosure of personal tax information occurs at Vermont Department of Taxes

first_imgAlso, the Vermont Department of Taxes is immediately reviewing all safeguards related to the disclosure of taxpayer information.  Department staff will strengthen the procedures related to the publication of this specific report.   Also, standard operating procedure at VDT requires that the Taxpayer Advocate investigate and prepare a report with recommendations after any such inadvertent disclosure.  ‘Safeguarding your personal information is the top priority of the Department of Taxes, and we will take every corrective action to ensure that this mistake does not occur again,’ said Tax Commissioner Mary Peterson.  ‘I encourage all affected taxpayers to take advantage of the resources being offered to address this unfortunate error.’ Vermont Department of Taxes Jan 10, 2012 The Vermont Department of Taxes (VDT) inadvertently displayed personal data from a weekly batch of Property Transfer Tax Returns for less than two hours on a vendor portion of its website on January 9th.  A computer error began a process that resulted in an extra field added to a routine public report. The social security numbers of 1,332 individuals and the Federal Employee Identification Number of 245 businesses were involved. The property transfer report is posted weekly on a data page ordinarily accessed only by real estate professionals; immediate investigation identified two of the three parties who accessed the page during the time in question, and they have destroyed the information.  VDT is working to identify the final party, who will be advised that they inadvertently received confidential taxpayer information that must be destroyed. The Vermont Department of Taxes is moving aggressively to ensure that taxpayers are protected from identity theft.  All affected taxpayers will receive a letter alerting them that their personal information was inadvertently disclosed.  Letters will be sent no later than Saturday, January 14th.  The letter encourages taxpayers affected by the inadvertent disclosure to take the following steps:  Call or email the Department of Taxes if they have questions regarding this issue.  Taxpayers may call (866) 348-4038 or email questions to Tax.DataProtection@state.vt.us(link sends e-mail)  Check back for updates posted on our website at http://www.state.vt.us/tax/DataProtection.shtml(link is external).  The Department will also post updates through its Facebook page and Twitter account. Learn more about credit monitoring, details to be set forth in the letter to individual taxpayers. While we are confident that the risk to affected taxpayers is small, the Department encourages taxpayers to use these resources.  last_img read more

Governor Shumlin’s FY 2013 Recommended Budget

first_imgAlthough the General Fund (GF) budget gap of $51 million addressed in the FY 2013 Governor’s Recommended Budget was less than the gap previously estimated (October 2011) – FY 2013 is the fifth consecutive fiscal year requiring the resolution of a GF budget gap. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin presented his fiscal year 2013 budget to the Legislature January 12, 2012. The federal stimulus program (American Recovery & Reinvestment Act or ARRA), which was used to cover the base GF operating budget gaps for fiscal years 2009, 2010 and 2011, has essentially ended – requiring the State to close the projected FY 2013 GF budget gap.The Governor’s FY 2013 Budget Recommendations present the General Assembly with a balanced budget that maintains services, continues advancement in important programs for the future and deals with the added challenge of recovering from the devastating damages caused by Tropical Storm Irene.While the analysis shows small GF gaps for FY 2014 through FY 2016, the Consensus Revenue Forecast due to be revised and adopted by the Vermont Emergency Board at its January 18, 2012, meeting will likely at least partially close or eliminate the gap for the out years. For Detail of Governor Shumlin’s FY 2013 Executive Budget Recommendations, offered to the Legislature on January 12, 2012, go to this LINK.Click on these links for Shumlin’s STATE OF THE STATE and BUDGET addresses.CONSENSUS REVENUE HISTORY AND FORECASTGeneral Fund Revenue Forecast Recovers to Pre-Recession LevelsOn July 22, 2011 the Vermont Emergency Board adopted revised General (GF), Transportation (TF) and Education (EF) Funds Consensus Revenue Forecasts for the remainder of FY 2012 and for FY 2013. The General Fund for FY 2012 was projected to be within 1% of meeting the FY 2008 pre-recession level, while FY 2013 was projected to exceed FY 2008 by 5.6%. The Transportation Fund and Education Fund forecasts for the remainder of FY 2012 were projected to exceed the FY 2008 levels by just over 1% each, with FY 2013 projected to grow by 2.8% and 4.2% respectively. It has taken four fiscal years to see revenue levels return to the pre-recession high points.However, these revenue increases have not yet been enough to close the FY 2013 General Fund budget gap. This year, the Governor’s FY 2012 Budget Adjustment and FY 2013 Budget Recommendations have been submitted in advance of the January 18, 2012 Emergency Board meeting. This means that the Consensus Revenue Forecasts used herein are those presented to and adopted by the Board at the July 22, 2011 meeting. FY 2013 BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS FY 2013 General Fund OverviewPIE CHARTS: Above, spending. Below, funding source.A combination of base and one-time adjustments, and the use of reserve funds, were employed to bring the GF budget appropriations into line with available GF revenue.After agencies and departments submitted their FY 2013 budget requests, the full impact of the upward budget pressures was known. The upward pressures and the loss of federal and special funds resulted in a FY 2013 budget gap of $51 million.In prior years, the Governor’s Budget Recommendations were calculated based on the Consensus Revenue Forecast adopted by the Emergency Board just prior to the Governor’s budget address to the General Assembly – normally mid to late January. This year, however, the Governor’s Budget Recommendations are being submitted in advance of the January Emergency Board meeting and are therefore based on the July 2011 Consensus Revenue Forecast.The Governor’s budget recommendation includes language to appropriate up to $15 million GF to Public Safety, if it becomes available from a January 2012 Consensus Revenue Forecast increase.The same amount of TF would be moved from Public Safety to Transportation for additional infrastructure improvements and Irene recovery projects. Any GF Revenue increase in excess of $15 million will be reserved in the Human Service Caseload Reserve to offset future Human Services needs. Highlights of the Governor’s FY 2013 Budget: Proposes a FY 2013 General Fund (GF) increase of 5.3%, 2% of which covers reductions in federal and special fund sources, and lives within available revenue.Continues, and in some cases expands, Irene aid to towns, businesses and individuals.Continues support for priorities such as Health Care Reform and access to high speed internet and mobile services.Provides for the GF transfer to the Education Fund at statutory level.Provides the funding to maintain the three Budget Stabilization Reserves for GF, TF and EF at their statutory level.Begins a phased increase in GF Budget Stabilization Reserve by 0.25%, or $3.09 million for FY 2013.Fully funds State Employees’ and State Teachers’ retirement.Invests $8 million in innovation at UVM and VSC.Increases by $1.48 million, more than double FY 2012, GF support for Fish & Wildlife.Continues $4.8 million GF support of the Next Generation initiative in accordance with the Workforce Development Council recommendations.Provides for the largest Transportation budget in VT history.Increases the Transportation paving program by 35.9% and the bridge program by 16.7% over FY 2012.Increases the Town Highway programs by 128.5%, including Irene related projects – up 15.1% excluding Irene.Provides $200,000 of additional GF funding to the Office of the Attorney General for the fight against child pornography.Provides $10.2 million to cover FY 2013 GF Pay Act.Provides $20 million GF to restore lost federal funds for base Medicaid match.Provides $6 million GF for Tobacco programs base spending.Proposes redirection or delay of approximately $18 million in previously approved capital projects to pay for Irene recovery of the State Waterbury Office Complex and Vermont State Hospital.The Shumlin Administration offered these 2011 Accomplishments:Agency of Agriculture:Created the VT Farm Disaster Relief Fund, in partnership with the Vermont Community Foundation, to raise over $2.25 million for farms impacted by Irene.Distributed $1.5 million of capital funds, leveraging over $5.7 million in federal funds, for water quality improvement.Enabled 13 new dairy processing plants to come on line.Directed over $1 million in federal grant funds to Farm-to- Plate efforts, leveraging over $1.5 million in additional project investment.Launched online licensing to enable Vermont businesses to renew, and pay online, their retail products and weighing and measuring device licenses.BISHCA:Spearheaded Vermont’s first-in-the-nation effort to develop an affordable, administratively simple and high quality health care system.Supported the creation of the Green Mountain Care Board, charged with developing payment reform, delivery system integration and administrative simplification proposals.Licensed 41 new captive insurance companies.Agency of Commerce and Community Development:Initiated a pilot program to attract recent college graduates to Vermont. More than 25 have already taken advantage of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program.Brought new jobs to Vermont: WCW, Inc. is moving from New York to Vermont, creating 120 new jobs for Vermonters, and expansions at companies like Commonwealth Dairy in Brattleboro, SB Electronics in Barre, Revision Military in Essex, Mack Molding in Arlington, Sonnax in Bellows Falls, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in Waterbury and Essex Jct., just to name a few.Agency of Human Services:Department for Children and FamiliesSaw its 3SquaresVT caseload grow to 47,833, earning the State a USDA high performance bonus of nearly $390,000 for having one of the top six program access rates in the nation.Created the Vermont Rental Subsidy program, allowing 75 to 80 families and/or disabled individuals to transition to permanent housing more quickly.Low-Income Weatherization Assistance program won a competitive grant from the US Department of Energy to bring sustainable energy resources to low-income Vermonters.Completed nearly 5,000 child abuse and neglect investigations and assessments, nearly double the number completed four years ago.Worked in collaboration with the Vermont Department of Education to gather and analyze input on simplifying and improving publically supported Pre-K (2007 Act 62) in Vermont.Worked with other groups to create a first of its kind housing subsidy intended to be a bridge for individuals and families who are in need of stable housing.Department of CorrectionsShifted prison populations to enable more Vermonters to be brought back from out-of-state prisons to serve their sentences in Vermont correctional facilities.Transitioned the women’s prison population to the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, creating new opportunities for women to reenter our communities safely.Department of HealthVermont was ranked the Healthiest State in the Nation ‘ due in part to high rates of high school graduation, lower rates of infectious disease, low violent crime rate, and high use of early prenatal care.Vermont received the first and only ‘A’ on the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card.Vermont was named third best state for children’s access to health care.The department worked with the Vermont National Guard and other groups to deliver more than 30,000 respirators and 240,000 pairs of gloves for safe cleanup after Tropical Storm Irene.Distributed more than 1,200 free drinking water lab test kits to residents with private wells that may have been contaminated.Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent LivingSecured an $18 million, three-year federal grant to help move individuals from facility-based care to home-based care. +Helped 1,622 Vermonters with disabilities find work.Reduced repeat applications for general assistance by over 150 people.Department of Vermont Health AccessContinued to serve 166,000 Vermonters with high quality affordable health care. +Received approval of a federal Health Care Exchange implementation grant for $18 million.Continued expansion of the Blueprint for Health across Vermont with primary care medical homes and community health teams.CONNECTVT:Worked with the Legislature to obtain approval for an expedited permitting process to manage the volume of project applications.Worked with private providers, who completed building more than 1,200 fiber miles.The Vermont Telecommunications Authority gave initial funding to two innovative strategies to build a rural roaming carrier network to support the expansion of cell service to reach underserved ‘nooks and crannies’ and low population density areas of the State.Established Vermont as the leader in the nation in Smart- Grid deployment.Agency of Natural Resources:Launched a comprehensive, long-term plan to make real progress in cleaning up Lake Champlain.Created a program to replace old outdoor wood-fired boilers to reduce the unhealthy smoke they produce.Required manufacturers and sellers of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices to provide convenient ways for Vermonters to return used electronic devices for proper disposal.Established a Climate Cabinet to implement a new, ambitious energy plan, and to help prepare Vermont for the climate changes we already see coming.Public Service Department:Issued the 2011 Vermont Energy Plan, which calls for 90 percent renewable power by 2050.Agency of Transportation:Provided Irene emergency repairs on 531 miles of closed roads, 200 damaged bridges and 34 closed bridges – all completed by the end of 2011.Completed $20 million in repairs following the spring floods, while keeping VT Routes 2 and 78, the only two roads connecting the Lake Champlain Islands to the Vermont mainland, open at the peak of the highest Lake Champlain water level in recorded history.Partnered with New York to complete the Lake Champlain Bridge between West Addison, VT and Crown Point, NY.Advanced the first project to go to construction under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s U.S. High-Speed Intercity Rail Program.Organized a task force to advance projects to replace the long-stalled Circumferential Highway project, in conjunction with the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission.Education:Served more children in high quality preschool programs ‘ up 30 percent in the last 5 years ‘ a key foundation for a child’s success in school and beyond.Vermont students continue to outperform their peers across the country in Reading and Math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the SAT and AP exams. More students are taking these exams (despite decreasing enrollment), and Vermont’s scores continue to rise.Vermont’s high school graduation rate is one of the highest in the country. Nearly 90 percent of our students graduate from high school within four years.Applied for a waiver from the USDOE to the No Child Left Behind Act, which would refocus the work of the department in the coming months and may allow students to use a high school assessment such as the SAT or ACT to measure their college and career readiness.Public Safety DepartmentVermont Emergency Management successfully managed the response to the extreme flooding and damages from Tropical Strom Irene, developed a donations plan that will become an annex in the State Emergency Operations Plan and coordinated with FEMA to help communities complete their requests for public assistance. To date $16.5 million has been approved for mitigation and more than $48 million has been paid for individual assistance and small business assistance.In 2011, Vermont’s 55 roadway deaths were the lowest since 1944, due to the collaborative enforcement and educational efforts by State, county and local law enforcement.Vermont has seen a 50 percent reduction in fire-related deaths in the past seven years. Changes addressing fire protection issues have contributed to this reduction, including increased inspections of existing residential buildings, public education, and legislative changes. Source: Vermont Agency of Administrationlast_img read more