Economy

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In a recent poll conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute, one-third of respondents said the economy/jobs/cost of living is the state's most important issue.

We zero in on the cost of living to understand how Vermont's compares with other states in the region and the country. And we look at what factors have the greatest effect.

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In states like Utah, Michigan and California, more than 90 percent of students who go to college do so in their home state. But in Vermont, nearly half of students go elsewhere for college — and many never come back.

That youth drain is taking a toll on Vermont, which has the second oldest population in the country after Maine.

Ken Teegardin / SeniorLiving.com

How do you think Vermont's economy is doing?

Different economic indicators can tell different stories: from unemployment, to wages, to inequality, to the Main Street in your city or town. What are your the indicators you see that make a difference in your own economic life? What do you think of the state's economic outlook in the short and long terms?

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Some good news Friday for customers of Green Mountain Power, the state's largest electric utility. The company has agreed to lower rates starting in October by .76 percent.

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Think about cybersecurity, and you'll likely think about some of those headline-making data breaches at big corporations. Superstores and credit card companies losing control over long lists of customers and data.

But the majority of companies that suffer data breaches are small businesses, with fewer than 100 employees. And it's just those businesses that often have the least access to resources needed to guarantee the security of their data online. What can they do to keep their data - and their customers - safe?

In 1972, when asked his opinion of the French Revolution’s effect on world history, Chinese Foreign Minister Chou En Lai responded, “Too soon to tell.”

A long view, to be sure, but many historians prefer it. Only time provides the perspective necessary for genuine understanding.

For five hundred years, beginning in the 10th century, China was the world’s greatest economic power: trading across the southwest Pacific and the Indian Ocean, into the Persian Gulf and Red Sea.

Vogel: Nineteen Days

Feb 19, 2015

Next Wednesday, February 25, The Norwich community will gather at the Marion Cross School to celebrate the nineteen days of Norwich.

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Personal finance experts have cautioned us for years that credit card debt is a financial trap. But Vermonters have an average of $9,667 in credit card debt, according to the Vermont Financial Literacy Task Force, and that's better than the national statistics. We look at managing credit and debt, complicated financial tools and language and we learn how younger people deal with debt differently than their parents.

Toby Talbot / AP

Vermont is about to implement a major change in the way people who have been arrested move through the justice system. Pretrial risk assessment services will help judges and prosecutors decide whether to set bail, or to send people to treatment, instead of jail.

On the next Vermont Edition, we’ll learn about the new pretrial services and how they will work with Annie Ramniceanu, director of pretrial services at the Department of Corrections, and Judge Brian Grearson, the incoming Chief Administrative Judge for Trial Courts in Vermont.

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Native to North America, milkweed grows wild and has been used in the past to remove warts, cure dysentery and suppress coughs. Native Americans also taught early settlers how to cook the native wildflower so it could be safely eaten. Milkweed is the breeding ground for Monarch butterflies, whose population has decreased in the past years due in some part to the reduction of milkweed plants growing wild.


Chief fiscal officer Steve Klein has concluded that the 2015 legislature will face an expected general fund shortfall of from $90 to 120 million dollars for Fiscal Year 2016.

Making the fiscal situation worse is a reduction in Federal Medicaid cost sharing, higher pay and fringe benefits under the Pay Act passed in May, and the pressing need for increasing contributions to pay for retired teacher health costs. Jim Reardon, commissioner of the Department of Finance and Management, said in August that he’s running out of one-time pots to raid.

Vogel: Philanthropy

Nov 10, 2014

Vermonters are caring people. We rank 9th in the country in helping our neighbors as volunteers.

During the holiday season, many of us also make financial donations to our favorite charities. According to Guidestar, which tracks the activities of thousands of nonprofits on its free website, half of the charitable organizations it surveyed receive the majority of their donations from October through December.

Toby Talbot / AP

In the 1800’s, Vermont was known as the birthplace of the modern machine shop. Nowadays, not many people would put Vermont and manufacturing in the same sentence. We talk about the landscape for the manufacturing industry here in Vermont with Lisa Gosselin, Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development.

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Publicly held companies have a financial responsibility to their shareholders: they have to make money. But benefit corporations can be responsible to the environment, their employees, and their communities. Businesses that have become benefit corporations say they are taking it into their own hands to make the world a better place.

We’ll talk to Tom Payne of King Arthur Flour and Ashley Orgain of Seventh Generation, two Vermont companies who have gone through the certification process to become benefit companies.

Mudgett: Dickering

May 14, 2014
New York Historical Society

I don’t usually like reality TV, but I’m intrigued by the way a new reality show on the History Channel portrays regional culture. It follows a group of northern New England men who live to buy, sell, swap or trade - and the name of the show is Down East Dickering.

Mad Men does a wonderful job of capturing the heyday of commercial advertising – the banner years of liquor and cigarette ads, of tags like Clairol’s “Does she or doesn’t she?” which led the number of American women coloring their hair to grow from seven to forty percent in fifteen years. That, in turn, led to memorable TV campaigns for fast food, telecommunications, cars.

Dealing with climate change requires sacrificing short-term economic benefit in favor of long-term environmental health.

That’s a tough sell, but environmentalists have long hailed the European Union for its willingness to make that trade-off, requiring increasing use of renewable energy, for example, and setting strict emissions standards for its 28 member nations. Europeans, it’s said, take the long view – in marked contrast to America’s apparent devotion to immediate economic gratification, regardless of long-term environmental costs.

Twenty years ago, the Neighborhood Development Corporation of Jamaica Plain built forty affordable homes in Boston. While under construction, more than 1000 people asked for applications. Because we were selling these homes as limited equity cooperatives, NDC held a number of meetings in the neighborhood to educate potential applicants about how limited equity cooperatives work and what would be expected of owners. What surprised everyone was that requiring people to attend a one hour meeting resulted in more than half the families dropping out.

I write in my sleep. It’s hardly restful. Since I mostly remember what I write, I’m never quite sure if I’m really asleep.

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