The Vermont Economy

VPR's Steve Zind

VPR senior reporter Steve Zind focuses on the Vermont economy and its impact on our lives. Follow Steve Zind on Twitter, post comments on the stories, and let Steve know what local economy stories you think VPR should cover.

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The Vermont Economy
6:27 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Newport Residents Question Developers Of Bio-Med Facility

Bill Kelly, representing AnC Bio, Joe Greene, architect, and Debra Bell, civil engineer, display drawings of a new facility proposed for Newport prior to a public hearing.
Charlotte Albright VPR

On Monday, the public got a chance to weigh in on a plan to build a four-story glass and metal tower in Newport that would house bio-medical research and development.

The developers, Bill Stenger and his business partner Ariel Quiros, say the project will create as many as 500 jobs and will not harm the environment. But some Newport residents have some concerns about its impact on public health.

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VPR News
5:46 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Human Services Changes Delayed To Solicit Public Input

The deadline for completing a reorganization plan for parts of the Agency of Human Services has been pushed back.

The decision came after an anti-poverty group established by the governor asked for the delay.

The reorganization follows the deaths of two children whose families were being monitored by the Department for Children and Families. 

The deaths prompted a legislative committee to hold public hearings on DCF.

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VPR News
5:30 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Welch Backs Internet Sales Tax

Rep. Peter Welch is hopeful that Congress will pass a bill this summer that will allow individual states to impose their sales tax on items purchased on the Internet.

Welch says the plan will help strengthen downtown businesses and will raise new revenue for many states.

Right now, states are allowed to require businesses to collect the sales tax on purchases made on the Internet, if the retailer has a physical presence in the state.

Under this legislation, states could choose to impose their sales tax on sellers of all taxable items sold on the Internet.

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VPR News
5:30 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Beer Fans Line Up For Small Batch Offerings At Vermont Brewer's Festival

Beer enthusiasts line up for Lawson's Finest Liquids, one of the most popular offerings at the festival.
Annie Russell VPR

With over 30 breweries in Vermont- to say nothing of home brewers- there is craft beer being made in just about every corner of the state.

This past weekend, the Vermont Brewer’s Festival celebrated those beer makers, along with those visiting from New England and Quebec.

At the Burlington waterfront on Saturday, beer lovers lined up to sample a wide range of beers from Vermont’s ever-growing craft beer industry.

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VPR News
10:52 am
Sat July 19, 2014

Union Says Majority Favors FairPoint Strike Authorization

There have been further delays in the final tally of voting by FairPoint Communications employees on whether to give their unions the authority to call a strike, but union officials say its clear the majority of workers  have voted for the authorization.

The voting is taking place in the three New England states served by FairPoint.

Mike Spillane with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Vermont says voting has been completed in Vermont and Maine, but delays persist in New Hampshire.

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VPR News
6:04 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

'Art Of The Deal' Complex In Corporate Negotiations

In this week's quarterly earnings report, an IBM executive skirted a question about rumors of a sale.
Toby Talbot AP

Since April, rumors have circulated that IBM and the microchip maker GlobalFoundries are in talks over the sale of Big Blue manufacturing plants, including the one Essex Junction.

Neither company has  commented, and the most recent rumor has it that the negotiations have broken down.

IBM’s quarterly earnings report Thursday did little to clarify the company’s plans for its chip manufacturing division. In a conference call an  IBM senior vice-president skirted a question about the rumors. 

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The Frequency
4:16 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Unemployment Rises For The First Time In 10 Months

Vermont's unemployment rate has been well below the national average for the past year.
Taylor Dobbs VPR

Vermont's unemployment rate was up in June for the first time in ten months, according to a new report from the state Department of Labor. The state’s 3.5 percent unemployment rate is still well below the national average of 6.1 percent.

Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan said in a release that the uptick is consistent with data from previous years.

“If historical patterns hold,” she said, “this temporary period of adjustment should be present for the next month or two before returning to the recent downward trend.”

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The Frequency
4:36 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Ratepayer Advocates Back Burlington Telecom Settlement, Urge Approval

The state’s ratepayer advocates are in strong support of Burlington Telecom’s settlement with Citibank over past financial problems, and they are very optimistic about the potential sale of the public telecom to a private entity.

“The settlement that’s been reached with the city and Citibank, and the bridge financing agreement really offers the first realistic opportunity to move beyond the problems that have been plaguing Burlington Telecom and the city,” said Jim Porter, the senior policy and telecommunications director at the Department of Public Service.

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VPR News
5:00 am
Thu July 17, 2014

The British Clockmaker Marks 50 Years In Vermont

One of the automatons in Ray Bates' shop is a life-sized caged bird.

For Ray Bates, family life and work as a Master Clockmaker take place under the same roof. For 50 years, Bates’ antique clock repair business has been located in his home in Newfane.  

To get from the workshop to a room where repaired clocks are tested requires walking  through the kitchen and turning right through the laundry room.  

In the testing room, clocks removed from their cases mark each hour with a chorus of bell ringing. Each has a different sound; from rich, resonant tones to high pitched, delicate sounds.

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VPR News
5:00 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Stove Manufacturer Adds Jobs In Vermont

The Vermont Castings foundry in Randolph has added 10 positions since last August.
Steve Zind VPR

The owners of Vermont Castings say they’ve added 50 jobs in Vermont since purchasing the stove manufacturer last year.

The bulk of the jobs are the result of cutbacks in operations in other countries.

The company started making woodstoves in the 1970s at its foundry in Randolph. It also manufactures barbeque grills and kitchen products.

The company has been bought and sold several times over the years, most recently last August when the The Vermont Castings Group’s Kentucky-based management team purchased it from a private equity firm.

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