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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VPR News
5:30 am
Tue July 29, 2014

School's In Session At Upper Valley Machine Factory

Daniel Bell, 23, of Wilder, Vermont, tests his skill at operating drill press at summer training institute run by Hypertherm in Hanover.
Charlotte Albright vpr

There are signs that after years of decline, manufacturing is making a comeback in the United States. One global company based in the Upper Valley has been adding so many workers so fast that it’s had to create its own on-site academy.

Hypertherm, in Hanover, makes high-tech machines that use laser and water to cut metal. On a summer day perfect for swimming, in a factory built just for training, about a half dozen young men are hard at work, gathered around a drill press.

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VPR News
6:06 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Seneca Kills Wind Project

Seneca Mountain Wind is stopping development of a project that would have placed about 20 turbines at a remote mountaintop site in the Northeast Kingdom. The company has withdrawn its electrical connection request with ISO New England and terminated land leases in Newark, Brighton and Ferdinand.

According to a press release late Friday afternoon, “SMW’s decision reflects its commitment to obtain community support before advancing this project, which was not evident in any of the three jurisdictions where SMW had development plans.”

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The Frequency
6:04 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Report: Price Of 'Old' IBM Plants Derailed Sale To GlobalFoundries

A report published by Bloomberg news say talks between IBM and GlobalFoundries over the sale of Big Blue’s chip making division, including facilities in Essex Junction, broke down over price.  

Bloomberg cites sources “familiar with the process.”  The report says at issue were IBM’s manufacturing plants, which GlobalFoundries “placed little or no value on” due to their age.

Rumors of a deal between the two companies have been circulating since April.

VPR News
5:54 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Union Says No Progress In FairPoint Contract Talks

With their contract set to expire in just over a week, FairPoint Communications and the union representing workers continued their negotiations this week. 

The International Brotherhood of Electrical workers represents about 1,800 FairPoint employees in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. 

The union says members have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if necessary. 

Mike Spillane is a Vermont member of the IBEW negotiating team. Returning Friday from talks in Nashua, New Hampshire Spillane said the sides are still far apart.

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VPR News
4:55 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Hanover Co-op Members Voice Concerns About Management

Antoinette Jacobson and Marguerite Ames solicit signatures for a petition to re-instate workers fired from Hanover Co-op.
Charlotte Albright VPR

Controversy is swirling in the Upper Valley around one of the oldest food co-ops in the United States. After two popular employees were fired from Co-op Food Stores of New Hampshire without explanation last month, members began questioning how management treats employees.

At a recent Board meeting attended by about 300 members, two starkly different answers emerged.

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VPR News
5:28 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Budget Cuts Loom After Revenue Downgrade

Economists Jeff Carr, left, and Tom Kavet brief lawmakers and the governor on a $31 million revenue downgrade.
Peter Hirschfeld VPR

A downgrade in revenue projections has opened up a $31 million hole in the state budget. And the shortfall will likely result in unexpected cuts to government programs.

When lawmakers and Gov. Peter Shumlin gave final approval to the fiscal year 2015 state budget back in May, they assumed a 4.8-percent increase in revenues over the coming year. But it turns out the economic recovery isn’t going quite as well as they’d hoped.

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VPR News
5:08 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

State Exploring Ways To Connect Entrepreneurs With Investors

In the post-recession era, it’s become more difficult for start-ups and companies without a track record to secure traditional bank loans, so businesses have had to turn elsewhere. 

“What has happened in Vermont is there has been an appetite to seek raising money directly from investors,“ says Commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation Susan Donegan.

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The Vermont Economy
6:05 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Program Helps Lawyers Set Up Shop In Underserved Areas

Erica Lewis is just a month into her new Randolph law practice.
VPR/Steve Zind

Imagine you’re fresh out of law school. Instead of going to work in a place where there are people to learn from and turn to for support, you’re a one-person firm on your own. 

A new program is helping young lawyers establish solo practices in hopes of helping both law school graduates and those who need legal services.

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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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