VEDA financing approvals top $10.4 million

first_imgBusiness loans and bond financings in excess of $10.4 million have been approved by the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA).  It is estimated that the VEDA financing will help stimulate $15.5 million in economic development activity throughout the state. ‘VEDA is very pleased to offer financing support to a number of small business projects around Vermont,’ said Jo Bradley, VEDA Chief Executive Officer.  ‘In addition, bond financing has been approved for several large facility expansion projects.’ Among the projects approved by the Authority for financing assistance: ·         Rutland Plywood Corporation, Rutland ‘ Financing of $346,000 was approved to help Rutland Plywood Corporation complete a wood-fired electric co-generation project at the company’s Ripley Road facility, and provide working capital to help the company expand operations.  People’s United Bank and Rutland Economic Development Corporation provided financing for the $1.5 million project.  The electric co-generation system utilizes the Company’s wood waste to fire boilers, which supply steam to the mill for manufacturing processes and also to a steam driven turbine and generator.   Electricity generated from the project is sold to Vermont utilities to help meet local demand.  Rutland Plywood is a significant manufacturing employer in Rutland, with jobs expected to increase from 149 to 156 within three years of the project.  Rutland Plywood manufactures hardwood laminates used by manufacturers of gunstocks, musical instruments, knitting needles, exercise machines, wire, and many other items.·         Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery, Brattleboro ‘ A new restaurant and brew pub will be established in Brattleboro, with the help of $200,000 in VEDA financing.  Brattleboro Savings and Loan is also providing financing for the $789,670 project.  Whetstone Station Associates will purchase and renovate 4,500 square feet of real estate formerly known as the Riverview Restaurant.  The new Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery will be a family-friendly brewpub with a mixture of on-site brews, regional micro- and international brews, pub food, local specialties and a children’s menu. Business principals expect to employ 25 people within three years of the start-up project.·         Washington County Mental Health Services, Inc, Barre ‘ VEDA gave final approval for issuance of up to $5.3 million in tax-exempt bonds to help finance a two-part $6.9 million real estate development project being undertaken by Washington County Mental Health Services, Inc. (WCMHS) in Barre Town.  The project received preliminary VEDA bond financing approval in January. Part I of the project entails the purchase of 6.6 acres of land and a building for conversion to a school for students unable to operate in normal academic settings.  This facility is expected to include classroom, cafeteria, gymnasium, and auditorium space for 60 students in grades 1 through 12.  Part II of the project entails the purchase of 4 acres of land and a building to create a larger central administration building for WCMHS.  Northfield Savings Bank is also providing financing for the project.  WCMHS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation providing a wide range of mental health services to residents in Washington County and several Orange County towns.  WCMHS has 498 full-time employees. ·         Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust, Inc, Berlin ‘ Preliminary (inducement) approval for the issuance of $3.65 million in tax-exempt bonds was given the Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust (VSBIT) for their planned construction of a 12,000 square foot office building in Berlin.  VSBIT, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation formed in 1978 to provide insurance and risk management services to Vermont school districts, currently operates out of 4,000 square feet of leased space.·         Crash Palace, LLC, Rutland ‘ Financing of $300,000 was approved to help Crash Palace, a Rutland auto body repair shop, purchase the property it currently leases.  Berkshire Bank is also providing partial financing for the $750,000 real estate acquisition project.  Crash Palace employs 13 persons. VEDA also approved: ·         An additional $461,900 through the Authority’s Small Business Loan Program  to assist growing Vermont small businesses that are unable to access adequate sources of conventional financing;  and ·         $201,354 through the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund, which provides funds to repair or improve existing privately-owned drinking water systems. VEDA’s mission is to promote economic prosperity in Vermont by providing financial assistance to eligible businesses, including manufacturing, agricultural, and travel and tourism enterprises.  Since its inception in 1974, VEDA has made financing commitments totaling over $1.8 billion.  For more information about VEDA, visit is external) or call 802-828-5627.last_img read more


Opinion: Student loan rates shouldn’t be allowed to rise

first_imgBy Don Vickers Recently, I joined U.S. Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont in urging Congress to halt a planned hike in the interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans (federal education loans that go to students with the greatest financial need). Unless Congress acts, the rate will rise from 3.4 to 6.8 percent on July 1.Congress’decision will have huge implications for students throughout the country. If the rate is allowed to increase, a college education is going to become even more out of reach for students who need our help the most.Take the case of a student who borrows $23,000 for college, the maximum available to undergrads using subsidized loans, and repays the loans during the customary 10 years:·       At 3.4 percent, the borrower would repay the principal plus $4,149 in interest, for a total of $27,149.·       At 6.8 percent, the borrower would repay the principal plus $8,746 in interest, more than twice the amount accruing at 3.4 percent, for a total of $31,746. If the student extends his or her repayment period ‘for example, because of unemployment or underemployment ‘the interest mounts. Under a 20-year repayment plan, a 3.4 percent rate translates to $8,650 in interest and a 6.8 percent rate costs $19,021 in interest ‘almost as much as the original amount borrowed.Apart from the subsidized loan discussion, but no less important, are interest rate challenges facing other federal loan customers:·       Undergrads with unsubsidized Stafford loans already pay 6.8 percent in interest. These â unsub’loans, in which interest accrues from the day the loan is made, are used by undergrads who do not qualify for a subsidy while attending school or who need more than they can receive in the subsidized program.·       Grad students with Stafford loans also pay 6.8 percent.·       Parents and grad students with PLUS loans, another type of federal loan available to supplement Stafford borrowing, pay from 7.9 to 8.5 percent in interest. At his news conference, Rep. Welch was joined by several student and parent borrowers who, like VSAC, share his view that affordable interest rates are vital to keeping higher education affordable. The same week, VSAC talked by phone with a father who was struggling to manage the federal PLUS loans he and his wife had taken out to help pay for two sons’college educations.It wasnâ t so much the face value of the loans that had him concerned, but the interest rate. Given the high PLUS rate, the loans were costing the family $1,400 a month. Because no rate relief is in sight for this type of federal loan, the parent chose to pay off his PLUS loans by refinancing his home at about 3 percent interest. It frustrated him that he had to do this, but now the debt will cost him about a third of what he had been spending.Ironically, the federal education loan programs were developed to provide students with access to low-cost financing and to enable parents to pay for their childrenâ s education without putting their own homes and livelihoods at risk. The original goal was to provide rates and benefits that the private sector couldnâ t match due to higher borrowing costs and underwriting restrictions.So it is with sadness that we at VSAC hear from borrowers who feel forced to give up their federal loans for riskier forms of debt, or, in the worst case, to forego education altogether. Despite recent questions about the value of higher education, the depressed job market, the proper role for government in funding education, and whether students are borrowing responsibly, two things remain true.Education beyond high school ‘not always a four-year degree, but some type of education or training ‘is still the best ticket out of poverty and toward a life of greater opportunity. And financial aid, whether in the form of grants, scholarships, or loans, will still be needed to help families make this important investment in the future. While we continue to debate the value of education and what more we can do to foster responsible borrowing, the federal government should not saddle students with unreasonable and unfair finance charges.Don Vickers, a resident of Georgia, VT, is president and CEO of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation.last_img read more


Vermont Castings owner reports increase in profits despite plant closing charges

first_img– 6/28/2014 51,077 7/4/2015 $509,143 Change 118.1% 3.3% $568.2 – 80,204 Gross Profit % 359,992 5.8% Three Months Ended $14,928 29.4% $0.19 $40.2 20 bps $0.39 1/3/2015 8,481 $568,226 $29.3 Operating Income    Other $11.7 -110 bps $27,795 Average number of common shares outstanding – basic $21,971 216 181,133 $10,263 HNI CORPORATIONUnaudited Condensed Consolidated Statement of Operations 4.2% $40.0 230 bps $33,438 311,008 3,150 Restructuring charges % Net sales: 414,587 36.5% (0.1%) Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents       Current liabilities   Income before income taxes Interest income – $0.5 9.9% PercentChange 2,187 36.3% $0.53 Hearth Reconciliation(Dollars in millions) 9.9% (40) $961,344 167,278 146 Operating Profit Selling and administrative expenses $207.5 $(6,992) 197,736 $18.2 $1,239,334 713,236 $39.8 $14,868 7/4/2015 Operating Profit % $32.0 11,162 Net cash flows from (to) operating activities 119 EPS – diluted 1.9% – 6/28/2014 Six Months Ended Three Months Ended (Gain) Loss on Sale of Assets (Dollars in thousands) $568,226 Net sales $(31,904) Transition Costs 6/28/2014 $0.21 $31,126 $0.52 $206.1 $(0.01) $(1.3) $9,705 $11.2 $8.5 (120) Operating Profit % –   Office furniture $18.2 19,086 360 bps 16,915 Non-GAAP Financial MeasuresThis earnings release contains certain non-GAAP financial measures.  A “non-GAAP financial measure” is a numerical measure of a company’s financial performance that excludes or includes amounts different than the most directly comparable measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP in the statements of income, balance sheets or statements of cash flow of the company.  We have provided a reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.The non-GAAP financial measures used within this earnings release are:  gross profit, operating income, operating profit, net income per diluted share (i.e., EPS), excluding restructuring charges, transition costs impairments and gain/loss on sale.  Non-GAAP EPS is calculated using the Corporation’s overall effective tax rate for the period.  We present these measures because management uses this information to monitor and evaluate financial results and trends.  Management believes this information is also useful for investors.  This earnings release also contains a forward-looking estimate of non-GAAP earnings per diluted share for the third quarter and full fiscal year 2015.  We provide such non-GAAP measures to investors on a prospective basis for the same reasons we provide them to investors on a historical basis.  We are unable to provide a reconciliation of our forward-looking estimate of non-GAAP earnings per diluted share to a forward-looking estimate of GAAP earnings per diluted share because certain information needed to make a reasonable forward-looking estimate of GAAP earnings per diluted share for the third quarter and full fiscal year is difficult to predict and estimate and is often dependent on future events which may be uncertain or outside of our control.  These may include unanticipated charges related to asset impairments (fixed assets, intangibles or goodwill), unanticipated acquisition related costs and other unanticipated non-recurring items not reflective of ongoing operations.  6.4% $29,278 $13,935 Non-GAAP Change Operating profit (non-GAAP)   Hearth products $724,293    accrued expenses – 89,411 274,606   % of net sales 335,982 $11.7 9.9% Operating income Six Months Ended $961,344 4,005 Other assets 5.8% Cash and cash equivalents (49,882) $85.7 455,559 54,825 Cost of products sold 390,624 4.3% Six Months Ended 155,288 65,030 Cash and cash equivalents at end of period Operating Profit Transition costs 50,953 $509.1 6/28/2014 Office Furniture – Financial Performance(Dollars in millions) 45,573,952 $0.52   % of Net Sales 193,457 31,126 39,406 16,909 6/28/2014 1,298 13,680 179,552 (86) Note payable and current 6.9% 7/4/2015 30 bps 9.9% 3,957 Three Months Ended 7/4/2015 Income before income taxes GAAP HNI Corporation Reconciliation(Dollars in millions, except per share data) 4,397 118.1% Operating profit: (32,529) 6/28/2014 Operating profit (non-GAAP) $0.52 Net income Three Months Ended 8.8% Operating Income $26,952 Operating Income 8.9% Second Quarter Summary CommentsConsolidated net sales increased $59.1 million or 11.6 percent to $568.2 million. Compared to prior year quarter, the Vermont Castings Group acquisition increased sales $25.0 million. On an organic basis, sales increased 6.7 percent.Non-GAAP gross margin increased 20 basis points compared to prior year driven by higher volume, better price realization and strong operational performance, partially offset by unfavorable product mix.Selling and administrative expenses, as a percentage of sales, decreased 110 basis points due to the benefit of higher sales volume partially offset by strategic investments, higher incentive-based compensation and acquisition impact.Restructuring charges for the quarter were favorable $0.6M due to lower than anticipated postemployment costs. The Corporation recorded $1.3 million of transition expenses included in cost of sales in connection with previously announced closures, acquisition integration and structural realignment. Second quarter 2014 included $4.8 million of restructuring and transition costs of which $3.4 million were included in cost of sales. The prior year quarter also included a goodwill impairment of $8.9 million and a $1.3 million gain on the sale of assets. 336,305 Parent Company shareholders’ equity 10,894 $28,429 (Gain) loss on sale of assets 2,334 $20,801 320,722 $1,091,703 Liabilities and Shareholders’ Equity Operating Income % Unaudited Condensed Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows Receivables Non-GAAP 11.6% $0.01 $1,324,963 $0.8 450 bps Change 36.3% 80,353 Average number of common shares outstanding – diluted 37.9% $0.21 45,843,118 (560) 130 bps Short-term investments $0.22 Three Months Ended As of $12.9   % of Net Sales 25.2% $0.02 Other long-term liabilities EPS – diluted (Gain) Loss on Sale of Assets $23,879 8.9% Identifiable assets: $12.9 $0.73 Long-term debt Restructuring & Impairment charges –   % of Net Sales 6/28/2014 Income taxes (183) Assets 164,684   Hearth products 26,723 $11,848 $1,324,963 $20,640 4,802   General corporate Current maturities of other long-term obligations (Gain) loss on sale of assets % 3,419   Hearth products $1.3 39,209       Current assets 10,445 $788,899 $0.71 6/28/2014 2,047 (9,746) Net income attributable to HNI Corporation common shareholders – basic $509,143 9 $11.2 7,818 Goodwill 279,374 45,029,148center_img 4.3% $117.6 1,158 $49,882 Deferred income taxes GAAP 1,625 (Dollars in thousands) 35.9% 2.0% -40 bps   General corporate Operating Profit % Net Income % Operating Income % 35.6% Noncontrolling interest Less:  Net (loss) attributable to the noncontrolling interest 5,252 523,047 10,254 (Dollars in millions) Three Months Ended 6/28/2014 32,329 23,877 $0.46 – Deferred income taxes Prepaid expenses and other current assets 0 bps 30.5%   Hearth products Net Sales    maturities of long-term debt1 37.2% 9.5% (51,122) 2,698 Non-GAAP 17,560 Restructuring & Impairment charges 625,039 7/4/2015 $18,242 $181.1   General corporate $16,348 – (0.3%) 240,053 $33,438 4,225 6.9% Operating profit as reported (GAAP) Second quarter sales increased $31.9 million or 37.2 percent to $117.6 million. Compared to prior year quarter, the Vermont Castings Group acquisition increased sales by $25.0 million. On an organic basis, sales increased 8.0 percent for the quarter driven by an increase in both the new construction channel and the retail gas portion of the remodel/retrofit channel.For the quarter, non-GAAP operating profit increased $3.2 million or 37.9 percent due to increased volume and higher price realization.Outlook “We delivered very strong results during the first six months of 2015.  I remain confident in our ability to grow sales and significantly increase profits for the remainder of the year.  Our office furniture and hearth businesses are performing well and we continue to make investments to drive long-term profitable growth and shareholder value,” said Mr. Askren.The Corporation estimates sales to be up 5 to 9 percent in the third quarter over the same period in the prior year, including sales from the Vermont Castings Group acquisition.  Non-GAAP earnings per share are anticipated to be in the range of $0.84 to $0.89 for the third quarter and $2.55 to $2.65 for the full year, which includes the Vermont Castings Group acquisition results and excludes restructuring and transition costs. Three Months Ended Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period 70 bps 7/4/2015 44,359,898 PercentChange 36.5% $450,624 Three Months Ended $858,053 $781,792 7.1% 25.2% 701,079 7/4/2015 $29.3 SG&A % 9,665 34,144 Operating Profit (13,396) $8.5 $(0.6) $0.53 $59,943       Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity 45,867,927 (28) 1All debt classified as short term due to timing of maturity 121,791 173,726 – 35.6% – $1,324,963 362,102   Unallocated corporate expense   Office furniture 37.2% 5,203 Capital expenditures (including capitalized software): – As of1/3/2015    Capital expenditures 14,868 Property and equipment – net Inventories 434,787 Operating Profit % Vermont Business Magazine The parent company of Vermont Castings, HNI Corporation (NYSE: HNI), based in Iowa, announced on Wednesday sales for the second quarter ended July 4, 2015, of $568.2 million and net income of $23.9 million, or $0.52 per diluted share. Profits suffered less than expected due to charges resulting from plant closures. Non-GAAP net income per diluted share improved 35.9 percent from the prior year quarter to $0.53, which excludes restructuring, impairment, transition costs and gain on sale of assets. HNI reported last year that it would close and consolidate plants in Alabama and Illinois. Following its acquistition of Vermont Castings last fall, it announced in March 2015 that it would close the Bethel, Vermont, plant, with the loss of about 40 workers. It also has a hearth manufacturing plant in Randolph.RELATED: HNI Corporation acquires Vermont CastingsSecond Quarter Summary Comments “We are pleased with our results for the second quarter.  We delivered strong sales growth and significant earnings improvement.  Office furniture business performance was led by sales growth in the contract business and solid operational execution.  Momentum continued in our hearth business with strong sales growth in both the new construction channel and the retail gas portion of the remodel/retrofit channel,” said Stan Askren, HNI Corporation Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. (Dollars in thousands, except per share data) 23,663 Second Quarter – Financial Performance(Dollars in millions, except per share data) Accounts payable and 1,968 7/4/2015 $32,357 17,310 Gross Profit $1,239,334 10,282 $404,685 36.3% $16.9 Interest expense 37.9% (23,798) Transition Costs 83,606 9.9% Business Segment Data $29,836 Three Months Ended $1,091,703   Hearth products Operating Profit 1/3/2015 Net income attributable to HNI Corporation $39.8 (Dollars in thousands) 36.3% 54,924 $21,659 7.1% $0.39 $51,122 (2) $37,557 457,333 130 bps 206,124 44,416,008 Conference Call A webcast of the conference call will be available on HNI Corporation’s website at is external)(under Investor Information – Webcasts).  A replay of the webcast will be made available at the website address above.  An audio replay of the call will be available until Thursday, July 30, 2015, 10:59 p.m. (Central) by dialing 1-855-859-2056 or 1-404-537-3406 – Conference ID number 76049525. About HNI CorporationHNI Corporation is a NYSE traded company (ticker symbol:  HNI) providing products and solutions for the home and workplace environments.  HNI Corporation is a leading global office furniture manufacturer and is the nation’s leading manufacturer of hearth products.  The Corporation’s strong brands have leading positions in their markets.  More information can be found on the Corporation’s website at is external).MUSCATINE, Iowa, July 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — HNI Total assets $423.4 Net income attributable to HNI Corporation common shareholders – diluted Net cash flows from (to) financing activities 20,189 $26,399 EPS Gross Profit % $51,077 Net Sales   Total operating profit 6/28/2014 7/4/2015 EPS Gross Profit Depreciation and amortization expense: 31.6% $2.6 (11,855) $39.4   % of Net Sales 4,389 $16.9 348 $40.0 (1,346) 7/4/2015 Unaudited Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheet Operating Income 2,647 Net cash flows from (to) investing activities:   % of net sales Operating profit as reported (GAAP) Results (non-GAAP) As of Restructuring charges Gross profit 28,152 $1.3 1,187 84,054 $0.8 -210 bps – 201,820 35,299 $1,239,334 $32.0 $39,791 304,326 $34,735 31.6% $40.2 7/4/2015 $184.6 341,315 $0.8 45,019,783 233,650 435,135 As of7/4/2015 3,052 Office Furniture Reconciliation(Dollars in millions) Shareholders’ equity 45,620,984 92,529 $39.4 279,310 $12,472 6/28/2014 $423,423 $(0.02) 8.8% 3.3% 176,072 (Gain) loss on sale of assets   Office furniture   Office furniture $0.8 37,557 $(0.6) – 209 18,748 7.6% 1,993 9.9% 876 18,587 7.6% 20,681 414,501 147.6% 7/4/2015 7/4/2015 328,010 300,498 $8.5 (706) $450.6 9.5% 160   Office furniture 133.0% GAAP Second quarter sales increased $27.2 million or 6.4 percent to $450.6 million. Sales for the quarter increased in both our supplies-driven and contract channels.Second quarter non-GAAP operating profit increased $8.1 million or 25.2 percent. Increased volume, higher price realization and solid operational performance were partially offset by unfavorable product mix, strategic investments and incentive-based compensation.Hearth Products – Financial Performance Net Sales – Restructuring charges $453,754 $34,144 117,602 $0.21 $8.5 85,720 As Reported (GAAP) (35,752) $0.54 $0.45last_img read more


PAI: Just say no to election-year temptation

first_imgPublic Assets Institute On opening day of the 2016 legislative session, House Speaker Shap Smith had this advice for his colleagues: “There will be those who suggest that because this is an election year, that we will focus on politics rather than the people’s business. I reject that premise. I know each and every one of you and know that you are here because you believe that we can help make Vermont a better place.” A good way for legislators to heed the speaker’s suggestion would be to resist the temptation to spend all of the Education Fund surplus just to hold down taxes in an election year. It will come back to bite their constituents next year.At first blush it might seem like a good idea: it is taxpayers’ money after all. But using all of the surplus will be one-time relief that will be have to be made up the following year. In fiscal 2018, voters will see a double tax increase: they will have to make up the amount covered by the surplus in fiscal 2017—currently projected at about $20 million—plus whatever normal increase occurs in fiscal 2018.Vermont’s school funding system is based on the idea that all students have equal access to the educational resources of the state, so our statewide tax base provides all communities with equal capacity to raise education funds.To that end, the Legislature sets a homestead education tax yield that applies to every community: the amount per pupil to be generated for each $1.00 on the homestead property tax rate or 2.0 percent of household income for Vermont resident homeowners who qualify to pay an income-based school tax.Local communities determine how much they want to spend per pupil, and their tax rates vary up or down accordingly using the yield amount as the base. For example, if the homestead property tax yield was set at $8,000 per pupil, a district that voted to spend $16,000 per pupil would have a $2.00 homestead tax rate. A district spending $12,000 would have a rate of $1.50.The Legislature is currently considering a yield of $9701 per pupil, which represents a slight tax cut from this year—about 0.5 percent. But to achieve that yield, the Legislature is proposing to use all of the surplus anticipated for the Education Fund.At the same time that the Legislature is proposing to spend down its Education Fund surplus, many districts around the state are depleting their own reserves and surpluses to avoid being penalized by the Legislature for increasing their budgets too much next year. (Any spending increase covered with surplus funds doesn’t count toward the penalties.)A better approach than using the surplus all at once would be to develop a long-range plan, one that projects the ups and downs that are likely to occur with Education Fund revenues. Any surpluses could be used to stabilize the education tax rates, rather than amplify the peaks and valleys.Source: Public Assets Institute, Montpelier. is external)last_img read more


Trump and Sanders win presidential primary … bumper sticker poll

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sandersand  Republican Donald Trump should sweep Super Tuesday primaries, according to the Presidential Promo Polls on bumper sticker preferences released today by the Advertising Specialty Institute(link is external) (ASI). With an eye on Tuesday’s primaries and how promotional products are used in elections, ASI asked residents in primary states this question: If you received a bumper sticker from each of the presidential candidates, which one would you be most willing to put on your car?”We purposely chose to ask people about bumper stickers because it is an iconic election promotional product that’s also very personal,” said ASI Editorial Director Andy Cohen. “While you might accept and use a branded pen from a candidate you don’t necessarily support, no way would you put a bumper sticker on your car if you didn’t really endorse a candidate.”In the lead-up to Super Tuesday, ASI released results from voter polls(link is external) taken in nine, non-caucus states participating in primaries. More than 600 people from each state participated in each survey that was fielded among the Google Consumer Survey Network. All responses were collected between February 20-25.   In all nine states, voters ASI polled chose Trump and Sanders by wide margins.When asked about the popularity, in particular, of the Vermont senator with Democrats, versus former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ASI’s Director of Market Research Nate Kucsma said, come Tuesday, voters ASI polled may end up voting with their heads instead of their hearts. “Although our poll tells us lots of people love Sanders enough to put his bumper sticker on their car, they may end up voting for Hillary because they think she has the best chance to win in November,” Kucsma said. “Whereas Republican voters truly believe that Trump, or whomever else they support, can win it all in November.”Below are results from ASI’s Presidential Promo Poll:Alabama: Trump 53%, Sanders 58%Arkansas: Trump 51%, Sanders 59%Georgia: Trump 46%, Sanders 61%Massachusetts: Trump 50%, Sanders 62%Oklahoma: Trump 43%, Sanders 64%Tennessee: Trump 50%, Sanders 56%Texas: Trump: 40%, Sanders 53%Vermont:  Trump 45%, Sanders 91%Virginia: Trump 43%, Sanders 58%Promo products, also known as swag, freebies and giveaways, are items like pens, T-shirts, caps, coffee mugs and high-tech electronics imprinted with a logo or slogan used by companies, schools and non-profits to advertise their brand and events and to thank employees and clients.In 2012, ASI estimated total election-related promo product spending fueled by giveaways like bumper stickers, yard signs and candidate brochures hit $870 million.ASIThe Advertising Specialty Institute(link is external) (ASI®) serves a network of 25,000 suppliers, distributors and decorators in the $22 billion promotional products industry.SOURCE TREVOSE, Pa., Feb. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Advertising Specialty Institutelast_img read more


Montpelier landlord settles lead law violations

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Vermont property owner David Rogers of North Montpelier settled claims that he failed to file lead compliance statements for four rental properties in violation of Vermont consumer protection and lead laws. “Lead paint responsibilities do not go away. If you are a landlord with pre-1978 rental housing, the lead law requires annual compliance. The law also provides for penalties if you ignore or delay your lead paint duties,” said Attorney General Bill Sorrell.Every landlord with pre-1978 rental properties is required to submit annual compliance statements which show that the landlords have performed the essential maintenance practices (known as EMPs) and that the properties are in compliance with the lead law. The Department of Health confirmed that Mr. Rogers had not filed current EMP compliance statements for this year for his four rental properties.Under the terms of the settlement(link is external), Rogers will pay a penalty of $10,000 ($3,000 in payments to the State and $7,000 to be paid into the properties for permanent lead abatement improvements).For more information concerning the Vermont lead law, including the duties of property owners, and for copies of court documents from recent enforcement actions involving lead, see the Attorney General’s website at: is external) and click on “Lead.” Tenants who live in pre-1978 premises which have chipping paint or no notices regarding lead hazards may file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program, via the online complaint form(link is external), by phone: (802) 656-3183, by email at [email protected](link sends e-mail), or by mail to: Consumer Assistance Program, 109 State St. Montpelier, VT 05609-1001.Source: Vermont AG Dec 21, 2016last_img read more


Ethan Allen Residence celebrates Lift Up & Shout Out

first_imgVermont Business Magazine When Ethan Allen Residence started their fundraising campaign to install a much-needed elevator at their holistic residential care facility in Burlington’s North End neighborhood, the task felt overwhelming. “We knew we desperately needed an elevator for our residents and we were determined to provide one,” said Administrator Mary Mougey; “We knew we needed the brains, brawn and financial support of a large team of local businesses, organizations, and individuals to make it happen and our community rose to the challenge.” After many years of hard work and patience from staff, residents, and the surrounding neighborhood, the elevator installation was finished this spring.Staff, volunteers, donors, contractors, architects, funders, residents, and their families gathered to celebrate on Ethan Allen’s beautiful patio last week. The warm weather and lush garden, managed by residents, staff, and volunteers added the perfect backdrop as guests enjoyed a large variety of delicious appetizers created by Chef David Buhl. The planning of the project took the better part of three years, and though they have received generous donations and a matching gift of $100,000 from Tony Pomerleau, they are still working to bridge the gap on an $800,000 project. “We are still working hard to raise the final $22,000, ” said Executive Director Dee Deluca. “We know together we will get there.”About Living Well Group Living Well Group is a nonprofit organization with three campuses serving more than 100 elders and their families. Living Well Group’s mission is resident-focused care for elders that promotes wellbeing within a wide range of community connections. In 2013, Living Well Group purchased Ethan Allen Residence at 1200 North Avenue in Burlington, VT. This former church is home to 39 residents from all walks of life with many stories to share. To learn more, visit: is external)Source: July 5, 2017, Burlington-Ethan Allen Residence VBM vermontbiz.comlast_img read more


Unemployment rate down to 3.1 percent, but labor force falls

first_imgVermont Business Magazine All three broad-based measures fell in July’s unemployment report, as the number of those looking for work declined in Vermont, but so too did the labor force and total employed, both for the month and year-to-year. The Vermont Department of Labor announced today that the seasonally-adjusted statewide unemployment rate for July was 3.1 percent. This reflects a decline of one tenth of one percentage point from the revised June rate (3.2 percent). The national rate in July was 4.3 percent. As of the prior month’s preliminary data, the Burlington-South Burlington Metropolitan NECTA was tied for the thirteenth lowest unemployment rate in the country for all metropolitan areas at 2.6 percent (not-seasonally-adjusted). Overall, Vermont’s unemployment rate was tied for the tenth lowest in the country for the same time period.“Job gains in professional and business services, education and health care, and leisure and hospitality drive the current employment outlook in Vermont,” said Lindsay Kurrle, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Labor. “Despite some over the year losses in construction and manufacturing employment, we see steady job growth and low unemployment continuing throughout 2017 as the private sector continues to propel economic growth in the State of Vermont.”The Vermont seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate declined one tenth of one percentage point in July to a statewide average of 3.1 percent. The comparable United States rate is 4.3 percent which experienced a one-tenth of one percentage point decrease from the revised June estimate. The seasonally-adjusted Vermont data for July show the Vermont civilian labor force decreased by 950 from the prior month’s revised estimate. The number of employed decreased by 700 and the number of unemployed decreased by 250. None of the changes were statistically significant in the seasonally-adjusted series. The July unemployment rates for Vermont’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 2.4 percent in White River Junction to 4.4 percent in Bennington and Derby (note: local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally-adjusted). For comparison, the July unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 3.0 percent which reflects a decrease of one-tenth of one percentage point from the revised unadjusted June level and a decrease of four-tenths of one percentage point from a year ago.Not-Seasonally-Adjusted The preliminary ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ jobs estimates for July show a decrease of 3,300 jobs when compared to the revised June numbers. There was an increase of 200 jobs between the preliminary and the revised June estimates due to the inclusion of more data. The monthly increase seen in the July numbers was primarily attributable to seasonal movements in local government education. The broader economic trends can be detected by focusing on the over-the-year changes in this data series. As detailed in the preliminary ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ July data, Total Private industries have increased by 2,800 jobs (1.1 percent) and Government (including public education) employment has decreased by 1,600 jobs (-3.3 percent) in the past year. Seasonally-Adjusted The seasonally-adjusted data for July reports an increase of 1,700 jobs from the revised June data. As with the ‘not-seasonally-adjusted’ data, this over-the-month change is from the revised June numbers which experienced an increase of 200 jobs from the preliminary estimates. The seasonally-adjusted over-the-month changes in July were mixed at the sub-sector level. Those with a notable percent increase include: Leisure and Hospitality (+1,000 jobs or +2.7%) and Education and Health Services (+1,200 jobs or +1.8%). Sectors with a notable percent decrease include: Mining, Logging and Construction (-600 jobs or -3.7%) and Other Services (-200 jobs or -1.8%).last_img read more


Parker Riehle to stay at Ski Vermont

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Parker Riehle, the president of the Vermont Ski Areas Association, known as Ski Vermont, will not be leaving the organization after all. On August 29 he was named the new president and CEO of the Colorado-based National Ski Areas Association. Riehle was to take over the position on January 1, 2018, replacing Michael Berry, who is retiring after 25 years. The NSAA made no mention of the change in plans other than to announce that the search for a new president had resumed. The news was first reported by Ski Area Management Magazine September 12. Berry will remain in charge until a new president takes over.(link is external)“After a great deal of deliberation with my wife and family,” Riehle said in a statement, “I had to unfortunately decline the appointment to be the President & CEO of NSAA due to personal reasons that preclude our ability to leave Vermont and the New England area. A very difficult decision indeed, but family has to come first and I am very grateful for NSAA’s gracious understanding and support in this regard.”Among other requirements for the top job at NSAA is residence in the Denver, Colorado, area and “the ability to travel frequently and extensively is essential.”The Vermont ski industry is coming off a tumultuous four-year stretch in which the World Cup returned to Vermont for the first time since 1978 with colossal success and a Mikaela Shiffrin win at Killington last Thanksgiving; the EB-5 developments at Jay Peak and Burke Mountain led to both scandal and success; two of the best ski seasons in Vermont’s history and also one of the worst; the commingling of ski passes with the large resorts out West; the buying of Stowe Mountain Resort’s ski operation by Vail; and the acquisition of Stratton by Aspen.The ski industry generates over $1.6 billion in direct and indirect spending in Vermont and drives the state’s $2.6 billion tourism industry.Ski Vermont (Vermont Ski Areas Association/VSAA) is a private not-for-profit trade association founded in 1969 to help create a legislative, economic and social environment in which the state’s ski industry can grow and prosper, addressing issues including environmental integrity, economic and social contributions to the state’s welfare, and competitive positioning of the state as a destination for winter tourism. Ski Vermont serves its 20 Alpine and 30 Nordic member resorts in three major areas: Governmental Affairs, Marketing and Public Affairs.NSAA was initially formed in June of 1962. Member resorts now account for over 90% of the 57 million annual skier/snowboarder visits and generate annual revenues of approximately $7.2 billion. The NSAA has an annual budget of $4.2 million.The National Ski Areas Association represents 303 alpine resorts that account for more than 90 percent of the skier/snowboarder visits nationwide. Additionally, it has 370 supplier members who provide equipment, goods, and services to the mountain resort industry. NSAA analyzes and distributes ski industry statistics; produces annual conferences and tradeshows; produces a bimonthly industry publication; and is active in state and federal government affairs. The association also provides educational programs and employee training materials on industry issues including OSHA, ADA and NEPA regulations and compliance; environmental laws and regulations; state regulatory requirements; aerial tramway safety; and resort operations and guest service. The association’s primary objective is to meet the needs of ski area owners and operators nationwide and to foster, stimulate and promote growth in the industry.VBM vermontbiz.comlast_img read more


NEFCU ‘Blankets of Hope’ drive enters 19th year

first_imgVermont Business Magazine In 1998, to provide area community organizations with blankets to help Vermonters in need, New England Federal Credit Union (NEFCU) conducted its first Blankets of Hopeä  Drive. Now in its 19th year, the NEFCU Blankets of Hopeä  drive has collected and distributed thousands of blankets to organizations including the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS), Spectrum Youth & Family Services, Samaritan House, and others.This year, as in years past, the drive begins on December 1 and ends on December 31. New and gently used blankets may be dropped off at any NEFCU branch, the addresses of which are available at is external). Blankets will be cleaned and packaged by Greer’s Professional Fabricare Services.Source: NEFCU For more information, visit is external) or call 802-879-8790.,Yeslast_img read more


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