Sonnax has entered into a contract to purchase the Ben & Jerry’sDistribution Warehouse in Bellows Falls, VT.Closing for the transactionis scheduled for Oct. 1, 2003. Reconfiguration and renovation will takeapproximately two months after the closing, and they expect to be fullyoperational in December of 2003.All finished goods ready for sale will belocated in the new facility. In addition, the Engineering Department and anew Technical Center for the development of new products will be based inthe new facility. Expansion is expected to add at least seventy-five jobsover the next five years.
Dr. Gary Scudder, professor of history at Champlain College, is traveling this summer to India to teach college students in that country. As part of Champlains International Program, selected business and technology degree programs are offered on-site in Mumbai, India, and Scudder is the first Champlain professor to teach at this overseas campus.In addition to teaching history courses and working with faculty in Mumbai, Scudder will also set up the mechanics for future student and faculty exchanges. He will also further develop plans to share class projects between Burlington and international students using Champlains online capabilities. A year ago, Scudder worked with a professor in the United Arab Emirates to facilitate online class discussions between students in a contemporary world issues course.Scudder is the coordinator of social sciences at Champlain College and he has taught at the College for four years.
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Tom Shampnois of Burlington will join the staff as the Director of Advertising Sales and Marketing.Tom is a seasoned professional with over 30 years of diverse experience in the travel and tourism industry. Most recently, Tom was the Group Sales Manager for the Best Western Windjammer Inn in South Burlington, Vermont.Tom will begin his duties with the Vermont Chamber on March 28th.
Statement Of Senator Patrick LeahyIn Support Of The Financial Bailout PackageOctober 1, 2008This financial crisis is rooted in material actions involving executive greed and ineptitude, flawed economic policies, and the incompetence of on-the-scene regulatory agencies. And we are dealing with this crisis at the unfortunate intersection of two toxic trends: the loss of confidence in our financial system, and the public’s loss of confidence in the Bush Administration. Many have come to agree with those of us who have long felt that ‘trust me’ is not enough when this White House asks for sweeping new powers.As this crisis spreads, threatening to harm our families, businesses and communities, the clock has been running out on the federal government’s opportunity to try to staunch the damage. I opposed the original Bush plan, which was fatally flawed on several counts. Since then I have worked in good faith to fix its shortcomings, and by now several constructive changes have been made. After many fits and starts and long negotiations that have run through many nights, the clock is close to running out. As the Senate has prepared to vote on this revised plan, I have weighed its flaws and its improvements against the need for action to avert a wider credit crisis and the harm that would bring to Vermont and the nation.I had long talks on the day of the vote with Chairman Dodd and Senator Obama and others to understand their reasons for supporting this plan. I have come to agree with them that, while it is far from perfect, it is better than the alternatives at this crucial point. The spreading national emergency tips the balance in favor of this revised plan.Vermonters are divided on this, and I know that many will disagree with my decision. I respect their views and appreciate the many suggestions they have made to improve this plan or to try other approaches. Many improvements have been made. With credit conditions for businesses, public institutions, states, localities, and average Americans deteriorating every day, I believe that acting now to help put our economy on an even keel has become even more of an urgent priority.The bill that the Senate voted on tonight has changed significantly since President Bush first proposed a $700 billion blank check last week. It provides greater checks and balances on the government’s authority. Any actions taken by the Treasury Secretary should be approved by an oversight board, supervised by an Inspector General, reviewed under the Administrative Procedures Act, and examined by the courts if there is a question of fraud or abuse. I fought and won in adding the check-and-balance of judicial review.This revised plan increases the government’s insurance of consumers’ and businesses bank deposits from $100,000 to $250,000. This would safeguard the savings deposits of families and businesses and farmers in Vermont and protect the checking accounts of businesses that continually need to buy materials, sell their products and make their payrolls.This plan now also tightens the restrictions on executive pay and banning golden parachutes for firms participating in the program. Under current law, there are no restrictions on the amount of executive compensation that Wall Street CEOs can be paid. With these people having their hand out for a federal bailout, we should limit executive pay and prohibit greedy executives from walking away from the mess they created with millions while regular American investors lose their savings and retirement funds.My decision to support this remedy did not come lightly or easily. The worsening crisis has made the choice increasingly clear — and the stakes of doing nothing, significantly higher.# # # # #
VEOC Board of Directors Elects New LeadershipBurlington, Vermont (November 24, 2008) The Vermont Employee Ownership Center’s Board of Directors has elected new officers for the coming year.Paul Millman is the newly elected Board President. Millman is the president and co-founder of Chroma Technology Corporation (Rockingham, Vt.) and has served on the VEOC board since 2002, previously as Board Vice President. He brings a wealth of knowledge of Vermont’s business community and has worked tirelessly to promote employee ownership.”I am excited to take on the important job of steering the Vermont Employee Ownership Center over the next year,” said Millman. “I look forward to working with the VEOC board, staff, and the entire business community to increase the number of Vermont employee-owned companies,” he said.”Enabling employees to become company owners has been a focus of my professional life since we started Chroma in 1991. Employee ownership brings the rewards and challenges to working people. VEOC is playing a vital role in creating the real ownership society. Employee-owners don’t just act like owners; we are owners,” Millman added.Millman also sits on the Board of Directors of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and is a member of the Vermont Business Roundtable.Dawn Terrill is the newly elected Vice President. Terrill owns and operates JaniTech (South Burlington, Vt.) and has been a member of the VEOC board since 2007. She served as Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Transportation from 2004 to 2006 and as Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development from 2002 to 2004. Prior to that, she was President and CEO of Colchester-based Hill Associates. Terrill is a member of the Champlain College Board of Trustees, the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Vermont Telecom Authority.Michael Gurdon was re-elected as Secretary, a position he has held since 2003. Gurdon is Professor & Associate Dean of Graduate Programs at the University of Vermont’s School of Business Administration and has served on the VEOC board since 2002.Cindy Turcot was re-elected as Treasurer. Turcot is Chief Operating Officer of Gardener’s Supply Company (Burlington, Vt.) and has served on the VEOC board since 2002. She served as President of the VEOC board from 2002 to 2007.Jack Davidson is the outgoing President, but he remains on the VEOC board. Davidson is president of Trust Company of Vermont and has served on the VEOC board since 2003.Bruce Seifer has left the VEOC board after seven years of service. Seifer is the assistant director for economic development for the city of Burlington’s Community and Economic Development Office.The VEOC also announced that loans are still available for businesses that are already employee-owned, businesses that are becoming so through the purchase of stock or business assets, and start-ups that will be substantially owned by all of the employees. Loans of up to $50,000 are available, and proceeds may be used for fixed assets, working capital, financing of worker shares in cooperatives or the funding of ESOPs. More information is available at www.veoc.org(link is external).About the VEOCThe Vermont Employee Ownership Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and fostering employee ownership. The groups goals are to broaden capital ownership, deepen employee participation, retain local ownership of businesses and the jobs they support, increase living standards for working families, and stabilize communities. VEOC works directly with owners interested in selling their business to their employees, employee groups interested in purchasing a business, and entrepreneurs who wish to start a company with broadly-shared ownership. For more information, visit www.veoc.org(link is external).This project is funded by a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA’s funding should not be construed as an endorsement of any products, opinions, or services. All SBA-funded projects are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce has hired Patricia Moulton Powden. Powden, who recently joined the organization as Vice President of Public Affairs, will be responsible for initiatives in both the legislative and regulatory arenas.‘Pat’s experience in unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, environmental permitting, and economic development will be an undisputable asset to our members,’ said Betsy Bishop, President of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. ‘Her expertise has earned her the respect of many legislators, regardless of party and I am confident that she will elevate the Vermont Chamber’s presence and influence in government and regulatory affairs.’ Prior to joining the Vermont Chamber, Powden served as Commissioner of Labor for four years under Governor Jim Douglas where she was responsible for the implementation of many new workforce development initiatives as well as changes to unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and workplace safety that have benefited Vermont’s business community. Before becoming Commissioner, she was appointed by Governor Douglas to serve as the full-time Chair of the Vermont Natural Resources Board which is responsible for administering Vermont’s land use and development law and establishing water policy for the State of Vermont.Pat has led economic development efforts in Springfield, St. Johnsbury, Bennington, Windsor and part of Orange Counties and has spent many years helping numerous companies start-up, expand, and relocate to Vermont. She has also served as Commissioner of Economic Development for the State of Vermont.‘I am honored to continue serving Vermont’s business community and workforce and I look forward to helping the Vermont Chamber of Commerce advocate for the needs of businesses across the state,’ said Pat Moulton Powden, Vice President of Public Affairs. The Vermont Chamber of Commerce, the largest statewide, private, not-for-profit business organization represents nearly every sector of the state’s corporate/hospitality community. Our mission is to create an economic climate conducive to business growth and the preservation of the Vermont quality of life.Source: Vermont Chamber of Commerce. 7.27.2010###
The Vermont Ski Museum is inducting four new members into its Hall of Fame. Larry Damon, Bob Gray, Hilary Engisch Klein and Johannes von Trapp will be inducted at a ceremony in Stowe on October 24.Hall of Fame Induction 2010Tickets are selling QUICK!Please join us for a very special evening as we honor four of Vermont’s most influential skiers: Larry Damon, Bob Gray, Hilary Engisch Klein and Johannes von Trapp. Sunday, October 24thStowe Mountain LodgeStowe, VT5:00 PMReception, cash bar and silent auction 6:30 PMDinnerInduction Ceremony Presentation of the Paul Robbins Ski Journalism Award to Hank McKeeLive Auction!Big Spruce Chair donated by Stowe Mountain ResortLodging Information: For the best available rate at Stowe Mountain Lodge, please call (800) 829-7629. The Inn at the Mountain is offering a rate of $85/night. Please call (800) 253-3654. The Commodore’s Inn is offering a rate of $88/night. Please call (800) 44-STOWE (78693).Tickets:VSM members $100/ticketNon members $125/ticketPatron’s table. Reserved seating for 8 $1000/tableRSVP by October 10th by calling Meredith Scott at (802) 253-9911 ext. 202 or by logging onto www.vermontskimuseum.org(link is external).
In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week and in response to ongoing Vermont consumer complaints, Attorney General William H Sorrell warns consumers to be wary of frauds and scams that use wire transfer services, debt consolidators, and threatening collection calls all intended to take money from Vermonters.Fraud”Through a variety of means – posing as family or friends in distress, classified ads, bogus lottery and sweepstakes prize notices, and phony job offers – scammers use creative ways to get consumers to send them money by wire ransfer. We all need to know, and to make sure our loved ones know, that wire transfers are a key tool for scammers to get your hard-earned money. Vermonters should consider suspicious and possibly fraudulent, any unanticipated requests for funds by wire transfer.”How can you tell if it’s fraud?Did you get a call or e-mail from a family member in distress?- In recent months, Vermont consumers have lost tens of thousands of dollars to this scam. The consumer received a call from someone who sounded just like a family member, calling in distress while supposedly travelling and in need of emergency funds. The consumer may be told the family member has been arrested or mugged and lost all their money. The consumer is asked not to report it to other family members. If you receive a call or e-mail from a family member or friend requesting money be sent by wire transfer-STOP and contact another family member or friend to verify whether that the person is actually travelling, or contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program for assistance.Did you get a check or money order in the mail?- Vermont consumers have also lost substantial funds to scammers after receiving what appeared to be a valid check or money order with instructions to deposit it, and then return some of the funds by wire transfer. Whether the check is an “advance on winnings”, “payment” for “mystery shopper” services, an overpayment for an item you are selling, or any other similar circumstance, the check always comes back as fake. Many of these fake checks can take weeks to come back as fake or drawn on accounts with no funds, but in every instance, the bank will require the consumer to pay back the money.Have you responded to an internet ad for an apartment rental?- Recently, Vermonters have also lost money to scammers offering a Vermont apartment or vacation property for rent. The scammer requests the consumer to send the security deposit by wire transfer. Scammers copy real estate listings and pose as absentee landlords, then “approve” the consumer for the “lease” and request an application fee or security deposit by wire. By the time the consumer learns that the property is bogus or they sent the money to someone that does not own the property, the money is gone. Check with local housing authorities regarding the existence of the actual property and establish the owner.What can you do if you have been targeted?Cease all contact with the scammer- If you have been targeted by a scammer, do not continue contact with the scammer.Stop or report any wire transfer of funds- If you have sent funds by wire transfer, contact the wire transfer company immediately to report the fraud and halt the transaction. If you are able to report it before the money is picked up, you may be able to stop the transaction. Unfortunately, in most cases once the scammer has the transaction reference number, the funds are collected within minutes.Contact authorities- Contact your local police to report the fraud, as well as the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program (CAP). CAP tracks wire transfer fraud reports and uses the information in its efforts to work with wire transfer companies to combat wire transfer fraud.Know how to spot a fraud- Wire transfer fraud is difficult to investigate, as the funds can often be picked up at any location and the scammers are often out of the country. Vermonters’ best defense against this predatory activity is to understand and avoid these scams altogether. Collection ThreatsSorrell is cautioning Vermonters to be wary of fake collection calls that threaten consumers with dire consequences for failing to pay on a supposed debt. “These calls violate Vermont law. Collection agents may not threaten arrest, garnishments of wages, loss of personal property or other consequences they cannot enforce without a court order,” says Sorrell. Many of the calls claim to be collecting on an unpaid “payday” or short-term loan. In some cases, consumers had received short term loans, but had paid them in full. Payday loans are unlawful in Vermont, as the interest rates far exceed the rates allowable under Vermont banking law.What you can do if you are targeted by shady collectors:Don’t engage with the caller: The hostile and threatening tactics employed by these callers is intended to scare you into paying. Politely request information in writing and end the call. DO NOT make payment arrangements or agree to terms over the telephone, as such agreements are difficult to prove or enforce.Do not provide or verify any personal information: Do not give or verify your social security number, bank account information or date of birth, even if it appears the caller may know the information. Do not acknowledge you may owe a debt. Request the information be sent to you ‘ the caller should have your address and then end the call.Request information on the debt and the collection agency: Under debt collection practices law, you have the right to know the full name and contact information for any collection agency that contacts you, as well as to request proof of the debt in writing.Respond in writing to any written notification of a debt: If a collection agency sends you a notice in writing that you have a debt, but does not provide the specifics of the debt, respond in writing and request all the information about the debt be sent to you, including a copy of their right to collect the debt. Do not verify any personal information. Send your response by certified or registered mail. Under debt collection practices law, the collection agency must furnish proof in writing that you owe the debt upon your request and provide their authority to collect on the debt, or cease collection of the debt.Tell the collection agency how they may contact you: You have the right to request that any collection agency contact you only in the manner that you choose (such as by mail or through your attorney), or not contact you at all (called a cease-contact request). Your request must be in writing and should be sent by certified or registered mail so you have proof of receipt.Report harassing, threatening or bogus collection calls: If you receive bogus, threatening or harassing calls, you may report the calls to authorities. Violations of fair debt collection practices laws can be reported to the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program. You may find more information about your debt collection rights or file a complaint online (www.uvm.edu/consumer(link is external)) or contact CAP by phone toll free in Vermont at (800) 649-2424 or (802) 656-3183. Threats of physical harm should be immediately reported to your local law enforcement agency. Free OfferSorrell is also reminding Vermonters to be wary of free trial offers because often they contain hidden fees and other subscription obligations. Attached to promotions from online merchants or associated with health-related or other products advertised on television and in print media, these free trial offers usually include inflated shipping or handling charges and an automatic subscription and monthly charge if the consumer does not cancel. “Companies hide recurring fees behind free trial offers and make cancelling membership plans hard in the hopes that consumers will forget or give up. They then continue to charge consumers monthly for services and products they don’t need or want,” says Sorrell. When consumers finally cancel they may be charged cancellation or restocking fees. Many consumers may miss the small monthly charges on their credit card, checking account or telephone statements.Protect yourself from hidden fees and recurring charges:Avoid or be wary of free trial offers and other similar promotions- Read the disclosure! Often by clicking YES, you are agreeing for your credit card number and other personal information to be forwarded to a promotion company running the free offer. Free trials, discount codes at the checkout of online merchants and low-cost initial purchases are all tricks used to get consumers to agree to something in the hope of saving money. Read the fine print, decline the promotional offers or get good information first about what it will take to cancel or stop any membership. Know where your financial information is going.Review your bank account, credit card and telephone statements carefully- Companies rely on the fact that many consumers do not review their statements line by line, and will likely miss a small charge. Small charges add up quickly over time and it is the consumer who is responsible for monitoring their statements.Dispute unauthorized charges right away- You are often able to contest a charge on your bill, but only within a certain amount of time. Contact your bank, credit card company or telephone service provider as soon as you notice a questionable charge and request that it be removed. You may have to provide some additional information, but in some cases these charges can be reversed if caught soon enough.Home Improvement FraudWith spring just around the corner, Attorney General Sorrell is advising Vermonters to choose contractors carefully for their home improvement projects. “Home improvement fraud strikes at what is, for most people, your biggest investment – your home,” says Sorrell. Contractors are not generally required to be licensed in Vermont, so Sorrell advises Vermont consumers to “be diligent about asking for references, getting recommendations from friends, and insisting on seeing bond or insurance information before you sign the contract.” Home improvement fraud costs Vermonters thousands of dollars each year, according to complaint records from the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program. Home improvement fraud is a crime in Vermont.Protect against home improvement fraud:Get recommendations and check references- If you are looking to hire a contractor, talk to friends, neighbors, colleagues and other people you trust and get recommendations of who they have used. Ask any potential contractor for several references and contact those references. Ask questions about the contractor’s work quality, timeliness and ability to stick to a budget. Find out if there were any billing or cost issues, and how those were resolved.Write a detailed work plan as part of your contract- One of the best protections you can have is a detailed plan of the work and the cost of items. Tie payment to clear, objective goals in the contract that can be easily determined. Be clear about what remedy you can seek if the contractor fails to meet the terms of the contract, and what, if any, warranty is offered on the work.Get complete and thorough information from your contractor- Believe it or not, many consumers hire a contractor, only to realize they have very little information about how to contact the contractor when a problem arises. Require the full name, address and telephone numbers for the business and the individual contractor. Ask for the name, contact information and policy number for the contractor’s liability insurance company, and verify that the policy is still active.Check complaint histories- Before you hire a contractor, contact theConsumer Assistance Program to get the complaint history for the contractor, and check the State Home Improvement Fraud Registry.Having trouble resolving unauthorized charges? Contact CAP for help!Contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) toll free in Vermont with questions at (800) 649-2424 or (802) 656-3183, or visit CAP on the web atwww.uvm.edu/consumer(link is external) for more information or to file a complaint. Debt ScamSorrell is warning Vermonters about companies that are preying upon Vermonters in financial distress by offering useless or non-existent “assistance” with settling credit card debt or rescuing mortgages in foreclosure. “Many companies marketing these services to Vermonters are not licensed in Vermont and perform little or no meaningful service for the thousands of dollars they charge,” Sorrell said. “While our office has aggressively pursued the unlicensed companies we learn about, many more are in contact with Vermonters each day. If you are seeking assistance with managing your debts or mortgage, make sure you are doing business with a company licensed in Vermont.”Consumers should be wary of companies that make big promises, but want payment up front for their services. Claims such as “settle your debt for half of what you owe” or “rescue your home from foreclosure” are rarely substantiated and occasionally completely false. Some companies may never contact creditors at all.What you can do to protect yourself:Verify licensure- Companies providing debt management or mortgage assistance services in Vermont need to be licensed by the Vermont Department of Banking in order to provide services to Vermont consumers. You can check to see if a company is licensed in Vermont online at the Vermont Department of Banking website, or by calling toll free at (888) 568-4547.Decline payment up front- insist on paying only when you have proof the company is in fact working on your behalf.Seek local assistance- Local agencies, such as the non-profit Consumer Credit Counseling Service of New Hampshire and Vermont and the Vermont Department of Banking’s Mortgage Assistance Program, are resources that can help you understand and begin to manage your debts.Contact CAP- The Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) can help you recognize the red flags before you send any money away. Contact CAP to check complaint histories for a business or with any questions you may have. You can reach CAP toll free in Vermont at (800) 649-2424, or at (802) 656-3183, visit CAP on the web at www.uvm.edu/consumer(link is external).
While ahead of its time when it was originally deployed, the legacy PShift network in the Morrisville area was no longer delivering an end user experience that was up to the GAW service standard. GAW upgraded its broadband access speeds that also accommodate Internet, Voice and DirecTV. With the new upgrade, GAW management made the decision to wave the customary two-year contract at the time of the upgrades, to support the current customer base.Although not as quickly deployed as we anticipated, we took the time to create a superior solution for our customers.’ said Josh Garza, CEO, GAW. ‘The subscriber response to the increased speeds and improved service has been overwhelming. Both current and new users are expressing their delight in having the best alternative in the market. Nearly 100 customers chose to upgrade to the highest Internet speeds in their area, which reach upwards of 6 mbps. ‘ The final phase of the Morrisville Service upgrade replaced the Trombley Hill, Stagecoach and Elmore Fire Department access points, as well as all customer equipment being served by those access points. The upgrade offers significant speed, with a 3 mbps standard. The upgrade provides for streaming video, online gaming and more. Now customers can have one provider of communications services, featuring Voice, DirecTV, and Internet. Digital Voice Service features unlimited local and long distance calling for only $19.95 per month, and GAWTV from DirecTV with monthly fees beginning at just $34.99. You can bundle all three for less than $95 per month, or purchase each individually as stand-alone services. ‘In many cases, our competitors raise their rates in a few months after signing up,’ exclaimed Josh Garza, CEO, GAW. ‘Once subscribers understand that our monthly rates don’t go up after the first few months as with our competitors, they choose to stay with a communications provider that rewards customers’ loyalty.’ About GAWGAW is the premier provider of Internet, Voice and DirecTV in New England. GAW offers services to both rural residents, and those in more urban areas seeking higher broadband signals. GAW has served more than 50,000 users in CT, VT, and parts of NH and NY. GAW is New England’s largest and fastest high-speed wireless Internet service provider. For more information about GAW, or to find out how to get high-speed access to the Internet, visit www.gaw.com(link is external), call 1.877.5.GET.GAW or email email@example.com(link sends e-mail).