Sale of Vermont TV stations FOX and WVNY completed for $16.9 million

first_imgNexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: NXST) and Mission Broadcasting, Inc announced Monday that they completed the previously announced accretive acquisition of the assets of WFFF-TV (FOX) and WVNY (ABC) serving the Burlington, Vermont, market from Smith Media, LLC and affiliates for a total of $16.9 million. Concurrent with the closing of the station acquisitions, Nexstar and Mission entered into a local services agreement whereby Nexstar is providing sales and other services to WVNY.When the acquistion was announced last November, Nexstar spokesperson Joe Jaffoni told Vermont Business Magazine that Nexstar has a reputation of understanding community broadcasting, through its coverage of things like local news, community events and high school sports. He said viewers will see more hours of local programming per week overall.”They really understand local programming,” he said. The two stations will continue to operate separately but share services. WFFF and WVNY share the local news broadcast, for instance. “The market is probably going to benefit from stronger, deeper, local news coverage,” Jaffoni said.Perry A. Sook, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc, said in a statement Monday that, ‘ This transaction is consistent with our acquisition criteria as it further diversifies our operations, expands our scale, creates another new duopoly market and is financially accretive. Since mid-2012, Nexstar has expanded to 72 from 55 the number of television stations that it owns, operates or provides services to and in doing so, we’ ve grown our duopoly markets to 26 from 20. The eighteen recently acquired stations will be additive to our operating results throughout 2013 and we continue to evaluate additional station acquisition opportunities that will allow the Company to leverage its intellectual capital and operating management disciplines.’Waller Capital served as the exclusive financial advisor to Smith Media, LLC.About Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc.Nexstar Broadcasting Group is a leading diversified media company that leverages localism to bring new services and value to consumers and advertisers through its traditional media, e-MEDIA, digital and mobile media platforms. Nexstar owns, operates, programs or provides sales and other services to 72 television stations and 15 related digital multicast signals reaching 41 markets or approximately 12.1% of all U.S. television households. Nexstar’ s portfolio includes affiliates of NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, MyNetworkTV, The CW, Telemundo, and Bounce TV, the nation’ s first over-the-air broadcast television network programmed for African-American audiences and two independent stations. Nexstar’ s 41 community portal websites offer additional hyper-local content and verticals for consumers and advertisers, allowing audiences to choose where, when and how they access content while creating new revenue opportunities.IRVING, Texas & BURLINGTON, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–3.4.2013last_img read more

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Champlain Oil donates more than $2,500 for the Bissonette Family recreation area

first_imgLocal CITGO Marketer Champlain Oil Co.raised $2,530.60 by collecting three cents from every gallon of gas purchased in the month of April at the Hinesburg Jiffy Mart for the construction of a new recreational facility, the Bissonette Family Recreation Area. The 11-acre recreational facility located off Shelburne Falls Road will accommodate youth and adult recreation programs and provide adequate recreation space to support the town’s athletic programs.”We want to thank our great customers for helping make this donation possible. We kept hearing our customers complain about how much time it took to go to a field in another town just so their kids could play. When we heard about the plan to build a nearby recreation center, we jumped at the opportunity to help fundraise for the construction,” said Jiffy Mart manager Kristi Brown. “We know the facility will be a great asset to our community, and it definitely took a community to build it. We look forward to crossing the road and watching tons of games.”For many years, the Town of Hinesburg did not have the space to support its athletic programs, leaving youth programs scattered throughout the town and forcing residents to travel to surrounding towns in order to participate in team sports. In 2011, local farmer, the late Wayne Bissonette, and his family donated 11 acres of land to the Town of Hinesburg to be used as the Bissonette Family Recreation Area. This facility will include two full-size, multi‐purpose fields for soccer, football and lacrosse, a Little League baseball field, a “tot lot” playground, parking, restrooms and storage. To learn more about this project, visitwww.hinesburg.org(link is external).The campaign for the recreation area is just one way in which Champlain Oil gives back to the local community. Other examples include annual fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association through a golf tournament and donations within its Jiffy Mart locations and also sponsorships for local youth sports teams, including the Charlotte Little League and CSSU Buccaneers football.Founded in the 1940s, Champlain Oil Company is an innovative leader in the wholesale fuel and convenience store industries and has grown into one of the largest, independent gasoline, diesel and kerosene distributors in Vermont and New Hampshire. Champlain Oil works with the Trucking Fleet and individual independent dealers to help them structure a business model and insure their success. Champlain Oil currently owns 32 Jiffy Mart locations throughout Vermont and New Hampshire. For more information, visit www.champlainoil.com(link is external).CITGO is committed to giving back to the local communities it serves through its network of locally owned stations. CITGO Marketers and Retailers in Vermont and New Hampshire own and operate nearly 140 CITGO locations and are proud to support their communities. For more information on the positive impact of the locally owned CITGO stations, visit www.CITGO.com(link is external).CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information, visit www.CITGO.com(link is external).SOURCE SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt., May 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — CITGOlast_img read more

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Vermont among states with ‘Aging Homes’

first_imgRealtyTrac (www.realtytrac.com(link is external)), a leading source for comprehensive real estate data, has released its Aging Homes Analysis, which shows that more than 70 percent of US single family homes were built before 1990 while 60 percent of 2013 sales year-to-date were for homes built before 1990.”The high percentage of homes that are at least 20 years old and likely in need of some major repairs is eye-opening,” said Jake Adger, chief economist at RealtyTrac. “However, given the low inventory of homes available for sale in today’s market, this challenge of aging US housing supply can also be an opportunity for buyers looking for a bargain and homeowners looking to update their living space and improve the value of their homes.”The likelihood of purchasing an older home varies by state. Homes older than 1990 made up more than 75 percent of year-to-date 2013 sales in 11 states: Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Illinois, and Wyoming. In contrast, older homes made up less than 40 percent of 2013 sales in Utah, Idaho, Mississippi, and Nevada.Purchases of single family homes by institutional investors, entities that bought at least 10 properties in the last 12 months, skewed toward newer homes, with 39 percent of year-to-date 2013 purchases for homes built in 1990 or later. The percentage of sales on homes built in 1990 or later by institutional investors exceeded 50 percent in 10 states, including Nevada (73 percent), Idaho (66 percent), Arizona (61 percent), Mississippi (60 percent), and North Carolina (60 percent).Meanwhile homes built in 1990 or later sold at an average price of $256,292 year-to-date in 2013 while homes built before 1990 sold at an average price of $233,221.”The lower price point on older homes is not surprising given many are in need of some rehab and are more likely to have maintenance issues,” Adger noted. “But this also presents an opportunity for buyers willing to take on that older inventory. Those buyers can purchase at lower price points and face less competition from institutional investors.”Government-backed rehab financingAdger noted that the Federal Housing Administration’s 203(k) program is the government’s answer to the problem of the aging housing supply. Owner-occupant buyers can take advantage of the 203(k) program to finance the purchase, rehab, and upgrade of an older home, while homeowners can also take advantage of the program to roll rehab costs into a refinance.Older homes are likely to be in need of major work if that work has not been completed recently by the previous owner. Many older homes haven’t been upgraded to include the latest technologies for energy efficiency and natural disaster preparedness, or to include layouts and floor plans preferred by many homeowners today.”Many consumers may not realize the FHA 203(k) program allows them to roll in the cost of both minor and major rehab into the purchase financing or a refinancing,” said Dennis Walsh, CEO of REBuildUSA, which connects buyers and homeowners with lenders specializing in 203(k) loans. “This means the entire layout of these older homes can be changed to fit more with modern tastes and sensibilities.”Walsh noted that homeowners can expect normal wearing out of certain things around the house, as they reach the end of their expected life. The NAHB’s 2007 report “Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components” provides life expectancies for a number of these items based on the age of the home:‘ As new as 10 years – Washing Machine, Dishwasher, Carpet, and Duct work10 to 25 years – Decks, Asphalt Roof, Linoleum or Laminate flooring, Water Heater, Sprinklers, Faucets and Toilets, Air Conditioner, Furnace, Aluminum Windows, Paint, Aluminum and Steel Gutters, Other Appliances25 to 50 years – Kitchen Cabinets, Wood Roofs, Wood Windows, Electric Heating, Trim Lumber, Kitchen Cabinets”We find folks also adding rooms, knocking down walls and other changes that enlarge, modernize or open up a floor plan,” Walsh said. “Older homes often do not have a separate master bath, or the existing master bath is just too small and outdated.”Longtime homeowners who live in older homes can use the 203(k) program to refinance at a lower rate. Eight states have more than 100,000 homeowners who are estimated to be up to 10 percent underwater on their mortgages, Adger noted. With modest increases in home values these homeowners should be able to refinance. These homeowners may not be aware that they can refinance with a 203(k) loan even if their home needs major upgrades, as long as they have 5 percent equity and are not in default.Local broker perspectives”Salt Lake City County has a large amount of homes built prior to the 1990s that are in need of repair,” said Steve Roney, president of Prudential Utah Real Estate covering the Northern Utah area. “However, it is common for many of those homes to have already been updated or completely redone by the current owner or investor prior to the sale. It’s very area-specific. We’ve seen older homes that have been completely redone rival the price-per-foot sale price of a new home in the same area.””As the nation’s housing inventory continues to age, homeowners should consider using programs to invest in modifications and repairs to their homes,” said Michael Mahon, executive vice president/broker at HER Realtors. “The FHA 203(k) loan program is a great example of how community and housing redevelopment efforts can provide a higher rate of return on equity for homeowners.”About RealtyTrac Inc.RealtyTrac (www.realtytrac.com(link is external)) is the leading supplier of U.S. real estate data, with more than 1.5 million active default, foreclosure auction and bank-owned properties, and more than 1 million active for-sale listings on its website, which also provides essential housing information for more than 100 million homes nationwide. This information includes property characteristics, tax assessor records, bankruptcy status and sales history, along with 20 categories of key housing-related facts provided by RealtyTrac’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Homefacts’®. RealtyTrac’s foreclosure reports and other housing data are relied on by the Federal Reserve, U.S. Treasury Department, HUD, numerous state housing and banking departments, investment funds as well as millions of real estate professionals and consumers, to help evaluate housing trends and make informed decisions about real estate.IRVINE, CA–(Marketwired – October 31, 2013) – RealtyTraclast_img read more

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Head of Vermont Health Connect scolded for security breach testimony to Legislature

first_imgGovernor Shumlin issued the following statement Monday morning in response to Vermont Health Connect Commissioner Mark Larson’s letter to the House Health Care Committee. Larson had suggested to legislators that the Exchange’s online system was secure, though that turned out to be incorrect. A security breach occurred in October. On November 5, Larson offered the incorrect testimony to legislators. Larson apologized in a letter sent to legislators Sunday. House Speaker Shap Smith also issued a blistering response to Larson’s previous testimony.At a House Health Care Committee meeting November 5, Representative Mary Morrissey, R-Bennington, directly asked Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) Commissioner Larson if there had been any security breaches with Vermont Health Connect.Larson told her there hadn’t been, failing to disclose the October 17 incident in which one user was able to access another user’s social security information.Governor Shumlin stated: ‘I take this incident extremely seriously. It is unacceptable to be anything less than fully cooperative and transparent with Vermonters and their elected representatives in the Legislature. I am tremendously disappointed in Commissioner Larson’s lapse of judgment in this matter. The legislators in Montpelier represent the Vermonters we are all elected to serve, and they have a right to have their questions answered fully. That did not happen in this case, and I have made clear to Mark and other members of my administration that it must never happen again.’ Governor Shumlin, left, with Mark Larson in October. vtdigger.org photo‘I know that Mark, as a former legislator and House Health Care Committee chair, values and appreciates the importance of being forthcoming with legislators. I take him at his word that his comments were not meant to deceive. As the Commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access, Mark has worked extremely hard over the past months under incredibly difficult circumstances; this incident is not reflective of his many years of admirable public service. I am confident he will take the steps to remedy this situation and work to regain the trust of the legislature.’ ‘I was unaware of Commissioner Larson’s specific testimony in question until Saturday. Regarding the privacy incident itself, my staff briefed me on it shortly after it occurred. I received updates as the incident was investigated, and I was relieved to learn that it was isolated, involved two individuals, and was not caused by any malicious or intentional breach of the site’s security. I learned that the situation was promptly remedied, that the two individuals involved had been contacted, that the incident was reported as required, and that CMS considered it closed.’ “I take the security of Vermonters’ information incredibly seriously. This isolated incident, while of course concerning in its own right, did not at the time, and does not currently, cause me to have broader concerns about the security of Vermont Health Connect.’  This incident was promptly identified and resolved, and I was disappointed to learn that Commissioner Larson did not adequately disclose the circumstances of it when asked about this topic in committee earlier this month.’ “In Vermont, the trust between the different branches of government is stronger than in many states or in Washington. We often point to our tradition of cooperation and sensible discourse as a model for the nation and a mark of pride for Vermonters.’  I sincerely hope this situation will be seen for the mistake it was and will not adversely affect that tradition.”Speaker Smith said: ‘Vermonters have an expectation that those testifying in front of the legislature, particularly public officials, will do so accurately and in a forthright manner.’  Commissioner Larson did not meet those expectations when he testified in the House Health Care Committee on November 5th.’  This failure is particularly troubling coming from a friend, former legislative colleague and Chair of the committee.’ “Incidents such as this erode the public’s confidence in their officials.’  I have spoken with Commissioner Larson and Governor Shumlin and have shared with them my view that this incident is unacceptable.’  I have also expressed my view that a breach such as this will undermine Commissioner Larson’s ability to be an effective representative for the administration in the Legislature.’  It is now incumbent on Commissioner Larson to work to rebuild the trust he once had with his legislative colleagues.’vtdigger.org contributed to this report.last_img read more

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Record breaking 2013 for Northern Power Systems

first_imgNorthern Power Systems (www.northernpower.com(link is external)), a next-generation renewable energy technology company based in Barre, Vermont, reports that 2013 has been its most successful year in its core business ever. Northern Power broke its previous sales records of the NPS 60 and NPS 100 wind turbines with triple digit orders, in terms of number of units, coming from its European markets.Production at the company’s US manufacturing facility in Barre is nearing full capacity and sources are actively being identified to meet additional demand. As a result, Northern Power expects its global fleet of distributed wind turbines to grow beyond 400 units by the end of 2014.The NPS 60 and NPS 100 reliability record continues to improve, recently surpassing 4 million run time hours with over 99% grid-connected median availability without a major incident since coming to market in 2008. This is despite having record cold temperatures in North America and violent storms in Europe. These distributed wind-class turbines are available in a variety of rotor and tower configurations, including two models introduced in mid-2013 that are specifically designed for Class III low wind sites.Northern Power’s strategic partnership with WEG Equipamentos Elétricos S.A., a major Brazilian electrical manufacturing company, is strengthening further. WEG has secured orders consuming full production capacity for 2014 for 2.1 MW turbines based on the utility-scale technology platform licensed from Northern Power.Troy Patton, CEO Northern Power Systems, said, “Our success in 2013 has gone beyond our expectations. By customizing our products to meet specific new market needs, we expect to continue to expand our opportunities for growth in the coming year.”About Northern Power SystemsNorthern Power Systems designs, manufactures, and sells wind turbines, and provides engineering development services and technology licenses for energy applications, into the global marketplace from its US headquarters and European offices.* Northern Power Systems has almost 40 years’ experience in technologies and products generating renewable energy.* Northern Power Systems currently manufactures the NPS’¢ 60 and NPS’¢ 100 turbines. With over 4 million run time hours across its global fleet, Northern Power wind turbines provide customers with clean, cost effective, reliable renewable energy.* Patented next generation permanent magnet/direct drive (PM/DD) technology uses fewer moving parts, delivers higher energy capture, and provides increased reliability due to reduced maintenance and downtime.* Northern Power Systems offers comprehensive in-house development services, including systems level engineering, advanced drivetrains, power electronics, PM machine design, and remote monitoring systems to the energy industry.* Some of the world’s largest manufacturers license NPS next generation technology and IP for their utility and distributed wind products and markets.BARRE, VT–(Marketwired – January 29, 2014) – Northern Power Systems www.northernpower.com(link is external).last_img read more

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Senate kills bill giving towns more input in siting solar projects

first_imgby John Herrick vtdigger.orgA bill to give towns more say in where solar projects are located died on the Senate floor Wednesday night after lawmakers and environmental groups cautioned the bill would slow renewable energy growth in Vermont.The Senate voted 21-8 against the bill on second reading.The Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee approved S.191, which was later amended to require ground-mounted solar installations (as opposed to rooftop solar projects) to undergo the same town zoning and screening restrictions as other commercial development.Renewable energy advocates were on guard to stop the bill, but Senate lawmakers were quick to intervene and kill it on the floor.The state has established a clean-energy target to source 90 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. Senate lawmakers said the bill could chip away a statewide goal designed to serve the public good.Sen. David Zuckerman, P-Chittenden, opposed the bill, saying it bill would create hurdles for renewable energy progress.“This bill is going to allow communities with varying degrees of ordinances and setback requirements, and so forth and so on, to actually impede that goal, which is a very ambitious goal, but one that many people agree is a very important goal with respect to sourcing our energy from renewable projects,” Zuckerman said.The committee heard testimony from residents and town officials in Rutland Town and Charlotte, rural communities that are prime locations for solar installations. With the rapid growth of the solar industry affecting these towns, the committee’s intent was to give communities a say in where projects are located.The committee said it did not intend to restrict solar projects.“I don’t think this bill in any way impedes solar,” said committee member Sen. Peter Galbraith, D-Windham. “I think it is way overstated that this is going to set back our solar objectives.”Under the bill, the Public Service Board would not be able to waive town zoning and screening bylaws when deciding whether to approve energy generation projects through the Section 248 review process.The Department of Public Service, which represents ratepayers in utility matters, opposed the rule changes. It was unclear what effect the proposal would have on electricity rates, the department said.PHOTO: Solar farm in Shelburne.last_img read more

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Regulators fine GMP for wind project noise violations

first_imgGreen Mountain Power Corp,by John Herrick vtdigger.org(link is external) Green Mountain Power will be required to constantly monitor sound coming from wind turbines, which could provide the most detailed assessment yet of a noise issue concerning some residents living near wind farms. The Vermont Public Service Board fined the utility $1,000 last week for exceeding sound limits it placed on the Kingdom Community Wind farm, which was approved in 2011. In place of a larger civil penalty, regulators asked the utility to implement a continuous sound-monitoring program for one year. Regulators said it will cost the utility approximately $109,000 to implement the department’s proposal. The board said GMP cannot recover these costs from ratepayers.The utility is required under its certificate of public good to keep the noise level at the 63-megawatt wind project on Lowell Mountain below 45 decibels on average over one hour outside nearby homes. Regulators determined the company violated the sound limits in winter of late 2012 and early 2013. GMP says the sound violations were caused by snow buildup on the turbine blades.Anti-GMP signs are outside a house at the foot of the access road leading to the turbine site. Photo by Andrew Stein/VTDiggerThe company has since installed cameras and weather-monitoring equipment to detect snow accumulation on the blades. Since GMP installed this equipment, no other violations have been reported.The Department of Public Service this spring drafted a continuous sound-monitoring proposal, which Green Mountain Power supports and has agreed to implement. Regulators determined it would be “more constructive” to require the utility to implement this plan rather than pay a larger monetary penalty.Vermonters for a Clean Environment, a group opposing the wind project, told the board the methodology of the sound monitoring proposal is flawed and the experts hired to assist its implementation have developed projects that have caused complaints from neighbors about noise.Public Service Commissioner Chris Recchia said the details of the proposal are still being worked out, but it would be “scientifically based and rigorous.” He said the department does not know when the plan will be implemented.The department is still evaluating the order and has the option to ask the board to reconsider it, he said.GMP spokesperson Dotty Schnure said the company has collected 10,934 total hours of sound monitoring data, and has exceeded the regulatory limit for four hours. She said GMP is committed to operating the wind project within its permit requirements.She said GMP shuts down the wind turbines when weather causes ice or snow accumulation. She said this has always been part of the company’s operating procedure.The utility again announced on Tuesday it had met noise standards for the latest reporting period from August 20 to Sept. 9. The utility hired the research firm(RSG) to conduct the report, and critics say the studies are not scientific because they discard data when wind speeds are high near recording microphones and during certain precipitation events.The department’s proposal requires noise sensitive receptors, or microphones, to be placed around residents homes with direct exposure to the turbine noise. A second microphone would be shielded from the turbines to measure background noise, which is used to control for other noises in the area.The data will be collected continuously and downloaded for review, according to the proposal. The data would then be summarized for monthly reports. The acoustical consulting firm hired by the department, Acentech Inc., drafted the proposal.Outgoing board member John Burke said in his dissent he would have preferred a substantial fine be imposed on GMP and would not have ordered the continuous monitoring.“While the only winner then would have been the State’s general fund, all the parties would begin to realize that working on noise issues is important and that more is gained by working together than by the “my way or the highway” attitude that appears to have prevailed here,” he said.Burke said no matter what data results from this monitoring, it will likely be criticized and its ultimate value will be diminished, in his opinion.Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, does not support the methodology outlined in the department’s sound monitoring proposal. She also said the firms hired by the department have a history in designing wind projects that have caused harmful noise.Wind proponents say studies show wind turbine noise does not cause harm, but some residents in Vermont say turbines interfere with sleep and cause nausea.last_img read more

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Vermont Public Service Department releases 2014 Telecommunications Plan

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The Department of Public Service, in conjunction with the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Department of Information and Innovation, has released the final 2014 Telecommunications Plan. The Plan addresses the major ongoing developments in the telecommunications industry, including broadband infrastructure development, regulatory policy (as the non-regulated aspects keep growing), greater competition and recommendations for future action.“This Plan is the product of a rigorous public input process. The Department carefully considered the proposals made by members of the public and the telecommunications industry in response to the Department’s final draft,” said Public Service Commissioner Christopher Recchia.The final plan includes added recommendations on “make-ready” and pole attachment policy, net neutrality, and it provides a more in depth look at the cost of deploying fiber to the home to every E911 location in Vermont. The Plan calls for a prioritization of State supported projects that ensure locations with the slowest available broadband speeds receive priority for upgrades.One of the challenges the state has is with oversight.”While demand for telecommunications services are greater than ever, the state’s authority to regulate the market has waned,” the report states.It goes on to say: “When the Telecommunications Act was signed into law in 1996, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and the Internet were nearly completely separate. Voice service over the PSTN was the only plausible definition of an “essential” service. This remained largely true at the publication of the Department’s 2004 Telecommunications Plan when competition in the telephone market was still establishing itself. But technological changes over the last 10 years have blurred the line between what is an essential service and what is not. One significant change is the use of packet switching to carry voice data in the same way that information data is transmitted.”The dominant packet switching technology, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), has allowed a greater number of competitors to enter the voice market, such as cable and Internet content companies. Some companies provide voice service to fixed locations over internally managed Internet protocol (IP) networks, while other providers use IP technology to send voice traffic over the public Internet (nomadic VoIP). More importantly, VoIP has challenged the distinction between “telecommunications service” (or “basic service”) and an enhanced “information service.” Because federal law distinguishes between telecommunications and information services, and regulates each one differently, the rise of VoIP raises an important question about what is a telecommunications service. The transition from traditional circuit switched technology to IP technology is inevitable, and the roles that states and the national government play in this transition will be crucial to determining basic questions about quality, reach, and affordability of basic voice service in the future.”The voice telephony market has changed in other ways. Commercial Mobile Radio Service (cellular service) has become a dominate technology in the telecommunications industry over the past decade. The 2004 Telecommunications Plan survey indicated that an overwhelming majority of Vermont households (77%) had not even considered the idea of giving up their traditional landline service in favor of wireless service. Today, 29.9% of Vermont adults live in wireless-only households, and that number continues to increase as service expands and becomes more reliable.”Recent consolidation of the wireless market has resulted in four nationwide carriers offering service in Vermont. These carriers have made great inroads into rural Vermont, installing facilities in some of the hardest to reach places of the state. The result has been that Vermonters increasingly rely on their wireless devices to communicate.”Now, broadband service is nearly universal in Vermont, with availability in at 99% of locations within the state, with the remaining 1% having a “funded solution” in place.Figure 4 depicts the locations in each speed tier by county. 9% of locations (27,574) have or will have service available that meets the 2024 goal; 61% of locations (178,767) have service available that reaches 100 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload, while this service does not meet the 2024 goal, it comes very close. At 8% of the locations (22,908), the best available service provides access at 4/1 Mbps; 22% of locations (65,816) have or will have high speed Internet access, but the best speeds are below 4/1 Mbps. This plan calls for prioritizing any state funded support by speed, starting with those locations that lack service of 4/1 Mbps or better. “The comments we received during the public and legislative review process helped us make this plan much stronger,” Recchia said, adding  “I appreciate the efforts of all those who commented and we made every effort to constructively address those comments in this final plan.”The Department held nine public hearings during the months of August and September, including one statutorily mandated hearing at the General Assembly. During this time, the Department received numerous comments suggesting Vermont adopt a revolving loan fund that would enable providers to receive loans with favorable terms to deploy broadband projects in hard to serve areas.“We carefully considered this proposal and decided a grant program will better serve hard to reach locations by making the business case for deploying infrastructure more favorable. A loan program would not likely enhance the business case for these areas.”In addition to broadband, the Plan also discusses ongoing developments in the provision of telephone and cable. In addition the Plan provides an analysis of state government telecommunications infrastructure. The Plan presents readers with an overview of the last ten years and what the State should focus on over the next ten years to ensure Vermonters have access to the best available telecommunications services. “It is our hope that this plan will help guide Vermont’s future telecommunications policy.”Source: Vermont Public Service Department. 12.4.2014. The 2014 Telecommunications Plan is available electronically at the following link: 2014 Telecommunications Plan(link is external). To receive a hard copy of the 2014 Telecommunications Plan, please contact Jim Porter at [email protected](link sends e-mail)  or (802) 828-4003.last_img read more

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Ben & Jerry’s heads to Cancun for franchisee meeting and sunny philanthropy

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Ben & Jerry’s has chosen Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort, in Cancun, Mexico to host their annual Global Franchise Meeting of 2016 from January 14th-17th. Ben & Jerry’s said that the Palace Resorts aligns perfectly with Ben & Jerry’s mission and was chosen as the location to host over 400 Ben & Jerry’s franchisees and staff due in part to the company’s foundation, Fundacion Palace. The Palace Foundation’s efforts are a testament of the company’s commitment to positively impact the communities the properties are located in throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. Both businesses believe in more than simply making a profit, they support a sustainable business model, and strive to make an impact on addressing social needs.Part of every Ben & Jerry’s annual meeting includes a local community project, where meeting attendees will put down their scoops and pick up a paint brush or shovel to give back to the community. Together with Fundacion Palace, Ben & Jerry’s will take action in the Cancun community on January 15th by sprucing up Escuela Primaria, Leona Vicaro which supports 420 children. Beautification efforts including gardening and painting, in hopes to improve the quality of the facilities, will result in making a long-lasting impact on the community and its children who attend Leona Vicario.”We are excited to host over 400 Ben & Jerry’s franchisees at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort. Palace Resorts is thrilled that Ben & Jerry’s will once again unite its philanthropic efforts with Fundacion Palace. It is our hope that by continuously giving back to local communities it will give children, schools and communities a better tomorrow,” said Gibran Chapur, Executive Vice President of Palace Resorts.Ben & Jerry’s has long been a socially responsible company, functioning under a three part mission statement focused around social, economic and product efforts. “The only thing sweeter than a scoop of ice cream is giving back to the communities we impact,” said Ben & Jerry’s CEO, Jostein Solheim. This isn’t the first time Ben & Jerry’s has chosen Cancun and Moon Palace as the location for their annual global meeting. In 2008 the organization ventured to Cancun and contributed to the local community where Scoop Shop owners cleaned, painted and planted to beautify a school in Puerto Morelos.The efforts of Ben & Jerry’s and Fundacion Palace directly support the shared value of Linked Prosperity. What could be more perfectly paired than a scoop of sweet-laden ice cream with a day of grassroots work to bring a little love to a local community?As an aspiring social justice company, Ben & Jerry’s believes in a greater calling than simply making a profit for selling its goods. The company produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream, yogurt and sorbet using high-quality ingredients. Ben & Jerry’s incorporates its vision of Linked Prosperity into its business practices in a number of ways including a focus on values-led sourcing. In 2014 the company plans to complete its transition to using entirely non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) ingredients by source as well as to fully Fairtrade-certified ingredients wherever possible, which benefits farmers in developing countries. Ben and Jerry’s products are distributed in 35 countries in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, franchise Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops, restaurants and other venues. Ben & Jerry’s, a Vermont corporation and wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, operates its business on a three-part Mission Statement emphasizing product quality, economic reward and a commitment to the community. Ben & Jerry’s became a certified B Corp (Benefit Corporation) in 2012. The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation’s employee-led grant programs totaled $2.5MM in 2014 to support economic and social justice, environmental restoration, and peace through understanding. For the inside scoop on Ben & Jerry’s visit www.benjerry.com(link is external).With eight oceanfront resorts overlooking the the Caribbean Sea, Palace Resorts sets the highest standards for five-star all-inclusive vacations in Mexico and Jamaica. Offering luxurious and spacious accommodations accentuated by signature in-room double whirlpool tubs, nightly entertainment, theCaribbean’s most extravagant spas and premier Jack Nicklaus signature golf courses, Palace Resorts sets the stage for a truly exceptional experience for travelers. The unparalleled level of service and comfort found at each property makes Palace Resorts a leading provider of world-class resort vacations.The Palace Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Cancun, Mexico. The philanthropic institution was created in 2004 by the Directors of Palace Resorts to help contribute to the solution of certain social problems. The Palace Foundation’s primary objective is to give hope to those most in need and provide them with resources, time and effort.CANCUN, Mexico, Jan. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Ben & Jerry’s www.benjerry.com. (link is external)For more information about Ben & Jerry’s Franchise Opportunities, visit: http://www.benjerry.com/scoop-shops/franchise (link is external)For more information about the Palace Foundation, visit: http://fundacionpalace.org/(link is external)last_img read more

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Vail to add Stowe to Epic Pass for 2017-2018

first_imgStowe Mountain Resort,A snowboarder rides up to his eyes at Stowe. Vermont received epic snow in March. Stowe Mountain Resort photo.Vermont Business Magazine Vail Resorts announced today that the Epic Pass plans to offer unlimited, unrestricted access to Stowe Mountain Resort for the 2017-2018 winter season, subject to the closing of the acquisition. Vail and Stowe announced in February that Vail would buy Stowe’s ski operations for $50 million. Current owner AIG will retain the Spruce Peak real estate, lodging and related facilities. SEE STORY HEREPurchasing the 2017-2018 Epic Pass now through Sunday, April 9 ensures that skiers and snowboarders will lock in the lowest price, combined with the most benefits, such as six discounted lift tickets (“Buddy Tickets”) for family and friends.  Stowe will be the newest resort among 45 of the world’s most iconic mountain destinations to be offered with the Epic Pass – which includes the best of the West throughout ten world-class destination resorts – such as Vail, Breckenridge, Park City, and Whistler Blackcomb.The Epic Pass will offer unlimited, unrestricted access to Stowe, plus the best of North America, subject to the closing of the acquisitionEpic Local Pass will offer the best value at $639, which includes 10 days at Stowe, subject to the closing of the acquisitionPurchasing the Epic Pass now through Sunday, April 9, guarantees the lowest price combined with the most benefitsAvailable for $639, the Epic Local Pass offers unprecedented value to guests who are willing to plan around a few restrictions. Skiers and snowboarders would receive a total of 10 days at Stowe (subject to the acquisition closing), Vail, Beaver Creek, and Whistler Blackcomb with holiday restrictions; unlimited, unrestricted skiing or riding at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin; and access with limited restrictions at Park City, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood.Available at $859 for adults, the 2017-2018 Epic Pass offers access to 45 of the world’s best mountain resorts – including Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont, subject to the acquisition closing; Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Perisher in Australia; Afton Alps in Minnesota; Mt. Brighton in Michigan and Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin. Epic Pass holders will again enjoy limited access to 30 European ski resorts including Verbier and Les 4 Vallées in Switzerland, Les 3 Vallées in France; Arlberg in Austria; and Skirama Dolomiti Adamello Brenta in Italy. Each resort delivers an iconic experience, unique alpine traditions and impeccable service. Purchasing the 2017-2018 Epic Pass this spring ensures skiers and snowboarders the lowest price, combined with the most benefits, such as six discounted lift tickets (“Buddy Tickets”) for family and friends.For guests interested in skiing Stowe exclusively, Vail Resorts anticipates offering limited Stowe-specific season pass options.  Details about pricing, access and benefits will be announced after the close of the acquisition.“We look forward to welcoming Stowe to our family of world-class resorts, to continue providing our guests with exceptional experiences, and to build upon the unprecedented value of the Epic Pass,” said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. “With the addition of Stowe, the Epic Pass would provide guests access to the East Coast’s most iconic skiing, as well as unlimited, unrestricted access to the best of the West – including Vail, Breckenridge, Park City and Whistler Blackcomb, among many additional world-renowned destination resorts throughout North America.”Guests are invited to purchase season passes and start planning their next winter vacations at EpicPass.com(link is external).2017-2018 Ski and Snowboard Season Pass OptionsEpic Pass(link is external)™: Ski unlimited and unrestricted from opening day to closing day for only $859. The Epic Pass pays for itself in just over four days of skiing or snowboarding. Enjoy unlimited, unrestricted access to Stowe (subject to the closing of the acquisition); Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Perisher in Australia; Afton Alps in Minnesota; Mt. Brighton in Michigan, and Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin for the 2017-2018 season. The Epic Pass grants limited access to Arlberg in Austria; Les 3 Vallées, Paradiski and Tignes-Val D’Isere in France; Skirama Dolomiti in Italy and 4 Vallées in Switzerland. No restricted dates. A child pass (ages five to 12) is $449.Epic Local Pass(link is external)™:For $639, receive 10 days at Stowe (subject to the closing of the acquisition), Vail, Beaver Creek and Whistler Blackcomb with holiday restrictions; unlimited and unrestricted skiing and snowboarding at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin; and skiing and snowboarding at Park City, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood with limited restrictions. The Epic Local Pass pays for itself in just over three days. A child pass (ages five to 12) is $339.Epic 7-Day(link is external)™: Perfect for skiers in search of a week of skiing. The pass pays for itself in just over three days and includes a total of seven unrestricted days valid at Stowe (subject to the closing of the acquisition), Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Whistler Blackcomb, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood and Arapahoe Basin, plus seven free days at Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton or Wilmot Mountain. The Epic 7-Day Pass is $639 for adults and $339 for children (ages five to 12).Epic 4-Day(link is external)™: A convenient option for a short ski trip. The pass pays for itself in just over two days andincludes a total of four unrestricted days valid at Stowe (subject to the closing of the acquisition), Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Whistler Blackcomb, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood and Arapahoe Basin, plus four free days at Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton or Wilmot Mountain. The Epic 4-Day Pass is $419 for adults and $229 for children (ages five to 12).Those who purchase the Epic Pass or Epic Local Pass prior to April 9 will receive six Buddy Tickets that are automatically loaded onto your Epic Pass or Epic Local Pass – the best discounted rate for lift tickets that pass holders can give to friends or family to use.Season Pass Insurance:Vail Resorts encourages guests to purchase pass insurance. All of the Company’s season pass products are non-refundable and non-transferable; however, pass insurance covers pass holders in the event of unexpected circumstances including sickness, injury and job loss. Find out more at EpicPass.com(link is external).For guests in search of skiing Stowe exclusively, Vail Resorts anticipates offering limited Stowe-specific season pass options.  Details about pricing, access and benefits will be announced after the official close of acquisition.About Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is the leading global mountain resort operator. The Company’s subsidiaries operate ten world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Perisher in Australia; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada; Afton Alps in Minnesota, Mt. Brighton in Michigan and Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin. The Company owns and/or manages a collection of casually elegant hotels under the RockResorts brand, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning and development subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN). The Vail Resorts company website is www.vailresorts.com(link is external) and consumer website is www.snow.com(link is external).Source: BROOMFIELD, Colo.– March 27, 2017 – Vail Resortslast_img read more

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