The University of Vermont and Northfield Savings Bankannounced a partnership this week to assist Vermont family businesses withtransition, succession, and financial planning issues. Northfield SavingsBank, joins Gallagher, Flynn and Company, and Gravel and Shea, both ofBurlington, as part of the Vermont Family Business Initiative (VFBI). TheVFBI, along with its partners, works with family and closely heldbusinesses throughout Vermont in identifying challenging issues anddeveloping successful strategies for navigating the complexitiessuccessful business and financial planning.Rocki-Lee Dewitt, Dean of the Business School, reflected on the newpartnership, “We’re pleased that Northfield Savings Bank is joining ourefforts to assist family and other closely-held businesses in the state.Their knowledge and experience will help us develop and deliver programsthat enhance family business success.”According to recent studies, the greatest part of America’s wealth lieswith family-owned businesses. Family firms comprise 80 to 90% of allbusiness enterprises in North America. Furthermore, 78% of all jobscreated in the US from 1977-1990 were created by family owned businesses.The Northfield Savings Bank was chartered in 1867 and is the thirdlargest bank headquartered in Vermont. The Bank is in the midst ofopening several new branches in Chittenden County. Thomas Pelletier,President of NSB is excited about partnering with the Business School atUVM. “Northfield Savings Bank is committed to being involved with thecommunities we serve. This partnership with the UVM Business Schoolrepresents a mutual opportunity for both parties to assist businesses andimprove economic development in Vermont,” states Mr. Pelletier.Events planned to assist family and closely held businesses in thecoming year include strategic planning, attracting and retainingnon-family employees, and improving communication in the family and in thebusiness. For more information, go to http://uvm.edu/familybusiness(link is external) orcall 656-5897.
Governor Douglas announced this afternoon that he intended to veto the $4.5 billion budget bill as it is currently constructed and that he is calling the Vermont Legislature back in session for June 2. Douglas has not yet received the budget, and therefore has not vetoed it, because the bill is still being proofed. In a long and sharply worded letter to Speaker of the House Smith and Senate President Pro Tem Shumlin, Douglas said, “It is unfortunate that you are unwilling to attempt to find a moderate compromise supported by a multi-partisan coalition of lawmakers one that includes Republicans, Democrats, Progressives and Independents that represents the views and opinions held by most Vermonters. Rather you seem intent on a budget that satisfies more fiscally liberal members of your caucus, even if that comes at the expense of fiscal prudence. If my only choice is between allowing your fiscal 2010 budget to become law or a veto, I must choose veto. I cannot abandon Vermonters long-term economic security for short-lived political accord.”Douglas also made a point of noting that Vermont’s social services are rated amongst the best in the nation and that its tax burden is also among the highest, if not the highest in the country. He said it does not make sense in this economic climate to raise both. He also noted that the consequences of this fiscal year 2010 budget bill would result in a General Fund deficit of $67.38 million in fiscal 2011 and a deficit of $141.59 million in fiscal 2012. Fiscal 2010 starts on July 1.Since the Legislature finalized the budget last Saturday, the two sides have met cordially but unproductively leading to an escalating war of words. Smith and Shumlin, Democrats who hold close to a veto-proof majority in the Legislature, have complained that Douglas has simply told them that he does not like the spending and tax measures, but has not offered substantial alternatives.They sent a letter to the governor yesterday which says in part,” We have asked on a number of occasions in recent weeks to see a clear and specific breakdown of your proposals that includes how much revenue you would raise and from what sources, what specific additional cuts you would make and how much additional obligation you would like to shift to the Education Fund. It is critical that your plan also indicate what the impact of your proposals will be in Fiscal Year 2011, and that it does nothing to make the problem more severe.”To date, we have not received such a plan from your office. We are happy to continue discussions at a mutually agreeable time once we see your plan. As discussed, any plan will need to be scrutinized by all legislators.”Unless a deal is stuck between now and then, all legislators will indeed get a chance to scrutinize whatever plan might surface when they are forced back to Montpelier on the first Tuesday in June. AttachmentSize Letter to Governor 5-14-09.doc54 KB Douglas Letter Special_Session_51509.pdf319.92 KB
Chroma Technology Corp,Chroma Technology Corp, an employee-owned company, announced today the launch of a new, wholly-owned subsidiary. 89 North, located in Burlington, VT, will leverage resources from the area including the University of Vermont and the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies to develop innovative products for the life science imaging market. Their initial focus will be on high-power light sources for fluorescence imaging, and they will immediately take over sales and support for the Photofluor II, Chroma s metal halide-based light source.”We ve long wanted to diversify Chroma and our product line,” says Paul Millman Chroma’s President. “Diversification will not only help insure Chroma’s future but it will also expand the community of employee-owned companies in Vermont. As you know both Senators Leahy and Sanders are strong supporters of employee-ownership . Most recently Senator Leahy demonstrated his support by obtaining significant financial support for the work of the Vermont Employee Ownership Center.””We are excited to be starting here in Burlington,” says 89 North General Manager Chris Baumann. “The resources available through UVM and VCET will be a tremendous asset to us as we move forward. We look forward to great things to come.”For more information on Chroma Technology Corp, www.chroma.com(link is external)For more information on 89 North, www.89North.com(link is external)
Regardless of the questions raised by the Cs-137 findings, these soil samples confirm that this was an area of significant leakage of contaminated water into the environment. The samples also provide important information about the extent of contamination in the soil. In particular, they show that radioactive metals Mn-54, Co-60, Zn-65 and Cs-137 appear to have migrated at least four feet from the leakage pathway in the soil. These soils may be remediated by Vermont Yankee by excavation and disposal as radioactive waste. Water sample results, for example from groundwater monitoring wells GZ-10 and GZ-15, indicate the metals have not migrated 10 to 20 feet from the leakage pathway point of entry into the soil. The Department of Health will continue to analyze all samples for these radioactive metals and hard-to-detect radioactive materials like strontium-90, another fission product. As the extraction well pumping continues, Vermont Yankee technicians continue to sample for tritium via the monitoring wells. According to Vermont Yankee, a recent positive reading for tritium in one of the deep (70 feet) overburden wells was mischaracterized in news reports as a new source of tritium. It is not. The groundwater monitoring data shows that the flow of groundwater is east/northeast with a slight downward gradient. With the leakage stopped, the down-gradient soils and well readings had not reached an equilibrium. Therefore, slightly elevated levels to the east/northeast are due to the residual tritiated groundwater flow in that direction. Since the leakage was stopped, the monitoring wells near plant equipment show a definite downward trend in tritium concentration. The overall flow gradient in the bedrock is upward and there has been no tritium detected in any drinking water wells or in the river.Contrary to a headline in a local newspaper and several media reports, Entergy Vermont Yankee has not organized nor is Entergy participating in a closed, tritium-related meeting on April 14 between the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and state officials from Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.The pumping of groundwater from the extraction well continues and preparations are underway to drill another extraction well to increase the flow rate into surface containers. The water will be processed and made ready for re-use in the plant.In information provided by the Vermont Department of Health and available on its Web site, another finding of interest at the excavation site is cesium-137. This radioactive material is called a fission product. It does not exist naturally. It is only produced as a result of nuclear reactions, primarily from nuclear reactor fuel fissioning, from major nuclear reactor accidents including Chernobyl in 1986, or from nuclear weapons fallout. Cs-137 is commonly found in soils, sediment and some vegetation. Concentrations are usually around 100 picocuries per kilogram (pCi/kg), and Cs-137 is usually only found at the earth’s surface, not deep underground. Given the Cs-137 in these soil samples have been found 15 feet below the ground surface, it is assumed the Cs-137 comes from the Vermont Yankee leakage. Given also that the concentration of Cs-137 in the soil samples are three to 12 times the concentration expected from Chernobyl or nuclear weapons fallout, it again appears likely the Cs-137 comes from Vermont Yankee reactor related sources. The same is true of strontium-90 (Sr-90), which has not yet been detected in any soils, sediment or water.However, Vermont Yankee officials have said that water from the systems that leaked into the AOG pipe tunnel are not contaminated with Cs-137. They have said that Vermont Yankee reactor process water and condensate have not indicated Cs-137 content for many years, not since the plant had minor fuel rod leakage in the late 1970s and early 1980s when many plants had similar problems with “pin-hole” leaks in fuel rods. Given these points, it may be that the Cs-137 found in the soil samples came from surface contamination within the AOG pipe tunnel. This surface contamination may have been washed from the AOG pipe tunnel walls, floor and piping surfaces by the leaking steam and water from the damaged AOG hydrogen recombiner steam trap drain lines.The Health Department has asked Vermont Yankee to sample and analyze the debris in the AOG pipe tunnel to see if it contains Cs-137, and to provide samples to the Health Department for independent confirmation. Source: Entergy Vermont Yankee. Vermont Department of Health. March 30, 2010.
Lung specialists face numerous challenges in conjunction with treating patients with end-stage lung disease, many of whose only hope is lung transplantation, a solution saddled with risks, including a high rate of rejection. Thanks to a late-arriving, $4.26 million Recovery Act grant – part of the limited National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Opportunity for Research funding competition – University of Vermont (UVM) physician-scientist Daniel Weiss, MD, PhD, and colleagues will be able to vigorously examine a novel approach to growing new lungs for patients lacking other treatment options.Among the diseases most commonly requiring a lung transplant is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) – a deadly combination of chronic bronchitis and emphysema – which is currently the fourth leading cause of death, with more than 12 million people diagnosed with the disease in the U.S. In addition, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which affects about 128,000 people in the U.S., and cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease affecting the lungs and digestive system that is diagnosed in about 1,000 people annually, often lead to a need for lung transplantation.Weiss’s study, which he describes as “science fiction coming to life,” focuses on the idea of using the scaffold – or framework – of lungs from human cadavers to engineer new lungs for patients with end-stage disease. The concept involves stripping the cells out of the cadaveric lungs – called decellularizing – and then replacing or recellularizing the cadaveric lungs with a patient’s own stem cells. Stem cells, which are mostly found in the bone marrow, can turn into different types of blood cells, but have also been shown to become tissue cells in a wide variety of organs including the lungs. The process of removing stem cells from one’s own blood or bone marrow is called an autologous transplant. Prior research conducted by Weiss and colleagues has tested this process in an animal model.Researchers at UVM will be collaborating with investigators at Boston University, University of Connecticut, Tufts University, and Arizona State University to perform this study. The three-year award will support three new positions at UVM, as well as the purchase of new equipment.“This grant brings out some of the best collaborative opportunities UVM has to offer,” says Weiss, who is an associate professor of medicine at UVM, a pulmonologist at Fletcher Allen and researcher in the Vermont Lung Center.In addition to Weiss, co-investigators on the study include Gilman Allen, M.D., UVM assistant professor of medicine; Jason Bates, Ph.D., UVM professor of medicine; Albert van der Vliet, professor of pathology; Jeffrey Spees, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine and director of the UVM College of Medicine’s Stem Cell Core; and former UVM faculty member James Iatridis, Ph.D., who currently serves as professor and director of spine research in the department of orthopaedics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.Source: UVM. BURLINGTON, Vt. (Friday, October 8, 2010) – ###
After a careful review, EPA has disapproved Vermont’s 2002 water quality plan that set phosphorus targets for discharges into Lake Champlain. Following this action, EPA intends to work closely and collaboratively with the State to develop a new plan for reductions in phosphorus from sources in Vermont. Elevated levels of phosphorus cause algae blooms and other water quality problems in Lake Champlain. Today’s action follows EPA’s reconsideration and withdrawal of its 2002 approval of the plan. The Conservation Law Foundation had challenged that approval in federal court.EPA’s decision concerns Vermont’s 2002 Lake Champlain Phosphorus ‘TMDL,’ a technical document that establishes the ‘Total Maximum Daily Load’ for phosphorus in the lake. The TMDL is a pollution budget for an impaired water body, which identifies the pollutant loads that may be contributed by various sources at levels that will restore and maintain water quality. Under the federal Clean Water Act, TMDLs must meet certain requirements.In the decision announced today, EPA concluded that certain aspects of Vermont’s 2002 phosphorus TMDL for Lake Champlain did not satisfy federal requirements. EPA found that the TMDL did not provide sufficient assurance that phosphorus reductions from polluted runoff will be achieved, and it did not provide an adequate margin of safety to account for uncertainty in the analysis. EPA will now begin working closely with Vermont environmental officials to prepare a new TMDL for the parts of Lake Champlain addressed in Vermont’s 2002 TMDL. During this upcoming process, EPA will ensure ample opportunity for public input.‘We plan to work together with the State in our shared goal of better protecting Lake Champlain,’ said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. ‘Our action today doesn’t mean that Vermont’s earlier efforts haven’t had value. But looking forward, clearly more needs to be done to address the challenges presented by ongoing pollution. This action also should not affect ongoing lake restoration projects such as those supported by Vermont’s Clean and Clear initiative and the Lake Champlain Basin Program. These projects are very important and should continue while the TMDL is being revised.’With or without the 2002 TMDL in place, Lake Champlain remains impaired and in need of restoration. Water quality monitoring data clearly indicate that significant work is needed to reduce phosphorus to the levels necessary to protect the lake. In the past, some observers have speculated that a new TMDL could result in stricter pollution limits for wastewater treatment plants within the Lake Champlain basin, but Spalding cautioned that ‘It is too early to know what effect a revised TMDL will have on permits for wastewater treatment plant discharges or stormwater discharges. This will become clearer as the TMDL is developed.’Although this disapproval does not apply to the New York portion of the Lake Champlain TMDL (which was approved separately from the Vermont portion in 2002 and was not contested), EPA will seek to involve New York in the development of any aspects of the new Vermont TMDL that might affect the New York TMDL, including for example, any updates to the lake modeling work used to develop the phosphorus loading capacity of the lake.More information:- TMDLs in New England (http://www.epa.gov/region1/eco/tmdl/index.html(link is external))- EPA Disapproval Decision Document for VT 2002 Phosphorus TMDL (http://www.epa.gov/region1/eco/tmdl/approved.html#vt(link is external)) (Boston, Mass. ‘ Jan. 24, 2011) ‘