first_imgBy April SorrowUniversity of GeorgiaIf your holiday shopping list includes electronic devices or appliances, don’t be tricked into buying extended warranties for them, says a University of Georgia expert. The added expense rarely pays off. “More often than not, you should just say no to these expensive add-ons,” said Michael Rupured, a consumer financial expert with UGA Cooperative Extension. “Profit margins are as high as 70 percent for extended warranties compared with about 10 percent for the products they cover. In a down economy, the profit margin on the products is even less.”Depending on the product, a warranty for three years will cost between $60 and $300. This is an unnecessary cost because most appliances, audio-visual equipment and computers reliably work for years, he said. Fewer than 10 percent of camcorders, electric ranges, dishwashers and top-freezer refrigerators required any repairs in their first three years, according to an annual survey of Consumer Reports subscribers. Even among items more likely to need repairs in the first three years, such as a projection television, the average repair costs the same as the extended warranty. High profit margins for warranties mean aggressive marketing from the retailers, he said. As an incentive to sell more warranties, many retailers offer commissions for employees and at a much higher rate than the product itself. But, there are exceptions. “An extended warranty may be worth the money for treadmills that have a standard warranty of less than two years on parts and one year on labor,” he said. “It might also be worthwhile to buy an additional year or two extension of the standard one-year warranty for laptop computers.”But more often than not, he said, you should just say no to extended warranties. “The money you save will generally be enough to cover the cost of any repairs not covered by the factory warranty.”(April Sorrow is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

first_imgBy David StooksburyUniversity of GeorgiaSpring will likely be drier than normal for most of Georgia. March will have wide swings in temperature. A late freeze or even a snow or an ice storm isn’t out of the question. Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are common this time of year.Through most of this winter, Georgia’s climate was primarily a response to a neutral climate pattern. The neutral pattern is one of three climate patterns that have major influences on Georgia’s climate. The other two and better-known patterns are El Niño and La Niña.This past winter, Georgians have experienced a classic neutral winter with periods of very cold and very warm weather. Rainfall in neutral winters can be very dry, near normal or very wet. This winter has been a very dry one.Since the beginning of the year, the climate pattern has gradually shifted to a weak La Niña. This change is expected to have a major influence on the state’s spring climate. It is important to realize that knowing which climate pattern we are in gives us only the probabilities of what to expect. It can tell us how we might want to hedge our bets, so to speak. It isn’t a guarantee.Because the climate pattern is now in a weak La Niña, there is a very high chance that the coastal plain will experience a very dry spring. The chances of a very dry spring decrease into the northern piedmont. In the piedmont north of a Carrollton-to-Elberton line, near normal rainfall is the most likely outcome.In the mountains of north Georgia, there are no clear indications of what to expect rainfall wise over the next three months. If a consistent storm track occurs over the mountains, then the spring may be wet. However, if the storm track is just 50 to 100 miles north of Georgia, then the mountains will experience a dry spring. The good news is that typically under a weak La Niña – like we have now – the storm track has a tendency to be further south, which means the mountains might receive some beneficial rains.As far as temperatures are concerned, we can expect a continuation of a wide range, especially through the middle of April.The date of the last killing freeze, or 28 F or below, or the last frost has no relationship with the climate pattern. Knowing that Georgia is currently under the influence of a weak La Niña tells us nothing about when the last freeze will occur. Just as important, a warm March does not tell us anything about the likelihood of a late freeze. The 2007 Easter freeze is a prime example. March 2007 had been very warm and most plants had broken their dormancy. Then a devastating freeze hit in early April.Snow and ice storms are not unusual in Georgia during March. Additionally, March through May is a time when severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are common. Because tornadoes can occur at anytime, day or night, all Georgians are encouraged to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, weather radio at home. NOAA weather radios can be purchased at most electronic stores, large discount stores and many grocery stores.last_img read more

first_imgHomemade jams and jellies can be a delicious way to extend the summer bounty, but a University of Georgia food preservation expert urges people to follow the rules when canning at home. “Even though sugar has a preservative action in jams and jellies, molds can still grow and spoil these products,” said Elizabeth Andress, a UGA Cooperative Extension specialist. “USDA and UGA Cooperative Extension endorse a boiling water canning process for jams and jellies, which will make the potential for mold spoilage as small as possible.” Use the following steps, Andress says, to preserve food safely at home: Start with boiling water. Before cooking the jam, fill a boiling water canner with enough warm water to cover filled jars one to two inches above the lids. The canner needs to be centered over the stove’s burner and should be level. Add the jars before bringing the water to a boil to sterilize them. Empty jars need to be submerged in boiling water for 10 minutes for sterilization. If no sterilization is needed, heat the water in the canner to 180 degrees, simmering, to process filled jars. Wash pint or half-pint canning jars in hot water with dishwashing detergent or in a dishwasher. Sterilize jars if needed. Sterilized or not, keep jars hot until ready to be filled. Prepare canning jar lids according to manufacturers directions. Cook jam or jelly according to recipe directions. Skim off foam if present. Fill jars. If the jars were pre-sterilized, remove them from the canner when it is time to fill them and tilt them to quickly empty any water inside them into the canner. Fill jars with the hot jelly or jam mixture, leaving a fourth-inch headspace. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean paper towel and seal the jars with lids. Adjust the ring bands as needed. Work quickly to insure the filled jars stay as hot as possible until they are ready to be loaded into the canner for processing. Load the filled jars, using a jar lifter, into the canner. Keep the jars upright at all times to prevent jelly or jam from spilling into the sealed area of the lid. The canner should be simmering when jars are added, not boiling.Boil filled containers. Turn the burner under the canner to its highest setting and place a lid on the canner. Return the water to a boil. If the jars were sterilized, boil the filled jars for five minutes. If hot, clean jars were used, process for 10 minutes. Keep a lid on the canner while processing to keep water boiling. Turn off the heat once the jars have processed, and remove the canner lid. Wait five minutes before removing jars from the canner. Use a jar lifter to remove the hot jars from the canner. Place the jars on a towel or cake cooling rack. Leave at least one inch of space between the jars during cooling. Cool jars upright for 12 to 24 hours while the vacuum seal is drawn and the jam or jelly sets. When using two-piece metal canning lids, do not tighten ring bands on the lids or push down on the center of the flat metal lid until the jar is completely cooled. Remove ring bands from sealed jars. Label and store in a cool, dry place out of direct light. Follow these UGA and USDA recommendations will help limit the risk of mold growth and spoilage of homemade jams and jellies. “There is some evidence that molds growing on fruit products could produce mycotoxins, or mold poisons,” Andress said. “A few other organisms could also spoil jams and jellies. It is best to take steps to prevent molding and spoilage, and thereby also protecting your investment of fruit, time and money by not having to throw away spoiled jams and jellies.”For more information from the National Center for Home Food Preservation on making jams and jellies, visit www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can7_jam_jelly.last_img read more

first_imgFarmers, entrepreneurs and policymakers — representing 13 different African nations from Mauritania to South Africa — visited the University of Georgia campus in Tifton to learn about farming practices, research and government programs supporting agriculture in Georgia.Sponsored by the U.S. Department of the State, the July 26 visit was part of a month-long tour providing the African leaders with information on “innovative and long-term strategies to make food more plentiful, available, safe and affordable.” The Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, a state-funded business incubator that works to foster economic development in Georgia, hosted the delegation. Members of the center, UGA faculty, the staff of both U.S. Representative Austin Scott and Senator Johnny Isakson, a USDA researcher, and an official from the Georgia Department of Agriculture made presentations to the group. Center project manager Chris Chammoun discussed the center’s involvement in developing bio-fuels, aerial imaging technology and secondary markets for Georgia farmers. He cited blueberry juice as an emerging opportunity for the state’s number one fruit crop. Sarah Cook, the center’s special projects coordinator, spoke about the Center’s role in helping small processors reach the marketplace.UGA professor and Extension economist Nathan Smith explained the factors currently affecting farming’s economic outlook and the five p’s of Georgia agriculture: peaches, peanuts, pecans, pines and poultry. From the agricultural producers’ side, the economic downturn has not been all bad news, Smith said. The decrease in the value of the U.S. dollar has strengthened exports, and lower interest rates have helped reduce on-farm costs. However, the long view may not be as a rosy.“I believe, as an economist, that inflation is coming,” Smith said.George Vellidis, UGA professor of biological and agricultural engineering, outlined precision agriculture as a way to make farmers more competitive by providing them with information to make better decisions in the field. Along with other members of the UGA Precision Ag Team, Vellidis has worked to help farmers identify and manage field variability — parts of their fields, for example, that might hold extra water or nitrogen. With more detailed information about their land and their crops, farmers can use less fertilizer and less irrigation, decreasing their costs and increasing their profit margins. With production costs outstripping commodity prices, growing global competition and several of years of drought in Georgia, it is more important than ever for Georgia farmers to carefully manage their inputs, Vellidis said. He pointed to remote sensors already on the market that can transmit minute-by-minute information about nitrogen levels and irrigation directly from the field to a farmer’s computer or smart phone. Some among the African delegation raised the question of the need and expense to incorporate so much technology in farming, but Vellidis explained that commodity farmers in the U.S. needed this technology because of the size of their farms. Sophisticated information technology is not as necessary on small farms, where farmers have a more intimate knowledge of their fields.Precision agriculture is a mentality about efficiently utilizing resources that can be applied regardless of scale, Vellidis said.“Precision agriculture is a philosophy,” he said. Greg Fonsah, UGA fruit and vegetable economist, laid out the unique organization of the UGA College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and the invaluable role that Extension plays in the success of agriculture in the state. Local agents bring cutting-edge research from the University of Georgia to farmers within their county. At the same time, UGA economists provide feasibility studies that allow farmers to receive loans to make improvements to their farm.“Our farmers trust our local Extension agents,” said Donnie Smith, director of the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness.After a presentation at Dr. Fonsah’s banana trials outside of the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center, the trip to Tifton concluded with a tour of Rutland Farms and a quick snack of banana pudding and lemonade at the Rutland Famers Market. The trip to Tifton marked the end of the African delegation’s tour of U.S. agricultural facilities. “Thank for you saving the best for last,” Donnie Smith said to the group.last_img read more

first_imgTo better sustain Georgia’s future peanut production, a University of Georgia peanut entomologist is surveying Georgia farmers.Notifications about the online survey were mailed directly to the more than 3,500 peanut producers in Georgia. The survey can be accessed online through a link on the Georgia Peanut Commission’s website at www.gapeanuts.com. “Insects, while not a huge problem every year like they were in 2014, can cause significant economic losses each year,” said UGA peanut entomologist Mark Abney. “The more information that researchers and Extension specialists at the University of Georgia have regarding the major pest problems growers face, the better off we are.”By knowing which pests growers are most concerned about, the standard practices growers use to control pests, and how well those control methods work, scientists like Abney can more effectively develop research and Extension programs to address the key questions and problems farmers face. Abney said the survey should take 5-to-15 minutes to complete. It features questions about insect pressure, production practices that can influence pest populations and pest management practices used on individual farms.“It’s very important for us to have that kind of information. For example, if only 10 percent of the peanuts in Georgia are being scouted, we need to know that when we write grants and ask for funding for Extension work to educate growers about the importance of scouting their peanuts. Being able to document IPM practices such as scouting is very important,” Abney said. Along with questions related directly to insects, the survey includes questions about production practices such as tillage and irrigation that can impact pest populations indirectly. The effects of tillage and irrigation on burrower bug populations are also included on the survey.Farmers who complete the survey will help Abney and his UGA colleagues understand what research and Extension work needs to be done and help them map patterns in pest activity across the state.“The data we gather from this survey will help us better understand what practices contribute to the risk of insect damage. There are only so many trials that can be conducted at the university each year, and not all pests will occur in our research plots,” he said. “Everyone is very busy this time of year, and we appreciate growers taking the time to complete the survey.”As an added incentive, every person who responds to the survey can enter to win a Stihl MS291 chainsaw. The drawing for the chainsaw will take place on June 30.last_img read more

first_imgHay and baleage producers in the Southeast have a chance at winning cash and major equipment prizes in the 2016 Southeastern Hay Contest presented by Massey Ferguson. The Southeastern Hay Contest is held in conjunction with the Sunbelt Ag Expo, the South’s premier outdoor farm show.Since 2004, the Southeastern Hay Contest has promoted better hay and baleage production in the Southeast.Last year was a milestone for the contest, with a record number of 375 entries received from across the 13 southeastern states. Organizers, including University of Georgia Cooperative Extension forage specialist Dennis Hancock, hope to break that record by attracting even more entries this year.The deadline for entering the contest is September 22, and the winners will be announced at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia Oct. 18-20.This year’s entries will be judged on their composition, including protein and total digestible nutrients (TDN), and on relative feed quality scores.Producing high quality forage is crucial to increasing feed efficiency and securing the financial well-being of today’s livestock operations. Over the past 10 to 15 years, forage production has really advanced. The advances in harvesting equipment, the use of improved forage varieties and more timely harvest management has resulted in a system which enables producers to make and store more high quality forage than ever before. “This is an exciting time in the hay and forage industry,” Hancock said.Building on the success of the first 11 years of this annual contest, Massey Ferguson has teamed up with a consortium of Southeastern land-grant universities to underwrite the Southeastern Hay Contest. Massey Ferguson will be providing the Grand Prize of a choice between a new RK Professional Series rotary rake or DM Professional Series disc mower for the 2017 hay production season and a $1,000 cash prize. Other forage industry partners are sponsoring the nine separate categories in the contest, providing cash awards to the top three winners in each category: first prize $125, second prize $75, and third prize $50.The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Feed and Environmental Water Laboratory calculated each sample’s relative forage quality (RFQ) score to compare samples from each category. Last year’s winner was McGee Ranch of Idalou, Texas.More information about the 2016 Southeastern Hay Contest presented by Massey Ferguson is available on the contest’s website at http://bit.ly/SEHayConv16. You can also follow the Southeastern Hay Contest on Twitter @SEHayContest and on Facebook at facebook.com/SEHayContest. For questions concerning entry submission or the Hay Directory, contact the University of Georgia’s Feed and Environmental Water (UGA-FEW) Lab at (706)-542-7690.last_img read more

first_imgZoe, a loggerhead sea turtle that lived at the Burton 4-H Center on Tybee Island, Georgia, for the past five years, was released on the island Saturday, Sept. 30.A large crowd of local residents and tourists gathered with cameras ready as Zoe was lowered into the water just south of the pier on Tybee Beach, where the sea turtle hatched.Jillian Norrie, an environmental educator at the center who recently served as one of the sea turtle’s caretakers, lowered her into the water and she quickly swam out of sight.“She wasn’t really a pet, but she did recognize me as the one who fed her,” Norrie said. “I do feel sad, but Zoe is going to do very well in the ocean.”The staff at the center taught Zoe how to hunt and live on her own.“We took care of Zoe for five years, fed her well, made sure she was living in a good environment with appropriate water quality, diet and enrichment activities,” said David Weber, Burton 4-H Center program coordinator. “It wasn’t too hard. Primarily, she just needed a little help getting stronger as a baby, but there was a lot to keep track of and monitor as she grew to make sure she was as healthy as possible.” Before being released, the sea turtle was outfitted with a satellite transmitter that will track her location. “We are hoping to be able to follow her and collect data for several months, but it is really hard to say just how long the transmitter will stay attached to her shell,” said Paul Coote, 4-H center director. “Due to the turtle’s feeding habits, the tracker may get damaged pretty quickly. We hope it will continue to transmit for several months, maybe even six months if we’re lucky.”Since she was rescued as a stranded hatchling, Zoe served as a teaching tool at Burton 4-H center. About 9,000 students attend environmental education and 4-H summer camps at the 4-H center each year, and they meet a wide array of wildlife native to southeastern Georgia, from nonvenomous snakes to baby alligators. In all, about 40,000 students interacted with Zoe during her time at the 4-H center. Burton 4-H Center now has a new loggerhead sea turtle straggler, Belle, who will take Zoe’s place educating 4-H center visitors. In about five years, Belle will be also released. The public will soon be able to track Zoe through a link on the Burton 4-H Center website at www.burton4h.org.last_img read more

first_imgSTATE – APRIL 2003 p{ margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1px}span.BodyText{ text-align: left}span.heading1{ text-align: left}body{ font-family: “Times New Roman”, serif; font-size: 10pt; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal}Douglas taps Dubie to headHomeland Security Advisory CouncilGovernor James Douglas recently announced that his first executive order wasauthorizing a new Homeland Security Advisory Council. He named LieutenantGovernor Brian Dubie to chair the council.Douglas said the purpose of the council is to improve communication andcoordination among the various organizations operating within the state, tooptimize emergency preparedness and response, and to protectVermonters from threats of terrorism. The new council replaces the VermontTerrorism Task Force.In naming Lt Gov. Dubie to head the group, the governor said that Brian Dubiebrings a wealth of experience to this role. He was at Ground Zero, coordinatingFEMA efforts for the US Air Force. For his efforts on 9-11, the Air Forceawarded him a Meritorious Service Medal, First Oak Cluster. He is currentlyEmergency Liaison Preparedness Officer with the National SecurityEmergency Preparedness Agency, and a Colonel in the Air Force Reserves.Dubie said the council will gather and review existing plans for the variousagencies, examining how they fit together and how they can work moreeffectively and seamlessly. The council will update and make recommendationsto the governor on a quarterly basis.In addition to Dubie, 17 leaders from state, local and federal government andprivate organizations have accepted appointments to the council. They includeVermont Emergency Management Direct Albert Lewisof Berlin, Vermont National Guard Adjutant General Martha Rainville of Williston,Vermont State Police Homeland Security Director Lt David Stanton ofRutland, Police Chief Paul Duquette of Newport, Lamoille County SheriffRene Marcoux of Hyde Park, Captain Matt Vinci of the South Burlington FireDepartment, Chief Real Bazin of the Westminster Fire Department, RutlandFire Chief Robert Schlacter, Assistant US Attorney Gary Shattuck ofShrewsbury, Executive Director of the Green MountainChapter of the American Red Cross Donna Baker of Woodford, HighgateTown Manager Larry Kempton, Speaker of the House Walter Freed of Dorsetand Senate President Pro Tem Peter Welch of Hartland, Vermont Secretaryof Administration Michael Smith, Commissioner of Public Safety KerrySleeper, Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Jan Carney, and VermontSecretary of Civil and Military Affairs Neale Lunderville.New England Governors elect Gov Douglas vice chair,Douglas introduces Northeast Dairy Compact ResolutionGovernors from the six New England states recently elected Gov Jim Douglas(R-VT) as vice chairman of the New England Governors’ Conference. Theconference allows governors to work together to coordinate and implementpolicies and programs to respond to regional issues. Douglas also introduced aresolution in support of the reestablishment of a Northeast Interstate DairyCompact. The conference approved the resolution unanimously. The governorsfurther urged that their respective legislatures join insupport of such a program.The NEGC coordinates regional policy programs in the areas of economicdevelopment, transportation, environment, energy, and health, among others.Through these efforts, the conference seeks to coordinate efficient and cost-effective regional policies that reflect and benefit the states. To promote NewEngland’s economic development, the governors of the six-state region formallyestablished the New England Governors’ Conference, an informal alliance sincecolonial days, in 1937. In 1981, the conferenceincorporated as a non-partisan, non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)3 corporation. Theregion’s six governors serve as its board of directors. Annually, the governorsselect a chairman to oversee the activities of the organization. The NEGC alsoserves as the New England Secretariat for the Conference of New EnglandGovernors and Eastern Canadian Premiers. The Conference of New EnglandGovernors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, which first met in 1973, is a unique,inter-regional, bi-national organization.VBA appoints new presidentPeter F Crosby, chairman of the Vermont Bankers Association hasannounced that Christopher D’Elia has been appointed to the position ofpresident of the VBA. D’Elia replaces Timothy Y Hayward who left the VBAafter 18 years of service to become chief of staff for Governor Jim Douglas.Mr D’Elia most recently served as commissioner for the Vermont Department ofEconomic Development. During his two year tenure as commissioner, he wasresponsible for overseeing the economic development efforts for the state ofVermont, facilitating a partnership of public and private organizations associatedwith economic development as well as acting as a liaison between the businesscommunity and the Dean Administration. Prior to his commissioner’s post, hewas executive director of the Vermont Economic Progress Council, director, ofWorkforce Education and Training at Vermont Technical College, and executivedirector of Lamoille Economic Development Corporation.D’Angelo Sandwich Shopsembarks on major expansionD’Angelo Sandwich Shops, a quick-service restaurant concept based inDedham, MA, recently announced plans to increase the availability of its popularmad-to-order grilled and deli-style sandwiches throughout New England. Thecompany plans to build 400 units in the next five years by taking advantage ofunsatisfied customer demand identified in existing markets, particularly those inMaine, New Hampshire, Vermont and western Massachusetts, and by continuingto execute a plan announced last year to open more than 50 units in Hartford,CT, Albany, NY and Long Island. According to Vincent Brown, senior vicepresident of Restaurant Development, conditions within the economy andwithin the sandwich chain itself suggest that now is a very favorable time forD’Angelo to launch its expansion effort.Careful attention to quality has enabled D’Angelo to add items such as LobsterBisque and its popular Lobster Sub to its menu, further projecting the allure ofupscale, full-service restaurants while presenting the value and convenience ofquick-service dining. D’Angelo currently has 211 locations, 90 of which are inMassachusetts. Additional units are distributed throughout Connecticut, Maine,New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Existing franchisees account for 54of the chain’s locations, and new franchisees have been identified as the primaryvehicle through which D’Angelo will achieve its growth objectives. For moreinformation call 888-374-2830 or visit D’Angelo online at www.dangelos.com(link is external).Dirigo Paper Company to restartproduction at Gilman Paper MillGovernor Jim Douglas has announced that up to 100 jobs would be created asa result of an agreement by Dirigo Paper Company LLC of Milton,Massachusetts to acquire and restart the Gilman Mill. The mill last producedpaper in April, 2002. The Siman Paper Group backs Dirigo Paper Company; a70 year-old privately held paper products company headquartered in Miami,Florida. “This announcement means a great deal to Vermonters in the NortheastKingdom seeking quality jobs,” said Governor Jim Douglas. “Iwant Dirigo Paper Company to be successful, and we will continue to work withthem to facilitate any assistance we can to help them in this new venture.” TheDepartment of Economic Development will continue to assist the companyduring the transition period through full operation. Peter Hanson, CEO of Dirigoexpected to begin the restart process in late March and plans to begin makingpaper as soon as possible thereafter. The company will be bringing on staff as itramps up production.The mill opened in 1901 and was operated by the Gilman family until it was soldto Georgia-Pacific Company in 1967. During the 1970s the mill became aleader in various specialty grades, including check paper, diazo (blueprint) andbase paper for wallpaper, labels and packing tape. Simpson Paper Company ofSeattle purchased the mill in 1990, and continued to produce specialty papers atthe mill, with particular success in watermarked financial papers. Simpson madea strategic decision to exit the paper business, and sold the mill to AmericanTissue Corporation in 1999. American Tissue’s financial difficulties and 2001-bankruptcy filing resulted in the mills shutdown in April 2002. The mill wasrecently auctioned to Steve Regan Company, of Salt Lake City, UT, which willretain an interest in non-paper-related property acquired in the sale. For furtherinformation about Dirigo Paper Company, contact Peter Hanson,617-296- 1743.Green Mountain Coffee placedin all D’Agostino NY locations Green Mountain Coffee Roaster, Inc (NASDAQ: GMCR) has announced that itis supplying 15 varieties of Green Mountain coffee to all 23 D’AgostinoSupermarkets in New York City and Westchester county. In addition, thecompany announced that D’Agostinos is the first supermarket chain in New YorkCity to offer Newman’s Own Organics coffees, roasted exclusively by GreenMountain Coffee Roasters.Since the company was founded in 1932, D’Agostino’s key to success has beenoffering superior service and high quality products. The D’Agostino tradition ofinnovation and quality continues with the introduction of coffees from GreenMountain Coffee and Newmans Own Organics, bringing these high quality coffeelines together in a New York City supermarket for the first time. Green MountainCoffee Roasters is a leader in the specialty coffee industry and has beenrecognized by Forbes Magazine for the past three years as one of the “200 BestSmall Companies in America.”Bond Auto opens its 30th storeBond Auto Parts, Inc, recently announced that it opened its 30th store in Berlin.According to Craig Bond, vice president of marketing and merchandising, theBerlin location brings the company one step closer to realizing their goal of 50stores by the year 2010. Bond Auto Parts has opened or acquired over 14 storessince the late 1990’s. In September 2000, the company expanded its warehouseoperations by building a 68,000 square foot structure at its headquarters propertyin Barre. This new structure has enabled the company to currently support its 30store locations and beyond from central Vermont. The year 2002 saw thecompany add 6 new store locations.Bond Auto Parts is the largest Vermont based automotive aftermarket supplierserving equally the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets. Founded in1956 by Earl Bond, the company is still family owned and operated. Bond AutoParts belongs to the Automotive Aftermarket Alliance, which is one of thelargest buying and marketing groups in North America.Gallagher, Flynn completes studyof executive compensation in VTGallagher, Flynn & Company, LLP (GFC), Vermont’s largest CPA andbusiness consulting firm, has just completed the most extensive study ofexecutive compensation ever completed in Vermont. The 40-page, VermontExecutive Compensation Survey Report describes how compensation increaseswith organization size for the chief executive officer and the top operating,financial, information technology and human resources executives of over 200Vermont companies and non-profit organizations. The survey also compares andcontrasts the data by for profit versus non-profit, manufacturing versus non-manufacturing and Chittenden county versus the rest of the state.Frank Sadowski, the survey author and partner in charge of Gallagher Flynn’sHuman Resource Consulting Division, states that there are some unanticipatedfindings in this survey, one of which is the similarity in for-profit and non-profitexecutives’ salaries. Many results of the survey are analyzed in this report, andthe survey data is comprehensively presented with charts and graphs. In additionto consulting with clients on a wide range of compensation issues, GFC’s HumanResources Consulting Division also helps firms with their recruiting, laborrelations, outplacement, and other human resources issues. Copies of the reportare complimentary to survey participants and are available to others for $200. Toreceive a copy, contact Susan Duffy at Gallagher, Flynn at 802-651-7248 orsduffy@gfc.com(link sends e-mail)Atlas Timberlands Projectreceives certificationThe Atlas Timberlands Project, the third largest private landholding in Vermont,has been certified to meet Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards by theSmartWood program of the Rainforest Alliance. The goal of forest certificationis to recognize responsible land stewardship through independent evaluation andcertification of forestry practices. Landowners attaining the FSC designation areentitled to use the FSC label for public marketing and advertising of theirholdings and the forest products harvested from certified lands.The 26,000-acre Atlas Timberlands includes 23 tracts of land in 17 towns innorth central Vermont. The land is jointly owned by The Nature Conservancy(TNC) of Vermont and the Vermont Land Trust (VLT), which purchased theselands in 1997 to protect both the working landscape and the ecological resourcesthere. The partnership received notification of the land’s certification in February,following an 18-month review process. Certification of the Atlas Timberlandsenables TNC and VLT to test whether the marketplace will support sustainabletimber management with premium prices for forest products harvested fromcertified woodlands. The Atlas lands have been managed for timber for nearly200 years. The Atlas partnership hopes to obtain higher market prices for itsforestry products, in part as a result of having attained SmartWood certification.The overarching goal for securing certification is to gather and learn from newinformation about what constitutes sustainable forestry.Vermont Lottery introducestwo new instant gamesThe Vermont Lottery recently announced that it will commemorate “25 Years ofWinning” with the introduction of two new instant games and a series of year-long Second Chance drawings for non-winning Tri-Sate Megabucks andVermont Lottery Instant Game tickets. The $2 game “Celebrate” will offer a topprize of $10,000. A $5 Instant Game, “25 Years” will offer a top prize of $25,000.The Second Chance drawings will consist of quarterly drawings for VermontLottery Instant Games as well as special one-time drawings for non-winning Tri-State Megabucks.The quarterly Second Chance drawings will allow players to submit non-winningVermont Lottery Instant Game tickets for a chance to win a variety of prizes,including trips to Maui, personal computers and cash. The first drawing tookplace in March. The Tri-State Megabucks Second Chance drawing will be held inlate summer 2003 and will feature a grand prize of a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid.All profits from the Vermont Lottery are used to support the Vermont EducationFund.South Carolina seeks to pool drugbuying power with VT and MIUpon the heels of the states Michigan and Vermont announcing the formation ofthe multi-state pooling program to be coordinated by First Health Services,Governor Mark Sanford has also announced that South Carolina will seek toexpand Medicaid savings on its preferred drug list by joining in the nation’s firstMedicaid multi-state pooling program. The program will enable South Carolina tonegotiate higher discounts from pharmaceutical manufacturers by pooling withthese other states to maximize their collective buying power. Two weeks ago,Gov Sanford announced South Carolina’s request for federal approval of apreferred drug list for pharmaceutical benefits that could save the state up to$12.8 million.Gov Sanford has stated that the preferred drug list and now the addition of thismulti-state pool are two ideas he thinks will go a long way toward getting ahandle on the prescription drug component of Medicaid. “The addition of SouthCarolina to our purchasing pool is an exciting development that will bring greatervalue to our innovative program,” said Governor Jim Douglas (R-VT). “I wasvery pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the merits of the multi-statepurchasing pool with Governor Sanfordat the National Governors Association conference.”VBMeX offers exchange and reuseof excess business materialsStart-up businesses, schools and farmers are taking advantage of a state-fundedprogram whose goal is to promote the reuse of excess business materials. TheVermont Business Materials Exchange (VBMeX) is a free listing service foravailable and wanted commercial materials, many of which are free or low cost.Anyone can view the ads or submit a new listing to VBMeX by visiting the website at www.vbmex.net(link is external). The listings are diverse, and ultimately can save moneyand help the environment. For those not connected to the internet VermontBusiness Magazine has the listings each month. For more information call EllenRoffman at 800-895-1930PEOPLE IN THE NEWSThe fall membership meeting of the Vermont Society of Certified PublicAccountants was recently held in November and was attended by 60 CPAsfrom across the state. The meeting featured a presentation by Kathy Eddy,CPA, AICPA past-chairman. Also speaking were Brian Murphy, Esq, CPA, andLisa Nolen Birmingham, Esq, both of Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew, PC.Vermont Tax Commissioner Janet Ancel presented a Vermont Tax Update, andMichelle Guilmette, senior tax specialist and Robyn Truman, senior taxspecialist, IRS Taxpayer Education and Communication presented an IRSUpdate.Provan & Lorber, Inc has announced that Anthony Chown, projectengineer/manager, and Heather Voisin, design engineer, recently joined thegrowing office in Montpelier. These additions further expands the local serviceofferings into the areas of environmental engineering and budgetary needs oftheir clients for a variety of planning and design projects. Provan & Lorber alsohave offices and Contoocook and Littleton, NH.Sharon Winn of Calais has been named the director of Quality Improvement atBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont. Prior to her appointment, she servedas counsel to the provider-contracting department.The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Vermont recently announced the election offive new board members to the organization: Alana Shaw, senior accountant atAM Peisch & Company,last_img read more

first_imgLAKE CHAMPLAIN REGIONAL CHAMBER, GBIC GO LIVE WITH “VOTE! 2004″Comprehensive survey of candidates is in-depth Election Day referencepieceBURLINGTON – The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce and GBIChave gone live on the Web with “VOTE! 2004,” which contains the results ofa survey of candidates running for state offices in the November 2 GeneralElection. Results are available at www.lcrccsurvey.org/candidates(link is external).Those surveyed include candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor aswell as candidates for State Senator and State Representative fromChittenden County. With a new and exciting theme and Web-based access,the results are intended to help the business community learn more aboutcandidates and encourage and remind them to vote on Election Day.The Chamber and GBIC “VOTE! 2004” report contains two parts. The first isa biographical section provided by each candidate who responded, as wellas a list of each candidate’s top three legislative priorities. Thesecond part consists of PDF documents as pull-out grids containing allcandidates’ names and, from those who responded, answers to a series ofmultiple choice questions relating to eight broad public policy areas.According to A. Wayne Roberts, Chamber President, “As a leading businessorganization, we strive to provide information on the candidates toencourage more discussion about legislative issues and greaterparticipation in the political process.””VOTE! 2004 includes responses on a wide variety of public policy issuesand should assist voters in making decisions at the polls on November 2,”added GBIC President Frank Cioffi.Both Cioffi and Roberts are pleased with the universally accessible,Web-based format that the piece has taken on this year.The Chamber and GBIC produce “VOTE! 2004” as a benefit to the entireregion. The report is not intended to advocate expressly or implicitly for thesuccess or defeat of any particular candidate or party. Candidates, themedia and other organizations are encouraged to link to the site orpublish portions of the report in print or on the Web at no charge. Toobtain permission to do such or for questions, contact Mary Sprayregen,Chamber/GBIC Director of Government Affairs at 802-863-3489 ext. 210 ormary@vermont.org(link sends e-mail).The LCRCC is a nonprofit organization that provides socially responsibleleadership to enhance the economic environment of the Lake ChamplainRegion and Vermont. GBIC is a private nonprofit economic developmentcorporation that serves as a catalyst for industrial and economic growthin Chittenden County.last_img read more

first_imgGovernors Urge Federal Government to Increase LIHEAP Funding to $1Bfor New England StatesRequest Sharp Increase in Funds to Assist Most Vulnerable this WinterWaterbury, VT-At an energy summit held by the New England Governors’ Conference, Inc. (NEGC) July 9, Governor Jim Douglas and his regional counterparts urged the federal government to increase federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding to $1 billion for the New England states this winter.In a letter sent to President Bush, Congressional leadership, and Senators McCain and Obama, the governors illustrate that the requested funding, a sharp increase from last year’s federal budget, is desperately needed to support low-income families in the upcoming heating season. They note that since the winter of 2005-2006, the price of home heating oil in New England has jumped 87%, and natural gas prices have also risen steeply. In order to deliver the same amount of fuel to New England eligible households as LIHEAP provided in 2005-06, assuming a likely increase in the number of households that will apply for needed assistance, LIHEAP funding for New England states would need to be increased to $1 billion.”Many Vermont families-indeed, many New England families-rely on the heating assistance provided by the LIHEAP program, particularly in this time of soaring fuel prices,” said Governor Douglas. “No Vermonter should be cold in his or her home this winter, or any winter. Through my new Food and Fuel Partnership, my administration is marshalling all our state’s resources to ensure all Vermonters are able to weather the perfect storm of rising food, fuel and transportation prices.”Thanks to the financial commitments made by Governor Douglas and the Vermont legislature, last year Vermont provided the most generous LIHEAP benefit in the country, averaging approximately $1169 per household, with approximately 23,000 households served.”Ensuring that the LIHEAP program remains strong for the many families it serves is a key component of the Governor’s Food and Fuel Partnership,” said Agency of Human Services Secretary Cynthia D. LaWare. “With so many Vermont and New England residents facing the very real prospect of being unable to heat their homes this winter, we need unwavering support from our federal partners in addition to the state’s efforts to ensure our most vulnerable families are able to keep their families warm.”The New England Governors further noted that all of their states are mobilizing resources to address the coming heating crisis, including establishing programs to replace inefficient furnaces, and significantly expanding the installation of insulation, programmable thermostats, thermal windows, weather stripping, and energy efficient appliances. However, these measures alone will not be enough to address the immediate needs of vulnerable families this winter.The NEGC also called on the federal government to take action to protect New England’s most vulnerable residents through a variety of other measures. These include significantly increasing funding for the federal Weatherization Program; increasing TANF block grants to allow for family supplemental payments for greater utility and heating costs; allowing Medicaid rules to cover increasing energy costs for programs and services that are provided in 24/7 facilities such as group homes and residential care and nursing facilities; and, increasing social services block grants to cover additional costs of transportation and energy for center-based care, such as child-care centers.The New England Governors’ Conference, Inc., is a non-partisan, non-profit corporation, and includes the Governors of Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The NEGC coordinates regional policy programs in the areas of economic development, transportation, environment, energy, and health.#####last_img read more