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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Media Note: Lynns Sell the St. Albans Messenger

Posted By on Thu, Dec 13, 2018 at 4:34 PM

The St. Albans Messenger website features a photo of new owner Jim O'Rourke. - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • The St. Albans Messenger website features a photo of new owner Jim O'Rourke.
Emerson and Suzanne Lynn, the owners of several local newspapers in Chittenden County, are selling the St. Albans Messenger.

The buyer is Chicago-based publishing executive Jim O’Rourke, according to a story posted on the Messenger's website. The announcement did not disclose the terms of the sale.

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Friday, November 30, 2018

Vermont Officials Stifle Release of Documents by Former Employee

Posted By on Fri, Nov 30, 2018 at 2:18 PM

Public Service Commissioner June Tierney - FILE: JOHN WALTERS
  • File: John Walters
  • Public Service Commissioner June Tierney
Officials at the Department of Public Service are trying to prevent the public release of documents by a former employee who says he has proof that Commissioner June Tierney is directing staff to favor Green Mountain Power over Vermonters' interests.

And for now, it's working.

In a filing with the Public Utility Commission Friday morning, public service director of public advocacy Jim Porter wrote that the documents Brian Winn wants to release “are subject to the attorney-client and/or work product privileges,” and are therefore confidential.

Winn, the former director of finance and economics for the Department of Public Service, was fired November 9. Soon after, an anonymous letter sent to news organizations and regulators at the Public Utility Commission alleged that Winn was fired for rejecting directives from Tierney to limit his analysis of the company's rate proposal.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Critics Say Burlington Telecom Deal Shortchanges Taxpayers

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2018 at 6:44 PM

Several Burlington residents are asking regulators to halt the sale of Burlington Telecom because the proposed deal fails to return nearly $17 million in city funds diverted to the utility during 2008 and 2009.

“This deal is illegal,” said Dean Corren, a former candidate for lieutenant governor and one of the six citizens fighting the sale before state regulators.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Former Official: State Watchdog Helped Green Mountain Power, Not Vermonters

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 6:59 PM

  • File: Jeb Wallace-brodeur
  • June Tierney
A fired state official said in a filing with Vermont regulators Tuesday that the state's Department of Public Service isn’t delivering on its mission of serving the public.

The department is responsible for representing Vermonters in utility regulation cases before the Public Utility Commission. But last week, an anonymous letter sent to reporters and regulators alleged that Commissioner June Tierney was favoring Green Mountain Power’s financial interests over the Vermonters she is paid to represent.

The letter, reported by and Vermont Public Radio and mailed to Seven Days, said Tierney fired the department’s director of finance and economics, Brian Winn, for refusing to give GMP favorable treatment.

On Tuesday, Winn confirmed many of the allegations in a filing with the Public Utility Commission, the regulatory body that oversees Vermont utilities and sets the price of electricity and natural gas. Winn wrote that the department approached the latest GMP rate case “with at least one hand tied behind it’s [sic] back.”

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Monday, November 19, 2018

After 20 Years, Hardware Store to Open in Downtown Burlington

Posted By on Mon, Nov 19, 2018 at 1:22 PM

The storefront - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • The storefront
A hardware store is setting up shop in downtown Burlington for the first time in roughly two decades.

Gordon Winters plans to open an Ace Hardware on College Street by early January. He's in the midst of renovating the 4,000-square-foot former office space and received his building permits from the city last week.

"There’s definitely a want for it, there’s definitely a need for it," Winters said.

The store, located next door to a Northfield Savings Bank branch, will contain typical hardware store amenities as well as wares that cater to the local population: packing and cleaning materials for college students, specialty plumbing for the city's older buildings, and a marine section for boaters, Winters said.

The store will be laid out in Ace's "urban downtown format" and will "pack a lot more stuff into smaller spaces," he said.

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Keurig Dr Pepper to Lay Off 118 Vermont Employees

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 4:48 PM

Company headquarters in Plano, Texas - TRONG NGUYEN/DREAMSTIME.COM
  • Trong Nguyen/
  • Company headquarters in Plano, Texas
Updated at 6:53 p.m.

Keurig Dr Pepper is laying off 118 Vermont employees as part of a recently finalized merger, Department of Labor Commissioner Lindsay Kurrle said Thursday.

Those laid off will be paid until January 4, according to Kurrle.

Keurig Green Mountain and Dr Pepper Snapple Group merged in July. At the time, the new company said it expected to save $600 million over three years due to "synergies." A total of 500 job cuts are expected nationwide.

The coffee and beverage giant has facilities in Waterbury, Williston and Essex. Most of the job losses — 82 — are tied to the closure of Keurig's early production center in Waterbury, Kurrle said. The center was used for manufacturing and research and development, Kurrle said.

Keurig spokeswoman Katie Gilroy confirmed the layoffs, which she said were part of implementing a “new organizational structure as a key step of our integration process.”

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Walters: Scott Boasts of Labor Force Growth in Vermont

Posted By on Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 5:45 PM

Gov. Phil Scott - JOHN WALTERS
  • John Walters
  • Gov. Phil Scott
Armed with some carefully crafted charts, Republican Gov. Phil Scott has claimed a significant milestone in the health of Vermont's economy. At a Wednesday press conference outside the Department of Labor building in Montpelier, he said that his "6-3-1" mantra no longer applies because the state's workforce has made a turnaround.

Scott has frequently cited "6-3-1" as a measure of Vermont's economic and social stagnation. He claimed that Vermont was losing six people from the workforce every day, there were three fewer kids in public schools every day, and one baby was born every day to an opiate-addicted mother.

Since November, Scott said, roughly 4,400 people have joined Vermont's workforce, which grew from 345,000 to 349,400. That's a 1.3 percent increase. Its size was dramatically magnified in the chart shown above, which covers an eight-month period and ranges from 344,000 to 350,000.

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Monday, July 23, 2018

Vermont AG: It's Illegal for Businesses to 'Gift' Marijuana

Posted By on Mon, Jul 23, 2018 at 11:36 AM

  • Luke Eastman
Updated at 12:35 p.m.

This gift won't legally keep giving.

Selling an item or offering a service that comes with some "free" cannabis is illegal under Vermont's new recreational marijuana law, Attorney General T.J. Donovan declared in an advisory Monday.

The interpretation of the law, which went into effect July 1 and is known as Act 86, comes after several businesses cropped up offering cannabis, edibles and vape cartridges in exchange for a delivery fee. Some entrepreneurs were also selling an overpriced item such as a sticker, T-shirt or bracelet and would throw in a "gift" of marijuana on the side. That kind of transaction is considered a marijuana sale, according to Donovan.

"Any transfer of marijuana for money, barter, or other legal consideration remains illegal under Vermont law," Donovan wrote in the advisory. He added: "Individuals may gift pursuant to the parameters set forth in the law."

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Friday, July 13, 2018

First Satellite Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens in South Burlington

Posted By on Fri, Jul 13, 2018 at 3:25 PM

Products at the dispensary - SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • Sasha Goldstein
  • Products at the dispensary
Vermont’s newest medical marijuana dispensary is in a nondescript office park in South Burlington.

Champlain Valley Dispensary opened its newest shop and office space in late June on Green Tree Drive, around the corner from the South Burlington police station. A bill last year allowed each of Vermont’s five medical marijuana dispensary licensees to open a satellite location. Champlain Valley, which opened its flagship downtown Burlington dispensary in 2013, is the first in the state to take advantage of the law.

Location Details Champlain Valley Dispensary (South Burlington)
2 Green Tree Dr.
Chittenden County
South Burlington, VT
Dispensary (MMJ) and CBD Seller
Bridget Conry, Champlain Valley’s director of sales and product development, said the company runs a grow operation in South Burlington and had a good relationship with city officials as it prepared to expand.

“When we had the opportunity, we took it,” said Conry. “It’s not downtown; it’s easier to get to for some patients; it’s quieter; there’s more space and there’s plenty of parking.”

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

GlobalFoundries Cuts Jobs at Essex Junction Manufacturing Facility

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2018 at 3:52 PM

GlobalFoundries in Essex Junction - FILE: MATT THORSEN
  • File: Matt Thorsen
  • GlobalFoundries in Essex Junction
It's a familiar refrain: More layoffs are underway at GlobalFoundries in Essex Junction.

Employees were notified Wednesday of job reductions that were expected to trim about 130 people from the semiconductor plant's workforce of roughly 2,600.

"I've heard from affected workers that it happened today," Vermont Labor Commissioner Lindsay Kurrle told Seven Days Wednesday afternoon.

A company spokesman confirmed the layoffs in an email Wednesday but would not say how many workers lost their jobs. The company also sounded an ominous note about Vermont's high utility costs and suggested the expense could drive future investments to a rival plant in New York.

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