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Monday, March 11, 2019

Monkton General Store Will Stay Open After Raising Needed Cash

Posted By on Mon, Mar 11, 2019 at 5:55 PM

  • Courtesy of Darcee Alderman
There's new life at the Monkton General Store.

Days after sending out a desperate plea for help, the shop's owners have raised enough money to pay a debt they owed the state. Darcee Alderman told Seven Days last Thursday that she and her husband, Sam, needed $20,000 to keep the 150-year-old store in business. The community responded by spending at the store and donating about $8,200 through a GoFundMe page started by a store employee.

"It was wonderful," Alderman said Monday. "I've already paid the state. Now I need to restock!"

The couple bought the store in 2007. With interest, fees and penalties, the couple owed the state tens of thousands of dollars in taxes and bottle deposits, she said. About $20,000 came due Saturday night, a deadline Alderman said the state extended until Monday.

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Friday, March 8, 2019 Changes Put Dozens of People's Jobs in Jeopardy

Posted By on Fri, Mar 8, 2019 at 4:36 PM's Pine Street headquarters - FILE: MARK DAVIS
  • File: Mark Davis
  •'s Pine Street headquarters
As many as 56 people's jobs at's Burlington offices are in jeopardy because of a change in business strategy by parent company Cox Automotive.

The “digital strategist” position is being eliminated in favor of a “performance management model of client services,” Cox spokesperson Lisa Aloisio told Seven Days.

The company is eliminating 112 digital strategists across five locations. Half of those positions are in Vermont, Aloisio said, but affected employees will have “a really good amount of time to apply” for the new jobs.

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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Monkton General Store to Close if Owners Can't Raise $20,000

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 12:54 PM

  • Courtesy of Darcee Alderman
  • The store
The owners of the Monkton General Store, an institution for approximately 150 years, are preparing to shut the business down unless they can raise $20,000 by Saturday night.

Darcee and Sam Alderman need the cash to pay state taxes to keep the place open. They're simply asking people to make some purchases. “I’m cautiously optimistic,” Darcee Alderman told Seven Days. “We have that in inventory here, so if we can just get the sales.”

The couple announced the news Wednesday night on Facebook. Customers responded Thursday, streaming in and out to buy gas, beer and wine, deli sandwiches, pizza, groceries, and other items sold at the small store on Monkton Ridge.

“It’s been amazing. I honestly had no idea that that many people cared. I’ve already broken down a couple times this morning,” Darcee Alderman said. “Just the outpouring of concern and wanting to help and keep us open has just been absolutely humbling.”

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Vermont Senate Votes to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 by 2024

Posted By on Tue, Feb 26, 2019 at 11:32 AM

Franklin County Republican Senators Randy Brock and Corey Parent (left) taking the oath of office in January. - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Franklin County Republican Senators Randy Brock and Corey Parent (left) taking the oath of office in January.
The Vermont Senate voted Tuesday to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. If the House follows suit, the stage will be set for a veto showdown between the legislature and Gov. Phil Scott, who vetoed similar legislation last year.

The Senate passed the bill by voice vote Tuesday morning, but it appears to have support from a veto-proof majority. A procedural measure cleared the Senate last Friday on a vote of 19 to 8, with three supporters absent.

Scott and many legislative Republicans oppose the bill, arguing that increased payroll costs for businesses could lead to job cuts and price inflation. Proponents of the bill say it would boost the state’s economy by giving low-income Vermonters more money to spend, making up for the increased costs.

Before voting against the bill on the Senate floor Tuesday, Sen. Corey Parent (R-Franklin) pointed to a report from the legislative Joint Fiscal Office which found that job losses in the state could amount to 3,000 by 2040 as a result of the increased minimum wage. Legislative economists also found the proposal could shrink the state’s gross domestic product, Parent said.

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Monday, January 28, 2019

State Receiver Will Continue to Run Pillsbury Homes for Seniors

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2019 at 8:46 PM

Attorney General T.J. Donovan with Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living Commissioner Monica Hutt - TAYLOR DOBBS
  • Taylor Dobbs
  • Attorney General T.J. Donovan with Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living Commissioner Monica Hutt
Four residential homes for seniors will continue to operate under state control indefinitely after a judge on Monday extended what had been an emergency order.

The January 25 ruling by Washington Superior Court Judge Mary Miles Teachout credited earlier allegations of food shortages, utility shut-off notices and "dysfunctional" management that failed to even cash rent checks at what are informally known as the Pillsbury homes.

The owner of the facilities, which are home to 200 residents, is in default on a $24 million loan he executed to buy the South Burlington and St. Albans properties in 2017.

Other bills went unpaid, too, the ruling says. Employees paid for food out of their own pockets. And when trash piled up because a hauler wasn't paid, one employee carted it off herself.

Three of the facilities are licensed residential care homes: Homestead at Pillsbury in St. Albans, and Pillsbury Manor South and Allenwood at Pillsbury Manor, both in South Burlington. The fourth, Harborview, also in South Burlington, is an independent living facility.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Frontier Announces Nonstop Flights From BTV to Denver

Posted By on Tue, Jan 22, 2019 at 5:44 PM

Burlington International Airport - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Burlington International Airport
In May, Frontier Airlines will begin nonstop flights from Burlington International Airport to Denver, Colo., the discount carrier announced Tuesday.

The route marks a new westernmost destination for BTV travelers and better access to the West Coast, said Nic Longo, the airport's deputy director of aviation.

Denver International Airport hosts nonstop flights to more than 200 destinations and is a hub for United Airlines and Frontier.

"It's huge for us to have that connection," Longo said.

Flights to and from Denver will run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, according to Frontier. The airline plans to use the 180-passenger Airbus A320 for the route. It's the same big-for-Burlington aircraft that Frontier is using for direct flights to Orlando, Fla., that begin in February.

BTV boardings increased by 14 percent last year, Longo said, after seven years of declining figures.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Vermont Democrats Counter Scott With Mandatory Paid Leave Plan

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2019 at 12:55 PM

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • House Speaker Mitzi Johnson
A day after Republican Gov. Phil Scott pitched a plan for a voluntary paid family leave program, the Democratic leaders of the Vermont legislature threw their support behind an alternative proposal that would provide the benefit to all Vermonters and fund it with a payroll tax.

At a Statehouse press conference Thursday, House Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D-South Hero) and Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) characterized their plan as a better way to protect those helping a sick or injured relative, becoming new parents or recovering from an illness themselves.

“When that happens, a maybe secure financial situation becomes insecure lightning fast,” Ashe said.

The Democratic proposal, which is expected to be introduced soon in the Vermont House, would provide 12 weeks of leave with full pay, according to Ashley Moore, the state director of the Main Street Alliance and co-chair of the Vermont Family and Medical Leave Insurance Coalition. It would be funded by a 0.93-percent payroll tax, split evenly between employers and employees.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Scott Proposes a Paid Family Leave Partnership With New Hampshire

Posted By on Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 3:19 PM

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, right, with New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu - TAYLOR DOBBS
  • Taylor Dobbs
  • Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, right, with New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu
A proposal by Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu would provide paid family leave for employees of both states through an insurance system that would also be open to private businesses and individuals who opt to join.

The Republican governors presented their plan Wednesday at the Schilling Beer Company in Littleton, N.H.

The proposal would allow covered employees to take up to six weeks of paid family leave while receiving 60 percent of their usual salaries. Businesses enrolling their entire staff would get a discount on premiums, Scott said, but the insurance would be available on an employee-by-employee basis as well. Workers at businesses that don’t opt in to the program could sign up individually, Scott said.

Last year, Scott vetoed a bill to create a family leave program because it was not optional, and it would have been funded by a payroll tax on Vermont businesses.

“I said last year ... that I share the goal of providing this type of benefit,” Scott said in a taproom overlooking the icy Ammonoosuc River. “I just thought we should be doing it on a volunteer basis, but I didn’t have a plan together at that point. Now we have a plan, and we have details as well.”

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Champlain Lanes Bowling Alley to Close After 55 Years

Posted By on Tue, Jan 8, 2019 at 2:12 PM

Champlain Lanes in Shelburne - JOHN JAMES
  • John James
  • Champlain Lanes in Shelburne
The family that owns Champlain Lanes announced Tuesday that the 16-lane bowling alley that has operated for half a century on Route 7 in Shelburne will close in May.

Its last day of business is scheduled for May 12, which is also the conclusion of the 55th Annual Champlain International Championship Tournament.

Co-owner Randy Longe told Seven Days that the family has never owned the building that houses the business, and that their choice to close it was made in close consultation with the landlord, Trey Pecor.

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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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