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Monday, October 16, 2017

CBD Products Are Subject to Sales Tax in Vermont, Officials Say

Posted By on Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 5:56 PM

A hemp field in Middlebury - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • A hemp field in Middlebury
Retail outlets should be charging sales tax on products made from the hemp-extract cannabidiol, the Vermont Department of Taxes said in a recent ruling.

Ceres Natural Remedies, a CBD retailer with locations in Burlington and Brattleboro, queried the tax department about the issue after some initial confusion.

“We wanted to make sure we were doing everything in accordance with the law,” David Mickenberg, a lawyer representing Ceres, told Seven Days.

As a result, Mickenberg said the Ceres store will charge 7 percent state and local sales tax on its over-the-counter CBD products, which include pills, salves and patches designed to offer pain and anxiety relief.

Ceres was initially charging sales tax but paused after numerous complaints from customers who said that other retailers were not charging sales tax, according to Mickenberg. The company then sought the guidance of the Tax Department, he said.

Green State Gardener, another Burlington outlet that sells CBD products, has been charging sales tax on such items and will continue to do so, according to general manager Kelsy Raap.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

UVM Medical Center Plans to Expand Air Ambulance Service

Posted By on Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 4:54 PM

The helipad at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington - MOLLY WALSH
  • Molly Walsh
  • The helipad at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington
There could be more landings next year on the helicopter pad at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington.

Hospital executives are in contract negotiations to expand air ambulance service in 2018 through a collaboration with DHART, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team. The deal could be completed within the month, according to Eileen Whalen, president and chief operating officer of UVM Medical Center.

The new service would focus on interhospital transport of critically ill patients in UVM's service area, which includes Massena, N.Y. — a three-hour drive from Burlington. That same journey takes about 35 minutes through the air, according to Whalen.

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sue Minter Named President and CEO of Special Olympics Vermont

Posted By on Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 11:59 AM

  • File: James Buck
  • Sue Minter
Updated at 1:05 p.m.

Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter has landed a job as president and CEO of Special Olympics Vermont.

The Waterbury Center resident, who lost the governor’s race last November to Republican Phil Scott, announced the news Thursday morning on her Facebook page.

“So excited to be launching my next adventure and joining the amazing team of Special Olympics Vermont!” she wrote. “I look forward to being a part of an international movement that grows pride, self esteem and health for Special Olympic athletes and families, and builds diversity and inclusion in our communities.”

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Vermont Grants Medical Marijuana License to PhytoScience Institute

Posted By on Mon, Sep 25, 2017 at 9:52 AM

Plants at Champlain Valley Dispensary, one of the state's current operations - FILE: LEE KROHN
  • File: Lee Krohn
  • Plants at Champlain Valley Dispensary, one of the state's current operations
Updated on September 26, 2017.

The Vermont Department of Public Safety on Friday approved a license for the state's fifth medical marijuana operation, which plans to open dispensaries in Bennington and St. Albans.

PhytoScience Institute, led by University of Vermont professor William Cats-Baril, beat out four other applicants vying for a state license. For the last two years, the Waterbury-based Institute has offered consulting services and conducted testing and research on marijuana products.

While Gov. Phil Scott vetoed the Vermont legislature’s attempt to legalize marijuana last session, he did sign a bill that allows for a fifth state medical marijuana dispensary license.* The legislation also permits each of the five licensees to operate a satellite location.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

During Harvard Event, Shumlin Analyzes His Single-Payer Failure

Posted By on Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 11:44 PM

Former governor Peter Shumlin (left) with top health care staffers, Robin Lunge and Lawrence Miller - FILE: PAUL HEINTZ
  • File: Paul Heintz
  • Former governor Peter Shumlin (left) with top health care staffers, Robin Lunge and Lawrence Miller
Peter Shumlin told a group of Harvard University scholars Tuesday that he didn’t have the political capital to pass single-payer health care in Vermont.

The three-term Democratic former Vermont governor revisited his signature political failure during a live-streamed interview with Harvard public health professor John McDonough.

“Was that a policy decision or was that a political decision, do you think?” asked McDonough, referring to Shumlin’s decision to pull the plug on single-payer.

“They’re always both,” Shumlin responded. “There was no way I was gonna get the votes in either the House or the Senate to pass the single-payer plan that I wanted to pass ... I had Progressive senators coming to me saying, ‘What if we just slowed down?’”

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Census Bureau: Vermont Only State to See Poverty Rate Rise in 2016

Posted By on Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 6:21 PM

New data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that 71,329 Vermonters lived below the federal poverty line in 2016 — roughly 10,000 more than in 2015. Vermont was the only state to see a statistically significant increase in its poverty rate, from 10.2 percent in 2015 to 11.9 percent in 2016.

But according to Ashley Edwards, chief of the Census Bureau's poverty statistics branch, the latest figures may represent a return to the norm, rather than a new trend. The state's 2016 poverty rate mirrors those from 2012 through 2014.

"If you look at the past five-year period, it actually looks like the 2015 period might be an outlier," Edwards said. "So although this reflects an increase, it's not statistically different than some of those earlier years."

Vermont continues to do better than most states. Only nine had lower poverty rates than Vermont in 2016, according to Edwards. Neighboring New Hampshire had the lowest, at 7.3 percent. Mississippi had the highest, at 20.8 percent.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Reward Offered After NEK Farm Tagged With Racist, Nazi Graffiti

Posted By on Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 7:31 PM

Graffiti spray-painted at Andersonville Farm last week. - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Graffiti spray-painted at Andersonville Farm last week.
The owners of Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who tagged one of their supplier's barns with racist and anti-Semitic graffiti.

An Andersonville Farm employee on Friday morning found a swastika, the Nazi "SS" symbol, a racial slur and the words "#get out" spray painted on a hoop barn at the West Glover dairy, which produces milk for Jasper Hill's famed Bayley Hazen Blue cheese.

Mateo Kehler, head cheesemaker and cofounder of the award-winning Jasper Hill Farm, posted a photo of the vandalism Monday on the cheese company's Facebook page, announcing the reward and deploring the incident.

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Read All About It: South Burlington Library Plans to Move to the Mall

Posted By on Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 12:45 PM

University Mall - MOLLY WALSH
  • Molly Walsh
  • University Mall
The University Mall will welcome a new tenant this fall — the South Burlington Community Library.

The South Burlington City Council on Tuesday approved a three-year lease for the library to take over an empty retail space in the mall at a cost of $45,000 per year.

It's meant to be a stopgap arrangement as city officials work to raise funds and plan for a new five-story public building intended to house both city hall and the library.

City officials hope to open the mall space in mid-November in a storefront next to the Bon-Ton department store, on the north side of the building near the parking garage.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Vermont Tax Department Sends Letters Seeking Unpaid Sales Tax

Posted By on Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 6:00 PM

The state tax department is sending nearly 20,000 letters to Vermonters informing them that they may owe sales tax for online purchases. If so, they’ve got two months to pay up without interest or penalty.

The “Dear Taxpayer” letter reads, “Most Vermonters owe use tax, however many don’t fully understand what use tax is or how much they owe.”

Use tax is what Vermonters pay in lieu of a sales tax collected at the time of purchase — usually when buying something online, over the phone, in a state such as New Hampshire that doesn’t charge a sales tax, or by mail. The letter is meant to inform Vermonters that they are responsible for paying that use tax when filing their annual income tax form.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Long Trail and Burton Are Working Out 'Take a Hike' Trademark Dispute

Posted By on Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 12:22 PM

Long Trail objected to this Burton merchandise - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Long Trail objected to this Burton merchandise
Long Trail Brewing is nearing an agreement to resolve a lawsuit that alleged Burton Snowboards infringed on its “Take a Hike” trademark.

“We’ve reached an agreement in principle and now we’re trying to document it,” Long Trail’s attorney, Kevin Henry of Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer PC, told Seven Days.

The news last week that the two Vermont-born companies were battling in court generated plenty of buzz. The Bridgewater Corners-based beer company alleged Burton used its motto on clothing in violation of a decades-old trademark it held. Burton’s website at the time sold at least two pieces of clothing, a hoodie and a T-shirt, with “Take a Hike” emblazoned across the bottom. The phrase was accompanied by an illustration of a tent with a person’s legs sticking out.

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