Green Mountain Coffee Roasters acquires Tully’s Coffee Brand

first_imgGreen Mountain Coffee Roasters Announces Asset Purchase Agreement for Acquisition of the Tully’s Coffee Brand and Wholesale BusinessWest Coast Acquisition to Accelerate GMCR’s Geographic Expansion PlansCompany Intends to Leverage Full Potential of Complementary Tully’s brand to drive Keurig(r) Single-Cup Brewing system penetration across North America WATERBURY, VT (September 15, 2008) – Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) announced today that the Company has executed an Asset Purchase Agreement to acquire the Tully’s coffee brand and wholesale business from Tully’s Coffee Corporation for a cash purchase price of $40.3 million, subject to adjustment at closing. Tully’s wholesale business division distributes handcrafted coffees and related products via office coffee services, food service distributors, and over 5,000 supermarkets located primarily in the western states. Tully’s Coffee Corporation will remain an independent company, owned by its existing shareholders and managed by its existing management team, with a focus on its retail and international division assets. Tully’s retail business will operate under license and supply agreements with GMCR. This arrangement is intended to create consistent representation of the Tully’s brand while providing high quality gourmet coffee to all customers drinking Tully’s branded coffee. Following the completion of this transaction, GMCR expects to integrate approximately 70 employees from Tully’s wholesale business into its Green Mountain Coffee segment. GMCR will sublease from Tully’s the portion of Tully’s manufacturing and distribution center in Seattle, WA that is devoted to the wholesale business. Green Mountain Coffee intends to finance the purchase through its existing $225 million senior revolving credit facility. This transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Tully’s shareholders, and is expected to close by the end of calendar 2008. Tom T. O’Keefe, Chairman of the Board of Tully’s, representing 10.4 % of the outstanding voting shares and 20.1% of the common stock outstanding of Tully’s, has agreed to vote in favor of the transaction. Green Mountain Coffee anticipates the acquisition will be neutral to modestly accretive to its earnings per share for the first twelve months of ownership following the closing of the transaction, and accretive thereafter. Taking into account the acquisition, the Company is not changing its previously issued estimates for fully diluted GAAP earnings per share in the range of $1.20 to $1.30 per share for fiscal year 2009. Lawrence J. Blanford, President and CEO of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, said, “GMCR is delighted to be adding an outstanding specialty coffee brand such as Tully’s to our coffee roasting family. Tully’s will provide GMCR with a complementary West Coast brand and business infrastructure, furthering our plans to establish the Company, and its proprietary Keurig(r) Single-Cup Brewing system, throughout North America.” Blanford continued, “Tully’s wholesale sales over the past 12 months ended June 30, 2008 of $30.4 million are up approximately 35% driven by growing supermarket distribution to 5,000 doors in 20 states, primarily in the western part of the nation, and K-Cup(r) portion pack sales. This complements our own business in these channels, which is currently largely on the East Coast. Enhanced distribution of Tully’s K-Cup portion packs in supermarkets and office coffee services also presents exciting opportunities. Tully’s has been a Keurig licensee since November, 2005. With this acquisition, we intend to further leverage the brand’s potential and aggressively grow Tully’s wholesale business.” Blanford concluded, “We have great admiration for the Tully’s brand and commitment to the community which the founder, Tom T. O’Keefe, has created. We believe Tully’s wholesale business is a compelling and strategic acquisition. It will further strengthen GMCR’s ability to better service its customers and deliver enhanced shareholder value over time.” Ropes & Gray LLP served as legal advisor to GMCR for this acquisition.About Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) is recognized as a leader in the specialty coffee industry for its award-winning coffees, innovative brewing technology and socially and environmentally responsible business practices. GMCR manages its operations through two wholly owned business segments: Green Mountain Coffee and Keurig. Its Green Mountain Coffee division sells more than 100 high-quality coffee selections, including Fair Trade Certified(tm) organic coffees, under the Green Mountain Coffee(r) and Newman’s Own(r) Organics brands through its wholesale, direct mail and e-commerce operations (www.GreenMountainCoffee.com(link is external)). Green Mountain Coffee also produces its coffee as well as hot cocoa and tea in K-Cup(r) portion packs for Keurig(r) Single-Cup Brewers. Keurig, Incorporated is a pioneer and leading manufacturer of gourmet single-cup coffee brewing systems for offices, homes and hotel rooms. Keurig markets its patented brewers and K-Cups(r) through office distributors, retail and direct channels (www.Keurig.com(link is external)). K-Cups are produced by a variety of licensed roasters including Green Mountain Coffee and Tully’s. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. has been recognized repeatedly by CRO Magazine, Forbes and SustainableBusiness.com as a good corporate citizen and an innovative, high-growth company.Forward-Looking StatementsCertain statements contained herein are not based on historical fact and are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the applicable securities laws and regulations. Owing to the uncertainties inherent in forward-looking statements, actual results could differ materially. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the Company’s success in receiving required approvals for the acquisition of Tully’s wholesale business, the Company’s success in efficiently and effectively integrating Tully’s wholesale operations and capacity into its Green Mountain Coffee segment, the impact on both companies’ retail sales of consumer sentiment regarding the health of the economy, the Company’s success in efficiently expanding operations and capacity to meet growth, competition and other business conditions in the coffee industry and food industry in general, fluctuations in availability and cost of high-quality green coffee, any other increases in costs including fuel, the unknown impact of management changes, Keurig’s ability to continue to grow and build profits with its roaster partners in the office and at home markets, the impact of the loss of one or more major customers for Green Mountain Coffee or Tully’s or reduction in the volume of purchases by one or more major customers, delays in the timing of adding new locations with existing customers, Green Mountain Coffee’s level of success in continuing to attract new customers, variances from sales mix and growth rate, weather and special or unusual events, as well as other risks described more fully in the Company’s filings with the SEC. Forward-looking statements reflect management’s analysis as of the date of this press release. The Company does not undertake to revise these statements to reflect subsequent developments, other than in its regular, quarterly earnings releases.###last_img read more

UVM College of Medicine names William Jeffries new senior associate dean for education

first_imgUniversity of Vermont College of Medicine Dean Frederick C. Morin, M.D., has announced that following a national search, William B. Jeffries, Ph.D., has accepted the position of Senior Associate Dean for Education. Dr. Jeffries will assume this role on August 1, 2009, and will relocate to Vermont from Omaha, Nebraska, where he is the Associate Dean for Medical Education and Director of Academic Computing at Creighton University School of Medicine. Internationally recognized as an accomplished teacher, scholar and administrator, Dr. Jeffries has extensive experience in strategic institutional planning, curriculum design and technological innovation. Since 2001, he has been the chief academic officer in charge of the medical curriculum at Creighton University, overseeing ongoing revision of the curriculum and LCME accreditation, establishing new institutional policies and administrative structures, driving educational research and advancing technology in teaching and learning. He has played a leadership role in the planning of a new interprofessional clinical simulation center at Creighton University and has obtained a competitive grant to obtain state of the art mannequin simulators for clinical skills training. He has also led Creighton s efforts to develop affiliate clinical training sites, leading the establishment of remote clerkships in Phoenix, Arizona.Dr. Jeffries will replace Professor Emeritus of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics Robert Low, Ph.D., who has served in the position in an interim capacity since December 2008, following Lewis First, M.D., Professor and Chair of Pediatrics, who stepped down from the role to become editor of the journal Pediatrics. Jeffries will have oversight for the Vermont Integrated Curriculum, including the expansion of clinical clerkship programs with academic medical center partner Fletcher Allen and with potential new affiliations outside Vermont. He will also have responsibility for Admissions and Student Affairs, playing a key role in attracting and recruiting top students.Dr. Jeffries has written and presented widely on medical education, and was invited to become one of two editors of the 5th edition of the Handbook for Medical Teachers, the classic guide for medical education. He has been actively engaged in medical student education for more than twenty years, teaching and directing courses across all four years of the curriculum, and was awarded the Golden Apple for Teaching in 2000. He served as co-investigator on several educational research grants, including a HRSA Center of Excellence grant designed to increase cultural competence in the curriculum. He also developed Creighton s Minority Summer Research Training Program and is currently a Co-investigator at Creighton s National Institute on Drug Abuse Center of Excellence for Physician Information. In addition to his involvement in medical education, Dr. Jeffries has had a productive career as a scientist, with research interests in the role of the kidneys and the autonomic nervous system in the regulation of blood pressure. He is a longtime member of the Council for High Blood Pressure of the American Heart Association, and was named a Fellow in 2001.A native of Philadelphia, Dr. Jeffries graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Scranton (Pa.), and earned his master s and doctoral degrees in pharmacology from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacology and served as senior research associate at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He then joined the Creighton University faculty in 1988, and was named Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Biomedical Sciences and Medicine in 1994. He became Interim Associate Dean for Medical Education in 2001, and was named to the permanent position in 2002.  Source: UVMlast_img read more

Rock of Ages reports 9 percent increase in Q2 net income to $0.21 per share

first_imgCustomer deposits1,176 $0.21 Divisional operating income: Other income, net July 4, July 3, July 4, Manufacturing 30,559 $6,638 2009 515 $ 1,713 (55) $0.19 5,265 Selling, general and administrative expenses: 1,521 Accumulated other comprehensive loss(4,633) — Stockholders’ equity: Borrowings under line of credit– (1,322) 391 Income tax expense 1,078 $10,036 Strategic options and lawsuit expenses 2010 Net revenue: $ 58,452 695 8,025 1,602 Other long-term assets530 — 48 2,090 Salary continuation5,243 1,746 Total net revenue Accrued post retirement benefits1,637 4,055 $(0.07) Accrued expenses1,998 1,562 4,802 236 1,285 $1,561 7,416 135 1,106 (52) (144) 1,130 331 Quarry 3,156 4,810 1,264 Three Months Ended 1,163 Unallocated corporate overhead 1,773 (34,746) Manufacturing 1,641 537 508 1,784 Gross profit: 2,536 583 $(0.07) Accrued pension cost4,522 (84) 692 Quarry (421) Rock of Ages Corporation,Rock of Ages Corporation (NASDAQ:ROAC) announced today that net income for the second quarter of 2010 increased 9% to $1,561,000, or $.21 per share, which included costs associated with the exploration of strategic options and shareholder lawsuit expenses of $493,000, or $0.07 per share. For the second quarter of 2009, net income was $1,433,000, or $.19 per share. Revenue for this year’s second quarter increased 2% to $14,663,000 compared to $14,424,000 for the second quarter of 2009. Divisional operating income increased 26% to $3,200,000 compared to $2,536,000 last year, and unallocated corporate overhead decreased to $669,000 from $692,000.Manufacturing revenue for the second quarter of 2010 increased 7% to $8,025,000 compared to $7,512,000 for the second quarter of 2009, as sales of monuments and industrial products both increased. Operating income in the manufacturing segment increased to $1,562,000 from $1,373,000 a year ago, reflecting the higher revenue and cost reduction steps initiated last year. “We remain confident regarding the performance of our manufacturing operations for 2010 as a whole,” said Chief Executive Officer Donald Labonte.Quarry revenue for the second quarter of 2010 decreased 4% to $6,638,000 compared to $6,912,000 for the second quarter of 2009, but operating income increased 41% to $1,638,000 compared to $1,163,000 last year, reflecting lower operating expenses and higher productivity due to the development and production improvements undertaken in the past year. “Our quarry development programs have increased our ability to produce and deliver higher quantities of saleable granite. Demand for our granites remains strong, so we are optimistic about quarry performance going forward,” Labonte said.Six Months ResultsFor the six months ended July 3, 2010, revenue increased 9% to $22,174,000 from $20,362,000 for the first six months of 2009. Gross profit increased 21%, SG&A was down slightly, and divisional income increased 97% compared to the first half of 2009.The net loss for the first half of 2010 was $531,000, or $0.07 per share, which included costs associated with the exploration of strategic options and shareholder lawsuit expenses of $493,000, or $0.07 per share. For the first six months of 2009, the net loss was $1,341,000, or $0.18 per share.About Rock of AgesRock of Ages (www.RockofAges.com(link is external)) is the largest integrated granite quarrier and manufacturer of finished granite memorials and granite blocks for memorial use in North America.Forward-Looking StatementsThis press release contains statements that are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on current expectations, estimates and projections about our business or expected events based, in part, on assumptions made by management. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Therefore, actual events, results or outcomes may differ materially from what is expressed or forecasted in such forward-looking statements due to numerous factors, including the challenge of successfully implementing our strategic plan intended to enhance our overall profitability; unanticipated overhead or other expenses including possible expenses we may incur in connection with responding to the recently disclosed acquisition proposal from Swenson Granite Company LLC and related matters; and other risks discussed from time to time in the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings and reports including, but not limited to, the risks discussed in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009. Such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and the Company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this release.ROCK OF AGES CORPORATIONConsolidated Statements of Operations(In thousands, except per share amounts) (Unaudited) 582 Current assets: 3,124 $ 58,452 Source: rock of Ages. BARRE, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Quarry Deferred salary1,504 — 110 — Common stock Class A, $0.01 par value, Authorized 30,000,000 shares; (4,575) 7,416 — 95 7,416 $10,260 — Current liabilities: 493 Income (loss) before interest and income taxes Quarry 1,899 Identified intangible assets, net407 496 4,177 ROCK OF AGES CORPORATIONConsolidated Balance Sheets(in thousands, except per share amounts) (Unaudited) Jul. 3, Other current assets1,880 22,174 Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equitycenter_img Foreign exchange gain Trade receivables, net8,539 250 1,620 (145) (785) 1,058 Additional paid-in capital65,777 19 1,373 4,812,342 issued and outstanding at July 3, 2010 and December 31, 200948 1,089 $(531) 7,416 Net income (loss) per share – basic Weighted average common shares outstanding -diluted $(0.18)Net income (loss) per share – diluted 1,622 7,512 Property, plant and equipment, net30,658 $0.19 15,077 Net income (loss) $6,912 $1,433 1,568 1,638 152 Deferred tax liabilities– 26 7,416 2,603,721 issued and outstanding at July 3, 2010 and December 31, 200926 11,914 1,357 774 Current installments of retirement benefits702 691 1,811 $(0.18) — Six Months Ended 2009 1,733 7,416 3,113 Interest expense, net 2,534 Total stockholders’ equity25,941 2010 26,409 Total gross profit Effect of pension curtailment 2,134 2,026 Goodwill387 387 13,361 Preferred stock $0.01 par value. Authorized 2,500,000 shares; none issued– — $0.21 Manufacturing Total current liabilities6,807 493 Total current assets28,007 Current installments of long-term debt1,289 801 Income (loss) before income taxes — Total assets$ 59,989 1,504 Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity$ 59,989 2,668 7,416 Trade payables1,642 5,386 Manufacturing Inventories14,767 10,326 Long-term debt, excluding current installments14,335 899 26,504 4,897 Common stock Class B, $0.01 par value. Authorized 15,000,000 shares; 2009 2,035 $ 214 Weighted average common shares outstanding – basic Total divisional operating income Total SG&A expenses 14,663 20,362 573 31,948 $(1,341) 669 Dec. 31,Assets2010 Total liabilities34,048 2,431 Cash and cash equivalents$ 2,200 7,439 65,751 Accumulated deficit(35,277) 279 7,241 3,200 758 Assets held for sale621 14,424 July 3,last_img read more

Vermont employment outlook shows middle-class jobs shrinking

first_imgUS Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has released a report showing that low-wage jobs will provide the biggest share of Vermont employment growth through 2018.‘Unfortunately, many of the new jobs being projected for Vermont and America are low-paying jobs. We can and must do better,’ said Sanders, a member of the Senate labor committee.As the state and nation struggle through the worst recession since the 1930s, Vermont’s 6 percent unemployment rate and the 9.6 percent national jobless figure overshadow a decline in manufacturing jobs and other occupations that once supported middle-class families.The employment structure in Vermont reflects a national trend.‘The structure of job opportunities in the United States has sharply polarized over the past two decades, with expanding job opportunities in both high-skill, high-wage occupations and low-skill, low-wage occupations, coupled with contracting opportunities in middle-wage, middle-skill white-collar and blue-collar jobs,’ MIT economist David Autor concluded in a report on The Polarization of Job Opportunities in the U.S. Labor Market.In Vermont, the greatest demand, with more than 400 new openings a year, will be for cashiers and home care aides, according to the analysis compiled for Sanders using state employment data. Another 362 positions are expected in each of the next eight years for retail sales. The median income for those three fields is $18,730, $21,130 and $22,840The highest number of annual openings through 2018 are for cashiers, who are paid an average of $9.57 an hour. According to the state data, 459 such positions are projected to open up each year.Health care is a bright spot in Vermont’s economy. Nursing is one of the few fields with both high demand and good pay. The projected 214 positions opening up annually for registered nurses pay an average of $30 an hour. On the other hand, home care aides are paid only $10 an hour. There are 426 anticipated openings for home care aides each year, the second highest for any of the almost 500 fields of work in VermontThere are 65 types of positions that are defined as ‘high demand’ in Vermont, but just 10 fields are projected to have more than 100 openings each year through 2018. Just three of those occupations earn an average of at least $20 an hour. Executive secretaries make $20 an hour on average, registered nurses are paid $30 an hour, and accountants typically earn $31 an hour. For a full list, click here.To be considered a job in ‘high demand,’ an occupation must exceed both the statewide average for job creation, having at least 24 openings a year, and the statewide annual growth rate, measured at least 0.8 percent annually.More than four of 10 Vermont jobs created through 2018, or 44 percent of annual openings, are classified as “low paying,” according to an analysis by Mathew Barewicz, the economic and labor market information chief at the Vermont Department of Labor. “Low-paying” in his analysis is classified as any position that earns less than $15.73 an hour, or $32,720 per year.Sanders is working to create good-paying jobs by reforming U.S. trade policies, expanding broadband service throughout Vermont, promoting employee-ownership of businesses and encouraging major employers, such as Sandia National Laboratories, to locate facilities in Vermont. Source: Sanders office. 9.9.2010last_img read more

Vermont Chamber names Governor Douglas 2010 Citizen of the Year

first_imgFor nearly five decades, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce has annually awarded an individual who has gone above and beyond his or her daily requirements to better the state of Vermont through self-sacrifice, service and volunteerism.  In the crowded field of awards given to Vermont community members, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award is one of the most prestigious.  This year, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce proudly presents the Citizen of the Year Award to Governor James H. Douglas of Middlebury.  Governor Douglas has been serving the people of Vermont for nearly 40 years.  As Governor, he has focused on strengthening Vermont’s economy, reducing the cost of living in Vermont and protecting the state’s natural environment.  Making Vermont an affordable place to live, work and raise a family has been Douglas’s top priority.In 1980, Governor Douglas ignited his political career and was elected Secretary of State.  After serving as Secretary of State for thirteen years, Governor Douglas ran for and was elected as State Treasurer in 1994.  Finally, in 2002, Douglas was elected Governor of Vermont and held this position for an impressive eight years.  Beyond government, Douglas has been active in many community organizations including the State 4-H Foundation, Mary Johnson Day Care Center, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and the Counseling Service of Addison County.  Governor Douglas also continues to serve as Town Moderator for Middlebury, a position he has held for more than twenty years. “Governor Douglas has been a dedicated public servant to the state of Vermont and his success is directly related to his ability to connect with Vermonters and understand their needs,” said Betsy Bishop, President of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. “Vermont has benefited under the leadership of Governor Douglas whose vision, dedication and proven results have built a strong foundation for Vermont’s future growth.”The Vermont Chamber of Commerce will honor Governor James H. Douglas on October 28, 2010, beginning at 5:30 pm at the Hilton Burlington Hotel.  Tickets are $65 per person and include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a plated dinner and an opportunity to toast Douglas for his many contributions to and accomplishments in the state of Vermont.Source: Vermont Chamber of Commerce. 9.6.2010last_img read more

VFDA program provides more than 6,000 gallons of free heating fuel

first_imgThis winter many Vermonters who do not qualify or have not applied for heating assistance will find themselves in need of help. For more than twenty years, VFDA’s Neighbor-in-Need programs have helped those Vermonters who are often too proud to ask.This year Vermont’s heating fuel dealers are continuing the proud tradition of giving back to their local community. Thanks to the generosity of the businesses and organizations listed below, the Split the Ticket program will provide more than 6,000 gallons of heating fuel this winter.Vermont’s heating fuel dealers are mostly small, family-owned businesses that live in the same community where they work. They know about the military family that is struggling to make ends meet, or the senior citizen who is faced with an unexpected medical bill. Heating fuel dealers see the need first-hand and are often the first to respond in a crisis, especially when the family is unable to receive government assistance.We thank all of the fuel dealers who have donated gallons and the businesses and individuals that have provided matching funds. Okemo Mountain Resort will hold its 2nd Annual Okemo Trot it Off 5k Race on Saturday, November 27 and proceeds will be donated to VFDA’s Split the Ticket program.  Source: VFDAlast_img read more

US organic industry valued at nearly $29 billion in 2010

first_imgThe organic industry grew at a rate of nearly eight percent in 2010, bucking the current trend whereby “flat is the new growth” for many other segments of the economy. Further, some sectors of the organic market enjoyed annual growth of well over 30 percent, the Brattleboro-based Organic Trade Association (OTA) revealed today in releasing findings from its 2011 Organic Industry Survey. In 2010, the organic industry grew to over $28.6 billion.”While total U.S. food sales grew by less than one percent in 2010, the organic food industry grew by 7.7 percent,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s CEO and Executive Director. “Consumers continue to vote with their dollars in favor of the organic choice. These results illustrate the positive contribution organic agriculture and trade make to our economy, and particularly to rural livelihoods,” Bushway said.She added, “The good news is that even as the economic recovery crawls forward, the organic industry is thriving ‘ and hiring.” In 2010, 40 percent of surveyed organic companies reported positive full-time employment growth. Companies with fewer than five employees were least likely to add full-time employees (23 percent). About half of companies with more than 50 employees experienced positive full-time employment growth. What’s more, in 2011, 46 percent of respondents anticipate an increase in employment over 2010 levels. In addition, 50 percent expect employment to remain even, and only five percent foresee a decrease.Experiencing the most growth, organic fruits and vegetables, which represent 39.7 percent of total organic food value, and nearly 12 percent of all U.S. fruit and vegetable sales, reached nearly $10.6 billion in 2010, up 11.8 percent from 2009 performance. Organic dairy, the second-largest category, experienced nine percent growth to achieve a value of $3.9 billion, and captured nearly six percent of the total U.S. market for dairy products.In the organic non-food sector, organic supplements led, with a value of $681 million, representing 7.4 percent growth over 2009 figures. Organic fiber (linen and clothing) totaled a value of $605 million, achieving 16 percent year-over-year growth. Personal care products, at $490 million, increased 6.6 percent from 2009. The 63-page report is now available for purchase, priced at $795 for OTA members and $1,495 for non-members. Orders can be placed online or by contacting Angela Jagiello.Based in Brattleboro, Vermont, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA’s mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.SOURCE Organic Trade Association BRATTLEBORO, Vt., April 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswirelast_img read more

Chester bridges open a week ahead of schedule

first_imgVermont Agency of Transportation today announced the re-opening of two bridges along Route 103 in Chester.  In order to rehabilitate two structurally deficient bridges in a rapid reconstruction process, bridge # 9 (near Benny’s Sunoco) bridge #8 were temporary closed traffic.  On Sunday, July 10, both bridges were once again opened traffic – a full seven days ahead of schedule.   ‘We applaud the work of the contractor, Cold River Bridges, to expedite this project,’ noted VTrans Secretary, Brian Searles.  ‘And we appreciate the patience and endurance of the community’residents and businesses — throughout the process.   Vermont’s economic growth depends upon a strong infrastructure and we are committed to fixing our aging bridges and roads, ‘ he said. The early bridge openings were enabled by both the diligence of the contractors and the innovative procedures pursued for the project by VTrans.  The team of Cold River Bridges worked 7 days/week from 5:00am until 10:00pm including the holidays from the May 16, 2011 closure. This bridge project is one of VTrans’ Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC ) projects , a program which seeks to rapidly advance bridge improvement projects to the most critically needed structures throughout the state.  The contract for the Chester project, which combined two bridges into one project, was accelerated, advancing from conceptual plans to construction in just 2 ½ years ‘ a process that takes nine years, on average. Prefabricated elements were also used whenever possible to reduce the on-site construction time and cost.  The contract included financial incentives for minimizing the closure period.  The project also included an extensive public engagement process which resulted in some mitigation measures that lessened the impact of the closure to area residents, businesses and visitors.Cynthia Prairie, Board President of the Chester Famers Market was spurred to action when news of the project hit the community a year ago. Fearing that the bridge closures would result in closing the farmer’s market, she and her husband formed Chester United, and received a grant from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to enhance local marketing and outreach during the closure period.  Through collaboration, the Farmers Market was hosted on the property of the Vermont Country Store,  a location where it could remain vibrant during the closure. According to Cynthia, ‘This project actually helped to bring our community together.  We made connections between and among area businesses.  People we very responsive and the adversity of the project actually helped unite our community in a positive way.’ VTrans#30#last_img read more

People’s United Community Foundation donates $50,000 to American Red Cross for Irene relief efforts

first_imgPeople’s United Bank,People’s United Community Foundation has announced a $50,000 donation to the American Red Cross to support the disaster relief efforts that continue throughout New England in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene. Although Tropical Storm Irene has long passed, thousands of individuals, families and businesses are still feeling the effects of the storm’s wrath. President Obama signed disaster declarations in five of the six states served by People’s United including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. In response, People’s United Community Foundation has made a $50,000 donation to the American Red Cross to support their ongoing relief efforts in New England. Since Tropical Storm Irene made landfall earlier this month, the American Red Cross has served more than 600,000 meals, distributed more than 35,000 clean up kits and 30,000 comfort kits. They have also provided more than 61,000 overnight stays at 581 shelters, as well as other support services provided by Red Cross volunteers and staff. Dianne Auger, CEO for the American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Region, expressed the need to continue Tropical Storm Irene relief efforts in New England and the ongoing support that is still needed from community partners. ‘Long after the storm passed, people continue to deal with the effects of Irene. The Red Cross worked to provide shelter from the storm, to ease the cleanup, and is working to link families to long-term recovery resources. With this generous support from People’s United, we are able to be there for our neighbors coping with the effects of this damaging storm.’ ‘Although most communities have since recovered from Tropical Storm Irene, there are still many neighborhoods throughout our footprint struggling from its aftermath,’ stated Vincent Santilli, Executive Director of People’s United Community Foundation. ‘We understand the long term effects that this storm will have on families and businesses, and support the ongoing relief efforts of the Red Cross to ensure the needs of our communities are met.’ People’s United Community Foundation:Established in 2007, People’s United Community Foundation was formed to help support programs and activities that enhance the quality of life for citizens in the communities that People’s United Bank serves. With special emphasis on programs designed to promote economic self-sufficiency, education and improved conditions for low-income families and neighborhoods, the funding priorities of the Foundation include: community development, youth development, and affordable housing.  About the American Red Cross:The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization ‘ not a government agency ‘ and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org(link is external) or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org(link is external).last_img read more

US Senate panel passes transportation bill, would help Vermont

first_imgA Senate panel today approved and sent to the full Senate a two-year transportation funding bill to repair crumbling roads, bridges and railroads and fund other transportation projects. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a member of the Environment and Public Works committee, voted for the measure that included provisions he added to help Vermont. Sanders said the bill would boost Vermont’s overall share of highway funds and increase the state’s return on the federal gasoline taxes that Vermonters pay. ‘I am very pleased that under this bill Vermont will get back more than before for each dollar Vermonters spend in federal gas taxes.’ A Sanders amendment would lift a $100 million per state cap on an emergency road fund for states recovering from extreme natural disasters like Tropical Storm Irene. Under his provision, the Federal Highway Administration emergency relief program could cover up to 100 percent of the cost of road repairs. ‘When disasters strike on the scale of an Irene, the federal government needs to be there for states like Vermont,’ Sanders said. He also worked on an amendment to require the US Department of Transportation to improve nationwide access to electric charging stations for motorists who drive pollution-cutting hybrid vehicles. Working with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), another Sanders provision in the bill would improve the movement of freight trains across the United States border with Canada. Overall, the bill would give states more flexibility in choosing what kinds of projects best meet their needs. It also would streamline 90 separate highway programs, increase funding for a federal transportation loan guarantee program from $122 million a year to $1 billion a year, while reducing the share of money states have to contribute to projects. Sanders called the measure a much-needed step forward but said Congress should invest even more to rebuild the country’s crumbling infrastructure and create good-paying construction jobs. ‘I see the need every time I go home,’ Sanders told colleagues on the committee before the vote. ‘Just under a third of Vermont’s bridges are considered ‘structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.’  And 36 percent of our federal-aid roads are in need of major repairs.  And that was before  Tropical Strom Irene caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.’last_img read more