Fletcher Allen Releases Year-to-Date and Second Quarter Financial ResultsFletcher Allen has reported an operating income of $5.7 million for the first two quarters of the 2004 fiscal year. This includes an operating income of $1.8 million for the second quarter. The second quarter covers the period beginning January 1st and ending March 31, 2004. This marks nine consecutive months of operating incomes that tracked budgeted expectations.Second Quarter ResultsOperating income for the second quarter was $164,563 better than budget and $5.2 million better than the corresponding quarter in FY2003. Net operating revenues for the quarter were $144 million, $1 million above budgeted revenues. However, the organization’s operating expenses for the quarter were $142.2 million, $900,000 above budget, resulting in an operating income of $1.8 million and an operating margin of 1.2% for the second quarter. By comparison, the organization lost $3.5 million in the second quarter of FY 2003.Year-to-date ResultsFor the year to date, the $5.7 million net income from operations was well abovethe budgeted $536,717 for the period, and produced an operating margin of 2.0%. A yearago, the organization saw a two-quarter loss of $8.4 million. Operating expenses for the first half of the fiscal year were below budget by $2.8 million year-to-date.Improved processes that were part of the budget recovery plan implemented in mid-FY 2003 were incorporated into the FY 2004 budget and the organization’s positive financial results are, to a large extent, the product of those changes. However, expenses began to increase above budget in the second quarter.Key volume measures year-to-date were mixed. Total inpatient discharges were above budget by 331 (3.0%). Combined Inpatient and Outpatient Days, a measure of the number of patients in the hospital each day, were 1.6% below budget, and physician office visits were 5.7% below budget, but substantially higher than last year for the same quarter. At the end of the quarter, Days Cash on Hand increased to 89.8 days, 2.9 days above the first quarter’s results.The institution began making its quarterly financials public with the release of the first quarter results for FY 2003 in February 2003. The audited financial statements for the years ended September 30, 2002 and 2003, as well as the quarterly results for FY 2003 and the first two quarters of FY 2004, are available on the Fletcher Allen Web site at www.fletcherallen.org(link is external).
FairPoint Reaches Agreement with Staff of the New Hampshire Public Utilities CommissionCHARLOTTE, NC (PRNewswire-FirstCall) — FairPoint Communications, Inc. today (January 24, 2008) announced an agreement has been reached between FairPoint, Verizon and the staff of the Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regarding FairPoint’s proposed acquisition of Verizon’s wireline operations in New Hampshire. The settlement agreement in New Hampshire is consistent with material terms of the amended stipulation agreement with the Maine PUC and the settlement agreement with the Vermont Department of Public Service and contains other terms and conditions specific to New Hampshire. In the agreement, FairPoint, Verizon, and the staff of the PUC recommend the New Hampshire PUC approve the settlement agreement.FairPoint’s acquisition of Verizon’s wireline operations in New Hampshire is part of a larger, previously announced transaction in which FairPoint would also acquire Verizon’s wireline operations in Maine and Vermont. The license transfers in connection with the transaction have been approved by the Federal Communications Commission and the transaction has been approved by the Maine PUC, subject to receipt of a written order from the Maine PUC. The Public Service Board in Vermont has yet to rule on the settlement agreement entered into by FairPoint, Verizon and the Vermont Department of Public Service.”We are pleased at the thoughtful approach by the staff of the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission and believe this agreement appropriately addresses important public interest issues in the state. We look forward to serving the people of New Hampshire,” said Gene Johnson, chairman and CEO of FairPoint.In addition to the key financial conditions in the amended stipulation in Maine and the key conditions in the settlement agreement with the Vermont Department of Public Service, FairPoint committed to additional conditions in New Hampshire which address capital expenditures, network and service quality improvement plans, broadband expansion and assurances of financial viability that will benefit the state.Vermont reaches tentative deal with FairPoint to buy VerizonlandlinesIn early January, the Vermont Department of Public Service reached agreement with FairPoint Communications on its $2.7 billion deal to buy Verizon Communications 1.6 million landlines in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.The new deal, as in New Hampshire, mimics the plan approved in Maine last week, which includes a steep reduction in FairPoint’s shareholder dividend (35 percent, resulting in a $50 million per year savings) and what is a de facto reduction in the price of the sale by $235.5 million. The financial moves were considered important in ensuring that FairPoint would be financially able to consumate the deal and live up to other provisions in the agreement, including extension of DSL service and other service and reliability guarantees. FairPoint had reported that to make the deal it would have to borrow $2.5 billion.The deal also includes penalties up to $12.5 million if goals are not met. The Vermont agreement states that FairPoint must invest at least $40 million each year for the first three years and starting in 2009 spend at least $35 million to reduce debt.The entire deal still needs final approval by the Vermont Public Service Board, and by the regulatory body in New Hampshire.The Vermont Public Service Board previously rejected, on December 21, 2007,the application of FairPoint Communications to buy Verizon’s Vermontlandlines. The docket was not closed, however, allowing FairPoint to rework the deal. The PSB said the deal requires the company to carry toomuch debt to be financially sound.FairPoint has also agreed to make broadband Internet access available to all of its customers in at least half its exchanges by 2010.Even if FairPoint ultimately gains approval, discrepancies in thefinal rulings among the three states would have to be dealt with byeach state’s regulatory board.By the middle of December, anyway, it seemed like thedisagreements and conflict over the decision to approve FairPointCommunications $2.7 billion dollar acquisition were finally coming toan end, after the Maine Office of the Public Advocate and the stateadvocate staff at the Public Utility Commission finally agreed toconditions of the settlement on December 12. The agreement comesafter months of opposition from Consumer Advocates and labor unions that stalled thestate’s PUC decision to accept or reject the sale.In December, consumer advocates in Maine and New Hampshirereleased reports urging their state Public Utilities Commissions toreject Verizon’s sale. FairPoint, a North Carolina phone companythat is one-sixth the size of Verizon. Buying Verizon’s northern New England phone lines would make it the eighthlargest communications company in the nation. The settlement, whichwould affect virtually every person with a phone in New Hampshire,Maine and Vermont, needs final approval from all three states utilityregulators before it takes effect.Vermont has focused mainly on how the settlement will affectconsumer-related issues, such as the extension of DSL service areasand reliability. Staff from boards in Maine and New Hampshire,however, initially released reports urging their state’s PUC to full-out reject theproposal. Advocates said they are against the merger because theyfear that FairPoint is not financially capable of making infrastructureimprovements and service commitments without hiking rates, cuttingemployees, or going out of business altogether.”FairPoint and Verizonhave not met their burden of showing that the transaction is in thepublic interest,” explained Meredith A. Hatfield, a consumer advocatefrom New Hampshire. The Maine Public Utilities commission echoedthese sentiments in a report they released in November.”Theproposed transaction subjects both ratepayers and shareholders tosubstantial risks and harms that are not outweighed by any of thepotential benefits of the transaction.”FairPoint has 975 employees in contrast to Verizon’s3,000. FairPoint’s 2006 revenues were at $270 million while Verizon’swere $88 billion. The acquisition would force FairPoint into a $30million dollar a year debt agreement to repay their $2 billion dollardebt. Critics believe these numbers indicate that the settlement willgive FairPoint a financial burden they can’t handle.Despite their outright refusal of the merger, the reports did listterms and conditions for the acquisition if it were approved. Reportsreleased from the Maine Public Utilities Commission ordered that threemain conditions be met for their approval. First, FairPoint must submitto the PUC a plan to deal with expected loss of workers. As part of thedeal, Verizon was also recommended to cut its $2.7 billion dollar pricetag by $600 million. If they do not follow this suggestion, the companymust set aside significant funds for infrastructure upgrades withinFairPoint. As of the December 12 agreement, The company was alsorequired to make minimum capital investments of $47 million in Maineover the next three years, and will reduce dividend levels by 35percent. PUC staff in New Hampshire were not as flexible. They listedeleven conditions in their report that need to be met by bothcompanies for the acquisition to be approved. One of their conditionsalso addressed the issue of Verizon’s price tag, and the debt it willcause FairPoint. The report specifically suggested that Verizon cutFairPoint’s acquisition cost by $200 million with no cost to thecompany. To further address its $30 million dollar debt issue, FairPointwas also urged to cut its dividends by 20 percent. The commission alsowants to have say in fixing the companies transition serviceagreement, or TSA. The briefing says that the price of the TSA exceedsthe costs of services, which gives Verizon and unnecessarily largeprofit. The report suggested that FairPoint have a third party monitorto judge the company’s cutover readiness criteria-or the time whenFairPoint could fully separate from all Verizon systems.
The Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce is currently soliciting nominations for the RRCC Business Person of the Year 2010. This award is given out annually to a deserving member of the business community.If you would like to nominate a local business man, woman or couple you feel is deserving of this recognition; please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail). Nominations will be accepted until September 22, 2010.The award will be presented at the RRCC Annual Meeting scheduled for November 3rd at noon at the Holiday Inn, sponsored by General Electric. For additional information call 802-773-2747. Source: RRCC
Funded through HUD?s Housing Choice Voucher Family Self-Sufficiency Program (HCV/FSS), the grants allow public housing agencies (PHAs) to work with welfare agencies, schools, businesses, and other local partners to develop a comprehensive program to help individuals already participating in HUD?s Housing Choice Voucher Program increase their education or gain marketable skills that will enable them to obtain jobs that pay a living wage. The Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program is a long-standing resource for increasing economic security and self-sufficiency among HCV participants. A new report just issued by HUD evaluated the effectiveness of the FSS Program. Conducted from 2005 to 2009, HUD?s study shows the financial benefits are substantial for participants who remain and complete the program. This study is the second ofa three-part series by HUD that evaluate the effects of the FSS program. The first study found individuals who participated in the FSS program fared better financially than those who did not enroll in the program. HUD?s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) will launch the third and final installment to complete this series this year. ?This program is absolutely critical in today?s economy,? said Donovan. ?The research demonstrates that this program works. When families are given the tools they need to move beyond the voucher program, they do. Ultimately, they become self-sufficient and more vouchers become available for other families, some who have been waiting for long periods to receive housing assistance. For America to win the future we need a trained and skilled workforce.? US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced today that public housing agencies in Vermont will receive $386,383 to link low-income families with the necessary education and job training to put them on the path to self-sufficiency. These agencies are among nearly 600 that will receive approximately $54 million in grants. See national list here. Vermont Agency Positions Funded Amount FundedBrattleboro Housing Authority 1 $49,700.00Burlington Housing Authority 2 $101,685.00Vermont State Housing Authority 4 $234,998.00 VT Total: 7 $386,383.00 Participants in the HCV/FSS program sign a contract that requires the head of the household to get a job and the family will no longer receive welfare assistance at the end of the five-year term. As the family?s income rises, a portion of that increased income is deposited in an interest-bearing escrow account. If the family completes its FSS contract, the family receives the escrow funds that it can use for any purpose, including paying educational expenses, starting a business or paying back debts. PD&R will also launch two additional studies this year about the FSS program. The first study will examine whether FSS participants who were still enrolled when the Prospective Study ended went on to graduate from the FSS program and whether they met their goals for financial self-sufficiency. The second will study the effectiveness of the FSS program nationally. This will be the first national study of the FSS program as part of HUD?s Transformation Initiative, which was created in 2010 to encourage more transparency and accountability within the agency. HUD?s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov(link is external) and espanol.hud.gov. The funding allows local housing authorities to hire coordinators (or caseworkers) to link adults in the Housing Choice Voucher program to local organizations that provide job training, childcare, counseling, transportation and job placement. ###
University of Vermont,Tennis legend Billie Jean King served up three pieces of advice to grads at Sunday’s commencement ceremony: No. 1: Learn how to learn. No. 2: Relationships are everything. No. 3: Be a problem solver.”Study history,” King said, elaborating on her first point. “The more you know about history, the more you know yourself.” One of Life magazine’s 100 most important Americans in the 20th century, King changed history when, in 1973, she beat former champion Bobby Riggs in The Battle of the Sexes, sending a strong message for gender equality at a time when, King noted on Sunday, women couldn’t get their own credit cards.On her second point — relationships are everything — King told graduates, “You’ll never know how you’ll touch another person’s life or how they’ll touch yours.” As an example, she told the story of meeting Elton John. Although both were initially too shy to say hello (a fact that seemed impossible to King, who idolized the musician), they were introduced when they attended the same party weeks before King’s fateful match against Riggs and became close friends, remaining so today.Celebrities and stars aside, King said, everyone needs “she-roes and heroes,” adding that professors, parents, siblings and coaches are among the most important people in our lives. Toward the end of her remarks, King cited Nelson Mandela as an example of how to live life as a problem solver. Visiting his cell on Robben Island, said King, who has herself worked on behalf of social change and equality for women and those in the LGBT community, was among the most profound experiences of her life.Closing out her time at the podium, King pulled out a racket, and with Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom” playing on the speakers — a song he dedicated to her — she lobbed more than a dozen tennis balls to the crowd.Approximately 8,000 people gathered to celebrate this year’s commencement, the 207th in the university’s history. Originally scheduled to take place on the University Green, the ceremony was moved inside to the Multipurpose Facility in the Athletic Complex — not, as board chair Robert Cioffi quipped in his opening remarks, to make King feel more at home on the indoor tennis courts, but because record rainfall this spring had left the Green too soggy to accommodate the event.In his comments, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin noted this year’s extreme weather in Vermont — from a long, cold winter to this spring’s historic flooding of Lake Champlain — as a palpable reminder to students of the “responsibility and obligation of dealing with climate change.”President Daniel Mark Fogel’s remarks celebrated the student efforts that have made UVM what it is today, from a fledgling recycling program 20 years ago to student activism that “pushed the campus toward levels of diversity that some would have never thought possible.””Hold on,” Fogel said, “to what you feel now — the optimism and energy, the open mind and sense of possibility of a new college graduate.”At this year’s ceremonies, approximately 3,097 graduates received diplomas, including 2,475 bachelor’s, 392 master’s, 97 doctoral and 111 M.D. degree recipients, in addition to 22 post-baccalaureate certificates. Degree recipients hail from an estimated 43 states and 19 countries. Approximately 1,235 graduates are from Vermont. The graduating class includes an expected 229 African, Latino/a, Asian and Native American (ALANA) and bi/multi-racial students.In addition to King, the university conferred honorary degrees on seven other individuals who have had a positive impact on the state, university and nation: Letitia C. Biddle, Major General Michael D. Dubie, Bruce Lisman, Keith M. Miser, Dr. Thomas J. Sullivan, Professor Emerita Marion Brown Thorpe, and Simon Pearce. Read full bios of each of the degree recipients.During the ceremony, the UVM Alumni Association presented the annual George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award for excellence in teaching to Stephanie Kaza, professor of environmental studies. Kaza, who has been actively engaged in campus sustainability initiatives to reduce waste, conserve energy and promote environmental values, teaches courses with a focus in the environmental humanities.Three faculty members were added to the ranks of University Distinguished Professor: Jerold Lucey, professor of pediatrics; Brooke Mossman, professor of pathology; and Susan Wallace, professor and chair of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. The distinction, begun in 2009, carries with it rights to use the title for the duration of their careers at UVM; an annual stipend for scholarly pursuits; and service as an informal advisory board to the university administration.Eight students were honored with five university awards. Claire Chevrier won the Mary Jean Simpson Award, honoring the senior woman who exhibits the highest qualities of leadership, academic competence and character; Bryce Jones won the F.T. Kidder Medal, honoring the senior man ranking first in character, leadership and scholarship; Jason DePatie and Kimberley Davy won the Class of 1967 Award, presented to seniors who best exhibit leadership, academic competence and character, and who have earned the respect of faculty and fellow students; Briana Martin and Kofi Mensah won the Keith M. Miser Leadership Award, recognizing outstanding service to the university; and Gregory Herman and Haylley Johnson won the Elmer Nicholson Achievement Prize, recognizing the greatness of the students’ UVM experiences and the expectation that they will make a major contributions in their fields of interest. Source: UVM. 5.23.2011
Vermont was the only New England state to experience a decline in median home price in June. However, its 22.3 percent increase in home sales was second only to Connecticut. All six New England States experienced a 3-month trend uptick in June of 21.7 percent. For the first time in the past three months, Vermont realized a price decline of -4.0 percent, with all other states continuing to see month-over-month price increases.While year-over-year sales and prices remain sluggish in New England, the consistent monthly numbers suggests that the market has hit bottom. Changes in financing requirements, unemployment and overall uncertainty continue to be the barriers that are slowing recovery.‘The positive trend in home sales coupled with steady price increases are strong indicators that we are in the midst of a slow recovery,’ said RE/MAX of New England Executive Vice President, Jay Hummer. ‘The housing market has turned the corner and while we may ride some bumps along the bottom, I feel the housing market recovery has begun.’