New laws affect opioid prescribing practices

For several years now, we’ve heard both nationally and at the state level that we are living through an unprecedented opioid epidemic. As part of the effort to combat this crisis, the federal government has taken aim at opioid prescribing practices. In March 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain to provide best-practice recommendations for primary-care doctors. In Vermont, the Legislature passed legislation, signed into law in June 2016, which put in place a number of new regulations aimed at combating opioid abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 20 percent of patients visiting doctor’s offices with noncancer pain symptoms or pain-related diagnoses are prescribed an opioid medication.

Small businesses’ hiring freeze begins to thaw

The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The hiring freeze at small businesses looks like it’s finally thawing. Recruiting is picking up after being dormant at many companies even years after the recession. The factors behind companies’ decisions to hire vary, with some anticipating a big revenue kick from the Trump administration’s spending plans for defense and infrastructure. Others are responding to trends such as consumers’ shift to online shopping, which means more jobs at internet retailers. And some hires are at companies whose customers are suffering from anxiety in the early days of the new administration.

Heidi Clute

Surviving family business transition nightmares

There are times when imagining the worst-case scenario helps you prepare most effectively for the best case. The transition of a family or closely held business is one of those times. Harvard Business School reports at least half of all companies in the U.S. are family businesses — and just over half of all publicly listed companies in the U.S. are family owned. But the most-cited family business statistic is from John Ward’s seminal study finding only 30 percent of firms survive through the second generation; 13 percent survive the third generation and only 3 percent survive beyond that. The Family Business Institute identifies a major cause as the failure to imagine and plan for worst-case situations that could dramatically affect not only ownership succession, but management succession planning and leadership development.


“Extreme Teams” useful but hard to implement

“Extreme Teams” 2017, by Robert Bruce Shaw, Amacom, $27.95, 247 pages
No man is an island. He (or she) can’t do everything alone. We need help sometimes; a group of support, a posse with our best interests in mind. We often need a team to get things done, and in the new book, “Extreme Teams,” by Robert Bruce Shaw, you might learn how to assemble your best. At natural food store chain Whole Foods, employees work differently.

Robert Layman / Staff Photo

Proceeds lag as hunting population ages

In a few weeks, the first hunting season of the year will commence, with many licenses already purchased and hunters ready to get out in the woods. Hunters pay for a significant portion of wildlife conservation money, and sale of hunting licenses is a principal part of that funding, but proceeds may be declining. About a decade ago, approximately 70,000 hunting licenses were sold each year in Vermont. That number has declined by three percent in recent years and the drop is expected to continue. “This decline is not due to lack of interest for the sport, it’s due to the largest group of hunters — the baby boomers — are getting older and reaching the age where they can apply for a license at no cost,” said Kim Royar, special assistant to the Vermont commissioner of Fish & Wildlife.

Time for some financial spring cleaning

Spring is in the air, even if it’s not quite there on the calendar. This year as you shake off the cobwebs from winter and start tidying up around your home and yard, why not also do some financial spring cleaning? Actually, you can apply several traditional spring cleaning techniques to your financial situation. Here are a few ideas:
— Look for damage. Damage to your home’s siding, shingles and foundation can eventually degrade the structure of your home.

A Berlin home before Melissa Jordan prepares it for sale.... Provided photos

Staging a sale: Turning no to yes

MORRISVILLE — If “All the world’s a stage,” Melissa Jordan is the homebody version. As a home stager, Jordan’s forté is her ability to help a homeowner transform a home from mundane to impressive. She specializes in helping home sellers temporarily refine the interior and exterior spaces of a home to make it more inviting and attractive. “Things that help to make a home more appealing include simplifying and coordinating room content, rearranging furniture, adding specific decorative features, using lighting accents, and furnishing empty homes to make them feel warm and inviting,” said Jordan. “Every choice the home stager makes is designed to highlight selling features of the home.

Dining room manager Olivia Bourdeau (left) and bartender Roger Conant at Tavern II in South Burlington. Photo by Mike Reilly

Spur-of-the-moment idea brings Tavern II to Shelburne Road

SOUTH BURLINGTON — The popular Church Street Tavern recently launched a sister restaurant, Tavern II, on Shelburne Road. The new business opened on Feb. 6 in space most recently occupied by Junior’s Rustico. “We opened a sister restaurant to serve some of our customers who wanted a bit of a different venue,” said Scott Michaud, who along with partners Stephen Parent and Mark Anair operates both restaurants. “We’re offering the exact same menu here as Church Street Tavern, but we are able to accommodate larger parties here.”
Michaud described that menu as American pub fare, with an emphasis on quality with affordable pricing.

Radiologic technicians Kim Chapman, left, and Jennifer Hubert demonstrate one of two x-ray rooms during the grand opening celebration of the Central Vermont Medical Center's new Orthopedic Center on the Barre-Montpelier Road in Berlin. Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photo

CVMC pulls together wide range of orthopedic services

Staff writer
BERLIN — Patients seeking one-stop shopping for treatment of an array of muscular and skeletal health issues need look no further than the new Central Vermont Medical Center Orthopedic Center. Situated in an office complex (next to Vermont Lottery) on the Barre-Montpelier Road, a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week finally called attention to the center’s opening in November, offering orthopedic services in sports and spine medicine and podiatry. This includes treatments for the hand, wrist, shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, ankle and foot. The center also has specialist sports medicine services and nonsurgical treatments such as injections (including ultrasound-guided shots), fracture care and casting, and care of sprains and strains, arthritis and wounds. Many of those services were previously dispersed at medical centers in Berlin, Montpelier and Waterbury, and patients would have to make multiple visits for complicated care or to access support services such as X-rays and lab testing.

Liz Gamache, director at Efficiency Vermont, at the Better Buildings by Design conference at the Sheraton in South Burlington. Courtesy photo

Conference reflects breadth of energy efficiency benefits

In early February, Efficiency Vermont hosted its 16th Better Buildings by Design conference. One of my favorite events of the year, Better Buildings brings together our partners from the building, design and clean energy industries. More than 1,000 attendees from across the country attended this year’s conference, which offered more than 40 workshops over the course of two days. This year I kicked off the conference with some welcoming remarks and talked about the role I see energy efficiency playing in the industry, as a unifier. It’s a common-sense solution that isn’t up for debate, because it’s hard to argue that no matter where our energy is coming from, we should try to use less of it.