Lisa Kaiman of Jersy Girls Dairy coordinates a morning hay drop for her heffers. Kaiman is frustrated by what she feels are efforts by the state to discourage farmers from selling raw milk. Robert Layman / Staff File Photos

Raw milk advocates push; Vermont farmers frustrated

The Associated Press
DES MOINES, Iowa — Raw milk advocates’ efforts to expand availability across the United States have not slowed despite health officials’ assertions that it’s dangerous to drink milk that hasn’t been heated to kill bacteria. Efforts to legalize raw milk sales in some form have succeeded in 42 states, including Vermont, and expansion pushes are ongoing this year in states including Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, Rhode Island, North Dakota and Texas. In Vermont, raw milk is legal but cannot be sold in retail establishments. Instead, there is a two-tiered system. Tier 1 producers can sell raw milk straight from the farm.

Gov. Scott selects Quinn to lead Digital Services

MONTPELIER — Governor Phil Scott Tuesday announced the appointment of John Quinn, of Northfield, as secretary and chief information officer of digital services. Quinn will lead the Agency of Digital Services. “John has been integral in the planning of the Agency of Digital Services and in our overall strategy for modernizing state government,” said Scott. “His leadership and experience in IT and project management will continue to be incredibly valuable as we establish this Agency and take a more coordinated and accountable approach to managing the state’s IT infrastructure.”
The agency, officially formed April 17, dissolves the Department of Information and Innovation. The new structure is designed to address core technology and project management challenges.

VW moves beyond criminal case, but not without a scolding

The New York Times
DETROIT — The criminal case against Volkswagen for its decadelong scheme to cheat on diesel emissions tests ended last week with a scolding, an apology and $4.3 billion in penalties. The sentence, affirmed at a court hearing, had been recommended by federal prosecutors in January as part of a deal in which the German automaker agreed to plead guilty to three felony charges for illegally importing nearly 600,000 vehicles equipped with devices to circumvent emissions standards. The conclusion of the criminal case, 19 months after the vast cheating operation was first revealed, was a milestone in Volkswagen’s recovery from a scandal that badly damaged its reputation and sales. Recently the company delivered an encouraging quarterly report, and has even been given permission to sell — with modifications — the diesel cars at the center of the case. But the hearing in U.S. District Court in Michigan was a reminder of the cloud under which Volkswagen remained.

What does conservative mean for older investors?

If you’re a certain age, or getting close to it, you might hear something like this: “Now that you’re older, you need to invest more conservatively.” But what exactly does this mean? For starters, it’s useful to understand that your investment preferences and needs will indeed change over time. When you’re first starting out in your career, and even for a long time afterward, you can afford to invest somewhat aggressively, in stocks and stock-based investments; because you have time to overcome the inevitable short-term market drops. At this stage of your life, your primary concern is growth — you want your portfolio to grow enough to provide you with the resources you’ll need to meet your long-term goals, such as a comfortable retirement. But when you finally do retire, and perhaps for a few years before that, your investment focus likely will have shifted from accumulation to preservation.

Chamber to co-host Boston bank president

The Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce have partnered to host a May 10 visit from Eric Rosengren, president and chief operating officer of Boston Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, who will provide an economic outlook on the U.S. economy. The event will be held at the Doubletree Hotel in South Burlington from noon to 2 p.m.

The event is open to the public but seating is limited. Rosengren became the thirteenth president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in 2007, after holding senior positions in both the bank’s economic research and bank supervision functions. He has written extensively on macroeconomics, international banking, bank supervision, and risk management, including articles in leading economics and finance journals. Contact the Central Vermont Chamber at 229-5711 for information.

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Book review: How can ‘Superfandom’ work for you?

“Superfandom: How Our Obsessions Are Changing What We Buy and Who We Are,” by Zoe Fraade-Blanar and Aaron M. Glazer, 2017, W.W. Norton, $27.95, 336 pages. Collect them all. These three words put a smile on every marketer’s face and fear in every parent’s heart. “Collect them all,” as you may remember, was kid-code for “bug your parents until they buy stuff,” making you the envy of everyone in third grade. Your goal now: to capture that buyer’s obsession at the level you’ll see in “Superfandom” by Zoe Fraade-Blanar and Aaron M. Glazer.

Claro

Vermont Farm to Plate has a new director  

MONTPELIER — Jake Claro has been named director of Vermont’s Farm to Plate food system. He will be responsible for providing facilitative leadership and strategic coordination for the network’s plan. Claro previously served as the Farm to Plate network manager, working closely with the previous director, Erica Campbell, who transitioned into an agriculture outreach role with Sen. Bernie Sanders in February. “Erica Campbell was instrumental in helping to launch the Farm to Plate Network in 2011, and Jake joined the team in the fall 2012 in order to expand our capacity to serve the network’s ability to implement Vermont’s Farm to Plate food system plan,” said Ellen Kahler, executive director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. “Together they have provided critical leadership and facilitation as projects evolve to meet the goals of the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan.

Winooski contractor transfers ownership to employees

WINOOSKI — VHV Company is proud to announce the establishment of an employee stock ownership plan that effectively transfers ownership of the company to all employees. David Brown, president of VHV Company, a mechanical HVAC contractor, sold his ownership interest to the newly created employee ownership trust, allowing employees to gain the benefit of ownership without any personal investment. Commenting on the announcement, Brown said “This transaction will give employees a financial interest in the future success of the business. After 20 years of ownership, I decided it was time to sell all my stock to the people who I trust and value the most — the employees. People are the core of our business, and it is extremely important to reward them for their passion, loyalty, and most importantly, their competence.

Gund family creates Institute for the Environment at UVM

BURLINGTON — A $6 million gift from the Gund family — with a challenge to raise even more from other donors — will create the University of Vermont’s first university-wide sustainability institute and accelerate UVM’s long-standing commitment to the environment. Designed to catalyze interdisciplinary research at UVM, the new initiative also will connect scholars with government, business and societal leaders to address urgent sustainability issues around the globe. The Gund Institute for Environment at UVM will be headquartered in Johnson House on UVM’s Burlington campus, replacing the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics which the family established in 2002. “The University of Vermont is recognized worldwide as a true leader in environmental scholarship, from the nation’s first environmental studies program to our pioneering research on acid rain, lake health and nature’s true economic value,” said UVM President Tom Sullivan in a news release. To inspire further philanthropic support from other donors who also are passionate about building a sustainable future for the planet, the Gunds have committed to providing an additional gift of $4 million when UVM raises $8 million for the Gund Institute for Environment.

Manager Will Notte organizes books in the local interest section at Phoenix Book in Rutland on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Jon Olender

Community sustained indie bookstores through tough times

Things may be looking up for Vermont independent bookstore owners. A popular perception in recent years was that indie bookstores were being forgotten due to digital advances and big-box competition. In recent years however, the allure of the cheaper, more convenient option from Amazon, the ease of e-readers, and chain stores such as Barnes & Noble may be losing customers to community culture. Indie bookstores are gaining customers from the human connection they provide. “That sense of community, that spirit — there’s a shared culture and enjoyment within independent bookshops.