With health care reform, charges for supplies become untethered from costs. (Vermont Business Magazine)
On Aug. 28, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene began flooding state employees out of their Waterbury offices and psychiatric patients out of their beds.
Three years later, steel beams three stories tall with cross bars at the top prop up faded brick walls from a courtyard. A mason from Irasburg fills ground-level windows with oversized granite bricks. A Monarch butterfly rests on a swaying stalk of tall grass that sprouted next to an oak tree circled in chain link fence.
Investors cry foul after Jay Peak owner converts their $500,000 equity stakes into unsecured IOUs.
1348 words / VTDigger.org
If IBM were to sell its computer chip-making unit to California-based Globalfoundries — patents and all, as the company is widely rumored to be considering — would the new owner of Vermont’s largest manufacturing plant even want to keep it?
Probably not, according to Len Jelinek, a semiconductor manufacturing industry analyst for the global information firm IHS.
IBM is Vermont’s largest private employer, with about 4,000 workers, and anxiety about the impact of the plant’s sale and potential closure is palpable.
Despite these feverish efforts to keep IBM in the Green Mountain State, there is little the state can do to prevent a potential closure of the plant. Global trends are driving behind-the-scenes negotiations between powerful industry players.
Job losses of IBM’s magnitude are easier to absorb over time, economist Art Woof acknowledged. Still, he said, the area’s financial engine is diversified and resilient enough that even such a “worst case scenario” would not kill the economy.
A new report on the health of Vermont’s children shows that 40 percent of the state’s children were deemed “not ready” for kindergarten in 2012-13. Almost one-third of third-graders read below grade level — a figure that jumps to 45 percent for children living in poverty.
“Any business leader that does not think this is a huge business issue, candidly, they just haven’t done their homework,” Green Mountain Power president and CEO Mary Powell said.
3332 words / VTDigger.org
Ariel Quiros is the entrepreneurial force behind Jay Peak ski resort and the $600 million Northeast Kingdom Economic Development Initiative – one of the largest development projects ever attempted in Vermont.
Though the project is high profile, Quiros is not. The international tycoon, though sometimes seen, is seldom heard.
The first generation American stands out at press conferences for his mystique: When he’s not got the ear of the governor, Quiros is most often seen standing uncomfortably before a crowd with pursed lips, staring silently and expressionless, at nothing in particular, through ice blue eyes.
Quiros quietly presides over an integrated set of projects that together constitute the largest private investment Vermont has ever seen: expansions at Jay Peak, development of the newly renamed Q Burke Mountain ski area, the mixed use Renaissance Block planned for downtown Newport, the future site of a biotech firm in the same town, and the promise of a new and improved Newport State Airport in Coventry.
“I make the vision,” he says quietly, a touch of gravel in his voice after 20-plus years of smoking.
3310 words / VTDigger.org
It’s the day before Q Burke Mountain opens for the winter, and Ary Quiros could just as well be preparing for battle as for business.
The new CEO is opening the ski resort for the first time since he started at the mountain the previous winter, and he’s amped. If Quiros, 36, can turn this chronically failing but beloved ski area into a stable business, he will succeed where prior, much wealthier, owners have failed.
The arc of history and local expectations give him long odds. But Quiros — and his staff — are determined.
Wearing a weathered, Army green jacket and frequently checking a watch face practically the size of his wrist, Quiros shuttles from one outpost of operations to another to check on his troops: snowmaking, ticket sales, kitchen, pub and cafeteria. Finances. Marketing. Housecleaning.
“It’s like being in the Army again,” Quiros says.
Karin Davis rolled into Oak Towers on Tuesday morning after getting a ride from Columbia Paratransit to the polling location.
“I’m in a wheelchair, and if I can vote, everybody else damn well can, too,” she said.
The 65-year-old is not shy with her opinions — and she is grateful for the ride.
Davis has relied on Columbia Paratransit for most of her transportation needs for about five years. She is one of 30 or more people who, by mid-Tuesday afternoon, had received help getting to the polls.
789 words / The Columbia Missourian
Kurt Schaefer doesn’t mind giving advice, but he’d rather be the one making decisions.
The incumbent 19th District senator learned this about himself after advising countless legislators and policy makers as a prosecutor in the Missouri Attorney General’s office.
“After a while, it could get frustrating to see them not taking our advice, especially on policy issues,” Schaefer said. In 2007, he decided to fix that. He’d try to make the laws himself.
Schaefer, a Republican, ran for state Senate in 2008 and beat the incumbent Democrat, Chuck Graham, whose favorability sank after his drunken driving arrest the previous October.
Now Schaefer, who has become chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is running for re-election against Democrat Mary Still, a two-term 25th District representative in the Missouri House.
It is rare for a Republican to represent the Senate district that includes Columbia, which politically leans to the left. Schaefer, who won by fewer than 400 votes in 2008, was the first Republican to take the district since at least 1979. If he wins in November, it would be the first time a Republican would serve two terms in the 19th District seat, he said.
1962 words / The Columbia Missourian
Mary Still is not afraid to lose.
“If I were afraid to lose, I would not have run in this race,” Still said last week.
The two-term 25th District state representative from Columbia opens the door of her paned-glass sunroom to let in a little stormy afternoon breeze. Still, a Democrat, is well aware of the odds she faces in her bid to unseat Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, in the 19th District.
Schaefer’s campaign finance war chest outweighs Still’s by a factor of almost 4 to 1. As one of 34 senators, his name recognition also outpaces that of Still, who is one of 163 representatives of the Missouri House. And her opponent’s chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee, one of the most powerful roles in the General Assembly, makes him all the more formidable.
But Still is not easily intimidated. And she is determined to have a Democrat represent Columbia in the Missouri Senate.
“I can better reflect the values of this community,” she said in a soft Arkansas drawl.
Campaign staffers, friends and volunteers are stationed in her spacious, light-filled kitchen. They work with their laptops here, or from desks at Still’s memorabilia-strewn campaign headquarters on Old Route 63 or walking door-to-door in neighborhoods around Columbia and Boone and Cooper counties.
This is Still’s third campaign for a seat in the legislature, and it’s clear this isn’t her first rodeo.
2085 words / The Columbia Missourian