Budget-writers find $10 million in reductions

first_imgby Anne Galloway May 14, 2013 www.vtdigger.org(link is external) The final budget deal was set on Monday after 10 days of negotiations between House and Senate leaders.The chairs of the two Appropriations Committees pieced together $10 million in savings as part of an agreement with the Shumlin administration. Legislative leaders agreed to rescrub the budget in lieu of raising new General Fund taxes.A new revenue report in April that projects a $16 million surplus for fiscal year 2013 helped to ease that budget reduction process. House leaders were insistent that lawmakers leave the session with $9 million in cash reserves in order to prepare for anticipated federal cuts next year; the surplus enabled them to set aside $8 million without having to raise revenues.The $1.3 billion General Fund budget is balanced by about $60 million in one-time savings or revenues that will not be available next year. That means unless the economy improves and tax receipts exceed expectations, the state will continue to face the difficult post-recession problem of filling an ongoing gap between revenues and spending.Gov. Peter Shumlin proposed to increase spending by about $34 million to fund childcare and energy efficiency programs, but lawmakers dialed back those proposals, and in the end also cut down the administration’s request for new positions in state government from 79 to about 60.Sen. Jane Kitchel. VTD/Josh LarkinSen. Jane Kitchel and Rep. Martha Heath, the budget chairs, set out to make $10 million in reductions in the remaining days of the session without touching human services programs. In the end, with the exception of a $2 million cut to services for developmentally disabled Vermonters that had already been agreed to, they succeeded.‘It was a lot of work, but when resources are tight, we need to make sure government is efficient,’Kitchel said.Heath cited higher provider reimbursements and an agreement on Reach Up as the two most significant changes to the budget this year.‘I think a budget document is a values statement and in that sense it is a political document,’Heath said.The House and Senate agreed to two Shumlin administration proposals that are projected to save $4 million. Jim Reardon, commissioner of the Department of Finance and Management, told lawmakers he could find $2.5 million in labor savings across state government through attrition, overtime management and travel cuts. Reardon said an additional $1.5 million could be generated in tax receipts by enhancing the Tax Department’s revenue collections.Rep. Martha Heath is chair of the House Appropriations Committee. Photo by Josh Larkin.By turning back the clock on a 3 percent increase in Medicaid provider reimbursements by one month, the state will save about $1.18 million. Instead of going into effect on Oct. 1, the increase will kick in on Nov. 1.The budget pares back funding for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program by $1.9 million. The Senate had set aside a total of $7.9 million (including $1 million from the weatherization program); the agreement follows the $6 million House plan. This is the first time the state has included LIHEAP money in the base General Fund appropriation. In the past, the program has received enough money from the federal government to cover the cost.The governor’s education initiatives didn’t fare well. Budget-writers agreed to increase subsidies for childcare providers by $1.6 million ‘less than half what the House had originally called for and just a fraction of the $17 million recommendation from the Shumlin administration.A $2 million request for public school pre-K programs didn’t make it to the Senate Appropriations Committee in time for review. The money would have come from the Education Fund.The budget includes the governor’s recommended 3 percent increase to funding for higher education. The $2.5 million is to be used to reduce tuition costs for Vermont students at the University of Vermont and the Vermont State Colleges.They also appropriated $1.5 million for General Assistance, a new state program for temporary housing.An agreement on Reach Up, the state’s welfare to work program, puts a five year cap on benefits with deferments for individuals who are caring for an ill parent or severely disabled children. The budget also calls for an analysis of whether Reach Up is helping recipients find work.The Joint Fiscal Office identified a total of $2.23 million in savings from reserves ($851,000), a projected reduction in a Medicare Part D ‘clawback’payment to the federal government ($966,498), an adjustment in the state’s Unemployment Insurance payment ($226,000) and abandoned property receipts ($187,721).Another $1 million was derived from tobacco settlement revenues ($232,000), a reduction in state fleet management costs ($237,000), higher than anticipated banking and insurance receipts ($425,000) and money from the Information Centers General Fund ($125,000).A request for additional funding for the Working Landscape program was scaled back to $250,000; additional funding for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board was set at $125,000 and the Clean Energy Development Fund got a $100,000 bump. The Vermont Historical Society lost out on $30,000.They also agreed to a $75,000 wind energy siting study.last_img read more

NOFA Vermont receives major grant from USDA

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA Vermont) has been awarded a three-year $247,000 grant from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). With this funding from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Farmers Market Support Grants, NOFA-VT will work to increase SNAP accessibility and participation at Vermont’s farmers markets, and to support the establishment, expansion, and promotion of SNAP services, known in Vermont as 3SquaresVT, at farmers markets.“This grant will expand NOFA-VT’s capacity to support limited-income Vermonters to access organic and local foods at farmers markets while strengthening the economic viability of Vermont’s farms,” said NOFA-VT’s Erin Buckwalter, manager of programs to support direct markets and increase community food access at the organization.NOFA-VT has worked for nine years with farmers markets to establish and support programs to accept 3SquaresVT benefits, supporting the use of EBT cards in order to increase access to local foods for recipients of 3SquaresVT benefits. From just three markets in 2008, NOFA-VT currently supports 46 farmers market locations statewide that accept 3SquaresVT benefits. This new funding from the USDA will allow NOFA-VT to continue to provide support to farmers markets in Vermont that want to expand food access in their communities by accepting EBT cards.In addition to supporting markets with much-needed funds, NOFA-VT will conduct a sustained consumer awareness campaign to increase 3SquaresVT participation at Vermont farmers markets.  Research has found that key reasons why low-income shoppers do not use farmers markets are because they are unaware of the day, time and location of the markets. To overcome this barrier, this project will use a wide variety of approaches—from direct mailings, face-to-face interactions in market communities, and engagement with service providers—to raise awareness of the accessibility of EBT at Vermont markets and ultimately engage low-income shoppers in frequent participation at farmers markets. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Farmers Market Support Grants, which is awarding $8.1 million in grants for projects in 23 states to enhance the effectiveness of SNAP operations at farmers markets. The new funds support broad SNAP-related activities and costs, including staff training and technical assistance, creating educational materials, and raising awareness among current SNAP participants that their benefits may be used to purchase the healthy, fresh foods at these outlets. Farmers market organizations and associations, non-profit entities, state, local and tribal nations and other organizations engaged in farmers market management were eligible to apply. Grantees will be able to help connect low-income families with fresh, healthy, local food options by expanding SNAP use at these markets. About Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont: NOFA Vermont is a non-profit organization working to grow local farms, healthy food, and strong communities in Vermont. Our members are farmers, gardeners, educators and food lovers of all sorts – anyone who wants to help us create a future full of local food and local farms. Our programs include farmer and gardener technical assistance, farm to school support, organic certification, advocacy, an online apprentice and farm worker directory, an annual Winter Conference, and programs that work to ensure access to fresh, local food to all Vermonters, regardless of income.last_img read more

Board gives Shawnee Mission Superintendent Jim Hinson raise and contract extension

first_imgShawnee Mission School District Superintendent Jim Hinson completed his first year on the job Tuesday and the school board extended his contract and gave him a raise.Shawnee Mission Superintendent Dr. Jim HinsonHinson was given a new three-year contract which extends to June 30, 2017. The previous contract was set to expire in 2016. His base salary will increase from $217,950 per year to $232,280. All of the financial considerations in the contract remain the same, including a $25,000 annual payment to a tax sheltered annuity on his behalf.As in the old agreement, the superintendent will receive a $750 per month car allowance and 30 days paid vacation in addition to leave days for spring and winter break.The contracts call for an automatic one-year extension unless the board gives notice of non-renewal by December 31.Hinson has begun several new initiatives in his year at Shawnee Mission. A major technology change will be introduced at district schools this fall and a number of facilities changes are under way or under consideration. A shawneemissionpost.com poll this week on the district’s direction under Hinson’s leadership showed overwhelming approval of his performance.The board approved the contract without comment.last_img read more

Hybrid Working and the Next Normal: My Thoughts on Poly’s New Study

first_imgI received an email last week telling me about Poly’s (formerly Plantronics and Polycom) latest virtual event, introducing its study on the market. The report, dubbed “Hybrid Working: Creating the ‘Next Normal’ in Work Practices, Spaces and Culture,” was made to “highlight the shift in focus from place of work to purpose of work as businesses redesign operations and reinvent ways of working in response to COVID-19.”It piqued my interest immediately, but I felt as if I could nearly make predictions for what this would tell the AV community: Yes, the place in which you work is important because who can focus on work when you’re not in an ergonomic setting? BUT — does that ergonomic environment have to be in an office? We’ve been in the midst of a pandemic for going on five (?) months now, and the vast majority of us (save for AV installers/integrators) have been working from home. I can tell you that a good work space can be set up just about anywhere given it’s a distraction-free environment.Obviously, companies are seeing that this type of work-from-home, Zoom-calls-to-check-in-and-make-sure-nobody-is-watching-“Friends”-on-HBO-Max-all-day method can work! So, are your CEOs going to rush you back to the office post-COVID when they can save money by keeping you at the house without risking productivity? Probably not, folks!Be that as it may, I see the purpose of Poly’s report. Without solid numbers from a study to back up my findings (gleaned entirely from personal experience) above, it’s just speculation. Speculation isn’t what drives an industry forward, and it also isn’t what supports company-wide decisions. However, a study will.So, without further ado, here’s a little bit about the nitty-gritty numbers and what I learned from Poly’s virtual event that helped break this down a little bit.What even is a workplace?Darrius Jones, EVP of strategy marketing and innovation and acting CMO of Poly, began the event by talking a little about some of the new perspectives Poly gained from this study.“Whether you’re a factory worker or in the office, everyone’s definition of the workplace has changed,” Jones said.But when it comes to working from home, change isn’t necessarily a bad thing — as long as it’s not making workers unproductive.Note the whole 74% of CFOs are into permanently moving to this working-from-home thing, distractions and all. But — the way to best navigate those distractions is by reinventing, responding and redesigning work-from-home culture. More on that later.Jones mentioned how he has struggled with building an ergonomic, functional workplace at his home. He said he knows it’s hard — and mentioned that his kids complained that he would always take his calls on speakerphone, and that they could hear every word.Basically, the moral of the story: Distractions exist when we work from home. It’s one of the biggest problems. But is it worth giving up the flexibility remote workers have right now?“Whether I have a cold or COVID-19, I should have that same flexibility,” said Jones.Not that I would be trying to work if I (Steph) had COVID, but I get his point. If someone calls me in a tizzy over something at work, I should have the flexibility and opportunity to help from home if I’m not feeling my best! No need to potentially infect a whole office of people.Mastering the environment (how????)What we have learned so far: Working from home is working a lot better than people thought it would. Company higher-ups are considering making this a permanent change even after the pandemic runs its course. But how can tech, and specifically AV tech, help?“Tech is going to give people the confidence to do what they need to do no matter where they’re at,” Jones said.He paused for a moment to discuss ways that we are not taking advantage of what’s available to us. He first pinpointed that, when on a Zoom or other video call, it’s important to actually be on video. Why? In his personal experience, Jones has found his messaging was more effective when people could actually see what he was saying.But on the other hand, it’s difficult to incentivize people to get excited about more virtual meetings. The fatigue is real.How we rectify that, Jones added, is by shifting the culture and by “bringing people in from disparate workforces in meaningful ways.”So, next question: What will the new environment look like?According to this part of the study, contributed by Sarah Susanka of Susanka Studios, the new environment looks like a hybrid of working from home but with memberships to things like co-working spaces and satellite offices for use when needed. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but companies are overwhelmingly seeing how smoothly operations can go even as work mostly takes place from the comfort of people’s homes.Hybrid working can take many forms, though, so it can be best thought of as an umbrella term. See the below:Things that will be ~trending~ in the next yearEvery great market report comes with not only hard data but also predictions gleaned from said data. Poly’s report concludes with a few trends we may expect to see from this shift to hybrid working over the next year.These are the pockets that Poly argues are going to change the game when it comes to building technology to fit this new workforce. Is our industry doomed? No. In AV, every great product starts with a problem that needs technology to solve it. And the above are the problems: not-great audiovisual quality from our laptops, huddle rooms that weren’t created with today’s health regulations in mind, shared office solutions that require touch and products that don’t learn our habits and respond to them. The solutions to these problems are going to include the AV products that push us forward.Here is a link to Poly’s full study, in case my high points weren’t good enough for you.last_img read more

Key to success in dating world lies in your personality

first_imgNew Kerala:Certain personality traits contribute to being a good judge of whether someone else thinks you’re worth meeting again, according to the study.Mitja Back of the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz was interested in the question: is there’s something about personality that makes some people better at predicting whether others will want to meet them? n 17 groups, a total of 190 men and 192 women met members of the opposite sex—basically the standard speed dating routine, but this time, with psychologists collecting a lot of data. Among that data was personality information and the all-important question after each three-minute date: for each person you talk to, do you want to see that person again? They were also asked if they thought the other person would want to meet them.Read more at: New Kerala More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Psychology study uncovers why people — including narcissists — use Instagram

first_imgShare on Facebook Email New research published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior has uncovered the major reasons people use the online photo- and video-sharing service Instagram.The study, by Pavica Sheldon and Katherine Bryant of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, uncovered new motives for social media use that had not been identified in previous research. “As it is, we have learned that the reasons for using Instagram are somewhat unique and different from the reasons for using Facebook and other social media sites,” the researchers said.The study of 239 college students found four main motives for Instagram use, which the researchers labelled as “Surveillance/Knowledge about others,” “Documentation,” “Coolness,” and “Creativity.” Pinterest LinkedIncenter_img Share Share on Twitter Surveillance/Knowledge about others: The most influential motivation the participants reported was using Instagram to interact with their friends, keep track of other people’s activities, and see what other people share. A host of information about a person, including their relationship status and number of friends, can be discovered with a quick scroll through their posts.Documentation: The participants also used Instagram to depict their life through photos, remember special events, share their activities with others, document the world around them, and to commemorate an event. The researchers noted that Instagram can act “as a kind of virtual photo album for many people.”Coolness: Instagram is also used to enhance a person’s social status. The participants reported using Instagram to look cool, self-promote, and provide “visual status updates” for their friends.Creativity: The least influential motivation the participants reported was using Instagram to create art and display photography skills.Previous studies had identified surveillance and coolness as reasons for using social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, but not documentation and creativity.Sheldon and Bryant also found that narcissism influenced Instagram use. Narcissists have an over-inflated sense of importance and demand admiration from others. Researchers believe social networking sites appeal to narcissists because it gives them the ability to completely control how they are presented to others.The researchers found narcissism was related to using Instagram to appear cool and for surveillance. “Narcissists can post and manipulate specific photos to make themselves and their lives appear to be a certain way,” Sheldon and Bryant explained.The researchers also discovered three other factors that influenced Instagram use. Those with a higher level of interpersonal interaction, meaning they often spend time communicating with friends and family, were more likely to use Instagram for surveillance, creativity, and coolness. Those who participated in more social activities were more likely to use Instagram for documentation. People who were more satisfied were less likely to use Instagram to appear cool.last_img read more

Promotions Announced at Arnold Motor Supply

first_imgDeMoulpied has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management from the United States Air Force Academy and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Dayton in Marketing and International Business. He served six years with the USAF overseeing the development of technology used on fighter aircraft and the E-3 Surveillance aircraft, finishing his career honorably as Captain. SPENCER, Iowa – Dennis Spooner, managing partner of the Arnold Group of Companies based in Spencer, Iowa, recently announced three managerial changes within the company.              Adam Janssen has been named the store manager for the company’s Arnold Motor Supply automotive parts store in Washington, Iowa. Janssen has been part of the Arnold Motor Supply team since January of 2005 and brings a wealth of experience. He was most recently a salesman at the Marshalltown location.   Adam Wallin, has been named the store manager for the company’s Auto Value Parts Store in Geneva, Neb. Wallin started with the company in 2010 after serving in the U.S. Army during Iraqi Freedom, and working as a sales manager for a realty and livestock firm. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in marketing. He is a second-generation partner.   Adam Jones has been named the store manager for the company’s Auto Value Parts Store No. 63 in Omaha, Neb. Jones has been part of the Arnold Group of Companies team since February 2004 and brings with him a wealth of automotive parts and repair experience. He was most recently a trainer for the Auto Value Parts Stores of Nebraska.   The Arnold Group includes 38 Arnold Motor Supply stores, 11 Auto Value parts stores as well as two warehouses, an Auto Refinish division, a light industrial coating distributor, and a cylinder head re-manufacturing division with stores in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois and Missouri. Twenty-one store locations have complete machine shops located within the stores.       AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement,Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI), manufacturer of Hot Shot’s Secret brand of performance additives and oils, recently announced the expansion of senior leadership. Steve deMoulpied joins LSI as the company’s chief operating officer (COO). AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement With more than 20 years of experience across multiple industries and functional areas, deMoulpied has particular expertise in organizations with complex technical products. Combined, his prior positions have required a spectrum of skills in corporate strategy, operations improvement, product quality, and revenue cycle management. He has an impressive history of utilizing data driven problem solving (Lean Six Sigma) and project management (PMP and CSM) to achieve strategic goals surrounding customer satisfaction, operational efficiency and improved profit.  LSI President Brett Tennar says, “Steve’s success in developing operational strategies that improves the bottom line, builds teamwork, reduces waste and ensures quality product development and distribution checks many of the boxes of what we were looking for in a COO. This, coupled with his career in the Air Force working with highly technical systems and his in-depth understanding of Lean Six Sigma and Business Process Management sealed our offer. As our tagline states, our products are Powered by Science. This data driven approach is one reason why our company has grown exponentially as we employ the most advanced technology to product development. I am confident that Steve is the right person to drive operational strategy for our diverse and growing brands.” Advertisement DeMoulpied comes to LSI from the Private Client Services practice of Ernst & Young where he managed strategy & operations improvement engagements for privately held client businesses. Some of his prior roles include VP of strategic development, director of strategic initiatives, and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt at OptumHealth, UnitedHealth Group’s health services business, as well as Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at General Electric, where he applied operations improvement principles to customer service, supply chain and product development. A successful entrepreneur, deMoulpied is also the founder of PrestoFresh, a Cleveland-based e-commerce food/grocery business. last_img read more

Three students receive Farmington PTA Council scholarships

first_imgThe Farmington Area PTA Council has awarded three, $500 scholarships to graduating seniors from Farmington Public Schools.Named after former Farmington Public Schools Superintendent C. Robert Maxfield, a man dedicated to serving others by providing educational opportunity to all youths in the community, the scholarships go to active members of high school Parent Teachers Student Associations (PTSA). This year’s recipients are Nya Todd, Harrison High School PTSA; Nia Bailey-Hill, Farmington High School PTSA; and Brenda Davis, Farmington High School PTSA.Student involvement is an important component at all levels of the PTSA, but especially the secondary grade level. Student voices get a seat at the table with school decision-makers including parents, school leaders and community members. PTSA student leaders gain experience in leadership, advocacy, public speaking, teamwork, event planning – all while improving their school.The Farmington Area PTA Council, consisting of 16 local PTAs, fundraises for scholarships in many ways, including the upcoming Greater Farmington Area Founders’ Festival bingo tent and duck race, along with business memberships. For information on becoming a Farmington Area PTA Council business member please write to councilpresident@farmingtonareapta.org. Reported by Farmington Voice Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Report: Cleveland Indians Have “Checked In” on Edwin Encarnacion

first_img Related Topics Matt Medley is co-editor at NEO Sports Insiders, covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Indians and high school sports in Northeast Ohio.Follow @MedleyHoops on Twitter for live updates from games. The way that Passan ends this bit of news is probably what all Indians’ fans think when they hear the idea of Encarnacion in an Indians’ uniform.“Would they spend the money?”Cleveland is in the market for a 1B/DH regardless, and if the Indians choose to re-sign Napoli or pursue other free-agents, like Chris Carter, Adam Lind, or Mitch Moreland, those contracts will not be cheap either.To sign Encarnacion would be a step above those guys.Last week, Yoennis Cespedes signed a 4-year, $110 million contract.Encarnacion is not the five-tool type player, like Cespedes, but is every bit as dangerous of a power threat, and anything less than $20 mil. per season would be a surprise for his next contract.It wouldn’t follow typical protocol, as the Tribe has not been in the habit of spending big money to sign free-agents, but to the credit of the front office, the Indians pulled the trigger on the Andrew Miller deal and picked up his salary.If Cleveland is going to make another splash leading up to 2017, Encarnacion would certainly have that impact. As hot stove rumors heat up, the latest involves the Cleveland Indians and 1B Edwin Encarnacion. Matt Medleylast_img read more

Photo Gallery: St. Edward-Garfield Heights Regional Final

first_imgAll photos via Russell Gifford.Click image to enlarge. Related Topics NEO HS Stafflast_img