Drought better, worse

first_imgBy David Emory StooksburyUniversity of GeorgiaAthens, Ga. –- Beneficial rains from the remains of tropical storm Barry brought much needed rain to south-central, southeast, and east-central Georgia over the weekend. Much of the remainder of the state had little to no rainfall.With the wide difference in rainfall, drought conditions improved in parts of the state while worsening in others. In the long run, there is a good chance that the recent rains may be just a blip in the continuing drought.The long-term outlook is for the drought to continue to intensify. Little if any widespread, sustained relief from the drought is anticipated.Of Georgia’s 159 counties, 95 are classified as being in extreme drought, 49 in severe drought, 12 in moderate drought and three in mild drought.Worse in some areasAcross south Georgia, extreme drought conditions have expanded into Baker, Bibb, Calhoun, Chattahoochee, Clay, Crawford, Crisp, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Lee, Macon, Marion, Miller, Muscogee, Peach, Quitman, Randolph, Stewart, Schley, Sumpter, Taylor, Terrell, Webster and Wilcox counties.In north Georgia, extreme drought conditions have expanded into Banks, Barrow, Butts, Dawson, Forsyth, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Harris, Henry, Jackson, Jasper, Lamar, Lumpkin, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Pike, Putnam, Rabun, Rockdale, Spalding, Talbot, Upson, Walton and White counties.Severe drought has expanded into Elbert and Hart counties and remain in Clarke, Franklin, Greene, Madison, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Stephens, Taliaferro and Wilkes counties.Severe drought conditions remain, too, in Baldwin, Dodge, Glascock, Hancock, Houston, Jones, Pulaski, Twiggs and Warren counties.Better in some areasWith the soaking rains of Barry, drought conditions improved from extreme to severe in the south Georgia counties of Appling, Bacon, Berrien, Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Clinch, Cook, Echols, Effingham, Evans, Glynn, Jefferson, Jeff Davis, Lamar, Liberty, Long, Lowndes, Montgomery, McIntosh, Pierce, Tattnall, Telfair, Toombs, Ware Wheeler and Wayne.Drought conditions improved from severe to moderate in Beckley, Emanuel, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, McDuffie, Screven, Treutlen, Washington and Wilkinson counties. Lincoln County remains in moderate drought.In the central Savannah River valley, drought conditions improved from moderate to mild in Burke, Columbia and Richmond counties.Extreme drought conditions remain in the rest of the state, including northwest, west-central, southwest and most of south-central Georgia.”Extreme” drought conditions are defined as those expected once in 50 years, based on many indicators. “Severe” conditions are those expected once in 20 years. “Moderate” are those expected once in 10 years.Weekend rains will be beneficial for pastures and hay. In southwest Georgia where much of the state’s row crops are grown, rains were generally too light to have any benefit.Outside the regions receiving bountiful weekend rains, stream flows remain at record to near-record low levels. Soil moisture also remains at very low levels.Get updated drought information at www.georgiadrought.org. The state drought Web site includes information on how to deal with the drought.Updated weather information is at www.georgiaweather.net. This University of Georgia network has 71 automated weather stations statewide.(David Stooksbury is the state climatologist and a professor of engineering and atmospheric sciences in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Can or freeze?

first_imgMany Americans are trying to beat rising food prices by growing and preserving food at home. Food preservation may save money for some, but not for everyone, says a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension food preservation expert.“There are many reasons for preserving food at home,” said Elizabeth Andress, Extension specialist and director of the National Center for Home Food Preservation. “Some have to do with finding ways to save money, while others may have to do with satisfaction, creativity or family tradition.” The two most common forms of food preservation are canning and freezing. Freezing is a quicker way to prepare food for long-term storage than canning or drying, she said. Frozen produce, if carefully preserved, also tastes more like fresh than other preserving methods. “It costs between 38 and 50 cents a year to maintain a freezer for one pound of food, not including the cost of the produce,” Andress said. In general, chest freezers are less expensive to run, but upright freezers can be more convenient, she said. Better insulated freezers can cost more to purchase, but less to operate. Frostfree freezers cost as much or more to operate than conventional defrost freezers. To keep freezing costs down, Andress offers the following tips: Don’t place the freezer in a warm place like the laundry room near heat-producing appliances, as freezers in warm rooms use more electricity. Keep the door closed. Opening the door frequently uses more energy to keep the food cold. Buy the size you need. Large freezers use more electricity. A full freezer is more efficient and uses less electricity per pound.Clean condenser coils and defrost freezers as needed. “A well-managed freezer can save time, energy and gas from fewer trips to the store,” Andress said. “To get the most out of your home freezer, freeze only foods that the family likes to eat, and in packaged amounts that can be served at one time.” When freezing foods, be sure to use the proper packaging to protect flavor, color, moisture content and nutritional value from the dry conditions of the home freezer,” she said. Containers should be moisture-vapor resistant, durable, leak proof, flexible, crack resistant at low temperatures and easy to seal and mark, she said. Rigid plastic containers can be used for liquids. Freezer bags and wraps are more suitable for dry-pack products that contain little or no liquid. Vacuum packaging is recommended for dry packages. Read the manufacturer’s directions carefully when using a packaging machine for wet foods. Vacuum packaging removes the air that can lead to drying, oxidation and off-flavors even at freezer temperatures. “There are also ways to minimize air trapped in other types of packaging,” Andress said. “That is an important factor to control in all freezing.” Canning can be a less expensive way of storing food than freezing, but more time and energy are spent to prepare and process the foods. Canning some foods can be difficult for beginners and it requires preserving foods by using methods that keep the food safe when stored at room temperatures. “Food may spoil and make you sick if reliable canning directions are not followed exactly,” Andress said. Costs associated with canning include the purchase of canners, jar funnels, lifters, jars and lids. The cost of water, fuel and extra ingredients like vinegar, sugar and spices must also be counted. Canning jars cost $7 to $12 a dozen, but can be used for many years if handled carefully. Lids, however, need to be purchased every year and cost around 12 to 30 cents each when bought in small quantities. The cost of added ingredients can be minimal with vegetables, Andress said. Most recipes call for up to one teaspoon of salt per quart jar. But, sweeteners for jams and jellies, or spices and specialty peppers for pickles and salsas, can add significant costs. Consumers should also compare the cost of similar food purchased at the grocery store, Andress said. “Try to find economical sources for foods if you are trying to save money over purchasing them at the grocery store,” she said. “There are different preservation methods for many foods,” she said. “Choose one that works for your family and produces the form of food you like.”last_img read more

Virtual farming software helps growers

first_imgFarmville and Farmtown computer programs lets people pretend to be farmers. A program developed by university scientists lets researchers grow virtual crops, too, but in a real effort to advise farmers on how to save money and resources.The program is called Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer, or DSSAT. It was created by a team of agricultural scientists from the universities of Georgia, Florida, Hawaii, Guelph in Ontario, Canada, Iowa State University and the International Center for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development.Helps save resourcesResearchers use the system to make crucial decisions based on sound science. In Georgia, for example, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division used it to estimate water requirements for irrigation, said Gerrit Hoogenboom, a UGA agricultural meteorologist who helped develop the software.The DSSAT program works for soybean, peanut, tomato, green bean, pepper, sweet corn, cabbage, rice, wheat, barley, cotton, potato, pasture grasses and numerous other crops. It simulates crop growth, yield and water and nutrient requirements for the crops. Planning for weather phasesWorking with county Extension agents, researchers use it to help farmers respond to and prepare for the probability of particular weather phases, Hoogenboom said. The program can even help countries prepare for climate change, said Cheryl Porter, a UFL researcher who keeps the software up to date.“DSSAT can help answer these kinds of questions: How will a country have to adapt to rising temperatures or reduced rainfall? Should they plant earlier? Fertilizer more? Grow a different crop or variety of crop?” she said.Making research-based decisionsThe software can predict the effects of environmental impacts like fertilizer runoff in waterways or economic impacts like how altering irrigation or fertilizer schedules will affect farmer profits.“Crop models can help answer ‘what if’ scenarios that may be too expensive or complicated to answer with field experiments alone,” Porter said. “And many different scenarios can be simulated in a short amount of time, allowing a researcher to see the effects of a wide range of environmental conditions.”In West Africa, crop models show the practice of increasing fertilizer and leaving crop residues in fields gradually increases the amount of carbon in the soil there, she said. UGA hosts software training sessionTop agricultural scientists from across the United States and the world met on the UGA campus in Griffin, Ga., this month to receive hands-on training from the system’s developers.Researcher Kai Sonder of CIMMYT plans to use the software to simulate maize and wheat production in Asia, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. CIMMYT is a non-profit research and training center.“I hope to use (the software) to add value to a large amount of maize and wheat research data CIMMYT has collected over the past 40 years,” he said. An Auburn University graduate student who attended the training will use it to predict the effects of climate change on wheat crops in Alabama. A graduate student from Michigan State University will use it to simulate future crop yields in the Great Lakes region. A Princeton University researcher plans to use the program to model the impacts of climate change on crops in South Africa and to create potential land use scenarios.For more information on crop modeling, go to the website www.ICASA.net .last_img read more

AgrAbility Program

first_imgA U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded organization that that strives to help farmers with disabilities, the AgrAbility Project in Georgia is set to host an expo in Tifton, Georgia, to introduce farmers to equipment designed to those anyone with disabilities. The AgrAbility Expo will be held on Tuesday, April 5, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the north parking lot of the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center and is free to attend. There will be a number of different pieces of equipment on display that can help farmers with disabilities continue to farm safely, including tractor lifts, automatic and walk-through gates, and equipment to help farmers with arthritis better grip the steering wheel of tractors. Present in 25 states, the National AgrAbility Project is federally funded and coordinated in Georgia by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Institute on Human Development and Disability in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences.Glen Rains, UGA professor and co-director of the Georgia AgrAbility Project, will preside over this inaugural AgrAbility Expo. “We are trying to be of service to famers who might have difficulties continuing to farm,” Rains said. “The expo is for farmers to see what type of equipment is out there for a wide variety of different health conditions.”The average age of famers today is 58 to 59 years old, according to Rains. With age, it can become more difficult for farmers to continue farming. “As that population ages, there are a lot of different health concerns that come with it,” he said. Rains hopes this expo and AgrAbility in Georgia can help any and all farmers know the resources available to them. “Hopefully, farmers curious about things that would make it easier for them to farm will attend,” said Rains.last_img read more

STEM Interns

first_imgLast summer, seven seniors from Pike County High School (PCHS) in Zebulon, Georgia, with an aptitude for science made a commitment to work alongside University of Georgia Griffin campus scientists three days a week for the entire school year. This month, they will complete their yearlong partnership.The students, Courtney Bagwell, Dylan Blohm, Abigail Chasteen, Nikki Dodson, Megan Pitts, Taylor Thomas and Talisa Watts, are the first group to take part in the off-campus internship. “The beauty and the flexibility of the (Pike County STEM) Academy is that we have a lot of standards, but we can pick and choose the ones that fit with science and math, and then add in the technology and the engineering through agriculture,” said Greg Waits, the program’s coordinator and the agriculture education teacher at the high school. Students are selected for the program based on their test scores in math and science. Then they take advanced classes in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas during their freshman, sophomore and junior years before participating in the off-campus experience at UGA-Griffin. Formally, the students earn Advanced Placement science credits for participating. They also gain a wealth of information and personal experience. “I don’t think you can get an experience like the one here at UGA anywhere else,” said Dodson, a Pike County STEM Academy program participant. “My experience here was amazing and it propelled my interest in agriculture. In high school, you have a teacher, but he also works with 20 or more other students. I had mentors who plan to use the information I gathered in their future studies.”During the fall semester, Dodson worked with UGA food scientist Kirk Kealey to develop a new chocolate-alternative milk beverage. Spring semester found her in the horticulture department studying pesticide residue in soil under the guidance of UGA weed scientist Mark Czarnota.“I now recognize the importance of the blueberry, peach and pecan industries in Georgia,” she said.Bagwell, a fellow STEM Academy student, had a similar experience working with UGA Cooperative Extension peach specialist Dario Chavez.Bagwell spent the spring semester measuring the acidity of and soluble solid concentration in peach samples. Her work is part of a project that focuses on consumers’ expectations in terms of peach flavor.“There has been a drastic fall in fresh peach consumption and it’s connected to the quality of fresh peaches,” she said. “UGA scientists are trying to make the best peach possible for consumers. Through this, I learned to problem-solve. I enjoyed doing the research. It was something I was interested in and I cared about what I was working on.”Chasteen, another STEM academy high school student, worked in UGA blueberry breeder Scott NeSmith’s laboratory. She learned that breeding new blueberry varieties is a long and arduous task.“It takes about 10 years for a scientist to release a new variety,” said Chasteen, who worked in the blueberry breeding program both fall and spring semesters. “First semester I planted seedlings in the greenhouse and this semester I focused on making crosses.”She learned to transfer pollen from one plant to another, a task she described as simulating the actions of a bee.“I learned how to work in a real lab environment, which is an experience you don’t get in high school. I became interested in being a scientist and in the horticulture field,” said Chasteen, who plans to attend UGA next year and to major in biology.Watts, a PCHS senior, compared the growth of salmonella cells on surfaces under the direction of UGA parasitologist Ynes Ortega.“I worked in the food science department last semester, but this semester I had to use a face mask and gloves because I was working with salmonella. After working in food science at UGA, there are some foods I won’t eat now because I don’t want to risk getting sick,” said Watts, who will attend Tufts University in the fall on an engineering scholarship.Additional UGA-Griffin scientist mentors included plant pathologist James Buck, horticulturist Rachel Itle and food scientists Kirk Kealey and Koushik Adhikari.“Our campus worked in partnership with PCHS to establish an internship program designed to prepare their STEM Academy seniors for post-secondary education. The program and students have far exceeded my expectations,” said Be-Atrice Cunningham, the UGA-Griffin program coordinator. “These high-achieving students worked with renowned scientists on cutting-edge research solving real-world problems while being exposed to state-of-the-art laboratory equipment at a top-tier research institution. This is an unparalleled opportunity for most high school students.”As the high school students close their year at UGA-Griffin, PCHS Assistant Principal James Stanford is pleased with the success of the program’s first year. “(Pike County Superintendent) Dr. Michael Duncan and I are both Georgia Bulldogs and the UGA facilities and faculty in Griffin were a driving force in the creation of the Pike County STEM Academy. One of our original hopes for the program was to have UGA scientists as guest speakers and to have field trips to the campus, but it became so much more,” he said. “We hope more of our students will apply to UGA and I’ve never been more proud of my university. We couldn’t do this without UGA and without the parents’ support.”For information about academic programs at UGA-Griffin, go to www.griffin.uga.edu.last_img read more

GMCR reports 3rd quarter 19 percent increase

first_imgGreen Mountain Coffee RoastersReports Fiscal 2004 Third Quarter Results; Net Sales Growth of 19.0%and Net Income Growth of 40.4%WATERBURY, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aug. 3, 2004–Green MountainCoffee Roasters, Inc., (NASDAQ: GMCR) has announced fiscal thirdquarter net sales for the twelve-week period ended July 3, 2004 of$31,347,000, up 19.0%. Total coffee pounds shipped increased 17.2% to4,075,000 pounds. The difference in growth rates between sales and coffeepounds shipped is primarily due to the increase in sales of coffee and teaK-Cups(R) as a percentage of sales, which sell at a higher price per poundthan other Green Mountain Coffee products. Net income for the fiscal third quarter increased 40.4% to$1,906,000, or $0.26 per diluted share, compared to $1,358,000, or$0.19 per diluted share for the fiscal third quarter of 2003. Robert P. Stiller, Chairman, President and Chief ExecutiveOfficer, said “Green Mountain Coffee delivered strong sales and evenstronger earnings growth this quarter, in large part due to theCompany’s superior infrastructure and the passion of our people, as weexecute on our multi-channel cup to pound strategy to build the business.” Stiller continued, “I am particularly excited that we have beenable to demonstrate, with our financial results, that sustainabilityand business success can go hand and hand. We recently have beenhonored with additional awards and recognition for our efforts in thisregard. In June, the Society for Human Resource Management and the GreatPlace to Work(R) Institute ranked Green Mountain Coffee Number 9 on theirlist of the 25 “Best Medium Companies to Work for in America.” In July,SustainableBusiness.com placed Green Mountain Coffee on its SB 20 list ofThe World’s Top Sustainable stocks, showcasing companies they believeddemonstrated leadership in sustainable practices.” Stiller continued, “TransFair USA recently reported that U.S.Certified Fair Trade coffee imports increased 91% in 2003. This figurereveals the growing consumer appeal of Fair Trade and certified products,which we are consciously tapping into with our brand and productofferings. Our strategic alliance with Ben & Jerry’s, to open co-branded,franchised, ice cream and coffee shops around the country that willfeature our certified organic and Fair Trade coffees, is anotherindication of the tremendous potential of our approach to marketdifferentiation and growth.” Stiller concluded, “I also believe the Keurig Single-Cup Brewer,with its superior convenience and quality, is a major growth driverfor us. We’ve benefited from its impact in our office coffee servicechannel for some time, and now we are leveraging the concept andtechnology to provide more and more consumers with an outstandingcoffee experience in their homes as well, and in other venuesincluding smaller offices. Taken altogether, I am very excited aboutour performance and about our growth plans for the rest of this fiscalyear and beyond. We have the passion and the commitment to work to make apositive difference in the world, while servicing our customers in asuperior manner and building stockholder value.” Third Quarter Financial Review Channel and Other Sales Growth Highlights: — The Company’s year-over-year dollar sales growth in the third quarter was led by the office coffee service (OCS), supermarket and convenience store channels. The OCS channel contributed approximately half of the increase in net sales due to strong K-Cup sales driven by increased penetration of the Keurig(R) B-100 brewers in small offices and by continued success of teas in K-Cups. — The supermarket channel grew 16.7% in coffee pounds shipped due primarily to distribution to Publix Supermarkets which began in the first quarter of fiscal 2004. — In the convenience store channel, coffee pounds shipped increased 13.2%. This increase was due mainly to increased sales relating to inventory replenishment, which varies quarter-to-quarter, to McLane Company, the distributor to Exxon Mobil Corporation convenience stores. — The consumer direct channel grew 45% in dollar sales and 26.0% in coffee pounds shipped with the majority of growth related to the sales of Keurig Single-Cup Brewers for the home and the associated K-Cups. — Fair Trade and Organic coffee pound sales grew by 49% versus Q3 ’03. Margins, Expenses, and Analysis of After-Tax Income: — Green Mountain Coffee’s gross profit margin was 40.4% of sales compared to 42.8% in the year-ago quarter. The decrease was attributable to higher green coffee costs, variations in sales mix, and rising fuel costs. — Selling, general and administrative expenses decreased to 29.6% of sales from 31.6%. This improvement was the result of leveraging selling and organizational resources on a higher sales base. — Interest expenses decreased $80,000 due to capitalization of interest expenses associated with the construction of the new distribution center. — The Company’s tax rate in the third quarter of fiscal 2004 decreased to 37.2% from 41.5% in the prior year period due to the favorable impact of recently awarded state tax incentives under the Vermont Economic Advancement Tax Incentive Program. — The Company’s third quarter after-tax income before the recognition of a non-cash loss related to the Company’s equity investment in Keurig Incorporated (“Keurig”) increased 25.3% to $2,099,000. The Company’s net income was $1,906,000 after recognition of a non-cash loss of $193,000 (or $0.03 per share), an increase of 40.4%. Year-to-Date Results: — For the forty weeks ended July 3, 2004, the Company experienced an 18.5% increase in net sales to $105,690,000 from $89,222,000 and a 14.5% increase in coffee pounds shipped compared to the same period last year. — Net income for the forty weeks ended July 3, 2004 was up 19.5% to $5,820,000 after recognition of a non-cash loss of $751,000 from its minority investment in Keurig as compared to $4,870,000 in 2003 including recognition of a non-cash loss of $690,000 from the investment in Keurig. — Diluted earnings per share increased to $0.79 from $0.67 as compared to the same period last year. Business Outlook and Other Forward-Looking Information Fiscal Fourth Quarter: — The Company expects net sales growth of 12% to 16% and coffee pounds growth of 7% to 10% in its fourth quarter of fiscal 2004. — The Company anticipates its gross margin will be in the range of 39.0% to 40.0% and that its operating margin will be in the range of 10.5% to 11.5%. — The Company expects that the recognition of its share of Keurig’s loss for the fourth quarter of 2004 will reduce diluted earnings per share by $0.02 to $0.04. — Based on all of these factors, the Company anticipates its fully diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter will be in the range of $0.23 to $0.27 per share. Fiscal Year: — The Company anticipates for fiscal 2004 as a whole that net sales growth will be in the range of 16% to 18% with coffee pounds growth in the range of 11% to 13%. — The Company expects that its gross margin will be in the range of 39.0% to 39.7% and that its operating margin will be in the range of 10.0% to 10.6%. — The Company expects that the recognition of its share of Keurig’s loss for fiscal 2004 will reduce diluted earnings per share by $0.12 to $0.14. — The Company anticipates its fully diluted earnings per share for fiscal 2004 to be in the range of $1.02 to $1.06 per share. Balance Sheet and Cash Flow: — The Company forecasts its capital expenditures for fiscal 2004 to be in the range of $17 to $19 million and depreciation expenses to be between $4.5 and $5.0 million. — The Company is building a new distribution and warehousing facility attached to its existing plant that will incorporate material-handling automation to improve distribution efficiencies. The Company anticipates it will result in lower overall distribution costs relative to sales over the long-term, as well as allow for increased packaging capacity in the current plant. The capital project is underway and is expected to cost approximately $9 million. — The Company expects its EBITDA in 2004 to be approximately $18 to $19 million.last_img read more

Vermont Naturopathic Clinic opens in Winooski, Vermont

first_imgWinooski Vermont Naturopathic Clinic announces the opening of its new office at 321 Main St., Suite C in Winooski. Naturopathic medicine is founded on a holistic philosophy, combining safe and effective traditional therapies with the most current advances in modern medicine.Naturopathic medicine is appropriate for the management of a broad range of health conditions affecting people of all ages. Vermont Naturopathic Clinic offers office visits and diagnostic testing for health conditions treated by naturopathic medicine, such as acute infections as well as digestive, hormonal, and chronic illnesses. Treatment at Vermont Naturopathic Clinic may include acupuncture, botanical medicine, clinical nutrients and diet, or physical medicine and may also be integrated with conventional medicine. Services at Vermont Naturopathic Clinic may be reimbursed through CBA and Workers Compensation. Discounts are available for City Market Coop members, Blue Cross members, Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce members and a sliding fee scale is available.The modern office at 321 Main St. has full spectrum and natural lighting and a comfortable waiting room. The entire office is fitted with a high quality sound system and an eclectic selection of music to relax to during your treatment. The office also has a dispensary for natural product prescriptions and a pharmacy downstairs to fill pharmaceutical prescriptions.Vermont Naturopathic Clinic also shares the office with Dr. Jonathan Fenton, an osteopathic physician who specializes in physical medicine. Dr. Sam Russo, N.D., MSAc,, director of VNC, is a naturopathic physician and certified acupuncturist. He is the only naturopathic physician in Vermont to work in the same office with an osteopathic physician.Dr. Russo says, Our goal is for clients to have personalized care in a healthy environment. This bright and beautiful new space will allow us to give clients that kind of experience.For more information, visit www.naturopathicvermont.com(link is external) or call 802.859.0000last_img read more

Interstate 89 Paving Switching to Daytime Beginning this Weekend

first_imgInterstate 89 Paving Switching to Daytime Beginning this WeekendMONTPELIER – Paving crews beginning this weekend (October 25) will limit traffic flow during the day to one lane along Interstate 89 Northbound from Exit 14 in South Burlington to Exit 16 in Colchester. Motorists should expect delays and plan accordingly.Weather permitting, daytime paving over the weekend will take place from sun up to sun down, and continue into the evening. Daytime paving will continue into the work week as crews push to finish this 17-mile project, but traffic will not be impacted during the morning and afternoon peak commutes. Traffic during the work week will be restricted to one lane between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. only.Paving is weather dependent, but for planning purposes northbound motorists should expect delays between Exits 14 and 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day from Monday, October 27 through Friday, October 31. Daytime paving will continue through the following weekend, November 1 and November 2, if necessary.Switching from night to daytime paving is necessary because temperatures at night are now often too low to pave. Crews must now work during the day when the temperature is warmer. Crews will, however, continue to work at night as the weather and temperature permits.last_img read more

Vermont tax revenues exceed targets for GF, Transpo and Education

first_imgVermont tax revenues exceeded their adjusted targets in September in the three major categories and in nearly all sub-categories. The most promising of which was the personal income tax, which was down in August. The fiscal year-to-date numbers also exceeded targets, but more modestly. The General Fund was up 5.09 percent in September and 2.37 percent YTD ($263 million). Of this, personal income, by far the single largest component, was up .57 percent YTD ($129.85 million total). The Transportation Fund was up 3.87 percent YTD ($55.05 million total), with all components exceeding targets. And the Education Fund was ahead .52 percent YTD ($36.09 total). The most notable component that failed to exceed its YTD target was the sales and use tax, which came in below target by .18 percent YTD ($51.32 million total). However, its September number did exceed its target by .14 percent.The September General Fund Revenues were released by Secretary of Administration Neale F Lunderville on Friday. September marks the end of the first quarter of FY 2010. General Fund revenues totaled $105.64 million for September 2009, +$5.09 million or +5.06% above the $100.55 million consensus revenue forecast for the month. Year to date, General Fund revenues of $263.00 million were +$6.09 million and +2.37% above the year to date FY 2010 target.The monthly targets reflect the recently revised Fiscal Year 2010 Consensus Revenue Forecast that was adjusted downward by the Emergency Board on July 16, 2009. The State s Consensus Revenue Forecast is normally updated two times per year in January and July. However, with the continuation of this recession, the Emergency Board has been scheduling interim quarterly revenue reviews. The next consensus forecast is scheduled to be reviewed by the Emergency Board on November 12, 2009.Personal Income Tax receipts are the largest single state revenue source, and are reported Net-of-Personal Income Tax refunds. Personal Income Tax receipts for September were $52.65 million, +$0.32 million or +0.61% ahead of the monthly target. Sales & Use Tax, at $16.69 million was +$0.02 million or +0.14% above target. Rooms & Meals Tax was $12.64 million, +$1.06 million or +9.13% above target for September. The largest favorable result was in Corporate Income Tax receipts, which are also reported net-of refunds. Corporate Tax receipts for September were $12.43 million or +$2.90 million (+30.36%) above the target for the month. However, as the September Corporate increase is based on estimated taxes, we will not know if the above target results are subject to refund until the actual tax returns are filed. The year to date results for the four major General Fund categories are as follows: Personal Income Tax, $129.85 million (+0.57%); Sales & Use Tax, $51.32 million (-0.18%); Corporate, $14.64 million (+21.87%); and Meals & Rooms, $33.05 million (+4.34%).The remaining tax components include Insurance, Inheritance & Estate Tax, Real Property Transfer Tax, and Other (which includes: Bank Franchise Tax, Telephone Tax, Liquor Tax, Beverage Tax, Fees, and Other Taxes). Results for the month of September were as follows: Insurance Tax, $0.71 million (-39.51%); Estate Tax, $2.51 million (+96.43%); Property Transfer Tax, $0.81 million (+21.44%); and other, $7.21 million (-1.66%). Year to date results for these categories were: Insurance Tax, $8.41 million (+7.87%); Estate Tax, $4.94 million (+43.32%); Property Transfer Tax, $2.16 million (+12.74%); and Other, $18.63 million (-4.61%).Transportation FundSecretary Lunderville also reported on the results for the non-dedicated Transportation Fund Revenue, revenue of $20.16 million for the month or +$1.67 million (+9.05%), above the monthly target for September. The year to date non-dedicated Transportation revenue was $55.05 million versus the target of $53.00 million (+$2.05 million, +3.87%).Revenue from the Gasoline Tax, Diesel Tax, Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, Motor Vehicle Fees, and Other were all above the September monthly target. The Transportation Fund revenue results for September were: Gasoline, $5.75 million or +0.36% above target; Diesel Tax, $2.01 million or +68.81% above target; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $4.64 million or +9.09% above target; Motor Vehicle Fees, $5.94 million or +0.87% above target; and Other Fees, $1.83 million or +27.62% above the monthly target. Looking at the national vehicle sales for September, we see that the number of units sold has fallen back to the rate of sales that existed before the Cash for Clunkers program . We are not yet certain that the increased number of vehicles sold in July and August were in fact additional sales or merely a compression of sales that would have occurred over the next several months anyway, said Secretary Lunderville.The September year to date Transportation Fund revenue results were: Gasoline, $16.57 million or +3.11% above target; Diesel Tax, $3.95 million or +31.07% above target; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $12.07 million or +4.52% above target; Motor Vehicle Fees, $17.70 million or +0.01% above target; and Other Fees, $4.75 million or +1.88% above target.Secretary Lunderville also reported on the results for the Transportation Infrastructure Bond Fund ( TIB ) (see Act 50 of the 2009 session). Receipts in the TIB Fund are generated by a motor fuel (gas and diesel) assessment on distributors. The TIB Fund receipts are dedicated first to pay principal, interest and related costs on any Transportation Infrastructure Bonds. After payment of the related bond costs, any remaining TIB monies may be used to fund qualifying Transportation capital projects. These potential remaining monies could be used to offset any unforeseen non-dedicated Transportation Fund Revenue shortfalls. TIB Fund receipts for September were $1.06 million or -15.23%; year to date, TIB Fund receipts were $3.12 million or -12.17%. The TIB Fund receipts are noted at the bottom of the following table:Education FundSecretary Lunderville released revenue results for the the non-Property Tax Education Fund revenues (which constitute approximately 11% of the total Education Fund sources). Education Fund receipts for September totaled $12.59 million, or +$0.33 million (+2.66%) above the $18.49 million consensus revenue target for the month.The individual Education Fund revenue component results for September were: Sales & Use Tax, $8.34 or +0.14%; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $2.32 million or +9.09%; Lottery Transfer, $1.90 million or +4.61%; and Education Fund Interest, $0.02 million or -279.57%. Year-to-date results were: Sales & Use Tax, $25.66 or -0.18%; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $6.04 million or +4.52%; Lottery Transfer, $4.37 million or -1.43%; and Education Fund Interest, $0.02 million or -305.37%. We are hopeful that our current consensus revenue forecast appears to be holding up, commented Secretary Lunderville. Although September s numbers were better than expected, it is important to remember these revenues are compared against significantly downgraded expectations. The economists continue to remind us that even when the recession is over it will take many years to regain the jobs and revenue lost during this downturn.Lunderville concluded: As I ve noted before, with a projected budget shortfall of over $200 million over the next two fiscal years, our budget situation remains very difficult. For FY 2010, the general fund receipts are $31.0 million or 10.6% below the same period for FY 2009, and 3.4% below the same period for FY 2006.Source: Administration office. 10.16.2009last_img read more

Heritage Aviation acquires Atlantic Aviation’s Burlington FBO

first_imgHeritage Aviation, Inc.,Heritage Aviation, Inc has acquired the Atlantic Aviation FBO (Fixed Based Operator) at Burlington International Airport (KBTV). Operations at the location will be managed under the Heritage Aviation brand.  Transient general aviation aircraft will be handled at Heritage Aviation’s existing South Ramp Facility. Heritage Aviation now offers nearly 100,000 square feet of heated hangar space. The acquisition is effective today. It will boost employment at Heritage by 20 to 120. Julia Atherton, Public Relations Manager at Heritage, said there was some reduction in employment at Atlantic, which should be more than made up as Heritage continues to grow. She said Heritage has added 65 people in the last five years.Atherton said the former Atlantic facilities will remain open and be used to serve the Burlington Airport-based tenant aircraft community. She said only the transient general aviation aircraft will be directed to the facilities off Williston Road, where the Heritage facilities are accessed.She said terms of the deal will not be released.Meanwhile, Atlantic owner, Macquarie Infrastructure Company (NYSE: MIC), said in a statement that it had divested its BTV and Hayward, California, operations, saying they were “sub-scale.” Atlantic, it said, is negotiating the acquisition of additional US-based FBOs. Proceeds from the sales of the Hayward and Burlington operations will be retained to fund a portion of these acquisitions, should negotiations result in a purchase agreement.‘Atlantic concluded that its operations at each of Hayward and Burlington were sub-scale relative to their markets. Selling the FBOs at these airports provides Atlantic with an opportunity to pursue expansion into regions they believe have stronger growth prospects,’ added Hooke.Following the announcement of the sales, MIC reaffirmed its full-year guidance for Atlantic of EBITDA (earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization) of between $125 and $130 million.Atlantic operates the largest network of fixed base operations in the U.S. and opened its newest facility at Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City on June 21st.About Heritage AviationHeritage Aviation is a Burlington, Vermont based diversified aviation services Company providing FBO, Maintenance and Avionics, Charter and Aircraft Management.  The FBO division provides 24/7 ground handling, fueling, deicing and related aviation support services and is ideally situated as an international technical stop with U.S. Customs on-site.  The Company’s Diamond Award winning FAA certified repair station has provided aircraft maintenance and avionics services continuously for twenty-five years.  The Company’s charter division, Heritage Flight, operates aircraft globally and domestically.  Heritage Aviation operates a LEED Gold certified general aviation facility, including on-site renewable energy, as part of a commitment to environmental sustainability.About Macquarie Infrastructure CompanyMacquarie Infrastructure Company owns, operates and invests in a diversified group of infrastructure businesses providing basic, everyday services, to customers in the United States. Its ongoing businesses consist of three energy-related businesses including a gas production and distribution business (The Gas Company in Hawaii), a controlling interest in a district energy business (District Energy), and a 50% indirect interest in a bulk liquid storage terminal business (International-Matex Tank Terminals). MIC also owns and operates an aviation-related airport services business (Atlantic Aviation). The Company is managed by a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Macquarie Group. For additional information, please visit the Macquarie Infrastructure Company website at www.macquarie.com/mic(link is external).  July 1st, 2011 – Burlington, VT ‘Heritage Aviation, Inc . MIC.last_img read more