Business Briefs (8/20/09)

Aug. 20, 2009

Airport gets $2.4 million stimulus funds

The Burlington International Airport has been awarded $2.4 million in economic stimulus funding for work on its taxiways.

Vermont’s congressional delegation says the funding will be used to rehabilitate and repave the intersection of two taxiways and to extend another one.

The work is part of a development project at the airport that officials estimate could create as many as 350 new jobs in the next decade.   – AP

Economy, rain take toll on Vt. Mozart Festival

The Vermont Mozart Festival is in financial trouble.

Representatives of the outdoor classical music events told the crowds at this season’s last two summer concerts in Shelburne and Stowe that the festival is $400,000 in debt and needs help to return next year.

For 36 years the festival has been offering concerts at striking outdoor venues such as Shelburne Farms and Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe.

The economy and rain took a toll on ticket sales this summer. The festival typically sells about 13,500 tickets. This year it planned for 11,500 but sold only about 9,500.   – AP

State lodge opens dining room to public

A waterside lodge operated by the state of Vermont is opening its dining room to the public for once-a-week dinners.

Seyon Lodge, which is located on the shores of Noyes Pond in Groton, serves meals at its dining room seven days a week to guests. But now, the lodge is opening for Thursday night dinners, with seatings at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Dinners cost about $20 per person, and feature Vermont foods including Misty Knoll chicken, Vermont Butter & Cheese Co. chevre and other farm-to-table favorites. The menu changes weekly. There’s also a $5 children’s menu.

The 16-unit Seyon Lodge is located in 27,000-acre Groton State Forest.   – AP

Wineries, vendors happy about new law

A new law that makes it easier for wineries to sell bottles of their product has come as a pleasant surprise for some vendors.

Wineries had been allowed to sell wine by the glass at food and wine festivals. A law that went into effect in May added the words “or by unopened bottle.’’

In Danville, the Caledonian-Record reports Eden Ice Cider had a license from the state but didn’t know about the law. John Blackmore, the town’s insurance agent, advised Selectmen there should be no liability problem as long as the vendor supplies a certificate of insurance with the town as a named insured.

Selectmen approved a waiver for Eden Ice Cider at the farmers market and another for a vendor at the Autumn on the Green event this fall.  – AP

Mortgage seminar

New England Federal Credit Union, or NEFCU, is holding free educational seminars on Reverse Mortgages and Understanding Social Security.

The Reverse Mortgages seminar will take place on Thursday, Aug. 13 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Scott Funk, reverse mortgage specialist, MetLife Bank and Aging in Place advocate, will host an informative talk explaining the basics of reverse mortgages and answer questions about how they work, the benefits and drawbacks, and how they can fit into retirement planning strategies.

The Understanding Social Security seminar will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Registered Representatives of Baystate Financial Janet Cooper, Roger Webster and Chris Miner will discuss the benefits of waiting to collect social security in order to make the most of retirement.

Both seminars will take place at the NEFCU Member Education Center at 141 Harvest Lane, Williston.

Seating is limited so call 879-8790 or visit to sign up.

Dwyer to succeed Bard as CEO of NEFCU

New England Federal Credit Union CEO David Bard will retire at the end of this year, according to an announcement made by NEFCU Board Chair Geoff Akiki last week.

Since Bard assumed the role of CEO in 1986, NEFCU saw tremendous growth.

According to a press release, what was a 30-employee operation in 1986 is now seven branches in six counties with 170 employees. Today, NEFCU has more than $740 million in assets, as well as more than $1 billion in serviced first mortgages, making it one of the top 50 credit unions out of more than 7,000 in the country for first mortgage balances.

Akiki attributed “Bard’s creativity, expertise, and leadership…to NEFCU’s emergence as one of the pre-eminent financial institutions in Vermont and, in some areas, in the country.”

NEFCU President and COO John J. Dwyer, Jr. will succeed Bard as CEO.

Dwyer has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

Dwyer began his career with NEFCU in 1987 as a CPA with audit and tax advisory firm KPMG in Boston, Mass. Since then, Dwyer has held various positions increasing in responsibility, leading to his becoming President and COO in 2006.

“This transition is an important step in a sequence of strategic actions that continue to reinforce NEFCU’s long term strength, capacity, and stability,” said Akiki in the press release. “As President/CEO, he (Dwyer) will provide the critical leadership necessary as NEFCU continues its development in the 21st century’s challenging environment.”

– Ben Portnoy, Observer correspondent