2012 started with Vermont staring at enormous costs for rebuilding from Tropical Storm Irene.
Gov. Peter Shumlin applauded the recovery efforts in his state of the state address and rejected any notion of higher taxes to fund the repairs.
"I remain determined not to increase broad-based taxes on Vermonters as we begin to see signs of modest economic growth," Shumlin said.
Economists said the recovery from the recession would continue at a glacially slow pace in 2012. But a survey of top CEOs showed that most expected this would be a year of growth.
"Last year, we were looking what are we going to do next week? This year, we're saying what are we going to do next July," said Mark Neagley of Neagley & Chase Construction.
That optimism was reflected in the unemployment line. Jobless numbers declined steadily for eight straight months, but that trend reversed in July and jobless numbers climbed steadily for the next five months fueled by layoffs at nearly two dozen employers in our region, many of them in the health care industry, hospitals like Dartmouth-Hitchcock and software-maker GE Healthcare. Manufacturers like General Dynamics and UTC Aerospace also got smaller. And in November, Energizer announced it would be closing its plant in St. Albans altogether.
"It's just another blow to little old St. Albans and I don't know what these people are going to do," said Debbie Wright of Georgia.
Amid all of that bad news, there were bright spots. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration centers in St. Albans and Essex announced the creation of 150 new jobs, as did Mylan Technologies. And Vermont's biggest homegrown company, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, also continues to grow. The company started construction on a new processing plant in Essex with nearly 500 new jobs expected. But the company also saw its K-Cup patents expire in 2012, leading to more competition. And it ran into more trouble with federal regulators, which caused another big drop in its once sky high stock price. Green Mountain did finish 2012 strong, with better than expected earnings. And the company's new CEO sees continued growth.
"The fundamentals haven't changed. Ultimately stock reflects long term values and it will and it does," said Brian Kelley of GMCR.
Perhaps Vermont's biggest business news in 2012 came from its poorest region. Jay Peak president Bill Stenger announced plans in September for massive new economic development in the Northeast Kingdom.
"This is a wonderful day for our community and for our state," Stenger said.
Using the same foreign investment program that transformed Jay Peak into a four season resort, Stenger now plans another half billion dollar investment. That includes more growth at Jay and Burke Mountain, a revitalization of downtown Newport and a biotech company. The overall project promises to create 10,000 new jobs for the region.
"Jobs know no political party. What they know is we need them and there's no better example I believe in the history of the state," Gov. Shumlin said.
New hope that 2013 will bring more economic prosperity to the Green Mountains.
Monday, December 9 2013 1:22 PM EST2013-12-09 18:22:04 GMT
There were slippery conditions all over the region Monday morning making for a challenging commute. On Interstate 89 near the Williamstown-Brookfield town line, rescue crews responded to a one-vehicleMore >>
There were slippery conditions all over the region Monday morning making for a challenging commute.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 12:46 PM EST2013-12-09 17:46:28 GMT
Icy conditions may have contributed to a fatal accident Monday morning in Burlington involving a school bus and a car.It happened on the beltline just south of the intersection of Plattsburgh Avenue. PoliceMore >>
Icy conditions may have contributed to a fatal accident Monday morning in Burlington.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 12:38 PM EST2013-12-09 17:38:30 GMT
People who live near six Vermont lakes are banding together to try to focus more resources on lake protection efforts.Organizers think it will be easier to the state work with the state as one larger organization.More >>
People who live near six Vermont lakes are banding together to try to focus more resources on lake protection efforts.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 12:37 PM EST2013-12-09 17:37:37 GMT
Brattleboro Police are investigating a fatal hit and run accident.It happened at about 7 p.m. on Friday near the intersection of Western Avenue and Union Street. The pedestrian was taken to the hospitalMore >>
Police on Monday identified the victim as Eugene Narratt, 64, of Maynard, Massachusetts.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 12:36 PM EST2013-12-09 17:36:59 GMT
An Enfield, New Hampshire man is dead. And a Killington driver has been charged in connection with the death. It happened Saturday night on the Killington Road. Police say 26-year-old Kyle Wilson wentMore >>
An Enfield, New Hampshire man is dead. And a Killington driver has been charged in connection with the death. More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 12:36 PM EST2013-12-09 17:36:02 GMT
Police in New Hampshire are investigating an accident on Interstate 89 that claimed two lives. It happened on the northbound lane between Exit#18 and Exit#19 in Lebanon. The initial investigation revealedMore >>
It happened on the northbound lane between Exit#18 and Exit#19 in Lebanon, N.H. Saturday.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 10:28 AM EST2013-12-09 15:28:19 GMT
Burlington Police are looking for two suspects involved in an assault and robbery.It happened on Front Street Sunday afternoon. The victim told police he was held up at gunpoint by two African AmericanMore >>
Burlington Police are looking for two suspects involved in an assault and robbery.More >>