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November 24, 2013

Sources: New York-Based Firm to Take Over Burlington Town Center

Burlington Town Center, the 230,000-square-foot Church Street shopping mall, is being sold to New York City real-estate investment firm with Vermont ties, two sources tell Seven Days.

Both persons requested anonymity because neither the prospective buyer, Devonwood Investors, nor the seller, Chicago-based General Growth Properties, has announced the deal, which is scheduled to close on December 15.

Mayor Miro Weinberger said in an interview this weekend that he could not provide details on the transaction, including its price, because “it needs to be understood as preliminary.” The purchasers have "not put forward a detailed plan of what they intend to do,” the mayor added.

Weinberger did say that one of the principals in the deal “has spent a considerable amount of time in Burlington.”

Continue reading "Sources: New York-Based Firm to Take Over Burlington Town Center" »

November 20, 2013

This Week's Issue: Union Drives, Big-Money Developers and a Long Time in the Clink

112013-coverAnother week, another Wednesday, another Seven Days. Here's this week's lineup of news and politics stories:

Pick up this issue in print, online or on the iOS app.

November 06, 2013

This Week's Issue: Little Italy, Big Prisons and a Band Called Phish

Cover-110613Happy November, everyone. If you're cooped up inside bemoaning the chill in the air and the absence of sunlight, hey, more time for reading Seven Days. And more time for a couch tour, if you're a Phish-head — our own Paul Heintz took a break from politics this week to look back at the Vermont band's 30 years on the jam circuit. Once you're finished with that long read, here are this week's newsy stories:

Read it all in print, online or on the iOS app.

October 30, 2013

This Week's Issue: Hunting Trouble, Prison Sex and an M.I.A. Delegation

Cover103013While you're putting together your Halloween getup tonight — bonus candy for anyone in a homemade F-35 costume — give this week's news and politics stories in Seven Days a read. Here's what you'll find.

Pick up this week's issue in print, online or on the app. Finally, go Sox.

October 28, 2013

Vermont Nonprofits Among the Swindled

Dreamstime_s_7621129Three Vermont non-profit organizations reported to the Internal Revenue Service that they experienced significant financial losses due to theft in recent years, according to an investigation published by the Washington Post on Sunday.

The Post analyzed federal tax filings from 2008 to 2012 submitted by organizations across the country and found more than 1000 nonprofits reported a “significant diversion” of assets, primarily as a result of theft or embezzlement, which drained an estimated $500 million from their collective coffers.

The Post found three Vermont organizations in that category and made their records available in a database.

White River Junction-based Twin Pines Housing Trust, which provides low-income housing, the American Legion Post 29 in Readsboro and the South Burlington-based Make-a-Wish Foundation of Vermont reported being victimized on their Federal Form 990s, which nonprofits provide the Internal Revenue Service. 

Continue reading "Vermont Nonprofits Among the Swindled" »

October 25, 2013

Labor Groups Press Schools on Sodexo Benefits Cuts


Update: At 11:15 a.m. on Friday, October 25, University of Vermont president Tom Sullivan sent an email to the school's faculty and staff with the news that "Sodexo employees will not experience changes in the current definition of employment status and associated benefits until further notice in order for the University to complete its analysis based on a full review of all relevant data and facts."

As reasons for the announcement, the president cited "a very tight timeframe" for affected employees to find health care; the "challenges" and "uncertainties" surrounding current health-care options; "The University’s obligation to complete its review of the proposed changes under the contract with Sodexo"; and the upcoming negotiations over a new contract with Sodexo ahead of the current one's expiration in June 2015.


When Sodexo revealed last month that it was changing the definition of a full-time employee to someone who works an average of 30 hours per week — according to the rules of the Affordable Care Act — many cried foul at colleges around the state who subcontract their dining services to the multinational company.

Only full-timers are eligible for company benefits, so when the new policy takes effect on January 1, many seasonal employees stand to be stripped of their health and dental insurance, sick and vacation days, and retirement packages. On the campuses of the University of Vermont and the Vermont state colleges, two coalitions of staff, faculty, students and labor groups have sprung up demanding that the schools intervene.

When the UVM trustees convene this weekend, one of those groups will use a public comment period on Saturday morning to present a petition — directed at UVM president Tom Sullivan and vice president for finance Richard Cate, who negotiate the school’s dining services contract — with more than 1000 signatures.

Denise Youngblood, a history professor and president of United Academics, the school’s faculty union, will also address the trustees. In her talk, Youngblood says, she’ll ask the board to urge that Sullivan and Cate take advantage of a clause in the current contract that requires the school’s approval for any change Sodexo makes in its employees’ working conditions. The existing contract will expire after 2015. 

“We believe that UVM should live up to its proclaimed social justice values,” says Youngblood. “Every employee who works on this campus should have a fair benefits package. No UVM employees are being treated the way Sodexo employees are being treated.”

Continue reading "Labor Groups Press Schools on Sodexo Benefits Cuts" »

October 17, 2013

This Week's Issue: The State of Tech in Vermont


The Vermont Tech Jam comes to Burlington this Friday and Saturday, and Seven Days is marking the occasion with a package of technology-focused stories in this week's issue. Read about the world-leading companies that call Vermont home, one of iTunes' most popular kids podcasts, and an eerily intelligent robot that lives in Lincoln.

If you're looking for something even newsier, we've got that, too.

Get this week's issue on paper, online or on the app.

October 14, 2013

Media Note: Word of Gas Pipeline Opposition Spreads to New York

PipelineIt's been in the Vermont headlines for months: Many residents on this side of Lake Champlain oppose a Vermont Gas project to build a pipe south to Addison County — not to mention the company's Phase 2 plan to extend the pipe under the lake to the International Paper plant in Ticonderoga, New York. 

Hundreds turned out for a rowdy Public Service Board hearing in Middlebury last month. Homemade signs — now weathered, but still visible — dot Route 74 in Cornwall and Shoreham; others direct passersby to grassroots websites such as "" and "" 

But it seems to have been a strongly worded letter of opposition from the Cornwall selectboard to Governor Peter Shumlin that finally got the attention of New York. An article headlined "Some Vermonters oppose IP pipeline" ran in yesterday's edition of the Plattsburgh Press-Republican. The Albany Business Review subsequently picked up the news for a brief notice in today's morning edition, billing their item "Gasline for upstate NY factory faces opposition from another state."

Continue reading "Media Note: Word of Gas Pipeline Opposition Spreads to New York" »

October 11, 2013

Burlington Telecom's "Cable Advisory Council" Hit by Wave of Resignations

250LM-BTWanted: a few good citizens to help guide and monitor Burlington Telecom, the Queen City's financially troubled, city-owned telecommunications network.

The latest BT drama concerns its Cable Advisory Council, a volunteer body established under the terms of the 2005 state license that regulates the municipal telecom. The council's chairman and one of its members recently resigned, and both complained in subsequent interviews about a lack of cooperation on the part of BT's management. A third member, conservative bankroller Lenore Broughton, quit in August.

That leaves only two seats currently occupied on a council that is authorized to include up to 15 members. BT has been advertising for council recruits on its website for the past few months, but "we've had limited luck attracting members," says Stephen Barraclough, the utility's general manager.

Burlington physician Jeffrey Kaufman says he resigned as chair in part because the advisory council was "marginalized, excluded, dictated to" by Barraclough. The BT manager exhibited a "negative attitude" toward the council by failing to meet requests for information, Kaufman adds.

Continue reading "Burlington Telecom's "Cable Advisory Council" Hit by Wave of Resignations" »

October 09, 2013

This Week's Issue: Winter Preview and Solar Woes


The leaves are falling off the trees — time to break out the hot chocolate and sit down with this week's winter preview issue of Seven Days. It includes a trip to the Putney theme park/timewarp Santa's Land, as well as these news and politics stories: 

Get this week's issue in print, online or on the iOS app.

Cover illustration by Sean Metcalf

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