WASHINGTON (AP) — A military coup in Myanmar and a mass crackdown on dissidents in Russia are presenting early tests for the Biden administration as it tries to reestablish American primacy as a worldwide pro-democracy leader. President Joe Biden and his nascent foreign policy team have been confronted with two serious challenges in two parts of the world. The U.S. has invested decades of time, energy and money into promoting democracy in both Myanmar and Russia but now faces challenges in each that could affect the global balance of power. Yet, the tools at its disposal — sanctions — have proved unreliable in prompting change in the past.
During the last quarter of 2010, the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) approved $52.6 million in financing assistance to Vermont businesses undertaking development and expansion projects throughout the state. ‘Development projects in many different sectors of Vermont’s economy will receive financing support from VEDA,’ said VEDA Chief Executive Officer Jo Bradley. ‘Business investments will be made in Vermont’s commercial, manufacturing, agricultural, technology, energy, and small business sectors, translating into jobs being created or retained for Vermonters.’Several projects were given Final Approval for Recovery Zone Facility Bond (RZFB) financing by the VEDA Board of Directors. The RZFB financing, enabled through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (a.k.a. the Stimulus Act), provided VEDA with additional tax-exempt bond issuance capacity to commit to larger projects involving capital assets. Projects given final RZFB financing approval are: · Weidmann Electrical Technology, Inc., St. Johnsbury ‘ $25 million to help Weidmann Electrical Technology, Inc. undertake a major project to purchase new equipment, including a large new paperboard production machine, and construct a new building at its St. Johnsbury facility. The investments are expected to help the company improve production efficiency, and meet increasing product quality standards. The Weidmann companies are global leaders in the design, manufacture and supply of electrical insulation for oil-filled transformers of all voltage ranges. The St. Johnsbury facility employs 263 people. · Community College of Vermont, Rutland ‘ $5.52 million to help Community College of Vermont (CCV) enter into a long-term lease with developer DEW West and Wales for a new college classroom and campus facility in downtown Rutland. In addition to bond financing, a direct loan of $350,000 was also approved by VEDA to partially fund the project. The Rutland location is CCV’s second largest campus and employs 16 full-time administrative staff and over 90 part-time professors. The $8.6 million project will help CCV meet a significant increase in enrollment and expand its course offerings in Rutland. · King Arthur Flour Co., Inc., Norwich ‘ $10 million to help King Arthur Flour, Inc. nearly double the size of its Norwich retail flagship store and baking education center. King Arthur is America’s oldest flour company, founded in Boston in 1790 to provide pure, high-quality flour for residents of the newly-formed United States. King Arthur employs 151 people, a number projected to increase to 200 jobs within three years of the expansion project. VEDA acts as underwriter for loans made through the Vermont Department of Public Service’s Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF). CEDF loan funds are designated for business investments that bring about the development and deployment of cost-effective and environmentally-sustainable electric power resources to Vermont. Projects approved by VEDA for CEDF financing assistance are: · Georgia Mountain Community Wind, LLC, Georgia ‘ $750,000 to Georgia Mountain Community Wind, LLC for a proposed 10-12 megawatt wind generation project to be located on Georgia Mountain in Chittenden and Franklin counties. The nearly $30 million project will involve the purchase and installation of four GE turbines, construction of 2.2 miles of new or improved access road, and 2.5 miles of electric collection line which, when completed, could produce enough clean, renewable power to meet the annual needs of approximately 3,500 Vermont households. · Burke Mountain Corporation, Burke ‘ $500,000 to Burke Mountain Corporation as part of a $973,157 project to install a wind turbine, de-icing system, and transformer at the mountain. Through installing the wind turbine system and connecting to the utility grid, Burke hopes to reduce operating costs and ensure energy sustainability at the mountain. Burke Mountain has been in continual operation for over 50 years, and is the home of Burke Mountain Academy, the preeminent ski academy in the country with 45 Olympians to its credit. Among other projects approved for VEDA financing assistance are: · Highland Sugarworks, Inc., Barre Town – $658,000 to help the maple-syrup producer and distributor purchase the Wilson Industrial Park facility it has been leasing since 2009; · JBM Carmel, LLC and JBM Sherman Carmel, LLC, Bennington – $380,000 to help two companies involved in armor painting and metal cutting, bending, and fabrication consolidate operations into one location through the joint purchase of an industrial building; and · Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC), Brattleboro – $500,000 to help Brattleboro’s development corporation retrofit space in its industrial park for lease to Bradford Machine, Inc., a local precision machine shop. In addition, VEDA approved financings totaling: · $4.2 million to Vermont farmers through the Authority’s agricultural loan program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC); · $1.4 million through the Authority’s Small Business Loan Program to assist growing Vermont small businesses that are unable to access adequate sources of conventional financing;· $823,000 through VEDA’s VT 504 Loan Program to support business real estate development projects;· $300,000 through the Authority’s Technology Loan Program to assist smaller technology-related firms; · $409,394 through the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund Program to help privately-owned community and privately-owned nonprofit, noncommunity public water systems construct, repair, or improve an existing eligible water system to comply with federal and state standards;· $214,525 through the Vermont Business Energy Conservation Loan Program, designed to help eligible businesses make energy conservation improvements; and · $160,000 through the Brownfields Revitalization Fund Loan Program, designed to assist in the redevelopment of contaminated properties. Source: VEDA. 12/21/2010. VEDA’s mission is to promote economic prosperity in Vermont by providing financial assistance to eligible businesses, including manufacturing, agricultural, and travel and tourism enterprises. Since its inception in 1974, VEDA has made financing commitments totaling over $1.7 billion. For more information about VEDA, visit www.veda.org(link is external) or call 802-828-5627.