Tax Help

first_imgThe April 15 tax deadline is nearing, and many people have already filed their returns for free with help from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. And they received some financial education during the process.Using a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, UGA Extension partnered with the Internal Revenue Service Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program this year. Tax returns have been filed in Athens (350), Dalton (125) and Moultrie (64), all free of charge. And the program is still offering its services.“The grant was to increase financial education,” said Lance Palmer, assistant professor of financial planning in the UGA Department of Housing and Consumer Economics. “Tax filing creates a teachable moment for people, and we are able to implement some basic financial training.” Two-thirds of low- to moderate-income households have their taxes prepared by someone else, Palmer said. “This program is a way for us to fill a need and provide them with an education on ways to increase their refund through saving and planning,” Palmer said. Students majoring in family financial planning at UGA help to prepare the returns, along with students from Dalton State College and Moultrie Technical College.Andrea Scarrow, a UGA Extension agent in Colquitt County, focuses on financial literacy in her county and wanted the program offered there. “I knew if we could do something practical to get some money in people’s pockets we could reach a big portion of our community,” Scarrow said. She saw a cycle of people depending on refund anticipation loans to get through November and December. These loans typically have high finance charges, leaving less refund for the taxpayer. “I wanted to help break that cycle of poverty and offer some tax assistance,” Scarrow said. “We focused on the earned income tax credit, which is a great credit, encouraging and rewarding work.” The earned income tax credit offers as much as $3,043 in credits to families with at least one child. It is just one of many such credits available, said Joan Koonce, a UGA Extension financial specialist. Other credits include the child tax credit, childcare tax credit and retirement savers’ credit. “There are lots of new credits, and we want to help people get all the deductions and credits they can,” Koonce said. “Everyone should get all of the deductions and credits they are legally allowed.” Koonce prepared taxes in Moultrie and helped get a grant to partly fund the effort there. For eight days in February, volunteers prepared tax returns at a Moultrie community center and YMCA. Local banks shared financial planning information with people at each site and Extension publications were available on investing, insurance and using credit wisely. “There was a man whose grandson wasn’t receiving much of a refund, but it was his,” Koonce said. “In years past, the refund had been given back to the tax preparer. Those are the stories you like to hear.” “We had people sitting across from us with tears in their eyes. They were so grateful to have this service and actually took home all of their refund,” Scarrow said. “We were so happy to be there and help those that need it most.” If you haven’t filed your 2009 return, yet, Koonce says to: Save money and do it yourself if you can.Read the forms and refer to the IRS Web site to take advantage of all deductions and credits available.Prepare for next year by putting money in a retirement account and be sure to keep financial files organized and accessible. “If you are unsure if you need a receipt, keep it just in case,” Koonce said. Some people look forward to a big tax refund and use the income to splurge on a vacation or home-improvement project. Koonce says it is better to breakeven or to get a small refund at the end of the year.“You are letting the government hold on to your money for months when you could be using it to invest or for necessary expenses throughout the year,” she said.last_img read more

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Avian Academy

first_imgChickens are a vital part of Georgia’s economy and the state’s agricultural heritage. And thanks to a University of Georgia program for teachers, chickens will be helping middle school and high school teachers educate students in Georgia classrooms.About 30 Georgia agriculture and life sciences teachers from more than a dozen counties across the state came together at the UGA Department of Poultry Science this summer to learn how to incorporate chickens into their lesson plans — both in traditional agricultural education and STEM classrooms.The program — Avian Academy — has brought middle and high school teachers together with poultry science faculty each summer for almost a decade. Over the last two or three years, organizers have actively recruited life sciences teachers from across the state in addition to agriculture teachers.“We have a lot of poultry in our county,” said Samantha Chang, a biology teacher from Jefferson High School in Jackson County. “This workshop has really equipped me to use chickens as examples of some of the topics we cover in biology class and have students be able to understand those concepts because it’s something they’re familiar with.”Chang was at the 2019 Avian Academy with Jefferson High School agriculture teacher Melissa Webb, who attended the 2018 academy last summer. Webb convinced all of Jefferson High School’s life sciences teachers to join her. Having the same familiarity with chickens means they’ll be able to link concepts to one another’s classes more easily, Webb said.As part of the workshop, teachers learned how to handle live birds and receive a crash course in the economics of poultry farming, the physiology of poultry, the history of poultry breeding, careers in poultry science, reproduction and egg laying, and food safety.Bridgette Rains, a first -ear seventh grade life sciences teacher in Bartow County, came to the workshop looking for inspiration for the upcoming school year.“I’ll be teaching in a more rural area, and I’ll definitely be using a lot of the lesson plans and techniques they presented,” Rains said. “I had never thought of using chickens before but they really are the easiest way to demonstrate what they’re learning: embryology and the life cycle. I mean, in 21 days you go from an egg to a chicken.”The three-day workshop equips the teachers with new skills and lesson plans that they can take back to their classrooms when students head back to school in August.“I’m so proud of our department for being able to partner with teachers from throughout Georgia. Avian Academy is a great program that builds bridges between our faculty, college and university resources while obtaining priceless feedback from the teachers. Getting students involved in tangible ways of learning life sciences concepts is critical, and having a practical application helps demonstrate future career paths,” said Todd Applegate, department head for poultry science in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.For more information about other outreach programs from the UGA Department of Poultry Science, visit poultry.caes.uga.edu/about/community-outreach.last_img read more

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Vermont Golf Association Opens State Day Tournaments

first_imgVermont Golf Association State Day Tournaments Slated forRutland and Vermont National Country Clubs(Rutland, VT) – The Vermont Golf Association will hold one-day State Day Tournaments at Rutland and Vermont National Country Clubs during the week of May 5. Rutland Country Club (www.rutlandcountryclub.com(link is external)) will take place on Tuesday, May 6 while Vermont National Country Club (www.vermontnational.com(link is external)) State Day will compete on Thursday, May 8.State Days formats are 18 holes, stroke play for low gross and net scores. The tournament is played in three flights determined by GHIN handicap (0-10, 11-16, and 17-36). Any amateur golfer with a current GHIN handicap (and card) is eligible to participate.Tee times and prepayment applications directly with the Vermont Golf Association are required for both Rutland and Vermont National Country Club State Days. The entry fees are:Rutland Country Club State Day $35.00/player for 18 holes with one cart per groupVermont National Country Club State Day$50.00/player for 18 holes and a mandatory cartAdditional information and tournament applications can be accessed through the Vermont Golf Association website at www.vtga.org(link is external) or through the Vermont Golf Association offices.The Vermont Golf Association can be contacted during weekday hours at (800) 924-0418 or 24 hours a day through email at vga@vtga.org(link sends e-mail).last_img read more

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Vermont CEOs predictably cautious about economy

first_imgSeptember 11, 2008Business Roundtable Releases Third Quarter CEO Survey (South Burlington) The chief executives of Vermont’s leading businesses are cautious about sales prospects for the fall and winter, but they continue to invest in the state’s economy hoping for the business climate to improve. The mood of the business community was assessed in the middle of the third quarter and released today by Vermont Business Roundtable Chairman Tim Volk and President Lisa Ventriss. “Clearly the expectations of the business community for robust economic activity have fallen since our last survey in late 2006,” Ventriss said. “These expectations seem to mirror the nationwide economic slowdown and gloomy predictions for the New England economy.” The Roundtable’s third quarter ’08 membership survey showed greater pessimism today against CEO expectations in the fourth quarter of 2006, when the last survey was conducted. In 2006, 73 percent of responding CEOs expected sales to increase in the first half of 2007. In August, 2008, when the latest survey was conducted, only 50 percent expected increased sales in the six-month period ahead. When those predicting “no change” are included however, Vermont’s economy fared better. Eighty-six percent of respondents thought sales would stay the same or get better in the next six months versus 96 percent in 2006. Chairman Volk, who is president of the Burlington-based marketing firm Kelliher Samets Volk, says the results of the CEO survey reflect the realities of the marketplace. “We have to be careful in making too many comparisons, because of the gap in the data,” he said, “but these numbers confirm what we are hearing and seeing. Unemployment in Vermont is up by one percent over last year, and those numbers are reflected in the 60 percent of employers who predict level or declining employment in the period just ahead.” Considering capital investments, 38 percent of the CEOs responding said they plan to increase capital spending. That sets an all-time low when measured against expectations over the five year history of the survey, which have ranged from a low of 40 percent in the third quarter of 2006 to a high of 62 percent in March of 2004. When those predicting “no change” are included, however, again, Vermont’s outlook improved. Ninety percent of respondents predicted that capital spending would stay the same or get better in the next six months, versus 95 percent in 2006. Ventriss also cautioned against a direct comparison between 2006 and 2008 based only on this data. “These are different times. This is a different economy. Some of the CEO members of the Roundtable have even changed,” she said. “The long-term value of this survey is that it establishes a new benchmark for gauging the views of the business community in the future.” Although the 2008 third quarter survey showed that eighty-two percent of CEOs expect their employment levels to stay the same or increase, the 18 percent predicting a decrease in employment is the largest group since the surveys began in 2004. If additional job losses come to pass, employment in Vermont would mirror the national trend. On Sept. 5 the U.S. Department of Labor reported that unemployment nationwide has reached 6.1 percent. In July, the Vermont Department of Labor pegged Vermont’s unemployment rate at 4.8 percent, a one point increase from a year ago. The Roundtable’s survey, however, neither predicts nor enumerates the number or quality of the jobs expected to be lost in the time ahead. The Roundtable’s CEO Economic Outlook Survey measures the attitudes of chief executive officers for 120 of the state’s top employers. Vermont’s construction, education, health services, finance, real estate, insurance, hospitality/leisure, manufacturing, information, transportation, utilities, professional/business services and non-profit industries are represented. The response rate for this quarter was 63 percent. Historically, rates have varied from 40 to 73 percent. 1. How do you expect your company’s sales to change inthe next six months? Sales INCREASE NO CHANGE DECREASE Q1 2004 83% 13% 4% Q2 2004 80% 15% 4% Q3 2004 71% 25% 4% Q4 2004 77% 22% 1% Q1 2005 78% 19% 3% Q2 2005 75% 23% 2% Q3 2005 74% 24% 2% Q4 2005 72% 24% 4% Q1 2006 78% 20% 2% Q2 2006 78% 22% 0% Q3 2006 69% 25% 6% Q4 2006 73% 23% 4% Q3 2008 51% 35% 14%Totals may not equal 100 due torounding. 2. How do you expect your company’s capital spending tochange in the next six months? Capital INCREASE NO CHANGE DECREASE Q1 2004 62% 30% 8% Q2 2004last_img read more

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Vermont among top performers on national reading assessment

first_imgReading scores for Vermont students were among the highest in the country on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), released today by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center on Educational Statistics (NCES). Overall, only Massachusetts outperformed Vermont on the fourth-grade test, while no other state outperformed Vermont at the eighth-grade level.Vermont students were also among the highest achievers in the country when the NAEP mathematics results were released in October 2009. Only Massachusetts and New Hampshire had significantly higher math scores at the fourth-grade level and only Massachusetts had significantly higher math scores at the eighth-grade level.Nationally, NAEP reading scores at the fourth-grade level were the same as 2007, the last time the assessment was administered. About two-thirds (67 percent) of U.S. fourth-graders scored at or above the NAEP basic level both years. At the eighth-grade level, the percentage of students scoring at or above the basic level increased one percentage point, from 74 percent in 2007 to 75 percent in 2009.Growth in NAEP reading scores was also nominal in Vermont. In 2009, the percentage of Vermont fourth-graders who scored at or above the basic level on the NAEP Reading Assessment was 75 percent, as compared to 74 percent in 2007. At the eighth grade level, 84 percent of Vermont students scored at or above the basic level in 2007 and 2009. “It’s always great to see Vermont students leading the country,” said Commissioner Armando Vilaseca. “But I am concerned about the lack of progress from two years ago, particularly for our students from low-income families.”Poverty-based achievement gaps have been a persistent concern in Vermont, and the current NAEP results show no signs that the gaps in reading are closing. In grade four, 62 percent of students eligible for free or reduced lunch[1] (FRL) scored at or above the basic level on the 2009 NAEP Reading assessment, compared to 82 percent of students not eligible for FRL. In grade eight, 73 percent of students eligible for FRL scored at or above the basic level, compared to 88 percent of their non-eligible peers. These results are not significantly different from the gaps noted on the 2007 test.Vermont students took the NAEP reading exam during the months of January, February and March of 2009. As part of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), all states are required to participate in NAEP assessments in reading and mathematics at grades four and eight, every other year. National and state-to-state comparisons are based on data from public schools only. Results for individual schools or students are not reported. For a complete list of state and national results, visit http://www.nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard(link is external).For more information, contact Michael Hock at (802) 828-2115 or Michael.Hock@state.vt.us(link sends e-mail) or Jill Remick at (802) 828-3154 or jill.remick@state.vt.us(link sends e-mail).Source: Vermont Department of Education. 3.24.2010last_img read more

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Vermont GSP grows slowly in first quarter

first_img22California2.9 Growth Across the Nation 43New Mexico1.2 ● Real GDP*$13,239$13,150$12,9252.7%2.4% 51West Virginia-1.0 Vermont GSP, First Quarter of 2010 1Indiana5.2 Vermont’s Quarterly State Accounts @ a Glance 32Connecticut2.2 34Maine2.1 14Oregon3.4 6Louisiana3.9 35Pennsylvania2.1 40Oklahoma1.4 9Texas3.8 ● Nominal GSP**$26.7$26.5$25.33.8%5.7% 4South Carolina4.0 38Wyoming1.6 Source: US GDP, Department of Commerce.  State GSP, also called state GDP, from ‘Quarterly GSP Trends,’ Vol. VI, No.1, July 2010, by e-forecasting.com, Durham NH, USA. 26Idaho2.6 Gross State Product (GSP) 28Virginia2.4 50Montana-0.3 30New Jersey2.3 Quarterly Gross State Product (GSP) Briefing, July 2010 11North Carolina3.6 20Mississippi3.1 United States  46Arkansas0.7 Vermont United States2.7 5New Hampshire4.0 RankFirst Quarter of 2010* 3Tennessee4.3 29Wisconsin2.3 36Florida2.0 39South Dakota1.6 27Kansas2.4center_img 33Utah2.2 23Alabama2.8 15New York3.3 18Missouri3.2 The Vermont Gross State Product grew slightly in the first quarter of 2010  with a growth rate of 2.6 percent from the previous quarter, but fell 4.5 percent compared to a year ago. Quarterly Gross State Product§         Current Quarter. Vermont quarterly real gross state product in the first quarter, seasonally adjusted: $24.5 billion at constant 2005 prices. §         Previous Quarter. Vermont quarterly real gross state product in the fourth quarter, seasonally adjusted: $24.3 billion at constant 2005 prices.§         A Year Ago. Vermont quarterly gross state product in the first quarter of last year, seasonally adjusted: $23.4 billion at constant 2005 prices.Growth in Quarterly Gross State ProductVermont quarterly gross state product, adjusted for seasonal factors, increased by 2.6 percent annual rate in the first quarter from the previous quarter.Vermont quarterly gross state product, adjusted for seasonal factors, dropped by a 4.5 percent annual rate in the first quarter from the same quarter a year ago. National Quarterly Domestic Product For the nation, real gross domestic product, the national counterpart to gross state product, increased by 2.7 percent in the first quarter to $13,239 billion at constant 2005 prices, seasonally adjusted.  Copyright e-forecasting.com. 2010 or State GDP GSP / GDP in Billions of DollarsPercent Change in 2District of Columbia4.9 12Minnesota3.6 First Quarter of 2010 10Ohio3.7 © 2010 www.e-forecasting.com(link is external) 13North Dakota3.5 42Washington1.3 ● GSP Price Index***109.2108.9107.91.1%1.2% 41Nebraska1.4 21Alaska3.0 Gross State ProductSeasonally Adjusted Annual RatesGrowth & Inflation 24Iowa2.7 45Maryland1.2 19Hawaii3.2 *Annual % change from the previous quarter in GSP at 2005 chained dollars. 47Illinois0.6 ● Real GSP*$24.5$24.3$23.42.6%4.5% 8Michigan3.8 17Massachusetts3.2 7Kentucky3.8 49Colorado0.1     *Chained 2005 dollars.   **Current Dollars.   ***Index, 2005=100. 48Nevada0.2 44Delaware1.2 31Georgia2.3 25Vermont2.6 State & NationalLatest Quarter AgoYear Ago First Quarter of 2010 from 16Arizona3.3 Statistics2010:Q12009:Q42009:Q1Quarter AgoYear Ago  37Rhode Island1.7last_img read more

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First-To-File US patent system reform supported by IBM, GE

first_imgTwo of the nation’s largest corporations, IBM and General Electric, are supporting a rewriting of US Patent code as led by Senator Patrick Leahy. The US Senate today continued debate on S. 23, the America Invents Act. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy (D-Vt.) opened today’s debate on the long-pending patent reform legislation, speaking about the importance of transition to a first-inventor-to-file system. ‘The transition to a first-inventor-to-file system will benefit the patent community in several ways,’ said Leahy. ‘It will simplify the patent application system and provide increased certainty to businesses that they can commercialize a patent that has been granted. Once a patent is granted, an inventor can rely on its filing date on the face of the patent. This certainty is necessary to raise capital, grow businesses, and create jobs.’Every industrialized nation in the world uses a patent priority system commonly referred to as ‘first-to-file’ ‘ except the United States. As business and competition becomes more global, patent applicants are increasingly filing patent applications in other countries for protection of their inventions. The ‘first-to-invent’ filing system in the United States differs from that in other patent-issuing jurisdictions, causing confusion and inefficiencies for American companies and innovators.For more information about first-inventor-to-file, click here.On Tuesday, the Senate adopted a managers’ amendment to S. 23, sponsored by Leahy and Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). For more information about the managers’ amendment, click here.Votes are expected to occur throughout the day on the America Invents Act.# # # # #LETTER TO LEAHY FROM IBM AND GE:February 28, 2011Dear Senator Leahy:IBM and GE are two of the pre-eminent innovation companies in the world.  We have joined together to urge your support for the Patent Reform Act of 2011, S. 23, because we believe that patent reform is extremely important to our country’s continued national competitiveness and economic health. The laws governing our patent system have been largely unchanged for the past 50 years, while the nature and complexity of innovation has changed dramatically.  Reform of the U.S. Patent system is essential to fostering U.S. technology leadership, revitalizing economic growth and spurring job creation.  After years of debate and study, it is time for action.Innovation is central to both GE and IBM.  Our companies invest billions of dollars each year in research and development, and a contemporary and efficient U.S. patent system is essential to our ability to protect these investments and our shareholders’ interest.GE and IBM have occasionally had different views on aspects of the various proposals in the patent reform debate, but we have always shared a belief that reforms should represent the interests of all innovators.  The bill put forward by Sen. Pat Leahy and Sen. Chuck Grassley represents a common-sense set of compromises that balance the interests of all stakeholders.  We believe the bill gives the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office the tools it needs to more efficiently process patents, reduce the staggering backlog of pending patent applications, and improve patent quality.  Controversial provisions that previously prevented broad consensus have been appropriately addressed in the bill.  As a result, the bill enjoys support from a broad cross section of U.S companies large and small, as well as the patent bar, industry associations, and universities.We are encouraged that S. 23 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously.  We also are hopeful that the House will soon take up similar legislation and consider it expeditiously.  We respectfully ask that you support quick passage of this important legislation.Sincerely,Brackett B. DennistonSenior Vice President and   General CounselGeneral Electric Company # # # # # # # # # #Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,The America Invents ActMarch 2, 2011Yesterday, we were finally able to make progress when the Senate proceeded to a vote on the managers’ amendment, the Leahy-Grassley-Kyl amendment, to the America Invents Act. That was a very important amendment, with contributions from many Senators from both sides of the aisle. It should ensure our moving forward to make the changes needed to unleash American innovation and create jobs without spending a single dollar of taxpayer money. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, enactment of the bill will save millions of dollars.I also thank those Senators who have stayed focused on our legislative effort, and who joined in tabling those amendments that have nothing to do with the subject of the America Invents Act. Extraneous amendments that have nothing to do with the important issue of reforming our out of date patent system so that American innovators can win the global competition for the future have no place in this important bill. They should not be used to slow its consideration and passage. If America is to win the global economic competition, we need the improvements in our patent system that this bill can bring.I continue to believe, as I have said all week, that we can finish this bill today, and show the American people that the Senate can function in a bipartisan manner. We have not been as efficient as I would have liked. We have been delayed for hours at a time, and forced into extended quorum calls rather than being allowed to consider relevant amendments to this bill. Nonetheless, we are on the brink of disposing of the final amendments and passing this important legislation.Today we should be able to adopt the Bennet amendment on satellite offices and the Kirk-Pryor amendment regarding the creation of an ombudsman for patents relating to small businesses. I hope that we can adopt the Menendez amendment on expediting patents for important areas of economic growth, like energy and the environment, as well. I am prepared to agree to short time agreements for additional debate if needed, and votes on those amendments.The remaining issue for the Senate to decide will be posed by an amendment that Senator Feinstein has filed to turn back the advancement toward a first-inventor-to file system.I want to take a moment to talk about an important component of the American Invents Act, the transition of the American patent system to a first-inventor-to-file system. I said yesterday that the administration strongly supports this effort. The administration’s Statement of Administration Policy notes that the reform to a first-inventor-to-file system ‘simplifies the process of acquiring rights’ and describes it as an ‘essential provision [to] reduce legal costs, improve fairness and support U.S. innovators seeking to market their products and services in a global marketplace.’ I agree, and believe it should help small and independent inventors.This reform has broad support from a diverse set of interests across the patent community, from life science and high-tech companies to universities and independent inventors. Despite the very recent efforts of a vocal minority, there can be no doubt that there is wide-ranging support for a move to a first-inventor-to-file patent system. A transition to first-inventor-to-file is necessary to fulfill the promises of higher quality patents and increased certainty that are the goals of the America Invents Act.This improvement is backed by broad-based groups such as the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the Intellectual Property Owners Association, the American Bar Association, the Association for Competitive Technology, the Business Software Alliance, and the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform, among others. All of them agree that transitioning our outdated patent system to a first-inventor-to-file system is a crucial component to modernizing our patent system. I also commend the assistant Republican leader for his remarks yesterday strongly in favor of the first-inventor-to file provisions.A transition to a first-inventor-to-file system is needed to keep America at the pinnacle of innovation by ensuring efficiency and certainty in the patent system. This transition is also necessary to better equip the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to work through its current backlog of more than 700,000 unexamined patent applications through work-sharing agreements with other patent-granting offices.The Director of the PTO often says that the next great invention that will drive our economic growth may be sitting in its backlog of applications. The time consuming ‘interference proceedings’ that are commonplace in our current, outdated system are wasting valuable resources that contribute to this delay, and unfairly advantage large companies with greater resources.A transition to a first-inventor-to-file system was recommended in the 2004 Report by the National Academy of Sciences. The transition has been a part of this bill since its introduction four Congresses ago. This legislation is the product of eight Senate hearings, and three markups spanning weeks of consideration and many amendments. Until very recently, first-inventor-to-file had never been the subject of even a single amendment in Committee.Senator Feinstein has worked with me on this bill, has cosponsored it in the past and has voted for it. While I oppose her amendment, I have made certain to accommodate her desire to offer and debate it.I urge Senators who support the goals of the America Invents Act to vote against this amendment to strike the bill’s important reform represented by the first-inventor-to-file provision. Every industrialized nation other than the United States uses a patent priority system commonly referred to as a ‘first-to-file’ system. In a first-inventor-to-file system, the priority of a right to a patent is based on the earlier filed application. This adds simplicity and objectivity into a very complex system. By contrast our current, outdated method for determining the priority right to a patent is extraordinarily complex, subjective, time-intensive, and expensive. The old system almost always favors the larger corporation and the deep pockets over the small, independent inventor.The transition to a first-inventor-to-file system will benefit the patent community in several ways. It will simplify the patent application system and provide increased certainty to businesses that they can commercialize a patent that has been granted. Once a patent is granted, an inventor can rely on its filing date on the face of the patent. This certainty is necessary to raise capital, grow businesses, and create jobs.The first-inventor-to-file system will also reduce costs to patent applicants and the patent office. This, too, should help the small, independent inventor. In the outdated, current system, when more than one application claiming the same invention is filed, the priority of a right to a patent is decided through an ‘interference’ proceeding to determine which applicant can be declared to have invented the claimed invention first. This process is lengthy, complex, and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Small inventors rarely, if ever, win interference proceedings. In a first-inventor-to-file system, however, the filing date of the application is objective and easy to determine, resulting in a streamlined and less costly process.Importantly, a first-inventor-to-file system will increase the global competitiveness of American companies and American inventors. As business and competition are increasingly global in scope, inventors must frequently file patent applications in both the United States and other countries for protection of their inventions. Since America’s current, outdated system differs from the first-inventor-to-file system used in other patent-issuing jurisdictions, it causes confusion and inefficiencies for American companies and innovators. Harmonization will benefit American inventors.Finally, the first-inventor-to file provisions that are included in the America Invents Act were drafted with careful attention to needs of universities and small inventors. That is why the bill includes a one-year grace period to ensure that inventor’s own publication or disclosure cannot be used against him as prior art, but will act as prior art against another patent application. This will encourage early disclosure of new inventions, regardless of whether the inventor ends up trying to patent the invention.For these reasons among others, the transition is supported by the overwhelming majority of the patent community and American industry, as well as the administration and the experts at the Patent and Trademark Office.This past weekend, The Washington Post editorial board endorsed the transition, calling the first-inventor-to-file standard a ‘bright line,’ and stating that it would bring ‘certainty to the process.’ The editorial also right recognizes the ‘protections for academics who share their ideas with outside colleagues or preview them in public seminars’ that are included in the bill.The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council has expressed its strong support for the first-inventor-to-file system, writing that ‘small firms will in no way be disadvantaged, while opportunities in the international markets will expand.’The Intellectual Property Owners Association calls the first-inventor-to file system ‘central to modernization and simplification of patent law’ and ‘very widely supported by U.S. companies.’Independent inventor Louis Foreman has said the first-inventor-to-file transition will help ‘independent inventors across the country by strengthening the current system for entrepreneurs and small businesses.’And, in urging the transition to the first-to-file system, the Association for Competitive Technology, which represents small and mid-size IT firms, has said the current first-to-invent system ‘negatively impacts entrepreneurs’ and puts American inventors ‘at a disadvantage with competitors abroad who can implement first inventor to file standards.’If we are to maintain our position at the forefront of the world’s economy, if we are to continue to lead the globe in innovation and production, if we are to win the future through American ingenuity and innovation, then we must have a patent system that is streamlined and efficient. The America Invents Act, and a transition to a first-inventor-to-file system in particular, are crucial to fulfilling this promise.last_img read more

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Welch tackles cost of ethanol subsidy to taxpayers, boat owners and equipment operators

first_imgRepresentative Peter Welch on Wednesday was joined by boaters and sportsmen at a Malletts Bay marina to highlight his efforts to rein in federal subsidies to the ethanol industry that cost taxpayers nearly $6 billion a year, drive up food prices and cause damage to small engines used in boats, motorcycles and lawnmowers. Welch was first alerted to the harmful effects of ethanol on small engines at a county fair in Highgate.  The ethanol industry benefits from three taxpayer subsidies: a $.045 per gallon tax credit, a protective import tariff of $0.54 per gallon and a renewable energy fuel mandate, which requires the blending of ethanol and other biodiesel in U.S. transportation fuel. These subsidies remain in place despite a General Accountability Office (GAO) report that questioned the need to subsidize this mature industry. ‘It simply doesn’t make sense for taxpayers to continue subsidizing a mature and profitable industry, especially at a time when Congressional leaders are proposing drastic cuts in fuel assistance, student loans, high speed rail, and Medicare,’ Welch said. ‘I’m also hearing from Vermonters that ethanol is damaging the engines to boats, chainsaws and lawnmowers. It is high time we end this unnecessary subsidy.’    Welch has taken a number of actions to rein in ethanol subsidies. He is a co-sponsor of the Repeal Ethanol Subsidies Today Act (H.R. 1188), which would terminate the subsidies and has written to House Speaker John Boehner urging him to allow a floor vote on repealing the subsidies. Finally, during debate on the fiscal year 2011 Continuing Resolution, Welch voted to overturn the EPA’s regulation that increased the allowable amount of ethanol in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent. To watch video of Welch’s remarks at today’s news conference, CLICK HERE.last_img read more

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$4,000 grant to support Jim’s House providing lodging for neurological patients

first_imgThe Executive Board of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association (Vermont Chapter) will officially recognize Jim’s House, Inc., with a grant from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) in the amount of $2,000. The APDA Vermont Chapter will match PhRMA’s grant for a total of $4,000. Jim’s House was founded and named after Jim Crevier who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) in 1997 and died in 2001. The house has been made available for people with Neurological Diseases and their care providers coming to Fletcher Allen Health Care from such a distance to require an overnight stay. Recognizing the ongoing maintenance costs, and services currently performed by hosts Peter and Alphonsine Crevier, the goal of this grant is to help defray the financial obligations and to ease the burden of upkeep for this house.  To honor the many years of dedication, generosity, and service provided by the Creviers to those living with Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease/ALS), and other Neurological Disorders, APDA Vermont is pleased to assist in promoting financial viability and increasing visibility of this service within the community. The Vermont Chapter of APDA has provided information and guidance to the Parkinson’s community since 1998. With a mission to “ease the burden and find a cure” for Parkinson Disease, the chapter is now proud to extend support to an even larger community in Vermont. Caption:Michael O’Connor presented the $4,000 to Peter Crevier and his wife Alphonsine (seated to Peter’s right).  Also joining in the celebration (from left to right) were; Rachel & Lyle Miller of Belvidere, Tara Klyszeiko, Treasure of APDA Vermont, and Ruth Ann Rhodes (standing far right) an RN at the ALS Clinic.last_img read more

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Shelburne Museum names Thomas Denenberg as new director

first_imgShelburne Museum, Inc.,Shelburne Museum announced the appointment of Thomas Denenberg as director of the museum.Denenberg  will  join Shelburne from the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine where he is presently deputy director and chief curator. He succeeds Stephan Jost, who left Shelburne Museum in March to become director of Honolulu Academy of Arts in Honolulu, Hawaii. ‘The opportunity to lead Shelburne Museum drew interest internationally, giving the Board of Trustees many superb candidates from which to choose,’ said Board Chairman James Pizzagalli. ‘Tom was appointed with absolute confidence that he will continue to move Shelburne Museum forward, furthering the museum’s mission by bringing world-class exhibits and innovative educational programming to Vermont. Tom’s deep scholarship in American art, coupled with his leadership experience in museum operations, will make him an outstanding steward of Shelburne Museum’s collections and campus. In addition, his expertise in American paintings, in particular, will be a wonderful complement to the existing strengths on the curatorial staff.’While at Portland, Denenberg oversaw a dynamic exhibition program with major shows of Winslow Homer, the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and a popular exhibit of photography of rock musicians. He boosted the museum’s commitment to living artists through organizing an exhibition series exploring the contemporary creative culture of Maine.  In four years as the museum’s chief curator, annual attendance grew from 148,000 to 160,000 visitors.‘Shelburne Museum is a national treasure.  I am looking forward to joining a vibrant and growing institution that truly is part of the cultural fabric of the communities it serves,’ Denenberg said. Denenberg joins Shelburne in the wake of several groundbreaking initiatives, including the expansion and revitalization of educational programs, a broader exhibition schedule and the renovation and reinstallation of popular exhibit buildings including the Colchester Reef Lighthouse, Circus Building and Beach Lodge. In addition, an initiative to beautify the grounds expanded the number of gardens throughout the campus.Prior to his tenure at Portland Museum of Art, Denenberg was curator of American art at Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, N.C., which is affiliated with Wake Forest University, and served as curator of American decorative arts at The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Conn.He holds a Ph.D in American and New England studies from Boston University in Boston, Mass. and earned his B.A. at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.He has received fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution and the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library.Denenberg , 44, is married to Amber Degn with two young children. He will start at Shelburne Museum on Nov.  1.About Shelburne Museum:  Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont is one of North America’s finest, most diverse and unconventional museums of art, design and Americana. Over 150,000 works are exhibited in a remarkable setting of 39 exhibition buildings, 25 of which are historic and were relocated to the museum grounds.  The museum’s collection includes works by the great Impressionists Claude Monet, Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas as well as a prized collection of folk art including trade signs, weathervanes and quilts.SHELBURNE, Vt. (Sept. 6, 2011) Shelburne Museumlast_img read more

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