The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) Board of Directors approved $8.5 million in financing assistance to support manufacturing, business incubator and small business projects around the state. Total costs of the projects approved for VEDA financing are $15.6 million.These loans will help expand production capacity at several existing manufacturing facilities, said Jo Bradley. In addition, new incubator space will be created for entrepreneurs who have moved beyond the early stages of commercialization, and have begun manufacturing and producing new products and services.Approved for financing by the VEDA Board are: – Autumn Harp, Inc., Essex Junction Industrial revenue bond inducements totaling $4 million were approved by the Board, enabling Autumn Harp to pursue expansion plans for the company. Autumn Harp, founded in 1978, is a private label custom manufacturer of personal care and cosmetic products for major national and international brands. The company plans to maintain operations in Bristol and will expand to a second location in Essex Junction to ensure adequate capacity for continued product diversification, and a growing customer base. Autumn Harp estimates the planned $4.6 million project would increase employment at both facilities by 50 employees over a three year period. – Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies, Inc., Colchester Financing of $1.1 million was approved, allowing the non-profit Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) to develop a second business incubator facility in Colchester. Since 2005, VCET has operated a high-technology business incubator on a portion of the former Trinity College campus in Burlington, property now owned by the University of Vermont. The $3.1 million expansion project planned by VCET involves the purchase of 2.2 acres and a 21,000 square foot building in Colchester. The new space will provide incubator facilities to serve companies that have moved beyond initial commercialization and have begun manufacturing and producing products and services. It is expected that jobs will increase over three years from 13 at the current facility to 35 positions housed in both facilities. – Vermont Precision Woodworks, Morrisville The Board renewed a loan guarantee for up to 32% of a $1.25 million Union Bank working capital line of credit for Vermont Precision Woodworks. The VEDA-insured Union Bank line of credit will help the wood furniture manufacturer maintain its recent growth in employment at its Morrisville plant. – Vermont Quality Wood Products, Brandon The Board approved a 6-month renewal of $300,000 in mortgage insurance to guarantee a KeyBank working capital line of credit to owners of the former Vermont Tubbs furniture manufacturing firm. Vermont Quality Wood Products purchased the assets of Vermont Tubbs in 2003 as Tubbs was poised to liquidate the company and close the business. Vermont Quality Wood Products has continued operations since that date, and currently employs 105 individuals. – SecurShred, South Burlington An approved $306,000 loan will allow SecurShred, a growing document destruction company, to purchase a 10,000 square foot warehouse in South Burlington. The $850,000 project will enable SecurShred to increase its capacity and efficiency in the shredding of paper and electronic media for companies in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York. SecurShred employs 10, and expects to increase that number to 14 within three years of the expansion.In addition, $1.9 million in Vermont SBA 504 Program loans were approved to support $5 million in business real estate and construction project costs. And, small business loans totaling $472,550 were approved by the Board.VEDAs 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 $1.2 billion. For more information about VEDA, visit www.veda.org(link is external) or call 802-828-5627.
Photo: Giant 96 NewsShelbyville, In. — A report from Giant 96 News in Shelbyville says the local Little Caesars Pizza store has been closed after an investigation into the manager.The former employee, Sasha Fletcher, and her boyfriend, Joshua Parson, are both suspected of buying and selling heroin at the business and preparing food with open sores. Fletcher, who has been fired, tested positive forHEPC. Reports indicate Parson is not an employee but Fletcher allowed him to prepare food.Photo: Giant 96 NewsEarlier this week police found paraphernalia and heroin residue in their vehicle parked at the restaurant. During the arrest, police noted both appeared to be under the influence of narcotics. Both have been charged with possession of a syringe and possession of heroin.Company officials say the location will be closed until it is completely cleaned and inspected by the Shelby County Health Department.
Sarah Kim | Daily TrojanDo the JuJu · Junior wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster broke out of his early season slump going for 89 yards on eight catches against Utah.Friday. Smith-Schuster leads the team in touchdowns with two.On Saturday, the football team continues its difficult schedule, playing their second undefeated team in as many weeks. In just its second home game of the year, USC (1-3) will face an unranked ASU (4-0).This will arguably be the toughest game the Sun Devils have played so far after playing Northern Arizona, Texas Tech and Cal at home as well as one road game against the University of Texas at San Antonio.ASU has been handling its business and USC put a heavy focus on its defense during this week’s practices. The Sun Devils have the top-scoring offense in the conference while averaging 48.8 points per game. This is also the seventh-highest offensive average in the FBS.Additionally, the team is averaging 21.7 points in the fourth quarter, meaning USC will have to seal the deal if they get an early lead, something they failed to do last week against Utah. The Sun Devils have scored all 18 trips they have made to the red zone. This offensive barrage will be a challenge for a USC team that ranks seventh in the conference in total defense.The men behind the scoring flurries have been redshirt sophomore quarterback Manny Wilkins and a strong running back corps, including juniors Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage.“I’m beyond impressed with Manny Wilkins and his pocket sense of being able to create off pass attempts,” head coach Clay Helton said. “He’s as good as I’ve seen thus far in that area.”Wilkins has thrown for 1,085 yards with 5 touchdowns and three interceptions while going 84-125 on the season. He is also the second-leading rusher for the Sun Devils having accrued 312 yards on 56 attempts with 4 touchdowns.“One of the things that stands out to you immediately is their up-tempo offense,” Helton said. “They are putting up 80-plus plays a game.”The high-tempo offense has translated into a high-scoring machine and the top two running backs will pose a problem for the Trojans if their front seven struggles to stop the ball they way it did against Utah. Richard has 356 yards on the season and is averaging 3.9 yards per carry. He also has 1 touchdown.One of the most dynamic performances in the country this season came from Ballage who tied the FBS record for most touchdowns in a game after scoring 8 against Texas Tech. Ballage is averaging 6.4 yards per carry and has 285 total yards to complement his 9 touchdowns on the year.Part of containing the explosive offense will involve quarterback pressure, something the team has focused on this week after failing to register a sack against Utah last week. Due to the pace of the Sun Devils, Helton said he expects to see more playing time from freshman defensive ends Connor Murphy and Oluwole Betiku and junior inside linebacker Olajuwon Tucker.Offensively, redshirt freshman Sam Darnold is starting his first game in the Coliseum, and even though he admitted to feeling some nerves before last week’s game, he is preparing as normal for Saturday’s matchup.“They’re a really good football team, a really good bunch,” Darnold said. “Obviously late in games, what you saw in that Cal game with two late interceptions, that was obviously huge for them. It’s a great football team, we’re just looking to execute and play our style ball.”The Sun Devils have the toughest run defense in the conference, allowing only 95 yards per game, but have the worst pass defense, giving up 404 yards per game. Helton said he wants senior tailback Justin Davis to get 20-25 carries this game, but if ASU stifles the run game, Darnold will have to find his receivers.Against Power-5 teams, the Trojans have not thrown for a touchdown this season, but there were signs of life in the air against Utah with Darnold connecting with top receiver junior JuJu Smith-Schuster for eight catches and 98 yards.“The whole game plan wasn’t set up around me, but there were plays that were made for me,” Smith-Schuster said. “A lot of the plays were nine-yard stop routes and with the defense they were playing, I was allowed to get the ball more.”Smith-Schuster and company face the Sun Devils in a 5:30 p.m. clash in the Coliseum. The game is also being televised on FOX.