Winooski River Basin water quality management plan completed

first_imgToday, the Agency of Natural Resources announced the approval of the Winooski River Basin (Basin 8) water quality management plan. This plan reflects years of work in the Winooski River Basin to evaluate the health of the basin. Secretary Markowitz said, â I am proud of the work done by our basin planner Karen Bates. Her excellent work with the communities in the Winooski River Basin has resulted in a plan that will allow Vermont to protect and improve the water quality in the area for years to come.â The Basin 8 water quality management plan provides an overview of the health of the basin and a description of the priority future and ongoing steps to restore and protect the quality of its surface waters. Karen Bates said, â In this plan we focused both on improvement of water quality and also the health of the aquatic habitat that is vital to our fisheries. We could not have completed this work alone. I am pleased to report that this plan reflects the recommendations of local watershed groups, residents, a variety of stakeholders, the Agency of Natural Resources and natural resource professionals from other state and federal agencies.âThe central component of the water quality management plan is the implementation table, which includes specific actions to address threats to surface waters in the basin. Examples of some of the priority actions in the plan include implementing steps to address bacteria in the Huntington and Mad Rivers, and Allen Brook; mapping stormwater systems and detecting illicit discharges in village centers; working with towns to apply for Better Backroad grants and to include protections for fluvial erosion hazard zones and buffer zones in local zoning; and making contacts with farmers to promote agricultural programs that address water resource concerns. Neil Kamman, program manager for the Monitoring Assessment and Planning Program, said â This is the third of four plans the Agency will issue this spring, all of which reflect a transition to the new Tactical Basin Planning Process. In the coming weeks, citizens in most regions of Vermont will have opportunities to engage in the tactical planning process by providing input to draft plans and assisting with new plans. The Agency will be increasingly reliant on tactical basin plans to direct funding to the highest priority work that addresses stressors to our surface waters.â  ANR 5.24.2012last_img read more

Vermont Sports Hall of Fame announces inaugural inductees

first_imgThe Vermont Sports Hall of Fame will honor 13 of the finest Green Mountain State athletes and contributors when it inducts its inaugural class on November 17, 2012 at the Doubletree Hotel in South Burlington. Dave Hakins, chair of the VtSHF board of trustees, unveiled the Class of 2012 on September 11 at Cairns Arena in South Burlington. The enterprise is in cooperation with Prevent Child Abuse Vermont, the VtSHF’s designated charity. Members of the class represent 11 sports, several generations and seven different Vermont counties. Collectively, they have earned multiple Olympic medals, won several team-sports World Championships, and captured numerous individual and team accolades.The inaugural inductees are Larry Benoit, outdoors (Duxbury); Jen Carlson, soccer (Shelburne); Ray Collins, baseball (Colchester); Larry Gardner, baseball (Enosburg Falls); Albert Gutterson, track and field (Springfield); Bill Koch, Nordic skiing (Brattleboro); Andrea Mead Lawrence, Alpine skiing (Rutland/Killington); John LeClair, ice hockey (St. Albans); Nicole Levesque Andres, basketball (Shaftsbury); Bob Yates, football (Montpelier); Tony Adams, contributor-media (Essex Junction); Jake Burton Carpenter, contributor- snowboarding (Londonderry); and Ken Squier, contributor- media/auto racing (Waterbury). See information on each inductee below.Ticket information for the 2012 induction dinner and celebration, to be held Saturday, November 17, will be announced soon. Nominations are welcome for the 2013 class and information is also available on the website (click HERE for nomination information and FAQ).Launched in October 2011, The Vermont Sports Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization to recognize those individuals whose achievements and efforts have enhanced sports, athletics and recreation in the Green Mountain State. In addition to honoring those who make a significant contribution to the state’s sports legacy, the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame will promote and provide inspiration in sports and recreation to the state’s youth. Inaugural Class: 2012 Larry Benoit, outdoors: Larry is a legendary deer hunter. He has an unparalleled record for bagging large, mature bucks in the woods of northern Vermont and Maine. He was called ‘The Best Deer Hunter in America’by Sports Afield in 1970. He resides in Duxbury.Jen Carlson, soccer:  A Shelburne native, Jen was a standout soccer player at Champlain Valley Union High School and the University of Connecticut. A two-time NSCAA high school All-American at CVU, she was a three-time Big East first team selection for the Huskies. She finished her college career among the UConn leaders with 40 goals and 40 assists.Ray Collins, baseball: The Colchester native was a standout at Burlington High School and the University of Vermont before he joined the Boston Red Sox. Ray pitched seven seasons with Boston with a record of 84-62 and a 2.51 ERA. He was in the rotation for the 1912 and 1915 Red Sox World Series champions and started the first World Series game at Fenway Park in October 1912.Larry Gardner, baseball: Larry was a stellar player at Enosburg High School and the University of Vermont before signing professionally with the Boston Red Sox. He played 17 years with the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics and Cleveland Indians, hitting a career .289. A superior defensive third baseman, the native of Enosburg Falls helped the Red Sox win three World Series titles and the Indians win one.Albert Gutterson, track & field: Raised in Andover and Springfield, Albert stood out in several sports at Springfield High School and was a Vermont/New Hampshire and New England prep champion in several track and field events. He continued his outstanding track and field career at the University of Vermont, winning several New England titles and another in the prestigious Penn Relays. He then became Vermont’s only Olympic gold medalist in track & field winning the long jump at the 1912 Stockholm Games.Bill Koch, Nordic ski:  From Brattleboro, Bill is arguably America’s greatest Nordic skier. He competed in four Olympics: 1976, 1980, 1984 and 1992, and was the first American to medal in Olympic cross-country skiing, earning the 30-K silver at the 1976 games. Koch was the overall Nordic world champion in 1982, the first and only American to do so. He was the flag-bearer for the U.S. team at his final Olympics in 1992. Andrea Mead Lawrence, Alpine skiing: The three-time Olympian (1948, 1952, 1956) from Rutland was 15 years old at her first Games. She swept the U.S. Alpine nationals at age 17. In 1952, Andrea became the first American Alpine skier to medal in the Olympics, winning the gold in slalom and giant slalom. It also was the first time an American won has two Alpine gold medals in the same Olympics. It was 20 years before another American woman earned any Alpine medal. John LeClair, hockey: John had outstanding careers at BFA-St. Albans and the University of Vermont before making his mark on the National Hockey League. Scoring on his first shot in his debut for Montreal in 1991, he scored two overtime goals in the 1993 finals to help the Habs win the Stanley Cup. He moved on to Philadelphia where he was a five-time NHL All-Star. LeClair was the first American-born player to have three consecutive 50-goal seasons and he finished his career with 406 goals. He also helped lead the U.S. to the 1996 World Cup of Hockey title and he helped the Americans capture a silver medal at the 2002 Olympics.Nicole Levesque Andres, basketball: A native of Shaftsbury, Nicole was a standout guard for Mount Anthony Union High School scoring 1,938 points for the Patriots including a then-state single-game mark of 40 in 1990. She went on to Wake Forest where she became the school’s all-time assist leader and ranked third in scoring while twice earning All-ACC honors. She is the first and only Vermonter to play in the WNBA, playing for the Charlotte Sting in 1997.Bob Yates, football: A native of Montpelier, Bob was an all-state player for Montpelier High School before a fine career as an offensive and defensive lineman at Syracuse University, where he also handled kicking duties. He helped the Orange win the 1959 national championship going 11-0 with a Cotton Bowl victory over #2 Texas. He was a Sporting News All-American as a senior and was named to the SU All-Century Team in 1999. He went on to play six seasons for the Boston (now New England) Patriots including playing in the franchise’s first title game, the 1963 AFL Championship Game.Tony Adams, contributor-media: Tony was a trailblazer in bringing televised sports to Vermonters on WCAX-TV for 35 years. He also served as the voice of University of Vermont, Dartmouth College and St. Michael’s College sports teams and was named the Vermont Sportscaster of the Year five times. He resides in Essex Junction.Jake Burton Carpenter, contributor-snowboarding: While residing in Londonderry, Jake is the inventor of and an innovator in snowboarding. His vision led to the rapid spread of the sport nationally and internationally. He hand-built many of the first snowboards, took part in the first competitions and helped organize the first national championships at Suicide Six. Due to his efforts, the sport grew from a barn in Londonderry in the late 1970s to become an Olympic sport starting in 1998.  He founded Burton Snowboards, a leader in the sport’s industry in equipment as well as sponsorship of events.Ken Squier, contributor- auto racing and media: Ken, a native of Waterbury, has spent decades broadcasting high school sports in Vermont and he was a pioneer in the television broadcasting of NASCAR races. He built and still co-owns Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre. He is a five-time Vermont Sportscaster of the Year. The NASCAR Media Award bears his name. Source: Vermont Sports Hall of Fame.last_img read more

National Life Group donates $20,000 to Lund

first_imgNational Life Group,The National Life Group Foundation has donated $20,000 to Lund. With over 120 years of service, Lund, a Parent Child Center, helps children thrive through nationally acclaimed and comprehensive programs in adoption, treatment, education, and family services.  The services Lund provides are critical to the well being of so many women, children and families in Vermont, said Beth Rusnock, President of the National Life Group Foundation. Were so pleased to be able to help them do even more good with those they serve. Lund relocated its programs in adoption, child care, education, and family services to a new facility in South Burlington. It will complement Lunds residential treatment center located in close proximity at Glen Road in Burlington.         This gift will help us move past the halfway mark of our campaign to raise $3,500,000, shared Barbara Rachelson, Executive Director of Lund. I am grateful for support the National Life Group Foundation gives not only to Lund but to other Vermont non-profits that help those who need it most.      The National Life Group Foundation was established in 2006 and has given more than $2.5 million in grants to non-profit organizations in central and northern Vermont and the Dallas, Texas regions. Click here for more information on the National Life Group FoundationClick here for more information on Lund.Beth Rusnock, president of the National Life Group Foundation, and Foundation board member Chris Graff  (right) present $20,000 to Lund Executive Director Barbara Rachelson and David Huntington, Associate Director, Capital Campaign  (left).Montpelier, VT (May 6, 2013) The National Life Group Foundationlast_img read more

Budget-writers find $10 million in reductions

first_imgby Anne Galloway May 14, 2013 www.vtdigger.org(link is external) The final budget deal was set on Monday after 10 days of negotiations between House and Senate leaders.The chairs of the two Appropriations Committees pieced together $10 million in savings as part of an agreement with the Shumlin administration. Legislative leaders agreed to rescrub the budget in lieu of raising new General Fund taxes.A new revenue report in April that projects a $16 million surplus for fiscal year 2013 helped to ease that budget reduction process. House leaders were insistent that lawmakers leave the session with $9 million in cash reserves in order to prepare for anticipated federal cuts next year; the surplus enabled them to set aside $8 million without having to raise revenues.The $1.3 billion General Fund budget is balanced by about $60 million in one-time savings or revenues that will not be available next year. That means unless the economy improves and tax receipts exceed expectations, the state will continue to face the difficult post-recession problem of filling an ongoing gap between revenues and spending.Gov. Peter Shumlin proposed to increase spending by about $34 million to fund childcare and energy efficiency programs, but lawmakers dialed back those proposals, and in the end also cut down the administration’s request for new positions in state government from 79 to about 60.Sen. Jane Kitchel. VTD/Josh LarkinSen. Jane Kitchel and Rep. Martha Heath, the budget chairs, set out to make $10 million in reductions in the remaining days of the session without touching human services programs. In the end, with the exception of a $2 million cut to services for developmentally disabled Vermonters that had already been agreed to, they succeeded.‘It was a lot of work, but when resources are tight, we need to make sure government is efficient,’Kitchel said.Heath cited higher provider reimbursements and an agreement on Reach Up as the two most significant changes to the budget this year.‘I think a budget document is a values statement and in that sense it is a political document,’Heath said.The House and Senate agreed to two Shumlin administration proposals that are projected to save $4 million. Jim Reardon, commissioner of the Department of Finance and Management, told lawmakers he could find $2.5 million in labor savings across state government through attrition, overtime management and travel cuts. Reardon said an additional $1.5 million could be generated in tax receipts by enhancing the Tax Department’s revenue collections.Rep. Martha Heath is chair of the House Appropriations Committee. Photo by Josh Larkin.By turning back the clock on a 3 percent increase in Medicaid provider reimbursements by one month, the state will save about $1.18 million. Instead of going into effect on Oct. 1, the increase will kick in on Nov. 1.The budget pares back funding for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program by $1.9 million. The Senate had set aside a total of $7.9 million (including $1 million from the weatherization program); the agreement follows the $6 million House plan. This is the first time the state has included LIHEAP money in the base General Fund appropriation. In the past, the program has received enough money from the federal government to cover the cost.The governor’s education initiatives didn’t fare well. Budget-writers agreed to increase subsidies for childcare providers by $1.6 million ‘less than half what the House had originally called for and just a fraction of the $17 million recommendation from the Shumlin administration.A $2 million request for public school pre-K programs didn’t make it to the Senate Appropriations Committee in time for review. The money would have come from the Education Fund.The budget includes the governor’s recommended 3 percent increase to funding for higher education. The $2.5 million is to be used to reduce tuition costs for Vermont students at the University of Vermont and the Vermont State Colleges.They also appropriated $1.5 million for General Assistance, a new state program for temporary housing.An agreement on Reach Up, the state’s welfare to work program, puts a five year cap on benefits with deferments for individuals who are caring for an ill parent or severely disabled children. The budget also calls for an analysis of whether Reach Up is helping recipients find work.The Joint Fiscal Office identified a total of $2.23 million in savings from reserves ($851,000), a projected reduction in a Medicare Part D ‘clawback’payment to the federal government ($966,498), an adjustment in the state’s Unemployment Insurance payment ($226,000) and abandoned property receipts ($187,721).Another $1 million was derived from tobacco settlement revenues ($232,000), a reduction in state fleet management costs ($237,000), higher than anticipated banking and insurance receipts ($425,000) and money from the Information Centers General Fund ($125,000).A request for additional funding for the Working Landscape program was scaled back to $250,000; additional funding for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board was set at $125,000 and the Clean Energy Development Fund got a $100,000 bump. The Vermont Historical Society lost out on $30,000.They also agreed to a $75,000 wind energy siting study.last_img read more

Patrick Flood leaves state government, takes position as rural nonprofit health care center CEO

first_imgNorthern Counties Health Care, a Federally Qualified Health Center based in St Johnsbury with six locations serving Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom region, recently announced the hiring of Patrick Flood as its new Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director.Flood had formerly served as Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and, prior to that, Deputy Secretary of the Agency of Human Services (AHS).After twenty-nine years of working as a devoted public servant in various levels of state government, Flood reported that he will be retiring from employment with the State of Vermont at the end of July 2013.NCHC Board President Kathy Hemmens said in a statement, ‘We had a very extensive search and we had many well qualified candidates. We wanted someone who had very good knowledge of Vermont and of the Northeast Kingdom, which is the area we serve. Patrick Flood has high level experience and is particularly knowledgeable about health care and services to the elderly, which NCHC provides. He is also very knowledgeable about current health care developments in Vermont. We believe he is the best person to lead the agency in this very challenging and exciting health care environment. He is s person who has dedicated himself in his career to enhancing service and health care for all Vermonters.’According to the history page found on its Website, NCHC “was established in 1976 by community residents concerned about their poor access to health care. NCHC provides health care services in the medically-underserved, three-county region of northeastern Vermont known as the Northeast Kingdom. It does so through a rural network of six community health centers, two dental practices, a comprehensive AIDS/HIV+ care clinic, and a Medicare-certified home care and hospice division, and is in partnership with three different hospitals. Currently, Northern Counties provides care to over 18,000 individuals, over one-third of the 47,000 residents of the region. Over 75,000 visits are made each year.”The announcement issued by NCHC late last week stated that Flood will officially begin his duties on Monday, August 5th.Reached for comment by e-mail and asked about his new career leading a small health care center serving one of the most rural regions within the state, Flood said, ‘NCHC is very well positioned to do great things for its constituents, in the coming arena of health care reform. With five (5) primary care practices, home health and hospice, dental services, pharmacy and other services it is an integrated, person-centered organization that can provide the kind of preventive and comprehensive services people want. It is organizations like NCHC that will make health care reform a reality.’On what NCHC might have in the way of plans in these regards, he said, ‘hopefully we can expand services to more people. We can also improve integration of all health care services including hospital, home care, elder care and mental health services to get better outcomes for the people we serve.’Since leaving his position as DMH Commissioner late last year, Flood had taken a position as an Operations Director in the Economic Services Division, overseeing four ESD offices (Barre, Morrisville, Hartford and Springfield). ESD is one of the divisions within the Department of Children and Families (DCF) of AHS.A 2010 bio mentioned the following about him and his career (via 2010 Vermont Statewide Housing Conference Web page):Patrick Flood â ¦ began his career in state government in 1984 as State Long-Term Care Ombudsman and in 1988 became the first Director of the Office of Public Guardian. In 1989 he was appointed Director of the Division of Licensing and Protection, which certifies Medicare and Medicaid providers, licenses nursing homes and board and care homes, and houses the unit that investigates abuse and neglect of elderly and disabled adults. In 1994 he assumed the position of Director of Advocacy and Independent Living, which manages all the home care and independent living services for Vermont. In 1999 he became Commissioner of the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living.Prior to coming to state government he worked for a year as a caseworker with an Area Agency on Aging. He began his career in human services as a nurse’s aide and worked for seven years as a Licensed Practical Nurse in a variety of health care settings in different states including hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, private duty home care and several nursing homes.Reflecting upon his career working within the field of humans services, including during his years in state government, Flood said, ‘I have been privileged to work on some very important changes. One is the reform of the long term care system so that people can live as independently as possible. The second is the reform of the mental health system so that it is more community based and consumer directed. In both cases, Vermont leads the nation. In both cases, creating the change required all parties to work together: providers, peers, advocates and the state system to create truly systemic change.’When asked about what his fondest memories were from those previous years, Flood stated he has ‘met and worked with a lot of very talented and committed people. Some worked for the state; some worked for providers, some were people who needed services. I have many great memories of working with them to make a difference for Vermonters.’In response to a question concerning what his other interests and pursuits were, he said, ‘I enjoy living in a rural place where I can have a garden and cut my own firewood. I also am involved in efforts to combat climate change, working with 350VT and other organizations.’Source: Vermont Watch: http://vermontwatch.blogspot.com(link is external) 7.1.2013last_img read more

UVM Career+Experience Hub celebrates grand opening

first_imgUniversity of Vermont,A key component of the University of Vermont’s program to enhance undergraduate career preparation, the Career+Experience Hub, had its official grand opening Tuesday afternoon in the Atrium of the Davis Center.UVM president Tom Sullivan, Student Government Association president Connor Daley, and Graduate Student Senate president Lane Manning made remarks. At about 2:25, staff conducted rotating tours of the Career+Experience Hub for groups of eight to 10. The Career+Experience Hub, located in a heavily trafficked area on the first floor of the Davis Center, is designed to serve as a clearinghouse for students looking for hands-on learning experiences and career-oriented advice that will help them become more focused and engaged students better prepared to pursue a career or graduate school after graduation. The hub opened on Sept. 9.‘We know from several different research studies exactly what students need to do to be successful during college and after they graduate,’ said Abu Rizvi, dean of UVM Honors College, who spearheaded the development of UVM’s Career Success Action Plan, which recommended creating the hub.‘But frequently, despite our best efforts, students don’t engage in these activities,’ he said. ‘The hub is a way to bring experiential learning opportunities to an office students pass by every day, so it will be convenient for them to learn about and participate in these programs.’    The hub is staffed on a rotating basis by eight ‘partners’ — campus offices or departments that offer a range of experiential learning options and career guidance. They include the Career Center, the Undergraduate Research office, the National Scholarships and Fellowship Advising office, the Student Employment Office, the Office of International Education, the Community-University Partnerships and Service-Learning program (CUPS), the Leadership and Civic Engagement program and the Food Systems Internship program.   ‘Students and parents often don’t understand the connection between what you do in college and the success you have after graduation,’ said Pamela Gardner, director of the Career Center. ‘What you study is important, but the skills and experiences you gain during your college years also play an instrumental role. The hub is a way to bring that lesson home to students, and to make it easy for them obtain those experiences.”The Career+Experience Hub is meant to complement another new element of UVM’s career preparation program, the Four-Year Career Success Plan, which administrators hope all UVM students will incorporate into their planning as they would course selection. The plan calls for students to engage in a sequence of semester-specific activities that, research shows, will increase their chances of post-graduation success. ‘The hub is the perfect companion to the Career Success Plan,’ Gardner said. ‘The plan makes clear to students what they should be doing in each semester. The hub will give them the ‘how.’‘ President Sullivan and Across the Fence producer Will Mikell before the event.All of the hub’s partners have been cross trained, so are able to advise students about the services other offices offer. The hub will serve students on a walk-in basis or by appointment with one of the partners. Trained student interns from the Career Center, as well as staff from the partner offices, will also be on hand to assist students.In addition to opening the Career+Experience Hub and introducing the Four-Year Career Success Plan, UVM has bolstered career preparation at the university in other ways. It has added two new positions in Career Services, one focused on internships coordination, the other on outreach to employers; created a new Student Employment Office and added a staff person to direct it; boosted the number of dedicated internships it offers students; and increased curricular and other developmental programs to encourage students to explore the relationship between the academic and career interests. VERY TOP PHOTO: UVM student and peer mentor Bianca Rizzio explains the Hub. Vermont Business Magazine Photos.GALLERYlast_img read more

Red Sox Foundation donates $10,000 IMPACT award to the Brattleboro Retreat

first_imgBrattleboro Retreat,Vermont Business Magazine The Red Sox Foundation has announced that Sox fans from across Vermont have voted for the Brattleboro Retreat as the state’s favorite nonprofit and qualified the hospital to receive the Foundation’s IMPACT Award. The award will be presented during an on-field ceremony on Sunday, August 16th, which is Vermont Day at Fenway Park.As Vermont’s top vote getter, the Brattleboro Retreat will receive a $10,000 charitable contribution. In addition, a Retreat representative will be invited to promote the work of hospital from the NESN broadcast booth during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Seattle Mariners.Nomination for The Brattleboro Retreat’s IMPACT Award focused on the hospital’s Uniformed Service Program, which provides specialized trauma and addiction treatment for law enforcement, fire, military, veterans, EMTs, and corrections personnel.  “We could not be more honored or excited to receive this recognition from the Red Sox Foundation,” said Robert E. Simpson, president and CEO of the Brattleboro Retreat. “It’s a special tribute to the important work taking place on behalf of the men and women who receive care through our Uniformed Service Program. It’s also a heartfelt ‘tip of the hat’ from Sox fans across the great state of Vermont.” The Red Sox Foundation established the IMPACT (Inspiring More Philanthropy Across Charities Together) Awards this year to provide Red Sox fans in the five New England states outside of Massachusetts with the opportunity to vote for their favorite local non-profits and decide which organizations will be awarded grants.As a part of the IMPACT awards, the Red Sox Foundation is donating a total of $75,000 to New England nonprofits. Online voting determined first, second, and third place winners in each of the five states. To be eligible, charities must be 501(c)(3) non-profits in good standing whose work is consistent with the Red Sox Foundation’s mission of serving the health, education, recreation, and social service needs of children, families and veterans in need across New England.”Over the past few years, we have grown the foundation’s reach throughout New England through service scholarships and grants,” said Red Sox Foundation Board member Linda Pizzuti Henry. “Giving fans an opportunity to weigh in on their favorite charities in their home state is one that can engage local communities and raise awareness for some very worthy causes.”BRATTLEBORO, VT (August 10, 2015)—The Brattleboro Retreat, founded in 1834, is a not-for-profit, regional specialty psychiatric hospital and addictions treatment center, providing a full range of diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitation services for individuals of all ages and their families. Recognized as a national leader in the treatment mental illness and addiction, the Brattleboro Retreat offers a high quality, individualized, comprehensive continuum of care including inpatient, partial hospitalization, residential and outpatient treatment.last_img read more

NOFA Vermont receives major grant from USDA

first_imgVermont Business Magazine The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA Vermont) has been awarded a three-year $247,000 grant from USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). With this funding from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Farmers Market Support Grants, NOFA-VT will work to increase SNAP accessibility and participation at Vermont’s farmers markets, and to support the establishment, expansion, and promotion of SNAP services, known in Vermont as 3SquaresVT, at farmers markets.“This grant will expand NOFA-VT’s capacity to support limited-income Vermonters to access organic and local foods at farmers markets while strengthening the economic viability of Vermont’s farms,” said NOFA-VT’s Erin Buckwalter, manager of programs to support direct markets and increase community food access at the organization.NOFA-VT has worked for nine years with farmers markets to establish and support programs to accept 3SquaresVT benefits, supporting the use of EBT cards in order to increase access to local foods for recipients of 3SquaresVT benefits. From just three markets in 2008, NOFA-VT currently supports 46 farmers market locations statewide that accept 3SquaresVT benefits. This new funding from the USDA will allow NOFA-VT to continue to provide support to farmers markets in Vermont that want to expand food access in their communities by accepting EBT cards.In addition to supporting markets with much-needed funds, NOFA-VT will conduct a sustained consumer awareness campaign to increase 3SquaresVT participation at Vermont farmers markets.  Research has found that key reasons why low-income shoppers do not use farmers markets are because they are unaware of the day, time and location of the markets. To overcome this barrier, this project will use a wide variety of approaches—from direct mailings, face-to-face interactions in market communities, and engagement with service providers—to raise awareness of the accessibility of EBT at Vermont markets and ultimately engage low-income shoppers in frequent participation at farmers markets. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Farmers Market Support Grants, which is awarding $8.1 million in grants for projects in 23 states to enhance the effectiveness of SNAP operations at farmers markets. The new funds support broad SNAP-related activities and costs, including staff training and technical assistance, creating educational materials, and raising awareness among current SNAP participants that their benefits may be used to purchase the healthy, fresh foods at these outlets. Farmers market organizations and associations, non-profit entities, state, local and tribal nations and other organizations engaged in farmers market management were eligible to apply. Grantees will be able to help connect low-income families with fresh, healthy, local food options by expanding SNAP use at these markets. About Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont: NOFA Vermont is a non-profit organization working to grow local farms, healthy food, and strong communities in Vermont. Our members are farmers, gardeners, educators and food lovers of all sorts – anyone who wants to help us create a future full of local food and local farms. Our programs include farmer and gardener technical assistance, farm to school support, organic certification, advocacy, an online apprentice and farm worker directory, an annual Winter Conference, and programs that work to ensure access to fresh, local food to all Vermonters, regardless of income.last_img read more

UVM spinoffs have strong presence at national innovation summit

first_imgUniversity of Vermont,Vermont Business Magazine Four start-up companies that grew out of the research of University of Vermont faculty and graduate students, two technologies developed by UVM faculty that have commercial potential, and a start-up launched by staff at the UVM Medical Center will be on display at the invitation-only National Innovation Summit & Showcase, the world’s largest showcase of industry-vetted emerging-technologies ready for commercialization.The event will be held May 14 through 17 at the Gaylord Hotel and Conference Center in Washington, DC.The seven invitees place UVM and the UVM Medical Center in the top 10 percent of all universities, federal labs, government research centers and companies submitting applications for the event.Ryan McDermott of GreenScale Technologies (l) and UVM mechanical engineering professor Darren Hitt. GreenScale Technologies, one of the UVM startup companies invited to attend the National Innovation Summit, builds propulsion systems for small “cube” satellites like the one pictured. Displaying the satellite is UVM mechanical engineering professor Darren Hitt. Ryan McDevitt (left), his former doctoral student, is the company’s co-founder and lead R&D engineer.“The large number of technologies making the cut is an impressive accomplishment,” said Derek Mayer, who coordinates partnerships at TechConnect, the global outreach organization behind the National Summit. “Having multiple submissions reach our innovation community through IP showcase presentations and corporate matchmaking is a great opportunity and accomplishment. Hats off to the UVM innovation network for putting together a strong delegation.”“We’re proud to be representing Vermont with such a strong team of start-ups and start-ups to be,” said Corine Farewell, director of UVM’s Office of Technology Commercialization. “We’re grateful to the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the Vermont Technology Council and the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies both for supporting our presence at the summit and for providing funding, expertise and work space over the years to help nurture and grow innovation and entrepreneurship in our state.”The companies selected to attend the summit will benefit from federal and corporate matchmaking invitations and networking opportunities. They will also receive a pass to a sister conference devoted to promoting two grant programs that foster creative research with commercial application in higher education, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.Three UVM spinoffs were invited in the category of presentation awardees, who benefit most from matchmaking and networking opportunities:– WISER Systems has developed a suite of services that improve the efficiency, accuracy, and availability of evidence-based prediction tools around high risk human behaviors. — GreenScale Technologies develops miniaturized propulsion systems for small satellites.– Packetized Energy Technologies deploys human-friendly systems to enable distributed energy resources such as water heaters, electric vehicle chargers, battery storage systems and pool pumps to balance supply and demand in the power grid.The fourth UVM venture, THINKMD, which develops solutions that expand access to quality healthcare, was selected in the showcase category. Two technologies with strong commercial potential, one for producing environmentally responsive fibers for concrete and the other a ground-penetrating radar system for mapping underground infrastructure, were also included in the showcase category. VitalVR, which provides tools that help doctors and universities view and record surgeries in an immersive virtual reality environment, was developed at the UVM Medical Center and was also invited in the showcase category. Source: UVM 3.27.2017last_img read more

National Life celebrates ‘Do Good’ culture in annual report

first_imgVermont Business Magazine National Life celebrated its “Do Good” culture in its annual report(link is external), marking records set both in the business and in the company’s commitment to the communities it serves. An interactive version of the 2016 annual report was posted online in advance of National Life’s annual meeting in mid-May. “We had another outstanding year and this report reflects that success,” said Mehran Assadi, National Life President and CEO. “We believe strongly in our cause to Do Good. We’re proud to say that’s good for business and good for our neighbors.”Among the accomplishments noted in the report:$2 billion paid to policy owners in benefits.More than 5,400 hours of employee volunteer hours on company time.Financial rating was upgraded to A+ by Standard and Poor’s. 1Reached $100 billion in the face value of our life insurance.Achieved record life insurance sales of $194 million and annuity sales of $132 million.All of the details of the year can be found in the animated, electronic version(link is external) of the report.At National Life, our story is simple: For more than 168 years we’ve worked hard to deliver on our promises to millions of people with our vision of providing peace of mind in times of need. It’s our cause, stemming from a deep passion to live our values to do good, be good and make good, every day.Source: Montpelier, Vermont – 5.26.2017. NationalLife.com(link is external).1 Financial strength rating from S&P of A+ (Strong) for National Life Insurance Company and Life Insurance Company of the Southwest is the 5th highest of 21 ratings, and is subject to change.last_img read more