WILLISTON — A Vermont pet-toy company with roots in Waterbury Center has been growing by leaps and bounds since starting up a year ago, thanks in large part to the previous experience of its owners, an emphasis on creativity and high-quality products — and to President Donald Trump. “When Trump decided to run, it was like a gift from the pet-toy gods,” said John Lika, co-founder of Fuzzu, which started in Waterbury Center before moving in February to its current location in a Williston industrial park. “We just had to start up again.” Lika founded Fuzzu (pronounced fuz-zoo) with wife Anne Lika, both of whom live in Essex, and Waterbury Center designer Sarah-Lee Terrat. The three 60-somethings had worked together at the Likas’ previous pet-toy company, Fat Cat, which they grew for 13 years before selling the business in 2007.
Vermont Legal Aid staff attorney Sean Londergan has been selected as Vermont’s new state long-term care ombudsman. Starting May 1, Londergan began leading the Vermont Long-Term Care Ombudsman Project, a team of six regional ombudsmen and local volunteers. The project helps residents of Vermont’s long-term care facilities across the state, as well as people receiving home-based long-term care services through the Choices for Care program.
BARRE — The Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce recently hosted the inaugural meeting of the Central Vermont Young Professionals Group — a coalition of people under the age of 40 who want to share their entrepreneurial energy and ideas The group started as a Facebook entity under the auspices of Mark Browning and Reuben Stone from Stone and Browning, a property management company in Barre. Browning and Stone were aware of robust young professionals groups in Rutland and Burlington, but no similar organization existed for central Vermont. Rutland Young Professionals, for instance, was founded in 2013, charges a minimal yearly fee of $25 to belong and is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with an active membership and a brick-and-mortar address on Cottage Street.
On Friday, May 4, Gov. Phil Scott signed bill H.136 into law. Known as Act 21, the legislation provides the same accommodations to working pregnant women that are available to people with disabilities as specified in the Americans with Disabilities Act. “This is an economic equity issue.
It’s summer again. Time for many of us to take a break and possibly hit the open road. But even if you go on vacation, you won’t want your investments to do the same — in summertime or any other season. How can you help make sure your portfolio continues to work hard for you all year long? Here are a few suggestions: — Avoid owning too many “low growth” investments.
NORWICH — The Montshire Museum of Science is developing a master plan to expand the museum’s outdoor experience for a 100-acre landscape that focuses on discovery. Plans began in 2016, with completion envisioned for 2020. “The master plan has been implemented to unify the vision of the outdoors — to maximize the opportunity of our shoulder seasons. For us, “discovery” pertains to learning science through an interactive process. When you come to visit us we make science accessible by helping people make connections to the world around us and how the world around us works,” said Marcos Stafne, executive director at the Montshire.
“The Weekend Effect” by Katrina Onstad, 2017, HarperOne, $25.99, 304 pages Zzzzzzzzzip. That was the sound of your last weekend as it passed by. But it probably doesn’t matter, anyhow: It was packed with work, to-do’s, obligations, kids sports and more work. Sometimes, you wonder why you even bother. You might as well just go to the office.
Among Vermont workers’ compensation lawyers, one of the most hotly debated issues of the past year has involved the clash between an employer’s right to neuropsychological testing and the injured worker’s right to video record all employer examinations. Neuropsychological testing is an assessment of how someone’s brain is functioning, which includes an interview and the administration of a battery of tasks or questions by a neuropsychologist. One of the requirements of valid neuropsychological testing is that it cannot be conducted with the presence of a third-party observer. Doing so is considered not only allowing an unknown variable that can affect testing, but a violation of the neuropsychologist’s professional ethics. Even a video or audio recording of the actual testing compromises the test, they say.
MONTPELIER — The 2017 pepper harvest can’t come soon enough for a growing Montpelier business. The new home of the Butterfly Bakery, a commercial bakery and hot sauce manufacturing facility, is quietly coming together on Gallison Hill Road after being located in Hardwick. The exhaust hood was installed on the roof on Thursday, the final equipment will be in position by the beginning of next week, and the first batch of hot sauce should be sending steam up from the kettles in short order. The bright, airy 3,000-square-foot space promises much-needed elbow room for the business that has grown exponentially since it was born in Claire Georges’ kitchen. Georges, 36, of Montpelier, wanted a way to combine her love of baking with filling a need she saw for all-natural vegan baked goods made with whole grains and free of refined sugar.
Life is complicated these days. And if you’re part of the sandwich generation, with a parent 65 or older and either raising a child under 18 or supporting an adult child, then calling life complicated may feel like a ridiculous understatement. But while being squeezed in the middle will never be easy, there are a few steps you can take to manage your financial and emotional risks. Your challenge One or more of your parents may need financial and emotional support. One or more of your children may need financial and emotional support.
RUTLAND — Betsy Franzoni has recently opened the new Franzoni Real Estate Company, located at 9 Center St., in downtown Rutland. Franzoni has been a real estate professional in central Vermont for many years, and has successfully brought a realistic, caring and honest approach to her real estate clients over her career. Franzoni takes great pleasure in bringing buyers and sellers together to accomplish their goals in a friendly, professional manner. Please stop in and see her, call her at 802-345-2896 or find her at franzonirealty.com.
“Broke Millennial” by Erin Lowry, 2017, Tarcher Perigee, $15, 276 pages. You are so busted. And that’s never a good thing in relationships, recreation or in finances. Especially in finances. When your wallet is empty, so are both calendar and stomach, but what can you do when even the word “money” scares you?
At the Vermont State House on April 4, in conjunction with Equal Pay Day, a group called Change The Story Vermont released its fourth and final status report, “Vermont Women in Leadership.” The four reports — “Women, Work and Wages in Vermont,” “Where Vermont Women Work … and Why it Matters,” “Women’s Business Ownership and the Vermont Economy” (all from 2016), and this year’s report — are multifaceted tools in recognizing women’s economic status. Of the four, “Vermont Women in Leadership” is the most important, according to Tiffany Bluemle, director at Change the Story. The report provides an aspirational feature to young girls and women that sheds light on the socioeconomic index or gender parity in leadership positions within the state. “You can’t be what you can’t see,” said Cary Brown, executive director at Vermont Commission on Women. “Girls and women are less likely to think leadership positions are available to them without hands-on experience.
MONTPELIER — A young entrepreneur had done it again, launching a new business in the Capital City after being inspired by custom T-shirt work for the Grateful Dead. Hayden Durkee, 25, launched Downtown T’s, a custom T-shirt and apparel store on Main Street on Friday. Durkee says he got the idea for the business while working for Gary McMillan of Montpelier-based Cosmic Cotton, a tie-dye T-shirt contractor for the legendary California band for many years. “I’ve been working with Gary at Cosmic Cotton for a while and we would do work for the Grateful Dead, and I helped him design a shirt that featured a hand with a missing finger,” said Durkee, referring to the missing finger of the late Grateful Dead guitarist Gerry Garcia. “I think Gary is amazing and I’ve always wanted to open a T-shirt shop of my own for years.” Durkee’s launch coincided with Friday’s Montpelier Art Walk, and this weekend’s Montpelier Mayfest celebrations.