Vermont wants to double the use of wood-generated energy to better manage the forests and to move Vermont toward greater energy self sufficiency, according to Emma Hanson, the new wood-energy coordinator for the Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation. Hanson, who started the new job in August, was hired to boost the use of wood, especially the use of low-grade wood (trees that cannot be converted into high-grade lumber or veneer) for industrial heating systems. “We are currently harvesting less than half of the annual net growth of live trees,” she said. According to Hanson, current wood usage for residential and institutional heat and process steam (industrial use) is about one million green tons (2.5 tons per cord) a year plus 130,000 tons of pellets, mostly for household use. Emma Hanson was recently put in charge of the state’s efforts to double its use of wood in residential and industrial heating.
BARRE — Cashing in on climate change? About 60 people gathered at the Old Labor Hall in Barre on Tuesday for a presentation, “Everyone’s Economic Opportunity in Climate Action, ” to discuss strategies for slowing down climate change and making money in the process. Sponsored by Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and Vermont Natural Resources Council, the proceedings were moderated by Daniel Barlow, public policy manager for VBSR. Panelists included Rep. Mary Hooper, D-Montpelier; Dan Hoxworth, executive director of Capstone Community Action; Rep. Tommy Walz, D-Barre; and Tim Shea, vice president for facilities and purchasing with the National Life Group.
RANDOLPH — The Brunswick School in Connecticut will purchase more than 600 acres at Green Mountain Stock Farm in Randolph that will serve as a “mountain campus” for students interested in sustainable living. The sale, announced in September, includes the Three Stallion Inn, a popular bed-and-breakfast retreat owned and operated by Jesse F. “Sam” Sammis III and his wife since 1971. “After nearly a year of study and careful consideration,” the school, located in Greenwich, purchased 650 acres and buildings for $2.1 million for use as a satellite campus, said Brunswick School Headmaster Thomas Philip.
Vermont-born, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Myra Flynn says she’s never liked selling merchandise, as so many music artists do to boost their bottom line. “I don’t like it,” said the West Brookfield native with a laugh during a recent phone interview from her father’s house in North Fayston. Sure, she has sold plenty of CDs — in fact, she’s thrice sold out of her three albums to date (2013’s “Half Pigeon;” 2011’s “For the Record;” and 2009’s “Crooked Measures”).
“Slugfest: Inside the Epic 50-Year Battle Between Marvel and DC” by Reed Tucker, 2017, Da Capo Press, $27, 286 pages
You know what your workplace needs? A superhero. Sure, a superhero! Someone who can leap tall problems in a single bound. An invincible mutant who can handle customers, recall conversations in great detail, dispense product in minutes and stop time in the break room.
SHELBURNE — The Vermont Community Loan Fund hits two milestones at an anniversary celebration at Shelburne Farms on Thursday. The fund will reach 30 years of lending, and pass the $100 million mark in Vermont investment. The celebration is not just about time spent or money raised by the organization. It is also about supporting the lives, hopes and dreams of large segments of society in the state. Loans for businesses, affordable housing, agriculture, forestry, land conservation, child care, early education, health centers, solar energy and senior centers are among VCLF’s interests.
LYNDON — The planned merger of Lyndon and Johnson state colleges into a new Vermont university will usher in an improved general education curriculum to help students prepare for the practical demands of a global economy. To reach that goal, both colleges received a grant from the Davis Educational Foundation in Yarmouth, Maine, for $224,646 over three years to support major curriculum changes for both campuses. The private foundation was established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after his retirement as chairman of Shaw’s Supermarkets Inc. On July 1, 2018, the two colleges will unify as Northern Vermont University. The merger will include separate college curriculums fused into a single program of active learning. Although both colleges will maintain separate campuses after they merge, the new general education program will be launched during the fall 2018 semester, according to college officials.
From Joan Goldstein’s view as commissioner of the state Department of Economic Development, companies looking to expand small-business opportunities should consider taking advantage of the state’s STEP program. The State Trade Expansion Program is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration to help companies expand business opportunities abroad. Grants are earmarked to help pay entry fees to attend trade shows, for export training and compliance, and upgrades to a firm’s website to reach international markets. “I think the help we’re able to give from getting this STEP award from the feds is that we have a number of different levels of assistance,” said Goldstein, whose department recently received a $335,600 STEP grant. To drum up business, she said it’s critical for a small business to attend trade shows, which “cost a pretty penny.” And by that, Goldstein means the admission price is in the thousands of dollars.
RANDOLPH CENTER — Vermont Technical College unveiled its new Advanced Mobile Manufacturing Lab at the Manufactured in Vermont trade show, Sept. 27, at the Champlain Valley Expo Center in Essex Junction. The lab will bring a mobile laboratory and teachers to all corners of the state that will focus on developing skills needed in today’s high-tech manufacturing industry. “The current skills gap we have in manufacturing is only (exaggerated) in Vermont by our rural nature,” said Chris Gray, who is assistant project manager for the lab, and also building the mobile lab at his home in Springfield. The lab will be housed in a renovated, 24-foot, towed trailer and will serve up to eight students.
The Associated Press NEW YORK — The Equifax breach is reminding small business owners that they may be vulnerable to cybercriminals. Companies that provide security and other technology services to small businesses say they’ve had an increase in calls from customers since Equifax revealed that the personal information of 143 million Americans had been exposed. The hack galvanized some owners into dealing with long-delayed issues. “A customer called me today wanting to replace their one remaining XP computer,” says Bob Herman, owner of IT Tropolis, a tech service company in Fountain Valley, California. Microsoft stopped providing security updates for XP models three and a half years ago.
WARREN — Mad River Distillers is calling the release of its latest whiskey, Burnt Rock Bourbon, “super limited.” That means if you don’t live in Vermont or parts of Massachusetts, you probably won’t have much of an opportunity to try it. At least not yet. If this whiskey, which producers describe as having a smokey flavor due to its mash profile of corn, rye wheat and maplewood-smoked barley, proves popular, they’ll make more. Then they can distribute it throughout New England and parts of New York and California with their other spirits — bourbon and rye whiskeys, brandy and several aged rums. For now, they’ve produced 400 cases, and brought it to market in the past week. That flexibility comes from being a small producer in a hot market.
“You Get What You Pitch For” by Anthony Sullivan with Tim Vandehey, 2017, Da Capo Press, $26, 232 pages
Throw it out. That’s what always seems to happen to your best ideas, your finest interviews, the proud moments that fall flat as pavement. Ugh. When it comes to The Big Ask, “what are you doing wrong?” Read “You Get What You Pitch For” by Anthony Sullivan with Tim Vandehey; the answer is no throwaway. Back when he was 24 years old and selling mops, Sullivan lived in a van and slept atop the product, but he was on a learning curve.
BURLINGTON — Wireless products inventor and engineer James Clark was looking to start a new hobby, so he designed and built a Koi pond to beautify his backyard. Things went wrong almost from the start. “As soon as I put in the Koi pond I had a lot of my fish die, and a lot of frustration. I couldn’t figure out what was going on,” Clark said. The problem was in the water chemistry of the pond.
STOWE — Mark Frier has a full plate these days. He and business partner Chad Fry own the Reservoir Restaurant & Taproom in Waterbury, and Stowe restaurant The Bench. And they recently added a third spot to their repertoire, revamping the iconic Stowe music venue Rusty Nail into a Mexican restaurant and live music space called Tres Amigos & Rusty Nail Stage. The restaurant opened to the public on Sept. 8, serving authentic Mexican fare along with a sizable list of tequilas, mezcals and margaritas in addition to 24 draft-beer selections with an emphasis on Vermont brews.