Jennifer Collins joins Barre NFP office as account manager

BARRE — NFP has brought Jennifer L. Collins to its team in Barre as a commercial lines account manager. Collins will be responsible for managing existing client relationships in the business insurance segment. She will assist commercial clients with policy changes, as well as coverage reviews and analysis. She brings with her more than eight years’ experience in the insurance and financial industries, most recently with Noyle Johnson Insurance. “We are thrilled to welcome Jennifer to our growing team here in Vermont,” said Dan Rodliff, vice president of NFP’s P&C division.

Democratic Rep. Tommy Walz of Barre speaks during a panel discussion on climate change and economic opportunities Tuesday sponsored by Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and held at the Old Labor Hall in Barre.
STEFAN HARD / STAFF PHOTO

Conference digs into the economics of climate action

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. Barlow explained the forum is aimed at bolstering planned legislative action to create a “carbon-pricing mechanism.”
Several bills have been introduced, including:
— H.394, an act relating to a carbon tax and cap and a trade study in the Joint Fiscal Office. — H.531, relating to a carbon pollution fee in Vermont.

Ventilation and refrigeration technician Gary Roberts runs the wood boiler system at National Life in Montpelier.
PHOTO BY PETER COBB

More wood heat in Vermont’s future

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. “The number-one goal for my job is to foster healthy forests.

The Three Stallion Inn in Randolph has been sold along with more than 600 acres to a Connecticut private school.
PROVIDED PHOTO

Boarding school buys Three Stallion Inn, surrounding land

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. The purchase was funded entirely through two anonymous donors, he said. “Beginning in September 2018, in about a year, our Vermont campus will be home to a new and special program in which Brunswick students will visit in small groups to work together, learn ‘in the field,’ and experience life and friendships without constant connection to iPhones and other electronic devices,” Philip said.

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Leach joins mental health team at Community Health center

RUTLAND — Molly Leach joined Community Health Center Rutland Region’s Allen Pond provider team in July, offering mental health services to individuals and families. “My approach is very systemic. I like to step back and give a perspective to all the different systems that could be impacting a person’s mental health. I try and pay attention to cultural factors, family background and social influences,” Leach said. While her professional experience has focused on gender and sexuality, specifically with the LGBTQ population, Leach also has helped couples and families.

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Tom Huebner named 2017 Business Leader

RUTLAND — The Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce has named Tom Huebner, president and CEO of the Rutland Regional Medical Center, Business Leader of the Year, 2017. The award will be presented at the chamber’s annual meeting October 19. During Huebner’s tenure, the Rutland Regional Medical Center has grown into the county’s largest employer, with over 1,600 employees. “Tom has been an integral part of the business community since he took over the helm of the Rutland Regional Medical Center in 1997. Over the past 27 years, there have been significant changes to the health-care industry, and Tom has always had the needs of the Rutland region first” said Mary Cohen, executive director of the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce.

Nurse practitioner Kidder joins Gifford primary care team  

RANDOLPH — Family Nurse Practitioner Gretchen Kidder has joined Gifford Internal Medicine as part of a team expansion aimed at increasing patient access to primary-care services. She previously worked in the emergency departments at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital. She has also worked as a school nurse in the Bethel and Randolph schools. Kidder started her nursing career at Gifford in the operating room before returning to pursue her nurse practitioner degree in 2012. She received a BS from the University of Vermont and a Master of Public Health (Maternal and Child Health) at George Washington University before training for her Associate Degree in Nursing at VTC, and her Master of Science in Nursing (Family Nurse Practitioner) at George Washington University.

Musician Myra Flynn has partnered with Shelburne Vineyards to market a wine named for her.PHOTO BY JACK ROWELL

Audio oenophile: Musician Myra Flynn partners with winery

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”). And her ambitious fourth album, which she described as a more polished commercial pop recording made in L.A. with multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning executive producer Jared Lee Gosselin, is poised to make an impact on a larger scale upon its forthcoming release in December. “But I don’t like T-shirts,” said Flynn.

Children in the North Branch Nature Center's after school Explorers program play outside the center's  new community center addition this week. The Vermont Community Loan Fund, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, provided a $175,000 bridging loan towards the nature center's $1.6 million capital campaign project.JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR / STAFF PHOTO

At 30, Vermont Community Loan Fund’s mission remains strong

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.

Johnson, Lyndon State faculties prepare for a merged curriculum

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.