Pollard to manage Barre branch of Westaff Workforce

Keisha Pollard has been promoted from personnel supervisor to branch manager of the Barre location of Westaff, according to the Mount Family Group, the Williston-based franchisee of Westaff Workforce Solutions and Remedy Intelligent Staffing. Pollard joined the company in August 2015 and has been instrumental in the growth and success of the Barre branch. In her new position, Pollard is responsible for recruiting, client relations, branch management and growth in the Central Vermont market, which ranges from Morrisville to Bethel. She was born and raised in Vermont and enjoys spending her free time with her son and two cats. Westaff Workforce Solutions is a provider of temporary staffing and employment services in the U.S.

VLA attorney named state long-term care ombudsman

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. Beginning with his work at University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, where he also earned a master’s degree in public health, Londergan has a long history of work in public health and elder rights. A 2005 graduate of Vermont Law School, Londergan worked first for Vermont Legal Aid handling Medicare appeals and elder rights cases through 2009.

Young central Vermont professionals get connected

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. With old fashioned commitment and hard work, the Central Vermont Young Professionals Group looks forward to a similar vibrant future. Earlier this year they formed a steering committee to gauge interest in a potential network geared to smaller businesses, microbusinesses and new startups.

Don’t let your investments take a ‘vacation’

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.

Michael Morse

Rutland Regional announces 2016 employees of the year

RUTLAND — Rutland Regional Medical has named its 2016 clinical and nonclinical employees of the year
Matthew Morse, a registered nurse from the operating room (clinical) and Betty Wos, an assistant in the emergency department (nonclinical), were honored at Rutland Regional’s annual Service Awards Banquet on May 2, 2017. Morse began his service with Rutland Regional in October 2012, first as a traveler, and joined the staff permanently in March 2015. He hails from Norwich, New York and received his nursing degree from SUNY Morrisville in 2007. Morse is noted for his ability to provide calm and comfort to patients and is always eager to assist his team in securing supplies and with room setup. Wos, a native of Ira, started with Rutland Regional in 1975.

Good Beginnings of Central Vermont worker Katie O'Rourke, left, works with a young East Montpelier mom and her baby. A new law provides workplace accommodations to mothers with healthy pregnancies.
STEFAN HARD / STAFF FILE PHOTO

New law supports women with healthy pregnancies

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. Women are already in a more financially precarious situation than men in the state of Vermont and this law allows for simple solutions for women to maintain their positions within the workplace during and after their pregnancy,” said Cary Brown, executive director at the Vermont Commission on Women. Act 21 provides an easier process for pregnant workers to receive reasonable accommodations in the workplace, and requires employers to reasonably accommodate a worker’s condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, unless the employer can prove that doing so would pose “undue hardship.”
Under disability laws, employers must accommodate pregnant women’s needs in the workplace during a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy, allowing them to stay healthy and prevent problems before they could possibly occur.

Amy Cisz

Nurse recognized for above-and-beyond care

BERLIN — Amy Cisz, a registered nurse, received Central Vermont Medical Center’s second DAISY award for extraordinary nurses in a surprise ceremony recently. Cisz earned the honor for her role helping a severely mentally ill patient who arrived in the emergency department with multiple physical, hygiene and emotional care needs. “While it is an expectation that any of us would care for this patient, Amy stepped up and took the case,” said Matthew Choate, CVMC’s chief nursing office, who has worked with Cisz in CVMC’s emergency department for more than 10 years and presented her with the honor. “When I think about a nurse whom I would want caring for me or my family, Amy comes to the top of any list.”
Cisz spent hours coaxing the patient to accept care. The DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune SYstem) award is an international recognition program that honors skillful, compassionate care.

Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photos

Biting satire: Trump doll gives pet toy company ‘yuge’ lift

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. Lika said a long noncompete agreement kept them out of the industry for years after that, but the stars seemed to align as the presidential election started to percolate.

Vermont treasurer leads charge to improve financial literacy

In Vermont, the focus for literacy has taken on a new dimension. State Treasurer Beth Pearce and the state’s Financial Literacy Commission have called for additional strategies to improve the financial capabilities of residents. “The Financial Literacy Commission believes strongly that the State of Vermont can do more to advance the financial capability of our citizens by building on successful programs and more efficiently utilizing existing resources,” said Pearce, who serves as a co-chair of the commission, in a news release. The call to action includes House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, John Pelletier, director of the Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy, and other commission members. The group urged policymakers to take a look at the commission’s 2017 Financial Literacy Report and asked the General Assembly and Vermont leaders to take steps to secure the financial security of all of the state’s residents.

Residential home changes name to Gary Residence

MONTPELIER — In an effort to provide clarity to its mission and level of care, the board of trustees of OM Fisher Home, a local nonprofit charitable organization, approved changing the name of the Gary Home to the Gary Residence. The name change became effective on April 1, 2017. The structure, located at 149 Main St. in Montpelier, was built in 1941, providing lifetime skilled nursing care. Over the years, and with new state regulations in play, the Gary Residence became a licensed Level III Residential Care Home.