Congratulations to our Open House Prize Winners!

Vital Communities welcomed more than 150 visitors to our annual Open House on Friday, December 2. The evening included refreshments, mingling, and a celebration of the Vital Communities Volunteer of the Year, Molly Drummond.

molly-award-400x250

 

We’d like to congratulate the lucky door prize winners:

  • Joann Ference – five passes to Upper Valley Yoga
  • Ian MacKenzie – four tickets to Opera North’s production of Amahl and the Night Visitors
  • Phil Vermeer – Piecemeal Pie gift certificate
  • Sylvie Desautels – Red Kite Candy gift basket
  • Abby McCrillis – hand turned oak bowl crafted by David Harris.  Bowl winner, Abby writes: “Thank you, Vital Communities! Your open house was a success and I was thrilled to hear I won a door prize. I am a proud owner of a beautiful, locally handmade wooden bowl. Thank you for all you do!”

Thanks to the many generous Vital Communities supporters for contributing food, beverages, prizes, and gifts for this event: Upper Valley Food Co-op, Norwich Wines & Spirits, Harpoon Brewery, Skinny Pankcake, Hogwash Farm, Piecemeal Pies, Upper Valley Yoga, Opera North, Red Kite Candy, and Timber Turning-Doug Harris.

open-house-2015-017

Come to Our Open House Dec. 2!

Join us for our annual Vital Communities Open House!

Friday, December 2, 5–7 pm

Enjoy
~ Locally crafted ales and ciders from Harpoon Brewery
~ Festive wines from Norwich Wines & Spirits
~ Appetizers from the Skinny Pancake
~ Local artisan cheeses from the Upper Valley Food Co-op
~ Door prizes and Super Quest prize
~ 5th Annual Volunteer of the Year Award

And in case that’s not enough, it’s a great time to learn more about our work and get to know our staff and other Vital Communities supporters!

Brought to you in conjunction with the biggest White River Junction First Friday Celebration of the year, featuring food, live music, demonstrations, and more.

Find us at:
195 N. Main St.
White River Jct., VT 05001

Second Floor of the Upper Valley Food Co-op building.

lfa

Holiday shopping? Think Local First!

Small Business Saturday is November 26! Support our Upper Valley economy by visiting one of our many locally owned small businesses to kick off the holiday shopping season.

Shopping at locally owned businesses is a great way to support our community! Three times the amount of money stays in the Upper Valley if you purchase from locally owned businesses instead of national chains. The economic impact of keeping it local is multiplied as the money circulates throughout the region and strengthens our communities.

Find places to do your local shopping and giving in our Local First Alliance Member Directory, which includes stores, restaurants, banks, markets, and more.

lfa

Local First Alliance Member Mixer November 10!

Join us for a fun evening of mixing and networking with fellow Local First Alliance members November 10 from 5-7 pm at the Co-op Culinary Learning Center at 12 Centerra Parkway, Lebanon, NH. Enjoy wine samples and delicious appetizers from the Co-Op Kitchen. You’ll have a chance to meet fellow business people and hear how Local First Alliance is promoting Upper Valley owned and operated businesses.

This evening will be a great opportunity to learn more about Local First, so we welcome all Upper Valley business owners to come and mingle and learn more about the value of an LFA membership.

RSVPs are appreciated.

photo credit: Molly Drummond

2000px-Pork_Cuts

Whole Hog Butchering Class

Vital Communities is excited to partner with The Co-Op Food Stores to bring you a delicious evening of pork, beer, and cooking – a tasty trifecta!

Trim the fat from your diet—literally!—with a hog butchering demonstration from professional butcher Jeff Withington on September 29 at the Co-op’s Culinary Learning Center in Lebanon.

Observe and learn about pig butchering while sampling various yummy dishes highlighting the different parts of the pig. Find out why a pork butt is really from the shoulder and the leg is called the ham. You’ll also get a chance to sample a local cider and two local beers, too!

Tickets are limited and cost $20. Call the Co-op service desk at 603.643.2667 to reserve your tickets for this tasty event before they sell out!

Co-opLogo_Blue_WEB (2)

Ted-Frazer

Volunteer Spotlight: Ted Frazer

Have you ever come to the end of a Valley Quest and found the treasure box hidden inside a wooden birdhouse?

Chances are that box was either built or repaired by Ted Frazer.

Ted is a woodworker who taught at Lebanon Junior High School in the shop program for 40 years. Based in Etna, New Hampshire, he currently teaches in the Dartmouth College Woodworking Workshop.

Ted and his wife Lois have been avid Valley Questers since 2001. In their free time, the couple serve as box monitors for numerous Valley Quests and are longtime volunteers with the program.

Several years ago, Vital Communities approached Ted about repairing some of the original wooden Quest boxes in Woodstock that were showing signs of age. In the years since, Ted has been our go-to volunteer for making and repairing the wooden Quest birdhouses found throughout the Upper Valley.

Ted builds these custom birdhouses in several designs. Some boxes feature a bottom panel that drops like a trap door, releasing the Quest box inside. Other birdhouses, including the more recent models, feature a special front panel that opens out to reveal a Quest box.

These birdhouses are beautiful, handcrafted treasures that enrich the Valley Quest program. Thank you, Ted, for helping make the Upper Valley a special place!

Do you have a special talent that you’d like to contribute to Valley Quest? Let us know!

2016blog

30 Community Leaders Graduate from Leadership Upper Valley

Leadership Upper Valley Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Largest Class Ever

The largest class yet – 30 participants – graduated from Vital Communities’ Leadership Upper Valley program on June 8 in Windsor, VT. The year-long program aims to inspire, educate, and engage established and emerging leaders to better serve their communities.

“This program changed the very way we think and interact with one another and with our community,” said graduate Markell Ripps, an attorney at Grossman & Ripps PLLC, who spoke on behalf of the Class of 2016 at the ceremony. “We entered this program as individuals, bankers, nonprofit employees, lawyers, educators, entrepreneurs, CEOs, family care givers, business owners, Vermont and New Hamphsire residents, and we leave as volunteers, future public servants, board members, questioners, and best of all classmates, fellow Upper Valley community members, and friends.”

Established in 2007, Leadership Upper Valley engages participants in 10 day-long sessions from September through June focused on key aspects of community life in the region. Topics include Economic Development, Education, Government and Politics, Arts and the Creative Economy, Communication, Health and Human Services, Environment, Transportation, and Justice.

Including this year’s graduating class, there are now more than 200 Leadership Upper Valley alumni. The Class of 2017 will begin in September.

This year’s graduates include:

Addy Mae Williams, Mascoma Savings Bank

Ayeshah Al-Humaidhi, Upper Valley Humane Society

Brent Edgerton, Kendal at Hanover

Christopher Coughlin, Dartmouth Printing

Cynthia Twombley, West Central Behavioral Health

Daniel McCarthy, Sage Dining Services

Diane Reinhardt, COVER

Elizabeth Long, Twin Pines Housing Trust

Emily Rogers, Hanover Consumer Co-op

Frank Gould, Mascoma River Greenway Coalition

Georgie Sawyer, David’s House

Irene Green, Northern Stage

Jeremy Coylewright, WISE

Jessie Farnham, Frazer Insurance Agency

Kyle Fisher, Listen Community Services

Lindsey Klecan

Lyn Miller, Our Hybrid Lives, LLC

Margaret Monroe-Cassel, TLC Family Resource Center

Marion Steiner, Lake Sunapee Bank

Markell Ripps, Grossman & Ripps, PLLC

Michael Baymiller, Hypertherm

Rachel Abendroth, Dartmouth College

Ron Miller, Sustainable Woodstock

Sadie Wells, Mascoma Savings Bank

Shawn Bard, Ledyard National Bank

Sue Nadeau, Southwestern Community Services

Terri Decker, Claremont Savings Bank

Tim Condon, Cook Little Rosenblatt & Manson, PLLC

Tina Stearns, City of Lebanon

Wendy Farnsworth, Dartmouth-Hitchcock

superquest

Ready to Super Quest?

If you’re an avid Super Quester, you might notice that this year’s Super Quest is a little different.

In past years, our Super Quests have been oriented around a central theme such as Civil War Quests, General Stores, etc.

This year the Super Quest is all about getting more people involved with Valley Quest. Rather than focusing on a particular theme, the 2016 Super Quest gives Questers a variety of options to get out and explore what interests them while accruing points. Questers can pick and choose from 15 available categories. These items range in difficulty from simple tasks, such as registering your Super Quest team or Questing with a friend, to more difficult tasks like writing your own Quest or hiking a mountain on a Quest.

Super Quest Patches will be awarded to all individuals and team members who earn at least 10 points. All participants who earn at least 25 points will be entered into a grand prize drawing. We will also have a special treat for the team that collects the most points by November 1!

By offering an assortment of options to explore and earn points, we hope to make the 2016 Super Quest accessible to a broader audience and to encourage new people to give Questing a try. The Super Quest has plenty to offer beginners and advanced Questers alike, so get Questing!

Super Quest 2016

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How do I start? Go to our website and fill out the short online form to register. You can also print out a copy of the Super Quest here. We recommend that you keep track of the Quests you’ve completed and track your points on the Super Quest sheet, so you’ll want to keep it handy.
  • Do I have to have a team? No. This year’s Super Quest is not as team-focused as in years past. You’re still welcome to have a team—in fact, the more the merrier!—but it’s not a requirement this year. If you are signing up as an individual, just choose your own team name and enter “1” for the number of team members.
  • Can I double-dip and get points in multiple categories for the same Quest? Yes. For instance, if you go on a Quest in your town (2 points) that you’ve never been on before (2 points), you get a total of 4 points for that one Quest. If you took public transit to get there (5 points) and found the Quest in the Best of Valley Quest book (2 points), you would get an additional 7 points for that same Quest.
  • How do I submit my points? You have three options for submitting your points:
    1. Go to VitalCommunities.org/SuperQuest and submit your points electronically.
    2. E-mail our Valley Quest Coordinator and let her know your total point count AND which Quests you completed.
    3. Fill your point totals in the circles on Super Quest form and mail it to Vital Communities, 195 N. Main Street, White River Junction, VT 05001.

“Love your Farmer” Scavenger Hunts!

Scavenger hunt cover pic“Love your Farmer” Scavenger Hunts at participating farmers’ markets in the Upper Valley, to Celebrate New Hampshire Eat Local Month and Vermont Open Farm week August 15-21.

The “Love Your Farmer” Scavenger Hunt takes kids around the market to find, count, taste, and tell us what they love about farms and farmers at the market. When the child returns from the hunt, every kid gets a small prize for participating and is entered in to a raffle to win a grand prize of a $50 gift certificate to Riverview Farm. It’s simple to participate! Visit one of the participating markets near you (see below) and find the Scavenger Hunt table to begin your fun and tasty hunt around the vendor tents.

Eleven farmers’ markets in the Upper Valley are partnering with Vital Communities to host scavenger hunts at their markets the week of August 15-21. In New Hampshire, the Lebanon, New London, Hanover, and Canaan markets will host the scavenger hunt. In Vermont, the Bellows Falls, South Royalton, Hartland, Windsor, Norwich, Chelsea, and Barnard markets will host scavenger hunts.

  • New London Farmers Market (NH) – Wednesday 8/17/16Cobb Hill Open Farm Week, cow credit Molly Drummond (5)
  • Hanover Farmers Market (NH) – Wednesday 8/17/16
  • Lebanon Farmers Market (NH) – Thursday 8/18/16
  • Barnard Farmers Market (VT) –  Thursday 8/18/16
  • South Royalton Farmers Market (VT) – Thursday 8/18/16
  • Chelsea Farmers Market (VT) – Friday 8/19/16
  • Hartland Farmers Market (VT) – Friday 8/19/16
  • Bellows Falls Farmers Market (VT) – Friday 8/19/16
  • Norwich Farmers Market (VT) – Saturday 8/20/16
  • Windsor Farmers Market (VT) – Saturday 8/20/16
  • Canaan Farmers Market (NH) – Sunday 8/21/16

New Hampshire Eat Local Month and Vermont Open Farm Week offer many other special events for your family, visit their websites for a full list. Enjoy our local bounty in August!

This project is supported by the Thomas W. Haas Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program.

For more information, Contact Beth Roy at Vital Communities: Beth@VitalCommunities.org

parking

Planning the Parking Future of White River Junction

Hartford Awards Contract for White River Junction Parking and Transportation Plan; Vital Communities and RSG to Lead Project

Vital Communities and neighbor RSG have been selected by the Town of Hartford to develop a Downtown White River Junction Parking Management Plan. Using a combination of Town funds and a Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development Municipal Planning Grant, the study will examine ways to improve current parking conditions and to manage future demands for parking in the historic downtown.

Over the past 15 years, downtown White River Junction has experienced a significant economic revival and now finds itself a vibrant arts and business center. With the downtown’s resurgence, there is concern that the existing supply of public and private parking could eventually hinder revitalization efforts or result in demolition of historic buildings to increase the supply of parking. In response to this concern, Hartford’s parking plan will evaluate ways to maximize existing parking resources, make parking more user-friendly, and encourage the use of non-personal vehicle travel to the downtown.

“We are excited to take on this project and develop long-term solutions to the parking and transportation challenges facing the village where we work. It’s a great opportunity to combine the expertise of Vital Communities and RSG with our daily experience using parking and transportation options in White River Junction,” said Aaron Brown, transportation program manager. The project will analyze current town regulations and actual parking use, but will also rely heavily on input from local businesses and residents in crafting solutions for White River Junction’s needs.

“We take pride in researching and designing transportation plans to support vibrant downtowns across the US,” said RSG’s Dr. Erica Wygonik, Senior Engineer. “However, this project is particularly important to us because our headquarters are located in downtown White River Junction. We are honored to contribute to the planning process.”

The White River Junction-based nonprofit Vital Communities, which focuses on catalyzing solutions to regional issues, has advocated for sustainable transportation options since 2002. RSG has specialized in the planning, analysis, and design of transportation systems since its founding in 1986.

1 2