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Beyond Energy: 10th Annual Energy Roundtable

Come ready to be refreshed and inspired by our annual gathering of town energy committee members and others interested in local energy action!

The 10th Annual Upper Valley Energy Committee Roundtable is coming right up on Wednesday, May 17, from 5-8 pm at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Porter Community Room. Learn more and register.

This year’s agenda:

5:00 – Dinner and Conversation

5:30 – Welcome and Introductions

5:40 – Roundtable Updates – Our longstanding tradition of two-minute updates from each energy committee, along with updates from Vital Communities and other groups who provide support for energy committees year-round.

7:00 – “Beyond Energy” Panel and Discussion – Together we’ll explore how energy committees are making an impact in broad community sustainability and resilience. Energy committees aren’t just about energy use anymore! Guest speakers include Leigh Cameron, New England Grassroots Environment Fund and Sally Miller, Sustainable Woodstock.

8:00 – Clean up and go home

This event is FREE thanks to our sponsors:

 

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Peachtree BElogoCMYKee_logo_vert ReVision Logo HI-RES
       IntegrityEnergy SunCommonLogo VFI Catamount logo 480410 cmyk
solar source logo MontpelierConstructionLogoGreenLanternLogo2

 

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Food, Fun & Fundraising!

Treat yourself to a night out for Taste and Toast: A Cocktail Party with King Arthur Flour, SILO Distillery, and Farmhouse PotteryAn evening not to be missed, the al fresco spring gathering benefits Vital Communities’ Upper Valley Farm to School Network! Enjoy appetizers from King Arthur Flour and preview their new dessert offerings. Receive cocktail recipes and ideas alongside delicious sips from SILO Distillery, and inspiration on effortless entertaining from Farmhouse Pottery. Tickets are $25 and include a beverage of your choice. Thursday, May 25, 6-8 pm.

Then on June 2 from 4-7 pm, King Arthur Flour and The Skinny Pancake—both strong supporters of our Valley Food & Farm program and members of Local First Alliance—will host Pizza on the Patio, a fun evening with pizza, crepes, and beverages for sale on the patio, along with live music and a fun kids’ activity hosted by our Upper Valley Farm to School Network. As the evening’s featured nonprofit, Vital Communities will receive 10% of the proceeds.

We’re grateful to King Arthur Flour, The Skinny Pancake, SILO Distillery (another Local First Alliance member), and Farmhouse Pottery for their support. We hope to see you in Norwich!

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Spring Into Bike Riding Season…

…with practical skills training to get you riding more!

What is Everyday Bicycling?

It’s using your bike for those everyday trips that we all make — grocery shopping, getting to work, or even picking up the kids from school. It’s about making the choice to leave your car behind when you can, in favor of getting outside, exercising, and saving gas!

How can I get involved?

Vital Communities offers a range of bike skills trainings for groups of adults (and mature teens). We can hold one workshop or a whole series at your workplace, community center, or town park.

What kinds of workshops are offered?Pumping tire

Basic Everyday Bicycling (practical tips on everyday bicycling) 60 minutes long (indoors)
On-Street Bike Skills (build your street riding skills) 60-90 minutes long (outside, with your bike!)
Basic Maintenance (tire change, basic adjustments and troubleshooting) 60-90 minutes long (inside or outside, with your bike!)

What does a workshop provide?

• Practical tips from experienced Everyday Bicyclists on incorporating bike travel into any lifestyle
• Expert advice and guidance
• Low-cost gear: bells, lights, helmets, reflective vests, and more!
• Free informational resources

tom-bikeWhat is the time investment?

• We strive to make hosting a workshop very easy for you.
• We offer highly flexible scheduling.
• We provide all of the marketing and promotional materials that you need.

How much does it cost?

• FREE for Upper Valley Transportation Management Association (UVTMA) members. (If you’re not a UVTMA member, give us a call!)

• FREE for Vermont communities and workplaces, thanks to support from Local Motion and Go! Vermont.

How do I get started?

Contact Bethany Fleishman at 802.291.9100 x111 or Bethany@VitalCommunities.Org

Why Weatherize?

Many thanks to our friends at CATV and Emily Gardner for helping our Hartford Weatherize volunteer team film this hilarious video explaining why YOU should participate in Weatherize Upper Valley.

- Randolph Team PictureSince Weatherize Upper Valley kicked off in early January, we’ve seen a surge of interest from residents across all fourteen participating towns. Over 130 people attended our kick off events across the region, and we now have over 280 residents signed up to get involved.

Most of those 280+ participants are now in the process of filling out a Home Energy Profile, which will then be sent to the participating contractor(s) of their choice, who will then provide a free at-home consult and proposed scope of work… FREE OF CHARGE.

It’s not too late to sign up! Learn More at VitalCommunities.org/Weatherize.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.
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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.

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