Vital Communities on NHPR’s “The Exchange”

GoingLocal_1Did you catch us recently on New Hampshire Public Radio’s weekday call-in show “The Exchange“? Their ‘Going Local‘ series explores the different regions of the state, and in early August they focused on the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee region (the New Hampshire side of the Upper Valley!).

Vital Communities was honored to have Energy Program Manager Sarah Brock join as a panelist, along with Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin, Lebanon Planning and Zoning Director David Brooks, and Valley News Reporter Tim Camerato. They talked about everything from traffic congestion on Route 120 to a bi-state parade from Orford to Fairlee—give it a listen!

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Longevity & Commitment: Keynote Remarks from Heroes & Leaders 2018

Editor’s Note: Many thanks to Kevin Peterson, Director of Economic Development for the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, who offered the keynote speech at our May 3 Heroes & Leaders celebration. Read his complete remarks below. You can watch the entire event courtesy of CATV8. PHOTOS BY MOLLY DRUMMOND.

I am humbled to share the stage tonight with this year’s Heroes & Leaders, and given their longevity and commitment to the Upper Valley, it’s no surprise that I have a direct connection with nearly all of them, as I’m sure many of you do, too.

Bill Boyle was part of the pediatric oncology team that treated my 12-year old daughter for leukemia, and I helped manage the Boyle Fund for Community Pediatrics.

In the fall of 1978, before starting my freshman year at Dartmouth, my father and I drove across the river to Dan & Whit’s so he could buy a couple of gallons of Vermont maple syrup to take back home to Michigan. I’ve been a customer ever since.

That same fall, inspired by my mother’s membership in a small cooperative food-buying club, I ventured to the far southern end of campus—WAY down Lebanon Street—to shop at the Hanover Coop and the old Food Bin, and I’ve been a member since the mid-1980s.

Laurie Harding and I have talked many times over the years about management issues facing Headrest and other nonprofit organizations.

Earlier this week, I received an email from Jill Lord asking for input on the 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment, and grants from New Hampshire Charitable Foundation helped to fund previous needs assessments.

My favorite breakfast is fried eggs and Fruitwood Smoked Uncured Bacon from North Country Smokehouse, and I worked with Mike Satzow on the Fund for Greater Claremont.

I chair the advisory committee for my Dartmouth class project, which placed a Dartmouth student at The Family Place to serve as a year-long social-entrepreneurship fellow who helped develop a marketing plan for their Jewelry-O’s program.

Rob Howe and I sang together for several years with Zephyrus, a community choral group.

While I have never been inside the Canaan Hardware, based on what I heard tonight, I need to pay a visit!

I first met Steve Taylor in 1986 when he was leading a presentation on the New Hampshire Land Conservation Investment Program. After I joined the staff of New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, he helped me develop a list of the “100 Things to See, Do or Experience to Get to Know the Upper Valley,” and, since 2007, we have co-presented a seminar to the opening session of the Leadership Upper Valley program called on “What is the Upper Valley?”

The Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund, which I administered at the Charitable Foundation, provided a grant for a permanent conservation easement on a portion of the Taylor’s Crossroads Farm property along the Ompompanoosuc River in Thetford.

Across a 15-year partnership with Tuck, I’ve engaged MBA interns, advised student leaders of the Tuck Social Venture Fund, and worked with John Vogel and the team at the Center for Business, Government and Society to co-host the Upper Valley Nonprofit Exchange, a series of professional-development seminars for area nonprofit leaders.

Each of these individuals and institutions represents a strand in an intricate web that is woven together to form a healthy, vibrant, strong and resilient Upper Valley community and economy. Let me share with you what I think are some other characteristics they all share.

The first is a sense of Place—as Dartmouth alum and author Norman MacLean wrote, “If you don’t know the ground, you’re probably wrong about nearly everything else.” Each person or institution honored here tonight knows the ground. They are deeply rooted in a geographic niche of the Upper Valley—a town, a facility, a subset of our region. They get to know their key audience or their core clients. They understand and have a deep and abiding sense of place and their role in it.

The second characteristic is Longevity—every day, we see the time scale of our world getting shorter and shorter. We live in a culture of ever-decreasing attention spans. News and information comes to us in sound bites, 240-character Twitter rants and Snap Chat posts. We have come to expect immediate response and reward in so many aspects of our lives. Even our politics are short term—New Hampshire and Vermont are the only two states with a Governor who is elected for a two-year term. By contrast, tonight’s honorees take the long view. Each has an extended history in our community. One of my favorite books is Staying Put by Scott Russell Sanders. In it, he describes the joys and benefits of staying close to home—wherever that is. These honorees have chosen to stay in their place, serving as anchors in the collective life of the Upper Valley. They embody the idea of durability and consistency that extends beyond the span of an individual lifetime.

The third characteristic is Stewardship—the people we honor tonight are deeply committed to the health and vitality of our region. As the anchoring strands in the intricate web of our vital communities, they are people who think not primarily of themselves, but of the greater good, of broader societal and community benefit, of the commonweal—not a term we hear so often in our current national dialogue. What they do has larger meaning than simply running a store, serving an individual client or providing a service. While they may not even realize it, they are important stewards of this place we all call home.

I think we can all agree that the web of economy and community in the Upper Valley is pretty strong and resilient. The Heroes & Leaders honored tonight are emblematic of that strength and resiliency, and they are some of the strongest strands holding that web together and thus maintaining our sense of place. But that strong web will only remain so if we all remain connected to it, as well. If one or two strands are removed or broken, the web may remain, but it’s not nearly as strong and durable. Thus, we all need to engage with, build, and maintain that web in regular and meaningful ways.

That engagement can manifest in several actions.

#1. Buying stuff on Main Street. According to author and researcher Michael Shuman, every dollar we spend locally results in two to three dollars of additional economic activity in our area. That includes jobs for our neighbors, local tax revenue, vibrant downtowns, more shopping choices, and on and on. I know we all love our Amazon Prime account—and, true confession, we’ve got one too. But I think we—and our entire Upper Valley web—are much better off if we buy local first—at Canaan Hardware, the Co-op, Dan & Whit’s, or at LaValley’s or Farmway. The few pennies or dollars we might have saved buying online are just not worth the cost of weakening our local economic and community web.

#2. Banking with a community bank or credit union based here in the Upper Valley. That ‘bank on the corner’ is likely the one lending to our neighbor who is expanding a local business, or to Twin Pines Housing to develop affordable apartments near an Advance Transit bus line, or to a young family purchasing their first home. Our money, deposited in a local financial institution, provides the capital that makes this kind of community investing possible.

#3. Getting involved in community. The institutions honored tonight, all of our towns, and the many, many nonprofit and community organizations working in our region are always in need of people: to serve on a board, to participate on a committee, to help with a project, to provide financial support. Their health and vitality depends on strong and enduring civic and community engagement, which begins with all of us. Tonight’s honorees offer plenty of these types of opportunities, and the Valley News publishes a monthly listing of volunteer jobs, so there is no shortage of good choices for getting involved.

All of these relatively small and seemingly inconsequential actions, taken together, help to strengthen our web of community and economy, and our sense of place.

In 1999, Tom Slayton, who at the time was editor of Vermont Life magazine, gave the keynote address to the annual meeting of the Upper Valley Community Foundation—in this very room. I’ll close with a quote from that presentation:

“A sense of place is created by a thousand-and-one specific things—an accretion that, over time, creates human interconnections, myths and stories, folklore and—a place. But just as place is created by specifics, it can be lost by specifics. Hayfields and historic buildings, downtowns and mountain tops, swimming holes and the cool, ferny depths of the forests that line the hillsides—all these specific things are important, as are the lives of all the people who live here, their memories of the place, and the stories they tell. If one important museum has to close, if one vital village center becomes run-down and deserted, if one old man or woman with a good story never gets to tell that story to a listening younger ear—then in every case, a region’s sense of place is weakened. By the same token, every single local artist who can afford to keep working, every stretch of the Connecticut River that is cleaned up and re-opened to fishing, every traditional bridge that is maintained and kept open, every town that stays vital—all of those things strengthen a region’s sense of place. Ultimately, a strong sense of community results in a strong sense of place.”

Thank you to Vital Communities for hosting this wonderful event, and congratulations again to this year’s Heroes & Leaders.

Long-Standing Stewards: Heroes & Leaders 2018

Every spring, Leadership Upper Valley, a program of Vital Communities, hosts a Heroes & Leaders celebration to recognize individuals who make significant contributions to the greater Upper Valley region. This year, Heroes & Leaders is pleased to honor 12 Long-Standing Stewards who inspire us with their commitment to this community, their hard work, and their positive impact on this place we love and call home.


Bill-BoyleDr. Bill Boyle
Dr. Bill Boyle is emeritus Professor of Pediatrics and of Community and Family Medicine. He came to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Dartmouth Medical School in 1970, after completing his pediatric training and serving in the military. His career has had several twists and turns but has been devoted to children with chronic conditions and the effect on their lives and their families. This has included 40 years in the cystic fibrosis program, a concurrent 12 year stint in pediatric oncology, and four years in the pediatric diabetes program. He also spent six years serving on the national American Academy of Pediatrics Injury and Poison Prevention Committee, with four years as Chair. He served as Hanover Health Officer from 1986-2010, and director of the Hanover Water Company. In appreciation, the Town named the water filtration plant in his honor in 2007. In 1998 a grateful patient endowed the Community Pediatrics Program in his name. The program is devoted to teaching students and residents the burdens families bear when a child is chronically ill. It has fostered and championed the precepts of patient and family centered care in the institution and community. Dr. Boyle has received numerous awards and accolades from the American Academy of Pediatrics, New Hampshire Pediatric Society, and even the Hanover Youth Hockey Association. Bill and his wife Susan have four children and 10 grandchildren.

Dan Fraser - CropDan Fraser
Dan Fraser is the Vice President of Dan & Whit’s General Store in Norwich, where he has worked since he was 10 years old. An Upper Valley native, Dan graduated from Hanover High School followed by the University of Vermont and has a Master’s degree in special education from St. Michael’s College. For 14 years, he worked full time as a Special Educator in Hartford and Hanover in addition to his full-time work at Dan & Whit’s. He describes the store as “what Walmart would be if it were local and community-engaged.” He is delighted that Dan & Whit’s is a key meeting place for families from all over the Upper Valley and travelers from all over the world. Dan is a strong advocate for the local economy and dedicated to supporting the local nonprofit community, both financially and with his time. He founded The 19 Days of Norwich & Beyond 1% for the Haven program in 2013, through which almost every Norwich business and many in other towns now donate 1% of sales each December to the Upper Valley Haven. The effort is in its 5th year and has raised over $1 million dollars to support the Haven. Dan & Whit’s also supports the community many other ways. Dan is generous with his time, as well, serving as a board member for the Public Health Council of the Upper Valley, Upper Valley Aquatic Center, Norwich Affordable Housing Committee, Norwich Business Council, Valley Court Diversion, and Hemlock Ridge Condominium Owners Association. He is also a Justice of the Peace serving on the Board of Civil Authority in Hartford.

CCo-op Food Stores (1)o-op Food Stores
In January of 1936, 17 residents of Hanover and Norwich formed the Hanover Consumer’s Club—bringing the nearly 100-year-old cooperative movement to the Upper Valley. What started as a system for pooling orders for discounts within a year became the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society and opened a small retail store on Hanover’s Main Street. Annual sales that year reached $11,404. Today, the four Co-op Food Stores, service center, and commissary kitchen employ around 400 people, serving more than 20,000 member households with sales topping $70 million. In its first year, the Co-op’s Pennies for Change program raised more than $264,000 for community nonprofits including food access partners LISTEN Community Services, the Upper Valley Haven, and Willing Hands. The Co-op also supports local family farms, food producers, and crafters by stocking local produce, value-added food products, and other locally made goods.
Ed Fox -small crop

The Co-op Food Stores are represented at the Heroes & Leaders celebration by Edward W. Fox, General Manager of the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society. In his role of chief executive officer for the cooperative, Ed uses his comprehensive leadership and business experience to lead a team of nearly 400 employees. The Co-op’s seven locations are owned by its more than 23,000 member owners. Among his priorities for the organization is to secure and expand Hanover’s commitment to socially responsible businesses practices while strengthening financial performance. Ed’s prior experience–executive and production–sharpened his ability to run profitable operations in highly competitive sectors. He holds a BA in Political Science and Religious Studies from Saint Michael’s College.

Harding CropLaurie Harding, MS, RN
Laurie Harding is the Co-Director of the Upper Valley Community Nursing Project and works closely with local Aging in Community initiatives. Laurie holds an undergraduate degree in nursing from Syracuse University and a Master’s degree from Boston University in community health nursing. She gained comprehensive direct care/care management nursing experience through her work with Visiting Nurse and Hospice of VT/NH. She has extensive teaching experience, including in Honduras and Kosovo. Laurie also served in the New Hampshire legislature for five terms, including in leadership roles for Health and Human Services committees. Laurie is chair of the Board of Directors of Headrest and serves on the Advisory Leadership Board of the New Hampshire Citizens Health Initiative. She is on the steering committee for the Tri-State Collaborative on Aging and is the co-convener for the Upper Valley’s Elder Forum hosted by Alice Peck Day Health Systems. She is a past member of the Advisory Council of the New Hampshire Endowment for Health and over the years has chaired the West Lebanon PTO and Project Grad, volunteered at Whaleback’s Learn to Ski week, served on the Lebanon Master Plan Committee, the WISE Board of Directors, the United Way Board of Directors and the Women’s Leadership Council. She was one of the 12 originators of Women Crossing Paths. In her free time, Laurie loves to “hang out” with her family and ski, sail, and walk with friends and dogs. In addition, Laurie loves making beautiful music with the Upper Valley Music Center’s Juneberry chorus.

Jill LordJill Lord, MS, RN
Jill Lord is the senior leader responsible for Community Health at Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center. She holds a Master’s of Science in Human Services Administration from New Hampshire College and a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Vermont. She has been a nurse for 40 years. In 2001 and 2011, she was appointed to the Vermont Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Nursing. Jill was instrumental in creating the Vermont Nursing Internship Program in 1998 and has served as President of the Board since its inception. She served as Director of Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer at Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center for 24 years. As a nurse leader, Jill has a strong community health influence through Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, leading the Windsor Area Community Partnership, the Blueprint for Health, the Windsor Area Drug Task Force, Mt. Ascutney Prevention Partnership, and Volunteers in Action, Chaplaincy Program, and the PATCH Network, in addition to myriad other community health initiatives. Under Jill’s leadership, MAHHC was selected as a national finalist in the prestigious Foster McGaw Award for Community Health in 2002 and the winner of the award in 2012. Jill works to foster high-quality patient-centered care through administrative supervision and support for staff and programs.  Additionally, she leads the local area Multi-facility Ethics Committee, the Windsor HSA Community Collaborative, and the Mt. Ascutney Hospital Community Health Committee.

MIKE Satzow WITH BACONMike Satzow
Claremont native Mike Satzow joined the family meat packing business after graduating from Middlebury College in 1970. He also became involved in a number of civic and nonprofit organizations. He has served as Chairman of the Claremont Police Commission, President of the local Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Clubs, and on the boards of numerous organizations including Valley Regional Hospital, New Hampshire Humanities Council, and as Chairman of the Claremont Economic Development Authority. Mike was also extremely committed to the revitalization of the Claremont Mill District and worked for years to bring the project to fruition. The family meat packing business evolved into North Country Smokehouse, a nationally renowned producer of specialty meats and cheeses. Mike has served on many national industry committees and as co-President of the North American Meat Association. He currently sits on the executive board of the North American Meat Institute. In 2015 Mike sold North Country Smokehouse to Quebec’s Breton Family with the stipulation that a new, ultra-modern, 65,000-square-foot meat processing facility be built in Claremont. This facility now processes the high-quality smoked meats the company is recognized for. Shortly after the sale, Mike created The Great Claremont Fund at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation as a vehicle for local citizens to support deserving local nonprofits. The fund currently holds assets in excess of $100,000. Mike and his wife Sheila enjoy two children and four very active grandchildren.

Family Place logoThe Family Place
For 33 years, The Family Place has provided family-centered support to Upper Valley parents and children. One of 15 state-designated Parent Child Centers in Vermont, The Family Place offers programs and services that invest in better outcomes for families in the region. They partner with parents and with other professionals through a variety of services including an on-site skills-based program for young parents, developmental screenings, home visits and parent education, child care financial assistance, a Child Advocacy Center, and an on-site child care center for infants and toddlers.

Family Place NancyBloomfield2The Family Place is represented at Heroes & Leaders by Executive Director Nancy Bloomfield and Board Chair Posie Taylor. Nancy joined the organization in 2015 after years of experience working with families and children in the region. Nancy developed and coordinated Listen Community Services’ Teen Lifeskills Center “The Junction.” She worked with families involved with the Department for Children and Families through a position as Family Engagement Specialist with Easter Seals Vermont. She also was a founding staff member of COVER Home Repair. Family Place - Posie Taylor preferAfter a career at The Aloha Foundation in Fairlee, where she served a variety of roles from homesick camper to Executive Director, Posie Taylor  “retired” and wondered what was next. She searched for a nonprofit whose mission matched her lifelong passion for raising healthy children and found The Family Place, to her everlasting gratitude. Since 2010, Posie has loved working with the dedicated staff and with her wonderful colleagues on the Board to support the essential work of The Family Place and to help strengthen families with young children across the Upper Valley. Other volunteer commitments at Crossroads Academy and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation keep her engaged, but nothing is as nurturing to her heart as her amazing children and grandchildren!

Howe CropRob Howe, Howvale Farm & Tunbridge Fair
Rob Howe has owned and managed Howvale Farm in Tunbridge since 1983, when he acquired the operation from his father, who established it in 1953. The farm has been certified organic since 1995, marketing fluid milk under various brands and raw directly from the farm. Howe has been instrumental in the beloved Tunbridge World’s Fair since 1981, when he was elected to the board of directors. He served for 25 years as director and in other offices for another decade. He has also been superintendent of cattle for 22 years and works with the fair’s promotion committee. Howe is an active member of the Tunbridge Church as a Parish Council member, chair of the Tunbridge Democratic Caucus, and a Justice of the Peace for 15 years. He also sings with the Handel Society of Dartmouth, presently in his 13th year.

Dow Parker cropRobin Dow Parker and John Dow, Canaan Hardware & Supply
John Dow grew up in Canaan and after getting an architectural degree from Wentworth Institute returned to Canaan in 1975 to take over his grandfather’s—formerly his great-grandfather’s— hardware store. In 2006, John moved and expanded the store in a central location on the Canaan common. The store’s presence downtown has been a boon to both the store and the community. John has been an active participant in the Lions Club, American Legion, Eastern Star, Free Masons, Canaan Planning Board, Canaan Water Commission, and Friends of Canaan Village. He was also a member of the building committee for the Mascoma Community Health Center, as well as an umpire and coach. In 2011, Robin Dow Parker became the fourth generation to continue the family tradition when she took over for her dad, John. She has continued to expand the store—and she honors the history of the family business with old tools and photos on display. Robin enjoys being part of the community where she grew up. She organizes and supports numerous popular community events including Canaan Hardware’s Spring Expo Day, the Canaan Farmers and Artisan’s Market Fall Festival, and Christmas in Canaan.

Steve Taylor, Taylor Brothers Farm
Steve Taylor is a farmer, journalist, and longtime public official. He began his newspaper career at age 14 as Hanover High’s sports stringer for the Valley News, and following study at the University of New Hampshire and Army service he was managing editor of the Valley News for seven years. For a decade he was a freelance writer for various publications and was the founding executive director of the New Hampshire Humanities Council. Along the way he developed with his family a dairy and maple farm in the Meriden Village section of Plainfield. In 1982 he was appointed New Hampshire’s commissioner of agriculture, a position he held for 25 years. He served 12 years as a town selectman and for 31 years was Plainfield’s moderator. He has served on numerous civic and charitable boards and committees at the local and state levels and, as a lifelong scholar of New Hampshire’s rural culture, writes and speaks frequently on topics related to the land and its people.

Crossroad CropJanet & Tim Taylor, Crossroad Farm
When Janet and Tim Taylor started Crossroad Farm in Post Mills in 1980, it was sort of on an impulse—about to have their first child, Janet didn’t want to work in preschool every day and then come home to her own kids, and Tim knew he didn’t want to practice law despite having recently completed law school. They had a big garden and abundant courage, and they launched the first year with an acre of land, a card table, and a hopeful idea. Today, with 45 tillable acres acquired over time, 14 greenhouses, farm stands in Post Mills and Norwich, a number of wholesale accounts including local restaurants and summer camps, and around 40 full- and part-time employees in season, Crossroad Farm is one of the larger farms in the greater Upper Valley region and part of the fabric of the Thetford community. As farmers, Janet and Tim have been involved in building a vibrant agricultural economy in the region for decades. In their early farming days they helped coordinate mini-conferences for area farmers to learn from experts and each other—building knowledge and relationships that have helped them and many other local farmers over the years. Janet has served on the board of the Norwich Farmers’ Market and was involved in the development of local farm to school efforts, and Tim was president of the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Growers’ Association. They’re also very connected to their community beyond the farm; Janet served on the Thetford School Board and on the Vital Communities board of directors, and Tim is a member of the town’s Development Review Board, a longtime youth soccer coach, and for seven years has been Chair of the Act 250 District 3 Environmental Commission. Now in their 60s, Janet and Tim feel strongly about maintaining the farm as a working farm and teaching the next generation to keep it going. In 2016, Tim and Janet conserved Crossroad Farm with the Vermont Land Trust and also took on partner Phil Mason, who started working there 17 years ago as a young teenager. “Keeping it a farm for the next generation is a big deal to us,” Janet says. “The farm is very much a part of the community, and we never want to be too far from it.”

PrintThe Tuck School of Business
The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College combines the intellectual depth and reach of a large Ivy League university with the values of a close-knit community. Founded in 1900 as the world’s first graduate school of management, Tuck’s mission is to educate wise leaders to better the world of business. Tuck is distinguished by its collaborative, trust-based learning community and commitment to placing students at the center of discovery. In this environment, students learn to ask the right questions, build the right teams, and take the right risks to transform themselves and the broader world. This orientation to both do well and do good is one of the most enduring aspects of a Tuck education. Tuck’s Center for Business, Government & Society prepares wise leaders to better the broader context in which business operates. The CBGS believes business and governments exist to serve society and can work together for the common good. The 21st Century global economy faces acute social challenges from poverty, inequality, and climate change to health, education, and economic opportunity. No business or government can escape these challenges, and no organization or even sector can address them alone.
ginaTuck is represented at Heroes & Leaders by Gina des Cognets, Chief of Staff to the Dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Gina serves as a strategic adviser on institutional matters, oversees corporate relations, marketing and communications and institutional research, and partners with the senior leadership team to bring the Tuck mission and vision to life. At Tuck since 2006, Gina has held several in roles including Associate Director and then Director of Alumni Services, and more recently, Director of Marketing and Communications. Before joining Tuck, Gina was Director of Investor Client Services at Business Intelligence Advisors, and held chief of staff roles at both AOL Time Warner and Robinson, Lerer and Montgomery (RLM, a strategic communications firm in NYC). Gina is a proud 2001 graduate of Tuck and has a BA in Art History and minor in Psychology from Hamilton College. Gina is a trustee of the Norwich Public Library and the Montshire Museum of Science.

 

New Directors Join Vital Communities Board

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Left to Right: Barbara Barry, Rick Mills, and Nancy Merrill

In September we welcomed three new members to the Vital Communities Board of Directors. Barbara Barry, Rick Mills, and Nancy Merrill join 10 incumbent board members, as well as new Revers Board Fellows from the Tuck School of Business, Catherine Boyson and Rene Bystron, in supporting Vital Communities’ mission and strengthening our work over the next several years.

Woodstock resident Barbara Barry recently retired as co-owner and innkeeper of Applebutter Inn Bed and Breakfast after 15 years. A founding board member of Sustainable Woodstock, Barbara was a volunteer for the Solarize Pomfret-Woodstock campaign we helped coordinate in 2014-2015.

South Strafford resident Rick Mills, JD, has been the Executive Vice President at Dartmouth College since September 2013. He is responsible for the management and coordination of the administrative operations of the institution including financial, facility, human resources, and other administrative operations.

Nancy Merrill, a resident and former city councilor in Lebanon, is the Director of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Claremont, where she focuses on reinvestment and adaptive reuse as a driver of economic growth. She also serves as a Commissioner at the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission.

“Barbara, Nancy, and Rick all bring incredible knowledge and new perspectives to the Vital Communities Board,” said Executive Director Tom Roberts. “Each one has a passion for our mission of bringing people together to find collaborative solutions to regional challenges facing the Upper Valley. We’re so fortunate to have them with us to strengthen our work into the future.”

Additional changes include Jenny Levy stepping in as our new board chair this year, succeeding Bill Geraghty. Many thanks to Barbara, Rick, and Nancy, and to our entire Board of Directors, for your commitment to Vital Communities.
Find all of our Board members at VitalCommunties.org/Board.
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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:

 

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

 

TasteAndToastLogo

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!

EverydayBicyclingWindsor

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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