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.

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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.

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!

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

Trek to Taste – June 2016

The 10th Annual Trek to Taste—a celebration of local food and local trails—is scheduled for Saturday, June 2, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont. This free family event is co-sponsored by more than 30 area organizations and is one of the most popular events in the Upper Valley with over 500 people in attendance.

This year’s Trek will feature some familiar elements and introduce some new ones as well. Guided hikes will begin at the Forest Center at 10:30 a.m. Walkers of all ages are invited to join knowledgeable area guides for treks to the park’s Horse Shed Meadow (1/4mile), the Nordic Hut (1 mile) and Mount Tom’s South Peak Summit (2 miles).

Five “hubs” of activities will draw visitors through the park’s amazing trail system. Under the big tent at the Forest Center, visitors will find the Upper Valley Farm to School Network showcase, organized by Vital Communities. Area school teams will exhibit exciting projects related to local food and farms, and provide tasty food samples. Student presenters will share fruit and vegetable juices made from local ingredients, a presentation about their expanded gardens and storage crops, and how they created a cooking class for preschoolers.

ArtisTree is joining the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) at the terminus of the shortest hike, to the park’s Horse Shed Meadow, to feature kid-friendly activities including a visit with a live raptor, art activities and a smoothie bike!

The Woodstock High School and Middle School Farm to School program is preparing wood-fired pizza at the Nordic Hut, using many locally sourced ingredients cooked in the Park’s own mobile wood-fired oven. You will also find various lawn games to play as you nibble on your pizza.

Sustainable Woodstock is gathering gourmet food from area farms and establishments, providing well-deserved tastes by hikers who make it to the Summit of Mount Tom. Many activities, such as making walking sticks and a local Valley Quest guided by Vital Communities staff, will be organized for trekkers young and old. The day includes music by the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra and an ice cream social sponsored by the Billings Park Commission with homemade ice cream from the Woodstock Creamery. Learn more about this fun and tasty day at trektotaste.info.

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.

Honoring 12 Upper Valley Mentors

Vital Communities will honor a dozen Upper Valley mentors at its 2016 celebration on May 19. The annual event, now in its fifth year, recognizes community leaders who have made significant positive impacts in the region and serves as a benefit for the Leadership Upper Valley program of Vital Communities.

“The Upper Valley is a special place because of the people who care so deeply about our community,” said Vital Communities Executive Director Tom Roberts. “The 12 mentors we’re pleased to honor this year have invested their time and energy to provide guidance and inspiration to our region’s current and future leaders.”

Beth 2012Keynote Speaker: Elizabeth Sawin is Co-Director of Climate Interactive. A biologist with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Beth trained in system dynamics and sustainability with Donella Meadows and worked at Sustainability Institute, the research institute founded by Meadows, for 13 years. Beth’s work increasingly focuses on Multisolving, helping people find solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while producing multiple benefits in health, justice, equity, resilience, and well-being. She writes and speaks on this topic to local, national, and international audiences. In 2014 she was invited to participate in the Council on the Uncertain Human Future, a continuing dialogue on issues of climate change and sustainability among a select group of humanities scholars, writers, artists, and climate scientists. Beth’s work also focuses on capacity building – helping leaders achieve bigger impact. She has trained and mentored global sustainability leaders in the Donella Meadows Fellows Program, and provided systems thinking training to both Ashoka and Dalai Lama Fellows in recent years. Beth lives in rural Vermont and is a member of Cobb Hill Co-Housing along with her husband, Phil Rice, and their two daughters.

Chief Alexander and carJim Alexander has spent his career helping and uplifting people both in his community and his work. Jim began his 25-year police career in the Upper Valley, culminating in the role of Chief of Police of Lebanon. He has a BS in Criminal Justice Administration and had a unique opportunity to graduate from the FBI National Academy in 2004. During his tenure as the Lebanon Chief of Police he was integral to several community programs, including the Grafton County Drug Court, which seeks to provide treatment and break the cycle of recidivism for repeat, non-violent offenders. Jim was one of a handful of local officials who launched the program, which has become a key part of the local criminal justice system. He is now the Emergency Management Coordinator for Dartmouth-Hitchcock and serves on the New Hampshire and Vermont Emergency Manager Hospital Association Boards. In addition he has been on the board for the Friends of the Drug Court and Lebanon Outing Club and is active in the Christ Redeemer Church in Hanover. Jim lives in Canaan with his wife Deb.

Barnes Boffey Barnes Boffey head shothas many passions, significant among them his love for the work and the vision of the Aloha Foundation. Summer 2016 will be his 24th and final summer as the Director of Camp Lanakila, and his 55th all together. He uses his Middlebury College drama major skills in all facets of his professional life, primarily teacher training, including directing the UVTTP (now UVEI) in its early adolescence and then as Director of Teacher Training at Dartmouth. He has maintained a private counseling practice since 1977, specializing in “Success Counseling.” As a long-term faculty member of the Institute for Reality Therapy, he worked closely with one of his primary mentors, Dr. William Glasser. Barnes credits much of his perspective in helping others to his own struggles with addiction and recovery, and his book Reinventing Yourself shares some of that journey. His true passion is helping people find their best selves and bringing those into being. He thanks Aloha for giving him the opportunity to do that as a way of making a living.

Tommy ClarkTommy Clark is a pediatrician and former professional soccer player. He conceived the idea for Grassroots Soccer after living and playing soccer in Zimbabwe. Tommy was born in Scotland and moved to Zimbabwe at age 14, where his father Bobby Clark was coach of the Highlanders Football Club. He attended Dartmouth College, where he was captain of the soccer team. Following graduation, Tommy returned to Zimbabwe to teach English and play professional soccer. He attended Dartmouth Medical School and was twice named the Resident Teacher of the Year during his residency in pediatrics at the University of New Mexico.  Following residency, Tommy was a research fellow at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California at San Francisco. Tommy has been awarded the American Academy of Pediatrics Annie Dyson Child Advocacy Award, the Dartmouth College Martin Luther King Junior award, the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care Nkosi Johnson Award, and the Peach Abbey Courage of Conscience Award.

Carol DunneCarol Dunne has directed many acclaimed productions as the Producing Artistic Director of Northern Stage. She joined Northern Stage in 2013 and has helped to reimagine and reshape the company in its new home, The Barrette Center for the Arts. Under Carol’s leadership, Northern Stage has successfully launched a new works festival whose first play, Orwell in America, will transfer Off-Broadway in the Fall of 2016. A Senior Lecturer in Theater at Dartmouth College, she has forged an official partnership with Dartmouth offering a groundbreaking collaborative program called Shakespeare in the Schools for area schoolchildren, and creating an Experiential Term for Dartmouth theater students. Carol also introduced musical theater into the curriculum at Dartmouth and has directed half a dozen musicals there. She received the Distinguished Lecturer Award from the College in 2010. Prior to joining Northern Stage, Carol was the Producing Artistic Director of the New London Barn Playhouse, where she produced over 50 plays and musicals and is credited with dramatically transforming a struggling yet beloved institution into an artistically excellent, fully professional and financially successful company. She lives in Etna with husband Peter Hackett and children Ellie and Jamie.

 

PETERPeter Faletra received a Ph.D. from Boston University, where he was a teaching fellow in the accelerated medical school program. During his Ph.D. years he co-founded a successful biotech company and invented a novel method of producing large amounts of antisera for medical and scientific use. He spent 10 years at the Office of Science in the Department of Energy, where he was the Director of Workforce Development. In 2012, he was awarded an AAAS fellow for his many years as a mentor to students from middle school through medical school. Dr. Faletra is the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Academy of Science that has a mission to help secondary school students perform extensive scientific research and become members of the scientific community. He is now semi-retired and teaching science at Crossroads Academy where he and his wife Elaine take great enjoyment mentoring students from the Upper Valley and helping to inspire them to be the sort of scientists our world needs to address some of the most challenging issues facing the human race.

 

Dan JantzenDan Jantzen has been a member of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock management team since 1990 serving in a variety of leadership positions. In his current role as Executive Vice President for Operations and Chief Operating Officer, he oversees operations across the D-H system. In 2012, he was named one of the “100 Hospital and Health System COOs to Know” by Becker’s Hospital Review. A Certified Public Accountant for over 30 years, Dan was previously a Senior Manager in the Audit Department of KPMG Peat Marwick, primarily serving clients in the health care, public utilities, and financial services industries. He graduated from Northeastern University with a BS in Business Administration and a concentration in Accounting. Dan has served on the Boards of a variety of Upper Valley organizations including David’s House, Crossroads Academy, New London Hospital, and Mascoma Savings Bank. He is a guest lecturer at Tuck, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI), and the Geisel School of Medicine and enjoys passing on what he has learned to the next generation of leaders. Dan lives in Etna with his wife, Deb. They have three adult children and a new grandson.

Shirley's head shotShirley Jefferson, a Selma, Alabama native, received her BS in Public Administration from Southeastern University and a JD degree from Vermont Law School. As the law school’s Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity, she provides leadership and guidance for individual students and student organizations, administers the VLS Code of Conduct, serves as chair of the Student Services and Diversity Committee and serves as an advisor to the President and Dean and other Deans and Directors on student and diversity issues. Shirley is also an adjunct professor teaching Race and the Law and Non-Profit Organizations and was appointed by Governor Jim Douglas to the Vermont State Police Advisory Commission. She is known for her motivational speeches on diversity for many different audiences. Shirley lives in Sharon, VT, with her son Jamaal and her granddaughter Liyah.

JoeJoe O’Donnell has been an Upper Valley resident for most of the time since 1969, when he arrived in Hanover to attend Dartmouth Medical School. He trained in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute from 1976-78, but soon returned to become chief of oncology at the White River Junction VA Hospital. He and his oncology colleagues were very involved in the development of the care of patients with cancer in the region, and the programs and outreach of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. He has also been influential in coordinated efforts aimed at preventing illness and developing palliative care programs. He has been in the Dean’s Office at Dartmouth Medical School since 1985 and is currently Senior Advising Dean. He has led award-winning efforts to involve students in service to the community, and nurtured efforts to embed compassion in medical care and to create a focus on wisdom in medicine. Joe and his wife Janice raised four children and now have four grandsons. They live in Grantham, N.H.

PeggyPeggy O’Neil  has been the Executive Director at WISE since 2003, working to support Upper Valley people and communities impacted by domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking. She also serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. With an undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Antioch College, Peggy has worked in nonprofits focused on crisis services and mental health for over 25 years. She is a trained domestic and sexual violence advocate and received her crisis worker certification from the American Association of Suicidology. Peggy is also a 2005 graduate of Leadership New Hampshire and the 2015 recipient of the Deborah Aliber Award for Community Service from the Women’s Network of the Upper Valley. She lives in Cornish, N.H.

 

Susan Reeves colorSusan Reeves is Professor and Dean at the School for Health Professions at Colby-Sawyer College. A retired employee of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, she served the organization for 35 years, specializing in oncology nursing. Susan joined the adjunct faculty at Colby-Sawyer in 2003 teaching Biomedical Ethics. After serving in a part-time role as the Chair of the Nursing Department, in 2007 she was asked to lead and re-build the Nursing program where she has served since. She also led the development of the College’s Health Care Management, Health Promotion, and Public Health programs, as well as both an online bachelor degree completion program for registered nurses and the College’s first master’s program, which will be in nursing.  Susan is the Chair of the Board of Trustees for New London Hospital and is a Director for the Crotched Mountain Foundation. She also works closely with faculty of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth to offer interprofessional education sessions to nursing and medical students as well as electives in the medical humanities. Susan and her husband David live in New London, N.H.

gayGay Sabin has been a beloved teacher for over 47 years, and also an award-winning supervisor and mentor, and an active leaders in many educational associations. Although she has officially retired, Gay is still serving as a substitute teacher at the Grantham Village School, where she has taught since 2002. Nominated by her 1965 classmates, Gay was awarded the 2015 Touch the Future Award by the Independent Alumni Association of Framingham State University honoring teachers who teach teachers and demonstrate and instill an enthusiasm for teaching. Among other accomplishments, Gay was awarded the national Thanks to Teachers Excellence Award in 1990. Gay began her teaching career in Deerfield, MA, where she and her husband, Chris, raised their daughter Kate. They moved to NH (Eastman) in 2002 and she began to work at the Grantham Village School.  In 2013, Gay was awarded the Eastman Recreation Volunteer Award for her work mentoring the teen business project, “Peppermint Patty’s.”

fwt photoFred Thomas, at age 89, personifies the mission of SCORE, an organization dedicated to providing counselors, advisors, and mentors to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners and for which he often volunteers five days a week. Since 1984 Fred has served as a mentor for the Lebanon Chapter of SCORE, offering advice and encouragement to countless Upper Valley business owners. He served as President of the Lebanon Chapter for four years and has also been the Chair and President of the SCORE National Board of Directors. He has served as a past Board Member of both the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and Vital Communities. In addition, he served as a Board member and Treasurer for the Upper Valley Land Trust. Fred holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University. He and his wife Marjorie live in Thetford and have three daughters, Laurie, Kathryn, and Barbara.

Another Great Flavors of the Valley

The 45+ Upper Valley farms, food businesses, and non profits shared tasty treats, seedlings, and information with more than 1000 people Sunday (April 10, 2016) at the 15th annual Flavors of the Valley. The crowd enjoyed maple candies, artisan cheeses, crepes, farm fresh meat, fermented veggies, and so much more. Flavors celebrates our vibrant local food economy and is a great place to connect with farms and local food.

Skinny Pancake crew

Root 5 Danielle Ben Powerkraut

Field Acres Farm

Sweetland Farm Norah Flavors crowd attendees Thistel Hill cheese Putnam

Complete list of 2016 vendors.

 

Thank you to our event sponsors!

The Co-op Food Stores, Mascoma Savings Bank, Skinny Pancake, Yankee Farm Credit, King Arthur Flour, and New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food.

Soups and Salads at Newbury

Newbury salad bar

Newbury Elementary is enjoying the fruits of our summer and fall labors this winter. Our 5/6 team is planning to make bread and a variety of soups for the March Town Meeting Day- mostly from fare that was grown in our raised beds and gardens near the school. The money they raise from the lunches will go toward a wonderful end-of-the-year science field trip to Cape Cod. Our terrific Chef Paul continues to provide superb, healthy lunches for our students and staff and offers a full salad bar every day. He’s eager for spring to come so he can continue to purchase locally grown produce to supplement our salad bar and lunches. Here’s to the coming of the spring season! – Kim Goody, Farm to School Coordinator, Newbury Elementary School, Newbury, VT

Chili, Farmers’ Market, and Hockey Oh My!

Feb 16 Hockey

Sharon Elementary just hosted our annual Chili Cook-Off that coincided with a Farmer’s Market and Hockey Tournament. The proceeds from the event went towards the Sharon Sprouts, our Farm to School committee, and the outdoor rink. 16 chili’s were entered and in the end, Mama’s Chili was awarded the winner! It was a wonderful community event that highlighted good food and physical activity! The hockey tournament was won by Sharon Elementary’s Third Grade teacher, Keenan Haley’s, team! – Keenan Haley, Teacher, Sharon Elementary, Sharon, VT

From the Farm to the Taco in Woodstock

Feb 16 3

Woodstock Union Middle and High School Farm to School students got up close and personal with some beef cows at Eastman Farm in Barnard this month. Students held a pie raffle earlier this fall to raise funds to purchase local beef for two local Taco Tuesdays in the school cafeteria. They toured the farm, talked to the farmers, and gained a new appreciation and answer to the question ‘where’s the beef?’- Kat Robbins, Place-based Education Coordinator, Woodstock Union Middle and High School, Woodstock, VT