Cross to retire from One Credit Union

SPRINGFIELD — After 32 years, Jerry Cross, president and CEO of One Credit Union has announced his intention to retire at the end of February. Cross joined Bryant Credit Union in 1985 when it was a fledgling outfit with $1.8 million in assets, 1,400 members and only the most basic checking, savings and loan products. Over the years, he led the expansion to a full service suite of savings and lending solutions, including mortgages, business lending, along with the latest in e-channel technology, the company said in a statement. Managing in the wake of the 2008 national economic downturn, Cross recognized that small credit unions were collapsing under the weight of increased regulatory burdens, along with consumers’ unbridled demand for the latest electronic delivery channels. His insight led to the merger with both United Community Credit Union and Champlain Valley Credit Union, with One Credit Union as the surviving entity.

USDA Energy seeks grant applications

MONTPELIER — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting grant applications from rural businesses interested in increasing their bottom line through energy efficiency upgrades or the installation of renewable energy systems. USDA Rural Development is accepting applications until March 31 for funding through the Rural Energy for America Program. USDA Rural Development seeks to support economic development in rural areas through helping businesses invest in energy improvements. Rural businesses and agricultural producers are eligible to apply for either energy efficiency or renewable energy project funding through REAP. For projects that generate renewable energy such as a solar array, applicants may apply for a grant of up to $500,000. For projects that increase a business’s energy efficiency — such as a dairy installing an energy efficient milk chiller — applicants may apply for a grant of up to $250,000.

Vermont churches awarded grants for energy audits

Seven Vermont churches and faith communities received grants in 2016 to enable them to have professional energy audits of their facilities though Vermont Interfaith Power and Light and the Katy Gerke Memorial Program. The matching grant money was awarded to: Federated Church, of East Arlington; Knights of Columbus, Rutland; Norwich Congregational Church; United Church of Dorset and East Rupert; United Church of Northfield; Waitsfield United Church of Christ; and White River Junction United Methodist Church. These energy audits provide assessments of their opportunities for reducing their energy costs. The results of these audits can then be used to apply for matching grants from the KGMP to install the energy efficiency measures identified. Vermont Interfaith Power and Light ( is a Vermont nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve and support efforts by Vermont faith communities to address our climate crisis through sustainable energy use and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Sunburst Six luxury lift at Okemo. Photo by Karen Lorentz

Ski to success: How little Vermont stays on top of the winter industry

By Karen D. Lorentz
Vermont ranks as the No. 1 ski state in the East, and most years third in the nation — behind Colorado and California but ahead of Utah — in annual skier visits. That successful track record, based on data compiled by the National Ski Areas Association’s annual Kottke Report, springs from a combination of terrain, diversity, history and innovation, industry executives agree. “Vermont has about the same number of ski areas as New Hampshire but does twice its annual visits; it does three times Maine’s visits,” said Parker Riehle, president of the Vermont Ski Areas Association. “New York has 51 ski areas, but only a few are major players.”
Noting the role that terrain plays, Riehle said, “Vermont has 10 mountains with a 2,000-or-greater-foot vertical drop, which is more than New York, New Hampshire, and Maine areas have combined.”
Chris Nyberg, a 40-year industry veteran (including five years managing Killington), who is now a strategic planning consultant, praised Vermont’s 7,291 acres of trails.

GMP makes list of innovative companies

COLCHESTER — Fast Company named Green Mountain Power in its annual ranking of the world’s most innovative companies for 2017. Green Mountain Power was named to the list of Top 10 most innovative companies in energy. Green Mountain Power is focused on energy transformation, with more reliable, cost-effective and low-carbon energy by radically transforming the antiquated grid system to one that is more home-, business- and community-centered and leverages innovations like battery storage, according to a news release. “GMP’s recognition on this prestigious list is richly deserved, as Mary Powell and her team have consistently demonstrated that even a smaller utility can distinguish itself through fearless innovation and relentless focus on enhancing the customer experience,” said David Crane, former CEO of NRG Energy and NRG Yield. “Other utilities, which persist in the old utility model, fighting a rearguard action against progress in the power industry, will be left behind.

Michele B. Patton

Patton now a partner at Burlington firm  

BURLINGTON — Langrock Sperry & Wool has made Michele B. Patton a partner. Patton works in the Middlebury office. Her litigation practice includes workers’ compensation claims, personal injury cases, trust and estate litigation, and general civil litigation matters. Prior to joining the firm in 2010, she worked with victims of domestic violence through Bay Area Legal Aid and the California Asylum Representation Clinic. In 2008, she was chosen as a Herma Hill Kay Fellow for her work advocating for domestic violence victims. In law school, she was an editor of the Berkeley Technology Law Journal and the Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law.

French is Mt. Ascutney’s employee of the month

WINDSOR — Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center has named Patricia “Crikett” French the Hospital’s employee of the month for December 2016. French, a certified medical assistant, was cited for her positive energy and willingness to go “the extra mile” to help both patients and providers. “Crikett has great relationships with patients and her co-workers, and often works after hours to coordinate multiple community clinics,” said supervisor Anel Sirois, nurse manager/clinical leader. “She is constantly looking for new ways to improve morale in the hospital, and has always been willing to pitch in and help whenever she sees the need.”

French joined the staff of the hospital in July 1998.

Dr. Melinda Maris

Southern Vermont College welcomes Dr. Melinda Maris  

BENNINGTON — Southern Vermont College has announced Dr. Melinda Maris joined the staff as director of the Center for Teaching and Learning on Feb. 1. Maris, an award-winning teacher and scientist, will also serve as associate provost for student success and associate professor of biology. As head of the Center for Teaching and Learning, she will manage the college’s TRIO Student Support program. Maris comes from Vesalius College, a liberal arts college in Brussels, Belgium.

Aria Allen shops for local produce at Mazza's Farm Stand in Essex. Aria, who grew up on a farm in Greensboro and now works in Montpelier, appreciates local food and buys it as much as she can. To save money, she prefers to buy directly from the source and will often shop at farm stands near her home. Photo provided by Rooted in Vermont.

Opinion: Why local burgers are more expensive

When purchasing food, cost is often a deciding factor for consumers. Why buy a 12-ounce package of local bacon for $7.99 when you can get it for $4.98? Purchasing local food means you know where your food comes from, you’re buying food that is generally healthier and you’re helping drive the local economy to keep more jobs and dollars circulating in the state. Still, price can be a sticking point for many Vermonters. While it’s true that the cost of local food at the grocery store is often higher than mass-produced commodity food, the reasons for that might surprise you.