Gov. Phil Scott is flanked by Bourne's Energy President Peter Bourne (left) and Renewable Energy Vermont Executive Director Olivia Campbell Andersen at a ribbon-cutting to dedicate a 50-ton bulk wood-pellet silo at the company's North Hyde Park premises. Courtesy photo

Full circle: Renewable energy pays dividends

HYDE PARK — What goes around, comes around. The old adage is true of efforts by northern Vermont energy suppliers Bourne’s Energy to invest in sustainable energy. It is also true of early connections between the company and Gov. Phil Scott, who renewed old acquaintances when he visited the North Hyde Park company Monday. Scott was the guest of honor at a ribbon-cutting at the energy company, dedicating a 50-ton bulk wood-pellet silo that will greatly increase access in northern Vermont to an affordable, sustainable fuel source expected to help lower Vermont’s carbon footprint. It was also the chance for Scott to celebrate old ties with a company where he worked as a delivery driver 30 years ago.

The new Burke Hotel and Conference Center is open 365 days a year. Photo by Adam Lukowski.

The new Burke: A mountain on the move

Burke Mountain Ski Resort boasts some legendary terrain and a bodacious glade system. Many of the country’s best competitors sharpened their skills on the mountain, which is home to Burke Mountain Academy. This leading ski academy graduated 33 Olympians and 138 national team athletes, including Mikaela Shiffrin, the 2014 Olympic gold medalist in slalom and current Women’s World Cup overall title leader. But for all the ski resort’s pluses — 2,011-foot vertical, diversity of trails, high-speed lifts, separate novice and learning areas, location near interstates 91 and 93 — Burke has remained something of an undiscovered jewel. That may be changing, thanks to the new Burke Hotel and Conference Center and to Burke recently being designated as an official U.S. Ski Team Development Site, the nation’s first.

Julianna Baggott

Author to lead VCFA writing faculty

MONTPELIER — Vermont College of Fine Arts has appointed critically acclaimed author Julianna Baggott as faculty director of the college’s residential Master of Fine Arts in writing and publishing program. Baggott is also an experienced educator. “I’m thrilled to have Julianna join us as faculty director for our MFA in writing and publishing program,” said VCFA President Tom Greene. “Many of us in the writing community have been in awe of Julianna for her incredible range and singular talent as an author. She is not only an amazing novelist who writes for adults and children, but is also an accomplished essayist and poet.”
Baggott has written and published more than 20 books under her own name, as well as the pen names Bridget Asher and N.E. Bode.

LPCTV public access expands its reach

LUDLOW — LPCTV, the community access television station and media center for the Okemo Valley, is pleased to announce that its two TV channels can now be found on VTel’s VTelevision. The programming can be seen across the VTelevision network throughout the VTel service area in southern Vermont. This includes subscribers in the towns which LPCTV is designated to serve: Mount Holly, Plymouth, Andover and Reading. Programming includes coverage of community events, “gavel-to-gavel” coverage of local government meetings, performances from local artists and programming produced for and by the local schools. Sharon Combes-Farr, president of the LPCTV board of directors said, “LPCTV has proudly served the Okemo Valley region for more than 15 years.

Conference celebrates Vermont’s Arbor Day

MONTPELIER — The annual Vermont Arbor Day Conference, May 4 in Montpelier, will feature talks on tree health, pruning basics, soil restoration, “green” streets and other topics of interest to arborists, foresters, tree wardens and other stewards of Vermont’s forests. The Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Program will hold the event at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Lunch is included in the $40 registration fee. Students may attend for $15. The deadline for registration is May 2.

CVMC’s Choate named chief nursing officer

BERLIN — Matthew Choate was recently named chief nursing officer for the University of Vermont Health Network — Central Vermont Medical Center. Choate had served as interim CNO since December 2016. Choate cited recognition for nurses, fiscal management and staff engagement as priorities. “I look forward to bringing an increased business focus to nursing, educating our staff and developing our nursing leadership team, and using data in combination with empowered nursing leaders to make the best decisions about how we deliver nursing care in our organization,” he said. Choate earned his Master’s of Business Administration, with dual specialization in finance and health care management from Northeastern University, in Boston.

New laws affect opioid prescribing practices

For several years now, we’ve heard both nationally and at the state level that we are living through an unprecedented opioid epidemic. As part of the effort to combat this crisis, the federal government has taken aim at opioid prescribing practices. In March 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain to provide best-practice recommendations for primary-care doctors. In Vermont, the Legislature passed legislation, signed into law in June 2016, which put in place a number of new regulations aimed at combating opioid abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 20 percent of patients visiting doctor’s offices with noncancer pain symptoms or pain-related diagnoses are prescribed an opioid medication.

Family announces sale of campground

ARLINGTON — The Pratt family of Arlington has announced the sale of Camping on the Battenkill to Neil Krawczyk and his wife, Leanne Silber. In January 2016, the Pratts put their campground of 55 years up for sale. “There comes a time in a family business when you need to decide that the time is right to let it go” said Lesley P. Nase, who has run the business with her brother, Peter Pratt. “If the damage left by Tropical Storm Irene hadn’t been so extensive and costly to rebuild, it may have been a different story,” she added. Nase said she looked for a buyer who wanted to keep the campground a campground; people who would appreciate what was envisioned years ago by her father, Lawrence Pratt, and run by her mother, Mary.

Christopher Snow

Snow joins Mt. Ascutney’s internal medicine team

WINDSOR — Christopher Snow has joined the staff at Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, bringing a holistic approach to his practice with an emphasis on patient health and well-being. Snow will be working with the internal medicine team to improve patient access. He earned his master’s degree in physician assistant studies at Franklin Pierce College in 2015, and is a 2003 graduate of Keene State College. Most recently, he worked as an inpatient medical provider at the Brattleboro Retreat.

Small businesses’ hiring freeze begins to thaw

The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The hiring freeze at small businesses looks like it’s finally thawing. Recruiting is picking up after being dormant at many companies even years after the recession. The factors behind companies’ decisions to hire vary, with some anticipating a big revenue kick from the Trump administration’s spending plans for defense and infrastructure. Others are responding to trends such as consumers’ shift to online shopping, which means more jobs at internet retailers. And some hires are at companies whose customers are suffering from anxiety in the early days of the new administration.