New series highlights state’s tech industry

BURLINGTON — Vermont’s booming technology sector will get a boost this month from a new weeklong series of events. Burlington’s inaugural Innovation Week, from Oct. 14 to 22, will feature programs highlighting the vibrant energy of the creative technology sector in the Queen City and throughout the state. Innovation Week will be bookended by Hack VT, a 24-hour hackathon during which competitors build apps to assist with state progress, and Vermont Tech Jam, a two-day job fair and tech expo that showcases Vermont employers and products, along with student projects. The Innovation Week schedule between Hack VT and Vermont Tech Jam features several spotlight presentations in numerous areas, from food, beverage and agriculture to energy efficiency, health care and software technology.

Bookstore owner launches new business

WATERBURY — Hiata DeFeo has a right to be happy. After seven years of offering Waterbury residents a welcoming, community-focused space at her Stowe Street store, Bridgeside Books, DeFeo has turned another one of her passions into a retail business.

Group helps drive new business in Vt.

BARRE — Capstone Community Action’s Micro Business Development program helped 18 people launch new businesses in central Vermont this year. Altogether, those businesses created 34 full-time jobs in Lamoille, Orange and Washington counties and helped provide access to $841,300 in financing through local banks and credit unions. With the program — now in its third decade — Capstone also provided established businesses with marketing and financial guidance about expanding their current product or service lines. About 200 people received technical assistance and other support from Capstone’s program this year. “Micro-business development is an extremely effective and cost-efficient job creator and community economic development engine,” Capstone’s Executive Director Dan H. Hoxworth said in a statement.

Program eases student debt burden

MONTPELIER — You don’t need a college degree to know that the rising costs of higher education are a huge challenge right now. Research from the Institute for College Access & Success found that 65 percent of Vermonters hold student debt, with an average debt of $29,060. The realities made big headlines this summer, when Vermont State Colleges Chancellor Jeb Spaulding announced a proposal to merge Lyndon State College and Johnson State College under one administration — a cost-saving measure that could have an impact on other areas of the VSC system. Chancellors will vote on the JSC-LSC merger on Sept. 29.

Jewelry shop marks 10 years

Aug. 1 marked Jeff and Vicki Eatons’ 10-year anniversary as the owners of Eaton’s Fine Jewelry, located on St. Albans City’s Main Street.
“It seems like the 10 years flew right by,” Jeff said on Aug. 2, while seated beside Vicki at their store.
Vicki said, “It sure doesn’t seem like 10 years, but we’ve seen many happy people in that time.”

Shat Acres owner: Business award ‘made it all worth it’

GREENSBORO BEND — Ray Shatney hollered as his wife, Janet Steward, watched, waited and grinned. “Come on, girls! Come on!”

Then they appeared, first one by one, then in clusters, from up over a small hill, until the green field where Shatney and Steward stood contained about 60 of them. Some had long horns — some shorter — and most had the long, wavy coat that makes them one of the most recognizable breeds of cattle in the world. In tiny Greensboro Bend — population 232 — Steward and Shatney operate Shat Acres, one of the premier (and oldest) Scotch Highland Cattle farms in the U.S.

Shatney and Steward breed, raise and process a 160-head Highland herd in Greensboro Bend and also at their farm in Plainfield, where they live.

Course blends game design, teaching

MARLBORO — Educators that are pursuing their master’s degree will have an opportunity to connect to their students through new technological tools, thanks to a new course at Marlboro College. The Marlboro College Professional Development Institute is now accepting students for its new Game Design for Teachers course. The six-week class runs from Aug. 14 to Sept. 25.

New brewery coming to St. Albans

ST. ALBANS — A good buzz is growing here over the recent announcement that another local beer and brewpub will emerge from Franklin County later this year. Mill River Brewing, a veteran- and woman-owned establishment, is on track to open in December at the former Hands On Car Wash site, on the corner of Lake Road and Beauregard Drive in St. Albans Town. Brothers and co-owners George “Dan” and David Fitzgerald, along with third owner Joyce Fitzgerald, David’s wife, hope to close on the 3,200-square-foot building at the end of July.

Furniture maker keeps wood’s ‘live edge’

BRISTOL — Environmentally-minded woodworker John Monks has worked with wood for his entire career. He’s also a thinker. Combine the two, and you have Vermont Tree Goods, which Monks launched in Bristol in May. Vermont Tree Goods uses reclaimed heirloom trees to manufacture a specialty line of natural-edged lumber and furniture. “Our approach to making furniture is simple — less is more,” Vermont Tree Goods says on its website, where users can see examples of the business’ work.

Home brew supply store opens

ST. ALBANS — When Merrill Hersey needed a logo for his new home brew supply store in downtown St. Albans, his girlfriend’s coworker drew one freehand, in 30 minutes. Now, the image of the “Bearded Expert,” which bears a striking resemblance to Hersey — especially the “bearded” part — is featured on the Web site and other marketing materials for his business, Open Barrel, located at 118 North Main St. Hersey, 33, of Richford, launched Open Barrel to rave reviews in April, during Vermont Maple Festival in St.