A group of women meets Oct. 18, in the Burlington area for feasting and financial education during the second of a series of meetings arranged through the Financial Empowerment for New Americans Project, designed specifically for the needs of Somali women.
PROVIDED PHOTO

Parties bring financial knowledge to Somali women

BURLINGTON — The Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity offers new Americans the tools to overcome obstacles when assimilating into a new culture, a new language, a new financial system. Through its Financial Empowerment for New Americans Project, more than 350 individuals will not just be given useful tools to navigate through their new and unfamiliar world, but given the tools for a new life. The initiative has been designed over the course of two years, and is now helping increase the organization’s capacity to host financial-education house parties for Somali women, provide training for community ambassadors, host interpreted classes, develop interpretation and translated material for financial coaching services, and present an annual Financial Wellness Day for New Americans, the second of which took place in September. “The clients that CVOEO serves are at the heart of all that we do,” said Kate Larose, financial futures program director. “We built this project from the ground up using a human-centered design.

Contest promotes clean energy innovation in Vermont

To encourage climate-conscious entrepreneurs through a nationwide competition, the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund and associates are offering an opportunity starting in December for 12 entrepreneurs or startup companies from all over the country to participate in an intensive three-month program called Accel-VT. According to the Accel-VT website, winning applicants will “help solve the challenges related to the monitoring and control of distributed energy (e.g., storage, electric vehicles, solar, community-scale wind, combined heat and power) to improve their value while providing safe, reliable and affordable electric service to all customers.”
“All the electric utilities, including Washington Electric Co-op, are helping to fund and sponsor this — I would call it — this innovation center, this entrepreneurial effort,” said Patricia Richards, general manager of the co-op, which serves 11,000 customers with 100 percent renewable energy. Richards said the goal is to encourage some fresh thinking “about how we might do things differently to save money, save electricity and just improve overall service, cut carbon emissions.”
“If someone can think up some new way to do stuff, we’re open to hearing about it,” she said. Geoff Robertson, director of business assistance at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, said utility representatives and other corporate partners will serve as mentors to the companies selected to participate. Accel, which is a business accelerator course, is based on the Village Capital curriculum model that helps participants analyze their ideas among themselves with the additional goal of attracting investors.

Does market volatility scare you?

Halloween is almost upon us. Of course, on Halloween night, you may see a parade of monsters, demons, Transformers and other frightening individuals stopping by your house, exercising their right to demand candy. Fortunately, their appearance will be unlikely to cause you unpleasant dreams. But some people seem to have real fears about other things, such as what may happen in the financial markets. One way to keep those fears at bay is to avoid certain impulsive moves, such as the following:
— Avoid ducking out of the market. Consider this: In March 2007, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at about 12,275 points.

Washington Electric Co-op recognized for workplace safety

SOUTH BURLINGTON — The Washington Electric Cooperative of East Montpelier was among businesses singled out by the Vermont Department of Labor and Gov. Phil Scott recently for a strong commitment to providing safe, healthy and effective workplace programs, at the annual Vermont Safety and Health Council Expo, held in South Burlington. The Governor’s Award for Outstanding Workplace Safety is the highest honor given by the state and recognizes commitment to excellence in workplace safety. Other businesses singled out included Champlain Cable Corporation, Colchester; Global Foundries, Essex Junction; and New Hampshire-based HP Cummings Construction Company. The Award for Outstanding Workplace Safety was created 15 years ago, and is sponsored by the governor, the Department of Labor and the Vermont Safety and Health Council.  

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Fjeld honored with medical award for mentoring efforts  

RUTLAND — Dr. George Fjeld, a Brandon Medical Center physician who specializes in family medicine, has been honored with the Family Medicine of the Year Award for his commitment to teaching medical students and going “above and beyond” with his contributions to the teaching programs. He mentors one or two students each year in the Doctoring in Vermont program. As associate medical director for Community Health Centers of the Rutland Region, Fjeld is an active member of the provider community at CHCRR, serving on the Strategic Clinical Committee and the Medication Assisted Treatment Committee. A Brandon, Vermont native, he graduated from Otter Valley High School and University of Vermont, where he completed his undergraduate degree in biology. In 1981, he graduated from UVM College of Medicine and followed up with a residency in family practice at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. He returned to Brandon and opened a practice in 1984.

Participants get to work at the first meeting of a group planning a food "hub" for the Upper Valley at the King Arthur Flour and Cafe in Norwich on Sept. 26.
PHOTO COURTESY OF VITAL COMMUNITIES

Farmers look to form Upper Valley agriculture hub

For the past year, farmers in the Upper Valley region have been considering the benefits of a shared food facility. This shared space might include an array of options, such as dry, cold and frozen storage; food processing; an all-season retail sales room; a commercial kitchen; and a community and education space. On Sept. 26, King Arthur Flour and Café in Norwich hosted the first Upper Valley food hub meeting, which was led by Vital Communities of White River Junction, in addition to six farmers leading a push to organize: Danielle Allen of Root-5 Farm, Geo Honigford of Hurricane Flats, Peggy Allen of Savage Hart Farm, Suzanne Long of Luna Bleu Farm, Niko Horster of Northshire Beef, and Andrea Rhodes of Sunset Rock Farm. “This project will (hopefully) do for farmers what King Arthur Flour has done for baking, and provide a place for farmers to sell directly to the community,” said Nancy LaRowe, local first manager and Upper Valley food and farm coordinator at Vital Communities, which hosts a slate of programs aimed at keeping the Upper Valley socially and economically vital.

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Currier Memorial principal joins Vermont school leadership class

DANBY — Carolyn Parillo, of Greenwich, New York, has been accepted into the Vermont School Leadership Project’s class of 2018. Parillo is principal at Currier Memorial School in Danby. She joins 24 other educators from across the state in a unique program that offers intensive professional development for superintendents, principals, curriculum and special education directors, as well as other education professionals who have proven leadership abilities. The program began in July and lasts 13 months. Through theoretical discussions, experiential activities and personal reflection, associates will consider concepts related to education systems, organizational change and leadership.

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Baston joins Brattleboro Retreat as chief nursing officer  

BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Retreat has appointed Meghan Baston as the hospital’s new chief nursing officer. She began her duties on September 25. Baston comes to the Retreat from Elliot Hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire, where she had served as the director of behavioral health services and earlier as a clinical nurse manager. In addition to providing direct care, Baston’s nursing background includes experience with program/staff management, strategic planning, the development and implementation of clinical processes, staff education, regulatory oversight, workforce retention, and cultural transformation within the workplace. “I’m excited to be part of a mission that focuses exclusively on treating people who suffer from mental illness and addiction,” said Baston.

Democratic Rep. Tommy Walz of Barre speaks during a panel discussion on climate change and economic opportunities Tuesday sponsored by Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and held at the Old Labor Hall in Barre.
STEFAN HARD / STAFF PHOTO

Conference digs into the economics of climate action

BARRE — Cashing in on climate change? About 60 people gathered at the Old Labor Hall in Barre on Tuesday for a presentation, “Everyone’s Economic Opportunity in Climate Action, ” to discuss strategies for slowing down climate change and making money in the process. Sponsored by Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility and Vermont Natural Resources Council, the proceedings were moderated by Daniel Barlow, public policy manager for VBSR.
Panelists included Rep. Mary Hooper, D-Montpelier; Dan Hoxworth, executive director of Capstone Community Action; Rep. Tommy Walz, D-Barre; and Tim Shea, vice president for facilities and purchasing with the National Life Group. Barlow explained the forum is aimed at bolstering planned legislative action to create a “carbon-pricing mechanism.”
Several bills have been introduced, including:
— H.394, an act relating to a carbon tax and cap and a trade study in the Joint Fiscal Office. — H.531, relating to a carbon pollution fee in Vermont.