Affordable housing is becoming something of an oxymoron in Vermont. Many low-income renters, according to a recent report, are finding that even a modest two-bedroom apartment is neither affordable nor in decent supply in many parts of the state. “The costs are driven by the economy, and we are not necessarily responsive to the affordability level,” said Elisabeth Kulas, executive director of the Housing Trust of Rutland County, a nonprofit corporation that provides affordable housing to residents of the county. Kulas said housing affordability in Rutland County and across Vermont is a “multifaceted” problem based on a ratio of income versus rent. She said many low-wage earners lack the necessary skills to work at a higher-paying job, or that their skills don’t match up with the jobs that are available locally.
It’s a problem being repeated by employers around the state with increasing regularity: a shortage of qualified workers. That problem has grown more acute as the state — with an unemployment rate of 3.1 percent — is at or near what’s considered full employment. It’s a serious issue, and one the Vermont Business Roundtable has taken on. Made up of CEOs from around the state, the organization has created the Vermont Talent Pipeline Management Project to tackle the problem from the employer’s perspective. The idea is to expand the role of the employer as the “end customer” of the education and training pipeline, said Lisa Ventriss, president of the Vermont Business Roundtable.
BURLINGTON — Kim Roy has been named director of multifamily asset management and compliance at the Vermont Housing and Finance Agency. She began her career at the agency in 1989 in the communications department and has held a variety of positions with VHFA, most recently as assistant director of multifamily programs. She will take over the department leadership from recently retired Sam Falzone. “Kim has been a long-term, dedicated employee of VHFA for 28 years and we are so pleased she is taking on this new role,” said Sarah Carpenter, VHFA’s executive director. She is a certified occupancy specialist and is also housing tax credit certified. Roy will be responsible for the oversight of VHFA’s multifamily portfolio and for initiatives to preserve affordable housing.
The Associated Press HONG KONG — With its marble-clad lobby, sweeping balcony views and sleek, modern decor, Donny Chan’s apartment building would seem the kind of upscale tower most young Hong Kong professionals aspire to live in. But not for Chan, 39, who avoids spending time in his 19th-floor apartment because it measures just 193 square feet (about 14 feet by 14 feet). His parking space-sized studio in the grandly named High One building is part of a growing trend for so-called micro apartments that are diminutive even by the standards of space-starved and densely built Hong Kong. “Every time that I step back into this (apartment) I kind of feel like a cat squeezed into a box,” said Chan, an art director at a medical equipment maker. To avoid returning to his cramped and claustrophobic apartment before bedtime he plays basketball or badminton, goes to the movies or karaoke bars, and gets together with friends and family.
WATERBURY — Det. Sgt. Dave Petersen, a member of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation Unit assigned to the St. Johnsbury Field Station and VSP Bomb Squad, has been promoted to lieutenant, and will serve as commander of the Office of Professional Standards. Petersen is assuming command from Lieutenant Dee Barbic, who retired June 10, after 26 years of service.
RANDOLPH — Licensed mental health and alcohol and drug counselor Jeff Nowlan will be managing the Behavioral Health program at Gifford Hospital, helping to further the integration of Gifford’s Behavioral Health and Addiction Medicine programs into the primary-care practices. He will also be counseling patients. Most recently, Nowlan was counseling program coordinator at Spectrum Youth and Family Services in Burlington, and brings experience in program management and in adolescent, family and adult counseling. “I believe that everyone has the inner resources to make changes in their lives,” he said. “Much of my work is learning about what motivates a person to change.”
A native of Randolph, Nowlan received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Vermont and then traveled to Oregon, where he worked in an adolescent inpatient center for five years.
LEBANON, N.H. — Dr. Joanne Mather Conroy has been selected as the second chief executive officer and president of Dartmouth-Hitchcock and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. The appointment was made by a unanimous vote of the board of trustees at a special meeting on June 14. Conroy, 61, is CEO of Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts. She previously held leadership positions at the Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine Atlantic Health System, and the Association of American Medical Colleges. “In Dr. Conroy, the trustees believe we have found an exceptional person to lead the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health system,” said board chairperson Anne-Lee Verville.
BRATTLEBORO — Kathryn Inskeep has joined the School for International Training as associate dean of assessment and learning support, starting June 6. She comes to SIT from Kean University in New Jersey, where she was director of the Writing Center and an English Department instructor. She holds a PhD and a master’s degree in English from Drew University, and a bachelor’s degree in English from Brigham Young University. “We’re extremely pleased to have Kathryn joining us,” said SIT President Sophia Howlett. “She brings considerable experience in assessment, classroom-based tutoring, online tutoring as well as composition knowledge in basic writing and multimodal composing.” The School for International Training prepares students to be intercultural leaders, professionals and citizens through field-based academic study abroad programs for undergraduates and accredited master’s degrees and certificate programs for graduates and professionals.
Magic Hat Brewing Company in South Burlington has a new take on local cuisine, partnering with 20 of Vermont’s top beer bars to let locals sample some of its most innovative brews with a line called, “Locals-Only.” “We are proud to be a part of the Magic Hat scene. When we first heard of the line, we were excited to jump in and support them. We are currently serving their fourth beer, the Fancy Grade, maple doppelbock,” said Brandon Fox, owner and general manager of Big Fatty’s BBQ and the Crowler Pit in White River Junction. “We carry Magic Hat in our Crowler Pit as well with their Locals-Only line next door in Big Fatty’s.” A “crowler” is a large, aluminum can that can be filled directly from a beer tap and sealed to last a while. The program began in January and is slated to run through 2018.
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — On Thursday, June 8, the Vermont Council on Rural Development presented its annual Vermont Lifetime Leadership Award to Paul Bruhn, executive director of Preservation Trust of Vermont, for his leadership in historic preservation and community development. The award was presented at the Downtown and Historic Preservation Conference at Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction. According to Rural Development Executive Director Paul Costello, “No one in the history of Vermont has had the reach and impact of Paul Bruhn for historic preservation, building restoration, Vermont downtown development, and community encouragement and empowerment.” As Sen. Patrick Leahy’s first campaign manager, and for four years his chief of staff, Bruhn was instrumental in finding the resources to drive the development of Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace. In 1980 Paul helped to found the Preservation Trust which has led over 1,500 community and historic preservation projects throughout Vermont from the Grand Isle Lake House and the Putney General Store to the Vermont Marble Museum in Proctor, Richmond’s Round Church, and the Single Chair at Mad River Glen.