January, 2021 Archive

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Vermont’s Wood Products Industry Gets a Boost

first_imgThe Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) and the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association (VWMA) teamed up to produce this comprehensive, user-friendly guide for architects, builders and institutional purchasers throughout New England.The Resource Manual gleams with sleek photos of everything from lustrous pine conference tables to graceful maple staircases and contains detailed information for well over 50 Vermont wood products manufacturers. The Resource Manual highlights Vermont wood products manufacturers that sell or are capable of selling to institutional or large volume buyers and has been mailed to over 700 architects, builders, and institutional purchasers throughout New England. It’s also intended to help building professionals source FSC certified products for the growing number of LEED® building projects underway in the region.For Mike Rainville, President of the Board of the Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association, This is an opportunity to make builders and designers aware of the breadth of product and skills that exist within the state. The industry is made up of a lot of separate, independent businesses and the Resource Manual helps to show there is something significant here, even if it is tucked away in all corners of the state. In addition, the Resource Manual is a potential foot in the door for wood products producers who may not have supplied institutional purchasers and green builders to date.Rainville hopes the new Resource Manual will lead to other large purchase orders, like the one Lyndon Furniture in Lyndonville secured back in July. Upon learning about the chance to bid on the American Cancer Society’s new Manhattan headquarters, a staff member packed his displays and headed for the Big Apple. Three weeks later, Lyndon Furniture sealed a deal valued at $200,000 to furnish all 60 rooms in the building including the five floor Hope Lodge for cancer patients. The American Cancer Society is striving for the “LEED® Platinum” standard under the U.S. Green Building Council’s rating system for their new building.”Vermont’s forests and forest products sector are important for ecological, cultural and economic reasons,” stated Ed Delhagen, the Deputy Director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF). “Vermont’s forests have largely re-grown after heavy deforestation during the 19th century, but they are still threatened by development and climate change. It’s important for Vermont to retain vital, working forests.” The forest products sector has experienced ups and downs and its fate impacts many communities. According to a report released by the VSJF in 2005, 15 Vermont communities are dependent on forest products businesses.It was in this context that Ed Delhagen, working with the Office of Senator Leahy, created the Cornerstone Project in 2000. Cornerstone worked to harness the purchasing power of Vermont’s major institutions like the University of Vermont, Middlebury College, the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services to buy Vermont-made forest products. The Resource Manual is the culmination of the first round of work of the Cornerstone Project and provides users with quick references for their furniture, architectural millwork, windows/doors, plywood/panels, and lumber needs.According to the federal General Accounting Office, every dollar spent on locally milled timber creates approximately $3.50 of value to local communities. And every $97,000 spent on Vermont wood products creates one full time manufacturing job in the state. According to Delhagen, one of Middlebury Colleges recent projects pumped $3.5 million back into the local economy for the wood products industry alone.The market for green building products and services now exceeds $7 billion per year nationally, offering unprecedented prospects for small, green certified wood producers to flourish. “By acting now, Vermont is capitalizing on the opportunity to become a key supplier of sustainable wood products, all while boosting our economy, preserving our environment and adding jobs in our rural communities,” said Delhagen.Delhagen predicts that FSC certified wood will command a greater share of the wood products market. He points to the fact that there are now more than 24,000 U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® accredited professionals who specialize in green building, and more than 3,000 buildings on their way toward green certification, including the New York’s residential tower known as The Solaire, Goldman Sachs’ new headquarters, and Battery Park billed as the City’s first green neighborhood. The Resource Manual identifies companies that make products using wood certified under the standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).The manual itself was printed locally on FSC certified paper at Villanti & Sons Printers, Inc. (Williston). Delhagen says of the Manual, “With the rapidly rising interest in green building and buying local, were helping Vermont wood manufacturers to access new markets, improve their bottom line and add jobs.”The Resource Manual is also available in PDF format at www.vermontwood.com(link is external) or www.vsjf.org(link is external). A jpeg image of the Manual is available by contacting info@vsjf.org(link sends e-mail)last_img read more

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Governor Douglas ranked among top ten “Green Governors”

first_imgSource: Governor’s office### Governor Jim Douglas was recently named one of the nation s top ten Greenest Governors by Greenopia, an online directory of eco-friendly retailers, services, and organizations. The Governor was recognized on the site for undertaking several programs to make Vermont greener. These include the Clean and Clear Water Action Plan, Biofuel initiatives, and programs aimed at making the state government greener. Vermont also has tax incentives in place to help consumers and businesses go green.   Greenopia goes on to report that, Vermont has always been on the forefront of environmental legislation and its Governor, Jim Douglas is no exception. It s an honor receive this recognition, said Governor Douglas.  As the greenest state in the country, Vermont is leading the nation when it comes to setting environmental standards.  I believe it is important that we do all we can to keep the Green Mountains green.Greenopia conducts extensive research on companies and products listed in their directory.  The Greenest Governors project is an effort to further their mission of informing consumers (and voters) on issues of eco-friendly importance by revealing which state governments are most dedicated to preserving the environment.  States and governors play an important role in advancing good environmental policies and initiatives and Vermont is doing its part.  From providing incentives for environmentally friendly businesses to efforts to protect air and water quality, Vermont has taken a comprehensive approach to environmental protection.   As Governor, I will continue to do all I can to advance our efforts to clean up impaired waterways, reduce our carbon footprint with tough automobile emissions standards and encourage green jobs in our state, the Governor continued. We looked at all 50 governors in the US and compared their policies, transparency, and interest group ratings and ranked them. It was a monumental task,” said Doug Mazeffa, Greenopia’s director of research. “People want to know which Governors are the eco-leaders or laggards, and especially identify those making repeated eco-gaffes.last_img read more

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$65,000 USDA grant finances strategic marketing for two Randolph companies

first_imgLEDdynamics hired a new employee this week – and they hope to hire more. Despite the economic downturn, this Randolph business, a national leader in energy efficient LED lighting technology, is growing. In part, they credit their success to marketing efforts funded with Recovery Act dollars.Through a $65,000 USDA Rural Development Rural Business Enterprise Grant backed with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, the Randolph Area Community Development Corporation (RACDC) was able to finance marketing services and technical assistance for two Randolph companies – LEDdynamics and the Randolph Farm Stand.LEDdynamics developed the first true LED replacement bulb that fits in a standard fluorescent light. Unlike the billions of fluorescent bulbs in use around the world, the EverLED tubes contain no mercury or lead.  They also last up to five times as long as fluorescent tubes and use 33-percent less power. These and other innovations have put the company on the cutting-edge of the green energy business. What they needed was a way to get the word out.“It’s hard for a small Vermont business to get things out in the tech world,” said Cheryl Gilbert, Chief Financial Officer for the company.With RACDC’s assistance, they were able to work on marketing efforts, which included the creation of a new logo, targeted campaigns, an updated website, and the addition of a marketing manager. Since the grant was obligated in September 2009, the company has seen an uptick in business and added five employees.“To grow at all in this economy is amazing,” said Gilbert, whose company supports 28 technical jobs in this agrarian based rural community.The Randolph Farm Stand has also begun to make changes due to the strategic marketing funding.  One of the big transformations the company made was the adoption of a new name – Chef’s Market – to better reflect their products and services.Chef’s Market is a full service small grocer connecting producers of high quality local produce with consumers who value local agriculture and high quality food. It has established itself as an important community institution in a town with fewer than 5,000 residents. Owners Scott and Tammy Aronson have also recently added a kitchen, deli and dinners “to go,” prepared by Scott, a French chef, whose grandfather once owned a French restaurant in Randolph. The couple hopes to serve a need in the community and bring their offerings to a larger audience.“We’re doing great,” said Tammy Aronson.  “Even with the economy, we’re running really well.”President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law on Feb. 17, 2009.  It is designed to jumpstart the nation’s economy, create or save millions of jobs and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act includes measures to modernize our nation’s infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need.”President Obama’s Recovery Act has helped create jobs and lay a new foundation for economic growth during the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  “USDA has used Recovery Act funding to create badly-needed jobs and stimulate local economies, help farmers and rural businesses make it through tough times, ensure that struggling families can put food on the table, and build and revitalize critical infrastructure in rural communities across AmericaFor more information about USDA Rural Development’s * Program in Vermont/New Hampshire contact the *Name Office at *number or visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/vt(link is external), and for information about USDA’s Recovery Act efforts visit www.usda.gov/recovery(link is external).  More information about the Federal government’s efforts on the Recovery Act is available at www.recovery.gov(link is external).             USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/vt(link is external).Source: USDA. Randolph, VT, February 17, 2010 —#last_img read more

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Vermont Public Television receives national award for Champlain Quad Project

first_imgVermont Public Television (VPT), the statewide public television network, received a My Source Education Innovation Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) recently.  VPT was honored for an extensive educational initiative related to the project Lake Champlain Voyages of Discovery: Bringing History Home and the documentary “Champlain: The Lake Between,”  part of the 2009 Champlain Quadricentennial observance.  Focusing on the history of regional Native nations as well as early French heritage, the educational component included public screenings, question-and-answer sessions with the filmmaker, Caro Thompson of Broadwing Productions, teacher training workshops, a companion website and a CD-ROM with extensive teaching materials. Elsa Gilbertson, administrator of the Chimney Point State Historic Site, led the team that generated the educational content.  She and Thompson were the primary writers.  Additional content was contributed by Judy Dow, John Fadden, Thomas Hughes and Allison Stetzel. ~The teaching materials, along with a DVD of the documentary, were distributed free to 400 middle and high school educators in the Lake Champlain Basin of Vermont and northeastern New York.  Other partners in the project included the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, the Bixby Memorial Free Library and the Vermont Department of Education.Funders of the project included the Institute for Library and Museum Services, CPB, Lake Champlain Basin Program and the Vermont Community Foundation.The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, and the Vergennes Opera House were partners in the premiere of the film.VPT’s president, John King, accepted the award from Pat Harrison, president and CEO of CPB, in Washington, D.C., in March.  VPT will receive a $3,000 grant to further support the project.My Source awards recognize and showcase how public broadcasting stations use pioneering approaches and emerging digital technologies to serve the educational needs of their communities on air, online and in the classroom.“Stations across the country are using technology in creative and innovative ways to deliver educational tools and resources that are making a real difference to teachers, parents and children,” said Harrison.  “Public media is the definitive education partner for a new generation of learners, and CPB congratulates Vermont Public Television for its outstanding contribution to the community.”About CPBCPB is a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967 and is steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,100 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.Source: VPT. 5.5.2010# # #last_img read more

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Shumlin holds slight lead in Democratic primary, recount possible

first_imgSenate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin (D-Windham) says it looks like he’s won, while state Senator Doug Racine (D-Chittenden), only 182 votes back, is not ready to concede in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor of Vermont. Even when the official results are posted it might not be over. Both Racine and Secretary of State Deb Markowitz are less than 2 percentage points behind Shumlin, which would allow either to call for a recount. According to Vermont Public Radio, with all precincts reporting, the unofficial results show Shumlin with 18,239 votes to Racine’s 18,057. Markowitz is more than 600 votes back in third, with Matt Dunne of Hartland in fourth and state Senator Susan Bartlett (D-Lamoille) in fifth.Racine declared Wednesday morning: “We are seeing discrepancies in the online, unofficial results, and we want to wait for the official results before making a decision about next steps. I have not conceded and I have talked with Peter Shumlin, who has agreed that we should see the official results before announcing a winner.”The Secretary of State told Racine that the official results would be available Tuesday, August 31.In an email to supporters, Shumlin said, “Thanks to your incredible support, it looks like we have won the Democratic gubernatorial primary!”I am honored by the support that you have given me and honored by the opportunity that it appears we have before us. I would like to thank each and every one of you for your support.  Thank you for sharing your stories and your experiences.  Thank you for inviting me into your towns and into your homes.  And finally, thank you for believing in my vision for Vermont.”I would also like to thank my opponents for engaging in a respectful campaign that elevated the political discourse in Vermont and did a service for our democracy.  Our record number of forums presented an incredible opportunity for Vermonters to engage with us on the important issues facing our state.”Yesterday’s record turnout was an indication of the strength and enthusiasm of our Party and our ability to beat Brian Dubie in November.”Below are links to several reports about Tuesday’s election:VPRUnofficial Total Places Shumlin In LeadSecretary of State: Condos Wins For Dems; Gibbs For GOPWCAXVt. statewide primary racesDemocrats for governor hold unity rallyBurlington Free PressShumlin: ‘Looks like we’ve won’By Terri Hallenbeck, Free Press Staff WriterWith all precincts reporting, State Sen. Peter Shumlin was leading Sen. Douglas Racine by 190 votes, with Secretary of State Deb Markowitz in third place trailing by 684 votes.Photos: Democratic Unity RallyResults: Unofficial numbers from Governor, U.S. Senate and U.S. House racesBreaking: Dunne concedes racePhotos: Vermont Primary Daylast_img read more

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Winstanley deal would fire up wood chip power plant in North Springfield

first_imgLead developer Adam Winstanley of Winstanley Enterprises announced today that the company has entered into a joint venture agreement with Weston Solutions, Inc of Concord, NH, and West Chester, PA, for the development of a 25-35 megawatt woodchip-burning electric generating plant in the North Springfield Industrial Park. The companies filed a petition earlier today for a Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont Public Service Board for the project, which is known as the North Springfield Sustainable Energy Project (NSSEP). The project has been in the planning stages for several years.First announced in 2009, the NSSEP is expected to create more than 600 jobs during its 18 month construction period, 400 of which will be in Windsor and Windham counties. After the plant is commissioned in 2014, it will contribute to some 160 ongoing jobs in Vermont, with a payroll of nearly $9 million annually. State tax revenues are estimated at approximately $4 million during construction and approximately $3 million per year from 2014 on. Approximately $15 million is expected in annual wood purchases from local foresters, roughly two-thirds of which would to come from Vermont sources, and the town of Springfield expects approximately $2 million in net annual increases to its budgeted revenues.A key element of this project that separates it from virtually all other commercial scale renewable energy projects in Vermont is NSSEP’s plan to utilize the plant’s thermal waste to provide low cost heat to the North Springfield Industrial Park tenants though a ‘thermal loop.’  In keeping with Winstanley Enterprises’ long-term strategic commitment to Vermont, NSSEP intends to provide below-market heat to users in the park to retain current tenants and to promote additional development.  ‘Adam Winstanley and his family have done everything right in working with local officials to bring this project from concept to permitting,’ said Bob Flint, executive director of the Springfield Regional Development Corporation. ‘The NSSEP provides both a renewable energy resource and the commercial benefits of a unique thermal energy loop that will attract new industries to the park, making it a hub of economic activity in an area that badly needs a shot of adrenaline.’Winstanley Enterprises is a family-owned company with headquarters in Concord, MA. It has a long and respected track record throughout New England for renovating vacant and underutilized properties. Its developments in Vermont include projects in both Brattleboro and Springfield. In WESTON Winstanley has a partner who shares its commitment to working closely with local officials on projects that are not only economically viable and ecologically sustainable, but also meet the best interests of the community. For more than 50 years, WESTON has worked nationally and globally on a broad range of sustainable projects, from redeveloping contaminated properties to developing community-scaled renewable/clean energy projects.  Among its projects are a coal-to-biomass fuel boiler conversion in Michigan and photovoltaic power systems for the city of Newark, N.J., and on a Superfund site in southwestern Massachusetts.‘WESTON seeks actively to engage community stakeholders throughout the development process to gain their input and advice; and just as importantly, we look to become an active and positive member of the community,’ said Kathleen McGinty, WESTON senior vice president and managing director for strategic growth. ‘Adam Winstanley and his team are good partners for us because they live these values as well. We are impressed by their two years of work in and with community residents and leaders, and we are thrilled to join an effort that delivers solid economic and environmental benefits.’‘Today’s CPG announcement is the culmination of a lot of people’s hard work,’ Winstanley said. ‘I am convinced that this project, which will bring clean power and green jobs to the Springfield area, will be a real boon to the economy in this region and a real asset to Springfield, Windsor County and the state of Vermont. This project makes sense for all of the right reasons, and we are pleased with the support we have gotten from the Springfield community.’The project will take approximately a year and a half to construct after permits are obtained. It is expected that the plant would be commissioned in the middle or last half of 2014. Winstanley Enterprises 12.22.2011last_img read more

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