Throughout the busy foliage season those who servetourists are faced with last minute travelers looking for a place to stay.The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing launched a new tool in mid-September that will assist the tourism industry in connecting travelers and lodging properties. This simple, online system allows any lodging establishment in the state to post and update their current room availability throughout the day.As of September 26, as many as 150 Vermont lodging properties were logging on daily to enter the current room availability. “We think it’svery exciting to have this service, which lets travelers and innkeepers find each other immediately. It really works; it’s a wonderful idea,” said Jennifer Karpin, manager at The Grafton Homestead.The listings are immediately available to staff at Vermont Information and Welcome Centers, Regional Marketing Organizations, chambers ofcommerce, and operators at the 1-800-Vermont teleservicing center. Availability can be sorted by region of the state, town, number of rooms available, or by the time the listing was last updated.Even a lodging property that has filled its own rooms can use the system to help additional travelers who show up at their front desk.Listings from the previous day are cleared automatically from the system at 5 a.m. each morning. Properties that register will receive anautomatic email reminder to update the current day’s information. This ensures only current information is displayed.Vermont tourism officials expect an excellent 2002 foliage season, which means about 4.5 million people will be booking lodging accommodations during the season. For foliage conditions and scenic tours see:www.VermontVacation.com(link is external)
State Appoints New Deputy Commissioner of SecuritiesMontpelier, VT — Commissioner John P. Crowley of the Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities & Health Care Administration (BISHCA) has appointed Tanya A. Durkee to the post of Deputy Commissioner of the Securities Division. Former Deputy Phillips Keller, III, accepted a new position with the Department.The Deputy Commissioner of Securities serves as the functional head of the division responsible for regulation and consumer protection activities at the state level in the securities marketplace. Ms. Durkee, an attorney, has critical experience in complex disputes in commercial litigation, including securities cases. She most recently worked as a commercial litigation associate, and then partner, for a firm in Portland, Oregon. She has a J.D. from Northwestern School of Law, Portland, OR, and was co-founder of the Northwestern School of Law Business Society. She also graduated Cum Laude from the Clark Honors College of the University of Oregon. She is co-author of a number of legal publications and papers in her field.Ms. Durkee recently moved to Vermont to join her fiancé, who began residency training at the Fletcher Allen/UVM College of Medicine. Ms. Durkee has also competed as a professional triathlete. She assumes her new post.
As Vermont is poised to make major financial decisions with far reaching policy implications, new research may prove instrumental in shaping the discussions. The Council on the Future of Vermont and St. Michael s College just published Vermont in Transition: Social, Economic and Environmental Trends, a comprehensive study of the major trends that are impacting life in the state. Over 300 graphs are included in this 150 page research book which documents and explains the key transitions that have occurred in Vermont in areas as diverse as education, the economy, agriculture, demography, crime, energy, climate and civic engagement. The study was commissioned by the nonpartisan Vermont Council on Rural Development as a facet of its two-year Council on the Future of Vermont program. This report is important for legislators, reporters, community leaders, advocates, philanthropists, and any citizen who wants to better understand the Green Mountain State. It provides critical data that will help decision makers as they plan ahead, explains CFV Program Manager Sarah Waring. The research, along with polling, public forums and listening sessions are helping to build a comprehensive picture of the aspirations of today s Vermonters and the place they would like our state to be in the future. The Council releases its final findings this spring.To look back at trends over time, The Council on the Future of Vermont (CFV) partnered with the well-respected Saint Michael s College Center for Social Science Research and Drs. Vince Bolduc and Herb Kessel. The project drew upon the work of analysts in federal and state government, other educational institutions, the non-profit sector, and the business community, including sources such as the Vermont Economy newsletter, the Congressional Quarterly, the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger, and the Vermont Land Trust. This joint writing effort combines the expertise of sociologists, economists, biologists, physicists, and other specialists. This project is unique in many ways, says Dr. Bolduc, who teaches Sociology at St. Michael s College. It is holistic in its broad spectrum of subjects covered; historical in its focus on change over time; quantitative in its reliance on objective data, and it presents each topic in the context of regional or national developments.Dr. Kessel, a professor of Economics, noted The project brings together in a single document well over 300 charts and tables, which provided the basis for us to identify 160 of the most important trends in Vermont. When historians try to understand what life was like in Vermont at the turn of the millennium, we hope that they will turn to our study and the broader one being prepared by the Council on the Future of Vermont.Vermont in Transition is available online for free at www.futureofvermont.org(link is external), or by calling 802-223-6091 to request a hard copy. The Council on the Future of Vermont is a project of the Vermont Council on Rural Development through a special partnership with the Vermont Community Foundation.
Contrary to its motto – ‘Freedom and Unity’ – the state of Vermont is one step closer to tightening its current smoking ban by prohibiting the use of tobacco and other smoking products in all workplaces throughout the state.The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association says the freedom of all Vermont citizens – smokers and non-smokers alike – is at stake and state legislators should be spending their time on issues that truly matter – like jobs and the economy.”The United States Constitution gives the right to employers to decide how to conduct their businesses, and that includes whether or not to allow smoking on their premises. The state of Vermont preempted that right by legislating a smoking ban in 1987 and would be adding insult to injury now by tightening those decades-old restrictions,” said Chris McCalla, legislative director of the IPCPR.”Why is this important to the estimated 675,000 non-smokers and smokers who live in the state? They all should be concerned because their constitutional rights are being further tampered with and further deprivation of their rights would be in the offing,” he explained.McCalla pointed out that, in contrast to what is claimed by pro-ban and anti-smoking forces, secondhand smoke in the workplace has been declared a virtual non-issue by the very federal organization that has been assigned the responsibility for wellness in the workplace – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.”In the first place, OSHA has established safe levels for secondhand smoke in the workplace and, secondly, those safe levels are so high that the air quality in most bars and restaurants would not come close to reaching them let alone exceeding them,” McCalla said.McCalla cited official documentation from senior officials of OSHA that states, in part, “It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that permissible exposure levels would be exceeded.”Vermont’s current smoking ban plus on-going trends in the marketplace have led to an increasing number of business owners banning the use of tobacco in their establishments.”Legislated smoking bans are simply not necessary when the market is adjusting accordingly on its own. Why bother with something that’s already working when there are so many other more important issues to deal with such as jobs and the economy?” he said.Source: The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers AssociationSource: MONTPELIER, Vt., April 9 /PRNewswire/
The House Commerce and Economic Development Committee, joined by members of the Senate Economic Development and Finance Committees, will hold a FairPoint Communications briefing and update on Thursday, September 24. The hearing will be an opportunity for legislators to gain a fuller understanding of the challenges facing FairPoint and explore ways in which the legislature can ensure Vermonters’ interests are protected. The House and Senate Committees will hear from the President of FairPoint Communications, the Department of Public Service, the Vermont Telecommunications Authority, and Labor representatives.The agenda for the hearing is pasted below and attached to this advisory.What: FairPoint Communications HearingWhen: Thursday, September 24. 1:00-4:30 pmWho: House Commerce and Economic Development, Senate Economic Development and Senate Finance CommitteesWhere: Room 11, State HouseAGENDARoom 11, State HouseThursday, September 24, 20091:00 p.m. FairPoint Communications Briefing and UpdateHouse Commerce and Economic Development Committee joined by Members of the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs Committee Peter Nixon, President, Fairpoint Communications David O’Brien, Commissioner, Department of Public Service Charles King, Principal, Liberty Consulting William Shuttleworth, Executive Director, Vermont Telecommunications Authority Mike Spillane, Business Manager, Local 2326, IBEW.Source: Senator Shumlin’s office. 9.18.2009
-30- Governor Jim Douglas has announced that $110,000 will be granted to the Precision Valley Development Corporation to continue clean-up activities at the former Fellows Gear Shaper property in Springfield. This proposal will help continue with the re-development of a critical downtown property, said Governor Douglas. This will not only help the town s economy, but will turn a blighted property into clean, safe commercial space, including space for the Springfield Hospital health center.These funds are being made available to PVDC from the State s Brownfield Fund, which will be leveraged with another $80,000 from the Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission s (SWCRPC) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) supplemental funding through the Environmental Protection Agency.Redevelopment of the site, located in Springfield s downtown, will result in the reuse of a historic building and provide new office and commercial space. The State of Vermont and SWCRPC are working very closely with the developers of the property, 100 River Street, LLC and the Springfield Regional Development Corporation.The Environmental Protection Agency has capitalized both the State s and SWCRPC s funds through its competitive brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program.To date, the State has been awarded over $1.5 million for clean-up of brownfield sites; and SWCRPC has been awarded close to $3 million in RLF and assessment funding.Last year, the state awarded $750,000 to the town for use in installing new safety systems such as sprinklers and emergency lighting at the Fellows building, located at 100 River Street, and in 2008 the state authorized $344,731 worth of tax credits to help refurbish the historic building.For additional information about the Governor s Vermont Brownfields Initiative, please see the Agency of Commerce and Community Development website at: http://www.dhca.state.vt.us/brownfields/index.htm(link is external).Source: Governor’s office. 3.24.2010
Source: IBM GlobalFoundries,Employees of IBM in Vermont collected more than four tons of food ‘ 8,110 pounds ‘ for food shelves in Vermont and New York. The food drive was part of IBM’s annual Employee Charitable Contribution Campaign, an employee-run fundraising event that offers employees the opportunity to contribute to non-profit charities. This year, IBM employees pledged $971,000 to support Vermont United Ways and other charitable organizations. The food drive was one of several campaign activities that extended the employees’ contributions. To promote the program, employees held a ‘food sculpture’ contest, in which employee teams built displays out of the donated boxes and cans of food. Subjects included a full-size park bench, model rockets, a giant-size soup bowl and the SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon character. Food donations were distributed to the following organizations: ‘ Addison County Community Action, Middlebury, VT ‘ 540 pounds of food ‘ Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, Burlington, VT ‘ 3,580 pounds of food ‘ Central Vermont Community Action, Barre, VT ‘ 540 pounds of food ‘ Duxbury Elf Food Shelf, Duxbury, VT ‘ 750 pounds of food ‘ Franklin & Grand Isle Community Action, St. Albans, VT ‘ 540 pounds of food ‘ Lamoille County Food Share, Morrisville, VT ‘ 540 pounds of food ‘ Milton Family Community Center, Milton, VT ‘ 540 pounds of food ‘ Waterbury Area Food Shelf, Waterbury, VT ‘ 540 pounds of food ‘ Joint Council of Economic Opportunity of Clinton and Franklin Counties Food Pantry, Plattsburgh, NY ‘ 540 pounds of food In addition to the cash pledges and food donations, IBM employees donated 37 bicycles and helmets from a bicycle build competition to the Marine’s Toys for Kids of Vermont program and the Franklin/Grand Isle United Way, collected hats, mittens and scarves for distribution in Chittenden County, and contributed the equivalent of more than 40 eight-hour days of volunteer time to 30 projects for 19 area agencies.
Governor Peter Shumlin’s appointment of Chuck Ross as secretary of agriculture won praise from Vermont farmers as well as political insiders. Ross, 55, is well known for his work as Senator Patrick Leahy’s state director for the past 16 years. He also served six years in the Vermont Legislature as a representative from Hinesburg, where he has worked as a farmer on his family’s homestead. Discussion with Chuck Ross, Vermont Agriculture Secretary Part 1 More videosVermont Business Magazine reporter Kevin Kelley recently spoke with Ross about his plans for the state’s agricultural economy. An edited transcript of the hour-long conversation follows (video of the interview can be found by clicking the picture above. All five parts of this interview can be found by clicking “More Videos” or going to www.vermontbiz.com/videos): VBM: Please start by telling us about your background in agriculture. ROSS: Two aspects of my background are relevant. One is certainly my experience working with Senator Leahy on the Agriculture Committee, on dairy and other farming issues. The other part is that my family has been involved in agriculture for generations, both on my father’s and mother’s side.My father is a native Vermonter, seventh generation. His family owned an orchard on Lake Champlain and exported apples from their dock before World War I. They also raised trotters and owned a wood lot in Huntington where we cut Christmas trees. I was running a part of the family business with 500 acres of square-baled hay in Hinesburg. I also managed farm operations in Iowa on land that was on my mother’s side. Her family were original sod-busters in Iowa. VBM: In your work with Leahy you became probably one of the most knowledgeable people in the country on the complex subject of price supports for agriculture. What would you say is the likelihood that Vermont dairy farmers might finally get good, stable pricing for their product? ROSS: Some years ago we started the interstate dairy compact which passed in Congress largely through the efforts of Sen. Leahy. It worked really well for the Northeast dairy community but it was never a permanent law; it always had a sunset provision. Dairy politics led to its demise because it not seen as being as favorable to other parts of the country with dairy interests. Prices have been volatile since then. I remember about five years ago sitting in Sen. Leahy’s office with Vermont dairy farmers who wanted him to fix the problem. We said the senator can’t fix the problem unless his colleagues hear from their own farmers that they want a solution as well. Rather than lobby us, who are already supportive, we suggested they reach out to dairy farmers around the country.That led to a lot of Vermont dairy farmers flying around the country on their own nickel, which in turn led to awareness of the need for a new dairy pricing system and a unified approach for such a proposal. Until about a month or two ago, it had the support of both processors and producers, but as it came closer to becoming an actual legislative proposal the processors broke away. Congress is in a difficult place right now. They don’t need more budget impacts and they don’t want to jump into managing a divisive conversation about dairy. We’ve gone from having a great chance to see a unified dairy community pushing for a proposal that Congress would be quite likely to take up, to a situation that isn’t as positive. But I haven’t given up hope. There’s still a good chance we can get something done. We’ve got a well-placed delegation from the Northeast. VBM: Speaking of budget impacts, Congress is making lots of cuts in lots of programs. What do you think will be the effect in Vermont of Congress’ cuts in agriculture? ROSS: The proposal we’ve been working on is believed to actually produce a savings for the budget, but it has not been scored by the CBO [Congressional Budget Office], and that’s the acid test. We’re not immune from federal budget cuts on other fronts. It will play out in the farm bill with potential reductions in nutrition programs, which help people buy food, and probable reductions in conservation programs, which help fund practices that mitigate impacts on water quality in the state. Energy programs involving agriculture will take a big hit. There will be a cut in the Agriculture Innovation Center supported by Sen. Leahy that has helped fund Vermont farmers on energy programs and in diversifying agriculture. It was going to be funded for a million dollars and it just got zeroed out. VBM: Governor Shumlin speaks of an agricultural renaissance in Vermont. What’s your strategy for making that happen? ROSS: I’m actually very bullish on Vermont agriculture because we have a foundation, built by the dairy community, that includes the critical assets of farm land as well as highly talented businessmen and businesswomen. They’ve had to be highly talented in order to survive the recession of the past two years. We also have access to a powerful market stretching from Montreal, to Boston, to New York. As for the renaissance, there are young people interested in agriculture ‘ some of them trained specifically in it, others educated in fields that have given them an interest in agriculture. They’re smart and motivated.Vermont is seeing an increasing number of non-dairy farmers but we’re also seeing an increase in dairy farmers. Yes, a lot of dairy farms are going out, but they’re also coming in. Some of them are organic or diversified farms. The renaissance of agriculture in Vermont is mainly about dairy. You’ve got Commonwealth [a yogurt maker] starting up in Brattleboro as well as all the artisanal cheese makers. Vermont is recognized as one of the top three artisanal cheese locations in the world; there’s us, Quebec and France. Our biggest challenge in the agency is providing the regulatory support to make the renaissance continue and expand. VBM: Part of it has to do with community-supported agriculture [CSAs: farms that grow food for distribution to prepaid members.] There are more and more CSAs around the state, right? ROSS: Yes, and there’s also the issue of slaughter facilities, making them more widely available for Vermont farms that raise animals. There’s a lot of demand for infrastructure support. We’ve also had the growth of a whole food hub in Hardwick, which has been a bright beacon on the agricultural landscape in Vermont. But Hardwick isn’t alone. You can look at the Intervale right in Burlington which, despite the problems with composting, has been a raging success. There’s talk of having a food processing center there. We’re also seeing it happening in Rutland, which has historically been quiet on agriculture. Now there’s a group there called RAFFL [Rutland Area Farm and Food Link] that’s creating local food hubs. If you go to the farmers’ market in Rutland, you’ll see it’s really dynamic. VBM: The whole localvore ethic is important for Vermont ag, right? Maybe we’ll see more farms with non-traditional products. ROSS: Yes, we have an increasingly diverse agricultural economy, but dairy will continue to be a huge and necessary part of it because of dairy’s support for infrastructure. Dairy has also kept the land open in Vermont and put opportunities in place.The localvore ethic helps new farmers stand up their businesses and get to the point of scaling up their businesses.Learning how to support a local agricultural economy is important for its positive health benefits as well as agricultural and economic benefits. Fletcher Allen has spent years figuring out how to source food locally. The hospital is buying food from the Intervale because it’s healthy and tasty for its clients. Dollars meanwhile go into the local economy and not away from it. It closes a circle by supporting local producers who are supporting your mother who may be in the hospital.VBM: What about agro-tourism? Do you think that will be important to Vermont’s farming sector?ROSS: I’d say agro-culinary tourism. We’re looking at proposals to build that market, working closely with the Agency of Commerce. I actually spend more time with Lawrence Miller [secretary of commerce] than with anyone else outside my own agency.Agro-culinary tourism does offer a tremendous opportunity. Vermont is becoming a popular food destination. NECI [the New England Culinary Institute] has had a big impact in populating our towns with people who know how to cook.VBM: You’ve been in office four months and have at least 20 months more to go. What do you want to achieve in this term? What’s the one biggest thing you want to achieve?ROSS: I’d like to assist in the implementation of Farm to Plate [a 10-year strategic plan to strengthen Vermont’s food systems.] It will be a comprehensive road map for how to build the future of agriculture.I would also like to participate in passing national legislation on dairy pricing. It’s something that’s beyond my control because it’s on the federal level, but I can certainly help if we do go in that direction.I also want to see us make strides on more effectively addressing water quality issues.Agriculture is part of that but it’s not by any means exclusively so. The problems that we have in Lake Champlain, for example, were not created in the past five years and are not going to be solved in the next five years. They’re a product of our society over the past 50 years or even 100 years. It’s not fair, in my view, to hoist today’s farmers on the petard of yesterday’s failures and to tell them you’re responsible for solving the problem.It will take years for Lake Champlain to get better. We have to all take responsibility for making that happen.The risk Vermonters face on the water quality issue is that we’ll stand among ourselves and point fingers, saying, ‘you’re the problem; no, you’re the problem.’‘ We should instead be standing together with our arms locked.There’s a lot of emotion around this issue but it needs to be channeled in a constructive way. VBM: Let’s go back to the dairy situation in Vermont. Production is up even though there are fewer farms and even fewer cows. Do you think that trend will continue? ROSS: Production fluctuates, but if the price of milk stays relatively stable I do expect production to go steadily up in Vermont. The reason is there’s a level of demand for our exports that we haven’t seen in a while. Historically, prices move in a cyclical direction, so they’ll probably go down again at some point. Yes, there has been a decline in the number of farms, but that’s been offset in terms of production by more efficient management and improvements in bovine genetics. Also, our dairy farmers are as good as any in being able to squeeze a little more output from their inputs. VBM: Is it inevitable that Vermont dairy farmers will rely more on BST [bovine somatotropin, an injected growth hormone that increases cows’ milk production]? ROSS: No. Consumers aren’t demanding it. We’re actually seeing an awakening of consumers’ interest in how their food is produced, who’s producing it and where. That’s expressing itself all over the country, especially in New England. In Vermont, which is a small place, people can know who the farmers are, where that special cut of beef comes from, who produces their milk and cheese. Cabot has seen phenomenal growth in a declining market for cheese because they produce a great product. VBM: So there’s an opportunity for marketing Vermont as BST-free? ROSS: There was an upsurge in farmers’ use of BST and then consumers started asking questions about it and we saw many producers move away from it. VBM: How widespread is the use of BST in Vermont now? ROSS: I don’t have those statistics. The agency’s budget is being slashed and we don’t have the personnel to collect those stats. VBM: Are there technologies related to agriculture that are being developed in Vermont that we might export to other states? ROSS: Bio-digesters leap to mind. We’re the No. 1 state in bio-digesters per capita. This is a wonderful technology that helps farmers manage manure systems and produces a product that farmers can use. Bio-digesters also burn up methane which is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. It’s a technology that’s also generating research opportunities at the University of Vermont. They’re exploring ways to mitigate the methane emissions of cows by looking at the ruminant systems of cows. Getting better bugs into the digesters would also allow them to generate more methane. The aim is to drive the economics of methane digesters to they can be used on ever-smaller farms. Right now, they make sense for a farm of one size but not of another. VBM: We should talk about climate change. It’s the elephant in the room for a lot of the issues we have been talking about. Maybe Vermont will jump up one agricultural zone so we become where Connecticut is now. That will have both positive and negative effects. ROSS: You need to be careful about being a fortune teller. If the climate does change, which I personally believe is happening, that’s going to make it more difficult for us to do some of the things we’re doing now but maybe also give us some opportunities we don’t have today. Vermont can play a role in initiatives to mitigate climate change. If we can figure out how to produce ethanol from material besides corn, that will be an opportunity for Vermont farmers. Certain grasses could be made into a biofuel that would be an alternative to Number 6 or Number 2 heating oil. Being able to leverage bio-digesters so they can be used on a greater number of farms will help mitigate the greenhouse gas impact. Climate change could also bring us more invasive species, causing sugar maples to be crowded out in the forest. Buckthorn is a classic example of that. VBM: So the Shumlin administration doesn’t have a definitive plan for dealing with potential climate change? ROSS: I’m not aware of any definitive plan. I am aware of us working with the governor to figure out the most effective roles we can play on this issue. Climate change is one of a number of ecological issues we’re facing in the 21st century. It may be the most important one, but it’s certainly not the only one. It will take a long-term effort to address it, and that’s not something you’re going to develop in the first three months of an administration. VBM: How’s the Vermont apple industry doing these days? ROSS: One of the biggest problems confronting apple growers in recent years is the ease with which they can get workers in from Jamaica to help them. Some of the Jamaicans have been coming here for generations ‘ 30 years to the same farms. These aren’t foreign workers who represent a threat to us or who are using all kinds of social services. VBM: The same is true for dairy, isn’t it? ROSS: Dairy farmers and apple growers are willing to employ Vermonters, but they aren’t getting them to sign up for these jobs. Just as the Irish and Italians did a couple of generations ago in the granite industry and textile industry, workers from Mexico and Jamaica are fulfilling an important role in agriculture. It’s important to remember that they were us a few generations ago. VBM: Do you see Vermont wines as a growth sector or is that always going to be just a niche product? ROSS: We’ve got two outstanding commodities now in maple syrup and milk/cheese. Are we going to get to the place where we compete on wines with California? I expect not. But we can get more competitive within a niche market. Vermont has a lot of cachet. One of our opportunities is to leverage that cachet so we can do with Vermont wine what we’ve done with artisan cheese.Vermont meat is highly desired in certain marketplaces, so we’ve got to continue to ensure it’s of high quality because that’s what people are willing to pay for, which gives us better than an average price for the products we produce. Vermont wine continues to grow as a commodity, and we will see our vintners get better at making it. VBM: In introducing you and Lawrence Miller, Gov. Shumlin said something to the effect of ‘this is my jobs team.’ Can you talk about how agriculture can be a source of job growth and economic development in Vermont? ROSS: I’ve been studying agriculture for much of my life, and I know it’s often overlooked as a fundamental part of our economy. There are agricultural businesses on Vermont Business Magazine’s list of the top 100 companies in the state. There are also some agricultural enterprises that don’t appear on your list but that should. Some of them would show up in the middle and some near the top of that list. You may not think of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters as an agricultural business, but that’s what it is. Green Mountain imports an agricultural commodity, processes it and then exports it. Governor Shumlin is right in saying that agriculture and commerce belong together. Farming is not some luxury habit that people engage in here. There may be a few of those, but when you talk to Vermont farmers, you’re talking to business men and women who know how to operate a tractor and how to balance their books. The dairy industry alone accounts for some $2 billion a year in economic activity in Vermont. If we grow locally the amount of food we consume in Vermont, that will add 1,500 jobs in the next 10 years in agriculture. It’s not going to happen in one place, so it may not be as visible as a business that grows in one place. If you want to know how to spend a dollar most effectively in the local economy, the answer is through agriculture. Farms are so plugged in to the local hardware store and feed store. When I was farming, I was in my town all the time buying stuff. People continually miss the pervasiveness of agriculture in their local economy. Kevin Kelley is a freelance writer from Burlington.
Vermont Public Television covered the visit by First Lady Michelle Obama to the Vermont National Guard on Thursday afternoon, June 30, and has posted video of it on http://www.vpt.org/(link is external).The 24-minute video includes a welcome from Major General Michael Dubie, who introduced Marcelle Leahy. Mrs. Leahy introduced the First Lady, who thanked the service members and their families gathered at the Aviation Support Facility in South Burlington. She praised the work of Guard members at home and overseas.At the event, she also talked about the Joining Forces initiative to support military families and veterans that she and Jill Biden lead. She highlighted efforts of Vermonters to support the troops and their families, including the work of people in Hyde Park, to help a wounded veteran. She encouraged others to volunteer, saying, ‘No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.’
University of Vermont,University of Vermont Board of Trustees Chair Robert F. Cioffi today announced the appointment of Dr. A. John Bramley as Interim President, effective August 1. Bramley, a longstanding member of the UVM faculty, has served as Department Chair of Animal Sciences, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Provost and Senior Vice President of the University. In 2006 he also served as Acting President during President Daniel Mark Fogel’s illness. From 2007 to 2011 he was President and CEO of the Windham Foundation, the largest private foundation registered in Vermont. In recognition and honor of his service, the Windham Foundation announced last week the creation of the A. John Bramley Lecture Series, designed to focus on preserving Vermont’s rural communities.”We are extremely fortunate that John Bramley was both available and willing to step into this important role,” Cioffi said. “Quite frankly, there could not be a better choice for this job in light of John’s experience, skills, character, and knowledge of UVM, in addition to his outstanding scholarly record. One of the Board’s primary goals is to keep the University’s upward trajectory moving ahead, and the appointment of John Bramley ensures that is going to happen.””Dan Fogel is leaving us with an impressive legacy of accomplishment and a strong foundation for further success. Even though he will be in this role for a relatively short time, John is not going to be a ‘caretaker,’ and will be pushing our key initiatives forward. I couldn’t be more pleased that John has agreed to take on the responsibilities of Interim President, and I know that he will be welcomed back to UVM with open arms,” Cioffi remarked.Bramley is expected to serve as Interim President until July 2012, and will not be a candidate for the position of President, for which a search is underway.In accepting the position, Bramley said, “I love UVM and have devoted a large part of my life to it. After leaving Windham I had planned to be doing other things, but I concluded they should be put on hold if I could help the institution at this critical point. I am grateful for and humbled by the confidence the Board has placed in me, and I will do my best to see to it that the University continues to gain ground. I very much appreciate all that President Fogel has done to put this institution in a strong, viable position and I have every intention to work with the University community and beyond to make us even better.””I look forward to re-engaging with the community, reuniting with old friends and colleagues, and getting to know new ones, beginning August 1st. You will hear more from me after that date. Until then, President Fogel will continue to provide effective leadership for UVM,” Bramley stated.Bramley was born and educated in the United Kingdom. He graduated with first class honors B.Sc. in Microbiology from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1971 and completed his Ph.D. in Veterinary Microbiology at the University of Reading in 1975. Biography of A. John Bramley B.Sc., Ph.D., D.Sc.John Bramley was born and educated in the United Kingdom. He graduated with first class honors B.Sc. in Microbiology from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1971 and completed his Ph.D. in Veterinary Microbiology at the University of Reading in 1975.Between 1975 and 1985 he was a research scientist at the National Institute for Research in Dairying, Shinfield, UK, becoming an internationally-recognized authority on bovine mastitis. He was the recipient of the George Fleming Award of the British Veterinary Journal and twice was a recipient of the Peter Bridge Award of the British Cattle Veterinary Association. In 1985, he moved to the Institute for Animal Health in Compton, UK, where he led a large multi-disciplinary research group and the Division of Environmental Science. During this period he also studied with colleagues at the University of Florida in Gainesville and at the University of Southern Chile.In 1990, he became Chair of the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Vermont and in 1999 was appointed Dean of the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and Director of the Vermont Agricultural Experiment Station. From 2001 to 2006 he was the Provost and Senior Vice President.of the University, working with Presidents Colodny and Fogel, During the illness of President Fogel in 2006 he served as Acting President.. From 2007 to 2011 he was President and CEO of the Windham Foundation, the largest private foundation registered in Vermont which owns and operates the Old Tavern at Grafton and the Grafton Village Cheese Company. His research focused on bovine mastitis and he led a team of UVM researchers in cloning a gene that has led to the world’s first mastitis-resistant animals. He is the author of some 150 research papers, review articles, and book chapters. He held the rank of professor in Animal Sciences and in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and was awarded emeritus status in 2008. Dr. Bramley was honored by the Green Mountain Council Boy Scouts of America as their Distinguished Citizen of the Year. He was an inaugural inductee of the Vermont Agricultural Hall of Fame and is a member of the Vermont Academy of Sciences. In July, 2011 the Windham Foundation announced the creation of the A. John Bramley Lecture Series, designed to focus on preserving Vermont’s rural communities.