Hub Happenings

Sears completes pilot project, remodel

Sears Hometown Store in Williston has just been part of a pilot program that Sears is testing in 50 of its 1,100 stores that are located across the country.

“Sears Hometown stores are changing the way they do business,” said Mark Austin, who took over the Williston Sears in the fall of 2013.

 The program, called Project 46, involved a remodel and makeover of the store, focusing on appliances. The Williston Sears changed the layout of its floors and has shifted its computer system to interactive touchscreens.

The store will host a grand reopening on April 23-25 with doors prizes, raffles and grilled food. The food is free or by donation and the proceeds will go to a local nonprofit.

NEFCU donates to Children’s Miracle Network

New England Federal Credit Union’s Senior Marketing Executive Cindy Morgan presented a symbolic “big check” for $27,058 to Children’s Miracle Network representatives recently at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital. NEFCU members and staff contributed to the record-breaking donation as part of the annual Big Change Roundup.

Members contributed by dropping change into canisters in NEFCU’s branches. Each coin canister had a Meet a Miracle card, allowing contributors to read about the children helped by this organization.

Triad to add 120 jobs

Triad Design Service, Vermont HITEC and the Institute for American Apprenticeships at Burlington College announced recently that they are recruiting candidates for a new technical writer education and registered apprenticeship program, which will lead directly to employment as technical writers at Triad Design. A technical writer reads and comprehends engineering documents and creates clear, concise, professional and correct procedural documents for users.

This program is a collaborative effort involving the U.S. Department of Labor, Vermont Department of Labor, Vermont HITEC, Inc., Burlington College and Triad Design Service. The program is offered at no cost to unemployed and underemployed Vermont residents.

“Vermont residents are in need of opportunities for higher skill jobs at higher wages. This program is a great example of how Vermont State government, the business services industry, higher education and our non-profit sector can collaborate to bring living-wage jobs to Vermont,” said Annie Noonan, Vermont Department of Labor commissioner.

Businesses endorse carbon pollution plan

More than 200 Vermont businesses—including two in Williston—have joined a coalition in support of using money from a carbon pollution tax to invest in renewable energy and efficiency jobs in the state, Energy Independent Vermont announced last week.

Amy Yandow, owner of Williston’s Sugartree Maple Farm, said, “protecting the environment and fighting climate change would be good for our maple trees. Fighting climate change with bills like these is vital to the longevity of the maple syrup industry in Vermont, so we can get the sap that we need to make our syrup each winter.”

Jayson Argento, owner of Argento Laraine Fine Jewelry in Williston, said he is supporting the bill because he cares about protecting the environment. “For me, this bill is primarily about finally holding fossil fuel companies responsible for the pollution they emit,” he said. “It shouldn’t be free to pollute Vermont’s air. It’s the air we breathe. Cleaner air is of the utmost importance to us.”

BCBSVT president honored

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont President and CEO Don George has been recognized for his leadership in developing a culture of health and wellness at BCBSVT.

George received the Business Leadership Award from the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports at the annual Worksite Wellness Conference in Burlington on March 25. The Governor’s Council presented worksite wellness awards to 92 businesses. The awards highlight companies that promote the health and wellness of their employees through worksite wellness programs.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont also recently achieved the highest possible ranking in four service measures in 2014, retaining its distinction as the number one BCBS plan in America in overall service to its members, based on the national Blue Cross and Blue Shield system’s “Member Touchpoint Measures.”

New leadership at Maple Leaf Treatment Center

The Board of Directors of Maple Leaf Treatment Center, formerly Maple Leaf Farm, announced the retirement on June 30, 2015 of Bill Young as executive director after 10 years of service. The board also announced the appointment of current clinical director, Dr. Catherine “Catey” Iacuzzi, as the new executive director effective July 1, 2015.

“Working at Maple Leaf has been a wonderful experience for me,” Young said. “It is easy to leave because I am so pleased and confident in the work of Dr. Iacuzzi.”

Cancer Patient Support Foundation names two new board members

At the recent Board Meeting of the Cancer Patient Support Foundation (CPS), two new Board Members were elected—Williston business owner Elizabeth Warren of Essex Junction and Susan Shouldice of Burlington.

Warren and her husband, Todd, own and operate Otter Creek Awnings/Vermont Custom Closets in Williston and have been active in local cancer support nonprofits and events for many years.

Casarico receives award for recovery work

Burlington Labs CEO and Co-Founder Michael Casarico was presented with one of Vermont’s top honors for work supporting addiction recovery, the 2015 Jack Barry Award.

The award, named in honor of legendary Vermont broadcaster Jack Barry, is presented annually by Friends of Recovery-Vermont to an individual or group who has effectively communicated about the value of long-term recovery from addiction and mental health conditions.

Vermont Works for Women appoints Wells as director

The Board of Directors of Vermont Works for Women has appointed Angela J. Wells, of Richmond as interim executive director of the $1.7 million nonprofit organization based in Winooski. Wells brings to the organization more than a decade of experience in business operations, systems creation and team/leadership development, following the departure of Tiffany Bluemle, who served as executive director for the past 17 years.

Vermont Tech hires Chaulk 

Vermont Tech recently announced the appointment of Amanda Chaulk as director of marketing and communications.

Prior to joining Vermont Tech, Chaulk was the senior marketing specialist at the Continuing and Distance Education Division of the University of Vermont. Additionally, Chaulk has held project management positions and marketing positions in the architecture and construction industry.

february unemployment rate at 3.9 percent 

The Vermont Department of Labor announced on March 27 that the seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate for February was 3.9 percent. This represents a decrease of two-tenths of a percent from the revised January rate (4.1 percent). The national average in February was 5.5 percent. Looking at historical data, February 2015 preliminary data is below 4 percent unemployment for the first time in Vermont since May 2007.