Hub Happenings

Wal-Mart gives $10,000 to local nonprofit

Wal-Mart recently announced that it is donating $10,000 to local nonprofit Vermont Soldier’s Angels.

The donation is part of its “12 Days of Giving” holiday campaign. The sixth day of the campaign saw $110,000 given to 11 nonprofits nationwide that support troops, military families and veterans in their local communities.

Soldiers Angels, a nationwide group, sends letters and care packages to deployed soldiers and assists returning soldiers. Soldiers Angels Vermont is led by Willistonian Barb Greck and Essex resident Terri Sabens.


NEFCU donates to COTS, agencies

New England Federal Credit Union recently donated $20,000 to Burlington’s Committee on Temporary Shelter.

“We are incredibly grateful to NEFCU for their ongoing support and for this very generous contribution,” said COTS Executive Director Rita Markley. “With winter almost upon us, demands on COTS will increase and these funds will help us meet the challenge.”

NEFCU also recently made donations totaling $25,000 to Franklin County organizations. Tim’s House, Franklin/Grand Isle Community Action, Franklin County Home Health Agency, Frankin-Grand Isle United Way and Northwestern Medical Center each received $5,000.


Gooden named NBT branch manager 

Jessica Gooden was recently promoted to branch manager of NBT Bank’s Williston office. Gooden, who has more than eight years of banking experience, joined NBT Bank in 2009 as assistant branch manager.

“We are proud to announce Jessica’s promotion to branch manager,” NBT Bank Regional Manager Matt Durkee said in a press release. “Her background in bank management and customer service makes her an excellent resource for our customers and staff in the Williston community. We wish her continued success in her career with NBT Bank.”

A resident of Williston, Gooden earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla. She serves on the board of directors for the Kid’s Rehab Gym and is a member of the Women Business Owners Network.


Hampton Direct moves some business to L.A.

Williston-based Hampton Direct, which sells “As Seen on TV” products including PajamaJeans, Total Pillow and Wonder Hanger, recently announced that it will open a Los Angeles location and reduce its local staff by about 20 workers, according to Vermont Business Magazine.

The company’s operations, finance and other support functions will remain in Vermont, a Hampton Direct press release states.

“This is a monumental step for our company and one that will facilitate long-term growth. The L.A. office will allow Hampton Direct to capitalize on numerous expansion opportunities and provides a strategic advantage that will help take the company to the next level,” Steve Heroux, Hampton Direct CEO and founder, said in the release.


DEW earns honors; hires Wheaton 

DEW Construction recently won Engineering News Record’s 2012 Best Projects competition in the retail/hospitality category for the New York region, which includes New York, New Jersey, and New England. DEW won the award for its work as construction manager for Hotel Jay and Pump House Waterpark at Jay Peak Resort.

“DEW couldn’t be more pleased to have the Hotel Jay and Pump House Waterpark recognized as one of the best 2012 projects in New England. The project is unique and involved a real team collaboration where everybody involved pulled their weight. It is a great accomplishment,” said Don Wells, president of DEW, in a press release.

DEW also recently announced that Matthew Wheaton has joined the company as manager of preconstruction services.

Wheaton is a graduate of Norwich University, with a Master’s degree in architecture and bachelor’s degree in architectural studies.


Department of Labor warns of scam

The Vermont Department of Labor has been alerted to a nationwide identity theft scam attempting to lure employers into providing confidential information about their employees. So far, it has not received reports of the scam occurring in Vermont.

The scam is designed to trick employers into responding to an email that appears to have been sent from a state’s “Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA).” The email looks like a legitimate job separation request used by state UI agencies. It requests wage and other information on a former employee(s) filing for unemployment benefits, and directs the employer to click on a link to an embedded website address which is in South Africa. The scam email is generic and does not reference specific employees or businesses by name.

The Vermont Department of Labor does not request confidential information over email or attempt to collect information on behalf of other state’s unemployment agencies.


Sports Illustrated honors Brush Davisson

Former Charlotte resident Kelly Brush Davisson has been selected as one of “10 Athletes Who Care” in the Dec. 10 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine for her charitable work off the playing field. Brush Davisson, 26, founded the Kelly Brush Foundation in 2006, following a ski racing crash that left her paralyzed. Despite her injury she remained active in sports, winning the women’s handcycle division of the Boston Marathon in 2011.

In the six years since its inception, the foundation has raised $1 million to support the foundation’s mission to improve the quality of life for those living with spinal cord injury and to improve ski racing safety.

“I’m humbled and honored to be included on this list,” Brush Davisson said. “This group of incredibly gifted athletes who choose to honor their achievement by turning around and giving back is an inspiration for me and the work of the Kelly Brush Foundation.”


Federal unemployment benefit cuts to impact Vermonters

Approximately 1,400 people in Vermont will lose unemployment benefits when the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program ends on Dec. 29. The Vermont Department of Labor will have no funding or authority to continue to pay EUC benefits after that week.

Although Congress has extended the program 10 times in the past four years, there is no indication at this time that the EUC program will be reauthorized.

Individuals who need help finding a job can receive assistance from the Vermont Department of Labor. For a list of the Department’s Career Resource Centers and other information, visit


Kelly joins CCTV

Matt Kelly is set to join the CCTV Center for Media & Democracy as director of Channel 17/ Town Meeting Television and executive producer of CCTV Productions.

Kelly grew up in Burlington and worked at WVNY TV-22, WEZF-93FM and WXXX-95Triple X, and returned to Chittenden County after stints in New York and Los Angeles.


Anderson joins RehabGYM

The RehabGYM recently announced the addition of Mike Anderson, M.Ed. to its Colchester team. Anderson will be the business manager and site director. Anderson graduated from CSU-Sacramento with a bachelor’s degree in recreation administration, followed by a Master’s degree in education from Monmouth University. Prior to joining the RehabGYM, Anderson owned and operated Petra Cliffs Climbing Center in Burlington for almost eight years.


Statewide Seasonally-Adjusted Unemployment Rate Increases Slightly in October

The Vermont Department of Labor recently announced that the seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate for October 2012 increased by one-tenth of a percent from the prior month. At 5.5 percent, Vermont’s seasonally adjusted rate remains significantly lower than the national average of 7.9 percent, which also rose by one-tenth of one percent from the prior month. The total labor force increased for the second straight month.