Hilltop Montessori School goes solar

BRATTLEBORO -- At 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2013, Hilltop Montessori School activated 192 new roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels, which will generate approximately 60,000 kilowatts of electricity per year.

The installation of the panels -- a collaboration between Hilltop, the investment firm Wisdom and Power LLC of Norwich, Vt., and Integrated Solar Applications of Brattleboro -- will supply all the power required to run the school.

The project also will allow the school to further its mission, according to Head of School Tamara Mount. "Teaching students about conservation and renewable energy -- taking care of our planet -- is an important part of Montessori educational philosophy," she said.

The solar array was installed at no cost to Hilltop. Wisdom and Power LLC invested the capital to install the array and in return, Hilltop will pay 90 percent of the monthly electric costs to the firm. After seven years, the school may choose to purchase the panels at fair market value or continue to pay the investor.

Integrated Solar, which has worked on renewable energy projects in Vermont and New Hampshire for nearly 40 years, was instrumental in shepherding the project to fruition. "They conducted feasibility studies, introduced the school to investors, and installed the whole system -- It was a turn-key product," said Seth Harter, one of the Hilltop parent volunteers who helped the school explore the possibility of solar power.


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"It’s been wonderful working with them and a fantastic opportunity for the school."

John Langhus of Wisdom and Power LLC and Andy Cay, president of Integrated Solar Applications, were on-site at Hilltop to witness the switch over to the new system.

Hilltop Montessori School is an independent school serving children 18 months to 8th grade. For more information, visit www.hilltopmontessori.org

Chaudoirs retire after 40 years

SAXTONS RIVER -- After 40 years of providing psychotherapy in Saxtons River, Gary Chaudoir, LICSW, and Carolyn Chaudoir,LCMHC, have retired. They gradually reduced their direct contact with clients over 2013 in order to provide the easiest transition possible for clients and the clinicians who remain at their office. The Chaudoirs continue to own and manage the practice office.

Services will continue to be provided in the same location by three well qualified and experienced psychotherapists. Alexandra Scarlett, Psychologist, MA, who has worked at the office since 2001, will continue seeing children, adolescents, and adults of all ages. Carol Hoyt, LCMHC, and Gwen Boyntan, LICSW, joined the practice more recently after years of providing services in the area. Hoyt works with adults of all ages, and Boyntan sees children, adolescents, and adults. They all may be reached at 802-869-2747.

New summer camp director
joins The Grammar School

PUTNEY -- The Grammar School is recently announced that Madeline Bergstrom has been hired as the school’s new Summer Camp Director. Bergstrom has 15 years of experience working with non-profit organizations and educational institutions, including public relations, event planning, teaching, and curriculum development.

"I’m excited to connect this winter with artists, craftspeople, scientists, and outdoor adventure leaders," Bergstrom said, "including folks who have worked with us for years and others who have never taught in our Summer Camp before."

"We are excited to welcome Madeline to TGS as Summer Camp Director," said Dan Marchetti, the Grammar School’s Head of School. "She has a wealth of experience working with students of all ages and as a parent of two current students, she has a deep appreciation for The Grammar School. We are confident this will be a banner year for TGS Summer Camp under her leadership."

Bergstrom holds an M.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a B.A. in Anthropology, magna cum laude, from Bryn Mawr College. She has directed the educational programs at a Unitarian Universalist church, served as Director of Communications for a nature museum, and taught students of all ages. She is a certified yoga teacher and she taught arts classes in The Grammar School’s 2013 Summer Camp.

Founded in 1960, The Grammar School is an independent pre-K through eighth grade school in Putney, Vermont. The Grammar School’s 2014 Summer Camp will take place during the weeks of July 7, 14, and 21. The Preschool Camp, for four- and five-year olds, features three themed weeks of arts, crafts, movement, and exploration. Children ages 6 to 14 experience the arts, nature, outdoor adventures, and optional supervised swim time. Full- and partial-day options are available.

To inquire about teaching in the 2014 Summer Camp, contact Madeline Bergstrom at camps@thegrammarschool.org. For more information about The Grammar School, please visit www.thegrammarschool.org. YMCA recognizes outstanding leadership

BELLOWS FALLS -- While more than 100 volunteers contributed to the effort to create what is now known as Meeting Waters YMCA, historic notes show the passionate and persistent leadership of one person -- Nathan G. Williams, who had relocated to the area to serve as CEO of the Vermont Farm Machine Company, and had been a Y volunteer leader in his native Pennsylvania. Williams brought the vision of a YMCA in the Great Falls region to his new community and galvanized more than 100 other volunteers to bring this vision to life.

In 1999, their first full year as Co-Directors of Meeting Waters YMCA, Susan and Steve Fortier were looking for a way to recognize other volunteers that have brought the same level of passion and leadership to the regional Y. After leafing through the notes from 1895-1897, they decided to honor Williams’ legacy by naming the award for outstanding volunteer leadership after him.

On Monday, Jan. 13, the "Nathan G. Williams Award for Outstanding Volunteer Leadership" was given to Diane Myers-Miller, who has served on the Board of Directors of Meeting Waters YMCA since 2009. She served as its President from September 2010 through September 2013 and is serving her final year on the board as the organization’s Secretary.

Also receiving special recognition was its Y-ASPIRE (after-school program) Site Director in Bellows Falls, Stacy Garciadealba Cox. She received the organization’s "Red Triangle Award for Outstanding Staff Leadership." community.

For more information about Meeting Waters YMCA, visit www.meetingwatersymca.org, follow them on Facebook, or call the main office at 802-463-4769.

United Way accepting community
impact grant applications

BRATTLEBORO -- The United Way of Windham County is investing its resources, including staff/volunteer time, convening power, data analysis, in-kind donations, and financial resources, towards identified community priorities related to the building blocks of a good quality of life -- education, financial stability, and health.

UWWC’s annual Community Impact Grant priorities align with the 14 established outcomes related to these areas, which can be found online at www.unitedwaywindham.org. All non-profit organizations with programs related to these priorities that serve Windham County are invited to apply for a Community Impact Grant. New applicants may apply for up to $5,000 and currently funded partners may apply for up to $15,000 each for a maximum of three programs.

To help Windham County nonprofits learn about the target outcomes, online grant application, and the application review process, UWWC will be holding two Grant Seeker Forums: Jan. 28 at 9:30 a.m. in Brattleboro at the Marlboro College Graduate Center and Feb. 20 at 11:30 a.m. in Bellows Falls at Parks Place. Attendance is not mandatory, but interested organizations are strongly encouraged to attend. The next Community Impact grant deadline is March 14 and complete eligibility information and a grant timeline can be found on the UWWC’s website at www.unitedwaywindham.org.

The community impact process of identifying community needs, investing resources and evaluating United Way’s impact is ongoing and will continue to involve individuals and organizations serving Windham County. For more information or to volunteer, contact Sue Graff, UWWC Community Investment Director, at 802.257.4011 x113 or sue@unitedwaywindham.org.