VSECU to sponsor 18th Annual Source to Sea Cleanup in Sept.

BRATTLEBORO -- VSECU, a statewide credit for everybody who lives or works in Vermont, will sponsor the 18th annual Source to Sea Cleanup, the Connecticut River Watershed Council’s annual cleanup of our rivers and streams. For more than 60 years, the Connecticut River Watershed Council has been the leading environmental group working for the protection, restoration, and sustainable use of the Connecticut River watershed -- from Vermont and New Hampshire to Massachusetts and Connecticut.

With VSECU’s financial support of $2,500, more than 2,000 volunteers will set out to remove tons of trash from the Connecticut River and its tributaries on Sept. 26 and 27. Working on foot or by boat, they will remove debris ranging from litter and bottles to large trash items. They will prevent injury to wildlife, stop pollution from entering rivers and streams and help to maintain a clean environment for everyone to enjoy. Volunteers have removed more than 850 tons of trash from the river since the Cleanup began.

"We have been a longtime supporter of Green Up Vermont and this similar initiative is another example of people working together to preserve the beauty and health of our environment by cleaning up trash," said Yvonne Garand, Senior VP Business Development, VSECU.


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Lisa DiBernardo, market manager of VSECU’s Brattleboro Branch and Andrew Fisk, executive director of the Connecticut River Watershed Council gathered for a photo with "Connie," the star of a children’s book about the Source to Sea Cleanup. The giant fish and The Fish in the Polka Dot Dress grew out of a student project about trash in the river. An electronic version of the book and information about school projects integrating science, art and environmental advocacy can be found at www.row.ctriver.org.

VSECU is a not for profit banking alternative for everybody who lives or works in Vermont with online access at www.vsecu.com. For more information about VSECU, call 802-800-371-5162 or visit www.vsecu.com.

United Way launches Volunteer Connection Windham County

BRATTLEBORO -- In celebration of Volunteer Appreciation Month, United Way of Windham County recently announced a new volunteer service, Volunteer Connection Windham County.

This online volunteer referral system is available online at www.unitedwaywindham.org and is designed to serve Windham County nonprofits and volunteers wishing to bring HOPE (Health, Opportunity, Prosperity, and Education) to Windham County.

Registration for volunteers is quick and easy. Just visit the United Way of Windham County’s website at unitedwaywindham.org and click on "Volunteer." Volunteers can browse available opportunities and receive customized information based on their volunteer interests and/or skills.

Windham County non-profit organizations and public agencies working in the areas of health, education, and prosperity are welcome to post volunteer opportunities. Contact the UWWC Volunteer Coordinator, Joy Auciello at volunteer@unitedwaywindham.org or by phone at 802-257-4011, ext. 111 for more information.

Sunnyside Solar offers
secondhand deals

BRATTLEBORO -- Sunnyside is now offering a used equipment and a consignment service. It is taking orphaned articles of good serviceable quality to mix and match into affordable solar electrical and water heating systems.

Many people don’t do solar because of the high cost of equipment, so now both on-grid and off-grid systems can be had for a fraction of their cost. The ability to design systems from a variety of new and used component parts is the special niche of the local Sunnyside Solar Store. Contact Carol or Dave at the Sunnyside Solar Store at 499 Marlboro Road or at 802-376-3838.

Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors honors agents

BRATTLEBORO -- Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country agents were recently recognized at the annual awards breakfast held at the Peter Havens’ restaurant. At the breakfast, Jack Berkley, founder and president of Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors paid tribute to the sales agents and support staff. Berkley recognized Robert Doyle as the leading real estate agent in the company, selling more than $9.33 million in property value.

Top sales awards were also presented to Bill Murray and John McPherson, both having sales volumes that exceeded $7.4 million, Heidi Bernier for over $5.2 million in sales volume, and Jessie Heller for her sales of more than $4.7 million. Jane Sonntag was honored for over $3.6 million in sales, and Rob Hinrichs achieved in excess of $3.57 million. John Hatton sold just over $2.7 million, Stephanie Peduzzi-Baker sold just under $2 million, and Mike Purcell hit $1.79 million. Carrie Gelfan achieved more than $1.65 million in sales, Jody Graves attained $1.57 million, and Wilma Skovinski hit $1.37 million.

Berkley also acknowledged Thom Dahlin and Bill Hickok as the newest members of the Berkley & Veller team.

Berkley congratulated the managers, agents and support staff for achieving yet another banner year for sales in 2013, exceeding $56 million in sales volume. Berkley commended the group for maintaining BVGC’s position as the predominant real estate firm in Windham County.

Berkley & Veller Greenwood Country Realtors was founded in 1965 and is celebrating its 49th year in 2014. BVGC is the area’s oldest and largest, locally-owned and locally-based independent real estate company, with 23 real estate agents and offices at 119 Western Avenue in Brattleboro and 118 Route 100 in West Dover.

Berkley spoke of the improving real estate market, both locally and nationally, observing that this is a great time to both buy and sell real estate. Berkley said that he looks forward to Berkley & Veller agents achieving new heights of customer service in Windham and Cheshire counties.

Sonnax receives wellness award

BELLOWS FALLS -- On March 27, Sonnax was recognized by the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports for the company’s workplace wellness initiatives at the Worksite Wellness Conference in Burlington. One of 91 businesses considered for this award, Sonnax touted its wellness program, weight loss challenges, online farmers market and other onsite efforts to promote physical fitness and a healthy work-life balance.

"Vermont employers have come to understand that physically fit workers are more productive and invested in their careers. Business leaders see the benefits of worksite wellness programs to their bottom line," said Janet Franz, chairwoman of the Governor’s Council.

Sonnax Executive Assistant Jamie Scott was presented with the award on behalf of Sonnax from Governor Peter Shumlin, State Health Commissioner Harry Chen and Janet Franz, chairwoman of the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

"At Sonnax, the concept of promoting a healthy workplace is important because employees spend a large chunk of their time at work, so we have an opportunity to make a difference here," said Tamara Golden, Sonnax’s Driving Wellness health coach. "According to the CDC, nearly one in two Americans live with at least one chronic illness, most of which are preventable, and a comprehensive approach to prevention can save tremendous costs and needless suffering."

Sojourns welcomes Julia Perks

WESTMINSTER -- Sojourns Community Health Clinicrecently announced that Julia Perks has joined the organization as Administrative Assistant to Executive Director, Cynthia Moore, and COO, Cheryl Sanctuary. Perks worked most recently for the town of Brattleboro, where she was the Planning Department Clerk.

"I’m delighted to be working for Sojourns, which I’ve enjoyed for many years as a client. I’ve also had the opportunity to get to know Sojourns as their Board administrator for the last four years and admire their vision and dedication to community."

Perks also has experience working in marketing and project management for Bank of America, Sears Roebuck & Co., and World Learning SIT.

Fundraiser aims to benefit Youth Services

GRAFTON -- On Saturday evening, May 3, Youth Services will be holding its 16th Annual Gala & Silent Auction, Denim & Diamonds, from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Grafton Inn. A festive evening of food and drink includes a silent auction and live music and dancing, with all event proceeds to benefit the agency’s critical safety net for area youth.

This benefit, formerly known as the Jazz Jubilee, is sponsored by The Richards Group and The Windham Foundation. Denim & Diamonds will feature entertainment by the Rear Defrosters, a local band that specializes in authentic honky tonk, classic country, and rockabilly rave-ups.

The gala at the Grafton Inn will begin at 4:30 p.m. with a cocktail hour and silent auction featuring handcrafted jewelry, stunning artwork, getaways to New York and abroad, and meals at the area’s finest establishments will be auctioned. At 6 p.m., a barbecue, prepared by the inn’s chef, will be served.

Silent auction bidding will close after coffee and dessert. The musical performance and dancing will begin at 8 p.m. in a cabaret setting in Phelps Barn. A special $79 rate is being offered for an overnight stay at the inn for with breakfast included.

Tickets are $95 ($55 of which is tax deductible) and proceeds will benefit the many programs of Youth Services such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Juvenile Court Diversion, the Runaway Program, Transitional Living and Peer Outreach. Call 802-257-0361 for reservations or visit www.youthservicesinc.org/gala for more information and to purchase tickets online.

Project management

KEENE, N.H. -- On Tuesday, May 20, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at NGM Insurance Company, 55 West St., the local Project Management Institute chapter, is hosting "Design Thinking and Scrum -- Why you should be thinking like a designer and not a project manager."

The presenter is Bob Crowley who is Director of Information Technology at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass. Crowley has served the college for 25 years in various roles ranging from engineering to networking. He recently received a graduate certificate in Agile project management from Marlboro Graduate School in Brattleboro.

For more information or to register, visit www.pmi-keene.org/programs or contact Nancy Cahill at nancycahill123@gmail.com.