BFDDA celebrates 'Small Business Saturday'

BELLOWS FALLS >> The Bellows Falls Downtown Development Alliance announces its participation in the sixth annual Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28 to support independent businesses in Bellows Falls.

Founded by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate the small businesses that help support your neighborhood and is held every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, embraced as part of the holiday shopping tradition as each year shoppers, businesses and public officials come together to "Shop Small" and show their neighborhood pride. In addition, many of the businesses are celebrating Plaid Friday and Cider Monday, as well as the traditional Open House on Saturday and Sunday. During this long weekend, many businesses are offering special sales, detailed on BFDDA's Facebook page.

Kurn Hattin Homes for Children elects new officers at annual meeting

WESTMINSTER >> Kurn Hattin Homes for Children held its 121st annual meeting on Nov. 6.

Charles P. Kelsey of Exeter, N.H., presided at his final meeting as board president. William Abbott of Keene, N.H., was elected as president, and Stephen Harrison was installed as Kurn Hattin's new executive director.


Stephen Harrison joined Kurn Hattin Homes in September, upon the retirement of Adjunct Executive Director Connie Sanderson. Harrison, in his remarks, expressed his gratitude for the meaningful work of the Kurn Hattin staff, and their ability to create a place of conscious respect and healing for children. He noted the strength and resilience of the whole Kurn Hattin community. Harrison envisions the future as a continuation of these positive internal resources, while looking forward with goals of advancing educational standards and best practices, an emphasis on ongoing professional development and training for staff members, and providing an early foundation of career potential for students in a world of ever-changing technological progress.

Trustee Janet Wilson, of Walpole, N.H., facilitated the election process of new and returning members. Dan Antosiewicz, Rita Ramirez, and Virginia Watson were elected as incorporators. Debra Hamel and Sheldon Scott were elected as trustees. It was noted that Trustees James Lynch of Walpole, N.H., and Philip Perlah, of Chester, were elected during the 2015 fiscal year.

Dan Antosiewicz is CPA and manager at John G. Burk and Associates Keene, N.H., where he and his family reside. Dan has served as treasurer of Keene School District SAU29 for the past eight years and has been involved with several local charitable organization boards.

Debra Hamel, who served as vice-chair of the N.H. Board of Education and as the N.H. Commissioner on the Education Commission of the States, lives in Marlborough, N.H., and is the town's emergency management director and a zoning board member.

Rita Ramirez, who lives in Dummerston, became interested in Kurn Hattin through her work as a Guardian ad Litem with the Brattleboro Family Court. She currently serves as board chair with Girls on the Run Vermont, and is a co-founder of "The Hatch," a 501c3 dedicated to producing live events in the greater Brattleboro area.

Sheldon Scott owns Whitney Blake Company of Westminster, and is actively involved in the daily operations of two facilities. The company specializes in producing custom cables, cords, and cable assemblies. He has served on the Boards of Old Fort No. 4 and Parks Place, and lives in Walpole, N.H.

Virginia (Ginny) Watson, granddaughter of former executive director William Irving Mayo, grew up on the Kurn Hattin campus. She is a retired library media specialist, and lives in the North Syracuse, N.Y., region. Her most recent position was at Gillette Road Middle School in North Syracuse, N.Y., where she spent 20 years teaching research skills and instilling a love of literature.

Weinstock accepted as a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association

BELLOWS FALLS >> The Independent Educational Consultants Association today announced that Brady R. Weinstock, of Bellows Falls, has been accepted as a professional member in the association. Professional membership in the association is reserved for only the most capable and experienced independent educational consultants. It requires an appropriate master's degree or comparable training, and a minimum of three years experience in admissions and counseling. In addition, members must have visited a minimum of 50 campuses, meet IECA's professional standards, and subscribe to its Principles of Good Practice.

Weinstock has been an IEC since 2011 and works with Virginia & Jennifer Bush & Associates Educational Consultants, based in New York and Singapore. Weinstock is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of New Hampshire, with a major in linguistics and minor in journalism, and studied in the Master's in Teaching program at the School for International Training (now SIT Graduate Institute) in Brattleboro. A former copy editor for newspapers and a national lifestyle magazine, Weinstock entered the field of education in 2008 with a position as Associate Director of Admissions at Vermont Academy in Saxtons River. Weinstock works primarily with students applying to boarding schools and junior boarding schools, guiding families through an increasingly complicated admissions process to find the best fit for each student.

River Valley CU promotes Partrick to mortgage processor

BRATTLEBORO >> River Valley Credit Union recently announced the promotion of Melinda Partrick to Mortgage Processor in its Brattleboro main office. Partrick has been with River Valley Credit Union since January of 2010, and has held various positions in teller operations and the mortgage department. A graduate of Mexico Academy in Mexico, N.Y., Partrick has also earned credits in liberal arts. She serves on River Valley Credit Union's Kids Fair Committee, and is an enthusiastic and effective participant.

Vermont Community Foundation awards grant to Post Oil Solutions

BRATTLEBORO >> Post Oil Solutions received $2,500 from the Vermont Community foundation's Small and Inspiring grant program to help further Post Oil Solution's mission of bringing people together from diverse class backgrounds to engage in open and constructive dialogue, with the aim of contributing to the economic justice movement.

Cross Class Dialogue Circles are a powerful way for people from diverse class backgrounds to come together to better understand their own experiences with class, to learn from other perspectives, and to practice respectful and productive cross class communication. Dialogue Circles are held at The Root Social Justice Center and are facilitated by Angela Berkfield and Davey Shlasko. To find out more, email or call 802-254-3400.

To learn more about Post Oil Solutions, visit, email or call 802-869-2141.

Learey graduates from ECLI

BRATTLEBORO >> Chloe Learey, executive director of Winston Prouty Center for Child Development in Brattleboro, has graduated from the Early Childhood Leadership Institute, a program of The Richard A. and Barbara W. Snelling Center for Government.

The Early Childhood Leadership Institute was initiated in 2014 and seeks to stimulate enthusiasm for and effective participation in efforts to improve early childhood work in Vermont.

Over the past six months, Learey attended 12 seminar days to gain leadership skills and a deeper knowledge and understanding of the science and landscape of early childhood issues in Vermont. She joins a professional network of over 700 Vermont Leadership Network Alumni, with a projected 100 early childhood leadership institute associates.

Learey was recently named to the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality, Affordable Child Care.

"Participating in ECLI gave me not only more information and tools about early childhood work in Vermont but more importantly inspiration to find solutions to the early childhood challenges we face today," said Learey.

BRW Electronics joins Steren Electronics

BRATTLEBORO >> Former RadioShack franchisee, BRW Electronics, recently announced that its stores in Greenfield, Mass., and Brattleboro are now authorized dealers of a new chain of nationwide electronics stores, Steren Electronics Solutions. BRW joins a network of nearly 300 other former RadioShack dealers and franchisees who are partnering with Steren for access to its high-quality products, parts and accessories. The Brattleboro store is located on Putney Road, in Black Mountain Square.

Under this new agreement, BRW will continue to stock thousands of electronics products as it has for the past 33 years. The product assortment includes an extensive array of electronic parts, batteries and accessories for technicians and do-it-yourselfers, as well as batteries and accessories. Additionally, BRW has increased its offering of in-demand electronics, such as drones, Bluetooth speakers, smartphones, robotics, DIY and educational kits, action cameras, headphones, TV's, home theater equipment, police scanners and more. BRW also repairs cell phones and tablets on site.

"Although we are saddened to end our decades-long relationship with RadioShack, their bankruptcy earlier this year has resulted in our need to move in a new and exciting direction for our business," said Ira Brezinsky, co-owner of BRW. "By becoming an authorized Steren dealer, we will continue to be our communities' one-stop shop for electronics parts, products and services."

Brezinsky said while customers will notice some changes, such as Steren-branded products, signage and displays, the staff at both stores, expert service and broad product assortment will continue as always.

"That combination of high-quality products and high-touch service is a something that simply can't be found online or in big box stores. We are excited to show our current customers what we have to offer this holiday season and welcome new folks to check out what we have in store."

Founded in 1983, BRW Electronics began as a family owned retail electronics business and RadioShack dealer in Brattleboro,. In 2000, a second store was added in Greenfield. The company has been owned and operated by Ira and Shelly Brezinsky since 1986. For more information about BRW Electronics, visit

Stuffed toys available for holiday giving

TOWNSHEND >> Ordering of stuffed toy animals by charitable organizations is happening this time of year. Committees from fire department and other local groups are getting underway this month to find suitable children's gifts for their local festivities.

"We have an assortment of different size and types of stuffed animals available," said Walter Meyer of Half Price Plush. "We offer a variety of many different stuffed animal designs to charitable organization for holiday Christmas giving".

Each year, town groups such as volunteer fire departments and other groups provide stuffed toy gifts to youngsters. Townshend stuffed toy manufacturer, Mary Meyer Corp., offers a large variety of toy designs to charitable organizations.

"Yesterday two buyers from a neighboring town selected well over 100 toys for their town's Christmas party and we are happy to help them find suitable gifts," Meyer said.

Mary Meyer designs, manufactures and distributes over 400 different stuffed toy animal designs to over 8,000 retail stores in the USA. Organization needing toys for the coming holiday season can contact Mary Meyer at or by telephone.

Mary Meyer Corp. has been in business for 82 years.

River Valley CU promotes Hall

BRATTLEBORO >> River Valley Credit Union recently promoted Mitchell Hall to mortgage loan processor in its Brattleboro Main office. Hall grew up in Wilmington and graduated from Twin Valley High School (Class of 2014). Prior to the credit union he worked at C&S Wholesale Grocers in the customer service department. Hall started at River Valley in September of 2014 as a Brattleboro branch teller. In May 2015 he moved to the operation center and was ultimately promoted to an accounting/operations assistant.

Commonwealth Dairy is sole supplier of Greek yogurt to five states

BRATTLEBORO >> Commonwealth Dairy has been chosen as the primary supplier of 32 oz Greek yogurt for the USDA National School Lunch Program for early 2016.

With respect to the schools in Vermont, Connecticut, California, Alabama and Florida, Commonwealth Dairy will be the sole supplier of the 32 oz Greek yogurt. USDA earlier this year moved to include Greek yogurt as one of the food products schools are allowed to consider when spending federal money on the national school lunch program.

Commonwealth Dairy, manufacturer of Green Mountain Creamery Greek yogurt brand, will supply 31,632 pounds of Greek Yogurt to schools in the five states.

"One of our main goals is to be involved with the community and this program is a way for us to bring our healthy yogurt not only to students, but to schools," said Commonwealth Dairy's Business Development Manager Alfons van Heerwaarden. "Greek yogurt is a great source of protein and dairy for children in schools."

Commonwealth Dairy is a state-of-the art yogurt manufacturing facility located in Brattleboro. Its line of yogurts contains no artificial preservatives, additives or colorings and is made with only the purest ingredients including rBST free milk. Commonwealth Dairy returns 5 percent of its net profits directly back to the farmers who supply its milk.

Brookes named manger of TD Bank's Main Street branch

BRATTLEBORO >> TD Bank, has promoted Jessica T. Brookes to Assistant Vice President, Store Manager II of the location at 215 Main St. She is responsible for new business development, consumer and business lending, managing personnel and overseeing the day-to-day operations at the store serving customers throughout the area.

Brookes has 11 years of retail banking experience. She joined TD Bank in 2006 as a teller and later served as a customer service representative and financial services representative before her most recent position as assistant store manager in the store on Putney Road in Brattleboro.

A resident of Newfane, Brookes is a community events volunteer at NewBrook Fire & Rescue and is active in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, where she served as luminary chair for seven years, and other activities. She is a 2001 graduate of Brattleboro Union High School.