Business Briefs

Kurn Hattin receive $500 grant

WESTMINSTER >> Kurn Hattin Homes for Children is the recipient of a $500 ExxonMobil Educational Alliance Grant to support mathematics and science programs at the non-profit, residential home and school for boys and girls in the first through eighth grades. Now in its sixteenth year, ExxonMobil's grant program provides grants to schools across the country, which have been nominated by local retailers who best know the schools in their area. Allen Brothers of Westminster, Vermont nominated Kurn Hattin Homes. Stacey Allen, from Allen Brothers, presented the check to Kurn Hattin's of Development and Public Relations Director, Kim Fine.

GMP offers Tesla Powerwall home battery

COLCHESTER >> Green Mountain Power is the first utility in the country to offer home battery offerings for customers. Under this innovative filing, Vermonters have the option to purchase the Tesla Powerwall battery outright or lease with no upfront cost. The cutting edge battery technology will empower customers to become more energy independent while also allowing the company to reduce peak demand on the system, providing cost savings to all customers. GMP is the first utility in the country to partner with Tesla to offer the Powerwall.

"This is a game changer that will help fully leverage solar to the benefit of all with cost savings, while empowering Vermonters to generate, store and use energy closer to the home," said GMP President and CEO Mary Powell. "As Vermont's energy company of the future, GMP is partnering with customers on an energy transformation that moves away from the 100-year-old grid system, to a new one that is more reliable, sustainable and cost-effective."

The Tesla home battery can be paired with small-scale solar such as rooftop panels to store locally generated energy, or it can be used without solar as a battery to store power from the grid. During a storm or emergency, the battery is able to power essential parts of the home like lights, a refrigerator, and furnace. GMP will partner with customers to utilize the batteries during peak energy times to directly lower costs for customers by reducing transmission and capacity costs.

GMP outlined to the Vermont Public Service Board its plan to offer three options to customers who want the Powerwall. Customers who share access of the battery will pay about $37.50 a month with no upfront cost, which equals $1.25 a day. Customers can also choose to purchase the Powerwall for about $6500, share access with GMP, and get a monthly bill credit of $31.76, which represents the value of leveraging the battery to help lower peak energy costs. And Vermonters can buy the Powerwall outright from GMP with no shared access for about $6500.

Unity Homes builds net-zero demonstration home in Walpole

WALPOLE, N.H. >> Just days after unveiling the Greenbuild Unity home at the 2015 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Washington, D.C, Unity Homes craftsmen returned to New Hampshire and erected the company's lauded innovative demonstration home in a permanent location in Walpole.

During the Greenbuild Conference, Unity Homes earned recognition for its game-changing approach to homebuilding from Vermont-based BuildingGreen Inc., an independent publishing company focused on transforming the North American building industry. BuildingGreen named Unity Homes one of its Top 10 Products for 2016, alongside innovators such as Tesla.

Unity's 1,620-square-foot demonstration home demonstrates that innovation, affordability and energy efficiency are not mutually exclusive. Erected in less than three days, the home is designed to meet LEED for Homes Platinum standards. One of four highly customizable styles currently offered by Unity, the model home features a modern, light-filled and open-plan aesthetic, certified Cradle to Cradle products and finishes, and airtight construction that virtually eliminates drafts and outside noise.

River Valley CU promotes Fortier

BRATTLEBORO >> River Valley Credit Union recently announced the promotion of Jill Fortier to senior vice president and chief financial officer. Fortier was formerly in accounting at C&S Wholesale Grocers and began at River Valley in June of 2004. She has been an EMT for 10 years with Northfield, Mass., EMS and is currently a captain with the department. Jill also volunteers her time as a board member and treasurer of Rescue Inc. She lives in Northfield with her husband and daughter.

Local B&B supports HomeShare Vermont

BRATTLEBORO >> HomeShare Vermont recently announced that its Vermont Inns Raffle is underway. There are 29 chances to win an overnight stay for two at an inn or B&B in Vermont, including One Cat of Brattleboro. For a full list of participating locations, visit

Raffle tickets are three for $25 or 15 for $100. They can be purchased at the website or by calling 802-863-5625. HomeShare Vermont is limiting sales to 1,500 tickets. Winners will be drawn on Jan. 27 and you don't have to be present to win.

HomeShare Vermont is a non-profit organization that serves elders and adults with disabilities by allowing them to remain at home with the help of homesharers who provide household service in exchange for an affordable place to live. HomeShare Vermont is a funded agency of the United Way of Chittenden County.

BDCC receives $48K for internship program

BRATTLEBORO >> The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation was recently awarded $48,000 for the continued implementation of its Cooperative Internship Program from the Department of Labor. BDCC developed the internship program in consultation with the Six College Collaborative; a consortium of Higher Education Institutions in Windham County including Community College of Vermont, Vermont Technical College, Landmark College, SIT Graduate Institute, Marlboro College, and Union Institute and University.

"We are excited to see the accelerating engagement and success of this program," said BDCC Executive Director Adam Grinold. "The internship program is a critical part of a larger program BDCC has been developing to expand the size and quality of the workforce in our region. This workforce priority comes directly from the work our region did to create our regional economic development strategy with the SeVEDS initiative."

The Cooperative Internship Program is available to all collegiate students, regardless of their affiliation with the aforementioned Six Colleges, and works to place students in Windham County businesses. The program has placed over 50 students since it's inception, and has led to full time employment for 20 percent of participants that have completed their internships.

For students, the only eligibility requirement is to have attended a college-level course in the last 18 months. For employers, the only eligibility requirement is that the opportunity be paid and located within Windham County. For more information about the Six College Collaborative Internship Program, contact Alex Beck at the BDCC at or 802-257-7731, ext. 214

Holistic approach to pet care

BRATTLEBORO >> Hemlock Ridge offers traditional veterinary care, as well as acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal treatments and nutritional guidance.

Dr. Amy Plavin, DVM, CVA, CVSMT is bringing her successful holistic approach to veterinary wellness and chronic disease to Vermont, after practicing for 20 years in western Massachusetts. Hemlock Ridge will provide a multi-faceted perspective to pet care, offering traditional care, as well as acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal treatments and nutritional

"Holistic care refers to my approach of viewing an animal in its entirety, rather than focusing only on a set of problems or signs and symptoms," said Plavin. "I use conventional medical therapies — pharmaceuticals and surgical modalities — or complementary therapies like acupuncture, nutritional therapy, chiropractic, herbs. And sometimes, I use both. I will do everything I can to relieve an animal from pain or illness."

Plavin had been a practicing veterinarian for about five years in 1995, when she became increasingly frustrated with the limitations of western veterinary medicine.

"The tool kit I had at the time was not enough to alleviate debilitating chronic conditions, and I knew there had to be more. I researched, I studied and I became certified in veterinary acupuncture and herbal medicine."

In the following 20 years, Plavin founded and operated Windy Hollow Veterinary Care in Montague, Mass. During that time, with an interest in the biomechanics of horses, she further broadened her approach to veterinary care and was certified in veterinary spinal manipulative therapy, which focuses on a combination of chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture to help both equine and dog performance athletes.


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