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Windham County Economic Development Program taking proposals

BRATTLEBORO >> The Windham County Economic Development Program has released the 2016 Request for Proposals for competitive grant funds.

The WCEDP is meant to promote economic development in Windham County by providing funds to stimulate job creation through business start-up, expansion, or relocation, encourage entrepreneurial activity, and strengthen the economic development infrastructure to ensure a strong foundation for transformational economic activity. The primary focus of the program is private sector job creation and retention and direct support of entrepreneurial activities, followed by support of systems and activities that encourage an entrepreneurial, innovation and business start-up environment and culture. Funds are made available through a revolving loan program administered by the Vermont Economic Development Agency, incentive packages negotiated by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and regional partners, non-competitive grants made by ACCD, and the competitive grants that are the focus of this RFP.

The grants that may be awarded to respondents to this RFP are made through a competitive selection process and applicants are advised that there is a limited amount of funds available for each round. It is likely that the scoring, selection, prioritization and allocation process will result in some projects not being funded at all and others being funded at less than the level requested. The application process occurs in two steps: Letter of Intent to Apply: and, if an LOI is approved, Full Grant Application.

"One focus of this year's RFP is on workforce recruitment," said R.T. Brown, the WCEDP's Project Manager. "The region's employers echo a consistent sentiment that solutions are needed to help attract and retain workers across the region. By providing this focus, we hope to see some great proposals that can help address this issue."

"The region needs to provide efficient and consistent workforce solutions so that businesses have the confidence their growth plans can be realized." says Adam Grinold, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation's Executive Director. "By focusing on our existing businesses we win by ensuring their vibrancy, health, and ability to position themselves for the next stage which is growth and new jobs."

Contact R.T. Brown for comments and questions, rbrown@brattleborodevelopment.com.

White Crane Martial Arts announces its grand opening

BRATTLEBORO >> White Crane is hosting a grand opening of its martial arts school on May 7 from noon to 5 p.m. Free to the public.

When the current owners, Matthew and Sadie Butler, took over the school, formerly known as Brattleboro School of Budo, in February 2016, they didn't have a proper celebration. The event will give current students the chance to invite their families to see where they train — but will also give future students and the local community a chance to meet Renshi Matt Butler and learn more about what is being offered. White Crane wants to become an important part of the Brattleboro community and provide a safe, comfortable place where people of all ages and abilities can take classes.

White Crane offers traditional Okinawan karate and kobudo as well as Japanese JuJutsu, for children from 3 years old up to 103 years young. The types of training offered there can work for everyone. White Crain offers a welcoming atmosphere committed to providing the very best in traditional martial arts training.

With 20-plus years of experience, Renshi Matt Butler is very well respected in the global martial arts community, making your training experience truly unique.

On May 7, they'll be offering tours of their state-of-the-art facility throughout the day, as well as live demonstrations from 4:30 to 5. There will also be door prizes and giveaway as well as a raffle. All proceeds from the raffle will be placed into a scholarship fund which will be used to help open the doors for students facing economic hardships, by providing free tuition for those who need it most.

For more information, visit www.whitecranemartialarts.com, find White Crane on Facebook, call 802-251-5108 or stop by 464 Putney Rd.

AlpineGlo hosts grand opening

NORTH WESTMINSTER >> AlpineGlo Farm will be hosting a grand opening celebration on Saturday, May 14, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

AlpineGloFarm cheeses are handcrafted in small batches and produced on site with its own goats milk.

Bring the family and stay the afternoon. Tour the farm and have a chance to play with this year's baby alpine dairy goats, feed them a bottle, give treats to the mommy goats, visit baby chicks, and more. This is a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the goats, visit the farmer, and ask about the animals and the cheeses.

AlpineGlo Farm is a small family-owned business located just off of Route 121. For more information, visit www.alpineglofarm.com, find AlpineGlo Farm on Facebook, or call 802-463-2018.

Sperry Wilson passes property and casualty license for The Richards Group

NORWICH >> The Richards Group recently announced that Sperry Wilson recently passed the state property and casualty license exam, and is now dually licensed to sell employee benefits and commercial/personal insurance in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

"We are very excited that Sperry's sales and account management skills will become an integral part of our growing commercial insurance presence in the Upper Valley", said Tom Scull, Vice President. "For the past eight years, Sperry has been and will continue to be a key contributor to The Richards Group's Employee Benefit practice. The Richards Group is a much stronger organization now that she can assist her clients will all their commercial insurance needs."

"I deeply value the trusted relationships I've nurtured over my years at The Richards Group," said Wilson. "With this new commercial license and skillset, I can deliver broader care and stewardship to the clients and communities I serve."

Sperry joined The Richards Group in September 2008 and works out of the Norwich office. Starting as an account Mmnager for the Employee Benefits Group, Sperry is an advisor to mid-size businesses with expertise in health care reform and both the New Hampshire and Vermont State Exchanges. She is licensed in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

For more information about the firm and its capabilities, visit www.therichardsgrp.com or contact Sperry Wilson swilson@therichardsgrp.com.

Historic preservation and downtown conference to be held June 10

WATERBURY >> "Investing in the Future, Preserving the Past" is the theme of this year's Historic Preservation and Downtown Conference, on June 110 from 8:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The annual conference is the perfect venue to celebrate the current authenticity and vitality of Vermont's historic places and discuss how to build on this economic and community success over the next 50 years. The conference brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to explore historic preservation, community planning, and downtown revitalization.

Rhonda Sincavage, of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, will deliver the keynote address, focusing on the common misperception that preservation is concerned only with the past. She will highlight that preservation not only protects the authenticity of historic places, but also spurs economic reinvestment, enhances quality of life, and helps promote sustainable environments. The conference will feature a variety of sessions and community tours with a focus on creative place making, innovative technologies, restoration techniques, funding and incentives, art and architecture, and building social capital. Tour Waterbury's newly renovated municipal offices, see the recently rehabilitated Waterbury State Office Complex, and learn how craft beer and historic preservation are linked.

The conference is sponsored by the Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development. It is open to the general public. Registration is $50, with a $45 early bird registration until May 15. Space is limited to 235 people. To register and for a complete list of conference speakers, sessions and sponsors, visit www.ptvermont.org or call 802-658-6647. AIA Learning Units are available for Architects, and Certification Maintenance Credits for planners.

VTrans solicits applications for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements

MONTPELIER >> The Vermont Agency of Transportation has issued a grant solicitation for new infrastructure projects that improve access and safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. In 2015, awards totaled nearly $5.1 million for construction and planning projects throughout the state.

"Bicycle and pedestrian projects can help connect existing modes of transportation." said VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager Jon Kaplan. "Existing transit connections, such as bus and rail service and park and rides, can be more easily accessed if safe options are available for bicyclists and pedestrians. Better access to the system can stimulate economic development in our downtowns and improve public health."

The VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Program improves access and safety for bicyclists and pedestrians through the planning, design and construction of infrastructure projects. The program improves transportation options for commuters, visitors to the state, and those seeking recreational uses. According to the Alliance for Biking and Walking's 2016 benchmarking report on bicycling and walking in the U.S., Vermont ranks third in the nation for percent of commuters who bike or walk to work and third in per capita spending on bicycle/pedestrian projects. Vermont and Alaska tie for the lowest number of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in the country.

May is National Bike Month and VTrans is working to develop safe and convenient connections between transportation modes that allow better access to the state's transportation network. One recent success is Amtrak's Vermonter line, which launched carry-on bike service on May 1 between St. Albans and Washington, D.C., improving the connection of rail and bicycle modes.

To learn more about the VTrans 2016 Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Guide and Application, visit http://vtrans.vermont.gov/ and look under the Spotlight heading. Applications must be received by 1PM, Friday July 15, 2016. A pre-application training webinar, available through vtrans.webex.com, will be offered on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 and Thursday, May 26, 2016. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to participate.

For more information about the 2016 Bicycle and Pedestrian program or other VTrans initiatives related to bicycling and walking, contact Jon Kaplan at 802-828-0059 or jon.kaplan@vermont.gov.


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