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BRATTLEBORO >> "Ralph Flies the Coop," an upcoming children's book aimed at teaching children about broadening their horizons through travel, intercultural experience, and foreign-language learning, will be released in September by Green Writers Press.

"Ralph Flies the Coop," written and illustrated by Brattleboro residents, Jaimie Scanlon and Ellen Tumavicus, uses the character of Ralph, a rooster who leaves the farm and travels the world learning to say "cock-a-doodle-doo" in different languages, to introduce children to the concept that stepping outside our comfort zone and being open to different types of people and experiences can change our lives — and ourselves — for the better.

The book's message of "openness to otherness" became particularly timely, says its creators, given the current themes of anti-immigration and xenophobia dominating the political climate around the globe. "The project took on deeper meaning as we continued to collaborate over the past year," said illustrator Tumavicus.

Scanlon and Tumavicus, both veteran educators, drew upon their own experiences living and teaching abroad to create the story and imagery. Scanlon was inspired to write the story over a decade ago while teaching English to children in Japan.

"I was teaching a group of kindergartners the sounds that farm animals make in English--the cow says 'moo;' the pig says 'oink, and so on," said Scanlon. "The kids thought it was hysterical and wanted to teach me the sounds in Japanese. I wanted to write a children' book that would capture that playfulness and the fun of language-learning and international travel, especially for kids ,like many in Vermont, who may not have a lot of exposure to multiculturalism."

When she and Tumavicus began working together, Scanlon says, they agreed that the final product needed to address the broader, related themes of acceptance of diversity and the meaning of global citizenship.

Tumavicus, a public school art teacher who has taught at international schools in Trinidad and Spain, cites current events, including terror attacks around the globe and Donald Trump's anti-immigration platform, that sparked a sense of urgency about including the message of acceptance and a desire to encourage parents and educators to start conversations with children about cultural diversity.

"Watching the news, we realized the timeliness of Ralph's message," she said. "The future will depend on the ability of today's children to move past the fear and break down these perceived barriers. We hope this story will lay that groundwork in a fun, age-appropriate way."

Four Columns completes installation of 'Window Project'

NEWFANE >> In cooperation with WW Building Supply and Home Center, the Four Columns of Newfane has completed the first installation of the Window Project, bringing excitement and energy to Newfane's Route 30.

One window is dominated by a 24-foot cypress and stainless steel folding masonry ruler created by artist Peter Kirkiles. The other window displays the message, "Make it Happen," highlighted by Kirkiles' giant red carpenter's pencil, suggesting that given the tools, change can happen.

Four Columns stands at the center of southern Vermont's cultural, culinary and arts scene. In addition to a private collection of original artwork, the Four Columns features a rotating exhibit of local artists throughout the property. Currently, Dummerston artist Nancy Burgess' painted relief sculptures are on show in the parlor.

Four Columns has been lucky to work with gallerist Diane Birdsall, whose efforts in creating an evolving art experience have led to the establishment of the Four Columns as an arts destination.

For more information, call 802-365-7713 or visit fourcolumnsvt.com.

Two local projects receive VEDA financing

BRATTLEBORO >> Vermont Distillers, Inc., in Marlboro, and Mullaney Hospitality Group, in Manchester, each received financing to help Vermont commercial, agricultural and renewable energy economic development projects move forward.

Vermont Distillers received $50,000 in financing to help it purchase distillation equipment that will be used to produce an apple brandy using fermented cider from locally-produced apples, and make smaller production runs of other distilled spirits. Operating since 2012, Vermont Distillers, Inc. was founded in 2010 after its owners won $10,000 in the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation's annual business plan competition.

In Manchester, Mullaney Hospitality Group received $1.5 million as partial financing for a $17.7 million hotel construction project. Mullaney is constructing a new 97-room, 62,000-square-foot Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel on 2.63 acres on Main Street. Mullaney also received partial funding from Mascoma Savings Bank. The first national chain hotel approved for in-town construction by the town of Manchester, the Hampton Inn & Suites is expected to create 26 new jobs within three years of construction.

"VEDA is pleased to offer financing assistance that will help businesses expand, enhance recreational and tourism offerings in our state, and support Vermont agriculture," said VEDA CEO Jo Bradley. "Renewable energy generation projects will also come to fruition with VEDA's help."

Stevens & Associates, P.C. welcomes Jillian Tomaselli

BRATTLEBORO >> Stevens & Associates recently welcomed Jillian Tomaselli to the team as an architectural designer.

Tomaselli has received a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from Keene, N.H., State College. During that time, she studied abroad at St. John International University in Torino, Italy. Tomaselli continued her education earning a Master's of Architecture from the University of Hartford. Before receiving her Master's degree, she became the 2013 Marvin Design Studio Challenge Winner. More recently Tomaselli accepted the 2016 AIA Henry Adams Medal and Certificate of Merit award and the Tai Soo Kim Traveling Fellowship. Tomaselli is interested in historic preservation, urban renewal, and universal design.

The architects, engineers and landscape architects at Stevens & Associates work on a variety of commercial and residential projects. Currently, Tomaselli is working on an assisted living facility, art museum and an affordable housing project. The architecture team focuses on environmentally sustainable and traditionally inspired design. As members of the Congress for New Urbanism and the U.S. Green Building Council, Stevens & Associates has always valued smart growth and traditional neighborhood design that fits into the historic context of New England's towns and villages. The firm is excited for Jillian to join the team and to continue to incorporate those values to the architectural realm.

Stevens & Associates is an Architecture and Engineering firm specializing in the design and development of livable communities. For further information, visit www.stevens-assoc.com or phone 802-257-9329.

Brooks House receives Preservation Trust of Vermont award

BRATTLEBORO >> On June 10, the Brooks House Development Team, Stevens & Associates, P.C., and Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC received an award from the Preservation Trust of Vermont for the Brooks House renovation and preservation project. The awards recognize outstanding examples of historic preservation in projects recently completed within Vermont. The team received this award for its work in renovating and rehabilitating the historic Brooks House located in downtown Brattleboro. Stevens & Associates and Downs Rachlin Martin accepted this award acknowledging their collaborative efforts with the Brooks House Development Team for this project.

After a devastating fire in 2011, the Brooks House was in need of significant structural and architectural design. After reframing the building from the basement to the tower, attention to preserving historical elements and details such as windows, multiple bay storefronts, Corinthian columns and transoms, as well as incorporating towers and lofted ceilings in residential apartments were addressed. The Brooks House project, required a complex financing package of historic and new market tax credits, public and private loans, and private investments.

The $24 million renovation was completed in 2014. This endeavor has rebuilt a cornerstone of downtown Brattleboro offering the community academic space for two colleges and a progressive K-8 independent school, 23 residential units, restaurants, retail shops, and a spacious atrium showcasing local artistic talent. Stevens & Associates previously won this award recognizing their preservation services for Dot's Restaurant in Wilmington, Brattleboro.

For more information about the Brooks House or Stevens & Associates, please contact Bob Stevens at 802-257-9329 or info@stevens-assoc.com.

Vermont-gased grant management software company earns new contracts

HALIFAX >> Following the May 2016 release of Tempest-GEMS, grant expense and document management system, Storm Petrel was awarded contracts to assist Ship Bottom New Jersey with managing both FEMA and USDA grants for reconstruction of critical infrastructure damaged in Hurricane Sandy.

In partnership with The Louis Berger Group, Storm Petrel has also been awarded a contract with the Houston-Galveston Area Council for providing grant management software. HGACBuy (www.hgacbuy.org) is a unit of local government and strives to make governmental procurement process more efficient by establishing competitively priced contracts for goods and services to help 6,000 member communities achieve their procurement goals. Local governments from 50 states including Vermont use this contract.

The May 2016 release of Tempest-GEMS aids grant applicants with procurement compliance. The web-based software assists users in scoring procurement policies against the new federal standards represented within the "Super Circular," 2CFR200. Furthermore, the software scores each procurement cycle against the new federal law. All state and local governments must be in compliance with this law by January 2017. Organizations have one year to comply or risk losing grant funds including those provided by FEMA for disaster recovery. These features augment existing financial tracking and document management system.

Storm Petrel LLC sells high-quality software that aids local and state governments through the financial recovery process after a natural disaster. The Tempest suite of software applications improve the workflow, cash-flow, and regulatory compliance of managing federal grant programs. Our software and related data management services provide the optimal mix of off-the- shelf products with highly customizable feature sets that assist our customers to solve their business needs. Storm Petrel prides itself on answering customer calls immediately and addressing technical issues promptly.

Storm Petrel, headquartered in Halifax, is a disadvantaged business entity certified by Vermont and New York. The firm is a Small Business Administration certified woman-owned small business and economically disadvantaged woman-owned small business . The website can be found at storm-petrel.com

BDCC hosts leadership workshop

BRATTLEBORO >> A workshop focused on innovation in leadership, culture building and teamwork for entrepreneurs will be presented at the Marlboro Graduate Center, tonight at 6 p.m.

Whether you are building the team of your company or considering collaborating with other teams, this interactive session will offer you experience in building the muscles of shared leadership. We will identify the foundations of the Shared Leadership Framework up against the traditional "boss" model of hierarchical leadership. In doing so, we'll model the process by embodying a "jazz ensemble" flow, bringing all voices and perspectives to co-create the conversation. After building the framework, we'll begin practicing this new way of leading, touching on shared leadership skills and techniques that offer ways to begin building group awareness, empowerment, collaboration, wholehearted communication, positive risk taking and collective creativity. Participants will leave with the groundwork to understand their own leadership mindset and how to guide teams toward greater excellence and outcomes from the inside out.

For more information, contact R.T. Brown at rbrown@brattleborodevelopment.com or 802-257-7731, ext. 221.

19 DRM attorneys recognized by Chambers USA

BURLINGTON >> Attorneys Elizabeth K. Rattigan and Willemien Dingemans Miller are new this year to the roster of 19 attorneys at the northern New England law firm Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC who are recognized in Chambers USA 2016. Both attorneys are based in DRM's Lebanon, N.H., office. Rattigan is a member and chair of the Labor and Employment Practice Group and advises clients on human resources and labor and employment issues. Dingemans Miller practices in DRM's Trusts and Estates Practice Group, and is recognized by Chambers in the area of private wealth management.

As a firm, DRM is highly ranked in all areas of law for which the firm is evaluated, gaining band 1 status in a comparative analysis for corporate and commercial work, intellectual property, labor and employment, litigation and real estate/land use.

Other DRM attorneys ranked in Chambers, by practice area, are corporate/commercial attorneys Thomas H. Moody, Paul H. Ode, Jr., Wm. Roger Prescott and David J. Sylvester; captive insurance attorney Kathleen H. Davis; intellectual property attorneys Peter B. Kunin and Lawrence H. Meier; labor and employment attorneys Timothy E. Copeland, Jr., Johan W. E. Maitland and Peter B Robb; litigation attorneys Marc B. Heath, Walter E. Judge, Jr., Robert Luce and Robert D. Rachlin; and real estate/land use attorneys William J. Dodge, R. Prescott Jaunich and Peter D. Van Oot. Rachlin is singled out as a "Senior Statesman" for the twelfth straight year.

Chambers and Partners is a global organization that has been researching and ranking US law firms on criteria that include technical expertise, business acumen, prompt delivery and value since 1999. The listings, which are revised each year, are based on direct attorney interviews, competitor and client evaluations and overall effectiveness of attorneys and their departments. Law firms and lawyers are ranked in bands 1-6, with band 1 being the highest.

From offices located in Vermont and New Hampshire, DRM represents regional, national and international entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, technology businesses and Fortune 100 companies. The legal services provided by the firm include bankruptcy and business restructuring, general business, captive insurance, renewable energy and telecommunications, health law, intellectual property, labor and employment, litigation, real estate and land use, environmental, taxation and trusts and estates, as well as legislative and regulatory services through the firm's Government and Public Affairs group. DRM is the exclusive member firm in Vermont for Lex Mundi – the world's leading network of independent law firms with in-depth experience in 100+ countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.drm.com.


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