Trout Unlimited and Nature Conservancy team up for Otter Creek

MONTPELIER -- The Central Vermont Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU) is teaming up with The Nature Conservancy to assess whether animals such as trout, turtles and salamanders can move through culverts in the Otter Creek watershed. The assessment is a vital first step toward ensuring that aquatic animals enjoy the watershed-wide mobility critical to their survival. Trout Unlimited is contributing funds and volunteers to assist contractor Redstart Inc. to survey an estimated 1,600 culverts across the watershed, which spans 3 counties and parts of 51 towns.

Funding was also provided by the Vermont Community Foundation, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Researchers recently completed assessments for the Lamoille River Basin, where over 60 percent of culverts do not have good passage critical for aquatic animals.

Bromley's ‘Pink Friday' raises $7,000 for Komen

BROMLEY MOUNTAIN -- On Friday, June 27, Bromley Mountain held its first "Pink Friday" fundraising event to benefit Susan G. Komen Vermont-New Hampshire -- the Race for the Cure people. The idea was that anyone wearing pink on that Friday could buy a $38 Mountain Adventure Park pass for $15, and Bromley would donate that $15 to the affiliate. Some 466 visitors donned the pink, raising nearly $7,000 for the cause.


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"We were looking for a summertime counterpart to our annual Mom's Day Off event, which has raised about $60,000 for local breast cancer efforts over its 12-year history," said Michael van Eyck, Bromley's Marketing Director. "We came up with the Pink Friday idea and gave it a go. Given that this was our first year, I'd say it was a hit."

Cranmore Mountain, Bromley's sister mountain in North Conway, New Hampshire, also joined the effort, raising an additional $3,000.

Terry Farkas, Komen VT-NH's Executive Director, was thrilled with the day's results. "I can't thank Bromley and Cranmore enough, and especially all of the folks who made the day such a success. I was at Bromley Friday morning and it was just a sea of pink! I think we were all a little surprised -- and grateful, don't get me wrong! -- by the high turnout, but the staff did a great job and everybody was happy. And folks from all over showed up. It was amazing."

To her point, Marilyn Meditz, of Red Bank, New Jersey, was on hand with a party of ten, including children and grandchildren, all in matching pink shirts. "When I heard that this [Pink Friday] was about breast cancer awareness, I got excited and ran out and bought the shirts," said the petite redhead. "We're joyful, celebrating my mom, who is a breast cancer survivor. She got breast cancer at 68, had a mastectomy, and she's now 91, God bless her. I just think that breast cancer awareness should really be broadcast. It saved my mom."

Bromley Mountain is located at 3984 Vermont Route 11, Peru, Vermont. For information visit bromley.com.

New celebration barn at the Inn at Manchester

MANCHESTER -- Construction of the Celebration Barn, an exciting new wedding and event space, is well underway at the Inn at Manchester and will begin hosting events Fall 2014. The new building offers an open floor plan of more than 2,500 square feet, a full commercial catering kitchen, plus three deluxe accommodations, including a romantic bridal suite, on the second floor.

The classic barn structure was designed to compliment the Inn's present buildings and architecture, with design details that mimic the Inn's iconic 1890s Carriage House.

The feel of the building is rustic yet refined. "It was important to us that the new building not only offer all the features that wedding couples and event planners are looking for but that it also feel as though it belongs here, and may have always been here," Frank Hanes explains. "The Celebration Barn has all the romance and charm of a rustic setting yet offers the modern convenience that today's wedding-goers desire such as handicap access and fully appointed indoor restrooms."

Named Vermont Innkeepers of the Year, 2012 and having just celebrated ten years as innkeepers in 2013, Frank and Julie Hanes are not strangers to hosting weddings and events. The Inn has been home to countless weddings and private events either under tents on the Inn's spacious four-acre property or in the Inn's distinctive common areas. Their goals in building the new Celebration Barn were to be able to provide a function space that offers more flexibility in the types of events that can be held, is fully climate controlled, and is available year-round.

While weddings are a large part of the expected uses of the Celebration Barn other events and functions, private parties, business meetings, and corporate retreats will each be perfectly at home in the new space.

"In our planning we tried to think about all the ways families, our guests, and the local community might want to use a space. We imagined all of the gatherings that could take place inside of it -- contra dances, corporate retreats, business meetings and seminars, birthday celebrations, bar and bat mitzvahs, and family reunions -- and then built a structure around that," Julie Hanes said.

In addition to the interior space the Celebration Barn also includes a covered outdoor terrace with fire pit where event guests can also gather, making it possible to comfortably enjoy the outdoors even in some of southern Vermont's crisper or mistier weather.

"We took what we've learned from ten years of hosting so many beautiful tented weddings here at the Inn at Manchester and put all of the best ideas into this beautiful, versatile building," Frank said.

As innkeepers the Hanes make hospitality and service a priority. Their success in doing so has repeatedly placed The Inn at Manchester in the top positions on TripAdvisor.com, an industry-leading travel resource for several years running. "We just like seeing people happy and comfortable." Frank said. "We love our guests and feel like we're all part of the same family that appreciates all the wonderful things Vermont has to share." The Hanes see the new space as a natural extension of their successful inn.

For more information about the Celebration Barn or to schedule an interview with Frank and Julie Hanes, call 802-362-1793 or email innkeepers@innatmanchester.com.

Brian Sweetland LLC, formed in advance of SVAC Retrospective

RUPERT -- In honor of their late brother Brian, the Sweetland family has formed a limited liability company whose mission is twofold: To support Brian's favorite local nonprofits, and to spread awareness of his work.

In all weather and in all seasons, before his accidental death on Oct. 16, 2013, while walking his dogs, Brian was a beloved and familiar figure as he stood oil painting by the roadsides, meadows and farms in the region. He was generous in donating proceeds from the sale of his paintings to his favorite local arts and educational nonprofits.

As important as the LLC's philanthropic contributions is the mission to spread awareness of Brian's work. A retrospective show will be held at the Southern Vermont Arts Center, which often hosted his works, next month. To that end, limited edition (100 prints) archival quality posters of one of his favorite subjects, Southwind Farm in Pawlet, are being offered at $375 each to help support the LLC and its mission.

Mary Beth Sweetland has undertaken the formidable task of locating and collecting her brother's paintings from far and wide, having them photographed and cataloguing them. Along with SVAC's Penny Viscusi, she will curate the show this summer, and a book of selected paintings is also being finalized. "We hope to take the show to other venues," she says. "Brian just wasn't a self-promoter, and we want as many people as possible to be able to experience the beauty of his paintings. In the countless ways that he lives on every day, his art will be what endures after we're all gone."

If you own a Brian Sweetland painting (that has not already been photographed), or wish to purchase a poster, kindly contact Mary Beth Sweetland at 802-394-2998. The retrospective show, called Brian Sweetland's "Nature: A Vermont Artist's Journey," opens on Saturday, August 2 at SVAC.

Joshua Bisson earns spot in National Chem-E Car Competition

POTSDAM, N.Y. -- Joshua Bisson of Bennington, a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering at Clarkson University, recently joined Clarkson's Chem-E Car team at the 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Northeast Student Regional Conference. Clarkson was one of 13 teams that competed in the car competition.

Prior to competition, the team presented a poster describing the different aspects of the car and demonstrated that they were aware of the safety hazards associated with the car. Passing this safety inspection allowed the team to proceed to the car competition.

An hour before competition, the team was given a specific distance the car had to travel as well as a weight that had to be carried. This year, those specifications were to travel 25 meters while carrying a load of 250 grams. Each team was allowed two runs, each with a time limit of two minutes, to calibrate their car and attempt to stop at the designated line.

Clarkson landed 2.15 meters from the designated line on their second run, placing them fourth and earning them a spot at the national competition on November 16 in Atlanta, Ga. In addition to qualifying for the national, Clarkson placed third in the Chem-E Jeopardy contest.

VCIL Celebrates ADA Anniversary and improved access

SALISBURY -- The Vermont Center for Independent Living is gearing up for the 24th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act . This year the ADA Celebration will be held at Branbury State Park in Salisbury from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m on July 24.

All are invited to this special event that includes speeches, awards, and a free picnic lunch for the first 200 attendees.

VCIL Executive Director Sarah Launderville said, "Twenty-four years after the signing of this historic legislation we have community members and friends in the business community who are breaking down barriers that stand in the way of people with disabilities being fully included in our society. We are proud to have been able to provide technical assistance to businesses, the state of Vermont and our community to ensure that people with disabilities can access goods, services, education and the equality we deserve."

As VCIL joins the country in celebrating the ADA's birthday, it applauds improvements statewide to accessibility for people with disabilities. These include new options for outdoor recreation at Branbury State Park (on Lake Dunmore) via the wheelchair accessible Moosalamoo Cottage, nature center, pavilion and bathrooms. The beachfront wheelchair access route is being built this summer. VCIL applauds state government for emergency response system improvements by adding texting 911 for people who are deaf and for training state employees in emergency evacuation for people with disabilities. The state has been proactive in modeling great accessibility in parking, bathrooms and automating doors at all its rest areas on Interstate 89.

Increased accessibility is evident in towns and alongside Vermont roadways.

VCIL encourages locals and visitors alike to visit entities modeling good accessibility and take note of how the same can be achieved in their own community.

The ADA was passed in 1990 as the landmark civil rights law designed to end discrimination against people with disabilities in areas of employment, state and local government and places of public accommodation. To learn more contact Mike Charron at VCIL, Vermont's ADA Technical Assistance and Training Provider: mcharron@vcil.org or 800-639-1522; or visit www.vcil.org. For more information about this year's ADA Celebration, contact Sue Booth at 802-224-1804.

Curves offers new members the rest of summer free

BENNINGTON -- Curves International, Inc., the largest chain of fitness centers for women in the world, announced today that participating Curves are offering the rest of the summer free* to new members who sign up for a Fitness membership on their first club visit starting July 1, 2014. With swimsuit season in full swing, the offer is designed to help further motivate those looking to reach their health goals and feel their best this summer. Curves of Bennington located at 748 Main St., is participating in this offer.

In January, Curves introduced Curves Workouts with Jillian Michaels which are cutting-edge total body workouts featuring the Curves Circuit strength training machines in conjunction with functional bodyweight-based exercises that are designed to ramp up metabolism and transform physique. The program is refreshed frequently with a new workout each month made up of 12 different moves.

"We've had great feedback from our members who have tried the Curves Workouts with Jillian Michaels, which introduces a new workout every month, and we want to encourage people to come see what's new with Curves," said Mike Raymond, chief marketing officer of Curves International, Inc. "We look forward to helping women reach their fitness and health goals by offering them the opportunity to experience what a difference 30 minutes can make."

For more information about Curves, visit www.curves.com.