Community News


Friday, January 25
BCIC partners with SVC to support student entrepreneurs

BENNINGTON — The Bennington County Industrial Corporation will present an award of $1,500 to the best student-developed business plan under a new partnership forged with Southern Vermont College's "Build the Enterprise" program, BCIC Executive Director Peter Odierna has announced. "The BCIC mission is to foster high-quality job creation, and we want to encourage young entrepreneurs, like the SVC students, to stay in the Bennington area," Odierna said. "This is an important step in growing a vibrant, well-trained and motivated workforce. This partnership will encourage entrepreneurship, business creation and support student and college participation in the well-being of Bennington County."Under the program, which begins this fall, teams of SVC students will design, implement and manage businesses, putting into practice the theoretical knowledge learned in the classroom. For capitalization, successful business plans will be able to draw upon a $100,000 venture fund created by the college.A panel of BCIC members will assess the Build the Enterprise ventures and select one as the most promising. The award received by the winning team will add to the initial capitalization of its business.

SVC President Karen Gross, who serves on the BCIC board, also noted that BCIC members will serve as mentors to Build the Enterprise student teams and assist the students in designing their business plans and carrying out their business ventures.

"Partnerships like this with the local Bennington community and its business leadership are vital to the college," she said. "This collaboration is an important opportunity not only for students, but for the future development of the region. It is also evidence of the remarkable business support for the Build the Enterprise program itself."

As students work within the community to plan and operate their businesses, they will inevitably establish networks of relationships within Bennington County, Gross said.

"Hopefully, for these students Bennington County will begin to feel like home and then will become their home — not only a place where they went to college," she said. "Our students will want to stay in the place where they've discovered they can achieve success."

Brownies give to homeless cats and dogs

POWNAL — A local Brownie troop recently donated more than 100 catnip toys and 20 doggie bags to homeless cats and dogs at the Second Chance Animal Shelter in Shaftsbury thanks to a community service project dubbed "Operation Happy Sock."

Brownie Troop #838 collected unwanted socks from dozens of friends and family members and transformed them into catnip toys by stuffing them with catnip and fiber filler and then tying a knot at the ankle. The doggie bags consisted of decorated brown lunch bags stuffed with dog biscuits and treats. For stressed-out cats stuck in strange surroundings, a whiff of catnip can be very therapeutic. A big, fluffy Happy Sock can be the feline equivalent of a cuddly teddy bear.

"It was easy and simple to do. Almost everyone seems to have unwanted, mismatched socks and they are happy to have put them to good use," said Erika Harrington, troop leader. "Making the Happy Socks and Doggie Bags was a lot of fun for the girls."

The Brownies got to visit Second Chance Animal Shelter to deliver their handmade gifts in person and meet the cats and dogs.

For information about Operation Happy Sock, visit or e-mail

New direction for anti-tobacco group

BENNINGTON — Tobacco-Free Community Partners, formerly the Stamp Out Tobacco Coalition, has a new name and community coordinator.

Julie Krawczyk, of Bennington, has been hired to work collaboratively with Tobacco-Free Community Partners on tobacco prevention initiatives and will manage the tobacco use prevention and control program community grant for the Bennington area.

Krawczyk's experience with grant oversight and program development will be an asset as Tobacco-Free Community Partners looks to expand education and prevention efforts locally.

Tobacco-Free Community Partners is an education, resource, prevention and connection network whose mission is to prevent first-time tobacco use among youth and reduce its use across all ages in the Bennington area. To learn more about Tobacco-Free Community Partners, contact Julie Krawczyk at 447-6478 or visit


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