Home News and Features Community and Business News in Brief, March 22, 2023

Community and Business News in Brief, March 22, 2023

From left, Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman; Michele Bailey of the Vermont Arts Council; Kendal Holden of the Vermont State Grange; Patty Giavara of Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall; Joe Staab of the Berlin Selectboard; and Tim Swartz of Capital City Grange cut the ribbon on the Grange’s new lift. Photo by Jonathan Blake.

Capital City Grange Gets a Lift

The Capital City Grange recently celebrated the installation of a new wheelchair lift, which will provide access to the stage and to the lower level making the hall fully accessible to performers and all hall users. 

About 100 community members attended the event that included an information fair, chess and other board games, a community dance, fresh-baked cookies, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

The new wheelchair lift was partially funded by a grant from the Vermont Arts Council’s Cultural Facilities Grant Program, which is made possible by funding from the state of Vermont. Additional funds were provided by generous donations from Grange members, Grange Hall users including the Montpelier Contra Dance community, and individuals and organizations that support our mission of providing a community hall for Berlin and central Vermont.

The Capital City Grange, located in Berlin, rents the hall at affordable rates for regular dances of many kinds, plus church services, political meetings, musical and theatrical rehearsals and performances, seminars, training sessions, potluck dinners, wedding receptions, birthday parties, and more. On Town Meeting Day Berlin voters approved continued tax exemption for the hall in exchange for free use by town residents.

—press release

Artists Selected For ‘M’ Benches

Montpelier Alive has announced the artists who have been selected to paint three M-shaped benches that will be installed downtown later this spring. Executive Director Katie Trautz said the artists, who will each paint one bench, are Becky Parker and Rob Hitzig, both of Montpelier, and Sabrina Fadial of Barre.

The flat benches, which are made of fiberglass and are three-feet deep and more than four-feet wide, are intended to add vibrancy to downtown, to provide places for pedestrians to rest, and to enhance pedestrian experiences. They were constructed by the Arcana Workshop in Barre. 

“The artwork will be uplifting and interesting,” Trautz said in an email. “There is hope that we can make more benches in the future, and add a cohesiveness to the project.”

The artists, who were selected after a review of proposals submitted to Montpelier Alive, will paint the benches and return them by May 1. The benches will be coated with anti-graffiti varnish and installed by June 1. Trautz said the city’s Design Review Committee is still discussing where the benches will be located. She said that the Rialto Bridge on State Street and a spot close to the corner of Main and School streets are under consideration.

—Tom McKone

Three Rootstock Books Named Finalists

Rootstock Publishing announced that three books — two by Vermont authors — from their 2022 publication year have been named finalists in the 25th annual Foreword (magazine) INDIES Book of the Year Awards. 

“All Men Glad and Wise,” a mystery by Laura C. Stevenson of Wilmington, Vermont, placed in the Mystery (Adult Fiction) category.

“Alzheimer’s Canyon: One Couple’s Reflections on Living with Dementia,” by Jane Dwinell of Burlington, Vermont, placed in the Health (Adult Nonfiction) category.

“Pauli Murray’s Revolutionary Life,” a young adult biography by author Simki Kuznick of Bethesda, Maryland, placed in the Juvenile Nonfiction category.

As part of its mission to discover, review, and share the best books from university and independent publishers, Foreword Magazine, Inc. hosts an annual awards program each year. Finalists represent the best books published in 2022. After more than 2,500 individual titles spread across 55 genres were submitted for consideration, the finalists were determined by Foreword’s editorial team. Winners will be decided by an expert team of booksellers and librarians — representing Foreword’s trade readership — from across the country. The complete list of finalists can be found at forewordreviews.com/awards/finalists/2022.

“We’re thrilled and honored that three of our 11 titles published in 2022 are named finalists in this year’s INDIES Book of the Year Awards,” said Rootstock publisher Samantha Kolber. “It reinforces our strong commitment to our editorial standards in publishing high-quality books. Plus, the recognition may help these important books find broader readership, and that’s always a win for authors,” she says.

—press release

Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission Appoints New Executive Director

Christian Meyer has been appointed executive director of the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission (CVRPC).  Meyer has worked with the organization since 2021 and served as the acting director since October 2022. 

Meyer joined CVRPC in early 2021 as a senior transportation planner, coming from Waterbury, Connecticut, where he worked on similar regional issues with the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments. He brings his experience working with municipalities to help them identify and obtain the resources needed to achieve their goals. 

In his new role, Meyer intends to build on the existing relationships with local leaders from the central Vermont region, which includes Washington County and the towns of Orange, Washington, and Williamstown, to ensure each municipality understands and benefits from the assistance that is available to them through their partnership with the Regional Planning Commission.      

Meyer, a native of Maple Corner in the town of Calais, currently lives in Montpelier with his wife and two children. He enjoys working on his house and bumping into new and old acquaintances on the streets of Montpelier. 

—press release

Heidi Masi Named Director of Human Resources at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont

Heidi Masi of Barre has been named director of human resources, learning and organizational development, and facilities at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, the state’s only local, nonprofit health plan.

Masi has been with Blue Cross Vermont for 24 years, serving in a wide variety of roles. She started with the organization as a customer service representative, and then moved into organizational development and training. The role she held prior to her promotion was the director of learning and organizational development. She had previous experience as a payroll and personnel manager.

In her new role, Masi will oversee the employee lifecycle, everything from recruitment to retirement, while continuing to advance employee and organizational development programs.

 “I am excited to work with three incredibly talented teams to create a dynamic and outstanding experience for all Blue Cross employees,” Masi says. “We are incredibly fortunate to have phenomenal employees who are dedicated to making health care work better for their neighbors.”

Masi is a member of the National Association for Talent Development and served on the board of directors for the organization’s Vermont chapter from 2007 to 2017. She is also a member of the Society for Human Resource Management. She is a graduate of the Vermont Leadership Institute and is certified in Agile Leadership for Organizations.

 She is a native Vermonter who was born and raised on a third-generation family farm in Barre. She lives in Barre Town and enjoys cooking and entertaining, reading, gardening, and vacationing on Cape Cod and Vermont’s lakes.

 —press release