Home News and Features Community and Business News in Brief, Nov. 15, 2023

Community and Business News in Brief, Nov. 15, 2023

Molly McFaun. Photo courtesy of the Vermont 4-H program.

McFaun Earns National 4-H Award

Four University of Vermont (UVM) Extension 4-H staff members recently were recognized for their contributions to 4-H youth development. Locally, Molly McFaun, received the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals’ Achievement in Service Award. McFaun joined the UVM Extension 4-H in 2018. She grew up in 4-H, joining the Trailblazers 4-H Club of Plainfield as a five-year-old Cloverbud and continuing in 4-H until her college graduation as a member of UVM Collegiate 4-H. In 2017, she became the leader of the Trailblazers and also has volunteered with the Topsham Pony Pals of Bradford. 

In her current role as 4-H educator for Orange and Washington counties, McFaun supports club programming in the horse and dairy projects and leads a career exploration program called “How Did You Get There?” She also served as the Washington County 4-H Foundation president for several years. Through a competitive application process, she was selected as one of two Thrive Champions for the Northeast region to promote the use of the 4-H Thriving Model for positive youth development in 4-H. 

—press release

BeneFit Shop Changes Hands

Central Vermont Medical Center has made the difficult decision to cease running the BeneFit Shop in Barre, but the store will continue under the ownership of a current co-manager, Katie Sweeney, along with Kym Newbold.

The BeneFit Shop was launched by the CVMC Auxiliary and has been operated by CVMC since 2022. In addition to being a treasured resource for quality secondhand clothing, the shop supports the CVMC Education Scholarship program by providing funds for local students and adult learners who are pursuing careers in health care.

Sweeney and Newbold plan to continue running the shop as a nonprofit with net proceeds still being donated to CVMC. Sweeney said she is grateful to the community for supporting the BeneFit Shop, allowing her to continue it.

“I am so honored to be able to continue its mission and maintain the nonprofit status. I will be able to do this through the continued donations and the generous support of volunteers,” Sweeney said. 

—press release

Flannel Friday Coming Soon

Montpelier’s annual Flannel Friday kicks off the holiday season on Nov. 24, the day after Thanksgiving. This year, shopping at Montpelier’s unique and locally owned businesses is especially vital as businesses work to recover from the flood, and extra support helps them as well as our community.

During Flannel Friday, shoppers who come downtown in their flannel attire can win prizes and gift cards from local businesses … if they are spotted by the Flannel Fairy!

Small Business Saturday, the following day (Nov. 25), is a day to celebrate and support our downtown businesses and all they do for our community. It’s part of a national program in which all 50 states participate. As part of that celebration, Hunger Mountain Co-op has sponsored free horse-drawn wagon rides from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wagon rides leave from near the corner of State and Elm streets, outside of the North Branch Cafe & Alla Vita and its new neighbor, the Filibuster Cafe. For more information, visit montpelieralive.com/flannel-friday.

—press release

FEMA Reimburses Vermont $23M for COVID Testing 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be sending almost $23 million to the state of Vermont to reimburse it for the cost of providing testing to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $22,865,291 public assistance grant will reimburse the Vermont Agency of Human Services for the cost of purchasing and distributing 2,679,928 COVID-19 antigen tests between October 2021 and July 2022, as well as other associated costs such as card readers and freight charges.

So far, FEMA has provided almost $549 million in grants to Vermont to reimburse the state for pandemic-related expenses. Additional information about FEMA’s public assistance program is available at fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit

—press release

Three Vermont Families Awarded Cars Via Vermont Public/Good News Garage

Since it was launched in July, Vermont Public’s Car Donation Partnership with Good News Garage has yielded three vehicles to Vermonters in need, including Shannon Bussiere, of Waterbury Center. Bussiere received a 2012 Toyota Prius donated to Good News Garage by a Vermont Public supporter. 

“Thank you for changing the lives of my family,” said Bussiere upon receiving the keys to her Prius. “It will be so nice to drive my own car.”

Vermont Public has accepted vehicle donations for years through national programs, but keeping the program local supports public media in Vermont while providing necessary transportation to families in the state.

“These are the first three of what we hope will be many more life-changing donations as a part of this partnership,” said Cash Cranson, director of operations at Good News Garage. “There is currently a waiting list of over 200 Vermont families in need of personal vehicles.”

After picking up a donated vehicle, Good News Garage inspects it. If it is in usable condition, it is donated to a Vermont family in need through a partnership with the state’s Reach Up program. Vermonters must be Reach Up participants to qualify for cars.

If the vehicle is not appropriate for placement with a family, it is sold at auction and proceeds from the sale are split between the two nonprofits, Vermont Public and Good News Garage. Car donors qualify for tax deductions of at least $500, and up to the car’s fair-market value. 

More information about Vermont Public’s car donation program with Good News Garage is available at vermontpublic.org/donate-a-vehicle or 877-GIVE-AUTO (448-3288).

—press release